July 31, 2007

On The Abolition Of Tenure, Ward Churchill Edition

David French outlines the debate on tenure with some pretty revealing numbers:
Despite the mountain of evidence against Churchill, it took more than two years for the wheels of justice to turn. As he received more due process than ordinary Americans ever receive in the course of their professional lives, Churchill's dogged fight to keep his job only reinforced for many the notion that faculty members view themselves as a breed apart - entitled to lucrative lifetime employment no matter what they do.

That will be Ward Churchill's lasting legacy. He was the tipping point. Now, it's not just leading conservatives who view the academy as an out-of-control, disconnected bastion of petulant entitlement. In a recent Zogby poll, 58 percent of Americans reported that they now believe that political bias of professors is a "serious problem." Even more, 65 percent, viewed non-tenured professors as more motivated to do a good job in the classroom.

These are not isolated findings. A survey by the American Association of University Professors found that 58.4 percent of Americans had only some or no confidence in our colleges and that 82 percent want to modify or eliminate tenure.

The academic left decries the "chilling effect" of Churchill's firing, but the only individuals who should feel "chilled" are those professors publicly spewing deranged invective at that same time that they conceal a professional past rife with fraud and abuse. In reality, there was no chilling effect in Churchill's case - only a cleansing effect as higher education scrubbed itself of the man who, more than anyone else, proved that something is very wrong with our universities.
Academics who view themselves, in French's words, "as a breed apart" should acknowledge that Churchill's dismissal was actually a demonstration that tenure should be restricted to those individual scholars whose high academic rigor bolsters their arguments in favor of employing just such a system. Guaranteed academic employment (barring academic misconduct such as Churchill's or "acts of moral turpitude") should come with some basic professional standards, just as membership in the legal or medical professions do. As the professors themselves are in charge of hiring and firing, they are entrusted with "policing their own", and in this case, the professors found Churchill's conduct wanting.

But why do so many professors from the left--those charging the public, the media, neocons, etc. with producing a "chilling effect" on free speech and academic discourse--fear Churchill's removal? Any clear-thinking individual who examines a scenario like this would determine that rather than having a deleterious effect on their profession, a removal like this would actually strengthen their claim to tenure's benefits, and further justify its existence.

In addition, why do these same critics find the whole process so unappealing (besides their own political motivations), and so threatening to their existence? They themselves are in charge--not politicians like former Gov. Bill Owens who called for Churchill's firing, nor state legislators, nor the public at large. Even the CU Regents and the President can not fire a professor until the due process review has been conducted. Are these professors really just afraid of each other? A bad review or denial of tenure can damage a career, so are many more deficiencies ignored or tacitly acknowledged in exchange for similar treatment down the line, an academic quid pro quo that mitigates worries about rival academics' abilities to throw another colleague under the bus? Maybe that explains at least some of the 199 named professors who called for the investigation of Churchill to be rescinded.

Stanley Kurtz, who calls for the abolition of tenure, has some thoughts on what would replace it, should academic reform ever be implemented:
What would replace tenure? Probably long-term contracts. I believe a few schools have already experimented with this. As noted, the change would be grandfathered in, and at best would only happen piecemeal. So prospects of a catastrophe would be slight, while there would be plenty of time for experimentation with new arrangements. But I guarantee you, even the slightest prospect of change (i.e. one state legislature seriously debating the end of tenure in its public university system) would send the professorate into a mad rage, and would provoke a major national debate about the state of higher education as a whole. That debate would provide an opening for all sorts of academic reforms, not limited to tenure.

More than anything else, the conversion of tenure from a protector of academic freedom into an instrument of ideological exclusion is responsible for the destruction of the campus marketplace of ideas. Tenure is the cornerstone of the campus political-correctness problem, and even beginning a serious effort to remove it would almost certainly shake up the entire academic system. The time to consider a serious campaign to eliminate academic tenure has come.
Replacing tenure, however, would not eliminate the type of wackademic frauds that typically find their way into places of higher learning, whether attracted by ideology or an escape from the real world of the marketplace of ideas to the insulated, ivory tower where proclamations that disdain the "unwashed masses" when they do not fall in line, are not only acceptable but encouraged. Restructuring or eliminating tenure would have a positive impact on the teaching at this country's universities, with more attractive compensation as the salaries are redistributed (the left should endorse that!) toward teaching load and quality (as reflected by peer and student reviews), and away from the sort of navel-gazing "research", extended sabbaticals, and diminished teaching loads that produces graduate student enmity and second-class status for non-tenured positions. Surely the entrenched left in the professoriate wouldn't mind a little redistributive justice and equality?

An LATimes columnist says CU didn't go far enough in firing Churchill--the whole Ethnic Studies department should have been examined and possibly eliminated as well:
What should concern us all, however, is academia's nurturance of loons like the hate-filled Churchill. No, they are not many, but they shout louder than their numbers would suggest. And though their influence is minor in American higher education overall, they can be very influential in particular fields, such as comparative literature and gender and ethnic studies. That's because the problem on campuses isn't rigorous Marxist materialists, as conservative stereotypes would have you believe, but craven emotional warriors in the arena of identity politics.

Ethnic studies departments, such as Churchill's, may be the worst offenders. Created in the wake of the ethnic pride movement in the early 1970s, many simply never had the same kind of academic oversight as more established and prestigious fields. Those professors generally toiled with little funding in isolated intellectual ghettos. Their scholarship wasn't tested in the high-stakes, high-profile competition that hones other academics and other fields. They earned their "psychic income" -- a phrase coined by former Gov. Jerry Brown -- trying to turn minority undergraduates into activists. (Meanwhile, the quality work on ethnicity was being done in more traditional disciplines.)

But by most accounts, today's undergraduates of all backgrounds tend to be in search of good jobs rather than ideological causes. If anything, ethnic studies are part of the accepted last stage of American education, the puncturing of myths -- in elementary school, we learn that George Washington could not tell a lie; in high school, we learn the dates and details of Valley Forge; in college, we learn that the father of our country was a hypocritical slave owner; and then, after college, few ever think about Washington again.

Still, just because an academic field is relatively harmless and even irrelevant (in the eyes of many fellow academics) doesn't mean that shoddy professors who can't sort fact from ideology should be tolerated, particularly at taxpayer expense. The Churchill case might be closed, but university officials nationwide have an obligation to bring scrutiny and the ideal of objectivity to these below-par departments -- perhaps by dismantling and absorbing them into more rigorous disciplines and insisting, not on any one set of views or conclusions, but on the high standards of scholarship that we expect from the best of academia.
**Update 2--
PirateBallerina notes that dissenting CU Regent Cindy Carlisle is catching flak from her constituents over last week's vote:
Local Republicans want Summit County's representative on CU's Board of Regents to better explain her reasons for casting the lone dissenting vote against dismissing controversial professor Ward Churchill.

The board voted 8-1 last week to fire Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, after determining he had "engaged in acts of research misconduct, including fabrication, falsification and plagiarism," according to a report from the regents.

Regent Cindy Carlisle, a Democrat who represents Summit, Eagle, Clear Creek, Grand, Gilpin and Boulder counties, was the only regent who didn't support Churchill's dismissal.

"If Ms. Carlisle could not vote to fire Professor Ward Churchill despite the overwhelming evidence of his academic fraud and misconduct, we would also ask her to explain what circumstances would lead her to recommend that a tenured faculty member be fired," said Summit County GOP chairwoman Debra Irvine.

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Around The Colorado Blogosphere 073107

Best Destiny finds Colorado's Democratic delegation more partisan than their Republican counterparts, and has the numbers to prove it--and Mark Udall is not as moderate as he claims to be.

Ben at Mt. Virtus dishes on selective outrage from the left on Bob Schaffer.

PPH has a YouTube video highlighting the hypocrisy of greens/enviros and Dems like Ritter on the state's energy dependence.

Some good Iraq and military related updates over at the Daily Blogster, including why good news in Iraq is such bad news for Democrats--they say so themselves!

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Blogs For Borders Blogburst 073107

At Freedom Folks.

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July 30, 2007

Churchill Fallout Continued

Drunkablog has another excellent roundup of post-Churchill commentary, including a nice Al Capone analogy.

And for those who missed it, Ward sat down with Fox's Ron Zappolo over the weekend.

Keep up to date with all the latest Churchillians at PirateBallerina.

Vincent Carroll and Craig Silverman discuss "little Eichmanns".

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Lie Detector Test Confirms Fired 7-Eleven Clerk's Story

Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man suspected in a shooting at a 7-Eleven in Basalt last month.

Police say the gunfire may have been in retaliation against a clerk who, while off duty, wore a U.S. Border Patrol cap to protest illegal immigration.

Basalt police said the suspect made a purchase with his credit card at the store before he and another man argued with the clerk. About 45 minutes later, police believe, the suspect pumped five shots into the Basalt 7-Eleven.

Authorities are seeking the public's help in finding 22-year-old Ricardo Ramirez. He is wanted on suspicion of first-degree assault and felony menacing in connection with the June 26 shooting.
. . .
Anyone with information on Ramirez's whereabouts is asked to call the Basalt Police Department at (970) 927-4316.

An update to the 7-Eleven clerk fired after being shot at, allegedly due to his immigration views (h/t Freedom Folks):
A 7-Eleven clerk who was fired after a bullet-riddled dispute over his U.S. Border Patrol cap passed a lie-detector test indicating that he didn't instigate the clash, a radio talk-show host said Friday.
. . .
Denver talk-radio host Peter Boyles, a crusader against illegal immigration, announced Friday on KHOW-AM (630), "Bruno is telling the truth!"

Boyles said the station footed the bill for the test. Polygraph results are considered too unreliable to be admitted as evidence in U.S. courts; nevertheless the results spurred KHOW callers to demand a boycott of 7-Eleven for canning Kirchenwitz after the June 26 incident.

Boyles also blasted Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda, who was quoted as saying that Kirchenwitz told the men to "bring it on" - a challenge the ex-clerk denied making.

Kirchenwitz said that 7-Eleven officials told him he had "invited these two gangbangers to meet me after work because I wanted to fight them, which is totally untrue. I have nothing to hide," he told the Rocky Mountain News.

The police chief has said two persons of interest, whom he would not identify, have been contacted in connection with the shooting.

"We are very confident there will be felony charges resulting from this case," Ikeda said.
As there should be.

Kirchenwitz alleges that his firing came as a result of his political views on illegal immigration (he is himself a legal immigrant), a charge 7-Eleven officials flatly deny.

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Illegal Immigration Traffic In Colorado Decreasing

The RMN article only refers to "Hispanic immigrants", though we all know that legal immigrants, like my brother-in-law who has his green card, would not fear "documentation" requirements:
Juan Marcos Rodriguez, of Aurora, waited for the next bus to the border in an otherwise empty lobby of Autobuses Americanos in downtown Denver.

The 46-year-old native of Chihuahua, Mexico, was on his way home - for good.

"It's getting too difficult to stay," said Rodriguez, a construction worker who came to the United States illegally in 2003. "It was fine when I got here. It was easy to get work. Nobody bothered you. Now, everyone is asking for documentation. I want to live a more tranquil life."

Rodriguez is hardly alone, say local business owners who cater to Hispanic immigrants. They say state laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration, along with several high-profile raids in Colorado by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials over the past year, have scared away their immigrant clientele.
Those evil, racist Americans insisting on their sovereignty, and law enforcement! Will ensuring the tranquility of life of illegal immigrants be the next civil right?

If the economic pulls that drove illegal immigration begin to falter, it is logical that economic measures would be the easiest way to quantify any change in illegal immigration levels. Businesses catering to Hispanic clientele would be hardest hit, and the responses from those in Denver seem to bolster that assumption:
Alfredo Castro doesn't need a study to tell him what he has already felt in his pocketbook.

He's the owner of Autobuses Los Paisanos, a bus company in downtown Denver. Like Autobuses Americanos, it specializes in trips to border cities and points farther south. Business has declined more than 30 percent over the last 12 months, he said.

"People don't like to travel anymore," said Castro, who has had his business for six years. "There are too many delays at the immigration checkpoints along the way. The raids. The new laws. The political climate is affecting us all."
. . .
Farmers and contractors believe that the political climate in Colorado and other Western states is keeping away immigrant workers - both legal and illegal.

For Richard Falcon, owner of a satellite dish company on South Federal Boulevard in Denver, fewer workers means fewer customers. He said business is down by more than 60 percent.

About 90 percent of his business is done with Hispanics, he said, some of them in the country illegally. Several of his customers from Greeley were either deported in the Dec. 12 raid of the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant that netted 261 workers, or have fled the state, he said.

"People are afraid to commit to long-term contracts or make big purchases such as cars or homes because they don't know how long they'll continue living in this country," Falcon said.

Many other companies that rely on a largely immigrant clientele are experiencing the same problems, he said.

"Stores, restaurants, Spanish-language radio stations - they're all feeling the effects of this whole immigration mess," he said.

After two years in business, Carlos Nevi, owner of Denver Mortgage Pros, is closing his doors permanently.

Nevi's clientele consisted largely of immigrants who obtained home loans with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN. In 1996 the IRS began issuing the numbers to foreign nationals who were not eligible to obtain Social Security cards as a way to encourage compliance with U.S. tax laws.

"Since they started the marches, since they started the raids, since they began passing legislation that went after immigrants, I've lost business," he said. "People have stopped coming. I can't pay my bills anymore."
So, even the threat of enforcement seems to have some effect on reducing illegal immigration. Imagine what real enforcement would do. There is the possibility, however, that many illegal immigrants are simply laying low, biding time to see whether or not the enforcement movement is credible, or simply a passing phase.

However, if there is such a drastic decrease in Hispanic clientele (not all of whom, obviously, are likely to have questionable immigration status), why are Spanish-only or Spanish-first ads gaining such prominence?

Freedom Folks brings us this example from a midwest grocery chain:

Or this, from Slapstick's neighborhood:

Given my marketing background, I understand the need to reach out to non-English speaking consumers. But if the numbers these businesses cite are accurate or reflective of even state-wide trends (anecdotal evidence is always sketchy), then the market for such advertising should actually be shrinking.

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Bob Beauprez Back In The Political Saddle?

"The jury is still out":
Nine months after losing his bid for governor, Beauprez, 58, is still recovering from the first major setback in a career in business and politics.

For now, he seems happy and at ease. His friends and family say that's what he needs right now. But they also know he won't be happy drifting for long.
. . .
When he scans the political horizon, Beauprez says the wind is still blowing against his party.

Beauprez says he's not sure it's time to jump back into politics. After briefly considering a run for retiring U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's seat, he has thrown his support to former congressman Bob Schaffer.

He won't rule out another run for Congress, though he sounds lukewarm about the prospect of a 2008 campaign. Possibilities would include trying to take back his old 7th District seat from Democrat Ed Perlmutter, or a bid for the 2nd District seat Democrat Mark Udall is giving up to run against Schaffer for Senate.

Marge Klein, former district director for Beauprez's Colorado congressional office, has spoken with him about what it would take to get him back into politics. She said the jury is still out.

"I think there would have to be some awful good polls to show that he could do a very good showing," she said. "I think it's just too soon for him to even really think too much about running again."
Things don't look so good for the GOP these days, so Beauprez would be wise to take some more time off.

However, despite our criticisms of his campaign last fall, Beauprez has a chance to continue to work behind the scenes, endorse candidates, and continue to support the party in ways he did in his days as state chair. There were many successes for the party under his leadership, and he was elected twice (and likely reelected again, had he stayed in Congress). His primary battle with Marc Holtzman exposed tears in the state's GOP, and factional rivalries and loyalties helped increase Bill Ritter's margin of victory.

The focus for the state GOP now should be cultivating new talent for future elections--though we stress that people like Beauprez should not be marginalized in any way. He brings his own brand of conservatism to the table, as most of us do, and should continue to be honored as a member of distinction within Colorado's GOP and an upstanding public servant, not simply remembered as a candidate who lost an election.

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Rocky Mountain Jihadis?

Courtesy of Gates of Vienna, via Michelle Malkin (click image for link)

Or just skittish videographers?
Three suspicious incidents in downtown Denver this summer have triggered a notice to law enforcement officials stating someone in the area may be conducting surveillance activity.

According to an internal document obtained by the Rocky Mountain News today, a man was seen about 6:30 p.m. on July 11, standing on Tremont Street between 16th and 17th streets.

He was outside one of the buildings there, videotaping the security desk through a window. The man, described as "believed to be of Middle Eastern descent," then walked to 16th and Tremont, where he filmed more of the outside of the building.

When a security guard tried to approach the man, he "started running down 16th Street and was lost in the crowd," according to the bulletin.

As of yet, investigators have not determined any motive for the man’s actions, and it is not certain how significant the incident is, said Lance Clem, a spokesman for the Colorado Information Analysis Center, a branch of the state’s Homeland Security Agency.

Similar reports arise on average about once a month, he said.

"It’s not unusual — put it that way," he said.
The same man was alleged to have mumbled some Arabic, including the phrase "Al-Aqsa".

Until more information is available (if ever), this seems to be insignificant, BUT we should not let our guard down, thinking a city like Denver would be too remote for potential terrorist activity--did anyone consider the possibility that an unarmed man with mental issues would enter the state capitol just a few weeks ago, declaring himself emperor and forcing law enforcement to shoot him, thus necessitating that Governor Ritter and the state legislators would have to reconsider capitol security? Didn't think so.

So what should we do?
Clem confirmed the contents of the bulletin, but refused to comment on any details. He did say reports to the CIAC may vary in severity, some spotty like this bulletin, but all are treated the same.

"We don’t always know why some people do things like this (suspicious surveillance of buildings)," he said. "But whenever we get reports, they’re taken seriously and they’re handled seriously.

"We don’t want to discourage people from filing reports. Anytime they see anything that’s out of place, they should let us know."
Vigilance does not equal vigilantism. But just don't let CAIR know about you, John or Jane Doe.

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July 27, 2007

Telluride Moonbats Vote For Impeachment

George W. Bush is not my favorite person right now (on immigration alone), but Telluride's resident moonbats have moved a bit beyond their pay grade (and intellectual level, for that matter):
The backlash the Telluride Town Council has received following its recent call for the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, is nothing new, according to council members.

Town Council member Andrea Benda said the city has received numerous letters deriding the council’s action, but people don’t understand that the vote wasn’t about impeachment, but about a citizens’ initiative.

“In our home-rule municipality, when citizens initiate an ordinance, we have to adopt an ordinance or put it on the ballot,” she said. “The one choice we don’t have is to say no.”

The ordinance was initiated by Thom Carnevale, Bernice Garber and Peggy Sue Richards, who gathered about 100 signatures so it would go before the town council.

The council approved the ordinance by a 6-1 vote last week at first reading and will have a second reading for final approval Aug. 7, Benda said.
So any moron with a crazy idea and 100 signatures is automatically approved? I like the Colorado Index's suggestion.
The fact that citizens came up with the ordinance to reflect their views is what makes Telluride great, she said.

“Telluride has always been a hotbed and has a long history of contentiousness,” Benda said. “Folks here feel free enough to stand up and say what’s on their minds, no matter what it is, and it’s nothing new to have the outside world not understand it … It makes me proud to live here.”

Since Telluride’s voters are mostly liberals, with a 5-to-1 ratio over conservatives, Benda said, she felt the resolution would have passed easily in November.

“This is an election year, with two council seats vacant, and I did not think it was necessary to have this issue part of our local political campaigning,” she said.

Scott McQuade, CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board, said he has gotten some angry e-mails about the council vote, but he didn’t take them to heart.

“Telluride is no stranger to controversy … and I don’t foresee this being a major issue,” he said. “In some ways it is a strength about our community, but certainly some people don’t agree with the measure.”

McQuade said he doesn’t think the resolution to impeach will hurt tourism in the ski town any more than objections to events such as Gay Ski Week, held Feb. 24 to March 4 this year.

And if the resolution keeps some ultra-conservative types away, so be it, Benda said.

“If people don’t like who we are, we don’t want them to come here and be disappointed,” she said.
Isn't that a little non-inclusive? We wouldn't want Telluride to lose its moonbat credentials, now, would we? Keeping those "ultra-conservative types away" with moonbattery--what a splendid form of discrimination.


They aren't the only ones Telluride's moonbats are keeping away:
“It’s huge, unbelievable,” said Telluride Mayor John Pryor. “Ski groups are canceling for the winter. Hundreds of people are bailing. The (town) Web site is flooded with people saying they’re canceling their vacations here.”

Pryor called it a “silly initiative.” The council, he told The Telluride Watch, is too busy to weigh in on national global politics.

Not every moonbat is displeased, with one declaring, “Let ‘em go to Vail."

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DNC Opens Office In Denver

Democrats have chosen the office to be used for the Democratic National Convention next August.

Must have been a slow news day.

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Colorado Climate Headline Of The Day

"Current Heat Wave Could Be Related To Climate Change"

Lemme see, July 26th, eh? How about SUMMER--and that big shiny thing in the sky--as the primary cause of the heat wave?

Just a thought.

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Hank Brown--Upholding CU's Integrity; Vincent Carroll On The Nature Of Adolf Eichmann

In an op-ed, Hank Brown explains the need for academic integrity, and the importance of the recent decision to dismiss Ward Churchill:
Faculty integrity is the cornerstone of every great university. The University of Colorado is no exception.
. . .
While the academic misconduct of one person should not tarnish the reputation for integrity CU faculty have worked so hard to build and maintain, his case is troubling. Charges of research misconduct led more than 20 faculty members (from CU and other universities) on three separate panels to review his work.

The faculty found a pattern of serious, repeated and deliberate research misconduct that included fabrication, falsification, improper citation and plagiarism.

Faculty reviewers unanimously agreed that the evidence showed professor Churchill engaged in research misconduct and that it required serious sanction.

That sanction was carried out Tuesday when the CU Board of Regents approved my recommendation to dismiss professor Churchill from the Boulder campus faculty.
. . .
Coloradans give us almost $200 million a year, federal taxpayers fund some $640 million in research annually, all to support quality education and research.

Our alumni expect us to maintain the value of their degrees, and students and their families trust that faculty who teach them adhere to the standards of the university and the profession. Failure to maintain academic integrity would cause irreparable harm.

. . .
By any measure, we have an outstanding faculty. Among them are Nobel Prize winners, recipients of the MacArthur Foundation "genius" awards, researchers at the forefront of scientific discovery and teachers whose work is guided by those who came before. The common thread is that they take pride in their work and understand their obligation to live up to the high standards of their profession and of CU.

In the end, CU will not be judged by the shoddy work of one faculty member but by the excellence the rest of the faculty demonstrate every day in classrooms and research laboratories.

The reputation for academic integrity and excellence built by generations of CU faculty, students and alumni will remain intact because the university's Board of Regents acted to protect it.
Rebuilding that reputation took a small step forward Tuesday. Brown clearly recognized the true obligation of a university, whose customers are neither the faculty nor the bureaucracy--but taxpayers who underwrite the institution and parents and students who pay for world-class educations. CU's first priority should be to these constituencies, not the petulant academics whose responsibility it must be to maintain the academic integrity and professional standards they claim provides the basis for awarding the Holy Grail of academia: tenure.

The RMN's Vincent Carroll explains to the Denver Post, and anyone else fooled by the notion that Churchill's "little Eichmanns" was a mere turn of phrase, the true nature of SS Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Adolf Eichmann:
Eichmann was no mere foot soldier, mindless bureaucrat or technocrat . . . Why such a big deal about these distinctions? So that we remain faithful to history, of course. But also so that we understand the meaning of “little Eichmanns.” If someone calls you that, he’s not equating you to a mindless foot soldier in an ugly cause. He’s comparing you to an architect of genocide.
Which is why Churchill's commentary on the 9/11 victims continues to be an outrageous defamation, and illustrates the anti-American nature of Churchill's quackery.

**Bonus audio/transcript of Churchill and student-acolyte, lamenting his dismissal. Excerpt:
ANN ERIKA WHITEBIRD: And the decision to fire Ward Churchill is really sad for me. He's the only professor that I’ve taken a class, where I really felt empowered as an Indigenous person. And our history, the history of genocide against our people, the history, the policy, the US policy of extermination against our people, the forced sterilization of our women -- that was found out as early as the ’70s -- it was all something that Ward talks about in his books. So I’m not just talking about the class that he’s offered, the FBI at Pine Ridge, but, you know, other classes that he teaches and then the books that he's written is really affirming as a Native person.

The history that we hear growing up about the smallpox blankets, it's not something that you question. It's something that is part of our oral history. And it's part of the history of other indigenous peoples. So when I’m here at CU Boulder and I talk to other students who are Dene or from other nations, it's a common understanding.
It's not about scholarship, it's about making people feel "empowered"--not by the truth, mind you, but by whatever version of history suits your agenda.

9NEWS has a lengthy video
of the moonbat presser following the CU Regents' vote. Emma Perez, Ethnic Studies associate professor, believes this is a veiled attack on tenure granted to women and people of color . . . Margaret Lecompte, professor of Education, attacks the "right-wing", CU "not a safe place" for academics . . . Tom Mayer, professor of sociology and Ward Churchill advocate is "distressed" . . . Hadley Brown, CU Tri-Exec, believes it is an attack on minority points of view . . . Ann Erika Whitebird, student and Churchill acolyte, sees the firing as "racist" and a continuation of racism she sees everyday on campus from "conservative, white Christians".

The Churchill saga, by the numbers

Academics fear "chilling effect", Churchill's pension will be around $70k/year
CU likely to try to move Churchill's lawsuit to federal court
Churchill firing pleases alumni, donors

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July 26, 2007

Churchill Dismissal Commentary

PirateBallerina has an excellent roundup of post-Ward commentary, including the amusing Reason article "Some Regents Push Back: Chief Lies-alot Fired", which includes yet another example of Churchill's predilection for misrepresenting historical facts.

Drunkablog takes apart RMN columnist Mike Littwin's lame "Ward was lynched" screed, and a little Miller-time.

Peter Wood says Churchill's firing diminishes the campus moonbats.

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July 25, 2007

Churchill: Lawsuit Edition

**Update--It's official, Drunkablog has the details, as well as a good post-mortem roundup

More blathering from Churchill's legal flack David Lane:
Hours before Churchill was fired Tuesday, Lane announced he planned to file a civil lawsuit in a Denver District Court rather than in a federal court because federal courts are "inundated with cases."

Lane said he predicted it would take about a year to get a trial.

He also said a jury pool in a Denver District Court would be more representative of the overall population.

"The minority population of Denver is much more greater than it is in the northern tier or Colorado generally," Lane said yesterday. "But I’m not reading into that anything in particular. That is the demographic fact of life."

The 2006 suit claimed the university failed to pay $20,000 owed for Churchill’s attorney fees, Lane said.

Lane said the suite was filed in Denver because the university’s headquarters are in that jurisdiction.
If you are not reading into anything, Mr. Lane, why bring it up?

Will work for fraud food. Courtesy of El Marco, who has more photos of Churchill et al.

Lawsuitpalooza? Ward Part Deux?

Neither CU President Hank Brown or Board Chair Patricia Hayes felt intimidated by potential legal action:
Both also said they were not swayed by the threat of legal action.

"I don't think a great university can be intimidated by legal action," said Brown.

"We (the regents) did not discuss any possibility of a lawsuit," said Hayes.

"This was an issue of what's best for the university and we had to step up to the plate and do what's best for the university," said Hayes.

Hayes also said they do not believe the decision will have a chilling effect on other professors.

"True academics will say this is a place they want to be," said Hayes.

"The message this sends is that the university faces up to problems and deals with them and that we are a reliable institution," said Brown.
And as much as yesterday's sacking of Ward Churchill brought closure--it also represented just the prelude to Churchill's guaranteed next step:
The next chapter is set to begin Wednesday, when the controversial academic and his civil rights attorney, David Lane, sue the university in Denver District Court.

Churchill warned that his dismissal is the beginning of a wider attack on scholars with unpopular political views.

"If you think I’m the endgame, you’re wrong," Churchill told supporters. "This is the kickoff.
. . .
Churchill, 59, said he would remain visible at CU while waging his court fight.

"I am going nowhere," he said. "It’s not about breaking. It’s not about bending. It’s not about compromising. When you negotiate your rights, you haven’t got any."
Let me rewrite that for you, Ward, to reflect CU's position--"It's not about breaking. It's not about bending. It's not about compromising. When you negotiate your standards, you haven't got any." There. Much better.

Now for the lawsuit specifics:
Lane said he will amend an existing lawsuit against the university today in Denver District Court. Already, he has sued asking that CU pay his legal fees. He said he will ask a jury for an unspecified amount of money and that Churchill be reinstated.
CU Regent Cindy Carlisle, the lone dissenting vote, offered a simple explanation for her decision:
Regent Cindy Carlisle, who cast the dissenting vote, said she thought firing was too tough a penalty. She agreed with the Privilege and Tenure Committee’s 3-2 vote in May to suspend Churchill for a year without pay.
There were some clear winners in today's decision--the authors misrepresented by Churchill:
R.G. Robertson, author of Rotting Face: Smallpox and the American Indian, said he was glad that Churchill’s supporters did not sway the regents.

"I’m glad that scholarship, or the ideal of scholarship, won out over somebody’s weird view of political correctness," he said. "I’m happy that it happened, that he’s been found out, and, by his peers — meaning other university people — and been called what he is, a plagiarizer and a liar."

Robertson’s book was among those cited by investigators as having been mischaracterized by Churchill.

"Facts are facts and truth is truth, and when you’re dealing with history I think it doesn’t need to be distorted by people with a warped political objective," Robertson said.

Another author whose work was mischaracterized by Churchill said the firing was appropriate punishment.

"It’s important to know Indian history, and it’s important to know factual Indian history, not just a bunch of B.S. that someone made up," said Russell Thornton, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Churchill attributed assertions that the Army deliberately spread smallpox among Indians to one of Thornton’s books, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492.
Ward and Co. vow to fight on:
Moments after the University of Colorado Regents voted to fire Ward Churchill, one of his supporters at the back of the Glenn Miller Ballroom shouted out, "Now it’s your turn!"

"You’re right," Churchill replied just before joining in with several American Indians from South Dakota as they started drumming and chanting the freedom song from the American Indian Movement.

Several of Churchill’s supporters decried the regents’ statements that they were dismissing him for a pattern of academic misconduct.

"I want to be clear," said Tom Mayer, a CU-Boulder sociology professor. "This is a political firing with academic camouflage.
"I believe the people who voted (to dismiss Churchill) are the same people who would have voted against Socrates, Galileo ... and anyone else with an unpopular point of view."
Lane doesn't think that a federal jury will give his client a fair shake (Lane and Churchill discriminate?):
Lane said he will sue in Denver District Court, rather than federal court, because he can get a trial sooner.

But he also said a Denver jury is more likely to be sympathetic than a federal jury, which would include "a lot of small-town people who are not enamored of Churchill."
Of course, all those right-wing, racist bastards in rural Colorado who don't accept Churchill's academic fraud. Shame on them! Let's go get a pro-Churchill jury down in the city!

A possible settlement?
Lukianoff said he expects that the First Amendment case could survive summary judgment and conclude with the university entering a settlement with Churchill.

"I think that overall, it's going to be an interesting, but difficult, lawsuit," he said.
The "media horde" pounded this story, with its First Amendment implications and the question of academic misconduct. While the majority of the MSM provided obligatory coverage due to the furor erupting at the beginning of the whole affair (with the Rocky Mountain News' investigative pursuit as a distinct exception), talk radio and blogs ultimately kept the story alive and the pressure consistent.

Unscientific polls at 9NEWS and the Denver Post don't seem to be leaning Churchill's way:

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July 24, 2007

Chickens Roosting Or Chicken Regents?

**This is a sticky post, continuously updated throughout the day. Scroll for pictures and video--

Verdict is in, Ward is out!
--8-to-1, lone dissenting vote Cindy Carlisle, a Democrat

"We will remain accountable to those who have high expectations of Colorado’s flagship university. And our faculty will remain true to high professional standards to ensure our reputation for academic integrity remains intact."
--CU President Hank Brown, in a letter to the CU community, CU Boulder Chancellor "Bud" Peterson's statement

Blog reax: Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, memeorandum, PirateBallerina, Drunkablog

MSM, 10 PM edition:
--AP just doesn't get it

Local MSM reports:
--RMN, Denver Post, 9NEWS, CBS4 (video of press conference, CU Pres Hank Brown speaks; David Lane talks lawsuit), KMGH7

The moment of truth . . . booing, catcalls

A post-dismissal jam session

Ward Churchill tries to drum up support . . . too late!

A Wardophile greets the "jackbooted thugs": "I've never seen so many people missing three fingers from their hand" (Drunkablog)

"I will not call Little Eichmanns Little Eichmanns"

Members of Churchill's vast pathetic Dune Buggy Attack Battalion (Drunkablog)

Glenn Spagnuolo and his mentor (Drunkablog)

AIM activist Russell Means lends Churchill moral support (Drunkablog)

**Update--PirateBallerina's afternoon/evening updates; PirateBallerina has a roundup of blog reax so far and is also following Dismissalooza, PB offers his farewell to the professor unemployed wackademic

*5:45 PM Verdict is in, Ward is out!

*12:30 PM--Morning update in from the Drunkablog--complete with pics/commentary and obligatory moonbat death threats:
In front of about 30 people, many of them with cameras and tape recorders, former AIM leadership council member Dillabaugh (who said he'd been in jail and didn't care if he had to go back) threatened to kill me. PB and Drunkablog friend Laurie was a witness, as was Ken Bonetti, who said something like "now, none of that."
Yep, those "peaceful" moonbats.

--Untenured CU English instructor calls Churchill process "tainted"

--Better late than never--The Denver Post finally calls for Churchill to be fired

--Regents continue to meet in closed session for Churchill's private hearing

*11:30 AM--Churchill's attorney blasts the CU Regents and the closed-door session (video), video of Churchill's arrival:
"The more the public sees, the more the public knows, the more they will realize that this is political maneuver and that Ward Churchill's termination is based solely on his free speech," he said.
Not everyone is a Churchill fan, however:
Laurie McClure, 56, of Firestone, whose daughter Bonnie graduated in May with a history degree, was passing out fliers this morning on the topic of research misconduct.

She said her daughter's degree has been diminished because of the negative publicity surrounding the Churchill case and his ties to the campus.

She said the case isn't about his political views.

"This is about a tenured professor who doesn't know how to do proper research," McClure said. "And it's about a tenured professor who doesn't have a Ph.D."
Academic freedom DOES NOT mean academic fraud. Those aren't my words (though I wholeheartedly endorse the sentiment). That was a comment on Churchill from the moonbats at DailyKos.

CU's streaming audio experienced "technical difficulties" this morning. They promise to have things running this afternoon, but Slapstick Politics will be there in person to provide backup.

*9:15 AM--Ward Churchill arrives, almost as many reporters/photographers as supporters attend:
Ward Churchill entered the University Memorial Center at 7:45 today — the day he'll learn his fate as a CU professor.

About 20 supporters accompanied Churchill and his attorney, David Lane, into a morning meeting in UMC room 235 with the CU Board of Regents.

At least a dozen reporters and photographers were on hand to chronicle a pivotal chapter in the 21/2-year controversy.
Lane attacked the Regents for their closed meeting in the last chapter of the Churchill affair--"When you shine light on the cockroaches, they scramble for cover"--(for a moment I thought he was referring to his own client!).


Ward Churchill smiles in happier days, but his contempt for academic standards and the disdain displayed by his most ardent supporters will be tested today. (courtesy CU College Republicans)

CU has already increased security in anticipation of protests from Churchill's supporters:
Hilliard said that as a matter of security, he couldn't discuss the measures university officials will put in place today, nor could he comment on any changes in the levels of police and security guard staffing.

"We feel good about the level of security that we have," Hilliard said. "What we have to do is provide safety for the public to express their opinions, and safety for the board to get their business done."

CU Regent Pat Hayes, chairwoman of the board, said she hopes the day goes smoothly.

"We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst," she said.
Ward's followers "promise" to be peaceful. We remain skeptical.

As for the dismissal vote, according to Ward Churchill's legal mouthpiece David Lane, Churchill's firing is guaranteed:
All it takes is a vote of the regents and a tenured professor is gone. They're making quite a show of trying to be fair and impartial. This has been scripted. This has been in the works for months and months.

I have no doubt they're going to fire him. And it's based — in fact if you read all the reports generated by all the investigators, you will acknowledge that each report has said this is all motivated by his 9/11 comments. There would have been no investigations. There would have been no action. There would have been nothing but for his 9/11 comments. That's why I'm so eager to take this into court.
Try two-and-a-half years Mr. Lane. This is quite the political theater to "take down" a tenured professor--a process lasting over 30 months. A process so interminable, bureaucratized, and politicized that CU's Regents vowed to expedite the tenure removal process, limited to a mere 100 days to "reduce the human misery involved".

Consequently and perhaps more appropriately, the process for receiving tenure has allegedly been tightened as well:
Rules on how professors are granted tenure - and how they can lose it - have been tightened at the University of Colorado since Ward Churchill was given the job guarantee in 1991.

Churchill was granted tenure without the usual six years of review because administrators saw him as bringing ethnic diversity to the faculty, several professors have said. As it turned out, Churchill is not an American Indian, as he claimed.

New rules require strict review by administrators to be sure a tenure candidate has cleared all the hurdles - including vetting of his or her published works by outside experts.

Pat Hayes, who chairs CU's Board of Regents, said the board then reviews the process.

"We get their paperwork and we go through it and we look at how each one of those committees looked at that particular person in relationship to tenure. We go through the whole thing," Hayes said.

If one or more faculty members on a review committee opposes tenure for a candidate, the regents ask questions, Hayes said.

Churchill was given tenure in the communications department over the objections of several faculty members. Two other departments rejected him.

The review of tenured professors at five-year intervals - a perfunctory exercise in some departments - has been tightened, and the procedure to dismiss faculty members has been streamlined.
Let us hope that CU can avoid future debacles by refusing to grant the Holy Grail of academia--tenure--to crackpots whose political views happen to be fashionable and are indeed encouraged in a climate devoted to multiculturalism and diversity at the cost of academic integrity.

And even though Churchill faces possible dismissal today, he continues to draw a rather hefty compensation package:
If Churchill is dismissed, his severance pay will be one year's salary, currently $96,392. It was not immediately clear if he will continue to receive benefits such as health insurance or employer's contributions to his retirement plan, said CU Vice President Ken McConnellogue.

The money already in his retirement fund won't be affected.

He has continued to receive his salary, although he has not taught since the fall 2005 semester. Part of the time, he was on sabbatical, and he also used compensatory time off he'd accumulated for teaching extra courses in previous semesters. More recently, he has been on paid leave.
He has received the due process from the CU system (innocent until proven guilty, something he denied to the targets of his political diatribes), and will likely find his legal arguments for a lawsuit fall on deaf ears (Churchill timeline):
Churchill has vowed to sue if he is fired. Legal scholars have given him little chance of prevailing in court: Judges usually defer to governing boards on personnel matters, particularly when due process has been followed.

The regents and Brown have done precisely that, said RL Widmann, an English professor who leads CU's faculty council.

About 25 faculty members have been involved in reviewing the charges against Churchill during the various stages of the investigation, Widmann said.

The regents will be closeted with a special counsel assigned by the state attorney general's office as they discuss possible actions.
Churchill has been found guilty of manufacturing historical events, plagiarism, and falsifying sources. Those aren't good arguments for an appeal.

Monday's local media coverage (9NEWS (video), The Denver Post)

Background on Churchill:
The Rocky Mountain News led the investigation into Churchill's misconduct and collects their investigative reports, documentation, and other news coverage.

You can search this blog's archives on the professor. For dedicated 24/7 Wardo coverage,
blogger PirateBallerina's enormous body of work on Ward Churchill can't be found (or duplicated) anywhere else. If one were so inclined, weeks could be spent scouring his archives on the infamous professor. Props also go to the Drunkablog, who has spent his fair share of time in the trenches against Churchill and his minions.

CU has posted its own comprehensive review of the Churchill affair--The Research Misconduct Inquiry, including press releases, official school statements, and the infamous Churchill essay--"Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens"--that brought the research misconduct to light.

You can also hear Churchill himself in the scores of videos posted at YouTube or Google Video.

In the interest of fairness, one can also peruse the scribblings of Churchill's most ardent defenders--the Dune Buggy Attack Battalion and Ward's own "Solidarity Network".

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CU President Hank Brown's Letter To The CU Community

Not available at the CU site (modified, but not in this form):
July 24, 2007

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Colorado,

The Board of Regents today voted to accept my recommendation to dismiss Professor Ward Churchill from the faculty.

I made the recommendation for the good of the university. CU’s success depends upon its reputation for academic integrity. A public research university such as ours requires public faith that each faculty member’s professional activities and search for truth are conducted according to the high standards on which CU’s reputation rests.

We are accountable to those who have a stake in the university: the people of Colorado who contribute $200 million annually in tax dollars, the federal entities that provide some $640 million annually in research funding, the donors who gave us more than $130 million this year to enhance academic quality, the alumni who want to maintain the value of their degrees, the faculty and staff who expect their colleagues to act with integrity, and the students who trust that faculty who teach them meet the high professional standards of the university and the profession.

Given the record of the case and findings of Professor Churchill’s faculty peers, I determined that allowing him to remain on the faculty would cast a shadow on our reputation for academic integrity.

Throughout the case, we have adhered to shared governance procedures as determined by the CU Faculty Senate Constitution and Bylaws and adopted by the Board of Regents. During the course of two-plus years, Professor Churchill presented his position in writing, in person, with his attorney and with witnesses of his choosing. He was afforded full due process.

More than 20 tenured faculty members (from CU and other universities) on three separate panels conducted a thorough review of his work and found that the evidence shows Professor Churchill engaged in research misconduct, and that it required serious sanction. The record of the case shows a pattern of serious, repeated and deliberate research misconduct that falls below the minimum standard of professional integrity, including fabrication, falsification, improper citation and plagiarism. No university can abide such serious academic misconduct.

Professor Churchill fabricated historical events and sought to support his fabrications by manufacturing articles under other names. His publications show more than just sloppy citations or using the work of others without crediting them. The Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct found multiple instances of falsification, fabrication and plagiarism. Any student engaging in such a wide range of academic misconduct would be seriously sanctioned. We should hold our faculty to a high standard of professionalism

While Professor Churchill’s peers on the faculty panels were unanimous in finding research misconduct, views on the appropriate sanction varied. Some faculty recommended dismissal while others suggested a less severe penalty. My obligation as president is to recommend to the Board of Regents an appropriate sanction that is for the good of the university.

Some on the Boulder campus and beyond claim Professor Churchill was singled out because of public condemnation of his writing about September 11, 2001. They see this case as a referendum on academic freedom. The university determined early in the process that his speech was not at issue, but that his research was. The prohibition against research misconduct extends to all faculty, regardless of their political views. We cannot abandon our professional standards and exempt faculty members from being accountable for the integrity of their research simply because their views are controversial.

Professor Churchill’s activities not only run counter to the essence of academic freedom, but also threaten its foundation. Academic freedom is intended to protect the exploration and teaching of unpopular, even controversial ideas. But that pursuit must be accompanied by the standards of the profession. Academic freedom does not protect research misconduct. After his research misconduct was identified, Professor Churchill did not admit any errors or come forward to correct the record, as is expected in the profession.

CU’s most important asset is its academic reputation. Professor Churchill’s actions reflect poorly on the University of Colorado, but we will not let the research misconduct of one individual tarnish our reputation. Our faculty members take pride in their work and demonstrate their respect for the high standards of their profession and this university day in and day out. Professor Churchill’s research misconduct is an affront to those who conduct themselves with integrity.

We will remain accountable to those who have high expectations of Colorado’s flagship university. And our faculty will remain true to high professional standards to ensure our reputation for academic integrity remains intact.


Hank Brown


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July 21, 2007

Not To Toot My Own Horn, But . . .

My plot to take over the world seems to be progressing according to plan. That's #1 most influential political blog in Colorado, for one week at least.

Thank you, oh faithful readers, and here's looking to more where that came from--let's keep up the good work! (I blog, you read)


7-21-07 Roundup

Colorado Democrats move caucuses from March to February.

Best campaign nickname so far: "Tax 'em all Udall".

A "perfect storm" in Colorado in 2008? PPH thinks so. (more on the anti-abortion measure) David Harsanyi thinks it will hurt more than it will help--and create a mess in the process.

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Churchillpalooza: Ward Fires Back, Accuses Other Professors Of Plagiarism

The standard argument from a five-year-old--"they did it too!":
University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill — who says he expects to be fired Tuesday — has filed three counter-complaints against scholars who found violations in his writings during an academic-misconduct probe.

Churchill has lodged the complaints with Joseph Rosse, a professor on the Boulder campus who heads the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct.

In the three separate complaints, Churchill alleges that the scholars who investigated his work misrepresented his writings, committed serial plagiarism from other sources, twisted facts and concealed sources that would have supported his arguments.

The complaints are filed against the five people appointed by the university to investigate academic-misconduct allegations against Churchill after the professor's Sept. 11, 2001 essay sparked controversy.

In one of his filings, the embattled professor complains that Marjorie McIntosh, a distinguished professor of history emeritus, systematically plagiarized from sources on at least two dozen occasions.
The Great Churchill has spoken! There is nothing to see behind the curtain!

Demonstrating great intestinal fortitude (or is it liquid courage?--just kidding Drunkablog), JGM catches Churchil "spinning", and notes that the comments at DailyKos are actually running againstthe great perfesser ("academic freedom DOES NOT mean academic fraud"). Wow. Perhaps someone spiked their Kool-Aid?

And as usual, PirateBallerina is keeping tabs on all of the latest Churchill "Dismissalooza".

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July 20, 2007

Churchill Expects To Be Fired; CU Students Cheer End Of Saga

Ward Churchill complains that the decision was preordained, and promises to sue:
Churchill and his attorney describe the investigations and upcoming hearing as a charade and say they are convinced the majority of regents will vote for dismissal. The tenured professor said he has not spoken with the regents about the upcoming hearing but that the research-misconduct allegations were "concocted precisely for the purpose of providing a pretext for the regents to do what they were all set to do in the first place."

"I expect to be fired," Churchill said in an e-mail to the Camera on Thursday. "That's been ordained since the outset. ... So, they're going to do what they've wanted to do all along. Then it's my turn."
CU has released a rough timeline of Tuesday's festivities:
8 a.m.: The Board of Regents will meet in public in the University Memorial Center to announce it will go into executive session, behind closed doors.

8:15 a.m. until at least 4 p.m.: In private, regents will be briefed by the board's attorneys before holding a hearing.

The hearing will include arguments from Churchill and his attorney; university counsel; and the counsel representing CU's Privilege and Tenure Committee. Each party will have a set amount of time to present its case to the board. Regents can ask questions, but no new evidence can be presented.

The regents will then deliberate.

4 p.m. or later: Regents will meet again in public session in the UMC's Glenn Miller Ballroom to vote on CU President Hank Brown's recommendation that Churchill be fired.

Video of the meeting will be streamed online at www.cu.edu.

After the meeting: Brown and Regent Pat Hayes, chairwoman of the board, will hold a news conference in UMC Room 235. Media credentials are required, but the conference will also be streamed online.

CU said Thursday that an open microphone will be available at the end of the day for anybody who wants to express "their personal opinions on topics related to the events of the day."
An open mic? That should produce some, shall we say, spirited commentary.

One student summarized just about everyone's feelings:
"I'm absolutely ready for this to be done."
We are too--but we seriously doubt we will see Churchill ride off into the sunset anytime soon.

Don't Fire Ward Churchill Says ACLU

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Don't Fire Ward Churchill Says ACLU

Witch hunt or academic misconduct? The ACLU begs for Ward to be set free, CU defends the findings of multiple committees:
"I think that the protection of the First Amendment rights is vital in the university and in the general public," said Cathy Hazouri, executive director of ACLU of Colorado.

The letter, signed by Hazouri and Anthony Romero, ACLU executive director, was delivered to the regent’s office today. Calls for Churchill’s termination were the result of his expression of unpopular views, not because of the quality of his scholarship, the letter said.

"The investigation of professor Churchill’s scholarship cannot be separated from the indefensible lynch-mob furor that generated the initial calls for his termination," the letter said.

Churchill caused a furor when he wrote an essay comparing some Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi leader, but the university has said such comments are protected speech and that Churchill’s problems stem from findings that he committed plagiarism and research misconduct.

Today, CU spokeswoman Michele McKinney said she could not speak on behalf of the regents in regards to the ACLU letter.

"More than 25 fully tenured faculty members from CU and other institutions served on three panels and unanimously determined that Professor Churchill engaged in acts of research misconduct," she said. "The university has an obligation to review such findings and determine what, if any, sanction is warranted."
How dare anyone use patriarchal, imperialistic, racist sanctions against Ward Churchill?

Someone please pass the Kool-Aid.

PirateBallerina has the whole press release--and it seems the ACLU is drinking the same Kook-Aid as Churchill's most ardent (and deranged) supporters.

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July 19, 2007

Fort Collins Forms Holiday Display 'Task Force'

In a move that replaces legislative fiat with potential bureaucratic red tape, Fort Collins City Council has formed a holiday display citizen "task force" assigned to grapple with the pressing and difficult issue of whether or not to display a menorah during the "holidays":
The Fort Collins City Council took the right approach to a difficult dilemma by agreeing to form a citizen task force to review the city's holiday display policy.

For two years, the issue of whether a menorah could or should be allowed on city property has been left generally unresolved. City Council voted last year to continue its policy of not allowing unattended displays in Old Town, even after public forums dominated by discussion from residents who advocated the placement. While the menorah was rejected, the city does allow a Christmas tree to be placed in Old Town.

Tuesday's decision, though, transcends the menorah issue to address the city's guidelines for all holiday exhibits - an approach that is both sensible and inclusive.

The same goes with forming a citizens' group made up of stakeholders from religious, business, social and government communities. It is hoped that a diverse group can form a diverse and, perhaps, creative approach that allows for free expression rather than exclusion. This group can start by studying how other communities have addressed what has become an all-too-common controversy throughout the nation.

This is, indeed, a community conversation. And it is one in which City Council may have to be led rather than lead on determining appropriate displays for public property.
A recommendation will be brought to the City Council by Oct. 31 and the council will vote on the issue at its Nov. 6 meeting.

City officials are touting their foresight, civic fortitude, and "inclusionary" undertaking:
"I am really delighted to see us taking this step," said Mayor Doug Hutchinson. "We learned a lot about this issue two years ago, and I think Fort Collins is a great city, and I think great cities are inclusionary. I think what council is doing tonight is an act of proactive inclusion."

The 20-member task force will include representatives from many different city organizations, both religious and secular in nature, city staff told council members.
Controversy arose during the holiday season in Fort Collins during the past two years when City Council voted to maintain its policy of not allowing unattended displays – including the menorah – in Old Town.
. . .
"I am pleased council is doing this," said council member Kelly Ohlson, who suggested the task force at a study session. "I want to be clear, though, that we're not telling any churches or businesses or property owners what they can do on their own property. This purely a policy about what the city can do on city property."
"Inclusionary" bureaucracy. Gets you all warm and fuzzy!

We supported the display of a menorah in Fort Collins last December. That position hasn't changed.

We just find it amusing that a 20 person task force has been created to study the issue. Thanks to the ACLU for necessitating such a wasteful and pointless bureaucratic process, as the city cowers behind bureaucracy to avoid ACLU lawsuits and deflect cries of discrimination.

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Danny Dietz Memorial Photo Essay

After the crowds of the unveiling depart, there is a sense of solemnity and power evoked by the memorial to fallen Navy SEAL Danny Dietz. Let us not forget his service.

This statue is but a mere token of gratitude from the city of Littleton--and Americans--who recognize and appreciate the heroic sacrifice of those like Dietz.

In memoriam:

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July 18, 2007

Churchillpalooza: The Final Edition

Until the inevitable, interminable appeals--of course (h/t Drunkablog):
D-Day in the struggle to defend free speech and Prof. Ward Churchill is Tuesday July 24.

On that day, the CU Regents will vote after an all-day meeting, most of which will be closed to the public. But the Regents must come out to face us when they make their vote and explain it. So, be there with us at 3:30pm for our main rally. We will observe their vote and make our voices heard.

If you can join us for more of the day, we will hold a small rally in the morning (7:30am, UMC South Plaza) to show our presence and we will maintain a vigil while the fight goes on behind closed doors.
Don't miss it!

The will be serving Kook-Aid, I'm told, all day.

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July 17, 2007

Human Smugglers Arrested In Wheat Ridge

Bernardino Fuentes-Espinoza--CBS

Guadalupe Alvarez--CBS

Mexican nationals, caught passing counterfeit bills:
A fake $100 bill lead police to a van full of suspected illegal immigrants in Wheat Ridge Monday night, officers said.

Police said two men tried to pass off the counterfeit cash at a convenience store at West 32nd Ave. and Youngfield St.

Officers arrested the two Mexican nationals at the store on charges of human smuggling. Police found nine other men and women in a van outside. Two people ran from the van and haven't been seen since.

The two suspects were identified as Bernardino Fuentes-Espinoza, 35, and Guadalupe Alvarez, 42. Both were taken to the Jefferson County Jail on charges of smuggling of humans, a class 3 felony.

Wheat Ridge police said each person paid $2,500 for a trip into the United States.

The remaining seven passengers were assisted by the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT), sponsored by the Division of Criminal Justice at the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Wheat Ridge Police were assisted by the FBI, Secret Service, ICE, and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
They caught this van, but how many more pass by on I-70?

Last year, Colorado State Patrol estimated 500 vehicles pass through the state each week.

This was just a drop in the bucket, caught only because they tried to pass a fake $100 bill.

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Colorado 'Emperor' Shooting Updated

An update of the story, including more details from yesterday.

Best Destiny discovers moonbattery via a left-wing blog that blames gun accessibility and right-wing talk radio for the shooting--and not what clearly seems to be a case of mental disturbance.

Political Pale Horse reminds us of Rep. Cory Gardner's defeated bill that would have allowed businesses to use deadly force to protect themselves. Not everyone has a Capitol security force.

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Obama Girl vs Giuliani Girl

Obama Girl has some competition now! If you're into girls in underwear having pillow fights and having dance offs for the sake of politics, then here's your video, my friend.

If you haven't seen Obama Girl's video, "I Got A Crush...On Obama," here it is:

I'm protesting. I mean, where are all the shirtless Giuliani Boys?

Okay, so that would make for a very questionable music video but seriously? I don't care. I just wanna see some greased up mmmmmmmmmmanmeat.


July 16, 2007

Unidentified Man Shot, Killed Inside Colorado Capitol

Ahmad Terry © The Rocky

This photo, shot from the second floor of the Capitol looking down onto the first floor, shows a body lying on the floor on the north side near the north entrance.

"I am the emperor and I'm here to take over city government." (more here):
An unidentified man was shot and killed at the Capitol this afternoon after he walked into the governor’s office with a gun, yelling "I am the emperor. I am here to take over state government." The shooting was the first homicide in the Capitol in the history of Colorado. A state trooper, identified as Jay Hemphill, shot the man in the head. Gov. Bill Ritter was in his office at the time but was not hurt.
Drunkablog's on the case.

Capitol security was loosened in 2003.

Graphic NSFW slide show of capitol shooting.

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