Honoring Chickens

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Going to Great Lengths

Officials at Trinity International University (search) in Bannockburn, Illinois, were so concerned by three threatening letters sent to minority students, that they moved scores of minority students off campus, and put many of them up in a hotel. Two black students and one Hispanic student received the letters, which contained racial epithets, and threatened to harm them. The FBI was called in, and security barriers cut off access to much of the university.

But it turns out the letters came from, of all people, a black student who was homesick, and wanted to convince her parents the school was unsafe. Nineteen-year-old Alicia Hardin has now been charged with a hate crime.

Rev. Dennis Dease Denounces Coulter

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a speech by the firebrand conservative commentator Ann Coulter at St. Thomas University in St. Paul has been condemned by the university's president, the Reverend Dennis Dease (search). The story quotes Dease as saying, "such hateful speech vulgarizes our culture and goes against everything the University of St. Thomas stands for."

But Dease, it turns out, did not attend the speech, and was relying on second-hand accounts. He never cited anything Coulter said, or even anything he had heard she said. As for the Star Tribune's story, it never cited anything Coulter actually said either.

"International Respect For Chickens Day"

In exactly one week, people across the world will come together, to celebrate "International Respect for Chickens Day," or at least that's what the president of the animal rights group United Poultry Concerns is hoping. Karen Davis has declared May 4 the day to honor "the dignity, beauty and life of chickens."

She insists chickens are "heroic protectors of their families and flocks" and "highly intelligent individuals." So, she says, write letters to the editor of your newspaper, set up booths at your local mall, and show friends the movie "Chicken Run."

Williams' Extra Work

We noted two months ago that the liberal political journal The Nation's U.N. correspondent Ian Williams, (search) who has repeatedly defended the U.N. against charges of corruption, was also working for the U.N. as a professional media consultant.

Well, The Nation has since said it continues to have full confidence in Williams, but has now decided to include the fact of his relationship with the U.N. in the magazine, saying in an editor's note, "We believe the key here is disclosure." The magazine says it made the decision after Williams "[came] under attack from a variety of right-wing pundits and media organizations."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report