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.