Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Tuesday Post - Illinois Issues Year End edition

Well, as I usually try to make my big post of the week on Tuesdays, this week I found a bit of a challenge while scouring the news for more stuff to read. Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune has challenged us Illinois-based bloggers to find the Illinois stories we've been blogging. I'd like to highlight two that I've covered from downstate.

First, there was the decision earlier this year to eliminate the 183rd Fighter Wing from the Illinois Air National Guard and reduce the ANG presence at Capital Airport in Springfield to non-flying units only. I argued that the 183rd helped to provide necessary air coverage for national defense, while Mayor Tim Davlin argued on an economic basis and US Representative Ray LaHood provided a plethora of defenses. Sadly, the Base Realignment Committee is sending Springfield's fighter squadron packing to Indiana. The effect of the loss will be subtle, but the lack of hearing pairs of fighter aircraft taking off every morning over the city will make the city seem empty.

Second, there have been some notable academic fistfights in Illinois colleges. While my fellow blogger John Ruberry has been masterfully handling the story of fired DePaul professor Thomas Klocek and other DePaul issues of free speech, I've been watching my alma mater of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and its troubles in the History department and in troubles with race-preferential fellowship awards.

Earlier this year, Professor Jonathan Bean was accused of racist tendencies because of an optional reading assignment about the "Zebra killings" in the San Francisco area in the 1970s. Mind you, this was for a class on radical movements in the US in the 1960s and 1970s, so the article about black radicals forming a group to kill whites would be appropriate. Instead of refuting the article, Professor Bean's fellow faculty members and graduate students denounced him as a racist and attempted to shut him out of the dialogue at the school. Fortunately, Professor Bean had help from the Administration in the form of verbal on-record support and he returned to SIUC. There are still other internal issues to reckon with, so this case is not yet completely open and shut.

Shortly after that, attorneys from the US Department of Justice sent a series of legal correspondence to SIUC to announce that they would investigate race- and sex-based preferential treatment in handing out money through a series of contested fellowships. While no suit has been started as of yet, I hope that the DOJ and SIUC attorneys are working out something to resolve the issue amicably. Southern Illinois University has seen its share of troubles between slinging around charges of racism at professors for offering up an article for the class to defend or deny and preferential treatment from three publicly-funded fellowships. These two issues

Although these stories may not have been as important to Chicagoans as George Ryan's trial, Peotone's airport woes, Hired Trucks, or Rod Blagojevich's Very Important Hair/ troubles with questionable contract practices, the loss of an Air National Guard unit and troubles at a state university will affect Illinoisans in one way or another. With our luck, it'll be our checkbooks that get hit hardest. So here's to a Happy 2006; may we find our state in better condition for all next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

NPR sued for fraud?

Okay, this is just stupid. Because a Detroit area public radio station changes its format, listeners are suing under the claim that they were defrauded. I think it's funny that liberals are suing a liberal bastion of news and information. I also think it's very unfair that listeners are expecting to be able to make management decisions. Seriously, folks, if you don't like a radio station, turn the dial and don't contribute to it during pledge drives. I don't listen to much public radio unless they're playing classical music. All Things Considered is actually kind of boring compared to being able to read newspapers and wire services all over the world. That and the "you are there" sound effects of some of the pieces are hokey if not outright pathetic. If I'm listening to the radio in the car it's because I want traffic or weather information, or else I'm listening to an internet radio feed. I will admit, however, that I have gotten quite a few stories that have piqued my interest thanks to Don Wade & Roma, the WLS morning hosts. I guess the sleepy monotone of NPR's news programs just rubs me the wrong way. In my younger days I enjoyed NPR mostly due to Car Talk. Even then I balanced out their news with other sources.

All in all, NPR doesn't have to worry too much. If all else fails the WDET management can just find the bureaucratic layering needed to shield itself thanks to the federal government. It's very sad to see the lawsuit culture attacking a network that has championed so many lawsuits and the victims who brought those suits to court.

I suppose they'd have just burned the station down if the managers had added a radio version of "Firing Line" or somesuch.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Post-Christmas Tuesday Post

Hi, all! I hope your Christmas was a pleasant one.

I have found out that I need to go Mass far more often than I do. The Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mary's in Buffalo Grove was very different than what I'm used to. There were quite a few changes from the Masses I used to know and love. For one, it seemed so upbeat. It wasn't as solemn as I remember. I understand the commemoration of Jesus' birth as a cause of celebration. It just seemed like we were supposed to be more solemn in our rememberances back even two years ago. After all, He came to this world to suffer and die for our sins, and that was the central reason for our Mass. I suppose that since this was the childrens' Mass it wouldn't do to focus upon that. And I also really need to check in to what Mass is what. I felt, well, kind of uncomfortable there. I guess if I'd had children participating in the Christmas pageant it would be different. Next time, I suppose I should try to find the not-so-sociable single people's Mass or something. Seriously, though, Saint Mary's parish is beautiful, and I hope to be at Mass on a far more regular basis. The folks there are quite friendly.

Easter, on the other hand, now THAT'S a time to celebrate.

Well, let's check in on the news, shall we? A little thing on WLS this morning reminded me that yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami. The amount of direct donations and support we gave to the affected countries, especially Indonesia, shows that we're good people no matter how much some Europeans talking heads may act. At least we know how to distribute money properly between relief and overhead, unlike the UN's tsunami relief efforts. If they keep that up, every UN employee can have a Mercedes-Benz sedan for his own personal use, just like Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son.

Nationally, the press is still running around trying to find out more dirt on the warrantless eavesdropping incidents that are causing folks to stop and think about what's happening with our intelligence gathering agencies. Slate's Mickey Kaus thinks this could be a gold mine for President Bush's approval instead of a land mine. After all, this shows that the President's administration really is trying to sniff out those who would do harm to us, according to Mr. Kaus. Kaus, mind you, isn't exactly a supporter of President Bush. The item is titled "So that's what he's been doing" if you want to locate it quickly. Mr. Kaus also seems to think that massive monitoring through the Echelon system is okay (according to his post on 12/24/05), which makes me wonder if he meant what he said sarcastically. Even after spending time in the Air Force where secrecy was paramount and monitoring was regular, monitoring via Echelon still gives me the heebie-jeebies.

There was also this little incident where a student at the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth was claiming he was "being monitored by Homeland Security agents" for trying to check out a copy of the Quotations of Mao Zedong (the "Little Red Book" of the Cultural Revolution and 1960s leftist veneration). Well, wouldn't you know? It was all a hoax. The student (who is very lucky that his local paper is keeping his name off the front page) finally confessed to the lie after he shifted his story more times than a NASCAR transmission. If anyone pinned their hopes on this case as being the one to prove once and for all that the Patriot Act was oppressing the poor, pitiable and stupid college student, well, they were wrong.

Here in Illinois, some good news for the Pro-Life crowd: Abortions are at a 30-year low. Is this due to abstinence programs, better contraceptives, or more women listening to their consciences and asking God for guidance? Pro-abortion advocates say that it's due to better access to conraceptives, and anti-abortion spokespeople are citing teen abstinence programs. My own personal hope is that more women are asking God for guidance and deciding to let their babies live and get the chance to become useful members of society. I'm probably way off the mark, but I'll keep the hope there. Everyone is looking for one solid answer and I think that you'll see a lot of scientific answers and fewer answers based on religious faith. It's the right thing, but for the wrong reasons. Over 41 thousand babies were aborted last year according to the article. It's over 41 thousand too many as far as I'm concerned. Yes, I know, there I go again with my Utopian dreams, but this is one thing I think that could resolved far more easily.

Onto the college circuit where it seems that Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is having its Christmas break. So, I thought you all might be interested in taking a look at these memos sent to me that outlined the current arguments in the investigations of race-based fellowships at the school. I don't see any mention of them on the website listed on the November 4 memo (located on the page 1 of the memo marked "DOJ August." So with this, I urge my readers to follow the credo of "reader beware." I HAVE NOT YET BEEN ABLE TO VERIFY THE VERACITY OF THESE MEMOS, SO BE VERY CAREFUL IN READING TOO MUCH INTO THEM.

Here is the initial memo marked July 19 2005. This is the DOJ's initial announcement of complaints.

Following that, we have a second memo informing SIUC counsel that the Department of Justice found merit to the claims and would pursue a suit unless the university modified its stance on race-preferential fellowships. NOTE: This memo was received by me backwards from page 3 to page 1. Scroll to the bottom and work your way up the screen to read it.

Finally, there is SIUC's counsel giving a response to the above two memos. The message boils down to "Prove it, but please don't sue us if you don't mind." Sounds like a good tactic to me.

I'm going to double check these with the DOJ for their accuracy. I don't think we'll have another Texas Air National Guard memo fiasco like the 2004 election season, but it never hurts to look twice. Anyway, read these primary source documents and make your own decisions.

In the world of the NFL, Indy lost. Again. This had better not be indicative of a trend. I would like to be able to start my posts on football next season with "The World Champion Indianapolis Colts..." On the other hand, this was the expected loss of the season, as Seattle has a dynamite team. Adding head coach Tony Dungy's loss of a son last week, and you can see how the Colts wouldn't be up to par this time. Next week, though, look out.

So, folks, that's about it. I hope you all have a wonderful week and a Happy New Year if I don't write again this week. Later!

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope all of you were able to spend it with your loved ones in one way or another. To all the US servicemen around the world who are making it safe for me to sleep at night, I want to say thank you for picking up where I left off in 1996. I couldn't have a better group of men and women defending my way of life anywhere else in the world. I hope you'll be reunited with your families and friends soon. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

Take care and see you all on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Tuesday Post - this time, on Tuesday!

Hello once again, everyone. Wonder of wonders, my regular weekly post of things of interest to me is actually on time. Hopefully the late postings of the last two weeks will be anomalies and not indicative of a trend.

Let's take a look at news items that looked rather interesting, shall we?

German authorities released from life imprisonment one of the terrorists from the 1985 TWA hijacking that left a US Serviceman dead. Nice to see the German foreign minister saying "It's not our problem" as to where this guy goes. It also looks like he was released to secure the freedom of a German hostage in Iraq. Wouldn't it have been easier to extradite this guy to the US back in the 1980s? I guess not. The German government wouldn't have had a bargaining chip, would they? Danke fur nicht, Deutschland.

If we catch this guy in Iraq, what does it say about terrorist recidivism rates? Would this make for a far stronger case for summary execution of terrorists as illegal combatants in accordance with the Geneva Conventions?

Nationally speaking, we also have this case with the Bush Administration defending the use of no-warrant domestic surveillance of suspected terrorist contacts in the US. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 should have been amended to allow for such searches, but Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor looks like he has found a roundabout set of precedent that allows for such things. Byron York's latest National Review Online article shows precedent from Bill Clinton and makes former Deputy AG (and 9-11 Commission member) Jamie Gorelick look like a stuanch defender of the practice. "But Clinton did it too!" is a weak argument as far as I'm concerned and ought to actually raise flags about the legality of such practices.

Jeff Soyer's post at Alphecca brings up the 4th Amendment question of the NSA actions quite nicely. What assurances do we have that these surveillances made in a time war don't get used as precedent for warrantless domestic surveillance in a time of peace? The pragmatic answer to the domestic surveillance issue is "do it regardless of the legal issues and use the information to locate and kill those who would harm our nation." The Bush Administration's answer is "better to do this and ask forgiveness than get blamed for inaction if something happens, and hope we found enough legal precedent in the meantime." Mine is "Update old espionage laws to reflect new technology and tactics, but make sure Constitutional rights are reasonably uninfringed." Debating reasonableness is of course the next step. All in all, I don't know if Professor Kerr's legal reasoning on the NSA eavesdropping actions is completely sound (and I'm pretty sure he'd agree with me on that) but when dealing with a murky subject like espionage, any allowances made for the sake of expedient action have to be followed up with some serious protections.

May I mention that Rod Blagojevich doesn't like veterans' preference laws or any part of Illinois that doesn't rhyme with "Shook Bounty?" Okay, that's not totally accurate, but an article in the State Journal-Register shows that Ol' Blaggie is unwilling to fire an Illinois Department of Employment Services manager who got his job by moving around a veterans' preference law. The worst part is that the guy who has the job of taking care of employment services in Freeport only wants to do it from the comfort of his Chicago-area environs. Drop the guy and re-open the job.

After those national- and state-related issues, why do I seem to have "Breaking the Law" by Judas Priest playing in my head? Eh, it's appropriate enough. Even when the government has good intentions, something always sems to get stepped on. This is one of those cases where Ronald Reagan's saying of "Government doesn't solve problems; Government IS the problem" holds true.

Normally, I'd add something about SIU's legal troubles with race- and sex-based bias in fellowship distribution but today I'd rather highlight Glenn Poshard asking for help in funding the SIU Medical School's new lab facility in Springfield. It's being used by all kinds of state agencies at the moment as the SIU President can't get the cash to run the cancer center envisioned for the building. A centrally-located cancer treatment facility is a great addition to the Springfield area, as it will help serve the folks who can't make the two-hour drive to St. Louis or the three-to five hour drives to Champaign (if there's a center there) or Chicago. Mind you, getting something similar in Carbondale would also be a huge benefit to southern Illinois, too. For now, though, let's worry about funding the center in Springfield. Private donations, anyone?

The Colts lost their first game of the season to San Diego. Ouch. Here's hoping that the loss this week gets the team re-focused and ready to win all the way through to the Super Bowl.

City of Heroes has a lovely addition this week to its usual game. How do superheroes celebrate Christmas? They save it from peril, naturally! The heroes of Paragon City must take a trip to the heart of the Rogue Isles and recover presents stolen from local charity drives! Those who succeed get the amusing reward of a Santa hat. Silly? Sure. Fun? You betcha! Nefarious villains also get the cance to ruin Christmas by stealing presents meant for the poor and needy. Hokey and melodramatic? What, you were expecting character-driven studies of depressing people talking in their apartments about France? Not gonna happen! Also, Christmas presents left around the city by a mysterious figure called "The Gamester" can determine if you're naughty or nice, apparently. If you're nice, you get a surprise that will help you out in your time of need. If you're naughty, you get attacked by killer snowmen! How can you not appreciate a game like this?

Well, that's it for now, dear readers. Have a Merry Christmas if I don't see you before the next Tuesday post.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another late Tuesday Post

Sorry for the delay, everyone, work has been a bear lately. So, I'm going to make this as quick as I can.

International news: The parliamentary elections in Iraq are going well. There's been election violence there, but I think the ordinary Iraqis have had it with car bombings. Once they have a government of their own, I think there's going to be even less tolerance for suicide bombers. Hopefully the locals there will help Iraqi and US troops root out those who would attempt to sway the election through violence. All I can do from here is lend moral support and give my best wishes to those who are creating a new country democratically.

National news: Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed after exhausting all of his appeals. The guy murdered four people and founded the Crips, and there was enough evidence to both convict Williams and warrant the death penalty. His death should be a reminder to criminals. All that temporal power and all that apologizing after the fact or blaming society for your actions doesn't save you from paying for your crimes. It's sad that Hollywood's B-list came out to support this guy's plea for clemency. Of course, so did International ANSWER, a World Workers' Party and Communist-founded agitation group. I think the protest wasn't so much to protest the death penalty or even Williams' death sentence, but more to use this incident as a backdrop to hurl more invective at the Bush administration. I'm pretty neutral on the death penalty, in that I want to make VERY sure the person being executed is guilty of murder. According to some of the prison guards at San Quentin, Williams' claims of redemption rang hollow when compared to the threats he and his gang members made against the lives of the guards and their families. I got this from the Fox News reporter Sean Hannity interviewed on his radio show last night, so take it with a grain of salt if you so wish. Either way, Stanley Williams is receiving his final judgment.

State news: The fellowship mess at SIU is very interesting. I received copies of DOJ and SIUC correspondence about this and I'm checking 'em out once I get the chance. SIUC is going to use the recent University of Michigan admissions case as precedent, but that deals with preferential race-based admissions, not preferential race-based governement-funded financial aid. Hopefully the rules get changed to provide true equity.

Local news: Last week, the Chicago area got slowed down by snow, and this week the street departments are ready for it. Okay, that's me being optimistic. I think the snowplows will have to deal with snarled traffic just as much as commuters. The freak accident at Midway Airport makes me wonder if that third airport might not be so bad of an idea. And will changing the layouts of buildings and utility lines make it easier for pilots to land there? According to a report relayed on WLS this morning, the buildup of light poles and utility lines makes 700 feet of the main runway unusable due to the pilots needing to dodge the lines. If this is the case, the City of Chicago needs to do what's right and change those light and utlity line configurations.

Sports news: Indianapolis is 13-0. Three more games and hopefully Indy will meet Miami's perfect season record. I hope they can keep this tempo through the playoffs as well. Colts fans have been through a lot of bad years since 1984, and now it's time to get a little something back from the team for our support.

Computer gaming news: City of Heroes is doing its Christmas event, and I logged in to find all of my heroes had been given a flight pack to use through the holidays. It's VERY fun. And some polayers have sworn they've seen a jolly guy in red riding through the air in a sleigh. Could it be Santa, or could it be a devious trap by Paragon City's most heinous villains? You'll have to play to find out, or at least I will.

I also wish to note that Civilization 4, the latest Sid Meier game of empire-building, is VERY addictive. Building your cities and making them grow the way you want is just as much fun as minimalizing and conquering your misguided neighbors. It's very graphics-intensive, though, and on my old computer it's very slow and likely to crash. I guess it's time to upgrade the processor, motherboard and video card after all. Currently my Germans have held the Romans and Greeks to a combined total of four cities in Europe. The Romans have three and the Greeks have one. Mind you, I've kept them like this since about 1800BC. My current turn as of last night was 1933AD where I'm having to deal with the Chinese, Japanese, and Egyptians trying to muscle in on my claim to the entire New World. One way or another, their cities in North and South America will join the Germans. The Romans have three cities and those cities are losing the culture war to things like German cinema, musicals and rock music. The Greeks have Athens in a similar manner as well as a few weak cities in western Africa. Egypt and Persia have a mild border war going on, and India is trying to goad the Persians into a "Let's you and him fight" with the Mongols.

In a way, it's very similar to the real world.

Well, that's all for now. Hopefully the regular Tuesday Post will stay a Tuesday Post and not shift to Wednesday. Take care, everyone!

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

AP: Air Marshal Shoots Suspect at Miami Airport

Ladies and gentlemen:

Do not, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES run off of a plane yelling that you've got a bomb in your bag. According to the same story in the Chicago Tribune, the suspect was rumored to have bi-polar disorder and was not taking his medication.

If this isn't a reminder to take one's medications, I don't know of a better reminder.

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The Tuesday Post - Wednesday Edition!

Okay, so I was asleep at the keyboard this week. I'm a bit busy.

Well, let's start out with some news that happened today: State Senator Steve Rauschenberger is pulling out of the 2006 Republican gubernatiorial contest, and aligning himself with Ron Gidwitz. Gidwitz is apparently for abortion rights, and Rauschenberger is known as a pro-life type of guy. I don't get this move by Rauschenberger. He doesn't have the money to campaign, that's true enough, but playing second fiddle to an abortion supporter seems politically risky. He might be trying to distance himself from Judy Baar Topinka, and that might not be the wisest idea. She might only be the State Treasurer, but she basically IS the heavyweight champ of the state-level GOP insiders. For whatever reason, I thought "what a crazy pair" when I heard of Rauschenberger running for Lieutenant Governor. Now, I have the theme song from "The Patty Duke Show" stuck in my head. I blame Nick at Nite.

Does the Illinois Republican Party have someone like Glenn Poshard to run for governor? If so, will he please stand up and be recognized? We need a decent downstate candidate, and badly.

Last week, a group of terrorists in Iraq captured some members of the "Christian Peacemaker Teams" anti-war/ anti-US victory organization. These are the same people who throw themselves in front of Israeli troops as they're about to return fire on Palestinian terrorists. As a denunciation of how much they hate our President and the UK's current Prime Minister, the hostages have said they do not wish to be rescued by military action.

I have no problems with sending in a military unit to recover their bodies should they find themselves executed. My bet is that they'll suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and convert to Islam to save their necks. How soon before they start preaching jihad against the Christian infidel? Of course, if we do what's right we'll have a rescue team sent in no time flat to pull these peacemakers out of harm's way. After all, sometimes you have to intervene to keep people from doing stupid things to themselves. If it chafes these guys so much to rescue them, better that they can complain about on tv after the fact than have another video sent out of another horrific beheading. If they're executed, the blood is on the terrorists' hands, on the hands of the activists themselves, and on those who support their mission. I'll be happy to see them returned without firing a shot, yes, even though I love irony in many of its guises. I don't think that a non-violent solution will be found unless it is backed by the threat of violence, though. American pacifists may never understand this.

Today is December 7. Do these "peacemakers" know what today represents? Would they have thrown themselves in front of US military forces and allow the brand of fascism used by the Japanese at the time to take root in Asia? Would they have asked us not to retaliate? Probably. And people would have shoved them aside as they deserve. We went through a messy, confusing, often-censored war until victory was achieved after that morning in 1941. Now we have a messy, confusing, uncensored war on our hands that people are trying to exit without victory being truly won. We removed the Ba'athists in the actual war itself. Mission accomplished there. Now in the bloody mission to rebuild Iraq and make it self-sufficient, people want to run. It is wrong to leave now when we're not done giving the Iraqis a hand up. A stable government that respects all its citizens, an army that will not cause its citizens to worry about being attacked for their differing tribal alliances or religions, and a nation with the ability to do business with the world without fear of having its peaceful interests quashed by internal troubles: this is what I hope for Iraq. This is what our troops are trying to create.

I was going to talk at length about the CPT's spokesperson not being able to answer WLS radio pundits Don Wade & Roma on the question of whether or not Iraqis prospered and were treated like human beings under Saddam Hussein, but I won't. I'll just say that if you can't tell the difference between people living in fear of a dictator and those same people living in actual peace that maybe you need to take a second look at your own moral compass. Hate the President all you want, but don't take the side of dictators just because they're opposed by Republicans.

I see that Saddam Hussein is on trial and acting every bit the pompous bastard he was when he ruled Iraq. The fact no one has punched his lights out during these outbursts is a testament to the patience of Iraqi judges. They're calmer than I would be over this.

The Indianapolis Colts are 12-0. Beautiful! Four more games to go, gang, and maybe we'll see something that hasn't been done in over 30 years.

So, that's it for now. Take care, everyone!

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ban on video games shot down

Let's hear it for putting responsiblity back into the hands of parents. While Governor Blagojevich might have made a very few conservatives happy with this, it was easy to see it was a blatant ploy to look like he was protecting "the children of Illinois." State retailers are happy that this system of fines didn't go through.

Federal Judge Matthew Kennelly was right on in this decision. It does encroach upon First Amendment protections, though it does so very lightly. We cannot ban things simply because they're tasteless. Nor can we fine retailers for selling legal products to legal buyers. The mission of parents to watch what their kids do has been set back on the proper course.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another Tuesday, Another Tuesday Post

Greetings, greetings, one and all! Or all one of you, whichever the case may be.

Since I tend to talk about all things Republican, let's start out with the tearful bribery confession of California Representative Randy Cunningham. He knows great shame? Thanks to Rep. Cunningham, the Democrats have another "culture of corruption" club with which they can attempt to beat us. It's bad enough we've got that with George Ryan here in Illinois. Guys like these need to be run out of the GOP, folks, and it's up to those of us who are party loyalists to find corruption and expose it so it can be dealt with immediately and so we can minimize the effect it has on national politics. Corruption is endemic to politics, yes, but we need to keep our own house in order and not give in to our baser temptations when it comes to political funding and favors.

Mind you, it's not like the Democrats are having much luck, either. Senator Byron Dorgan has a lobbyist friend of his demand contributions from Indian tribes in return for helping them out with school funding. Funny how the guy who is investigating this lobbyist for wrongdoing is also one of said lobbyist's clients? And isn't that U.S. Representative Bobby Rush who's being sued for failure to pay his mortgage? How can a guy who's making a Congressman's salary and whose wife works for the State of Illinois not be able to pay the $334,600 mortgage on a $215,000 home? I know that compound interest is no fun, but come on, Congressman Rush! You've got to pay your bills just like the rest of us! There's plenty of refinancing ads on the radio, too, if you think you needed a better interest rate. And why isn't the ACLU and the folks who want church and state completely separated hounding Rep. Rush for making statements like this:
n a statement issued through a spokeswoman, Bobby Rush said "over the past three years, I have used considerable personal assets in building a church. I do not apologize. As with any worthwhile endeavor of this magnitude, personal sacrifices must be made."

In May, the Chicago Sun-Times reveal`ed that Bobby Rush was using his political campaign funds to support Beloved Community Christian Church, where he's the pastor.
Come on, all you raging secularists and atheists! Chase down this six-figure-earning impoverished pastor who is also a U.S. Congressman! Take him out of office! Practice what you preach, if you'll pardon the expression.

No takers? Funny, that.

I suppose it just goes to show you that politics really is like sausage-making: pretty disgusting to watch. Maybe we'll remember to use better cuts of ethical meat in future elections, so to speak. I'll say this, though. I'll take these guys and their ethical problems over socialists, Greens and fascists any day. Our Democrats and Republicans are just fine, thanks.

The last thing for politics is my personal political barometer, based on how government is currently affecting me. My FOID card: Okay, State of Illinois, where is it? You took my processing fee, so I better get something for my money. Gas prices: Still not as good as it was when I graduated college, but not as bad as it was in August. In fact, it's about one dollar per gallon cheaper than August prices near my workplace. That's very nice. I even saw that new E-85 alternative fuel going for $1.99/gallon in Oswego on my way back from my Thanksgiving trip. Speaking of that, when did this whole E-85 ethanol fuel come into wider use? I hadn't heard anything about it until this past June when I saw E-85 pumps in Springfield. Alternative fuels means more innovation in engines, and hopefully a saving grace for some of the more mismanaged automakers. Maybe the alternative fuels crowd can give GM and Ford enough time to realize their business model no longer works and they have to start from scratch.

Okay, enough of politics. On to sports!

Indianapolis is now 11-0 after their win Monday night against Pittsburgh. I'm hearing more and more that the only impediment to a 16-0 season could be the Seattle Seahawks. I couldn't watch the game last night for fear of jinxing it, so I just listened to the radio broadcast instead. I now know where Boomer Esiason and Marv Albert wound up. It's a good job if you can get it, though.

The SIU Salukis football squad is 9-3, and they've gotten past the first hurdle in the Division I-AA playoffs. Wow. This is so unlike the past two years' worth of disappointment. Go Dawgs!

Baseball-wise, the Cardinals aren't looking so hot. They need more offense than just Albert Pujols, though the defense and pitching is still top-notch. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and hope for some new blood to revitalize the St. Louis batting. We need it.

Finally, a little more City of Heroes talk. One of the nice things you get in the game is when you run by a citizen on your way to stop one crime or another, and they say something about how you keep whatever faction of villains and criminals in line. It helps create that immersion to make you feel like part of the game. There's also plenty of goofy little in-jokes here and there to keep the comic geeks happy. One of your contacts even sends you off to be the guest of honor at a science-fiction convention at a later stage in the game. Now if only the game was programmed to require you to fend of hordes of smelly convention-goers, dodge people who only want to talk about their D&D characters and NOTHING ELSE for hours on end, and keep one's sanity while strolling past the costume contest, then it might seem like a real sci-fi convention. Until then, it's just another day at the "office."

That's it for now, everyone. Have a great week! I'll be back as more stuff gets my attention.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

David Broder Signs On with Current Iraq Drawdown Plan

Okay, Mr. Broder wouldn't see it that way, but like I said a few posts ago I'm going to treat anyone who calls for military drawdowns in Iraq in 2006 as signing on with the plan forwarded by the Department of Defense and approved by President Bush. So, let's see, we've got a liberal-nanny stater columnist in the Washington Post agreeing that we can remove some troops in 2006 along with Democrat US Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden. So, when will other Democrats sign on with the 2006 drawdown? How many more of them will demand that the DOD does what it's already planning to do?

I just realized something. Playing with the newspaper industry's ability to spin the news to fit the editorial staff's worldview is kinda fun! Too bad I can't get paid to be a news pundit. I think I'd be pretty good at making the news fit my idea of how great or horrible things are.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Daily Egyptian-- University's Talks with Feds to Remain Confidential

It looks like SIUC dodged a bit of a bullet this past week as the school administrators successfully stalled for time against the DOJ lawyers. It doesn't help much that the article shows what the DOJ is so ticked about:
* Since 2000, 27 students received the Graduate Dean's scholarship, none of which were white males.

* Since 2004, the Bridge to Doctorate fellowship gave out 27 awards, with no recipients being white.

* Since 2000, the Proactive Recruitment of Multicultural Professionals for Tomorrow fellowship was not awarded to any whites.
The article goes on to talk about Chancellor Walter Wendler's statement that it is his responsibility to ensure that the students on the programs in question are "protected." I'm assuming he means that he's going to make sure the current students will keep their funding in case the DOJ tells them to open up the programs or shut them down.

Of course if SIUC really wants to dodge a bullet, they can always give me one of these fellowships as a token nod to multiculturalism. I'm sure it would be given in good faith.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Pat Morita Dies at 73

He sounds like he had a rough start, but gained a worthy finish to his life.

All you geeks out there, say it with me: Wax on, wax off!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

3 US Brigades to Be Removed from Iraq in 2006

(login required; what do you expect from the Washington Post?)

This sounds like good news to me, as US forces give Iraqi security services the chance to stand or fail on their own. We've given them the tools, and the Iraqis have a republic if they can keep it. So, the military brains at the Pentagon will try to pull some less-needed troops out of harm's way.

Mind you, though, Barack Obama wants credit for it. He also wants an apology from George W. Bush because he finds Dubya to be the Antichrist or something equally repulsive. What are the odds that Senator Obama will try to make it look like the Pentagon-requested pullout is his doing? Here's the second paragraph of the article:
Without citing specific numbers, Obama called for a "limited drawdown" of U.S. troops that would push the fragile Iraqi government to take more responsibility while deploying enough American soldiers to prevent the country from "exploding into civil war or ethnic cleansing or a haven for terrorism."
Well, no kidding, Senator! That's what the Pentagon is doing! If Obama tries taking credit for this, he should be awarded the Upper-Class Twit of the Year Award from Monty Python's Flying Circus. In fact, any Democrat politician who tries this stunt should be touted as "getting on board with the Bush Administration's Iraq plan."

Is anyone else with me on this?

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Glenn Poshard Announced as SIU President

The guy might be a Democrat, but I think he'll be a good choice for the school. He's got some parliamentary skills from his days in the Illinois Senate and U.S. Congress, he has taught at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, and usually has his head screwed on straight. He was definitely far more pro-Second Amendment and pro-life than George Ryan was during the 1998 campaign. On top of that, all of his degrees are from SIUC, so he should know the place inside and out.

Hopefully, he will be wiling to drop or modify the graduate fellowship programs that discriminate against white males and "overrepresented" minorities. I doubt it will happen, but I will note that anything can happen at SIUC.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Vatican Speaks Against Gay Seminarians - Yahoo! News

I guess I did find something else interesting to talk about today. This instruction from the Pope is wrong on a moral level. Gays have enough problems, and now denying them a chance to serve God and their community is going to make things worse. It makes me wonder what the Vatican wants. Do they want more married couples to create large families, or do they want more priests, who cannot marry and start families? Either way, denying holy orders to gays is very difficult to justify. I've said time and time again that one's sexual preference is a test to both the individual and the community. There may not be out-and-out acceptance of homosexuals or bisexuals in the community, and the non-straight community may not accept straight culture, either. At the very least, though, there must be a tolerance or truce. Our groups might not be able to share holiday photos with each other and talk about last night's game, but at the very least we should be able to have the societal version of nodding one's head in acknowledgement and muttering "hey" or "how's it goin'?"as we pass by in the hallway.

I hope that God will change Pope Benedict's mind and heart on this subject. The Catholic Church's clergy needs reform and desperately so, but this is not the way to do it. When I pray for the good guidance and judgment for our Pope and bishops at Mass, this will be the reason why.

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If it's Tuesday, it must be the Tuesday Post

Hey, hey, all!

Thanks to James Lileks, I found this fine little article about a northside Chicago bakery with a mind-your-kids policy. I have to applaud this guy for his guts, since you don't see too many places telling customers to rein in their childrens' more boisterous activities. It's a shame proprietors have to tell parents to keep their kids quiet these days. I don't remember ever getting away with any of the things that parents my age allow their toddlers to do. Then again, I had parents who taught me how to behave from the beginning. I also believe a trip to this establishment is in order if only to try out the goods.

While I'm at it, I suggest you visit James Lileks' website. It's great fun made by a great writer. It's more than just his blog and if you like anything dealing with the old middlebrow culture of the late 1950s-early 1960s (or the vicious lampooning of said culture) you'll love his site.

What do you know? Looks like AT&T is back to doing... well, what AT&T was doing prior to the Bell breakup in 1984. Is there still reason to worry about a monopoly, or are the other phone companies really that competitive? Or is this going to be more of what I call a "market monopoly" where one company has a huge advantage of market share over others like Microsoft vs. Linux or Apple systems? Technically, they're not a monopoly, but they're really the only game in town.

Before I get all Chicago-area on you, I'd like to add this. The Indianapolis Colts are 10-0. Back in 1991, I'd never have thought I'd seen this, when the team went 1-15. Perseverance is a wonderful thing.

Back to things Chicago-related: Jose Padilla is going to get his day in court. If these charges are true, we've got yet another reason to worry about home-grown terrorists. It's not just the McVeighs and Lindhs to watch anymore. Something tells me that domestic terrorists aren't just whitebread suburbanites and farmboys anymore.

By the by, have you heard the crock about lefty blogs trying to spread the idea that white phosphorous rounds are chemical weapons of the same type and mission as nerve agents like VX or sarin, or even blood agents or mustard gas? Jeff Goldstein smacks around some of the more dunderheaded members of the esteemed opposition. Yep, white phosphorous rounds are designed to generate smoke, and smoke of any kind is something you don't want to inhale. (I say this as a former smoker, if you must know.) And yes, they create very nasty burns if it lands on you, and it burns under water. It also makes a great way to get people out of confined areas in combat situations. It doesn't create a huge fireball like a fuel-air explosive does, nor is it normally used to poison the air and kill people like real chemical agents. But it does require some special handling and inhaling smoke is bad. So to the left it's obviously a chemical weapon! It's used for area denial like sarin! To those folks who believe that white phosphorous smoke is on par with sarin, I say this: HOGWASH! If that's the case, campfires and cookouts are horrific generators of chemical weapons, and the madness must stop now!

Yeah, I think the anti-war crowd is grasping at straws, too.

Finally, something that ties the Iraq war to Chicago: Hillary Clinton. The former Chicagoan who now is a lifelong New Yorker by way of Arkansas is saying that pulling troops out of Iraq now as per the demand of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is a big mistake, but that giving indefinite military support to the Iraqis is a bad idea, too. Really? Next the Senator will say that water also has qualities that would allow it to be described as "wet." She's also saying the exact same thing that the Bush administration is saying, that we need to see the effects of the Dec. 15 elections before we can set up an actual pullout of troops. This is definitely makes her look like a 2008 candidate for President.

I happen to remember her "co-presidency" with Bill Clinton, as well as the whole national health care talk in 1993. Hillary already had her 8 years as far as I'm concerned.

Well, that's all for this post, true believers. I'll be back as soon as something new and interesting comes down the pike.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Neighborhood Affected by Kelo Decision Still Standing

(Login required to read the article; it's the New York Times, after all)

I have to say that this is a happy event, though it's a bitter happiness. The Supreme Court's decision that a city could use eminent domain to supplant private residential taxpayers with private commercial taxpayers (and hopefully in the city's case, bringing in more taxes) is ludicrous. The Times quotes retiring Associate Justice O'Connor's dissent:
"The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall or any farm with a factory."
I may not agree with all of Sandra Day O'Connor's decisions, but I would agree with this quote in her dissent. The sanctity of private property ownership is a bedrock of American culture. The idea that being able to own a free-standing house is dependent on judicial argument and not enshrined in law is disheartening to future property owners. Any further delay in the eminent domain process is another chance for the New London Development Corporation boardmembers to come to their collective senses. I hope they'll do that.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tuesday night wrap-up

Good evening, one and all. This late-night edition of Song of the Suburbs is going to be quick. I'll start out with something near and dear to my heart, the troubles at Southern Illinois University. Chancellor Wendler is still holding out for a meeting with the DOJ to explain their fellowship award practices in order to prevent a lawsuit. Apparently, the lawsuit is considered the first of its kind in dealing with this type of reverse discrimination. It's like black conservative writer LaShawn Barber said in a recent post: A government with the power to discriminate in favor of blacks also has the power to discriminate against blacks.

Would that everyone with hands in this issue of race preferences remember that piece of wisdom. Is it so much to ask that we have a diverse society but a colorblind government?

On the sports front: The Indianapolis Colts are 9-0. This makes me very happy that I stayed with them through the lean times of the early 90s. I remember the 1-15 season, all too well. The 7-3 SIU Salukis are eleventh in the 1-AA coaches' poll. (Hey, I might complain about the the knuckleheads running the schooling side of SIU, but I still keep up with the sports teams.) Things aren't looking as good as the past two years, but it's still better than when I attended. Go Dawgs!

And finally, I've had a chance to further monkey around with the City of Heroes expansion (cunningly called City of Villains) and realized that being villainous just isn't my style. There's some nice stuff to be found, sure, but you're still doing bad things to other people. It's nothing to be sad over, I just prefer being on the side of the good and just when dealing with superpowered fictional characters, much like in real life.

Besides, if I do manage to get my Ph.D. and don't get a job teaching, I can find a career in superheroing alongside such notable characters as Doc Savage, Doctor Strange (along with other minor Marvel characters as Doc Samson and Doctor Druid), Dr. Mid-Nite (from the Justice Society of America) and a plethora of other superheroes. Of course, there are plenty of evil doctors out there, too: Doctor Doom, DC's Doctor Light, and of course Austin Powers' nemesis Doctor Evil. I think I'll stay with the superhero schtick. Truth, justice and the American Way are my kinda things worth fighting for.

Talk to you guys later. I'm sure more will come of the SIU flap. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Marathon Pundit: Illinois Leader is gone

Holy smokes!

The Illinois Leader, a great Illinois GOP web publication, is no longer in business. It couldn't make the money it needed, so it went under. That's a real shame. There was a lot of great reporting on GOP affairs. I hope that the Leader staff has better luck with their next project.
Daily Egyptian Blindsided by Federal Inquiry, Wants Everyone to Get Along

Not to be outdone by the Chicago Sun-Times, the student paper at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has posted this editorial and a follow-up article about the Department of Justice inquiry. The last three paragraphs of this editorial are a bit confusing:
Critics of programs like the ones being challenged at SIUC say they should help all disadvantaged students regardless of race or gender. This is a strong concern, given that southern Illinois contains the two poorest counties in Illinois.

We are long past the time when only the wealthy and well-born could expect a college education. It is a characteristic of our nation that we make education broadly available across the spectra of race, gender, cultural background and income. Programs like the ones for which the University has come under scrutiny are an important part of that.

We support the University's efforts to make the campus more diverse and to correct past discrimination, and agree that such efforts are inseparable from its mission, and we are confident this can be done without offending the U.S. Constitution ˜ or discriminating against anyone else along the way.
So, DE staff, are you for the DOJ inquiry or are you against it? Do you think the fellowships are fine as is, or do they require review to eliminate race and sex bias? The editorial seems to say that race and sex preferences are fine and dandy when it comes to choosing who gets an education, but those same preferences must be cut from the fellowships. The editorial staff needs to get a better idea about its position on this issue. In fairness, I'm glad they put something out there to acknowledge their awareness of the subject. The Daily Egyptian staff understands the importance of this DOJ inquiry, and I think they also realize that they got scooped on a very local subject. They'll get better coverage now, and I hope that translates into better articles.

Thanks goes out to Dr. Jonathan Bean, who sent me notice of this editorial and its related article, University Faces Federal Lawsuit.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

DOJ to SIUC: Clean Up Your Fellowships Process

I heard about this problem at my alma mater while I was driving to work Friday morning. Apparently the Department of Justice is telling Southern Illinois University to end selective admissions to a series of minority fellowships. Barack Obama dismisses the case as "divisive" and "cynical." Well, looks like he's found a horse for the race, hasn't he?

According to the article, Pat McNeil of the Underrepresented Fellowships Office states clearly that the three fellowships will remain discriminatory, and speaks specifically of the Bridge to the Doctorate fellowship:
The Web site describing the Bridge program specifically says it is only open to members of underrepresented minority groups. Several white women who have "overcome hardship" have been awarded the Graduate Dean's Fellowship, even though women outnumber men at the university. White men need not apply, however. "I'll be upfront with you -- no white male will get this award," McNeil said.
No white students have applied for the Bridge to the Doctorate or Proactive Recruitment and Multicultural Professionals for Tomorrow fellowships, as is stated in the paragraph previous to this one.

I asked Song of the Suburbs reader and SIUC history professor Jonathan Bean about the issue and he wrote back to me that DOJ investigators have missed an even bigger program:
Actually, they missed the worst program of all, the so-called "cradle-to-grave" affirmative action program DFI (Diversifying Faculty in Illinois). This program pays members of certain racial groups--including Asians who are triply OVERREPRESENTED as faculty--to go to graduate school (plus $17,000 stipend) and they pay back by taking a tenure-track job at one of 34 institutions, including private colleges in Illinois (e.g., Northwestern). This program is different because, at SIUC's behest (I am told), the state legislature established it in 1985.
He also added under the DFI program minority groups who have gotten into the program can continue to benefit when they become overrepresented in the larger faculty pool:
[I]t's not just "anti-white," as the Sun Times implies. No "whites," no people from North Africa, no Middle Easterners, and no people from certain Asian countries need apply. However, if you were born in Latin America to a white businessman who works for a multinational -- bingo! You are "Hispanic." Defining race and distributing benefits on this basis is not only wrong and illegal, it often violates common sense (as the case of the Asians shows). When I challenged, in writing, the inclusion of Asians in the DFI program, I was later told by an administrator that, yes, they are triply overrepresented overall but still underrepresented in areas like English literature! What this means is they will never admit success: once a group is "in," it is in FOREVER.
Dr. Bean also states that local state senators do nothing to get the DFI program changed because proponents of the current plan will accuse them of racism. There is also a "diversity hires" fund created by Chancellor Walter Wendler that Dr. Bean says warrants investigation.

What are SIUC alumni to do about this? Well, after the story gets out, and I need my readers to spread it around further, we should confront the administration and explain to them that SIU's fellowships should be based upon merit and academic achievement, not on race or sex. These are discriminatory and our school should do its part to create a colorblind society. If the administrators do nothing, alumni should withhold any donations they'd usually make to the school. SIUC might get our tax money, but the administrators certainly won't get anything else until things change. If you know of any other SIUC grads, let them know what's going on. Our school needs to stand for something other than being a party school.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

San Francisco: City of Stupidity

A gun ban AND an urging from the city council that high schools and colleges in the city should ban military recruiters from their campuses? If they think being passive and defenseless is okay, that's one thing. Trying to force recruiters from schools? That's almost treasonous. Almost. If they enacted an actual ban, then they'd have little problem called a state of rebellion. And we remember what happened the last time someone rebelled, right?

San Francisco deserves the government it gets if people keep voting that way.

This article was originally found by Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner on National Review Online. Check Stanley Kurtz' reaction to the votes nearer the top of the page. I may not agree with him on same-sex marriages, but I find myself in near-total agreement with him.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ward Connerly at SIUC: A Call for Donations

This email was sent to me by Professor JonathanBean, and I am reprinting this to help call for donations as well as illustrate what conservatives must to get their message out to college students:
Please let me introduce myself. I am a professor of history at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. My full academic bio. is available at my website link below. In addition to writing and speaking about U.S. business and public policy, I am the faculty sponsor for several student groups on campus. This year these groups--College Republicans and Saluki Conservative Union--are organizing a special week to highlight an "invisible minority" on campus: libertarians and conservatives (broadly defined). The university will be hosting many events with liberal speakers, some during Black History and Women's History Months, others during Gay Month. In the spirit of fair play and a true "marketplace of ideas," we call upon you to financially support the second event listed below. We also welcome your advice and verbal support, if you are unable to give to this event. And, please feel free to forward this to interested parties.
In celebration of "Conservative Coming Out" week, January 23-27, there will be two separate events:

January 24: "Coming Out Conservative" -- minority and nonminority speakers address conservative issues on campus. Student panelists (including graduate students), including conservatives who happen to be white, black, Cuban, Asian, and gay. SPONSORS: Multicultural Programs and Services AND College Republicans. COSTS: Fully paid.

***January 26: Ward Connerly, a national figure in the black conservative movement for a new civil rights vision. See

http://yaf.org/speakers/ward_connerly.html

and

http://tinyurl.com/c72ee

SPONSORS:

*SIU Law School (Dean Alexander has offered free use of the auditorium and agreed to officially cosponsor the event);
Young America Foundation will pay for travel and all related expenses (approx. $1,500);
College Republicans;
Multicultural Programs and Services.
Alumni.

We have requests pending with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Federalist Society.

WE NEED MORE SEED MONEY to bolster our case for university funds. All that is required is a "letter of intent" or commitment. If the event falls through, the donor owes nothing. Although Connerly is perceived as a "conservative" figure, the Republican Party has often shied away from backing his classic liberal view of race. Nonetheless, he has persisted--and succeeded--despite death threats and bullets through his living room window. It is no overstatement to say that he is one of the most courageous men in America today.

Given the uniqueness of this event, and the caliber of the speaker, it would be a worthwhile expenditure to help cover some of our remaining costs. Connerly's fee is $7,500 and we hope you can contribute as much as possible toward that fee. Many people--Multicultural Programs, College Republicans, myself--have worked arduously to attract funds on campus and off. When you can get such a broad spectrum of sponsors for such an important, yet controversial, speaker, it will reflect well on SIU, showing the university to be "fair and balanced." As an aside, student government bodies have given much more money to fund James Carville here next semester (his fee is $35,000!). Dean Alexander's support of the event is indicative of the fairminded reception his talk has already received on campus. When you get Multicultural Programs, College Republicans, and the Law School dean (who happens to be African American) together, you know this is a uniquely interesting event.

This event, in the midst of "diversity week," goes far to promote diversity of ideas on campus. Please give it your careful and thoughtful consideration. You may call me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Bean
Professor of History
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL
If you can send some donations Professor Bean's way, I'd appreciate it. I'll be doing the same.

Now to see if I can get a PayPal account set up to take donations.

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Hey, everyone, it's Tuesday again, and time for another check-in with yours truly.

Now I know I was pretty hard on Ray LaHood for opposing the Online Freedom of Speech act (H.R. 1606) last week, and I'm not going to apologize for telling the good Congressman that I think he made a very bad move in voting against the resolution. As much as I may criticize, I will also praise as well. In a State-Journal Register article dated October 28, 2005 ("Congress refuses to stop base closings / BRAC's changes to take effect Nov. 8," article is not available online for free viewing) we see that Congressman LaHood took further action to prevent the loss of the 183rd Fighter Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard. It was ultimately unsuccessful, but this is the reason why we send our representatives to Congress: to fight every battle for our local interests. He may not have won, but Mr. LaHood does deserve praise for doing what was right in this case.

If you do wish to read the article online, you'll need to sign up with NewsLibrary. You can do that through the State Journal-Register website's Archive page by searching for the article. Between NewsLibrary and Lexis-Nexis, I'm very tempted to subscribe for the archives alone.

This brings up another question: when dealing with articles that aren't avilable freely online (i.e., can only be accessed via a paid subscription or a login) what should bloggers do to provide that article for readers? Should we refer to the article with attributions in a style similar to academic papers (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian styles) and a link to the article as a sort of "internet footnote," should we reprint it in full with attribution and a link to the source document, or should we provide only the link to the source document? What will make the articles most accessible to the readers while ensuring that full attributions and intellectual property rights are respected? The historian aspect of my personality wants to go with the first idea, but the "hold people accountable for their words" populist aspect wants to go with the second.

Does anyone care to debate the merits and flaws of the above choices with me? I'd like to ensure that credit is given where due, and that readers have access to what people say and write. E-mail me with your comments, as I want to do a post on this. Put "Blog Source Attribution and Credit" for your subject title, and let me know if you'd like your name used on the chance that I use your comments. If you have a blog, I'll use your nom de blog and URL if you'd prefer that.

Next item: SIUC History Professor Jonathan Bean is raising funds to pay speaking fees for an appearance by Ward Connerly, a black man known and demonized for his conservative views on racial colorblindness in government programs and affirmative action. Dr. Bean has been kind enough to provide friendly correspondence to this blog (as well as career advice for wannabe history profs such as myself), and I'd like to return the favor by helping him raise money for this speaking engagement. Ladies and gentlemen, helping pay for Ward Connerly to speak at universities will counter racial agitators like Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado. I'm going to put something together later this evening for donation information once I get access to the info I have at home.

If anything, think of it like this: you're supporting Ward to counteract Ward.

I wonder what Hugh Beaumont would say?

To any readers my age (early 30s, thankyouverymuch) or younger: please tell me you get that reference. PLEASE TELL ME YOU GET THAT. Anyone older should get the reference.

Judy Baar-Topinka is running for governor, according to WLS radio. Ron Gidwitz so far has been the only other person to throw his hat in the ring officially for the Republican nomination, so the pool of candidates is still rather small. Between the federal probes of Governor Blagojevich's hiring practices and George Ryan's current federal trial, will our state treasurer be able to run on a record of government experience? It seems that the executive branch of the state government is rather susceptible to corruption. That will be a very uphill battle for Mrs. Topinka should she commit to candidacy.

So in summary: Ray LaHood is still worthy of praise in most areas of public policy, attributing sources online is a headache, please donate your hard-earned cash to get a conservative speaker on the SIUC campus once again, I'm older than I look or act, and Judy Baar-Topinka is going to need to distance herself from both previous Democrat and Republican administrations to seem viable.

I'll post again this week, I'm pretty sure of that. Until then, take care!

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, I was clued into this article about HR 1606, a bill to exclude internet speech from FEC regulation. The bill passed 225-182, which was 47 votes short of a suspension vote; that is, to pass without amendments.

What shocked me the most were two of the Republican names I saw voting "Nay." Yes, Ray LaHood and Mark Kirk are there in the Nay column. I want to know why they stood with Democrats like Melissa Bean, Jan Schakowsky, Bobby Rush, and other Chicago Democrats to restrict free speech through blogs. Are we not allowed to express political speech unless we're paid to do so now and can file statements under FEC rules? If so, where's my check for all the times I posted in support of these two congressmen?

If Mr. LaHood and Mr. Kirk are constantly voting against bills like this in the name of bipartisan support for their pet bills, they should come right out and say it. Either of them should say "I voted to restrict free speech over the internet so I could get votes for an upcoming bill of mine" if that's what has happened here. This doesn't bode well for Illinois Republicans, though. We're supposed to provide a good alternative to Democratic excesses in this state. Where is the Ray LaHood of 1994 when we need him, the guy who wouldn't vote for the Contract With America because there was no Balanced Budget Amendment in it? Did he leave with the 2004 election? More's the pity if that's the case.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This Is The Week That Is

I'm back again, and going for the item-by-item posting style that seems to work out well for me.

So, in an effort to make the President look bad, folks at the Washington Post are releasing information on how the agents of the CIA are holding terror suspects overseas in secret prisons (login required). I'll tell you this much, the article has a lot of hearsay and very little in the way of accountable sources. If this is true, the practice needs to stop right now. I'm not saying this because I feel sympathy for those who would take up arms against the United States, I'm saying it because such actions make us like Cuba. Castro is a horrible dictator, and we should not allow our intelligence agencies to act like they're in his employ. Better that we shoot our prisoners when they refuse to give up information and bury them than leave them in places where they'll be tortured needlessly. Is there a need for torture in some cases? Probably, but I'm neither a lawyer nor a philosopher. President Bush needs to remove the funding for those prisons, determine who needs to be brought to the US for further questioning, release those who can be released, and have the rest executed for violations of the Geneva Convention.

In domestic news, the President made a much better choice by nominating Judge Samuel Alito (login also required) for the open seat on the Supreme Court. He seems conservative enough, is pro-life, and may be able to keep the court more interested in interpreting the law, not expanding it. I wonder if Harriet Miers was used as a sounding board, or even part of a rope-a-dope strategy to get Alito on the track to confirmation?

So, I. Lewis Libby got indicted over the Plamegate mess. I think this was more of a "gotcha" indictment than anything else. It almost seems like it's more of an indictment over a legal technicality than anything else. Oh, wait, that was the excuse I heard at SIU over Bill Clinton's perjury issue a few years back. Mr. Libby will have his day in court, and hopefully he'll be acquitted. I hope there's evidence to show it wasn't perjury so much as a mistake in wording, but I'm not holding my breath.

Senator Harry Reid decides to hold a closed session of the entire Senate over Iraq. Fair enough, but he could at least stop acting like this is going to get the President defeated in the next election. Unlike you, Senator Reid, a President can only serve 10 years at most according to the 22nd Amendment.

On the computer entertainment front, the City of Villains expansion has made City of heroes a much more entertaining game. There have been some overall reductions in powers, yes, but I seem to be able to win fights just as often as I did prior to the expansion. Accuracy does seem to be really bug-laden at the moment. In one fight you'll hit over 95% of the time, in the next you'll barely hit at all. This seems to be an ongoing pattern, and I know plenty of bug reports have been filed over it.

Gas prices aren't what I'd like them to be, but they're much closer than three weeks ago, so I won't complain too much. It's as much seasonal price changes and reformulation as it is a sign of a good economy.

Hmm. That's about it for now. Take it easy and stop back again soon.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A little of this, a little of that

Harriet Miers has withdrawn herself from the Supreme Court nomination process, according to ABC Radio. Considering she had no federal experience, I don't see how she could have been a serious candidate. A theory offered this morning by a caller on the Don Wade and Roma Show on WLS is that Miers acted as a placeholder until a real candidate could be found. I'm not sure I agree with that theory, but it is worthy of further study.

A since-removed photo of Condi Rice in USA Today showed her with glowing, near-demonic looking eyes. It's been replaced by the unaltered version that an AP photographer submitted a few days ago. Geez, guys, show us what you really think about Republicans, huh?

Patrick Fitzgerald may have some indictments to hand down due to the Valerie Plame issue. The press is salivating, hoping that Karl Rove, their bete noire of the Bush Administration, their One True Nemesis, is indicted. I still don't see how a woman whose name and job were published in Who's Who in America can still be considered secret, but I suppose that journalists are like historians in that respect: if we didn't research it, it can be conveniently ignored for purpose of argument.

In matters of Illinois politics, Ol' Blaggie's "All Kids" plan passed the Senate, providing more state-funded health care for kids without telling us how he's paying for it. Add troubles with CMS "efficiency savings" and their trouble in documenting it, problems with no-bid contracts and a federal investigation into Governor Blagojevich's hiring practices, and we could see the Executive Mansion return to Republican hands next year. Mark Gordon of the Senate Republican Staff has been sending out lots of good information on these issues, and I'm happy to send them along to you if there's interest. For all of Ol' Blaggie's talk about savings, we haven't seen much have we?

And in other news, were I ever to be elected governor, I would ensure that Mel-O-Cream doughnuts would become a fixture at the gubernatorial breakfast table. Funding for this program will come out of the governor's salary, and a possible city-wide ban on doughnuts from establishments who are alliteratively named may also ensue were I to serve in Springfield.

Last night was the final night for beta-testing in City of Villains where the villainous denizens of the Rogue Isles repelled an invasion of numerous heroes led by Statesman and the rest of the Freedom Phalanx. Much fun was had by all, despite all of the lag time during the invasion. Huzzah to the forces of four-color villainy!

Mind you, I'll be bringing my heroes to the Rogue Isles every so often, so any villains out there are obliged to run and hide for fear of being brought to justice.

Finally, congratulations to the Chicago White Sox on their sweep of the Houston Astros in the World Series. I wonder if John at MarathonPundit has finished celebrating? I only have this to say in closing. Next year in St. Louis!

Take it easy, everyone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

In Which the Author Shamelessly Apes the Stylings of Jay Nordlinger'sImpromptus

I'm trying something a little different today, a way to get multiple thoughts into a single post. Mr. Nordlinger's column at National Review Online is one of my must-reads during the week, so today I try to pay a little homage to him.

First things first: Yes, Mom and Dad, I'm fine. Things are boring, but the roommates and I are doing well. You only need to worry if I don't post anything on the blog for a couple of weeks or so. I'll also be heading home for Thanksgiving, so that's one less thing to worry about.

Now, let's get on to business of a less personal nature, shall we?

Terrorists attacked the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad with three huge car bombs, including one cement truck filled with explosives, according to ABC Radio. The Palestine Hotel is home to many foreign journalists, so this was definitely done with that audience in mind. I wonder what Eason "US Troops Are Deliberately Targeting Journalists" Jordan of CNN thinks of this turn of events? Perhaps "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not apply in this case, Mr. Jordan. The enemy of your (ideological) enemy is your enemy as well in this war.

We have a new Federal Reserve head honcho. Will this fellow become a media darling in the manner of Alan Greenspan or will he take the Harriet Miers route and cause more arguments among Republicans? I hope to find out soon.

Rosa Parks has died 50 years after she transformed from tired and grumpy worker to civil-rights icon. Rest in peace, ma'am. There's nothing wrong with being tired and grumpy after a day's work, either. I think it's quite appropriate.

I do wonder if the man who had Mrs. Parks arrested realizes different the civl-rights movement would be had he been a gentleman and deferred to a lady as is only right. It might have postponed the general uproar for a few more years.

Well, while I can't provide any expertise on opera as Mr. Nordlinger does, I can opine about the soon-to-be released video game City of Villains. If you've ever felt like unleashing your inner Dr. Evil with some like-minded friends and be a humorous villain, this probably won't be your game. If you'd rather try your hand at being Doctor Doom or Lex Luthor, though, this will be your game. It's an expansion to the game City of Heroes, made by NCSoft and Cryptic Studios. Both games are an excellent timewaster and stress reliever for the comic book crowd.

Speaking of comic books: you can heap all kinds of literary praise on them, pretend that they're important to the reading public (which will always strike me as funny), and try to sound intelligent when discussing them, but the term "graphic novel" is still an affectation for people who are afraid to admit they read comics. When you need escapism, comics do well at entertaining you. Don't pretend there's anything sophisticated about them, no matter how high-falutin' the creators, fans, or critics act. No matter how serious the subject matter may be, it's still a comic book. There's nothing wrong with that label.

That's it for now. I'm fresh out of ideas.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

MarathonPundit Goes To DePaul

John over at MarathonPundit will be attending the protest tonight at DePaul University. It starts at 5:30pm, which means I'd be late getting there driving from the Northwest 'burbs. If you live close, go support John and those who have had enough with DePaul's rank stupidity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Two New Blog Links!

First up is Free DePaul, Thomas Klocek's new blog about academic politics at Chicago's DePaul University. I hope the good professor continues to write online.

Next is PostModern Spectator, a fellow conservative's blog from the mean streets (yes, it's meant sarcastically for the humor-impaired out there) of the Chicago suburbs. Go forth and read.
Air Force creates Transparent Aluminum?

For those of you who remember Star Trek IV, transparent aluminum was needed to house enough water to carry two humpback whales to the future. (It was not one of the Star Trek franchise's better movies, and that's saying something. Those movies were lousy.) It looks like there was a serious Trek geek somewhere in the Air Force, because they've created something eerily similar in conjunction with the US Army and the University of Dayton.

It's expensive and seems destined only for military use for the time being. I could easily see this being used as a building material for skyscrapers, as it's lighter and tougher than glass. After all, we got anti-lock brakes from anti-skid systems on military aircraft landing gear, refinements in power steering from fighter technology, GPS systems from military navigation systems and cruise control that came from autopilot speed regulation systems on jet engines. This is another situation where military technology will find its way into civilian life again.

The US Air Force is once again getting competitive in the research field. It's about time they started back on that path.

(Via Jonah Goldberg at The Corner)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Helen Thomas Opens Mouth, Scott McClellan Inserts Foot

This is a lovely exchange between Helen Thomas, the "grand dame" of the White House press corps, ABC News' Terry Moran, and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Thomas was being her usual center-of-attention self, and McClellan smacked her down. The problem is that he rebutted Terry Moran's defense of Thomas with that weasel word "may." He should have stuck to his guns and reiterated his statement about Thomas' opposition to any US-led war on terrorist groups.

I also love Helen's statement at the end where she states an opposition to unprovoked pre-emptive wars. I am in agreement with her on this. We should not attack sovereign nations who have done nothing to us nor to our allies, and we should not attack nations who do not make threats towards us nor to those who do not provide safety and comfort for those who wish to harm our nation. Sadly for Helen Thomas, Iraq does not fit the bill there. Even after the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein sought to do harm to the people of the United States. Knowing this would be suicidal if he tried it directly through military force, he provided a safe haven for al-Qaeda to such a degree that one of his circle of bodyguards acted as personal chauffeur to various al-Qaeda delegates in the 2000 meeting in Malaysia. Providing support for terrorists and granting safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal is proof enough that the invasion of Iraq was indeed provoked.

Helen Thomas is wrong on the war and Scott McClellan shouldn't have tried to spin his initial statement. Overall, the victory goes to McClellan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thomas Sowell on "Spoiled Brat Politics"

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite op-ed columnists and economics/politics writers out there. Today's column is a good reason why.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On the Nomination of Harriet Miers to Become a Supreme Court Justice

Huh?

Where's her time actually spent as a judge?

I admit there's nothing in the Constitution that requires a Supreme Court nominee to have any judicial background or even to be a lawyer. Don't we want someome who at least has a little experience trying cases and weighing decisions that affect people's lives?

I could also hazard a guess that President Bush is doing this as a "keep 'em guessing" move on his part, but why would he do something like this now? This nomination doesn't make sense to me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Deroy Murdock vs. Republican Overspending at National Review Online

I will sum up my thoughts thusly on this piece: PREACH IT, BROTHER MURDOCK.

We, the Republican Party are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsiblity. We, the Republican Party sent our congressmen to Washington in 1994 to curb excessive spending by the federal government. Where are the congressmen we elected to promote fiscal discipline? What's happened to our party? The highway bill's tacked-on riders are ludicrous. If anyone should lead the way back, let it be Illinois Republicans.

Congressmen LaHood, Hastert, and Kirk, I'm looking at you. Go back and clean house. Illinois has enough hogs, we really don't need any more pork. Spending money on some things is okay, but don't get stuck on stupid when you've got the checkbook. That's my money in there, too.

Friday, September 23, 2005

National Review Online on Banning Gays From the Catholic Clergy

Over at The Corner, NRO's group blog, Kathryn Jean Lopez discusses the effect of Pope Benedict's ban on gay candidates for the priesthood. She also links to a New York Times article that goes in-depth about the ban. Kathryn thinks it's a stop-gap measure to start the seminaries over with fresh slates of candidates, but I disagree. I think there's a serious problem here that the Catholic Church isn't seeing. Banning gays from the priesthood will do two things: further reduce an already-small pool of applicants, and it will also further alienate a group that deserves God's love as much as anyone else.

Like I've discussed with various people before, I see homosexuality like this: it's a test of two groups. The first group is the homosexuals themselves. They're tested by God to see if they can avoid the temptations that such a condition brings. It's also a test of the heterosexual community as well to accept people whose lives are defined by something so inexplicable as who a person chooses to love. It is a test of us to love our neighbors despite the differences we cannot understand. (Mind you, their acceptance also depends on the personality of said people, too. If someone is being obnoxious, then their sexual preference is irrelevant to our correcting their lapse in good taste.) God puts everything on earth for a reason. He would not allow people with differing sexual orientations to be here if there wasn't a reason behind it.

The Catholic Church, my church, is doing wrong here. As parishoners, as members of the laity, we must tell our bishops to reconsider this decision and to discuss it further. Our Church is supposed to be universal. This decision reduces the size of that universe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Stuck On Stupid"

Duane at Radioblogger has the transcript of a press conference where Lt. Gen. Russel Honore coined that phrase. This is a thing of beauty. A reporter kept going back to a question which the general had already answered, leading to General Honore uttering the phrase that is quite descriptive of the press corps. Read the entire post, as the general cuts through all of the spin and tells the press exactly what's going on and what he intends to do to keep people from being caught in a second hurricane.

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit for bringing this to everyone's attention.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Anime-zing, The Review

One of my friends and I decided to visit the Anime-zing exhibit at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois last Saturday.

For the parents who don't know what anime is, this is a really good introduction to the genre of Japanese animation. Younger kids will enjoy seeing a lot of the more well-known series that are marketed towards the 10 to 14 crowd, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Sailor Moon. The older kids might enjoy the exhibits dealing with giant robots (such as Gundam), romance (Sailor Moon and Escaflowne) or magic (Witch Hunter Robin and Hellsing). To be fair, many of the shows I mentioned have two or three of the elements I listed within them. The "voice actor" studio is a cute touch and gives kids a chance to be one of the characters from the series Inu-yasha. That's a lot more fun than it sounds, actually. Sadly, you can't keep a copy of your acting talent.

The only item I saw in the exhibit that might cause some concern for parents is a small display about a series called Gravitation. The gay romance between the main character and his manager might be construed as promoting a gay agenda. As I haven't watched the series, I can't say. Watching a cartoon about a pop band isn't my idea of fun. That part of the exhibit is small and easily avoided, so parents can steer their children away from it. No, there are no pictures of guys kissing or anything like that, so any anime fans who follow the shounen-ai (literally "boys love," as in romantic relationships between young men of the same age) subgenre will be very disappointed. They should be disappointed, too, as they make us regular anime fans look positively normal. There is also no discussion of hentai (literally "abnormal" or "perverted"), the blatantly pornographic side to the genre. I'm quite glad for that, since most of it is NOT for the eyes of anyone with good taste.

The history of the genre is glossed over a little bit, as the exhibit starts with the old tv series Astro Boy (aka Mighty Atom), Speed Racer, and such. As a historical exhibit, the setup is lacking a lot of information. As a general discussion of genre, it's not bad.

Finally, the exhibit ends with a display of things you'll find in every anime convention these days: cosplayers (from "costume play"). Part costume contest, part halftime show, the cosplayers take their fabulous costumes and put on little skits to entertain the crowd. The only jarring discrepancy I saw in this exhibit was that there was NO MENTION WHATSOEVER of Anime Central. Anime Central is Chicago's convention, and there was nothing there about it! That's a bad publicity move on ACen's part. Ohayocon and Otakon, both in the eastern US, get more publicity than our homegrown convention! I don't know if theres a spat between ACen staff and the exhibit designer, or if the designer didn't do anything to contact the group that maintains the convention business, but this is a huge missed opportunity for both groups to cross-promote each other.

In summary, I liked this exhibit. It's a bit shallow in parts, but overall is a good introduction to the genre. It's probably more informative for parents than it is for kids, but your kids will love you for it if you take them. I suggest that anyone who has the chance to go should go and see this exhibit before it closes.

And yes, horror of horrors, I am indeed an anime fan. I have been since I first saw Speed Racer and Battle of the Planets on KPLR-TV out of St. Louis back in the fog-shrouded past of the 1970s. I was 3! What, you think I'd be reading Dostoyevsky at 3? (Of course I was! I was reading the Sanskrit edition at 3, thank you very much.)

Still though, check it out before it's gone.