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DIXIE-CHICKED

“Is the Hank Williams Jr. incident a parallel to the Dixie Chicks?” asks Radio-Info.com, an insider site for the radio industry. The question has clogged up its message boards ever since Mr. Williams publicly compared a golf match between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner to a game pitting Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hubbub followed. The conservative country music star’s tune “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over” — used as the theme for “NFL Monday Night Football” since 1989 — was dropped by ESPN, and so was he.

And the Dixie Chicks parallel? The Dallas-based country trio met with both adulation and criticism after singer Natalie Maines told a cheering London audience that she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” just 10 days before President George W. Bush ordered a military invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The readers of Radio-info.com now wonder if Mr. Williams was “Dixie Chicked”; the singer himself says his First Amendment rights were violated by the network’s decision. The caterwaul has escalated into a discussion of political values, celebrity and civility.

“I hope he continues to say what he feels, even if everyone doesn’t agree with him,” said one contributor, while another countered, “He did call Obama and Biden ‘the enemy.’ You don’t do that, even if you don’t happen to like the current occupier of the White House.” And still another pointed out: “George W. Bush has been compared to Hitler by a number of people, and it did not hurt their careers.”

VALUES ON PARADE

The massive Values Voter Summit in Washington this weekend features some select political pairings and dozens of luminaries. On Friday morning alone, the 2,000-member, mostly grass-roots audience will witness House Speaker John A. Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on the same stage as presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Fellow candidatesHerman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry quickly follow in the company of talk-radio goddess Laura Ingraham. Watch it all live online at www.valuesvotersummit.org. And yes, there’s a presidential straw poll, the results to be announced 3 p.m. Saturday as a fitting finale following the appearances of Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul and broadcast hosts Bill Bennett and Glenn Beck. Everyone has his eye on 2012.

“Values voters — those who understand the intersection of faith, family and freedom — are determined to win this contest. Identifying the right candidate is the first step,” says Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action, which hosts the summit.

YOU BETCHA

Well, that was quick. Odds are out already on whom Sarah Palin will endorse in the 2012 presidential bout. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is tipping the former Alaska governor to lend her support to Herman Cain following her decision to bow out of the race herself.

Here’s how the bookmaker’s numbers shake out: 6/4 for Mr. Cain, 2/1 Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 7/2 Mitt Romney, 8/1 Rep. Ron Paul, 10/1 Rep. Michele Bachmann, 16/1 Newt Gingrich and 40/1 Jon Huntsman Jr.

“Whether or not any of these Republican candidates will actually welcome Sarah Palin’s public support is another matter entirely,” says Sharon McHugh, spokeswoman for the bookmaker. “But it will be interesting to see what effect her endorsement might have on their chances of election.”

WEEKEND READING

“Counting the Reasons to Defund: The 20 Most Memorable Leftist Excesses of Public Broadcasting.”

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