Mahmoud's Manhattan Moment (UPDATED)

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Andrew Marcus - on video assignment for PJM - reports that the Port Authority evicted protesters from Ground Zero this morning. Group - including family members of 9/11 victims - was in front of the PATH station protesting possible appearance at Ground Zero by Ahmadinejad.

Demonstrators are gathering at Columbia University, where he is scheduled to talk after addressing the United Nations. The speaker of the NY State Assembly is considering withholding public funds from the school to protest its decision to invite the leader to campus (NY Sun).

According to AFP, foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini insisted Ahmadinejad's itinerary still includes a visit to Ground Zero.

American Digest: "Bollinger Rope-A-Dopes Ahmadinejad and Many Conservative Blogs."

RightWingSparkle: "I'm thinking that never in the history of Columbia University's Distinguished Lecture Series has a speaker mentioned God more than Ahamdinejad has."

Matt Sanchez: "I'm never surprised by what my school Columbia University will do or say, not even when they'll invite men like Ahmadinejad to speak but will refuse people like Ann Coulter or members of the United States military."

Ian Schwartz: Video: Columbia President Lee Bollinger's full speech and Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's response (22 minutes).

The Columns, from Columbia U: "For him, there's no difference between the study of physics and the study of the Holocaust, or the study of God. Facts are only facts when presented with the purity of heart of the almighty. He couched his language well, but the conclusions he reached as a result were often harrowing, especially given his own denial of truth later on."

Roger L. Simon: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made one of the most insane and reactionary statements I have heard a national leader say in public ever at Columbia today: 'In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who has told you that we have it.'"

Kesher Talk: Letter to Bollinger from a fellow academic, "May I ask you what it takes to make someone persona non grata nowadays?"

Fox News: Ahmadinejad responded to a scolding by Columbia University's president by objecting to the manner in which he was introduced.

Dean of Columbia Law School says Ahmadinejad should not have been invited to campus.

Mahmoudapalooza: Photos and reports from anti-Ahmadinejad protests (Michelle Malkin)

LA Times: As the world watched for news of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also happened to be in town, prepared to steal some of the spotlight by announcing that California would sever ties with companies doing business in Iran.

Fox News: President Bush said Monday that while he's "not sure" he would have offered the head of a state sponsor of terror a platform from which to outline his agenda, he thinks it's OK that Columbia University did invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak.

Minding the Campus: Who's too extreme for Columbia? A quotes game.

Barry Rosen, one of the hostages in the 1979 embassy heist: "I wonder what the Founding Fathers would think of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University" (NY Post)

Meanwhile inside Iran, a different concept of free speech: " Iran's judiciary has sealed off the offices of a popular news Web site critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies after journalists continued to update it despite official filtering, the Web site said." (Khaleej Times)

Columbia University Spoof Site

Newsbusters: "Of course we knew that The Boston Globe's Jim Carroll would have his "it's all Bush's fault" moment. Even so, the former priest outdoes himself with his concluding paragraph, flatly stating that it is our president, and not the, shall we say, eccentric Iranian leader, who by his presence defiles the 9-11 site."

MY Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: "Exactly how far does one have to take moral relativism before it either becomes nihilism or there's finally an awakening to reality?"

Oliver Willis: "Look, even if I bought all the scare-talk about Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (anyone remember when Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic was touted as the "new" Hitler? I do.), what exactly is there for the cons to be so afraid of him coming to the UN or to Columbia University?"

Dr. Sanity: "Giving a soapbox to a Hitler or a Bin Laden or a pipsqueak like Ahmadinejad is merely yet another histrionic display of narcissistic self-indulgence by a politicized academia; just as the decision to recind Larry Summers invitation to speak was at another institution of higher learning."

The New Criterion's Armavirumque: "President Bollinger's sophomoric conception of free speech is precisely the sort of supine intellectualism that, if consistently embraced, would make free speech impossible."

The Yeshiva World: "In conclusion says Rabbi Weiss, 'Out of great respect to the Iranian Nation and their leadership we proudly welcome the Honorable President Ahmadinejad to New York, WELCOME!'"

American Thinker: Who is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Daily Kos: "Why I Have A Little Crush on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Gay Patriot: "Left-Wing Lesbian Has Crush on Ahmadinejad?!?!?!"

Darleen's Place: "Mz Sally is no agent provocateur but is Project Director at The Center for Community Change. Precious."

ShrinkWrapped: "Ahmadinejad gains tremendous status when one of America's leading Universities treats him as if he is a Statesman whose utterances are anything more than the most perverse propaganda. His presence drips contempt but the Solons at Columbia are too blinded by their ideological confusion and ignorance to recognize how they are being played."

Michelle Malkin: "Mahmoud sucks up to the Left/tinfoil hatters on 60 Minutes, U.S. says Iran sending missiles to Iraq."

Edward Cropper: "Columbia University would want this" (see photo).

Atlas Shrugs: "Stop the 'Death to America' tour!"

Meryl Yourish: Transcript of 60 Minutes.

The Corner: "WBNC in New York just reported that an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said today that visiting Ground Zero "is on the president's schedule."

Daniel W. Drezner: "In contrast, everything I've heard or read from Iran experts suggests that on the streets of Tehran, Ali Q. Publiq feels a strong sense of national pride about the nuclear program. It's the one thing that Ahmadinejad has found to boost his domestic standing. So this view among Bush officials is not only untrue, it's a patronizing view of ordinary Iranians. They are perfectly capable of disliking Ahmadinejad, desiring a strong Iran, and preferring not to be bombed at the same time."

Fausta's blog: "The bottom line on Ahmadinejad is, if he can demonstrate that he is treated abroad as a respected leader, he will be better able to counter his critics at home."

The Oxford Medievalist: "The apocalyptic fanatic managed to check off most of the left's favorite talking points."

Belmont Club: "One man who might have held seminars on the combustibility of the human body while ovens at Auschwitz consumed their ghastly fuel is in the video below. What is moral blindness but the inability to tell right from wrong, friend from enemy, love from hate? And what is moral deafness but a man who can hear words and never understand their meaning?"

Gateway Pundit: "New York Times Will Run Anti-Ahmadinejad Ad Monday." [The ad is on page A21 of the print version.]