MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD LIKES ELASTIC LOAVES: Everyone's favorite axle of evil took a little time off from plotting with Hezbollah to ensure more freedom of thought back home in Iran.

What a guy that Ahmadinejad is.

Apparently the word "pizza" isn't Persian enough, unlike "elastic loaf," which was totally floating around back in the time of the Achaemenid Empire.

He has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words like "chat," which will become "short talk" and a "cabin" will be renamed a "small room."

Because being Persian ain't just all about the carpets anymore.

WE WANT YOUR MONEY: The University of Iowa has finally admitted it.

Illinoians (if that's what you call yourselves): we want your money.

Come to the University of Iowa and pay $18,500, so that I can continue to pay $6,300.

Thank you, University of Iowa officials, for planning to open a recruting center in Chicago.



What's The Better Headline?

Alright, loyal readers. What's the better headline for this news article?

Armstrong Reserves Judgement on Landis


Armstrong Rides RAGBRAI, Talks Cancer, Eats Pie in Small Town Iowa

Clearly, the fact that Lance Armstrong is in Sully, Iowa, eating coconut cream pie and signing autographs on the greatest bike ride on earth is more newsworthy than some Tour de France rider failing a drug test. If this was an American sport like baseball, it'd be page 3 news.

And Laura, please come back from Idaho. Don't do it for me; do it for the bracelet.



...But There Is Still Hope

Ladies, meet Buddy on Demand. He can't take out the trash, but he can make you feel safer driving at night. No word yet on whether he can cure cancer, but I wouldn't put it past him.



One Is The Loneliest Number...

If the Daily Iowan can be trusted (never a guarantee), then it's bad news for all the loners out there: being single can be bad for your health.

One quote in particular stands out:

"'Single people feel less supported and, therefore, less likely to take care of themselves.'"[University of Iowa psychology researcher] added that spouses or partners also provide tangible assistance - advising someone not to pick up a cigarette or to schedule an appointment with the doctor."

Thanks, but I'll stick with picking up my own laundry and dying at 50. For now.



But the annual cycling marathon across the state has been struck by a highly unfortunate event: chicken poop bingo.

Oh yes and did I mention this story was in the Des Moines Register? Pray to God the AP doesn't pick it up.

I'm going undercover as an Idahoan for a few days.

THE FRENCH INVADED: Sincere apologies to the dozen or so readers who caught an interesting view of the Eiffel Tower earlier this evening on our blog.

What can I say? There's no such thing as a French military victory.


Bono Update, Part Onze

IF THE WHOLE ROCK STAR THING DOESN'T WORK OUT...Jayantha Dhanapala, a leading candidate for UN secretary general, would like to recruit Bono as a John Bolton agitator.

Perhaps the more-PC term is "goodwill ambassador."

As you may know, we here at Hawkeye Republican have made it our job--okay, more like occasional hobby--to track Bono since his G8 activism last year caught our eye*.

News is slow on the cool rockstar-wearing-sunglasses-indoors front, but we'll let you know when he releases his next Amex.

MORE ON IOWA FOOTBALL: If you haven't snapped up your tickets yet, good luck gaining a starring role on a Kinnick Stadium webcast.

Home games against Iowa State University, Ohio State University and Purdue University are sold out. Ticket sales for the University of Wisconsin game have been suspended.

Fear not, there are still opportunities to witness the greatest football ever played in the greatest college football town in the world.

This Wednesday, tickets go on sale for the season-opener Montana game, as well as games against UNI and Northwestern. Good luck.



Maybe A Little Too Much School Spirit

Tired of reading about war and conflict in the Middle East? Have the summer time blues got you feeling down and just a little homesick? Do you find yourself humming the tune to the Iowa Fight Song, only to realize that you've forgotten what comes after "Fight, Fight, Fight"?

Fear not, fellow Hawkeyes, Republicans, and any and all combinations of the two: you can receive live webcam updates of the Kinnick Stadium Renovations from the comfort and convenience of your home computer.
On the downside, I will never again walk through the Rec Building parking lot without looking over my shoulder and wonder who could be watching online.



The Violence Done To Lebanon Shall Overwhelm You

Great verse from The Good Book, and a fitting quote from this Wall Street Journal editorial. It's long but worth the time to read.

I've been thinking. Many are calling for the US to do something in Lebanon, and I've heard rumors that Secretary Rice may head to the Middle East soon to address the escalating violence between Israel and Hezbollah. Before her visit, President Bush should make a public statement dedicated entirely to Lebanon. Forget Israel; everyone knows we support them already. Israel is not the problem, and the President must reframe the issue and forge a political solution around a framework that does not blame Israel for the tragedy in Lebanon.

For example:
We support the government of Lebanon and its right to remain a sovereign nation, without the meddling of others who do not share its concern for the well-being of the Lebanese people. We call on Hezbollah to disarm immediately and on the military forces in the region to exercise restraint and humanity in their enforcement of that disarmament. Once disarmament is complete and negotiations have commenced, we ask for the assistance of the international community in rebuilding a safe, free, and prosperous Lebanon.

MOVE TO AUSTRALIA: Because wine is now cheaper than water.

Australian college students re-juice!

Great puns, brought to you by Hawkeye Republican...



A Diamond In The Rough

There's nothing more satisfying than a New York Times article that gets it right. Today's diamond is Ms. Nayla Moawad, Lebanon's social minister. Her story is buried at the end of page 2 in an article detailing the tragedy in Lebanon, also proving that good things come to those who read further than the headlines.

Ms. Moawad said, “The decision of the Hezbollah operation was not taken in Lebanon...Lebanon was taken a hostage, a mailbox of other people’s interests. It has been taken in Damascus, probably with an Iranian coordination.”

Although it is her personal opinion and not an official Lebanese government position, Ms. Moawad's statement shows a clarity of thinking about the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict not shared by some in the West.



Why Government?

First, congratulations to President Bush on his first presidential veto. While I would have preferred he celebrate this inaugural exercise of constitutional authority earlier than 5 years into his presidency, any veto that limits the scope of federal subsidies is better than no veto at all.

But why is the federal government's role in subsidizing embryonic stem cell research only debated on moral grounds? A better question on which to frame this delicate issue asks whether this sort of research is an appropriate use of federal tax dollars. The distinction between the conservative and the liberal (misleading labels to be sure) is that the conservative approaches the funding of embryonic stem cell research and asks "Why government?" while the liberal approaches the same issue and asks "Why not?"

Many on both sides are uneasy about answering in categorical terms whether or not the frozen stem cells from a human embryo count as human life, and whether or not they should be afforded the same constitutional protections as you and me. It is an impasse I will not attempt to bridge here.

Supporters of embryonic stem cell research should take their case to private companies and non-profit foundations. If there is a profit to be made in this realm of science, rest assured that liberal amounts of capital will follow (see: US pharmaceutical companies). If not, may your humble blogger suggest bringing the funding issue to a non-profit, philanthropic foundation whose guiding principles include a belief that "Science and technology have great potential to improve lives around the world", "Our focus is clear - and limited - and prioritizes some of the most neglected issues", and "We take risks, make big bets, and move with urgency. We are in it for the long haul."

PS- they have lots of money too.



I Should Have Known...

Never trust the French. How could I have been so wrong?



Arabs Against Hezbollah

It's about time. It's also time for an opinion from your humble blogger:

Iran and Syria, who back Hezbollah with finances and weaponry, have miscalculated and lost (for the moment) whatever sympathy they had in the rest of the Arab world. Israel will crush Hezbollah and much of southern Lebanon; it has the best air attack capability in the world. Israel's recent military incursion has created a new rift between Sunni and Shia Islam and exploited it to their national advantage. Iran moves to the top of the Arab world's [insert President Bush's latest vulgarity] list, and the UN Security Council passes economic sanctions that cripple its centrally-planned economy even further.

Eventually, Messrs. Blair, Annan, Putin will convene an international peace force and produce a cease-fire between Israel and a humilitated (but strengthened) Lebanon. Could Israel's heavy-handed action, met with skepticism and disdain by many in the West, stimulate peace in the region? My inner optimist says yes. My inner realist (ha, right) says it's too early to tell.

In the meantime, my inner idealist says pray.



Rouge, Blanc et Bleu

SURRENDER! OH, JUST FIREWORKS...: Today, my friends, we celebrate the greatest of great national holidays:

14 juillet...Bastille Day!

So, fight against absolutism, storm the Bastille and finish off your day's work with a big slice of cake, cherie, because the Revolution has begun!


Take That Tehran!

Iran learns a lesson in economics as it suffers from...higher crude oil prices? You have to appreciate the irony: the world's fourth largest oil exporter struggles to continue subsidizing the finished product it imports. Iran lacks the domestic refinement capability to turn its home-grown crude into fuel, one of the reasons the country turns to imported gasoline. None of this would have made the front page of the New York Times if the Iranian government didn't subsidize 80% of the true cost of crude.

So the lesson here is, of course, that if you want to stick it to the terrorists, don't teach them economics.



The Coming Storm?

Violence in the Middle East is nothing new, but this is some pretty scary stuff even by their standards. Israel has raised the stakes beyond the return of its kidnapped military personnel. If this isn't a war on terror, I don't know what is.



The Most Aggressive Action The French Have Taken In 200 Years

Check out this 15 second video clip (courtesy of YouTube) of Zidane's vicious head butt from the France-Italy world cup final. For all of you who have better things to do than follow the 'beautiful game', Zidane is France's star player and national hero.

Forza Italia!


IOWA'S STRENGTHS ACCORDING TO TOM: Governor and perpetual candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Tom Vilsack, recently voiced a few of Iowa's talking points during a campaign stop, excuse me, visit to Burlington.

According to Tom, Iowa benefits from the:

1) third lowest cost of business

2) fourth best worker's compensation program

3) fifth best work environment.

and has the...

4) highest SAT scores

5) and lowest dropout rate in the nation

Oh, Tom.

HOMELAND SECURED: Iowa will receive $189,000 from the Department of Homeland Security's Buffer Zone Protection Program. Awesome.

Now all of our fields of corn will be super secure. Take that corn rootworm!


SOUTHEAST IOWA IS CHALLENGED: No offense to you folks born South of I-80, but even Burlington's Hawk Eye newspaper has now gone as far to confirm this long-standing fact.

As a Northeast Iowan, it's the job of this oft dormant blogger to put keystroke to post chronicling urgent issues facing Iowa...and the pending annexation of regions South of Iowa City to Missouri merits attention.

Just kidding. I love Southeast Iowa and Missouri.

Hopefully, folks in Des Moines will take note of the continued need for investment into this area. It's a beautiful region with friendly people, but like the rest of the state, an extremely unfriendly investment climate.

A more competitive coporate tax rate would be a great start forward in spurring new business development.

Just a thought.

LIVE 8 REVISITED: Bob Geldof, noted economist and foreign aid expert...uh, I mean Irish popstar, recently gave his assessment of the G8's progress toward lofty goals set at last year's Gleneagles summit.

Apparently, France is the only country set to meet G8 development targets in Africa by 2010.

Seriously, somebody needs to call Bono to get on this--STAT!

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