Having the Ten Commandments removed from an Alabama courthouse is not a tragedy for Christianity, but it is a tragedy for our nation.

The fact that our founders were mainly Christians is important because they used their faith to make a constitution that relies on the principles of self-governance.

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of articles being filed from Iraq by River Cities' Reader political columnist and Chicago-based journalist Rich Miller. Last week's story can be found at (http://www.

The River Cities' Reader is conducting its spring photo contest, so get out your cameras and start shooting. Winners will be published in the April 12, 2006, issue of the River Cities' Reader.

We are accepting entries in three categories: (1) comfort, (2) mystique, and (3) waste.

Melissa Coulter was thrilled when she was asked to direct a show at Ghostlight Theatre. What she didn't yet know was that the show, Das Barbecü, is actually a musical comedy loosely based on Richard Wagner's four-hour Ring opera, is performed in country-western style, and calls for a fairly large cast of about 15 people.

Add the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court to the long list of politicians who have been bested by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The governor has a way of bringing out the worst in his fellow politicos, and the Supremes were no exception last week.

The office of Steve Bahls, the new president of Augustana College, is filled with images of Themis, the goddess of Justice. That's no surprise, because Bahls came to Augustana after nine years as dean of the Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.

At the end of an interview last week, Bahls showed off one particular image: a print of Justice by Pieter Bruegel the Elder from the 16th Century. In it, Themis - blindfolded and holding her scales - is surrounded by all manner of bad behavior, including torture. "She has no idea what's going on," he said of Themis.

Bahls wants to ensure that the same can't be said of Augustana College, the private Lutheran liberal-arts college in Rock Island. The new president, who replaced retiring President Thomas Tredway on July 1, is committed to making Augustana College, its faculty, and its 2,200 students active participants and leaders in the community. There will be no Augustana ivory tower on his watch.

Bahls' tenure at the Capital University law school, also a Lutheran institution, suggests that he'll stay true to that vision.

Quad City Music Guild's Kiss Me, Kate boasts an ensemble of twenty-some gifted performers, including a tap-dancer whose photograph belongs alongside the likes of Gene Kelly, and singers that demonstrate excellent unity in rhythm. The musical is an entertaining, humorous, colorful, and energizing romp through the onstage and back-stage lives of performers in a Shakespearean play, and this production shouldn't be missed.

After months of publicly jabbing the General Assembly for its hidebound ways, Governor Rod Blagojevich is now aiming his sharp political elbows at his fellow constitutional officers, including his most likely re-election rival.

Recent comments from individuals and the Quad-City Times editorial last week have raised false choices.

While the city council is working hard to try to avoid service cuts, that may not be possible.

• Almost as iconic as Mr. Rogers' trademark cardigan is the green striped rugby shirt worn by Steve on Nickelodeon TV's Blue's Clues. After six years as the show's original host, he's been replaced by another soft-spoken actor, and it felt unsettling to deflect "Steve is dead" rumors from my seven-year-old and find Steve Burns the post-blue-dog serious actor portraying a creepy killer on Law & Order.