Group Mocks South Carolina House for Dixie Chicks Resolution

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has just presented a Jefferson Muzzle “award” to the South Carolina House of Representatives for last year’s resolution that branded lead singer Natalie Maines’ pre-war criticism of President Bush as “unpatriotic,” “unnecessary” and “anti-American.” The House’s resolution, which passed 50-35, also demanded an apology from the Chicks and a free concert for troops stationed in South Carolina, neither of which the trio provided. The Center’s award is a T-shirt with a picture of Jefferson on it, his mouth covered with tape. Among the 10 other 2004 award recipients were Baseball Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey, for canceling speeches by antiwar activists Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, and the Arizona State License Commission, for refusing to issue “Choose Life” license plates on behalf of abortion opponents. A non-profit organization that promotes free speech, the Center is based in Charlottesville, Va. The awards are given on Jefferson’s birthday.