Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So . . .

What's happening in the Churchill trial? Oh, my. John Aguilar in the Camera:
Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves threw out one of Ward Churchill's two claims this afternoon, ruling that the former professor's assertion that the University of Colorado launched an investigation into his scholarship in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights was not "actionable.". . ."This case will go to the jury on the other claim where there is clearly an adverse employment action, which is being terminated," the judge said.

I've got the flu, bad, but by God, I can sit my weeping carcass at the computer for a minute for this. Naves, of course, made the right decision. You know, the old traffic-stop analogy. Fruit of the poisoned tree, my ass.

The first claim in his suit, which was dismissed this afternoon, was that CU launched an investigation into the former professor in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights, essentially chilling those rights.

Churchill didn't lose his job or his pay while the investigation was ongoing, the judge said, and the possibility that an investigation could chill free expression by others ho fear that making a controversial statement will result in a whole sale investigation of their scholarship is not sufficient to bring a retaliation claim. . . .

Naves said an investigation, in and of itself, is not an adverse employment action.

Benjie's gonna be wood-rasp mad about this.

Update: Just go over to PB, ye spalpeens, and scroll.

Update II: Nitwit anthropologist Max Forte says Churchill will be speaking at Concordia U in Montreal April 15. Subject: "How I lost my civil suit against CU." (Whistling in the dark here.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Proofreader needed

Top story at the Post: "Chily Europe awaits Obama."

Update: They were quicker than usual on the correction.


A free-speech group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is challenging fees schools charge student groups to provide security at campus speaking events, including the $2700 the University of Colorado billed two student groups who brought ex-terrorist Bill Ayers and eco-bore Derrick Jensen to speak in support of Ward Churchill earlier this month. The San Francisco Chronicle:
University spokesman Bronson Hilliard said about 1,100 people attended the event under tight security, which included pat-downs at the entrance, and behaved peacefully. He said university officials have planned to bill the sponsors about $2,700, but listened to the students' objections and have not made a final decision.

"There's no relationship between the cost of the security and the content of the speaker," Hilliard said. He said police consider the likely audience reaction when making security plans and should be able to pass along those costs to event organizers.

"What our law enforcement officials look at is, are we going to have a full venue and might we have audience members who disagree with the message?" Hilliard said. "That's a basic security planning protocol."
Even before FIRE got involved, it was clear CU was dragging its feet on billing the groups. Now, of course, it'll probably never happen. But it will be interesting to see whether they try to charge other groups in the future.

More Ward: PB says Churchill might have been supoenaed as a hostile witness in the upcoming trial of John Boy Graham for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.

Even more Ward: A "guest opinion" column at the Camera notes, as this bog has several times over the years, the similarities between the research malpractices of Churchill and Holocaust denier David Irving.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Barefoot boy with cheek of scab

The pirate with the shock-resistant parrot finds more Churchillian twisting of sources about the Mandan smallpox epidemic in Ward's article for Works and Days, published only weeks before the start of the trial. Of course, the article is in part recycled from an earlier piece.

CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke brought up this same article earlier in the trial, but only to point out that it was yet another version of events from Ward. What he didn't do was show that this was also another and stunningly clear example of Ward using sources which don't don't bear out his story. Why not?

Churchill v. Franklin

Major computer malfunction at the D-blog manse yesterday, so I'll just refer you over to fellow shit-knitter PB for yesterday's Churchill trial news. But here I'll note this piece in the Salt Lake Tribune by Jonathan Zimmerman on Ward Churchill and civil-rights pioneer John Hope Franklin, who died Wednesday at 94:

When John Hope Franklin started graduate school at Harvard in the 1930s, most American history books described blacks as ignorant savages and slavery as a benign institution for civilizing them. Blacks looted Southern coffers in the wake of the Civil War and raped white women, who were saved by the noble knights of the Ku Klux Klan. And the rest, as they say, was history.

It wasn't, of course; it was deceit and folk wisdom, dressed up as fact. So Franklin and his generation painstakingly dismantled it, uncovering millions of new documents--including letters, diaries, and interviews--that gave us a more accurate account of our past.

As any historian can tell you, this process is never easy. But it was many times harder for Franklin, who was denied access to whites-only archives or forced to sit in segregated sections of them. Conducting research at the Library of Congress, he couldn't find a nearby restaurant that would serve him.

But he pressed on. "For a Negro scholar searching for truth," Franklin later recalled, "the search for food in the city of Washington was one of the minor inconveniences."

To Ward Churchill, by contrast, the search for truth is itself an inconvenience. And that's the real scandal here. Why try to document your hunches with archival material, when you can pass them off as fact? Indeed, why visit an archive at all? . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Outsiders were buzzing weeks ago

Face The State on the Churchill jury:
Insiders are buzzing that David Lane, attorney for embattled former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, intentionally selected younger, less educated jurors who are likely to be more sympathetic toward his client. . . .

After attorneys for both sides were each allowed to strike up to six prospective jurors, the resulting panel was evenly split between men and women, all appearing to be around the age of 30 or under. According to multiple sources who spoke to Face The State off the record, it appears Lane intentionally sought younger jurors who had never attended college. . . .

Denver defense attorney Larry Pozner said juries are hard to predict, but there are certain generalizations that can be made. “I think Ward Churchill will be better off with younger jurors who are less knowledgeable about the Holocaust and less concerned about different lifestyles,” he said. “I suspect that David [Lane] felt older jurors were likely to react less favorably to Ward Churchill’s writings and demeanor.”. . .
The real question, of course, is how CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke let this happen. Did he run out of strikes, or did he just miss the gambit?

Update: Michael Roberts at Westword links to Bill O'Reilly last night. As usual, O'Reilly thinks it's all about him:

Megyn Kelly: "I'm convinced the jury doesn't like you."

Update II: More Chutch-leaning questions from the jury.

Update III: Eric Verlo at the Wart-supporting Not My Tribe notes Churchill's "curiously vile detractors":
It’s a little circle of shit-knitters, who cross-link or repost each others comments from Blogspot blogs Drunkablog, Slapstick Politics, People’s Press Collective, and riding point on the Churchill Trial, Pirate Ballerina. These are Little Green Football variety ditto-heads, and I hardly mean to draw attention to them, but their relentless character assassination seems to wag the local media dogs, and one might as well look into that.
Update IV: Game postponed on account of snow.

Update V: Jefferson Dodge at the S & G Record has a longish account of Churchill's testimony.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Truthforce cries!

Not exactly "Garbo speaks," but yes, that mean little woman, Ward Churchill's frau Natsu Saito, cried on the stand today while defending her may-un:
Natsu Taylor Saito broke down while describing how the University of Colorado effectively discredited her husband's life work and his attempts to challenge the dominant version of history and give traditionally oppressed ethnic groups a more complex and thorough story of their past.

"He calls out the big lies in history, not these ridiculous picky things we're aruging about here. The most harmful thing to Ward, and to me, is that it was an attempt to silence that history," Saito said, her words disappearing in a flow of tears.
Yuck. Quote of the day (decontextualized version): "'My tenure at the University of Colorado was worthless,' [Saito] concluded during cross-examination."

Update: Another ominous juror question, this one addressed to Todd Gleeson, Ward's "direct supervisor" at CU and dean of the college of arts and sciences:

Another juror question addressed testimony given by several university faculty and administrators throughout the trial that stated that one of the reasons Churchill was dismissed was that he never apologized and owned up to his mistakes.

"Do you feel someone should apologize for something they dont find they did wrong just to satisfy others," read the jury question.

Gleeson had a pretty good answer, though:

Gleeson responded by saying if 20 or more fellow faculty members determined that his behavior was out of line, "I would hope I could swallow my pride and apologize for those acts and correct the record."
Update: "Truthforce" explained.

What's it all about, Mikie?

Mike Littwin continues his minimization of the Churchill trial. "World has moved beyond Churchill":

What we had instead of drama was a re-introduction to Ward's World, in which — and I swear, under oath, this is one of the linchpins of the trial — we got a full hearing of how Churchill wrote an essay that was published under the name of Professor Rebecca Robbins which was then cited by Churchill in another essay he wrote (this one under his own name) to support a point made in the Robbins essay written (remember) by Churchill himself. Which may or may not be a case of circular academic fraud, but is definitely one of the strangest linchpins of a case to ever make its way into Denver District Court. . . .

Long ago, CU didn't settle because the story was too hot, and the editorialists and the talk-show guys and the governor said that principle was more important here. And now we're wondering what the principle was exactly, unless it was for CU to have yet another scandal drag out for years — and face an embarrassing loss in the end.
Littwin's obtuseness in a nutshell: he doesn't know what the principle is that CU, albeit tardily, half-heartedly, and from a weak moral position of its own, is fighting for.

Vince Carroll (who was in the courtroom yesterday) has another view.

Update: Pirate Ballerina notes a suit filed by one Patrick O'Rourke over boots and obnoxious liquids.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Churchill on the stand II

That juror's question at the end of Churchill's testimony today was indeed disquieting, to say the least, for those who might have hoped the jury had gotten past the genesis of the research misconduct complaints against Ward. The juror asked, "Would all of these allegations have surfaced if not for the 9/11 essay?"

I didn't hear the "soft gasps" John Aguilar at the Camera blog says the mostly Churchill-supporting spectators emitted, but it was sure a softball for Ward, and bad news for the defense.

In case you were wondering, he said no.

I'm just going to fill in some gaps in the Post and Camera live-blogs here.

Churchill attorney David Lane started off by asking Churchill about the extensions he got to provide info to the investigating committee. Churchill said they weren't enough, and drew an analogy to Senator Inhofe demanding evidence for the famous "hockey stick" of global warming, which its proponents were supposedly unable to provide in the time alloted. Good analogy, in that the hockey stick is bullshit and so was Ward's evidence.

Then more about the absence of phrases like "half-blood" in the General Allotment Act and Churchill's use of quotation marks. Churchill invited any adversary in the gallery to come up and open a vein with him and see if they could tell which parts of the blood were Indian and which weren't. Not quite sure why.

Lane then got Churchill to say that his quotation marks were "sarcastic." Later, of course, Churchill went into the old "the administration of the Act is the same thing as the act itself" routine, so what happened to the sarcasm?

Churchill brought up the countercharges various hacks made against the committee: serial plagiarism, outright fabrication, misuse of sources, etc. Michael Radelet's Wampanoag mistake was just the tip of the iceberg, he said. He also complained again that the investigative committee's report was falsely deemed "administrative" rather than "scholarly," so immune to review in response to scholarly criticism.

Yes, it was funny how he claimed his work output had been so reduced, and that he had four or five books that he couldn't finish because of the brouhaha.

Lane brought out how IC member Michael Radelet had said that Churchill's 30 years of research wasn't "worth a pitcher of warm spit." This phrase was to recur.

CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke (is that a Jewish name?) started his cross with a half-hearted attempt at the "disruption" defense--that government employees have free speech up until they disrupt the operations of that gubmint or its agency. He didn't stick with it long.

O'Rourke next brought up those elusive "standards" Churchill was held to, and got Churchill to agree that whether they were well-defined or not, certain things are wrong--you know, plagiarism, fabrication, etc.

O'Rourke noted that the plagiarism of Fay Cohen's article was not just of "four paragraphs," as Churchill had asserted, but "from stem to stern and everywhere in the middle."

Churchill wouldn't quite say who had actually committed the plagiarism of the Cohen article. O'Rourke asked, "Annette Jaimes?" and Ward answered, "Well, close, somebody in the Northwest."

O'Rourke got Churchill to again claim he didn't recognize Cohen's article when he copy-edited it only a year after he had used it in another book. But O'Rourke embarrased himself by claiming even the titles of the articles were the same, then putting them up and discovering they weren't. That got a sneering laugh from the spectators. O'Rourke, you idiot.

O'Rourke asked what possible reason Churchill would have for putting others' names on his own work: "Why didn't you put your name on all [of the articles he contributed to the book The State of Native America]?

Churchill: Why should I?

O'Rourke posited that he attributed the articles to others because he was going through a divorce with Jaimes and just wanted to get the crap out the door without bothering with any editorial process.

And why did Ward include the Cohen article in his first tenure-track faculty review in (I think) 1991? Because Jaimes submitted the work and others filled out the forms. The Camera's Aguilar says of this: "He took responsibility for the oversight."

At the beginning of the day Lane had put a binder into evidence which Ward said contained the traditional Indian evidence of his claim that the Army intentionally spread smallpox to the Mandan. O'Rourke now: Show me in the binder where it says there was a smallpox infirmary in St. Louis.

Ward: I can't show you that in so many words. Being a scholar, I'm interpreting.

A juror shook his head. That was about it from the binder. Except for Buffy St. Marie.

Tons of stuff about "scattering," Churchill's conflation of Fort Union with Fort Clark and the Assiniboine with the Mandan ("The Mandan at Fort Clark are symbolic of the whole."), middle-school textbooks that bore Ward out (but only on one point), Russell Thornton and the number of Indian deaths ("Surely you can read the text in different fashions. That's true of almost any text"), Four Bears ("He doesn't say "blankets." My sin was referring to a broader body of knowledge . . ."), and so on. How the jury is going to fare with the sheer volume of argle-bargle I won't venture to guess.

O'Rourke ended by trying to get Ward's paranoia going, asking why so many faculty had agreed that he cheated. Was it a conspiracy? No. Did all these people just sell you out? "They protected their own interests, their own turf."

On redirect Lane brought out that Churchill had gotten two "verbal" job offers, one at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, the other at Southwest Minnesota State University, in, one assumes, southwestern Minnesota.

Lane also made a big deal of the fact that "ghostwriting" was not included in CU's list of prohibited academic practices. People clapped at that.

Just a little more about O'Rourke's cross-examination. He was not strong. He didn't try to rile Ward, he spoke too softly, and he made that dumb mistake. There was no fire to the man, no "j'accuse!" Now I'm worried.

Update: Gee, even the Grauniad had a reporter there today: "Controversial University of Colorado professor fights to get job at [sic] back" (now you know why it's called the "Grauniad"). (If you didn't already.)

Update II: Useless, unindicative factoid: Every one of Lane's seven or eight or nine objections today was overruled, except maybe for part of one ruling. The Chutch-supporting crowd got sick of it, as evinced by their, yes, "soft" groans.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Churchill takes the stand

Oh God, with an eagle feather on red fabric next to him. According to the Camera, he's spouting bullshit about--er, contextualizing--his "little Eichmanns" essay. You know the drill: "He said if you make it a 'practice of killing other peoples' babies for your own personal gain, that eventually, they are going to give you a taste of the same thing.'"

Churchill also denied plagiarizing Fay Cohen:
Churchill acknowledged that it appears Cohen was plagiarized in the essay, but he said he did not write the essay and was merely an editor of the piece.

"I was a copy editor, essentially," Churchill said.

"Did you tell that to the committee?" Lane asked

"I tried to," he said.
Earlier Tink Tinker and Chief Facilitator Russell Means emoted:
Means choked up on the witness stand and said "to take a small phrase and besmirch him and try to ruin his reputation among the people who know what he writes. It is a scholarly massacre — it's what I call it. It's not right and it's full of holes...they do not treat white professors at CU the same way."
Update: More from the Post on Churchill's testimony, this on the Mandan epidemic being "common knowledge":

"I've been hearing this all my life from traditional sources and mainstream sources. It's enshrined in songs and oral traditions specific to the Mandan," Churchill said.

Churchill said he's attended several speaking engagements since the misconduct allegations arose and people are stunned when he tells them that he is accused of making up facts about smallpox being introduced by the Army, something he considers common knowledge.
"Enshrined in songs and oral traditions specific to the Mandan." Just the other day, of course, investigative committee member Robert Clinton noted in his testimony (scroll to bottom) that the committee had
even contacted the Mandan tribe cultural resource officer to ask if she was aware of any oral traditions that would back up Churchill's account, Clinton testified.

She said no.
Update: Obvious question: Where exactly are these stories and songs? If Churchill could come up with any, he would, wouldn't he? Sing one for us, Ward. No, don't.

Update II: The Camera's John Aguilar finishes up the day. Read it yourself, but I liked this: "Ward Churchill, in often long-winded testimony that Lane tried to move along with prompts of "briefly" and 'in 25 words or less'. . ."

This is good, too:
Churchill explained to the jury another misconduct allegation against him -- that he had stated there was pretty good circumstantial evidence that Captain John Smith had deliberately infected the Wampanoags in Massachusetts with smallpox in the 1600s.

He said he wasn't implicating Smith personally but rather the subjugation effort he led in New England.

"Not that he personally did it, but that it would have been done on his instructions," Churchill said.

The fact that smallpox has a two-week incubation period and the disease didn't spread among the Wampanoags for two years after Smith's departure, Churchill said, can be explained by the fact that some of Smith's subordinates remained in the area.

"He's got men on the ground both of the years leading up to the epidemic," he testified.
Gee, where's the "formite" transmission gambit?

Radelet: No telling how much Churchill has cheated

CU sociology prof and Churchill investigative committee member Michael Radelet on direct examination:

Radelet dismissed the notion that just because a handful of examples of research misconduct was found by the investigative committee that it was much ado about nothing. He testified that the committee didn't come close to looking at all of Churchill's scholarship and that there was no guarantee there weren't more problems in those pages.

"It just sullies everything he's done," he said.

Churchill's attorney David Lane, of course, has repeatedly claimed CU looked at every word Churchill ever wrote.

Update: Oh, Snaps! The Post:
Radelet did not back down on the question of whether Churchill could claim that his assertions about smallpox were merely opinion, arguing that claims that are footnoted should stand for something in the academic world. Lane also attempted to show that Churchill's statements about Smith and smallpox constituted only a few lines in a much larger 40-page essay, but Radelet disagreed with the assertion that it wasn't that big a deal.

"It is a big deal when a centerpiece of the theme of the essay is built on a false assertion," Radelet said.

That theme, he pointed out, was the systematic genocide perpetuated by Europeans and white Americans against American Indians. And he argued that Churchill's claims about Smith and smallpox were "girders" in his argument, and therefore important.

Radelet said by Churchill's way of thinking, he could be a suspect in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey because he was in Boulder in 1996 and he hated the Miss America Pageant.

"It's the same amount of evidence, the same amount of circumstantial evidence that the Boulder police have on me for killing JonBenet Ramsey," Radelet said.

Churchill lawyer: CU hates Indians

In an otherwise blah synopsis of the trial and related issues, Indian Country Today quotes Churchill attorney Robert "the" Bruce:
Although Churchill was initially regarded publicly as Indian and his writing attacked on that basis, later it was charged that he was not Indian and his views were therefore not those of most Native people as a whole.

“There was a lot of purposeful confusion – they (university officials) fostered the confusion in an attempt to drive Ward out, hoping he would just leave,” said Bob Bruce, co-counsel for Churchill.

“They asked around to other American Indian scholars – ‘If it turns out he is non-Native, does that make his scholarship less?’” Bruce said, noting “they couldn’t find any, so they dropped it as a formal attack.”

“The University of Colorado obviously disrespects American Indian studies,” he said, and one can draw one’s own conclusions as to whether “that means they disrespect Native people.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mercedes, out

A few protesters gathered on Boulder street corners yesterday to protest the war in Iraq and allegedly kindred matters.

I know, who cares, but the Camera has a photo gallery which contains pics of not one but two signs on which the peace symbol is screwed up in the usual way. For such a small protest that's a pretty good haul.

Little Churchills

Vince Carroll on why the Churchill case matters:
It matters because Churchill is not alone, because he stands for a small but aggressive wing of academia at war with the belief that history is reconstructed by sifting through credible evidence to reach fact-based conclusions. To them, history is politics by another name. This mentality has been on vivid display in court for two weeks, where the former University of Colorado ethnic studies professor is suing CU. At times, the testimony has achieved a looking glass quality — and never more so than on Wednesday, when Professor Michael Yellow Bird of the University of Kansas returned to the stand.

Yellow Bird spent much of his testimony asserting that academics are free to embellish history — maintaining, for example, that they frequently "invent possibilities" and "treat them almost as a fact, yes." But he did stop short of openly saying that fraudulence was fine. Yet as his testimony drew to a close, CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke pounced with a Perry Mason moment: Hadn't Yellow Bird once told a CU faculty committee that a "fabricated, made-up account promoted truth"?

As O'Rourke asked, a transcript of Yellow Bird's statement to the committee was displayed on a screen. The professor hesitated, then admitted, "Yes."

Why so much coverage of Churchill? Because if he wins, so do all the other enemies of academic integrity — like Yellow Bird.
Churchill watchers all know this, of course, but it's nice to see it in the Post, at least as a counter to Mike Littwin.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stolen Churchill update

Thought I'd make it to the trial today, but a landlord's work is never done. So I'll just steal from the Camera blog again. Sounds like Churchill investigative committee member Robert Clinton was strong on direct examination:
Clinton, who was called out of order by CU to testify, said Churchill violated academic standards when he wrote an essay and attached another scholar's name -- Rebecca Robbins -- to it.

But worse, Clinton testified, is that Churchill then cited Robbins' essay -- which was actually his own -- in one of his subsequent works and didn't disclose he was the original author of the cited source.

He said it doesn't matter if Robbins agreed to have her name placed at the top of the piece, though he testified that Churchill was unable or unwilling to provide any proof that he had Robbins' consent in crediting her with the essay.

"Other researchers are going to assume -- and rightfully -- that this is a third-party independent source," Clinton told the jury. "It's like fabricating your own data."

He said it also has the effect of "skewing reward mechanisms" at universities by giving Robbins a credit for something she didn't do, which could result in a promotion or increased salary at her university.

Clinton also accused Churchill of "disrespecting" American Indians by attempting to credit their sacred tradition of oral history for evidence of his statements about the smallpox epidemic along the Upper Missouri River in the 1830s.

He said Churchill tried to convince the committee "after the fact" that oral traditions were his major sources for contending that the U.S. Army purposely introduced smallpox to the Mandan Indians.

"Had professor Churchill been able to produce any interviews suggesting those were his sources, we would have absolutely accepted those oral histories," Clinton told the jury. "To trot out oral tradition and hide behind it as a defense, when you didn't rely on it in print, is -- we thought -- totally disrespectful of the oral tradition."

He said the investigative committee didn't stop there. It even contacted the Mandan tribe cultural resource officer to ask if she was aware of any oral traditions that would back up Churchill's account, Clinton testified.

She said no. . . .

Thursday, March 19, 2009


A girl tripped by just now wearing a pair of pink, bell-bottom, hip-hugger pants. And I realized: I used to own a pair just like them.

They looked better on me.

Churchill trial today: O'Rourke becomes animated!

After they finished with retired CU history prof and investigative committee member Margaret McIntosh ("She [committee chair Mimi Wesson] was exhibiting every sign of fairness and openness. I didn't see any signs of a hidden agenda.'"), Churchill lawyer David Lane called David Stannard, professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii and, of course, a Churchill supporter. He was questioned on how Churchill arrived at his number of 400,000 Indians killed by the Mandan smallpox epidemic in 1837. From the Camera blog:

Stannard said Churchill was not wrong in stating that deaths may have reached as high as 400,000 in the wake of the epidemic.

"He's mostly trying to point out the terrible, terrible tragedy of this disease," Stannard said.
By making up numbers. After all, "fabricated, made-up accounts promote the truth."
But O'Rourke lunged [lunged?] at Stannard's defense of Churchill by taking the professor through a paragraph-by-paragraph recitation written by Churchill himself describing how he got to his fatality numbers.

O'Rourke, standing near the screen and pointing to words projected on it, told Stannard that Churchill cited Russell Thornton's book, "American Indian Holocaust and Survival," to arrive at his numbers.

He said the highest total Churchill could reach -- adding up all of Thornton's numbers -- was 144,000 American Indians killed by the epidemic.

"Is 144,000 anywhere near 400,000?" O'Rourke asked Stannard loudly.

The professor said it wasn't.

But he also testified that Thornton had relied on another academic source for his numbers that might ultimately justify a greater number of deaths from the epidemic.
O'Rourke countered that Churchill, though, had only cited Thornton for his fatality total.

On re-direct, Churchill attorney Robert Bruce said if a "reasonable scholar" believed the higher number of deaths to be true, wouldn't that be enough to meet CU's standard that misconduct had not been committed -- that a "reasonable scholar" could have come to the same conclusion Churchill did .

Stannard said it would.
None of these jokers would know a "reasonable scholar" if s/he bit them. Next up was Philo Hutcheson, a professor of education at Georgia State (where Churchill's frau, Natsu "Truthforce" Saito is a law professor). After Chutch attorney Robert "the" Bruce elicited the usual garbage ("'In a huge output of work -- I'll be blunt -- I would expect there would be some errors,' he said.") CU's O'Rourke asked him what he's asked almost every Churchill testifier:

[I]f he had ever written something, attached someone else's name to it, and then referred back to it as a third-party independent source.

Churchill has been accused of doing that with an essay he wrote to which Rebecca Robbins name was attached.
Accused? He admitted it.
Hutcheson said no.
The brilliant Emma Perez, professor of ethnic studies at CU, was next. Predictably, she put her foot in it:
Perez told the jury she and some other faculty members shot off a letter of grievance to CU for its findings on Churchill and never got a response.

"Which showed me once again that ethnic studies is held in low esteem at the university," she testified.
Wonder why? (Perez, you'll remember, has been whining that effnic studies don't get no respect for years.)

On cross-examination, O'Rourke asked Perez if out of the more than 1,000 tenure-track faculty at CU, fewer than 10 signed her grievance letter.

"Yes it was very disappointing, wasn't it," she responded.

"I have nothing further," the lawyer said.

All this, obviously, is from the Camera blog. I'll be there tomorrow.

Update: The C-blog has this afternoon's playacting, too. Sounds like the jury likes Lane.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where's Wardo?

Actually I know exactly where he is, every day. I've been sitting in Courtroom Six on the second floor of the City and County Building looking at the backs of his enormous, yellowed, half-inch-thick ears for seemingly decades now.

But when's he going to testify? His attorney David Lane said last week it would be "early" this week, but tomorrow's Thursday, which under no hermeneutics can be called "early" in any week, no matter how deconstructed. Today the defense had investigative committee member Jose Limon testify out of order, then video of Marjorie McIntosh, another committee member. Tomorrow they'll finish up her testimony, and after that, I believe, yet another committee member, Michael Radelet, is slated. Then maybe some regents. I'm beginning to wonder whether Ward'll testify this week at all.

McIntosh did well, by the way, in her "gigantic yellow-tinted sunglasses," but I don't think anybody (including me) has mentioned the clip Lane showed last week, probably from the same deposition, in which McIntosh (who looks like the retired historian-lady she is), said she'd never heard of critical race theory.

Anyway, quote of the day, from, of course, Churchill defender Michael Yellow Bird: "[F]abricated, made-up accounts promote the truth."

Update: In case there's any misapprehension, I wasn't there today. Gotta kind of pick my spots, which is another reason I wish Churchill would testify already, or at least that the two sides would announce their upcoming witnesses.

Update II: About Courtroom Six: It sux. I'm a lithe young prole, but half an hour sitting on those benches and I'm ready for a walker (which I steal from the 74-year-old Chutch supporter just behind me every day at lunchtime. "Hey, you young hegemonist!" he yells. It's hilarious).

The room's acoustics are horrible, and the sound system (which I believe the lawyers supply themselves) is rinky beyond dink. There are cigarette burns in the floor. How long's it been since smoking was allowed in courtrooms?

Update III: There actually is a 74-year-old Chutch supporter who attends the trial every day (at least, he's been there every time I have). No walker, but he does wear a go-to-hell Indian hat like his hero. He likes the benches even less than I do.

More hole-digging from Michael Yellow Bird

From the Camera's Churchill trial blog this morning:

For the final question CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke asked indigenous studies professor Michael Yellow Bird during his re-cross Wednesday morning, he pulled up [sic] a transcript of previous testimony the professor had given to CU's Privilege & Tenure Committee and asked him if he had made the statement that "fabricated, made-up accounts promote the truth."

With a slight pause, Yellow Bird said yes.

The Camera also notes that the defense is asking that investigative committee member Jose Limon be allowed to testify out of order. If that's okayed, it wouldn't be surprising if Churchill's testimony is pushed back another day.

Update: Vince Carroll: "Churchill's lawyer says anything goes."

Terrorist-supporting ex-lawyer in Colorado next week to support Churchill

Lynne Stewart, the pudgy defense lawyer convicted in 2005 of providing "material aid to terrrorists," will be here the 24th to provide moral support to Ward in his suit against CU, according to her website.

(via, appropriatedly, the Norfolk Crime Examiner)

Churchill Trial, Day Whatever: The Destruction of Michael Yellow Bird

Yes, Ward was supposed to take the stand today, but CU law prof and head of the Churchill investigating committee Mimi Wesson was still on the stand when I got there for the afternoon session, then came Sumi "Hegemonic free expression" Cho, and then, miraculously, Michael Yellow Bird. O'Rourke's cross of Yellow Bird was a thing of beauty, and a foretaste of what's in store for the Big Guy. It was a game-changer, a turning of the tide, the Comeback Kid coming back, and any other cliche you can think of.


But there's no question that Patrick O'Rourke, CU's lead attorney, made a fool out of one of Churchill's most dogged academic supporters, and exposed for the convenient fiction it is the claim (made over and over again in this trial) that "different standards" are required to judge scholarly work in ethnic or American Indian studies.

Yellow Bird, a "citizen of the Sahnish (Arikara) and Hidatsa Nations", director of something called the "Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Critical and Intuitive Thinking" and associate professor of Indigenous Nations Studies at the University of Kansas, after being qualified as an expert in indigenous studies, was questioned by one of Churchill lawyer David Lane's associates.

The subject was the famous Mandan smallpox epidemic at Fort Clark in 1837. Under the lawyer's friendly questioning Yellow Bird pointed out how the investigative report's section on the incident used sources that "once again" blamed Indians for the outbreak. Some accounts, the report says, tell how three Arikara women traveled upstream on the St. Peter's, the boat on which the smallpox developed, then disembarked at Fort Clark after possibly being exposed to the disease, then spreading it because they were hoors.

These women, Yellow Bird said, were put in a "really bad light,"essentially called "prostitutes" who had themselves infected their own people--just another example of blaming Indians for the "death and destruction" white people had brought on them.

He also sneered at another possible explanation for the outbreak the committee mentioned, that a Mandan had gotten aboard the St. Peter's and acted "Like Rambo sneaking up to steal the blankets, so now he's the one who started the epidemic."

How, Lane's associate asked, moving along, do oral traditions work without being written down?

Brain plasticity, YB responded. Neural pathways. It only takes a couple of cues. He also claimed that "all this criticism" of the accuracy of oral traditions has been "pretty much debunked." I did not know that.

O'Rourke began his cross examination by noting that Yellow Bird, Evelyn Hu-Dehart and Churchill all questioned the "master narrative"--in this case, white folks' version of Indian history--especially in how the narrative changes over time to cover over inconvenient facts. "Where the story keeps changing somebody's probably not telling the truth," O'Rourke said. "Correct?" Yellow Bird smelled the rat:

YB: Maybe, or it could be incomplete information.

O'Rourke then asked YB (sorry, already tired of spelling it out) if it were he who had been accused of research misconduct, wouldn't he "respond by describing how you reached your conclusions and where your [information?] came from. True?"

YB: No. If there were sources I said I was going to protect, I wouldn't say where I got them

O'R: You ever seen Professor Churchill say "I'm protecting a source"?

YB: No. [. . .]

There was a whole lot about protecting sources from YB, including mention of "sacred sources"--elders and medicine men and the like--but nothing about Churchill ever having used that particular excuse.

O'Rourke began wading through the several versions of the Fort Clark story Churchill offered to the committee. In the first, he noted, Churchill said he relied on traditional written sources, not even mentioning oral tradition.

O'R: Now, if you were relying on oral history, would you write that you were relying on traditional written sources [to protect a source]? . . . You wouldn't make up another story about "here's what I relied on [written documents] . . ." would you?

YB: . . . I would have integrity and protect the source that could be compromised or attacked, so that shows scholarly integrity in that sense . . . [paraphrasing and skipping some stuff I couldn't decipher]. Sometimes people go to great lengths to hide sources. American Indians Studies is an emerging discipline, and a lot of these voices that have been censored and trivialized, a lot of them punched in the press [?] . . . Some of these people are from Indian boarding schools, where they've been tortured and beaten, and whenever they talk about these things they're accused of making things up, accused of lying . . . and they've learned not to trust people. It's like having a big family secret . . . and you protect that source. . . . American Indian Studies is really a different discipline . . . that has to contend with a really horrible history. It's really a horrible history. And sometimes if that's what it takes to protect your sources . . .

Unfortunately, O'Rourke noted, in another version submitted to the committee, Churchill actually named his alleged source, sort of blowing away that argument.

O'R brought up yet a third version (this one he named: submission H: "The Fort Clark Smallpox Pandemic Revisited: A Case Study of Genocide and Denial") and asked, "Do you see how this is changing over time"?

More word (or maybe ward) salad from YB, the upshot of which was that there should have been an American Indian scholar on the committee, which would have precluded this problem at the very start because he would have understood oral history and been able to explain it to whitey, er, the other committee members.

O'Rourke moved on to Churchill's book Since Predator Came, in which Churchill says flatly that the U.S. Army knowingly distributed smallpox blankets to the Indians, and backs it up by citing Russell Thornton's American Indian Holocaust and Survival. Naturally, there's nothing at all about smallpox-infected blankets in the pages Ward cites. O'R again asked YB if he wouldn't expect to be able to find a source where it was cited. YB, though it took him a while, finally came up with this gem by way of minimization:

Scholars do this kind of thing all the time.

This was to be something of a theme. For example, O'Rourke asked YB: If I were doing oral history, I couldn't go in and add additional details that I made up just because it makes for a better story?"

YB: People do it all the time. . . Look at the Bible. . . Look at stories about Christmas and Thanksgiving and . . . it's a very common practice that people do. Scholars do the same thing.

There was much more, of course--the (non-existent) St. Louis smallpox infirmary; the (non-existent) St. Peter's infirmary; the (non-existent) Fort Clark doctor; the (non-occurring) "scattering." O'R went after them all, forcing YB to emit clouds of argle-bargle to escape (which he didn't)--but it's too late to go into it.

Oh, one more thing: O'Rourke ended with a little surprise, noting that Ward's article in the special "Academic Freedom" edition of Works and Days, which came out about two weeks ago, contains yet another version of the Mandan smallpox incident. In this one, O'R said, Churchill dispenses altogether with the St. Louis infirmary. Instead, a fur company employee named William May brought the smallpox blankets from Maryland.

It's hard to get across how different from his earlier forays O'Rourke's cross-examination of YB was. He was sharp but polite, and after each fogout of verbiage from Yellow Bird, he'd say, "Okay," with just the tiniest stretch of the word as if to not quite imply, "well, if that's how you want to answer (you miserable pudknocker)," and move on to the next question. He was always ready with the refuting quote or (existent or non-existent) cite. It was dee-lightful.

It was also the first time I'd seen the jury obviously regarding a Churchill witness with the ol' hairy eyeball. At times they looked very skeptical indeed. O'Rourke's cross of Yellow Bird made David Lane's oft-repeated "All Ward Churchill, all the time," sound very hollow. More, please.

Update: At one point Yellow Bird commented that Churchill's assertions should be challenged by others in his field, and "'That's why it's important that this remain in the Academy and not in the courts' he told the jury." As a commenter at the Camera blog asked, "Uh, who brought this debate into the courts?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Afternoon Churchill trial

More Lane whacking on Wesson, but she appeared to have had a feist injection over lunch. As the Post points out, she called Churchill's 9/11 essay "cruel and gratuitous."

Lane put up the seven allegations of misconduct the investigative report covered, and noted that the first four (the GAA of 1887, the Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, Captain John Smith and smallpox, and the Mandan and smallpox) all originated with Professor John LaVelle (although actually brought by interim chancellor DiStefano) while the fifth allegation (the Dam the Dams article), was encouraged by him. I assume this signals a full-on assault on LaVelle later in the trial.

As lawyers do, Lane likes to hop around from subject to subject to keep witnesses off-balance. He moved to Rebecca Robbins, comparing what she did in allowing her name to be used as author when Ward had written the piece in question to a judge signing his own name to the work of his clerks. "It's her call, right?" he asked about her doing so. The investigative committee found otherwise, especially since Churchill subsequently cited the article he acknowledged he had written to bolster his arguments in other books and articles.

Lane got Wesson to admit that while the committee had said this fell below scholarly standards, she couldn't point to any standards that spelled out just what was wrong about it.

Lane then tried to get Wesson to admit that "extrinsic pressure" forced the committee to unfairly deny Ward more time to prepare his case. When she denied this, he put up an e-mail Wesson had sent to another committee member, citing a letter from "concerned parents" that had made her "panicky" at the slowness of the process. She said that was just her personal feeling, but that the committee as a whole had often given Churchill more time and finally decided enough was enough--they didn't want the process lasting another year.

Back to the General Allotment Act (like I say, Lane likes to jump around). He compared the absence of terms like "blood quantum" and the like in Churchill's account to the Constitution not containing the word "abortion" or "privacy." Wesson offered to explain why this was a false comparison, but Lane moved on, to ask if she knew what Churchill's motives might have been to falsify. She read from the committee report (p. 23):

To put it most simply, it was part of a pattern and consistent research stratagem to cloak extreme, unsupportable, propaganda-like claims of fact that support Professo Churchill's legal and political claims with the aura of authentic scholarly research . . .

Lane then played a clip of Wesson saying she didn't know what Churchill's motivations were. She replied that she meant she couldn't understand why someone so talented would resort to cheating. Blech.

To the Dam the Dams piece. Wesson admitted that the committee had never contacted Z-mag about the version that appeared in its pages to confirm, as Churchill had claimed, that it was their fault Churchill's co-author was left unnamed. But she didn't say what the report did: that it's the author's responsibility to straighten such problems out. Churchill didn't; more, he claimed sole authorship of the article on his CV.

Fay Cohen. Lane notes that Churchill admitted that the article Cohen wrote, "Implementing Indian Treaty Fishing Rights," was plagiarized for the book The State of Native America, but not by him, a mere copyeditor for the volume. Wesson pointed out, as does the report, that as Churchill was given credit for "taking the lead role" in the volume, and was general editor of the book Cohen's piece had originally appeared in just a year before, it was hard to take Churchill's assertion seriously. Again Lane asked what Churchill's motivation could possibly be(and this is the quote of the day):

Wesson: Professor Cohen gave us reasons why he would do this.

Lane She is at odds with Churchill, isn't she?

Wesson: I perceived that she was afraid of Ward Churchill.

More later, maybe, on the long wrangle about confidentiality, and whether CU broke it in Ward's case.

Did you know there's a journal called Insurgent Sociologist?

Update: Never mind about my recounting Prof. Lombardo's testimony from this morning. Race to the Bottom makes my coverage in general look quite sick. (On the other hand, I don' wanna cover it the way they do. )

Update II: Seen: Mike Littwin for the morning session; Ken Bonetti, a student advisor in economics at CU and organizer of the embarrassing National Emergency Forum in support of Ward back in 2007, for part of the afternoon; Churchill enforcer Josh Dillabaugh, ditto.

Update III: Rex points out in comments that the John Smith and Mandan allegations were put forward by Thomas Brown. Won't make much difference to Lane's (soon-to-be unveiled) argument that a couple of long-time Chutch-haters were behind most of the allegations.

Update IV: PB notes that the Silver & Gold Record has its special supplement on the Churchill trial out. It doesn't exactly break new ground.

Update V: Noj corrects again, pointing out that the Rocky's Kevin Vaughan was the source of the John Smith allegations. The more the merrier.

Update VI: Sorry, there WAS a journal called Insurgent Sociologist; it's now called Critical Sociology. Same Marxist claptrap, though.

Churchill morning session

Go to the Boulder Camera blog for a sketchy account of the testimony of Paul Lombardo, an "expert" in eugenics and eugenics law, and the first witness this morning. I accidently erased my notes, but got it on tape, so I'll have more on him this evening when I can get to it (Look, ma, I'm a reporter!)

Alan Jones, a supposed expert on the much-maligned (by Churchillians) American Council of Trustees and Alumni, was disqualified on an objection by O'Rourke from offering expert opinion on same because he'd never actually written about ACTA--or at least, hadn't listed such writings on his CV. Goodbye, Al.

Mimi Wesson was up next. Lane tried to tie her to the regents' apology "to the entire United States" for Churchill's 9/11 essay, and asked her if she'd requested that she be made chairperson of the investigative committee. She denied it, but Lane impeached her by playing her depo, in which she says she did ask to be made chair. After first blaming the stenographer (it was on tape, Mimi) she said she misspoke, and had never asked to be made chairperson.

Wesson looked quite uncomfortable, and several times said her memory was vague on certain events.

Lane asked rhetorically (of course) if Wesson agreed that one of the hallmarks of due process was an unbiased judge. Of course, Wesson said. Here came the e-mail in which Wesson, long before being named chair of the committee, dissed Churchill. Lane went right to her comparison of the Churchill case to those of OJ, MJ, and BC, asking her if that was a "negative" comparison. Wesson said the comparison was about those who "rallied around" them, and expected others to do the same.

Lane brought up her mention of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione as another person comparable to Ward. Wesson answered that what she meant was that both exercised First Amendment rights (which they were entitled to) on subjects they'd have been better off to leave alone, because they didn't bring a "more peaceful, better world." Lane returned to the comparison Wesson drew between Churchill and other malefactors:

Lane: Your point is that people are rallying around these dirtbags . . .

Wesson: I didn't use that language . . .

Lane: How would you characterize O.J. Simpson?

Wesson: Hems and haws. Says she wasn't referring to O.J. per se, but to those who jumped on his bandwagon.

Lane: Last question: Did you ever disclose this e-mail to Ward Churchill or me prior to sitting on this committee?

Wesson: No.

Rehab by O'Rourke this afternoon. I will say that O'Rourke seems somewhat more aggressive in his questioning and objections than he'd been thus far. Gotta go.

Update: Oh, Lane brought up Wesson's use of quotation marks around the words "academic freedom" in her e-mail, asking her what they meant. She said in effect that they were meant to be ironic.

Lane: So quotation marks can mean different things to different people?

Wesson: Yes.

This of course is part of Lane's continuing attempt to minimize Ward's use of quotes around words like "blood quantum," "one-half blood" and the like as if they appeared in the General Allotment Act of 1887.

Maybe she can make a stop in Denver . . .

A saga that began in California's 1970s radical counterculture and took a dramatic turn into a quiet middle-class neighborhood in Minnesota is about to come to an end.

Sara Jane Olson, a fugitive for a quarter-century after attempting to kill Los Angeles police officers and participating in a deadly bank robbery as a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, is scheduled to be released from a California prison next week. Her bid for freedom after serving seven years is not ending quietly.

Police leagues in Los Angeles and Minnesota are objecting to the terms of her parole, her attorneys are nervous after Olson was mistakenly freed and sent back to prison a year ago, and people in Minnesota have conflicting views about a woman with two identities — a quiet, caring community volunteer and a domestic terrorist . . . .

If her release goes as planned, her attorneys say, she will be paroled to her mother's house in Palmdale and will have 24 hours to report to her California parole agent. Unless there is a change, she will be allowed to return to St. Paul, Minn., where she changed her name and married Dr. Gerald "Fred" Peterson . . . .

Olson, who was born Kathleen Ann Soliah, joined the urban guerrilla group Symbionese Liberation Army when she was in her late 20s.

She was part of an SLA bank heist in Sacramento in 1975 during which a 42-year-old mother was killed. Olson was arrested in 1999 on a tip from the "America's Most Wanted" television show.
. . . to be a character witness for Ward Churchill.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


In a shockingly balanced piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Schmidt writes on the opening of the Ward Churchill trial. One piece of news (to me at least):
In a brief submitted to the court, the university argues that a ruling holding the investigation of Mr. Churchill to be a First Amendment violation “would deny public employers the ability to make informed decisions.”

The brief cites a 2006 U.S. District Court decision involving one of Mr. Churchill’s own supporters, a Colorado public employee who had claimed he was subject to a workplace investigation after expressing support for the controversial professor on a radio program [second item]. The judge in that case had reviewed applicable legal precedents and concluded that the courts had never viewed an investigation of an employee as, in itself, an act that can be viewed as retaliatory.
Glenn Spagnuolo (note correct spelling), all by himself, put an early nail in Ward's coffin.

Churchill, Holocaust deniers: what's the diff?

Still weird to say this: Vince Carroll in the Post:
Both Ward Churchill and the University of Colorado seem to agree that the First Amendment protects a professor who makes inflammatory remarks outside the
classroom. Their dispute in Denver District Court is about whether the university fired Churchill for his speech anyway under the pretext of academic misconduct.

Yet does anyone seriously believe that tenure and the First Amendment would provide a comprehensive shield for any offensive speech — or that they should? Would they protect a tenured historian who showed up one day at a conference to announce his belief that the Holocaust was a hoax or that blacks were intellectually inferior?
Well, according to a self-satisfied Evelyn Hu-DeHart in her testimony at Churchill's trial: Yes, as long as they offer "evidence" (scroll down a little).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Impress your friends!

With this admonitory water bottle!

Makes a great Earth Hour present!


Missed this one yesterday:
During debate on a hazardous-waste bill, a witness testified that a University of Colorado employee dumped waste into the Boulder Reservoir.

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, jokingly asked whether the offender was controversial professor Ward Churchill, who was fired for what the university said was academic misconduct.

Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, quickly corrected his colleague.

"No," McNulty said, "Ward Churchill was the hazardous waste dumped in the reservoir."

McNulty admitted laughing at his own one-liner.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Not going to be at the trial today, even though I'll miss (rumor has it) the testimony of critical racist Derrick "I'm Senile, and I Support Ward!" Bell. Instead, here's a candid shot of Ward in court the other day:

The banality of Billy Jerk.

(photoshop (?) from the Ollerite)

Update: KOA just reported that Chutch attorney David Lane asked for a mistrial this morning ahead of Derrick Bell's testimony. Reasons unclear. Denied. This is a good sign. KOA also said Betsy "Terms of Endearment" Hoffman, ex-pres of CU, will testify this afternoon. Unleash the plan!

Update II: Locus of Evil in the World Today and anti-Churchillite leader Bill O'Reilly bombasted last night on the trial. Also, KOA said Hoffman testified by videotape, and the details they reported sounded just like what she'd said via vid the other day: unleash the plan!

Update III: It doesn't sound like Derrick Bell testified today, but I can't tell from KOA's nasty reporting.

Update IV: Here we go. Always forget to look at the Daily Camera (from 9:38 this morning):

Preeminent civil rights scholar Derrick Bell, who taught law at Harvard University and fought for diversification of faculty on university campuses, will testify before the jury shortly.

Right now, Bell, is answering questions without the jury present. The dry run was called for because Churchill lawyer David Lane and Denver District Judge Larry Naves disagreed on what type of responses from Bell would be admissible in court.

Bell, 78, is currently a visiting professor at New York University School of Law.

The judge and Lane are arguing over whether Bell can testify about whether he thinks the University of Colorado overreached in its decision to fire Churchill for what Lane called "minor transgressions."

Naves said soliciting such information from Bell would be tantamount to rendering a legal opinion on the case rather than a factual opinion and ruled it inappropriate.

Lane immediately entered a motion for a mistrial, which the judge denied.

Lane is now counseling Bell on his upcoming testimony and the jury will be brought in shortly.
So the jury didn't see Lane's tantrum. Rats. The Camera blog has more good stuff, including Bell's preening comments on critical race theory. The other day I described Betsy Hoffman as "depressed-looking" in the video played in court earlier in the week. The Camera's John Aguilar calls her "dour and a little haggard." Sexist pig.

Update V: The Camera's blog has a pic of Ward with one of his lawyers, Qusair Mohamedbhai, an associate in David Lane's firm. It's not the first time the erstwhile "camel jockey" has been in the news.

Update VI: Just a little more on Robert Williams' testimony yesterday. It was confusing, and Williams spoke so rapidly (he said it was a Lumbee thing) that the court reporter asked him to slow down at least half a dozen times. The upshot of his ramble, though, besides that the Churchill investigating committee was incompetent, was that they used inapplicable criteria--the standards of the American Historical Association. These, Williams said, being rooted in 19th century white racism, should not be applied to something as unique and precious as American Indian Studies.

In discussing Ward's description of the General Allotment Act of 1887, Williams tried to explain away his use of quotes around terms like "blood quantum," "mixed blood" and the like, as if taken verbatim from the act, by calling it "sarcasm." As every Indian studies scholar knows, he said, there are "hundreds" of federal definitions of Indianness, and Ward was merely using quotes ironically to point up the ridiculousness of the situation.

The reason Williams kept harping on the distinction between American Indian Studies and American Indian law was to discredit one member of the investigating committee in particular: Robert N. Clinton, a professor at ASU and an expert in Indian law. CU's lawyer O'Rourke neatly deflated Williams by asking on cross-examination if he knew that Clinton, like Williams, had started Indian studies programs, served as a tribal judge, and otherwise involved himself in non-legal Indian matters--the same sorts of things Williams had cited earlier in his qualification as an expert to show his expertness. Williams did not know that.

Update VII: In comments over at PB, Noj gently urges CU's lawyers to take the gloves off.

Update VIII: KOA (I never listen to KOA unless there's Wart-stuff going on) quotes David Lane as saying Churchill will testify "early next week."

Update IX: Race to the Bottom has accounts of the morning and afternoon sessions.

Update X: His-toe-ree. The Post's Mike Keefe is almost funny:


Mad scientists

Scary scare-mongering from another international confab on AGW. The BBC leaps to report:
More than 2,500 researchers and economists attended this meeting designed to update the world on the state of climate research ahead of key political negotiations set for December this year.

New data was presented in Copenhagen on sea level rise, which indicated that the best estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made two years ago were woefully out of date. . . .

Scientists heard that waters could rise by over a metre across the world with huge impacts for hundreds of millions of people.

There was also new information on how the Amazon rainforest would cope with rising temperatures. A UK Meteorological Office study concluded there would be a 75% loss of tree cover if the world warmed by three degrees for a century.

The scientists hope that their conclusions will remove any excuses from the political process. . . .

The meeting was also addressed by Lord Stern, the economist, whose landmark review of the economics of climate change published in 2006 highlighted the severe cost to the world of doing nothing.

He now says the report underestimated the scale of the risks, and the speed at which the planet is warming. . . .

He said that if the world was to warm by 5C over the next century, there would be dramatic consequences for millions of people. Rising seas would make many areas uninhabitable leading to mass migrations and inevitably sparking violent conflict.

"You'd see hundreds of millions people, probably billions of people who would have to move and we know that would cause conflict, so we would see a very extended period of conflict around the world, decades or centuries as hundreds of millions of people move, " said Lord Stern.
Think of the U-Haul hijackings!
He said that a new, effective global deal was desperately needed to avoid these dramatic scenarios - and the current global economic slowdown was in some ways a help.

"Action is rather attractive, inaction is inexcusable. It's an opportunity, given that resources will be cheaper now than in the future, now is the time to get the unemployed of Europe working on energy efficiency."
Under the gentle direction, of course, of the EUSSR.

Update: Brussels Journal (yes I know they're nazis) has a good roundup of the AGW-skeptical second International Conference on Climate Change in New York this week. One quote:
[Czech] President [Vaclav] Klaus said he chided Davos attendees for talking up radical proposals when they hadn't even been able to fulfill their modest Kyoto commitments. But trying to reason with the Davos people was like trying to reason with Communist officials before 1989 -- they just regarded you as hopelessly ignorant or naive. Klaus described the business attendees at the Davos meeting as "rent seekers," interested only in profits from government and "not at all interested in markets or freedom." The political situation, he said, is that of a highly organized rent-seeking group rolling over an opposition of isolated unorganized individuals.
Love dat man.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trial highlights (for children!)

Got in a little late to the Churchill trial this morning, while Chutch attorney David Lane was questioning Deward Walker, an associate professor of anthropology at CU (where he also teaches in the ethnic studies department). Walker chaired the committee that reviewed Ward's work prior to his receiving tenure in (I think) 1996. Lane essentially elicited a testimonial (Ward speaks for the voiceless, challenges authority, etc.).

On cross-examination CU's attorney Kari Hershey got some weird responses from Walker. She asked him if he agreed that, regardless of discipline, it would be improper for a scholar to plagiarize. Walker: "Not without admitting it. But when you admit it, it's not plagiarism."

Hershey asked, "You agree that filling in the dots doesn't mean the scholar gets to make up the dots," that he has to rely on facts?

Walker: It's only a fact in that it's a hypothesis.


Continuing the defense strategery of simply pointing out Churchill's unsupported or mendaciously supported assertions, Hershey put up the passage in which Ward claimed that smallpox-infected blankets were shipped upriver from a St. Louis infirmary to Fort Clark on the upper Missouri, and asked: From that you would expect that there was a smallpox infirmary in St. Louis, wouldn't you? Walker: Yes.

Lane tried once again to get across that even if Ward was wrong about the infirmary, etc., all another scholar had to do was dispute those facts; Churchill (possibly) being wrong was not a firing offense. As always, he left out the little detail that Churchill had no evidence whatsoever for his assertions.

Lane brought up Evelyn Hu-Dehart's boast that even Holocaust deniers are "given space" to air their views in the academy, and claimed that if Churchill had "good reason" to believe there was an infirmary, then he should "no more be fired than a Holocaust denier." Walker replied that it was "in the world of academic freedom."

Next up was a former student of Churchill's, Hillary Old, who took several classes from him (American Indians in Film; The FBI at Pine Ridge; Marxism and Indian Issues) 15 years ago. Oh, she just learned so much from Ward, and his classes were "healthily uncomfortable." But what was really sickening was when Lane brought out that Old was living in New York (Brooklyn, to be exact) on 9/11.

It was a "stunning, shocking, painful day," she said. She described crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot after the disaster:
There was a real kind of caring and tenderness. Hushed tones. A hushed thread of questions from little kids to adults asking, "How is this happening," some thread of "is there something we did, our nation did, to provoke this?" There was humility and tenderness. Professor Churchill's opinion [in the 9/11 essay] was a kind of offering, from his provocative style, answering some of those questions.
Five-minute recess while everyone throws up.

Next was former CU prez Hank Brown. I won't get into it too much, but he and Lane went around about the Daniels Fund (which Brown headed at the time) withholding money for CU because of the Churchill scandal; whether the scandal was "all Churchill all the time" as Lane keeps saying (Brown: "There was plenty of competition"); whether Brown believed there were more liberals than conservatives on college faculties; ACTA; how two of the research misconduct charges, rejected by the Privilege and Tenure Committee, were unilaterally reinstated by Brown, and so on. Very oddly, Brown said he has never read Churchill's 9/11 essay, but had gotten from others the impression that it was anti-semitic.

A member of the jury asked Brown, What in the scandal was most damaging to Churchill's reputation? Brown: The professor's conduct was most damaging to his reputation.

After lunch it was the turn of Robert Williams, a professor of law and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, enrolled member of the Lumbee tribe, and, briefly, member of the CU committee investigating Ward Churchill's scholarship. After lengthy qualification as an expert in American Indian Studies and American Indian law (almost 12 minutes by my mini-tapie) Williams began with the reasons he resigned from the investigating committee. Basically, he said, it was the incompetence and dithering in resolving his concerns about perceptions of a conflict of interest if he served (among other potential problems, he'd written lovingly about Churchill in the past).

Williams described his "patience" with the committee while they futzed around, but "then, things started happening." He claims he was getting e-mails from Denver Post reporters, "wanting to know how much I'd paid Ward Churchill to come down and be a professor. I was getting four or five calls from Denver papers wanting to interview me about my supposed conflict of interest. These were things I was concerned about." This next deserves a blockquote:
There's a website apparently called Pirate Ballerina that somebody said, "You ought to take a look at this website. Your name is all over it." And I go to that website and I see things that I had written about Ward Churchill show up on this website as demonstrating that I was not qualified to sit on this committee because of a conflict of interest.
More later. That little rascal PB, by the way, notes that the Silver & Gold Record briefly interviewed Chutch at the trial, and will have a special Wart-Trial supplement out Monday.

Update: You may not believe this, but Race to the Bottom is much more thorough and knowledgable than I are on the case. (I'm funnier, I claim.) Here's their account of the morning session.

Update II: In comments, Leah provides some info on the Lumbee tribe:
There is a sizeable Lumbee population in Baltimore. The Lumbees are not a near extinct tribe in NC. They are the largest tribe east of the Mississippi. They received federal recognition in 1956, but in exchange for the recognition they gave up the right to federal services as Indians. They have been trying to get on the federal services gravy train ever since, despite their agreement to the 1956 deal. There are two problems with the Lumbees receiving full federal recognition. First, they cannot prove they have any Indian ancestry (like Churchill). Second, they have claimed to be a bunch of different tribes since 1885, one of which was Cherokee in the early 20th century. Not surprisingly, the Eastern Band of Cherokee wasn't too happy about their false claims of Cherokee ancestry. So they have set out on a course of payback, trying to prevent the Lumbees from getting full recognition. Other Indian tribes are also skeptical of Lumbees, partially because of the tribe's considerable African ancestry and constantly changing oral history. Thus Williams is a member of a tribe that is intensely racist towards African-Americans, while also having many members who look like African-Americans, and believes that their unstable oral history should be the only proof required to get pots of money. Williams and Churchill have a lot in common.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unleash the plan!

Race to the Bottom has good accounts of the morning's Ward Churchill trial action, which was largely Lane grilling DiStefano, in part on the paltriness of the "disruption" at CU caused by Churchill's essay:
Only a small flavor of that emerged, with the mostly monotone and unassertive tone of DiStefano never really capturing the likely maelstrom. David Lane did a good job establishing that the “disruption” never resulted in the cancellation of any class or the need for any additional police on campus, that the “disruption” largely consisted of an increase (albeit a large one) in the number of phone calls and emails, something that at times sounded almost banal. . . .

In other words, the reasons for starting the investigation seemed weak. Indeed, one wonders whether the investigation was designed to buy time and let things cool down, something that might have in other circumstances, actually benefited Churchill. But the case was not made that the University of Colorado needed the time to figure out whether Churchill’s speech was really unprotected.
This afternoon some of the same ground was gone over with former Gov. Bill Owens and CU law school dean David Getches.

Lane got right to it by showing Owens the video of then-CU president Betsy Hoffman saying that Owens told her to "fire [Churchill] tomorrow," and when she told him she couldn't, he replied, "Then I will unleash my plan."

The very depressed looking Hoffman did not quote Owens as adding, "Bwahahahaha!"

Owens, while not flat denying that he'd made the statement, said it sure didn't sound like something he'd say.

Lane moved on to Owens' line-item veto power over the state budget. Did Owens threaten to cut CU's budget? Owens pointed out that the school's budget had gone up every year during the controversy. Lane said that threatening and doing were two different things and, as Race to the Bottom puts it, "suggested that 'unleashing his plan' involved threatening to slash the University’s funding."

To bear this out, Lane brought up an appearance by Owens on Bill O'Reilly's show during which, as the Post says, Owens "seemed to assure the host that he had a strategy for getting rid of Churchill," which Lane suggested included cutting funding to CU, given that Owens on the same show said he had a "bully pulpit" and "budget authority over the budget." Spectators tittered when Owens said that that wasn't a threat, but only a fact. Owens also pointed out that, as the Post quoted him:
"I really did not have a strategy," Owens said today. "What I meant was there is a process that is underway. It was a legal process that was going to go a long time, which I felt, based on the information I had seen in terms of plagiarism and what I had seen, I thought the process would lead to him being terminated."
As he has all along, Owens admitted he wanted Chutch fired right away, but, as he said today, he was "glad the regents chose to do what they did. What the regents did was superior to what I suggested . . ."

CU's lawyer Patrick O'Rourke did a short rehab in which he asked the ex-gov. if he'd ever pressured regents, faculty members, or anyone else to get rid of Churchill for the 9/11 essay. Owens: "I never went to anyone at CU."

O'Rourke: You did not conspire with the university to get rid of Ward Churchill?

Owens: No, I did not.

A juror actually asked a question, the first time in the trial (unless someone asked DiStefano a question). It was kind of dumb: Was Owens more concerned with CU's funding or Ward's First Amendment rights. Owens: they're not mutually exclusive.

Next up, David Getches, CU Law School dean. Lane put up a memo in which Getches called Churchill's 9/11 essay "inaccurate and irresponsible." Getches said Churchill's i and i was manifested in his likening of 9/11 victims to nazis in the "little Eichmanns" passage. Lane, as he has before, claimed Churchill had done nothing of the sort. Getches disagreed, but not very strongly. He also said that, aside from the nazi comparison and the general "tenor" of Churchill's piece, he more or less agreed with Chutch: "I think the U.S.A was undiplomatic [in the Middle East], to say the least."

The crux of Lane's questioning of Getches was what, exactly, got the ball rolling for the investigation into Churchill's scholarship. He asked Getches how, in particular, John LaVelle's article on Churchill's General Allotment Eligibility Hoax had become part of the investigation, and if he'd had LaVelle contact Dalhousie University prof Fay Cohen to get her to formally complain that Ward had plagiarized her work.

Getches said he'd first heard LaVelle complain about Churchill during a car ride in North Dakota after a speaking engagment in 1999. LaVelle, he said, warned that Churchill was trouble, and CU should be wary of him--he was a fraud and plagiarist, etc. Getches said he didn't pay much attention and put it down to normal scholarly disputatiousness.

Lane kept trying to get Getches to admit that after the controversy erupted, he'd contacted Lavelle in order to use his article in the investigation of Churchill. Getches, however, said he'd contacted LaVelle about a copyright release, and LaVelle had spontaneously mentioned CU's Churchill problem with a little "told-you-so," then forwarded his article to CU without Getches' prompting.

Same for Fay Cohen. Lane accused Getches of getting John LaVelle to contact Cohen and have her make a complaint. Under O'Rourke's questioning, though, Getches said LaVelle suggested he call Cohen, but that he didn't because he didn't want to be seen as soliciting complaints. Cohen, he said, called him. And although she never made a formal complaint, O'Rourke put up an e-mail in which she clearly was interested in how CU would proceed with its investigation--without asking Getches not to use her plagiarism complaint against Churchill. (For some reason, neither Getches nor O'Rourke brought up that Dalhousie U's own lawyers found that Churchill had indeed plagiarized Cohen.)

The Jeffries case and "disruption" came up again, with Lane pointing out (as he had with DiStefano) that any alleged "disruption" caused by Churchill's essay was so minimal as to not warrant the description. O'Rourke, though, noted that the Jeffries case says that it takes only a "reasonable expectation" of disruption for administrators to dismiss a government employee, and that Getches had explicitly not gone that route anyway because he thought Churchill's First Amendment rights outweighed the disruption.

Mimi Wesson came up again, with Lane for at least the third time mentioning the (private) missive she wrote seven months before she was appointed to head the investigating committee, in which she compared Churchill to O.J., Michael Jackson, and (horrors!) Bill Clinton.

Bias? What bias? O'Rourke, who's too damn soft-spoken, both to hear and for the circumstances, had Getches point out that Wesson also said that Churchill shouldn't be fired for his essay, and had never otherwise expressed bias toward him.

Don't know this, but I bet Wesson will testify tomorrow. It's probably good if all the intemperate early comments about what should be done with Churchill made by almost everyone in Colorado come out at the beginning of the trial. After Wesson, maybe the focus can finally shift to Churchill's actual scholarly fraud (Mandan! Mandan! Yaaaay, Mandan!).

But so far, I'd say Lane is ahead.


  • Ward doesn't wear his trademark sunglasses when he's sitting up front with his lawyers, but as soon as he's out, and I mean in the hall, they're on.

  • Glenn Spagnuolo (note correct spelling) made his first appearance as a spectator. He and his buddy sitting next to him wore matching red kaffiyas.

  • Met J. Robert Brown of Race to the Bottom. When I mentioned the D-blog he said he'd gotten a lot of hits from it. I think he was confusing me with LGF.

    Anyway, "J-Rob" (as his friends call him) said hits at RttB had gone through the roof. I think his blog could be the Durham-in-Wonderland of this trial (though Brown is much more--neutral?--toward Churchill than KC Johnson was (and is) toward the villains of the Duke lacrosse case and particularly the "Group of 88").

  • One of Brown's students was there as well. She was sitting up front, he said, to observe the jury.

  • Judge Naves is very quiet. He looks at his computer and lets the lawyers do their stuff. Part of that might be because there've been so few objections (so far). When he does speak, it's usually to (very politely) excuse the jury or call for a break. Good deal.

  • Vince Carroll, pessimist

    The Post's newest op-edist isn't sanguine about CU's chances in its defense against Ward Churchill's lawsuit:
    If O.J. Simpson could find a sympathetic jury, who's to say Ward Churchill won't? All he did is murder scholarship, and in this day and age even some academics don't take that crime too seriously.

    Why should we expect a random group of citizen jurors to care more about academic integrity?

    Maybe my pessimism is misplaced. Maybe the University of Colorado will mount an eloquent case during the next three weeks in federal court. Maybe it will persuade the jury hearing Churchill's lawsuit to reject the professor's grotesque attempt to return to his job of inventing historical events and indoctrinating students.

    But Churchill has slipped through legal nets before. He's been acquitted more than once, for example, of trying to disrupt Denver's Columbus Day parade even though he was clearly guilty of doing just that.

    It's depressing enough that a fraud like Churchill has a chance of prevailing against the facts. Even more demoralizing is the evidence that many of his colleagues won't care if he does — or would actually applaud such an outcome. . . .
    While another new Postie, the insufferable Mike Littwin, blames CU while giving the Warthog a pass:
    Whatever you hear, the Churchill story is not about what the revisionists tell you it's about — that Churchill was deservedly fired for plagiarism and other acts of academic fraud. He may have been guilty of all those things. He may deserve to have been fired. He was certainly guilty of writing an essay that violated the first rule of essay-writing: Never compare anyone to a Nazi, even to a little Eichmann.

    But however guilty Churchill may or may not have been, he was never as guilty as the University of Colorado. . . .
    Update: Lance Hernandez live-blogged this morning's continued examination of Phil DiStefano. Bobblehead Bill Owens will likely take the stand this afternoon. The D-blog will be there with his unique blend of ignorance and stupidity.

    Update II: It wasn't Lance Hernandez, but as JWP points out in comments, Steve Saunders, who's no Lance Hernandez. Then again, who is?

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Ordeal by trial

    Attended most of today's Wart-trial proceedings. Yeah, I heard the "howling mob at the gates demanding the big, fat haid of Ward Churchill" line from Lane, which the accounts I've read lead with, but why is that surprising? Here's my scoop: Did you know there's a piece of software called TrialDirector? Blurb:
    Imagine your next trial… the jury hangs on your every word. Your organized, insightful presentation has never been better. You confront the opposition's witness with impeaching exhibits. You're using TrialDirector!
    Churchill's lawyer David Lane is using TrialDirector 5.

    Anyhow, opening statements by Lane and CU lead guy Patrick O'Rourke went about as you'd expect. Lane hammered on the idea that Churchill's dismissal was due to pressure from regents, Rush O'Reilly, Sean Limbaugh, ACTA, Lynne Cheney, Bill Owens and so on (poor David Horowitz got left out) to get rid of the guy because of the "l'il Eichmanns" essay, which CU then accomplished through concocted findings of research misconduct. O'Rourke, on the other hand, pointed out that the findings weren't concocted at all, and that e-mails, letters, smoke signals and semaphores on Churchill's research defugalities had come flooding in after the essay came to light, and that was what ultimately prompted the investigation.


  • As soon as I saw the 6-foot stack of books in front of the jury box I knew: another argument from volume for Churchill's monster research chops. Four thousand pages! Twelve thousand footnotes!
  • Lane: "Who is Ward Churchill? Let me start with this. Ward Churchill is Indian--an enrolled member of the Keetowah Band of Cherokee"--a claim Wart hasn't made for years--"and CU stooped so low they said he wasn't an Indian."

    Actually, I don't believe they ever made that charge.

  • Nobody's mentioned that in his opening statement O'Rourke brought up Jeffries v. Harleston, Waters v. Churchill (a different Churchill), and Connick v. Myers, all of which deal with limitations to First Amendment rights in governmentally "disruptive" speech.

  • O'Rourke also said he's going to spend a lot of time on Churchill's smallpox-bankies story. Heh.

  • Mimi Wesson is going to get major rashers of feces thrown at her when she takes the stand. Several times today Lane brought up how she compared Churchill (in a private e-mail) to O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and (horrors!) Bill Clinton before being named to head the Chutch investigating committee.

  • O'Rourke very gently backed former CU history/ethnic studies prof Evelyn Hu-Dehart into a corner, getting her to admit that footnotes should refer to, you know, actual evidence (as, she claimed, hers do), then putting up Churchill's lie that Russell Thornton backed him on the Mandan smallpox story and his claim that there is a "blood quantum" measure in the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. Hu-Dehart went all pompous-ass, talking about "standpoint theory," facts "widely known in the community of scholars" and the value of "speculation" in scholarship. She also mentioned how even Holocaust deniers are "given space" to make their charges, to which O'Rourke asked if they, too, didn't have to provide evidence.

    Of course, she said.

  • Familiar faces: Natsu Saito, Mike Littwin, Aaron Smith, that huge black guy who acts sometimes as Ward's "bodyguard." No Ben Whitmer.

    Quote of the Day: "I don't understand what you mean by 'plagiarism.' That's a broad term."--Evelyn Hu-Dehart.

  • Update: Forgot to mention, of the eight jurors (including two alternates), one, maybe two look more than 30 years old, and those two not by much. Why does this make me uneasy?

    Update II: It certainly isn't that I'm a believer in the wisdom of age.

    Update III: Also forgot to mention that I had to leave just after Lane made then-interim chancellor Phil DiStefano look fairly bad by pointing out that DiStefano, like so many others, had opened his big yap about wanting to get rid of Ward for the 9/11 essay, before Churchill's scholarship was investigated. DiStefano called it a "stupid mistake." But I missed O'Rourke's rehabilitation job (assuming it wasn't postponed till tomorrow).

    Update IV: One more fond but temporarily misplaced memory:

    Parking lot attendant: Have they reached a verdict yet?

    Me: Nah, it's just gotten started.

    PLA: He (Ward) seems like a pretty nice guy.

    Me: Yeah?

    PLA: I met him last night.

    Me: Yeah?

    PLA: Smoked a joint with him.

    Hey, maybe there really is support for Ward among the baggage-handlers and taxi drivers Natsu dribbles on about--at least, as long as he supplies the weed.

    Update V: Oh, one more: Hu-Dehart called CU's ethnic studies program "world-renowned." She's probably right.

    Monday, March 09, 2009

    The Trial of Billy Jerk: Day One

    Yes, I stole (okay, plagiarized) that from I have no idea whom, and yes, Ward is suing CU, not the other way around, but--it fits, doesn't it?

    Anyway, went down to Civic Center Park to check out the day-long "kick-off event" by Ward supporters that was supposed to take place from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Got there about 10:45: Not a soul. Rah. Can't really blame them. It was chilly and breezy.

    Went and looked at Courtroom 6. It's a courtroom. Eight or ten rows of wooden benches, room for maybe 60 people. It was nearly empty. Nothing going on.

    Saw Mark Cohen, erstwhile leader of Recreate!68, outside the courtroom, and Ben Whitmer wandering the halls without a pass. He told me things would get started around noon, but I couldn't hang out that long. I may be able to drop in this afternoon for a bit.

    Not exactly breaking news, but what the hell.

    Update: The DU law student-faculty blog Race to the Bottom has this morning's events:
    The morning was spent with examinations of prospective jurors apparently in chambers (none of the interviews took place in open court). The interviews are no doubt designed to uncover any obvious disqualifications. Voir dire and the process of selecting the actual jury that will hear the three week trial will take place in open court beginning at 1:30. The expectation is that the jury will be selected today. Opening arguments are currently scheduled to begin at 8:30 on Tuesday morning.
    Update II: Nope, couldn't make it back. Instead I hung out with Clint the appliance delivery guy. He told me how one time he picked up a manual defrost refrigerator, its freezer filled with frost (I guess you call it), took it to the shop, and when it thawed out a couple of days later, there in the back was a quarter-pound of pot. Another time he found a brand-new Ruger in a crisper drawer.

    Anyway, I went over to Race to the Bottom to plagiarize their afternoon post and the morning post was gone. That was about an hour ago, and it still hasn't reappeared. Little help, guys. I'm on deadline here.

    Update III: The Daily Camera:
    A jury of four men and four women -- including two alternates -- has been seated in Ward Churchill's wrongful termination trial against the University of Colorado.

    Only eight, huh? I did not know that.

    Denver District Judge Larry Naves gave a set of admonishments to the jury, telling them not to read about the case in newspapers or on the Internet or to watch anything about it on television.

    Opening statements are scheduled to be made Tuesday at 9 a.m.

    The lawyers in the case took an hour vetting the prospective jury as a group Monday afternoon, asking questions about the role of the First Amendment and about the kind of questions a public university has the right to ask when an employee is making controversial statements. . . .

    Ward Churchill's attorney, David Lane, asked the potential jurors if it isn't a professor's role, especially in the wake of a devastating event like the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, to "poke (students) and push them and prod them and make them think."
    He told the group that Churchill had written his 9/11 essay 7 1/2 years ago from the perspective of someone who had been the victim of an oppressive U.S. foreign policy, not simply as a blatant attack on the country.
    That victim of an oppressive U.S. foreign policy being Ward Churchill.
    Lane acknowledged that Churchill was a very controversial figure, but he also asked if it isn't at the moment when an incendiary opinion is expressed that it's most important to recognize the right to free expression embodied in the Constitution.
    Perhaps, but that has nothing to do with Ward's research fraud.
    Lane asserted to the potential jurors that it was the former professor's 2001 essay -- and the essay alone -- that led to his termination by CU, rather than the allegations of plagiarism and academic misconduct the school states is at the heart of the dismissal.

    "If we can't show you that the motivating factor is the 9/11 essay, throw us out of the court," Lane said. "If he cheated the way they said he did, fire him."
    Patrick O'Rourke, attorney for CU, asked the potential jurors if they thought public employees had the right to say whatever they wanted even if it hurts their employer.

    He asked them if the regents at CU didn't have a reason to be concerned when they began hearing alumni and parents threatening to withhold contributions and pull out their students in the wake of the brouhaha that arose around Churchill's essay. The lawyer asked if it was reasonable that the regents at least ask whether the former professor's speech was protected in this instance.

    O'Rourke said the university ultimately decided that Churchill's essay was protected by the First Amendment. But he said a subsequent investigation into his writings and work as a professor revealed that he had lied and cheated.

    The lawyer asked the potential jurors if a hearing at CU by a group of academicians -- considered to be Churchill's peers -- was a fair way to determine if he had engaged in academic misconduct. He asked if Churchill's reputation as a controversial figure "immunized" him from being found guilty of doing substandard work.

    He also asked the group how many of them felt that CU was a "screwed up" place, given the various controversies it has endured over the last few years.

    Most of the comments from the potential jurors centered on concerns over the extent of First Amendment protections rather than worries over academic misconduct.
    Whuh-oh. If Lane can fool them into believing its about the First Amendment, it's over.
    One man asked if the work of all of CU's tenured professors was regularly reviewed. Another potential juror called CU's system of faculty review "messed up."

    As Naves began dismissing potential jurors, one man who had expressed strong opinions about the importance of the First Amendment during questioning gave an angry speech to the judge when he was told that he was no longer needed for the jury.

    "I don't appreciate being demonized for believing in the Constitution," he said, as he headed for the exit.
    Can't imagine why he was dismissed. Oh, well, sorry I missed it. Opening statements tomorrow!

    Update IV: As Leah points out in comments, I was looking in the wrong place for Race to the Bottom's Chutch coverage. Here's today's afternoon report. More thorough than the Camera's, and fairly balanced. The blogger, J. Robert Brown, is a DU professor who teaches corporate and securities law and is therefore clearly a technocrat of empire, despite his chairmanship of the board of directors of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.