Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rod Blagojevich’s feel-good commission is feeling out-of-sorts
Ill. Governor Stumped by Hate Crimes Panel

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- It started as a routine gubernatorial appointment to a feel-good commission - so routine that the governor says he didn't even know the details.

But the naming of a Nation of Islam official to a commission that fights discrimination has exploded into an election-year furor for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, putting him in the middle of a conflict among blacks, Jews and gays.

Even if Blagojevich makes his way through the racial and religious minefield this issue presents, his claim of ignorance about the appointment could reinforce his image of a detached, uninformed governor.

"No matter what he does, he's going to tick somebody off," Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights organization Equality Illinois, said Friday. "It's completely a no-win situation."

Four Jewish members of the Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes resigned this week rather than serve alongside an aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, known for his disparaging remarks about Jews, whites and gays.

The third and fourth resignations came Friday, when Howard Kaplan of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago said he could not serve on a commission "that, by implication, accepts divisive and bigoted standards."

Democratic state Rep. Lou Lang, who was appointed just a day earlier to fill one of the vacancies, also stepped down.

In dueling news conferences, Jewish and gay lawmakers called for Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad to disavow Farrakhan's comments or step down from the commission, while black lawmakers defended her right to serve…
Looks like Illinois need another commission to look into the process used to appoint people to their Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

Or perhaps Governor Blagojevich should just appoint an Unhate Czar to coordinate the anti-discrimination efforts of the black community with those of the homosexual community with those of the Jewish community with those of the physically-challenged community with those of the Catholic community with those of the Hispanic community with those of the weight-challenged community with those of the Protestant community with those of the Polish community with those of the women’s-rights community with those of the Muslim community with those of the little people’s community with those of the Italian community with those of the mentally-challenged community with those of the animal-rights community with those of…

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