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This is the personal weblog of Aakash Raut, established Sept. 2002. It will cover current affairs, worldwide & national topics, local & university events, and provide insight and commentary on contemporary issues and the news from his perspective. Enjoy!

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    Friday, September 27, 2002

    Here are some more articles on Erika:

    Champaign News Gazette: Urbana native crowned as Miss America
    National Review: Joel Mowbray on the "Right" Miss America (She's a conservative!)
    Latest News on Erika from the Miss Illinois website...
    Project Reality: Organization that promotes youth abstinence (Erika has been active in this group)

    As you can see, Illinigirl has also updated her blog with the latest news on Erika. Also see my comments on Illinigirl's post.

    Also: I just added a web counter to this blog. I was trying to decide which one to use. In the past, when I have maintained websites, I have used However, back in January, was bought out by Since then, TheCounter unfortunately changed its system to make the viewing of your site's statistics possible only through the paid subscription version of its service. You can still use the free version of to see the number of visitors who come to your site, and to put a counter image on your site with the number of visitors, but other than that, nothing much is available. See another article about that here. To read reviews on, go here. Especially note how the reviews went from good to bad to outraged after the buyout and changes.

    You can read reviews of other web counters here at the Counter Guide. See a listing of many web counters here (through the Open Directory Project). I ended up choosing the CQ Counter; it is the same one used by the Hoosier Review.

    Update: And, one more very important thing: My blog has only been around for about 10 days, but there have already been several of my fellow bloggers who have been kind enough to provide referral links to it. I was going to include in this post thanks to the 2 blogs which provided reciprocal links to mine, but within just the past 24 hours, several others have been nice enough to do so as well. See the latest post on No Watermelons, which features this UIS Blog, as well as that of Illini Girl. And thanks to Illini Girl for adding this blog to her link list!

    Special thanks also to Patrick Carver (Ole Miss University), Josh Claybourn (Indiana University), Izzy Lyman (The Homeschooling Revolution), and Emmanuel Goldstein's Airstrip One! I am hoping that Campus Nonsense will also add UIS to its list of campus blogs. And please check out the blog of Ben Domenech, who is a year younger than I (I only wish that I was as successful as he!) and that of Patrick Ruffini, another well-known young blogger.

    Monday, September 23, 2002

    Well, I really don't know what to say... This is INCREDIBLE!!!



    (See my posting for Saturday morning on Erika...)

    --- ------

    See the front page of the Illinois Leader here for the story.

    Please join in the Illinois Leader discussion board, and leave Erika a message.

    More news on this:

    Be sure to catch Erika on her upcoming television appearances...

    And once again, CONGRATULATIONS to Erika on this outstanding

    (More info and updates to follow...)

    Saturday, September 21, 2002

    How could I have forgotten!

    One more thing before I leave for Champaign (see post below)...


    Erika Harold, who several Illinois college students (including myself) worked with in the 2002 gubernatorial primary race, was crowned Miss Illinois this summer. (Erika was the Youth Coordinator for the Patrick O'Malley for Governor campaign.)

    Tonight [Saturday, September 21], Erika will competing in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.

    Last Thursday night, Erika won the preliminary interview competition:

    Erika is currently ranked as one of the top favorites in the Miss America contest, so it is likely that she will be on stage for all of the competition tonight.

    Read this latest article from the Illinois Leader:


    Be sure to watch tonight as Erika is (hopefully) crowned Miss America 2002!

    Miss America pageant:
    7 PM (central time) on ABC

    Friday, September 20, 2002

    I will be attending the tailgate event in Champaign tomorrow morning prior to the Illini game. Joe Birkett, Republican candidate for IL Attorney General, will be there. College Republicans at UIUC (Univ. of IL, Urbana-Champaign) will be there tailgating, as will others who are involved in the election campaigns.


    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, September 19, 2002

    Note: Within the last hour or so, I twice typed a nice analysis of the hotly-contested race in Illinois' 19th U.S. Congressional District. And both times, I lost all of my text for the post. I wish this blogger program was better... (sigh)

    In any case, below is the last part of my post, which did not get erased. These are two articles from today's State Journal-Register.

    Shimkus aids tell Phelps: Stop ads linking Shimkus to Enron

    Also see Bernard Schoenberg's latest column on the latest polls in the Governor's race:
    Poll: Blagojevich Far Ahead, But Jim Ryan gains when name confusion is cleared up

    I will try to re-write my post... again... and upload it soon. I will also include some news about what's going on at the university.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2002

    These are some of the latest stories from The Illinois Leader:


    Madigan, Birkett Spar Over Gun Issue
    9/17/2002 2:58:00 PM By The Leader-Chicago Bureau

    “I am a gun owner myself. I believe in the Second Amendment, the right
    to keep and bear arms. However… I have continued to be a vigorous
    prosecutor against people who break the law with guns. I am not an
    advocate for concealed carry,” said Birkett.

    JRyan's 'government to shape the marketplace' philosophy turns off IL

    9/17/2002 11:37:00 AM By The Leader-Chicago Bureau

    Was the traditionally-Republican Illinois Retail Merchants Association
    (IRMA) attempting to read the political tea leaves in their surprise
    endorsement yesterday of Democrat candidate for Governor, Rod

    Madigan bullies Blagojevich to admit 'indiscretion'
    9/17/2002 7:01:00 AM By The Leader-Chicago Bureau

    CHICAGO--Why is the Illinois House Speaker and Democrat Chairman begging
    media questions of his party's nominee for Governor?

    For the latest conservative, pro-family, news and views in Illinois, go to:

    Tuesday, September 17, 2002

    Latest News Flash:

    Iraq to Accept Weapons Inspectors

    "Iraq unconditionally accepted the return of U.N. weapons inspectors late Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said."

    Update: The White House isn't buying it.

    Neither is fellow blogger Josh Claybourn. Josh is also affiliated with The Hoosier Review, a great news source from Indiana University. Also check out the blog of Hoosier Review columnist Paul Musgrave.

    For a more local young blogger, check out Illini Girl. Go Illini!

    I had tried to add a table with organized links to the left side of my home page, but that did not work well with this template and this blogger service. I might try again soon once I'm more familiar with this system.

    That's all for now! Goodbye and goodnight.

    Monday, September 16, 2002

    Latest news item from

    Secret Document: Neo-Cons planned Iraq Attack before election:

    (I just forwarded this NewsMax article to others:)

    The following article has been forwarded to you from
    To visit, point your browser to

    Forwarded by: Aakash ....

    Comments: The neo-cons and their New World Order agenda are very dangerous.

    Constitutional conservatives, paleos, pro-liberty republicans, libertarians, and patriots have been opposing this agenda for quite some time, and must continue to do so.

    Monday, Sept. 16, 2002

    A secret blueprint for world domination prepared for top associates of George
    Bush over a month before the 2000 presidential election called for an attack on
    Iraq and outlined actions designed to create a "Pax Americana."

    This is the startling charge leveled by Australia's Sunday Herald, which
    reports that the document obtained by the newspaper shows that the Bush
    administration came into office determined to pursue policies that would allow
    America to control the destiny of the world.

    Writing in the Herald, Neil Mackay reports that the document was drawn up for
    Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz (now Rumsfeld's deputy), Gov. Jeb
    Bush and Lewis Libby (now Cheney's chief of staff). Mackay wrote that the
    document, entitled...

    To read the rest of this article, go to

    Kosovo, Iraq, and War: Ann Coulter Gets it Half Right

    The beautiful conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter wrote an anti-war/pro-war column a few weeks ago on war, covering the Kosovo War, the Iraq war, and liberals. It is great to see that conservative columnists are still blasting Bill Clinton's illegal war in Kosovo (see two more columns below), but I wish more of them would stop toeing the neo-con line on Iraq and other issues.

    A new paleo-conservative magazine, The American Conserative, will start publication soon. With the neoconservative establishment and the New World Order crowd pushing us closer and closer to war with Iraq, and many conservative commentators and leaders (such as Ann Coulter) following suit, an "Old Right" publication is vitally needed.

    To subscribe to The American Conservative at the special pre-publication charter rate, go here.
    See conservative columnist Dr. Scott McConnell's article about this:
    Conservatives Against the War Party

    Also, take a look at a couple of the somewhat-recent columns on Clinton's failed Kosovo War:
    Don Feder: West Hauted By Balkans Blunder, 12/2/01
    Julia Gorin: We Didn't Want to Know, Remember?, 5/23/02

    And, if you want to know about the connection between the KLA (our "allies" in Clinton's war) and the terrorists who attacked us, go here.

    "In war, truth is the first casualty..."

    Sunday, September 15, 2002

    Message first written Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 3:24 PM

    Well, it's about time I started a web blog. It seems that so many others have started blogging - this seems like the right time to begin. Final exams got over last week, and I officially graduated from LLCC at the commencement ceremony Friday.

    Class of 2002

    Congratulations to all Graduates!

    Congratulatons to all 2002 graduates! UIS had their graduation ceremony just yesterday. It was broadcast live on the web, and also shown on Community Access Channel 4 in Springfield.

    University of IL - Springfield
    Graduation Page

    View Screenshots from the live broadcast

    Young America's Foundation: Liberals Dominate Commencement Addresses across the country

    From last year: Yale students (Class of 2001) may boycott Hillary

    Read this Commencement Address: Clarence Thomas at George Mason University Law School (May 29, 1999)

    And this one: Pat Buchanan at The Citadel (date)


    Graduation Page

    University of IL, Springfield

    (Class of 2002)

    *Graduation Photos*

    View Screenshots
    from Broadcast