Thursday, May 31, 2007

Factory town

The Post's conservative curmudgeon emeritus, Al Knight, notes the extraordinary length of the process of firing Ward Churchill:

[CU president Hank] Brown's decision, which is contained in a thoughtful, 10-page letter, could stand alone as the historical record of this sorry chapter in CU history. In it, he outlines the incredibly complex process that has been used during the last two years to get the university to the point where it is able to reach a conclusion.

It is easily possible to imagine, say, the closing of a large factory and the displacement of its entire work force that would consume less time and paperwork. . . .

[Churchill's] attorney, David Lane, says the university's actions over the last two years are nothing more than a "rubber stamp" by an organization that wants to fire Ward Churchill. On the contrary, the university has given Churchill every opportunity to defend himself against the allegations of academic misconduct. In addition, everyone - other than Churchill and Lane - has had to put up with the prolonged process imposed by university rules with no assurance that it would lead to the current result. To be told now that this long delay, which was necessary to protect Churchill's rights, was meaningless, foreordained and unworthy of respect is outrageous.

Lane continues to insist that any decision to fire Churchill will be taken to court. So what? The university would lose all credibility if it decided to forgive Churchill's conduct simply because he remains unrepentant and is represented by an aggressive lawyer.

Brown's letter puts this matter in the proper context when he cites the three reasons why Churchill must be dismissed. One of those, on the interests of the entire state, deserves to be quoted in full:

"Professor Churchill's misconduct impacts the University's academic reputation and the reputation of its faculty. The integrity of the work of the faculty is central to the University's academic mission. And, as a publicly supported institution, the public must be able to trust that the University's resources will be dedicated to academic endeavors carried out according to the highest possible standards. Professor Churchill's conduct, if allowed to stand, would erode the university's integrity and public trust."

It is inconceivable that the Board of Regents would disagree. All that remains is the inevitable filing of the lawsuit. In the meantime, the university can reclaim its reputation.

Good luck with that.

Update: The Daily Gamera has an on-the-one-hand-this editorial that adds--not much, but comes down (I think) against Churchill (via PB):

Like many debates, the political dispute about Churchill centers on a few info-McNuggets but spins far beyond the realm of verifiable truth. Some conservatives see Churchill as emblematic of rampant left-wing orthodoxy in academe. Some leftists, meanwhile, spin the entire affair into a vast, right-wing conspiracy to silence those who "speak truth to power."

The heart of the issue, however, is academic. Its resolution should be empirical. Did Churchill, in 15 specific instances, commit research misconduct? As Brown notes, more than 25 professors who have formally investigated the allegations against Churchill and conducted hearings on the matter unanimously agree on two things:

First, that Churchill engaged in intentional and repeated research misconduct. Second, that the misconduct requires a severe sanction. People of good will can and do disagree on the appropriate response. The conspiracy theorists of both extremes only muddy the discourse and confuse the populace. It is sad and unfortunate that many will not rigorously address the underlying issue, which is one professor's academic deceit.

Update II: Since PB is having such fun posting comments from the Inside Higher Ed piece on Ward, here's one from "Buckster" on the Camera piece:

Churchhill [sic] was a cool professor when I had him. It was never problem to miss his class and I got a great grade. His sunglasses were cool.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another governor weighs in on Churchill

The Post:
Gov. Bill Ritter on Tuesday added his voice to the Ward Churchill case, joining his predecessor in calling for the firing of the University of Colorado ethnic studies professor.
Boy, that right-wing conspiracy is really branching out.

Ritter made his comments after news broke over the Memorial Day weekend that Hank Brown, the university's president, had drafted a letter recommending the firing of Churchill for "repeated and deliberate academic deception."

The previous governor, Republican Bill Owens, called on CU to get rid of Churchill in 2005, soon after a controversial essay came to light. Ritter, a Democrat, weighed in Tuesday, saying that Churchill had damaged the university's reputation and should be dismissed.

"The character of his conduct is different than those things that are protected by the First Amendment, and I really do think in an academic institution, we need to pay attention to what we're telling our kids and what our professors are writing about," Ritter said after a bill-signing ceremony in Glenwood Springs.

Ritter stressed that the authority to fire Churchill rests entirely with the Board of Regents, but he agrees with Brown's recommendation for that action.

"I've thought that for a long, long time, based on all his comments and ... problems surrounding his writing," Ritter said. "I thought it was black and white for the university."

Churchill's lawyer, David Lane, said his client will file a lawsuit contending his First Amendment rights have been violated.

"Well, the only people I'm interested in weighing in is a jury after a full-blown court trial," Lane said.

He blasted both Owens and Ritter for taking a stance on Churchill's fate.

"They're both politicians, and they will say whatever will get them the most votes," Lane said.

Weldon Lodwick, chairman of the university's privilege and tenure committee, which had recommended that Churchill be suspended for one year without pay and demoted, said he receives five to 10 opinions each week from those with strongly held views.

"I get two types of phone calls or e-mails," Lodwick said. "One is you're a son of a gun if you do fire him. The other is that you're scum of the earth if you don't fire him."

Son of a gun? That sounds like Ben Whitmer!
The Society of American Law Teachers wrote a letter arguing against a firing. The local chapter of the American Association of University Professors also has given support.

"It's emblematic of bigger issues," said Margaret LeCompte, a CU education professor and president of the Boulder chapter of the American Association of University Professors. "It's not just about Ward Churchill."

She views the Churchill case as a key precedent that could lead to curtailing academic freedoms and part of a larger effort to make "faculty more amenable to fresher and more conservative political correctness."
"Fresher and more conservative political correctness"? Is she talking about salad or academia?
Others are less supportive of Churchill.

"I think it's important to emphasize that academic freedom also means academic responsibility, and it is not just anything goes," said Anne Neal, president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which applauded the news that Brown wants Churchill fired.

Lodwick said five other dismissal cases have been reviewed by the committee since 2002, and only two of those actually went before the regents for firing. Of those five, one case still is active and under consideration, Lodwick said.

He said only the Churchill case prompted a firestorm of controversy.
Imagine that. By the way, here's ACTA's statement on Brown's recommendation to fire Churchill.

Update: In the Rocky, CU sociology professor and Churchill apparatchik Tom Mayer shakes his tiny fist in defiance:

"I'm interested not only in winning a court case but making people understand the injustice and how it's possible to take a person who's a pariah, and to find things to cover the fact that you're trying to get rid of a person you regard as a pain, and to find some kind of academic excuse for doing so," Mayer said. . . .

Mayer concedes that Churchill can be abrasive but calls him "a very important and creative scholar." Dismissing Churchill would be a blow to academic freedom, he said.

Mayer recognizes that few fellow faculty members share his views on Churchill. Only six joined him in signing an April 23 letter protesting an investigative report that upheld the misconduct charges against Churchill.

Update II: PB notes that even the Churchill-sympathetic Post has come out for his firing.

Update III: Oops, forgot to mention that there's another counter-claim of research misconduct against the Churchill committee. Most of the names will be familiar to Churchill watchers (also via PB).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Colorado weather

Yesterday at Sloan Lake:

Warm, scattered clouds, Billy Bob.



Big fat cloud w/kids on the jetty.

Just minutes ago:


Sixty degrees, hail.



Lots of it. The Post has many interesting facts and figures.

Update (3:25 p.m.): Fifty degrees.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Holiday post

Rockies are playing a day game at home this Memorial Day. I just watched from the front yard as military jets of some variety did a flyover of Coors Field. One of the perks of living in the innerish city is having a (very) back-row seat to so many public events--shootings, parades, car wrecks, the Denver Grand Prix, crazy neighbors--it's a gay whirl, folks.

I'll try to post some good ol' patriotic radio shows in between doing nothing more strenuous than setting up the grill. I blame the U.S. war machine.

Update: Speaking of war machines, here are three shows from World War II that use material shortages for comedy.

First, Jack Benny. The sound's a little spotty, but there's tons of good World War II stuff in this show, from Williams Field near Phoenix, one of the scores of shows Jack did from military bases around the country: "Jack's Maxwell Goes to the Scrap Drive" (10-18-42). Highlight: Listen for Phil Harris's reference to the Japanese as "lice." A different world.

Next, Fibber McGee. Since I've already played "Scrap Drive" from this show (4-7-42), let's try "Gas Rationing" (12-1-42). Fibber complains about getting only four gallons a week. Again, lots of war humor.

And finally, Vic and Sade. Yes, it's "Scrap Drive" (4-6-42).

Update II: I didn't know Memorial Day was an occasion for gifts, but we got one: At Daily Kos, Cindy Sheehan quits the "peace" movement: "Good Riddance, Attention Whore":
People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland.
Deep breath.

I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" [somebody called her that on this Kos thread in which she announced she was leaving the Democratic party--ed.] then I really need to be committed [heh--ed.]. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times. . . .

Another breath, please.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions. . . .

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement [she calls herself "the face" twice--ed.]. This is not my "Checkers" moment [sic], because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A [but Nixon never gave up trying to help people harmed by the empire of the good old US of A either!--ed.], but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America [apparently Vacaville, California, now lies outside the United States--ed.]...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

What a self-pitying, egotistical cretin. If she really went away (yeah, right), she'd be doing the left a huge favor.

(via LGF)

CU prez Brown: Fire Churchill

The Daily Camera:

University of Colorado President Hank Brown has recommended in a report addressed to the CU Board of Regents that embattled ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill be dismissed from the faculty.

In the 10-page confidential report, which is addressed to Board of Regents Chair Patricia Hayes, Brown states that it is "my determination that Professor Churchill should be dismissed for cause as a result of his misconduct."

The report, dated Friday, includes a number of reasons why Brown believes the controversial professor should be sacked.

Chief among them is "conduct which falls below the minimum standards of professional integrity."

The president said in an interview late Sunday that his report, which has not been officially released, must still go back to the Privilege and Tenure Committee at CU for a last review before being sent back to him for final approval.

"It is a draft of my thinking that is for the review of the Privilege and Tenure Committee," Brown said. "If they wish, they can make additional comments to me and then I'll take action."

That could take another 15 days.

Brown, who said he was not at liberty to discuss what was in the report as long as the investigation into Churchill’s status was ongoing, did not indicate whether feedback from the committee would have any effect on the recommendation he made in the May 25 report.

The CU regents are charged with making the final decision on Churchill’s fate — a vote that is likely to happen sometime this summer. . . .

David Lane, Churchill’s attorney, called the university’s investigation into Churchill’s scholarship “retaliation” for comments the professor wrote six years ago comparing those killed in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, to Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann.

“All of this is retaliation for his First Amendment protected speech,” Lane said. “The entire deal, from A to Z.”

He said both he and his client “totally expected” Brown’s recommendation.

Totally, man.

“Hank Brown is a politician and he will do what politicians do,” Lane said Sunday. “The right thing has nothing to do with anything. It’s whether politically it’s in his interest.”

He pledged to take Churchill’s case to state or federal court if the regents oust him.

“We’re done with kangaroo court; we’re getting ready for real court,” Lane said.

Two regents who were reached Sunday, including Hayes, said they hadn’t yet seen Brown’s report.

Despite Brown’s characterization of the report as not yet finalized, it is filled with detailed analysis by Brown of prior academic committee reports regarding Churchill and the president’s reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with their conclusions.

He wrote that the Privilege and Tenure Committee “erred” in finding two instances where Churchill’s alleged academic misconduct did not fall below the minimum standards of professional integrity.

He called Churchill’s violations of CU’s academic standards “severe.”

And he wrote that Churchill’s rights to free expression have nothing to do with the charges of fabrication and plagiarism he faces.

“The record demonstrates that the committees took extraordinary care to consider only the allegations of research misconduct and were not motivated by any desire to punish Professor Churchill for exercising his First Amendment rights,” Brown wrote.

“Each expressly acknowledged the essential purpose of academic freedom and free speech in the University setting, but recognized that academic freedom does not protect fraudulent scholarship."

Update: If the Camera has the report, which they apparently do, why didn't they publish it?

Update II: Leaked on Memorial Day, eh? What is it, the second slowest news day of the year after Christmas?

Update III: Churchill has David Lane, but who will CU have representing it in Churchill's lawsuit? Will they use their own counsel, or can they go outside? Whoever it is, I hope they're adept at clearing away obfuscation, because that's what this case will be about. I suggest a combination of Louis Nizer and Daniel Petrocelli.

Update IV: The Post (update: it's an AP story) quotes the ever-measured Chutch:
"I've got more faith in almost anything (than in the university process)," he said. "A random group of homeless people under a bridge would be far more intellectually sound and principled than anything I've encountered at the university so far." Churchill said the faculty committee that conducted the primary investigation of his work was loaded against him, and that the university ignored his suggestions for specific scholars with a background in ethnic studies to be members of the panel.
He wanted to name the people who would judge his scholarship, and they ignored him? Ya Basta! And notice, Churchill doesn't mention trying to get anybody specific off the panel, as Charley Arthur claims he did with committee chair Mimi Wesson.

Update V: PB links to the happy-go-lucky but anonymous cat-beaters at the Ward Churchill Solidarity Network, who have Churchill's alleged response to Hank Brown's as yet unpublished recommendation to the regents to fire him.

Update VI: Oops, here's Hank's letter to the regents. And Churchill lawyer David Lane's letter to Brown protesting the "denial" of Churchill's due process, both now linked at the original Daily Camera story.

Update VII: Sounds good to me. Brown spends a fair amount of time defending the process CU followed, pointing out several times that Churchill had ample chance to present his case and to have his objections to the process heard.

Brown also notes that "more than 25 faculty members, both from within and outside the university community, evaluated the allegations against Churchill. Each faculty member, without exception, determined that Professor Churchill engaged in deliberate and repeated research misconduct."

Churchill's response seems quite weak.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Churchill briefs (warning: not very brief)

  • Churchill predicts own demise:
  • The firebrand professor who likened some Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi says it's a foregone conclusion that the University of Colorado will fire him over allegations of research
    misconduct. . . .

    Firebrand, or monotonous chucklehead in need of new material?
    "As far as I'm concerned, that's what he was hired to do," Churchill said. "I'm sure he had some other (responsibilities) to do, but I would expect this to be very nearly at the top. . . . He's basically the hatchet man."

  • Haven't we heard this this one before (first comment)? The Try-Works jerks have posted private e-mails written by Churchill investigating committee chairperson Mimi Wesson in February, 2005 (long before the committee was chosen), in which she expresses distaste for Churchill and puzzlement at his popularity. They think this is some sort of smoking gun. Here's part of one e-mail:

    I confess to being somewhat mystified by the variety of people this unpleasant (to say the least) individual has been able to enlist to defend him. I know people say it’s the principle, but we aren’t all out there defending Bob Guccione’s first amendment rights, though God knows he has them. I thought that us middle-aged feminists, at least, had learned not to all fall into that trap.

    She also compares the support for the "charismatic" Churchill to that for Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson, somehow skipping over Charlie Manson. Try-Works' Ben Whitmer claims "Jim Paine, Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor Vincent Carroll and KHOW shock-jock [sic] Dan Caplis had two American Indian Studies professors run off the committee for far lesser expressions in support of Churchill." Here's part of one of those lesser expressions in support:

    [A]nyone who's followed the field of American Indian Studies for the past three decades would immediately recognize Ward Churchill as an important scholar, writer and advocate, whose published works are widely cited and relied upon. His body of written work and teaching has inspired a generation of younger Native students and activists to unashamedly assert indigenous sovereignty and Indian rights over a broad domain of intellectual and cultural life in American society. . . . He is, in fact, the unquestioned intellectual leader of a vanguard movement of AIS scholars who brandish a no-holds-barred, no compromise form of Indian political rhetoric that upsets and even incites many non-Indians."

  • Yes, even incites ("ya got a tregger fanger, don't you?"). Benjie thinks Williams' very public knobbery is the same as Wesson's private expression of what almost everybody, but especially those who know Churchill personally, think of him: an unpleasant (to say the least) individual. Even teeny tiny apparatchik Tom Mayer never fails to mention that Chutch is an asshole (his "combative manner and long monologues," don't you know).

    Try-Works security guard Charley Arthur also claims that Churchill tried to get Wesson taken off the committee, but has yet to provide any evidence of this (and you know what that means). It's moot anyway, because we have the report itself to judge Wesson's supposed "conflict of interest" by. I don't see it. Neither will a jury. Next.

  • Not only does the Maoist Internationalist Movement (yes, I know, why don't I marry them) link breathlessly--or as breathlessly as communist robots who think sex requires a consent form ever get--to Try-Works' Wesson "bombshell," they add their own "blockbuster" charge:

  • An investigation of her web page shows that [Wesson's] literary agent is the Marsh Agency, which has several CIA ties. Ward Churchill is a published critic who has done original work on the FBI. Ward Churchill's critics also say he has done original work on the CIA. . . .

    The Marsh Agency boasts several CIA links including perhaps the greatest CIA intellectual project of the Cold War, "Encounter" magazine. . . .

    But it's way worse than that. They're also manipulating our children:

    The Marsh Agency owns long-established pro-CIA business, glorifying various operations that are CIA/FBI or military. An example is Marsh's children's writer Derek Landy:

    "Who is Skullduggery Pleasant? He's a wise-cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary (in the name of the greater good, of course). As well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgely, a very unusual and darkly talented 12-year-old."(1)

    That is from the web page promoting Landy's most recent book. The book ended up selling to HarperCollins, which people know now as publishing ex-CIA Director George Tenet's book. . . .

    Skullduggery Pleasant. Sure sounds like kind of one of those effete Yalie CIA-type names, doesn't it? Like Blackford Oakes.

    So why haven't the no-name nincompoops over at the Ward Churchill Solidarity Network linked to MIM's scoop yet? Or Ben Whitmer, for that matter? He knows how much his master trusts and admires MIM. ("[T]he Maoist International Movement have used their weekly papers [showing his age there] to advance some of the best analysis of my case and its implications yet published.")

    (via Pirate Ballerina (who also notes Ward's use of a child as a sock puppet) and MIM.

    Update: MIM and summer fun! Two great American traditions that go great together!

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    "Country Girl" sentenced to penal farm

    Well, prison, actually, but I was determined to get that "country girl/farm" joke in. Anyway, eco-arsonist Chelsea Gerlach was sentenced today to nine years in prison:

    As a member of a small clandestine group that called itself "the Family," Gerlach and others helped cell leader Bill Rodgers in October of 1998 haul fuel up Vail ski area. There, under the cloak of darkness, he torched the stately Two Elk Lodge and several other buildings and lifts, causing an estimated $24 million in damages.

    Additionally, she confessed to participating in arsons at the Childers Meat Co., a Boise Cascade Corp. facilty, a Eugene police substation and the Jefferson Poplar Farm, and she helped topple a high-voltage power-line tower, all in Oregon.

    Meat, lumber, a pig pen (hat tip: myself), a high-voltage tower, the (stately!) Two Elk Lodge--they really mixed up their targets. At an earlier court appearance in Oregon Gerlach apologized in an "I'm a gentle hippie gone astray" way:

    Gerlach has declined interview requests pending her sentencing, but in July, she told the Eugene federal court: "I would like to first apologize to everyone who has been hurt by my actions. It was not my intention to hurt anyone or to invoke fear. I'm sorry my actions had that effect.

    "These actions were motivated by a deep sense of despair and anger at the deteriorating state of the global environment and the escalating inequities within society," she continued. "But I realized years ago, this was not an effective or appropriate way to effect positive change. I now know that it is better to act from love than from anger, better to create than destroy and better to plant gardens than to burn down buildings."

    So her basic assumptions are unchanged: the global environment is deteriorating and social "inequities" escalating. No question about it. A likely lass, the Country Girl. She'll have her Ph.D. in four years and be a "distinguished professor" in ten.

    "Country Boy," aka Stanislaus Gregory Meyerhoff, was sentenced earlier this week to 13 years in prison for his part in the arsons. He offered this pathetic excuse:
    "I also wanted to be part of the scene, to be accepted," Meyerhoff said in a court filing requesting leniency. "And to be accepted as man enough for Chelsea Gerlach, who always treated me as though I was not made of the mettle demanded of a true 'Eco-Warrior."
    Man, that is whipped. Here's an earlier overview of the case and its participants. As you might expect, they're a bunch of immature self-involved pseudo-intellectual jerks.

    No Sherlock Holmes

    In his regular Friday Rocky column, KOA krapulator Mike Rosen pulls off a classic triple-duh in the obviousness competition in speculating on who leaked the CU Privilege and Tenure Committee's recommendation to suspend rather than fire Ward Churchill:
    You needn't be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the leaker was likely a faculty member sympathetic to Churchill, or his attorney, David Lane. Since the Post has, itself, been sympathetic to Churchill while the Rocky Mountain News has been far more critical, it's not surprising the Post was awarded the local scoop.
    Rosen uses this peg to hang a remarkably threadbare column. Why do "self-serving" faculty support Churchill?

    1. The firing of a tenured professor sets an inconvenient precedent for them, threatening their inviolable job security and insulation from the consequences of unconscionable behavior.

    2. Although Churchill is being disciplined for plagiarism, willful misrepresentation of facts and conduct that "falls below minimum standards of integrity," his defenders have framed this as a free-speech issue, which they believe to be an absolute protection.

    3. Churchill's tasteless, hateful, bitter and cockeyed views are shared by many of his left-wing, blame-America-first colleagues in academia, including some at CU.

    To all of which one can only say: what?! (Or maybe, as an anonymous commenter on the piece put it: "Iiiii-Bbbbb-Ttttt-Zzzzz!!!!!")

    Rosen is actually the best of a bad lot of local radio guys, a lot that includes "Gunny" Bob "Call Me Kooky" Newman and Peter "Kill All The Immigrants!" Boyles [libel alert: Boyles has (probably) never said "kill all the immigrants!"].

    Colorado Media Matters gets a lot of material from those three.

    (via the unredeemably evil PB)

    Weird Bird Friday

    Another pair of owls for this week's weird bird post. Which, of course, necessitates another guess-which-one-is-Drunkablog-and-which-is-Drunkawife contest.



    The prize for the winner remains the same: A visit from Drunkablog and Drunkawife! In person! Just send us airline tickets and our luxury hotel reservations and we'll be there!

    --Drunkawife

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Old soldier

    Over on the latest open thread at Biased BBC (always edifying reading) a commenter on the way to some other point says he doubts "there was even a minor skirmish fought by the allies to liberate any death camp" in World War II.

    Hell if I know, but his comment reminded me of Felix Sparks, the former Colorado Supreme Court justice who, as a 27-year-old lieutenant colonel in April, 1945, headed one of the first American detachments to enter the German concentration camp of Dachau. In a speech at the U.S Holocaust Museum in 1995, Sparks recounted the experience, first noting that:
    I have before me a document prepared by the Institute for Historical Review, Costa Mesa, California. It can be purchased from that so-called historical institute at a price of $2.00 for ten copies. This so-called document professes to prove that the Holocaust never happened. It asserts that there is no evidence to prove that any member of the Jewish faith was ever persecuted or died at the hands of the Nazi Government of Germany. Among other things, it is claimed that gas chambers and crematoriums were constructed after the war as tourist attractions. . . .

    Oh, yes, the Institute for Historical Review--David Irving, Robert Faurisson, Nim Chimsky . . .

    I beg to disagree with the authors of this totally sick and false literature. I am in a good position to disagree. . . . Shortly after I had launched an attack against the outer defenses of Munich, I received an order to immediately proceed to the Dachau Concentration Camp. I knew nothing about the camp, nor had I ever heard of it.

    Our first experience with the camp came as a traumatic shock. The first evidence of the horrors to come was a string of forty railway cars on a railway spur leading into the camp. Each car was filled with emaciated human corpses, both men and women. A hasty search by the stunned infantry soldiers revealed no signs of life among the hundreds of still bodies, over 2,000 in all.

    It's a short speech, maybe because Sparks, understandably, doesn't mention (though his audience surely knew) what happened next, as recounted in a riveting story in the Boston Globe:

    The word went out at Dachau [among the American soldiers]: We'll take no prisoners here. A machine gun was set up. Scores of captured acolytes of Hitler's Third Reich were herded into a dusty coal yard and lined up against a stucco wall.

    Then American gunfire crackled. Germans fell. Officially, at least 17 were killed. Eleven other Germans who had surrendered were shot in two other locations at Dachau that day, according to records and interviews.

    Sparks, alarmed by the sudden machine-gun burst, raced back to the coal yard, firing his pistol in the air and furiously signaling with his left hand for his men to stop shooting. . . .



    Felix Sparks.

    Read the whole thing. I met Sparks a couple of times when I worked with his wife Mary at the Colorado legislature back in the 90s. He's almost 90 himself now, and sick, but there are some who are trying to secure him one more honor, this for an earlier act of heroism:

    [B]efore he dies, his buddies want to give the "soldier's soldier" a final tribute: the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest medal, next to the Medal of Honor, for saving three wounded GIs during World War II. . . .

    In the past 19 months, the 27-year-old had slogged his way through the bloody battles in the torturous caves of Anzio, Italy - where he was one of only two men in his company to survive. He had already earned a Silver Star for bravery and two
    Purple Hearts after being shot through the stomach and having his liver lacerated by shrapnel. Since landing in North Africa nearly two years earlier, he had bonded with a group of farm boys from Colorado, and watched most of them perish. . . .

    Read the rest of that, too.

    Update: Sparks telling his story (brief video).

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007

    Global warming unobtrusive in spots

    Having both bitched and moaned about all the snow last winter, I must now give a hearty handshake of achievement to Gaia for the spring she's put on in Denver. It's been wonderfully wet and cool. Here's the weather story in today's Post and the picture "accompanying" (as they say in the newspaper trade) it.


    Beautemous. It looks like the photographer (uncredited) just pointed a camera out the window of the Denver Post Building. That's the Colfax Avenue entrance to Civic Center Park lower left, some other neo-classassical building midway left, and, in heavenly glow, the City and County Building, rear.

    Teach your children

    The Rocky's Vince Carroll notes a new course being tried at CU that may end up being required for all incoming freshpersyns:

    And what a doozy it is, too. Students who can’t fix within 50 years the beginning of the Civil War — and believe me, they exist — would be required to immerse themselves in the latest theories regarding “white privilege”; they would consider such questions as “Am I My Parents’ Values?” They would contemplate the CU code of conduct, while mulling the “moral/ethical and behavior consequences of actions regarding alcohol, sexual assault/harassment.” . . .

    The neglect of academic content, however, is hardly the course’s worst fault. It is also Orwellian in the way it tries to reorient students’ social and political views, at least as regards race and gender. On those issues the perspective is akin to what might be expected in a politicized ethnic studies department — based upon the syllabus published in the Boulder Daily Camera (and from which the course content cited above was plucked).

    Not that this bothers student body President Hadley Brown. “This is something I think is sorely needed,” she told the Daily Camera. “So many students at CU lack multicultural education and education about white privilege.”

    Update: In his previous column Carroll notes that leftist historian Howard Zinn (whose work is ubiquitous on college campuses) has signed on to the 9/11 truther movement.

    Update II: First link went to the wrong place. Fixed now.

    Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    Diagnosis: fun!

    Over the years experts have claimed that Abraham Lincoln suffered from heart disease, or ataxia, or Marfan syndrome, or maybe some other variety of mutant gene-type disease.

    Last week was the news that with modern medical technology Abe might well have survived that big ol' hole J.W. Booth put in his haid.

    Now some doctors are claiming that Lincoln had smallpox when he gave the Gettysburg Address:

    "If you play doctor, it's difficult to shut down the diagnostic process" when reading about historical figures, said Dr. Armond Goldman, an immunology specialist and professor emeritus at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He and a colleague "diagnosed" serious smallpox in Lincoln after scouring historical documents, biographies and old newspaper
    clippings. . . .

    According to Goldman and co-author Dr. Frank Schmalstieg, Lincoln fell ill Nov. 18, the day before giving the speech in Pennsylvania. When Lincoln arrived at the battlefield to dedicate a cemetery for the fallen soldiers, he was weak, dizzy, and his face "had a ghastly color," according to the report.

    On the train back to Washington that evening, Lincoln was feverish and had severe headaches. Then he developed back pains, exhaustion and a widespread scarlet rash that turned blister-like. A servant who tended to Lincoln during the three-week illness later developed smallpox and died in January 1864. . . .

    If Lincoln had smallpox, it's unclear where he got it. Goldman and Schmalstieg suggest it might have been from Lincoln's 10-year-old son, Tad, who was bedridden with a feverish illness and rash around the same time. . . .

    Confidential to JWP: you're right, it wasn't Tad. It was the Army. Or maybe fur traders.

    Diet tips

    The Rocky: "SEALs' snack regimen ideal."

    Omni-incompetence

    "CU server hacked; 45,000 IDs at risk":
    A computer server at the University of Colorado's College of Arts and Sciences' Academic Advising Center was hacked, and 44,998 student names and Social Security numbers were exposed.

    The students, enrolled at CU-Boulder from 2002 to the present, are being notified by the University of Colorado at Boulder's College of Arts and Sciences.
    Uber-inadequacy?

    Moronic convergence gathers steam

    Though they note sadly that he seems to have "something against Stalin," the Maoist Internationalist Movement swallows its ideological reservations and links to foulmouthed fool Ben Whitmer's Try-Works blog, recommending it for "in-depth articles about Ward Churchill that are not from the MIM point of view."

    MIM also deploys its irrefutable dialectic to attack the New York Post's anti-Churchill editorial yesterday:
    In May, 2007 the New York Post is still claiming that Ward Churchill is an ethnic fraud;(3) even though, all the arguments for that were known decades ago and Ward Churchill received his lifetime contract called tenure nonetheless. Remarkable timing the New York Post has--maybe it should have been on the ball back in the day for its argument about Churchill's tenure.

    We all know that the real reason the New York Post is attacking is support for U.$. imperialism in the Mideast. The owner of the New York Post Murdoch is also behind the making of prime minister John Howard in Australia. The New York Post in February 2007 was still supporting the Iraq War and quoting Howard against Obama to do so.(4)

    Perhaps Murdoch should loosen the reins a little and let his 175 newspapers talk about recent news since others have moved on from Ward Churchill's ethnicity and the alleged link of 9/11 to Saddam Hussein. Many have figured out that Ron Paul and Ward Churchill were closer to the truth than the majority of Amerikans when the ground invasion of Iraq started. Murdoch was a key factor in the ground invasion of Iraq: "Rupert Murdoch argued strongly for a war with Iraq in an interview this week. Which might explain why his 175 editors around the world are backing it too."(5)

    What we are seeing as a general pattern is that the reactionaries issue a flood of accusations, most of which do not stand. Yet they cling to individual points of their accusations when their report has been whittled down to a small percentage of possibly arguable points. When we look at it, we see that the people still opposing Churchill are supported by rubes who brought us the Iraq War.
    Almost forgot the footnotes!

    3. http://www.nypost.com/seven/05212007/postopinion/

    editorials/freedom_for_a_fraud_editorials_.htm

    4. http://www.australianpolitics.com/news/2007/02/07-02-13_nyp.shtml

    5. "Their master's voice," 12Feb2003, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,897015,00.html.

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Monday Night at the Radio!

    Don't think I've played any sci-fi yet, so here's an early Dimension X, "the premier series of adult science fiction tales," as radio historian (and Denveroon) John Dunning called it. This one's titled "Knock." Good stuff, done live (listen to the music and sound effects). No date, but probably the spring of 1950.

    And a Vic and Sade. Almost didn't pick this show because it's nowhere near Christmas, but it's funny, so who cares. "Vic's Christmas Card List" (again, no date except the year, but it must have been some time in December, 1939).

    Leaving town now

    The Rocky:

    State and Denver Zoo officials Monday were increasing precautions to prevent an epidemic after a capuchin monkey at the Denver Zoo died of plague last week.

    Zoo officials learned late Friday that the 8-year-old animal that died Wednesday tested positive for the disease, according to a zoo statement. More than a dozen squirrels and at least a rabbit [at least a rabbit?] have been found dead in the City Park area just east of downtown, which includes a golf course, the zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature of Science.

    The monkey, which was acting lethargic the day before, was found dead Wednesday by a zookeeper.

    Plague is common in Colorado during this time of year, but it usually occurs in rural parts of the state, where it’s sometimes discovered when entire prairie dog colonies die off. Plague was identified last year in wild animals from 25 Colorado counties, but it is unusual for the disease to spread into metro areas, said state Health Department epidemiologist John Pape.

    Pape was unsure how the monkey was infected, though he and zoo veterinarian Dr. David Kenny suspect the primate ingested the carcass of a dead squirrel that carried the disease, based on normal monkey behavior.

    And you thought it was language that separated us from the other primates. Well, I for one can say with almost total confidence that I have never "ingested" the carcass of a plague-raddled squirrel.

    "We see it every year in wild rodents," said Pape. "But it’s uncommon circulating in tree squirrels in urban neighborhoods, including metro Denver."

    No other animals, including the other 17 capuchins, have shown any signs of illness, but as a precaution, the monkeys have been taken from their usual "island" display and placed in a separate caged display for observations.

    "It’s a first time occurrence at the zoo, as far as we know," said Kenny.

    Though the chance that a human could be infected remains minimal, Pape said it’s more important than ever that people take necessary precautions now that the disease has occurred in the city. . . .

    Update (5/22/07): the RMN has this picture and caption on its front page:


    "Webhart Elementary School students Maryia Schmidt, 7, left, and Daniella Sundquist, 7, both from Cheyenne, Wyo., huddle against a rain shower during a field trip to the Denver Zoo on Tuesday afternoon."

    Wonder what they had for lunch?

    NorthDenverTribuneWatch!

    Such a useless sacrifice for the little trees who gave their lives to make this newspaper. Front page banner headline: "Density for R1 proposed." A zoning story. Again. Key sentence: "Such an infill development would require rezoning to PUD." The reporter and editor on this story (same person, of course) need to be rezoned to PUD, that's for sure. But a good historic Denver pic this week:


    A large roller soaster and lots of bad luck. Historical note: with apologies to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Billy Bob has almost certainly pooped exactly where each of these people was standing 116 years ago.



    Northwestern shore of the lake today.

    For years Denver Public Schools has run the Shakespeare Festival, during which thousands of kids in costume stand on every streetcorner downtown performing hunks of the 'tard, er, bard. The NDT has a pic:


    King Leer, eh? Who's the kid next to him, the Duke of Gropecester? (pronounced "Gropster").

    The D-a-W and I lived across the street from Brown International Baccalaureate Elementary School back when it was plain old Brown Elementary. The IB program, you will not be surprised to learn, is very keen on "teaching across disciplines" and "sharing the planet."

    Trivia! Brown is 74 percent "Hispanic," seven percent "Pacific Islander," seven percent "American Indian or Alaska Native" and six and five percent respectively "White" and "Black." Wild.

    Update: Yes I've run the picture of Smelly Slob before.

    How low can you go

    The Rocky editorializes commonsensically on the CU Privilege and Tenure Committee's recommendation for a one-year suspension of Ward Churchill:
    For anyone who cares about the integrity of American higher education, recent reports that the University of Colorado's Privilege and Tenure Committee has recommended professor Ward Churchill be suspended for a year but not fired is a blow to the stomach.

    And bad news for CU, too.

    Don't get us wrong. We don't believe for a moment that President Hank Brown will actually adopt the committee's advice and let Churchill remain as a permanent blight on the Boulder campus. At the end of this month Brown will, we remain confident, concur with recommendations made last year by the then-acting chancellor and the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct. They said Churchill should be fired.
    Hmmm. "Don't believe for a moment . . ." "We remain confident . . .". They seem a little nervous to you?
    So why is the latest recommendation such a depressing development? Because it undermines the united front that CU - that any university - should present to a member of its community who indulges in academic misconduct that includes plagiarism and the falsification of the historical record. Secondly, because the recommendation is yet another piece of evidence that a significant portion of the CU faculty rejects all meaningful accountability.

    After all, the committee freely acknowledges the gravity of Churchill's transgressions. It concludes that he "committed multiple acts of plagiarism, fabrication and falsification." It says his behavior falls "below minimum standards of professional integrity" - the minimum, mind you - and therefore "requires severe sanctions."

    And yet for three of the five committee members, a one-year suspension qualifies as "severe."

    Why such leniency? Because while the Churchill case "shows misbehavior," the committee concluded, it is "not the worst possible misbehavior."

    We readily grant the point. A professor could behave worse than Churchill did. So? People are fired all of the time for behavior that is patently intolerable but that could have been worse.

    Come to think of it, most people in prison could have behaved worse. The question is whether the crime they committed warrants incarceration, not whether they sank as low as they possibly could go. . . .

    In Churchill's case, the "multiple acts of plagiarism, fabrication and falsification" are compounded by a total, arrogant state of denial; he does not even consider what he did to be wrong, much less pledge to reform his ways. His behavior is likely to continue, in other words, if he returns to his old haunts. . . .

    Churchill's case already proves how hard it is to take decisive action even in what should be an easy case: a tenured professor whose gross misconduct is conceded by all but a crackpot fringe. The process ensures that the case drags on for years. Committee after committee must weigh in with an opinion, as well as individual university officials, before any recommendation ultimately goes to the regents. All the while costs skyrocket.

    If Churchill isn't fired, it will signal that CU has no interest in policing itself and that it puts the lifetime tenure of its faculty above its own reputation. It will devalue the truly remarkable research and writing done by so many other faculty members. It's too bad that a majority on the Privilege and Tenure Committee can't understand that. Thank heaven they don't have the final word.
    Yes, thank heaven. But you have to admit, the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy isn't operating up to its usual standards of efficiency.

    (via PB, who also notes the New York Post weighing in on the case)

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    Drum Boogie

    Just in case you've never seen it.


    From Ball of Fire.

    "Heh"

    The RMN:

    A faculty group defending the accuracy of works by embattled University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill misrepresented sources or relied on books the authors themselves have since repudiated.

    That's just blatant distortion to make their point," said Russell Thornton, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose book was quoted in defense of Churchill.

    University of Oklahoma professor Circes Sturm, who was also quoted, said she has since changed her views on a piece of federal Indian law Churchill is accused of distorting. Churchill was among her sources.

    "If I had known that there were questions about the accuracy of his work, I would have looked to other sources," said Sturm, who is quoted by Churchill's defenders.

    Sturm's sources included essays by M. Annette Jaimes, Churchill's first wife.

    "What a tangled web," Sturm said. "I wish I wasn't in it."

    But, as will become apparent, she got herself "in it" through her own (putting the best construction on it) laziness. The News continues:

    Churchill has admitted ghostwriting some of Jaimes' essays - a fact Sturm couldn't have known at the time. . . .

    Churchill also has frequently accused the U.S. Army of deliberately distributing smallpox-laden blankets to Indians at Fort Clark in 1837, sparking an epidemic there. But the investigative committee found that the sources he cited did not support his work.

    One of those sources was Thornton, the UCLA professor whose book American Indian Holocaust and Survival covers the epidemic. The book concludes that smallpox was spread to the Mandan tribe by travelers on a steamship, not by the U.S. Army.

    However, Cheyfitz and the professors working with him accused the investigative committee of ignoring a part of Thornton's book that includes the deathbed "speech" of Four Bears, a Mandan leader.

    In it, Four Bears spoke of his impending death from smallpox "caused by those dogs, the whites."

    But the speech doesn't mention the Army or the distribution of blankets.

    "My reaction to this stuff about the speech of Four Bears is it's a bunch of BS," Thornton said.

    "All it (the speech) says is that white men brought smallpox to Indians," Thornton said. "Well, so what? That's nothing. That's my view, anyway."

    Thornton's rebuke didn't faze Cheyfitz.

    "He ought to read the speech again," Cheyfitz said. "I mean, it's quite clear what the speech says - it says whites spread smallpox. And although it doesn't say the Army spread smallpox, we can assume, I think - safely assume - that amongst those white people that Four Bears was referencing in that speech he certainly had the Army in mind as part of it, since the Indians' major interaction with white people was with the Army."

    As "Noj" says in a comment at PB (from whom I got this--I'm getting sick of saying that), "I suppose if you draw out your Venn diagrams, 'white people' does intersect 'the Army.'" The News:

    Churchill also contends that Congress adopted codes that defined Indians by "blood quantum," or the percentage of their Indian blood. A person with one Indian parent and one non-Indian parent would be half Indian.

    Churchill claims the blood quantum standard is similar to codes adopted by the Nazis to define Jews. Such a code is also controversial, because tribes claim they - not the federal government - have the right to determine their membership.

    Churchill says the blood quantum standard is in an 1887 law that imposed private ownership of land on Indians in place of the traditional communal ownership by the tribe.

    But legal scholars have said the 1887 law, called the General Allotment Act, contains no reference to blood quantum. The CU investigative committee upheld that view.

    The Cheyfitz group charged that the investigators failed to consider works that support Churchill's view.

    They cited Sturm, the Oklahoma professor, who referred to a blood quantum provision of the General Allotment Act in her 2002 book about the Cherokees.

    But Sturm, an anthropologist, said she now has read the act and agrees it does not mention blood quantum.

    "I felt horrible about it when I realized this after the book was already out," Sturm said.

    Sturm said she did research for the book in the mid-1990s among Indians in Oklahoma. They widely believed the law contained a blood quantum provision.

    "I think I was ready to accept that at face value," she said.

    You think? You didn't even read the law, Circes. Cheyfitz, as always, had a "BS" response to Sturm's (where's Drang?) repudiaton of the Churchillian line:
    Said Cheyfitz: "She's already printed what she's printed, and once it's out there, until she repudiates it in print or revises it, it basically holds."
    So there. Cheyfitz also claimed
    he was not bothered that a section of Sturm's book had, among its sources, works Churchill may have ghost written.

    "Wherever she got that information, she used it herself," he said. "She lent her authority to it. And I think that that, in and of itself, speaks to the fact that this is an area of debate . . ."
    La la la la. This guy is a lunatic.

    Also cited by the Cheyfitz group was Angela Gonzales, who, like Cheyfitz, teaches at Cornell. But Gonzales said the essay Cheyfitz cited does not support Churchill.

    Her essay does not say the law established a blood quantum standard to define Indians. Rather, federal officials who administered the law often defined Indians by blood quantum.

    "There is nothing in the legislation that seems to suggest that blood quantum was to be required," Gonzales said in an interview.

    Cheyfitz said that Churchill, like Gonzales, included interpretations placed on the act.

    The Cheyfitz group also defended Churchill's claim that a blood quantum standard is part of a federal law governing the counterfeiting of Indian art.

    Former Colorado U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who sponsored the act, has said blood quantum is not part of the legislation. The wording of the act contains no reference to blood quantum.

    The Rocky reporters asked Churchill for a response to all this debunkery and got a one-word reply, clearly plagiarized from a prominent blogger: "Heh."

    Weird Bird Friday

    Sometimes, even an ordinary bird can be weird.


    From Ghostweather Blog.


    --Drunkawife

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    MIMmation

    MIM has issued instructions on the proper "line" toward the 7 + 2 profs' charges against the Churchill investigating committee:

    On May 8 a University of Colorado committee recommended that Ward Churchill be suspended for a year, not fired.(1) . . .

    On May 10, several University of Colorado professors and experts in indigenous studies filed a crushing rejoinder to the nonsense against Ward Churchill so far. Responding to a report that called for discipline against Ward Churchill, several professors accused the accusers of research misconduct themselves.

    The fireworks are just getting started. If the reactionaries continue to press this matter, they will have to be taught some lessons. . . .

    They always threaten that. And they always include too many words in their links.

    Lynne Cheney organized ACTA (American Council of Trustees and Alumni). What Ms.-Halliburton-on-the-Federal-Dole-Moneybags [oh, that'll catch on] has noticed is that the professors not tightly tied to the federal government already are the most critical of the government. So ACTA and David Horowitz have launched a criminal conspiracy against Ward Churchill's civil rights with the hope of mopping up the minority of professors still deluded into thinking they are in a university that is not an extension of the government. . . .

    Meanwhile . . . federal agents are criticizing MIM, spreading rumors about MIM from FBI files and using taxpayer money to do so--in retaliation for Ward Churchill's criticism of the federal government.

    They always say that, too.
    How the Cheneyites want the university to work is that a would-be professor donates money to the Cheney campaign. Then he gets a professor's seat, taken from the Ward Churchills kicked out. Next the professor works to churn out students for the Department of Defense. So the good ones go to work for Navy intelligence or the like, with recommendations from professors who make donations to the Cheney campaign, under officials who of course also donated to the Cheney campaign.
    Bwahahahah--uh-oh, chest pains.
    The University of Colorado is land-locked but it has such a history, even with the Navy: "East Asian language training became firmly established at CU-Boulder during World War II, when the Boulder campus served as the site of the U.S. Navy's Japanese language school. . . .
    Glenn Morris thought it suspicious that landlocked Colorado honored Columbus too. Literal-minded yonks, aren't they?
    The growth of parasitism has reached a point where people such as Lynne Cheney are outraged when some people actually think not all thought should serve the interests of contractors for the federal government. How dare people such as Ward Churchill and Ron Paul say that 9/11 was the fault of the government, not an excuse to expand the government. . . .
    Ward Churchill and Ron Paul, together at last! But this is MIM, so they have to tie everything up in a little red bow:
    In Mao's Cultural Revolution, the universities also faced politicization. The difference is that the Cheney/Horowitz politicization serves the military, the growth of the military-industrial complex. Mao sent college professors and college students . . . to serve the peasants in the countryside, only to have countless negative accounts about the Cultural Revolution written by resentful intellectuals [ungrateful wretches!]. Mao's concern for the countryside helped China double its life expectancy and establish rural businesses that evened out the situation of economic development in the country. The activities of the Lynne Cheneys just expand the central government's parasitism.
    "[T]he Maoist International Movement have used their weekly papers to advance some of the best analysis of my case and its implications yet published"--you know who.

    Oops, forgot the all-important note!
    Notes:1. http://www.myfoxcolorado.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=3223092&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.12. http://www.colorado.edu/Carillon/volume40/stories/5asian.html.

    "7 + 2" profs' charges referred to Health Sciences Center

    Forgotten in the leak of the Privilege and Tenure Committee's recommendation of suspension and demotion for Ward Churchill is the "7 + 2" professors' charges of research misconduct against the committee that issued the report on Churchill's scholarship. According to CU's Silver and Gold Record:

    UCB Provost Phil DiStefano told S&GR this week that instead of referring the claims to the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct, which appointed the investigative committee, campus officials are sending the allegations to a similar group at the Health Sciences Center.

    "What we're going to do is refer the claim to another campus, to prevent a conflict of interest or the appearance of one," he said. The faculty's document states that [Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research Michael Poliakoff, who denied the faculty's demand that the report be retracted] has a conflict of interest in dealing with the Churchill case because of his involvement with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). "Since ACTA has a long and well-documented history of animosity toward Ward Churchill, no one with ACTA affiliations, including a co-founder like President Hank Brown and a named proponent like Poliakoff is in any position to make an unbiased decision in this case," the faculty wrote.
    The S & G R also notes that yet another ad hoc faculty committee weighed in on the supposed ACTA connection with a "large" ad in the Boulder Daily Camera:
    A group of faculty identifying themselves as the "Boulder and Denver Faculty Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Academic Freedom" placed a large advertisement in the Boulder Camera newspaper on May 13, decrying the Churchill investigation and alleging that ACTA is financed by "right-wing foundations" and "enlists trustees (regents), alumni, governors and legislators to bring political and financial pressure on universities." The ad, which lists the Web site address of the CU-Boulder chapter of the American Association of University Professors, also claims that Colorado is an "ACTA stronghold," with ties to Brown, Poliakoff, Regent Tom Lucero and former Gov. Bill Owens.
    Missed that one.

    Churchill told S&GR last week that he has formally requested that Brown recuse himself from the dismissal case due to Brown's involvement with ACTA. . . .

    In response,

    CU spokesperson Michele McKinney told S&GR that Poliakoff is "not involved whatsoever" in the dismissal process for Churchill, and that Brown has not been affiliated with ACTA for almost a decade. She provided a document sent by Martin to Brown dated Dec. 11, 1997, acknowledging Brown's resignation from the National Council of the National Alumni Forum (ACTA's former name), due to his need to reduce his commitments in preparation for becoming president of the University of Northern Colorado. . . . McKinney also said that [Brown's former] position was unpaid, Brown has not been involved with ACTA since he came to CU, Brown had no role in the "How Many Ward Churchills?" report, and Brown has not even read that report.

    P & T Committee: CU should suspend and demote--not fire--Churchill

    The Post:

    University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill's conduct "falls below minimum standards of professional integrity," but he should not be dismissed, a confidential report says.

    The report, obtained Wednesday by The Denver Post, says that Churchill engaged in research misconduct. But it recommends that Churchill be suspended without pay for one year and his rank reduced to associate professor, a move that could reduce his annual salary by more than $20,000. . . .

    The proceedings "were specifically triggered by his exercise of his First Amendment rights," the report says.

    Churchill's attorney, David Lane, said he agreed with that finding but would favor no punishment. "Any action they take against him, we end up in federal court," Lane said.

    The AP reports how the Privilege and Tenure Committee's vote broke down:

    Three of the committee's five members recommended suspension, according to a copy of the committee report provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The other two members said he should be fired.

    Churchill's work was "below minimum standards of professional integrity and ... requires severe sanctions," the committee concluded. It said Churchill "committed multiple acts of plagiarism, fabrication and falsification."

    In a list of arguments against dismissal, it said his case "shows misbehavior, but not the worst possible misbehavior."

    The committee said he did not fabricate data to obtain grant money, did not endanger people's lives by ignoring research standards and did not damage the progress of important research.

    "Multiple acts of plagiarism, fabrication and falsification," but, hey, nobody died, so let's not fire him. Lively commenting, as you might expect, over at PB, via whom and etc.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    One-year suspension for Churchill?

    The Post:
    The attorney for University of Colorado ethnic-studies professor Ward Churchill said Tuesday that the committee reviewing his academic misconduct case has recommended a one-year suspension rather than dismissal.

    "We feel any discipline is not warranted, but at least (the committee members are) moving in the right direction," said Churchill attorney David Lane. "This will make it more difficult for Hank Brown and the regents to fire him."

    The Privilege and Tenure Committee on May 8 gave its report to CU president Hank Brown, who has 15 business days to consider the case record. He could advise firing Churchill, closing the case, or another punishment short of termination.

    The chairman of the committee, CU-Denver math professor Weldon Lodwick, said he could not comment.
    Not much point in spekalatin. If Brown, unlike anybody else involved in the process, makes his decision in a timely way (and publicly), we should know next week.

    (via PB)

    Update: Okay, just a little spekalatin. If the report is true, would Hank Brown dare ignore the committee's recommendation? If not, would Lane and Churchill go forward with a lawsuit for a mere one-year suspension? Both sides could claim (partial) victory and (from CU's point of view) avoid all kinds of hassle, bad publicity and expense. Hmpf.

    Update II: A commenter at PB: "If Churchill gets a one-year suspension it will confirm God's intent to punish Churchill AND CU. God knows they both deserve it."

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Prayers interrupted by work

    Nearly 100 Muslim workers have quit their jobs at a Swift & Co. meatpacking plant because their prayer times weren't accommodated.

    "They kind of issued the company an ultimatum," said Dan Hoppes, president of Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

    "They went in before the shift started (Monday) and said that they'd go unless they could pray when they needed to," Hoppes said today.

    Sean McHugh, a spokesman for Swift at its Greeley headquarters, said breaks are governed by a labor contract and all employees are told about them during orientation for all new employees.

    "The company has a history of making reasonable accommodations for legitimate religious practices," he said Monday. "Swift has experienced no issues related to religious accommodations in recent years.

    They have, of course, had "issues" over the employment of other immigrant groups.

    Hoppes said he believes the workers, who he said were Somali immigrants, had been offered jobs at a Kansas plant that would give them time off for prayer and make other accommodations for their religion. He didn't know the name of the company. . . .

    "They had talked to a couple of our representatives," Hoppes said, "but you can't go into the middle of the contract and renegotiate those types of things. You've got a lot of different nationalities at the plant, a lot of different religious beliefs." He said the company had tried to work with the Muslim workers, telling them: "'These are your break times. Can you fit it into that?'" But, Hoppes said, "If you take a hundred people out of that line you gotta shut down the line. It's a real touchy subject." McHugh said Swift's 15,000-member domestic work force is "a diverse mix of ethnicities and religious faiths." He said Swift expects no significant setbacks from the resignations.

    Homeless roundup planned for Dem convention

    Yeehaw! AP story in the Post:

    Denver plans to clear homeless people from downtown during the Democratic National Convention next summer, opening an emergency shelter that's normally used only in the winter.

    Other cities that have hosted conventions have launched similar efforts. But Roxane White, the city's human services manager, said the move is based on security concerns and isn't just about improving the Mile High City's image. . . .

    Uh-huh.

    The convention will be held at the Pepsi Center downtown, and security zone [sic] will include the South Platte River banks and underpasses where homeless people often camp.
    True story: One time a friend was riding his bike on the bike path along the Platte. It was night. Suddenly, bump bump! crash! He had run over a bum lying passed out across the path in the dark. Amazingly, neither bum was hurt.

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    George Will?

    The Colorado chapter of the American Association of University Professors has several pages, including this paper, on the Instructor Tenure Project, which, as noted here last week, advocates giving CU instructors tenure (duh) after seven years of teaching, on a track distinct from regular professorial tenure--but a track, naturally, worthy of equal respect (and, no doubt, pay).

    The authors, Don Eron and Suzannne Hudson--CU instructors who naturally would be grandfathered into tenure under their own proposal--quickly work up that combination of self-pity and self-aggrandizement so characteristic of, well, CU.


    Self-pity

    Low results on the Faculty Course Questionnaires (FCQ) can result in the termination of instructors' contracts. Students who are not getting the grades they've come to expect often are aware that if they serve the cause with sufficient energy they can persuade their fellow students to evaluate an instructor harshly. Because the instructor understands the necessity of pleasing students to maintain employment, the temptation to overpraise them may be overwhelming. When their performance is praised, naturally, students believe in their own excellence. While self-esteem may be a productive quality it quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns in competitive professional environments. . . . In all likelihood by the time they confront those diminishing returns, and learn they lack the skills and knowledge to cope, the instructor who told them they were excellent--as the bargain he cut with himself to maintain employment--will be forgotten, unlike those fearless, memorable, transfiguring teachers who long ago inspired us to follow a calling to higher education.
    So are longtime CU instructors Eron and Hudson admitting that they have succumbed to "overwhelming temptation" and sent students on their way "lacking the skills and knowledge to cope" (whatever that means)? I doubt it.


    Self-aggrandizement

    So unique is the role of university teachers to the survival of the group that their only obligation is to serve the good of society, within parameters [sic] determined not by their employers but by others within their profession. While this unique status has always infuriated segments of the population, society as a whole has tolerated the arrangement because . . . it is in the self-interest of society to do so.
    A little while before it was the "survival of democracy." Now it's "survival of the group."

    Not surprisingly, two officers of CO-AAUP are also signers of the letter alleging research misconduct by the Churchill investigating committee: Margaret LeCompte is CO-AUPP prez; Vijay Gupta is vice. (Ken Bonetti, an organizer of last week's bitter National! Emergency! Forum! is CO-AAUP's staff representative, while authors Eron and Hudson are treasurer and secretary, respectively. Keeping it in the fambly.) A leetle more self-aggrandismont [italics sic]:

    Tenure for contingent faculty recognizes that contingent faculty are a distinct demographic whose views are essential to the vitality of undergraduate life at CU and cannot be represented by tenured faculty who may be unaware that such distinctions in perspective may exist or are significant.

    Distinctions of class, I think they mean, instructors generally being from the proletariat and all.

    Then a warning:
    When contingent faculty find themselves in disagreement with tenured faculty, the tension is likely to remain beneath the surface, unrecognized yet destructive.
    Very strangely, alongside the typical po-mo leftie assertions that "as expressions of social conditions, ideas are essentially tools--or strategies that people use to solve their problems" (they mean "truth," of course, not "ideas"), there are at least two mentions of "the greatest generation" and a concluding quote from a surprise guest:
    If success, as defined by George Will, implies "an enterprise in which benefits exceed costs," then the experiment of contingency is an abject failure. It is never too late to replace failed strategies with better ideas.
    George Will! They must be sincere!

    (h/t Leah via snaps)

    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Profs file countercharges against Churchill investigating committee

    Well, they said they would. The komedy kut-ups over at the Ward Churchill Solidarity Net have it. The main charges by the nine profs against the committee:

  • relying on a biased and flawed source for major arguments;

  • improper exclusion of reputable independent sources that contradict the Report’s argument;
  • suppressing text from a cited source that contradicts the Report's argument;

  • excluding valid scholarly interpretations at variance with the Reports [sic] claims;

  • rhetorically exaggerating the strength of the case against Professor Churchill.
  • These charges revolve, of course, around blood quantum, John Smith, and the Mandan. Reading through the "evidentiary packet" I noticed my favorite, that the committee wrongly excluded a speech by Mandan leader Four Bears in support of Churchill's "infected blanket" charge--a speech for which there is no contemporaneous evidence.

    So, nothing new, but as PB (who had it first!) says, it'll muddy up the waters ahead of Churchill's suit against CU. It might even stall his firing. And how edifying, the spectacle of two groups of CU faculty coming to death grips (or such grippings as faculty can manage). Mission accomplished, CU President Hank Brown!

    Update: As Noj mentions in a comment at PB, not only is there no evidence that Four Bears made the speech imputed to him, but:
    What Churchill's supporters cover up is the fact that Four Bears did not mention gift blankets, did not mention the Army, did not mention a smallpox infirmary in St. Louis, and did not mention Army doctors deliberately telling Indians to scatter. In short, Four Bears does not substantiate any of the elements that Churchill himself fabricated and then attributed to Thornton.
    So even if he did make the speech, it doesn't bear out any of Churchill's claims.

    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    Video worth watching

    Pirate Ballerina links to video from Ward Churchill's appearance at UC-Irvine this week: The Jerk and The Jerk II: Let's Eat Israel!

    Saturday Night at the Radio (and pics)

    The D-a-W was in New Mexico last week and visited Bandelier National Monument. A few pics:


    The Big Kiva, which is reached by . . .


    . . . a ladder.

    First program, since I'm still on a World War II broadcast kick, is Fibber McGee and Molly, "Scrap Drive" (4-7-42).

    The village of Tyuonyi:



    A petroglyph higher up:


    The now extinct lobster-dog.

    Here's a roundup from NBC and affiliates of reaction around the country to the Normandy Invasion, evening of June 6, 1944.

    Prickly pear:



    Check this out: some Pueblan carved a TV out of solid stone:


    I think it's Friends.

    Waterfall on the trail down to the Rio Grande River:


    Purty.

    And finally, Lord Haw-Haw's last broadcast before the fall of Berlin: "Hei Hishler" (4-30-45).

    Yahweh Ben Yahweh

    Yahweh Ben Yahweh of the Nation of Yahweh died last week. Nobody ever tells me anything. Yahweh was nuttier than a (peanut) granola bar and hated white people even more than Louis Farrakhan does (Farrakhan admired him for it).
    Yahweh, a charismatic speaker known for his flowing white robes and jeweled turbans, explored various religious fringe groups before forming his sect in Miami in 1979.

    He controlled a multimillion-dollar business empire that included schools, grocery stores and real estate and once claimed 20,000 followers in 45 cities.

    Calling himself the "Original Jew" [that was O.J. Simpson's nickname too!], Yahweh adopted a name that means "God, the son of God" in Hebrew. He said he and his disciples were the true descendants of a long-lost tribe of Israel.
    Charlie Manson told his followers the same thing.

    From the beginning, however, Yahweh's group was associated with an intimidating style that often crossed into violence and murder. Still, he managed to cultivate an mage as a well-meaning, if eccentric, community builder.

    Yahweh helped clean up blighted neighborhoods and, at least among his followers, restored a sense of order to a crumbling social structure.

    He spoke to crowds of thousands around the country and received the blessings of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In 1987, the Miami Urban League gave Yahweh its highest humanitarian award, and its president pronounced him "an inspiration to the entire community."

    In October 1990, Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez declared a Yahweh Ben Yahweh Day. A month later, Yahweh was indicted on federal racketeering and conspiracy charges.

    During his trial, lurid details of life in the sect emerged.

    Among other things, Yahweh controlled the clothing, food and sex lives of the people in his group. Twice married and divorced earlier in life, he took many of his young female followers to his bed.

    Yahweh was surrounded by bodyguards called the Circle of 10, each armed with a 6-foot wooden staff. Members of an inner circle called the Brotherhood were, according to the federal indictment, required to kill a white person and deliver a severed head or ear to Yahweh as proof.

    From a ruling on Yahweh's appeal of his conviction:
    Violent crime cases are the exception in federal courts. The instant case is arguably the most violent case ever tried in a federal court: the indictment charges the sixteen defendants [followers of Yahweh] on trial with 14 murders by means such as beheading, stabbing, occasionally by pistol shots, plus severing of body parts such as ears to prove the worthiness of the killer. They were also charged with arson of a slumbering neighborhood using molotov cocktails. The perpetrators were ordered to wait outside the innocent victims' homes wearing ski masks and brandishing machetes to deter the victims from fleeing the flames.
    I don't mind crazy religious sects. There's something quintessentially American about them, even the hate-whitey separatist sort. But I don't remember ever reading that the Shakers, for instance, were very prone to arson or human head removal--and they didn't even have sex.

    Update: Since this kind of stuff comes in threes, we've had Kurt Vonnegut, Yahweh Ben Yahweh, and, um . . .

    Friday, May 11, 2007

    Great lead sentences of history

    This one is by Malaysian exile poet Anushka Anastasia Solomon:
    National Poetry Month just ended with the war unresolved in Iraq.
    Weird piece, too; it sort of veers in and out of sanity:
    In 2003, when anti-war poets spoke out and many declined First Lady Laura Bush's invitation to a symposium in quiet protest, I had the same complaint of nausea as Poets Against War founder Sam Hamill, but for profoundly different reasons.

    Andrew Motion, England's poet laureate, had weighed in with his 30-word poem, "Causa Belli," and celebrities like the Dixie Chicks had begun to corrode the cultural and political conversation. Poetry had become a diatribe.
    Quite.
    America's essentially democratic purposes are laid out in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman. The role of a poet in society is to chronicle not the state of the nation but its spirit. There are ideas in American poetry, policy and patriotism that bring us into conflict within and without.
    The classic "three p's" of conflict. I remember those from school. Now Anushka goes screwy:

    National Poetry Month should remind us to re-examine the ideas in and power of American poetry. We must encourage young Americans to think afresh and critically about war, violence, guns, sex, women, the environment, poetry and culture without handing down clich├ęs, partisan politics and prejudice.

    Note the cliches, partisan politics and prejudice in that paragraph. Why must we teach young Americans to think afresh, let alone critically, about any of that crap? What if a young American (say, me) wants to think critically about something else? Hmmm?

    The Bush-bashing poetry that proliferated after the White House symposium was canceled will neither outlive the poets who hastily penned these works nor inspire change. Poets, like prophets, have the opportunity to become repairers of broken walls, to walk through what the psalmist calls the valley of the shadow of death and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke described as "one long terrifying damnation."
    I call it "Jersey City." But she's making sense again!
    America today is to be distinguished from America yesterday. Tomorrow rests on the curve of the larger question: Who are we as Americans?
    She's stopped making sense again!
    In his "Letters To A Young Poet," Rilke advises the young poet to love the questions themselves, "as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language." Live the questions now, he admonished [bite me, I retort--ed.]. In her recent poem "We Are Virginia Tech," ["Distinguished Professor"] Nikki Giovanni asserts that the students and professors there will not be moving on. They will be embracing their grief and walking through it. They will not be consumed by it.

    In the very depths of the American soul resides the poet. American poetry is not esoteric. The American poet is one who believes in the power of the individual to rise up. In the face of tragedy, the American poet births the strategy for rebirth.
    Yeah, I guess.
    The American spirit is unashamed, unapologetic, informed and definitive [in short, sassy!--ed.] This spirit also cries out with Emily Dickinson: "I am finite, I can't see." Dickinson measured every grief she met with analytic eyes. She likened loss of faith to the loss of an estate and acknowledged the beggary of our being. In so doing, Dickinson - like Whitman and Hughes - gave us not just great poetry but what Hughes describes in "Freedom's Plow" as the community dream that belongs not to you and me alone but to all hands that build the world.

    Let National Poetry Month inspire us, like Whitman, to boldly celebrate these United States as the greatest poem. Let our spoken words and our poems infuse the world with the American spirit, saying with Langston Hughes, "yes" to poetry and "no" to the enemies of freedom, brotherhood and democracy. Let American poetry be an envoy beyond her shores, and let poets everywhere, like Hughes, declare:

    Out of war it came,
    bloody and terrible
    but it came!

    Anushka Anastasia Solomon (www.atthewindow.us) . . . was a Colorado Voices writer in 2002. Her chapbook, "Please, God, Don't Let Me Write Like A Woman," is scheduled for publication by Finishing Line Press.
    How damaging, that old playing field taunt: "you write like a girl!"

    Update: Anushka Anastasia Solomon is probably a traditional Malaysian name.

    Update II: Anushka begins with this epigraph:

    The people do not always say things out loud,
    Nor write them down on paper.

    - Langston Hughes

    Sometimes they think them quietly to themselves, Langston. Hint, hint.

    --the Drunkablog

    Update III: Yup.

    Update IV: Like Emily Dickinson, I, too, ackowledge the beggary of our being. So fuck off.