Saturday, January 19, 2008


DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett should drop all charges against Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Hartfield for actions during their display of an anti-war sign May 6. There are many problems with this case, which has been unconscionably extended into its seventh month.

The facts do not warrant the charges of disorderly conduct, reckless conduct and unauthorized display of a sign. The case is a politically motivated attack on free speech and a waste of taxpayers' money during an economic downturn that is causing budget cuts and layoffs in DuPage County.

The hardest thing for a public official to do is admit mistakes. It was impossible for Birkett to admit mistakes in the high-profile death penalty case involving Rolando Cruz. The Zurawski-Hartfield case may pale in comparison to the damage done to Cruz and the continuing waste of money trying to put Brian Dugan to death for the crime the innocent Cruz was mistakenly earmarked to die for, but it is still important.

Birkett should stop wasting our tax dollars on this frivolous case and strike a blow for free speech. He should be a truly courageous prosecutor who is wise enough to admit a mistake and correct it. It will be a good thing for his legacy.

Originally published in Downers Grove Sun, December 27, 2007

Thursday, January 17, 2008


As America’s reputation and credibility around the world lies in tatters and its economy drifts into recession, one need only look at our defense budget to find the reasons.

According to Global Security.Org, the widely respected source of military, intelligence and national security matters, the U.S. spends approximately 625 billion dollars on military might, 55 % of the annual world wide total of 1,125 billion. We spend significantly more than the rest of the world combined.

Every year that is 625 billion dollars that doesn’t rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

That is 625 billion dollars that doesn’t educate our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs and teachers.

That is 625 billion dollars not used to reduce global warming.

That is 625 billion dollars that isn’t invested in creating a sustained, vibrant economy.

It is, however, 625 billion dollars that is used to launch senseless wars of choice.

It is, however, 625 billion dollars that is used to scatter depleted uranium around the Middle East like so much death dust.

It is, however, 625 billion dollars that is used to send smart bombs launched by fools upon innocent civilian populations.

Forty-seven years ago a great wartime general who avoided war during his eight years as President, left office with an admonition to fear and restrain the biggest threat to our future – the unbridled power of the Military Industrial Complex.

The soul of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower does not rest well in 2008.

Originally published in Naperville Sun, January 16, 2008