The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rosie's rant won't work in Wheaton

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

Don't search for entertainer Rosie O'Donnell on the faculty of Wheaton College, a distinctively Christian school in the western suburbs. Especially after O'Donnell made headlines last week by asserting that "radical Christianity" is "just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

Hey, Rosie, let me introduce you to the Taliban, who don't much appreciate women. Unlike these radical Muslims, I don't see any Christians, radical or otherwise, burying you up to your neck in the middle of a stadium full of religious fanatics cheering in anticipation of your stoning. Especially when Christ, Himself, turned back a mob that was about to stone a sinful woman.

A stoning is a bit different than getting 10 "Our Fathers" and five "Hail Marys" for your penance. It's a difference that O'Donnell missed last week when she made her controversial comparison as the new co-host of the TV show "The View." Maybe in future shows she'll begin listing those Christian denominations that threaten "infidels" with violence or death.

Or maybe she'll explain how a country, founded mostly by Christians, crafted a Constitution that prohibits the kind of theocratic tyranny that's a model for radical Islam.

O'Donnell already has been worked over nationally for her recklessness, but the folks in Illinois' 6th Congressional District--home to Wheaton College--might not be so quick to forget. Turns out that O'Donnell is one of the Hollywood types that is heartily meddling in the race, contributing the maximum to Tammy Duckworth, the carpetbagging Democratic candidate for Congress.

According to a couple of campaign contribution databases, O'Donnell has given the legal maximum, $2,100, to Duckworth. O'Donnell also has contributed the maximum to Melissa Bean, the so-called moderate Democrat running against Republican David McSweeney in the north and northwest suburban 8th Congressional District.

Considering O'Donnell's beneficiaries, one might conclude that she's hardly interested in backing "moderate" candidates.

According to, which closely monitors federally reported campaign contributions, O'Donnell has contributed $74,000 to Democrats, $1,000 to Republicans and $27,800 to assorted left-leaning special interests, such as the Human Rights Campaign political action committee. Among the candidates she is supporting is Ned Lamont, the far-left, anti-war candidate who beat incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary.

Peter Roskam, Duckworth's GOP opponent, notes (based on Federal Election Commission reports) that a breathtaking 97 percent, or about $1 million, of Duckworth's individual campaign contributions are raised outside of the district. Only 34 of her more than 1,000 individual donors can even vote for her. Emily's List, a radical pro-choice political action committee, has given her $161,000. Let's not leave out the most liberal of libs, Barbra Streisand, who gave Duckworth $1,000 for the primary and $1,000 for the general election. Streisand also gave $1,000 to Bean for her primary, in which she had no opposition. Christie Hefner, Playboy chairman and feminist (I still don't get why the two aren't contradictory) also chimed in with a grand for each candidate. Nor should we leave off Al Franken hosting a fundraiser for Duckworth.

Roskam suggested Duckworth return O'Donnell's campaign contribution to repudiate such anti-Christian remarks. "Rosie O'Donnell's intolerance equating Christianity to Islamic terrorism is as far out of touch with the values and beliefs of voters of the 6th District as it gets, and these are the types of supporters that Duckworth's campaign attracts," Roskam's campaign manager Ryan McLaughlin said.

Duckworth and Bean are running in traditionally Republican and conservative districts, Bean having won two years ago by having the good fortune of opposing indolent incumbent Phil Crane. But this time she's facing McSweeney, a candidate who is no slouch. Despite voters' aggravating habit of re-electing incumbents, Bean is in a real fight.

Duckworth is a project of Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic congressman from the neighboring Chicago-based 5th District and the chief honcho of campaign funds for Democratic congressional candidates. Duckworth has no political experience, was handpicked by Emanuel, doesn't live in the district and has adopted the Democratic party line wholesale. Independent she'll not be.

With Emanuel's money and political minions, Duckworth beat a more deserving opponent in the Democratic primary. Her defeat would be a huge setback to Emanuel's prestige among his congressional colleagues, fellow Democrats and, mostly, political contributors. If Emanuel has to round up and put the squeeze on every B-movie actor and extra, he'll do it.

Not because it's good for the 6th District, but for himself.

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune


ChicagoMoe said...


I expect, given your sincere disapproval of tainted dollars helping candidates, that you'll do the honorable thing and turn that high-powered pen on the Republican candidates' money list. Might we find equally reprehensible views coming from some of those who've opened there wallets to Roskam? Might we find people who are not interested in the 6th District at all? Perhaps folks who'd like to see him win to continue the lock-step march of disaster this Republican congress has engaged in for the last 6 years? Face it Mr. Byrne, this election can't be made merely local because the Republicans failed in their efforts in national governance. They had their chance...and we've had enough.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point. It may be a too nuanced for you to see but it is there. She is talking about "radical Christians and radical Islam" The small but bomb throwing groups of these religons. The folks in Wheaton do not fit into this catagory. At least 99.99 % of them I hope. The good Christians of the 6th district are far above the people Rosie is talking about. You sure did a great job if using your religon and Rosie's words to make a political rant that the founding fathers would be ashamed of.

kp said...

how did you get to write for the tribune? they need another kASS?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Byrne,

The only 'rant' present here is yours.

I'm not interested in the campaign contributions but in Rosie O'Donnell's comments on 'The View' where she equivocated radical Christianity with radical Islam. I'm no fan of Rosie O'Donnell but historically there is much truth to her claim. Have you heard of the witch trials, 'purifications', burnings-at-the-stake indicative of the European and Colonial Inquisitions, the forced colonizations by missionaries assuming the 'white man's burden' (that lead to the intro of disease and genocide by Imperial colonial nations), the Crusades? Because these events happened in the past does not make them irrelevant. (You even dip into 'history' with the account of Jesus halting a stoning) A zealout is a zealout no matter what religion and whenever they exist in history.

What is more disturbing is that the tone of your article implies that Muslims seem to be neurologically and ideologically more predisposed to violence than Christians. This is a totalization of two faiths that resembles historical ideologies of cultures advocating genocide.

I'm not defending terrorist Muslims, I'm condemning the elitist attitude of Christians who forget their sordid pasts.

-Jonathan K.

Rachel said...

As a liberal Wheaton resident, I too am disappointed with the way a latecomer of questionable qualifications like Tammy Duckworth was able to step into the candidacy on the ‘I am an injured veteran’ platform, when there was a pretty good local candidate already available, who actually ran on issues.

However, any damage to Duckworth’s campaign from Rosie O’Donnell’s comments will come less from the comments themselves, than from campaigners’ willful misinterpretations. O’Donnell did not “[equate] Christianity to Islamic terrorism”. She did compare the danger to what we might call ‘the American way’ posed by a minority of Christian extremists to the danger posed by Islamic terrorists. While I’m not exactly happy that she said such an inflammatory thing, her point was not completely baseless.

The stoning you contrasted with getting “Hail Marys” as penance would be more aptly compared to bombings of abortion clinics or gay bars by Christian fundamentalists. Yes, sometimes Christian extremists are violent, and even use bombs. Of course, here in our country, we do not have a Christian fundamentalist government, since the 1st amendment fortunately prohibits the establishment of a state church. So here, such bombings are illegal, and the laws against them are enforced. It is true that those who would use violence to impose their religious views on others are in the minority even among Christian fundamentalists (who in turn are a minority among Christians.) But to those of us who value our Bill of Rights, the rather larger share of Christian fundamentalists who would have Christianity become the nation religion, and do occasionally make inroads toward that end, are in some ways just as frightening as the terrorist threat.

Anonymous said...

You failed in your editorial, even though you correctly quoted Rosie in the beginning, to acknowledge that McDonnell was referring to RADICAL Christianity. Maybe just referring to radicalism would have made it clearer, but you still failed to grasp what she was saying, which was correct (remember the Crusades?). That Christ turned back an angry mob and spread the word of love and compassion is lost on a lot of so-called Christians. I've come across too many who righteously give themselves the title and then practice intolerance, hatred and selfishness (I will add that a number of those were from Wheaton College which you mentioned). It's not about Christianity, Islam and their teachings, it's about the perversion of the institution by those that use it for their own self-serving, greedy, insecure purposes. The oppression of women by the Catholic church is an issue not to be denied -- that women should breed themselves into poverty and to death and not have any say in their church.

And it seems that there is no law that liberal-leaning, intelligent individuals can't donate money to those that dare to espouse liberal, intelligent ideas and policies. 'Liberal' is such a positive word -- why does the Right try to make it bad? Because political success depends so much on fundraising, it is understandable for candidates to have donors not in their areas, especially if they are not whored up with Big Money/corporations. I for one am excited to vote for the Green Party this election.

william manley said...

Her issue was with "Radical Christians". To respond to her comments with some diatribe about all the good that "Christians" have achieved is quite pointless. It would be like me talking about the danger posed by Al-Qaeda and you responding about all the good that Muslims have done. And since you are so in tune with what plays in Wheaton ( I live there ), feel free to visit the Famers Market on County Farm rd and check out the difference between Apples and Oranges.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, like a true Republican lap dog, is only following through on the GOPs order to slime Rosie:

Jeff said...

Aside from taking Rosie's comments way out of context, lets address some other things.

What you failed to report as you ticked off a few infamous, out-of-district "libs" who have contributed to Duckworth (ostensibly to malign her as a prop of the national Democrats) is that Roskam himself has taken more money in leadership PACs than any other Congressional candidate. About a third of his total contributions are from PACs.

Independent, he'll not be.

Secondly, you glibly call Tammy a "project" of Rahm Emanuel. Let's not forget that Tammy volunteered for this race inasmuch as she volunteered to serve this country as a reservist. You also say she has no political experience, as if her master's in international relations with a focus on public health, is worthless.

Meanwhile, I wonder how well Roskam's experience as a trial lawyer and a kowtowing state senator really outpaces Duckworth in her ability to legislate and thoughtfully consider the issues for the 6th District.

Mark Middleton said...

Dennis writes:
"Unlike these radical Muslims, I don't see any Christians, radical or otherwise, burying you up to your neck in the middle of a stadium full of religious fanatics
cheering in anticipation of your stoning."
Time diminishes Dennis' sight. Who can forget the "Maronite Christian Philangists" torturing, killing, and mutilating the corpses of somewhere between 1000 and 3000 non-combatant Palestinian men, women, and children in the refugee camps during the Lebanese Civil War? (To this day, the actual death toll is uncertain.) Israel had surrounded the camps and then permitted the Christians to exercise their will upon the poor inhabitants. The blood of these victims is on "Maronite Christian" hands. That the "Christians" suffered only 2 casualties over the space of days suggests that there were very few real "fighters" defending themselves. It is unlikely that the good citizens of Wheaton care to know what has occured under the label of "Christian" in the world, so "Bravo Rosie!" for reminding them.

Anonymous said...

Let's see you confated Tammy Duckworth with hollywood liberals and anti war candidates. How original Mr Rove.

Liberal media I think not!

Your bias is obvious, stop channeling Ann Coulter one silly clown is more than enough.

Anonymous said...

Rosie was talking about Radical Christians which include the KKK/ white supremacists and The Westboro Baptist Church to name a few. I don’t understand why such a comment is so outrageous.


Anonymous said...

Dennis Byrne does another hatchet job on the truth in his editorial on Rosie O’Donnell and her campaign contributions. First, Byrne twists O’Donnell’s statements about the dangerous politics of the Christian Right into “anti Christian” remarks. He purposely ignores the fact that very many Christians vehemently disagree with the Christian Right. Byrne says that since O’Donnell has “extremist” views, anyone who receives contributions from her, including candidate Tammy Duckworth, must also be an extremist. Byrne doesn’t bother to find out if Duckworth actually shares O’Donnell’s views, but simply assumes guilt by association with the anti-Christian stance he invented.

Using Byrne’s logic, we should carefully scrutinize the contributions of right wing “Hollywood meddlers” like Mel Gibson, since anyone who takes money from Gibson must hate Jews. Likewise, anyone who ever took money from Enron must advocate corporate malfeasance. And what of George Bush, whose family has done lucrative business with the Bin Laden family for years? Byrne and the Tribune ought to be ashamed.

Stephen Schade said...

Mr. Byrne:

The source of a candidate's money is less important than the strength of her ideas. At least she has come to grips with reality over the war in Iraq, which is more than you have done.

Because this district has been Republican for so long, it is hard for Democrats to scrounge up donations there. If they want to make a game of it, they have to look elsewhere.

OTTMANN said...

Great article Dennis, and right on the mark. You've shown how utterly selfish these leftist fanatics are, and they can't be trusted in government.

Libs like Rosie love going on emotional rants to make themselves feel better by bashing anything they dislike, including religion, Republicans, family etc., because they have no values, wanting everyone to be like them, selfish whiners who put their own desires above all, including God. The price they'll pay in the end will be hot, as they like to say.

Rosie is a fat piece of crap with a mouth to fill. She is the female Michael Moore and just as ugly.

She doesn't have the slightest knowledge of what this country is about and she could care less about anyone but herself and her gay lezbo friends on TV. It's all about her.

I'm sure she had a fit about the Pope's remarks and failed to understand that he was quoting, as did the Islamic muslims who went ballisic, buring effigies of the Pope. They even killed a Nun. Some "religion of peace" eh?

Rosie likely wants to join with the terrorists' against America like most liberals who see good as evil and evil as good.

Libs constantly ignore the facts and the truth because they've been left blinded.

Keep up the good works!

Anonymous said...

Very good article, but I believe you may have chosen not to address a particular reality that may be too controversial to discuss. If you haven't read this great piece in American Thinker, you need too.


markg8 said...

It's clear Byrne based his report on the RNC's smear of Rosie O'Donell on Friday. It's a shame the Trib sees fit to give over half of an editorial page to rightwing propaganda. If they were fair - and sensible - they'd print counter arguments from the majority point of view. Does the Trib not understand why they're losing readers?

The Gadfly said...

Mr. Byrne, I want to send both you and several of your commenters to your respective corners.

Surely you do not condemn Ms. Duckworth's fund-raising because so much of it is from outside the 6th District. Why shouldn't candidates be free to go where they can for funds? A good free-market conservative such as yourself should instead be the first to condemn that Rosie O'Donnell can only give $2k to Ms. Duckworth. You refer (speaking of the 8th District race) to "voters' aggravating habit of re-electing incumbents" -- but surely you know that campaign spending limits are a significant cause of that phenomenon, if not the primary cause.

Several of your commentators need to go to their polar opposite corners because of their historical relativism. Sorry, but it does make a difference when crimes were committed in the name of a particular religion.

And I'm really tired of hearing about the excesses of the Crusades. Yes, yes, yes, great crimes were committed in the name of the Church during the Crusades. Of course, the Crusades were a reaction to the Arab conquest of the Middle East and North Africa -- and the attempted conquest of Europe. (It took Spain, what, about 750 years to throw off the Moorish yoke?) Nor was that the last attempted Muslim conquest of Europe -- hundreds of years after the Crusades the Turks were finally turned away at the gates of Vienna.

Yes, yes, yes, crazed bombers with no understanding of the religion they so loudly profess have blown up abortion clinics, sometimes without regard to whether the staff had gone home for the day. But it was not just the civil authorities who condemned these cowardly attacks -- religious leaders also have condemned violence of this sort -- even Catholic priests and bishops who are inalterably opposed to abortion.

This morning I heard about a suicide bomber, on a bicycle, who rammed into a bunch of NATO soldiers in Afghanistan who were distributing candy to children. When every Shiite ayatollah or imam and every Sunni sheikh roundly condemns these types of actions, and says that the persons committing them are not "martyrs" but criminals and apostates -- then I'll accept that (to borrow from a prior commenter) we're no longer talking about apples and oranges.

sanskritg said...

So at this count, how many of the commenters supported you verse how many didn't?

Anonymous said...

As a wheaton resident, I am amused that you happen to choose our quiet little berg to go on your rant against Rosie, who I doubt has actually done anything apart from her normal actions. I do find it interesting that as you track this single donor to a nationally watched race, you don't do the same for the other side.

I'm sure we can all agree that there are radical donors on both sides of the ticket. I also find it interesting that you assume that just because someone is picked to run in a district that they will not think for themselves, and bypass the fact that Mr. Roskam clings to only the most conservative parts of Christianity, while avoiding the more social outreach aspects.

As a voter in this election I am moreso disgusted at the lack of quality candidates on either side of the aisle, and suggest you explore that for an article, rather than rant to just take up space in your column.

-Josh Laufenberg

Bridget said...

Mr. Byrne, your editorial on September 18th was misleading at best, chock full of lies at worst.

My response to your op/ed is here:

I'm sure Tribune readers would like to know why 21 Exelon executives have donated big money to Peter Roskam's campaign, none from within the district. Perhaps they know they'll be needing to ask ol' Creepy Pete for some favors when people become outraged over 25% higher energy costs come January.

Mike N said...

I'm surprised that some of your posters suggest that you misunderstand the issues you raise. Anyone who has read your columns knows that you don't misunderstand--you relentlessly misrepresent the issues. Other posters have done a good job here in pointing out some of the misrepresentations, but here's another small example: the 6th District has sent a Republican to Congress for the past 30 years straight--but if Tammi Duckworth doesn't win, that would be a huge setback to Rahm Emanuel's prestige. As ever, honest insight from Dennis Byrne you'll not get.

Anonymous said...

Can you honestly say the the bombing of abortion clinics and shooting of doctors by radical christians is right? Can you honestly say that the killing of thousands of inocent Iraqi civilians is moral??
Our country's resources and power have been hijacked by fanatic madmen for the sake of dollars in their pockets, I'm referring to the men in the White House.
20 mostly Saudi men killed 3000 Americans, so are we justified to kill thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians in return?
I'm sick of Jesus fish and yellow ribbons masking MURDER by American guns and bombs. Wake up and see the Truth!!!
As a Christian, I have to ask - is this really what Jesus would do???

Sickened By My Country

Sickened by my Country said...

Can you honestly say the the bombing of abortion clinics and shooting of doctors by radical christians is right? Can you honestly say that the killing of thousands of inocent Iraqi civilians is moral??
Our country's resources and power have been hijacked by fanatic madmen for the sake of dollars in their pockets, I'm referring to the men in the White House.
20 mostly Saudi men killed 3000 Americans, so are we justified to kill thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians in return?
I'm sick of Jesus fish and yellow ribbons masking MURDER by American guns and bombs. Wake up and see the Truth!!!
As a Christian, I have to ask - is this really what Jesus would do???

Sickened By My Country

Equal Time said...

I expect Mr. Byrne will now rant against the distinguished scholar Martin Marty who said in the same Trib space on Tuesday: "Christians from the 4th to the 18th Century can match the Muslims one for one when it comes to having spread the faith with the sword."

If Rosie meant that "radical Christian" do as much damage as "Islamic fanatics" in an absolute sense, she obviously overstates it. If she meant, in a relative sense, that, from her perspective as a homosexual and the animosity she feels from anti-gay "radical Christian", from the perspective of an American accustomed to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" the efforts of "Christian fanatics" to impose their view of morality on others is somewhere on the continuum.

I take greater issue with the way he used this comment from someone who is more an entertainer than a pundit to smear good people who promote entirely justifiable political positions, even if they oppose the candiates Byrne suppports.

Equal Time Glen Ellyn, IL

Ricky Nonlib said...

Dennis, Rosie is the face of contemporary liberal hate. This is sad since liberalism was once associated with tolerance, humanity and compassion.

BeeJiggity said...

Lotsa touchy libs bitchin.

You get it right and they get mad.

Go go Dennis!

Stephen Schade said...

The "American Thinker" piece mentioned in a previous post makes reference to Duckworth's loss of her legs due to an injury in Iraq. However, it is not her handicap that Democrat's are exploiting. Rather, Rahm Emanuel seems to think that veterans who oppose the war have more credibility than the rest of us and has recruited a number of such candidates. Given the current unpopularity of the war, though, even non-veterans can make a strong case against it. Just look at the results of the Democratic primary in Connecticut.

Larry Bodine said...

Thank you so much for revealing the Rosie O'Donnell-Tammy Duckworth link. I was amazed to read it.

Next, please write about the George Bush-Osama Bin Ladin connection. As you know, Bush was aware in advance that the 9/11 attacks were coming. Bush got a briefing paper entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" on August 6, 2001, a month before the attacks.

Please tell us how Bush allowed the attacks to happen so he could use it as a pretext to invade Iraq, torture prisoners, and slash our civil liberties with the Patriot Act.

I'll bet Osama even put in a phone call tipping Bush off about 9/11. Only a great reporter like you could track this down. I'm counting on you!

Larry Bodine
Republicans for Duckworth

Midwestern Progressive said...

Bridget did a great job pointing out all the non-district money coming into the liar Peter Roskam's campaign coffers.

In the interest of intellectual integrity, one would expect Mr. Byrne to decry that, as well.

We've learned not to expect intellectual honesty from this source, though, have we not?