Academia

Mother Superior State College Jumped the Gun Images*

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Not one of the professor's images

Over at Inside Higher Ed, a publication that covers post-K-12 education issues with vim, vigor, and verve, Andy Guess reports on the case of Robert Crandall, a tenured prof at Lake Superior State College who has gotten in trouble for posting offensive content to his office door. LSSC's case, according to a lawyer representing the school, is that the prof has "acted in an unprofessional and insubordinate manner [and] his actions cannot be considered protected speech."

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), co-founded by reason contributors Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors, is publicizing the case. Writes Guess:

The first complaints date back to 2005, and the professor, Richard Crandall, was ordered to remove the materials from his door in 2007 (he eventually complied). Items included a photo of Ronald Reagan, pictures mocking Hillary Clinton, a sign posting a "Notice of the Weekly Meeting of the White, Male, Heterosexual Faculty and Staff Association (WMHFSA)," and various cartoons about abortion, Islamic terrorism and other topics. One depicts two hooded women looking over a photo album. One says, "And that's my youngest son, Hakim. He'll be martyring in the fall." The other replies, "They blow up so fast."

The university argues that the postings contribute to a hostile environment and therefore do not fall under First Amendment protections, although such arguments have not fared well historically in the courts. No lawsuit has been filed, but in the past some professors whose cases have been publicized by FIRE have pursued legal action. The university did not respond to requests for comment.

FIRE and Crandall, who could not be reached for comment, point out that other professors at the university are able to post politically charged pictures and phrases on their doors without consequence, presumably because their perspective is liberal or leftist rather than conservative or right-wing.

More here.

Take a look at the images and I think there's a strong implicit case that Crandall is a tool. Some are funny (IMO), some are not, but if I were an undergrad, they'd definitely kind of freak my shit—as did any number of door and office postings by lefty profs back in the day. But general freakage of shit does not seem not to be the issue here, as it really does appear to be the specific content—right-wing, and heavy on the pro-gun, anti-abortion themes—that is cause for complaint.

FIRE has always made a consistent argument (and has defended scholars and the right and the left) that public universities, precisely because they are government-sponsored, are totally bound by the First Amendment in ways that private universities are not necessarily (yeah, yeah, I understand that the line between public and private is totally nebulous given various funding issues ranging from federal research grants to Pell grants, etc).

I agree with that argument, and think that Crandall and all profs should be allowed to put whatever they want on their doors. Indeed, the whole point of going to college may be to expose kids to hostile environments—or, rather, intellectual environments in which they are exposed to all sorts of perspectives and taught to think critically about every aspect of their lives.

And yet, given the quality of political discourse (right, left, center) on most campuses, I think I may also want to live in a world where students and professors only meet in open areas devoid of any individualized signage, sort of like where prisoners and visitors meet. Plexiglass dividing walls optional.

[*]: I apologize in advance for this title, which is every bit as tortured as the inmates of Abu Ghraib.

NEXT: Pirates and Pinkertons

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  1. Point of information:
    Did FIRE defend Ward Churchill’s right to say stupid shit?

    I’d also guess the strong anti-Islam factor was cause for it as well.

  2. I don’t know, Gillespie…I’ve been around college campuses for so long I think I can understand his desire to stick a big, deliberate middle finger in the eye of anybody and everybody.

    As we’ve all said before, universities are the most fascist, mind-controlling blah blah blah places on the face of the earth.

  3. Mo: W.C was fire because he was guilty of plagiarism. His saying of ‘stupid shit’ is only relevant in that it’s what drew enough attention to him to uncover his plagiarism.

  4. Well, yes, the guy’s a tool. And the folks who are seriously bothered by his door are even bigger tools.

    Incidentally, the only image that struck me as funny was the page of Islamist personals. That was funny in a wince-inducing sort of way.

  5. Tool.

    Can you imagine still keeping that bit about how fast and easy the military won the Iraq War up, in 2008? It’s like a sick joke at this point.

    Why punish the guy? He might as well have put up a neon sign reading “Ask Me About Being a Moron.”

  6. Well, yes, the guy’s a tool. And the folks who are seriously bothered by his door are even bigger tools.

    Well said.

    Can you imagine still keeping that bit about how fast and easy the military won the Iraq War up, in 2008? It’s like a sick joke at this point.

    Not so well said.

  7. joe — so what kind of lefty propaganda do you keep laying around? Please tell us so that we can say you’re a tool since we don’t agree with you.

  8. I thought the “Porn” section cartoon was funny. The rest were pretty unoriginal, IMO.

    And I wouldn’t call this guy a “tool.” I think “moron” is probably closer to being right.

  9. Hell, I had a professor who let us get drunk in class. He bought the wine! Granted, it was a poetry course and he was a hardcore Beat, but still…nobody batted an eye. I pity today’s students.

  10. This is an all too typical response from college administrators. Leave the moron alone.

    I’m stilling withholding donations to my alma mater for the shit it pulled when I was a student.

  11. joe — so what kind of lefty propaganda do you keep laying around?

    None, actually. And I didn’t realize that “the Iraq War was not a quick, easy victory” was a statement that would generate a great deal of controversy in 2008. That’s actually a rather straightforward, unassailable statement.

  12. “Did FIRE defend Ward Churchill’s right to say stupid shit?”

    Ward Churchill has and always had the right to say stupid shit. He got fired for plagiarism, an intellectual property issue most libertarians would understand.

  13. The guy’s a tool, free speech is grand, and that’s about it.

    However, and I mean this, fuck FIRE. I’ve had two delightful up close experiences with them, and found them to be utterly unconcerned with the facts of cases at issue, headline-seeking, and utterly without principle.

    Two cases: an openly gay professor under fire for talking frankly about gender identity politics in a political ideology class, and a college Republican group who thought it would be hilarious to advertise a white, heterosexual, American, male scholarship fraudulently (as in, they never meant to actually give anyone money but didn’t bother to tell the applicants this).

    Guess which one FIRE didn’t give a shit about, and which one they were like white-on-rice all over.

    Fuck FIRE.

  14. I apologize in advance for this title, which is every bit as tortured as the inmates of Abu Ghraib

    Your headline actually bothered me more than the naked pyramids.

  15. TDR,

    The poster, and two other commenters before me, also called the guy a tool.

    I trust you’re going to ask the same question of them, since you’re so totally not just whining at me because you disagree with my politics.

  16. Can you imagine still keeping that bit about how fast and easy the military won the Iraq War up, in 2008? It’s like a sick joke at this point.

    Actually, I have the intention of printing that part out and posting it on my door for just that sort of comedy.

  17. I thought there was specific text in the Constitution guaranteeing the right to tooliness.

  18. ed –
    You clearly didn’t get the nuanced part where it says “as long as you’re being a tool to the white man”

  19. Indeed, the whole point of going to college may be to expose kids to hostile environments

    Thank you!
    It’s been a number of years since college, but one thing that use to yank my chest hairs, was the way students would whine about professors that called on them in class. Apparently asking students questions about assigned material makes them feel stupid and thus hampers their ability to learn. You see they would totally do their homework if they weren’t so afraid of being singled out in class when everybody would realize they didn’t do their homework. Or something like that.

  20. Indeed, the whole point of going to college may be to expose kids to hostile environments

    Actually, it’s to introduce them to challenging ideas, in order to get them to confront their own assumptions and understandings.

    I’m not sure if posting material like this advances that effort at all. If you aren’t already in the tank for guns, Reagan, the Iraq War and Muslim-bashing, all this stuff is going to do is cause people to dig in their heels. If you are already in the tank, the stuff is just an “attaboy.”

  21. One depicts two hooded women looking over a photo album. One says, “And that’s my youngest son, Hakim. He’ll be martyring in the fall.” The other replies, “They blow up so fast.”

    Unfortunately, that’s the reality in some places.

    I apologize in advance for this title, which is every bit as tortured as the inmates of Abu Ghraib.

    You mean the maiming, acid-dripping, rape room, electrocution torture at Abu Ghraib under Saddam that was totally ignored by the media, or the naked pyramid, panties on the head, pointing at genitals torture that was on about 100 front pages of the NYT?

  22. Call me narcissistic, but I don’t remember many folks ’round here using the word “tool” like this until I wrote Nick was a “tool of the establishment” for participating in the Ron Paul calumny, but whether or not I am a trendsetter, Nick is still a tool.

  23. joe — so what kind of lefty propaganda do you keep laying around?

    I have it on good authority that joe has Menuedo posters up. It’s not lefty, but it is a bit disturbing.

  24. You mean the maiming, acid-dripping, rape room, electrocution torture at Abu Ghraib under Saddam that was totally ignored by the media, or the naked pyramid, panties on the head, pointing at genitals torture that was on about 100 front pages of the NYT?

    That would be both, jackass. Unless being stacked in a naked pyramid is a leisure activity for you.

    If it is, hey, more power to you.

  25. Maybe he was refering to the documented incidents of people dying under American torture at Abu Ghraib, TallDave.

    Or have you managed not to know that, too?

  26. I am offended by LPSC’s craptacular fax machines.

    Also “I don’t want to pay $2.50 for gas anymore”

    Well, they ‘fixed the glitch’, didn’t they?

  27. This douchebag is merely the right-wing equivalent of the morons with “Buck Fush” and “Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot” bumperstickers.

    Yay, they want us to know that they feel very strongly about something.

  28. “LSSC”

    My typos also offend me, but I will defend my right to make them.

  29. Repetition of the word tool when describing others means only one thing there big guy.

    Yup.

  30. TallDave | April 10, 2008, 11:18am | #
    One depicts two hooded women looking over a photo album. One says, “And that’s my youngest son, Hakim. He’ll be martyring in the fall.” The other replies, “They blow up so fast.”

    Unfortunately, that’s the reality in some places.

    And the award for this Thread’s Biggest Tool goes to…

  31. no, joe, I singled you out because you consistently take it upon yourself to be the great liberal conscience to all the heartless libertarians out there. I also mock the fact that you took one of his quotes out of context and used that as your “evidence.” If you want to call somebody a tool, fine. But don’t try to use a statement about Iraq as “proof” that he’s a tool.

  32. I don’t care what joe says…I am sure he has laughed at, endorsed, or encouraged smug liberal propaganda on a regular basis.

  33. LMNOP wrote:

    …and a college Republican group who thought it would be hilarious to advertise a white, heterosexual, American, male scholarship fraudulently (as in, they never meant to actually give anyone money but didn’t bother to tell the applicants this).

    I’ll give you a million billion dollars if you can show me this was fraudulent.

  34. Not to condone torture of any sort, but I don’t think anyone here would choose Saddam’s Room of Sadistic Delights over Uncle Sam’s.

  35. so, joe, since this material isn’t helping educate students, I’m sure you go around to all the colleges in your area getting rid of all the pro-Marx, pro-Che, anti-Bush propaganda? Right? You speak out against it, right? Surely you wouldn’t be a hypocrite.

  36. Elemenope, I like FIRE, but I understand your anger, got a good friend in Kentucky who feels the same about IJ for not taking a case where a 300 year old family farmstead was taken for a sewer farm to benefit a tribe or developer or something. Lots of enviro issues attached as well. No fun to be steamrolled when the people you think can help, won’t.

    I had a chance to break bread with Kors from FIRE once. I don’t know if really is a great guy in real life or not, but he certainly was for that few hours.

    Tall Dave, you are fun. Definitely fun.

    They blow up so fast–great stuff, but I’ve seen that in my email box a billion times, along with nearly everything on the guy’s door.

    I don’t think this guy is any more of a tool than any other prof with a bunch of propaganda scotch taped to the office door.

    I had my free speech silenced once. It was right after I taped a big sign on the office door that said QUALITY UNCONTROLLED. Course it was the QC lab and it was a private company. Hey, I guess it’s the QA lab these days.

  37. And I didn’t realize that “the Iraq War was not a quick, easy victory” was a statement that would generate a great deal of controversy in 2008. That’s actually a rather straightforward, unassailable statement.

    The Iraq War was won quick and easy. The post war occupation has been a miserable disaster, on the other hand. No big surprise there, that was the problem with the war to begin with. Heck, its why Daddy Bush stopped when he did in the first war.

  38. I singled you out because you consistently take it upon yourself to be the great liberal conscience to all the heartless libertarians out there.

    So, you singled me out for denunciation because of my political philosophy, by way of criticizing me for criticizing the guy, allegedly, for his political philosophy.

    I also mock the fact that you took one of his quotes out of context and used that as your “evidence.”

    Click the link, chief. I took nothing out of context.

  39. Unless being stacked in a naked pyramid is a leisure activity

    I knew this guy, and when he lived in Honolulu…..

    {holds up his right hand}

    I swear

  40. It’s Lake Superior State University, not College.

  41. so, joe, since this material isn’t helping educate students, I’m sure you go around to all the colleges in your area getting rid of all the pro-Marx, pro-Che, anti-Bush propaganda?

    Of course I do. Just as I went to this guy’s office and…uh…took down…uh…hmm…

  42. I read the link, chief. Don’t be a condescending prick, chief.

    Yes, I singled you out because you are most likely just like every other hypocrite. You criticize someone you don’t agree with but turn a blind eye to the things you do agree with.

    I would say the same things about conservatives. Libertarians are the only ones I trust to be principled on these types of matters.

  43. Oh, and way to miss the point, DR.

    Actually, it’s to introduce them to challenging ideas, in order to get them to confront their own assumptions and understandings.

    I’m not sure if posting material like this advances that effort at all. If you aren’t already in the tank for guns, Reagan, the Iraq War and Muslim-bashing, all this stuff is going to do is cause people to dig in their heels. If you are already in the tank, the stuff is just an “attaboy.”

    My complaint here is about a) the fact that the stuff on his door expresses political ideas that students could disagree with, or b) the fact that the ideas are expressed in a way that doesn’t encourage thought and consideration of those ideas.

    I have faith in you, dude. You can get this one.

  44. I’ve noticed a pattern about you, joe. You don’t answer questions with reason or logic — you answer with sarcasm and condescension. Again, just a typical liberal.

  45. robc,

    I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that the “occupation” phase is not a “war,” and apply “war” only to the run up the river.

    I doubt anybody currently over there would claim they are not fighting a war.

    It simply changed from one type of war to another.

  46. Ya, I got your point joe. Arrogant prick. I’m saying your point says nothing as to whether or not you think it’s OK to leave these things up even though they don’t “advnce the effort” of educating people.

    It also says nothing about whether or not you turn a blind eye to propaganda you agree with.

    But I have faith in you, dude. You can answer my questions, one day. It may require you to dial back the sarcasm though, chief.

  47. Oh, good, let’s talk about “patterns about you, joe.”

    I think everyone really, really wants another one of those threads.

    Srsly, I’m not this interesting. Give it a rest.

    Chief.

  48. please teach us more about fine distinctions, joe. Because I vaguely recall the material in question referring to the overthrow of Iraq. So when somebody says “the overthrow of Iraq was easy” your BS point about what is considered “war” isn’t even relevant.

    But keep working on your logic skills. I believe in you dude.

  49. Shut.

    The.

    Fuck.

    Up.

    If.

    You.

    Have.

    Nothing.

    To.

    Say.

    About.

    The.

    Subject.

    Of.

    The.

    Thread.

    Chief.

  50. I know why WC was fired, but when people were calling for his head, did FIRE stand up for him because of free speech? Heck, at least the ACLU stands up for people they disagree with politically*.

    * I’m talking free speech issues, not 2nd Amendment. They stand up for pro-life groups periodically.

  51. — you answer with sarcasm and condescension. Again, just a typical liberal.

    Nothing really new here DR, move along.

  52. One depicts two hooded women looking over a photo album. One says, “And that’s my youngest son, Hakim. He’ll be martyring in the fall.” The other replies, “They blow up so fast.”

    I don’t care what anybody says or thinks, but THAT IS FUNNY!

    CB

  53. no, joe, it’s one of those days where I find you very interesting. So don’t tell me what “others” want, although only an authoritarian liberal would use that type of thinking.

    I think you get a free pass on your BS arguments because nobody does find you interesting. And YET — you have not made one coherent argument since showing up today. So make an actual argument or expect people to ridicule your opinions.

  54. I’ll say whatever I want about whoever I want, just like all the rest of you do. So save it.

  55. The Democratic Republican | April 10, 2008, 10:45am | #

    joe — so what kind of lefty propaganda do you keep laying around? Please tell us so that we can say you’re a tool since we don’t agree with you.

    The Democratic Republican | April 10, 2008, 11:44am | #

    I’ve noticed a pattern about you, joe. You don’t answer questions with reason or logic — you answer with sarcasm and condescension. Again, just a typical liberal.

  56. another outstanding argument from you, joe.

  57. Oh, good. We’re all so glad you’re going to keep talking about me.

    Instead of…what was this thread about? Sheep?

  58. joe,

    They may not draw the distinction, but since I thought (even though we shouldnt have been there) we should have declared victory (which it was) and came home after Saddam’s capture, I will continue to draw the distinction.

    Heck, I didnt have a problem with the Mission Accomplished banner. The original mission was. Mission creep was the problem.

  59. i’m sorry, joe. I didn’t realize you were the thread moderator. Please, get all of us simpletons back on track. Without you we just wouldn’t know how to keep track of multiple subjects.

    You want to stay on track? How about, let whoever they want put whatever they want on their door and tell whiney, cry baby administrators and students to shut up about it.

  60. Mo, the ACLU picks and chooses just like everyone else. Resources are finite and cases are chosen according to impact, bang for the buck, personal reasons, and often for reasons that we disagree with.

    Of course FIRE didn’t stand up for the Water Closet on free speech grounds. That wasn’t the issue. And even it there was a speech issue I doubt that FIRE would stick up for WC, I sure wouldn’t. Oh, I might say he has a right to free speech but I certainly wouldn’t contribute to his defense fund, he’s a L-O-S-E-R.

    And I’m still waiting for the ACLU to take on the IRS over mandatory self-incrimination. been waiting a long dam time, too.

  61. I draw the distinction with you, ROBC. Although if we hadn’t experienced this mission creep I might never have become as anti-war (in general) as I have.

  62. There’s definitely a distinction to be drawn there, robc, but “war” vs. “not a war” doesn’t really capture it.

    Mo,

    From the ACLU’s page: The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

    Your First Amendment rights – freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.

    Your right to equal protection under the law – equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.

    Your right to due process – fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.

    Your right to privacy – freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

    From FIRE’s page: The university setting is where students are most subject to the assignment of group identity, to indoctrination of radical political orthodoxies, to legal inequality, to intrusion into private conscience, and to assaults upon the moral reality of individual rights and responsibilities. Illiberal university policies and practices must be exposed to public criticism and scrutiny so that the public is made aware of the violations of basic rights that occur every day on college campuses.

    The ACLU’s statement is neutral in regards to a left/right political ideology, whereas FIRE singles out opposition to a set of ideas – not just violations of individual rights in the pursuit of those ideas, but to the ideas themselves.

  63. DR, of course you can say whatever you want, we don’t care if you use Joe for a pinata.

    BTW, you were supposed to smirk.

  64. I’ll give you a million billion dollars if you can show me this was fraudulent.

    1. Group advertises in local paper: We will give $100 to a person who applies to this scholarship that we select according to [irrelevant] criteria. (No disclaimer.)

    2. Fifty people (who meet the criteria) show up to apply for scholarship. (No disclaimer.)

    3. Group never disburses $100 after the deadline it itself had selected to commence disbursement had passed.

    While fraud requires a motive of self-aggrandizement, (and there isn’t a clear one here), it was certainly deceptive and/or false advertising since they advertised a product and/or service that they had no intent to deliver, which is “fraudulent” (even if not technically “fraud” in the criminal sense). Of course, since the group was using it as a stunt to gain notoriety and get financial support from donors, it is not clear that their intent wasn’t to financially benefit from the deception, so it very well may have been fraud in fact as well.

    May I have a million billion dollars, now? (p.s. if your point was that offering me a million billion dollars would on the same grounds be fraudulent, there are several important things that divide the two cases; among them I have, and any reasonable person would have, no reason to believe you in fact had that amount of cash or that the offer was genuine if you did. The forum is a communication between two people, rather than a general offer of services, and I further doubt that the comment section of a blog would adequately meet the definition of a media advertising outlet)

    Since the student groups, including this one, are incorporated under the student government, someone complained to that government to cut the shit. Said government (somewhat reluctantly, I might add) agrees it is not a good business practice to let its subsidiaries run around falsely advertising products and services, and so moves to slap the group on the wrist. Group then goes running to FIRE claiming censorship and political discrimination and a whole host of other bull, and FIRE, being the compliant shills that they are, was more than willing to play.

  65. If only the guy had had the sense to put a “ITMFA” license plate on his Mercedes biodiesel station wagon, this all could have been avoided.

  66. How about, let whoever they want put whatever they want on their door and tell whiney, cry baby administrators and students to shut up about it.

    How about if, pretty please, I join several other commenters and the writer of the original post in making a different point? Would that be ok, or is it all just too liberal and condescending to see a KNOWN DEMOCRAT do that, too?

  67. joe,

    Both are technically “not a war” since Congress hasnt declared it yet.

    Ignoring that, were we fighting a “war” after VJ day in Japan? No, we were doing post-war occupation and cleanup. Ditto Germany. Ditto Iraq. Its just in this case the post-war cleanup has us in some other country’s civil war. So yeah, we may be in a war, but it aint the one that congress didnt declare.

  68. It’s ironic that fundamentalist Muslims would totally agree with him on the anti-abortion issue.

  69. “I know why WC was fired, but when people were calling for his head, did FIRE stand up for him because of free speech? Heck, at least the ACLU stands up for people they disagree with politically*.”

    The ACLU often does make case selections based on politics. They refused to represent the Oregon webmaster who posted pictures of abortion doctors, for example.

    And FIRE may have concluded that WC had plenty of defenders and that they would better serve justice by defending someone else less well-represented.

  70. If only the guy had had the sense to put a “ITMFA” license plate on his Mercedes biodiesel station wagon, this all could have been avoided.

    If he had the sense to put a Tommy Chong “MUF DVR” plate on his car, there would be no questioning of his humor skillz.

  71. lmnop,

    Is there a difference between fraud and parody?

    Then again, Ive always thought that one of the stupid crinimals who get nailed in one of those “you have won a prize” stings should sue the cops after he gets out of jail in order to get his prize. Even more so, the non-criminals who always end up showing up to claim their prize.

  72. I doubt any state would let it thru, but I have offered to pay for the vanity plate of anyone willing to get
    KOPKLR.

  73. Elemenope, I like FIRE, but I understand your anger, got a good friend in Kentucky who feels the same about IJ for not taking a case where a 300 year old family farmstead was taken for a sewer farm to benefit a tribe or developer or something. Lots of enviro issues attached as well. No fun to be steamrolled when the people you think can help, won’t.

    Actually, my anger was more about the second case than the first. I completely understand that an organization such as FIRE and the ACLU have limited resources and must pick and choose which to concentrate on.

    My thing is more, having been intimately involved with the details of the case, it was clear that FIRE was utterly unconcerned with the situation as it actually was, because they were literally fixated on the idea that there must’ve been a free speech issue because everyone knows colleges are just free speech black holes, even though the actual issue had nothing to do with speech rights. The first case, which actually *did* have to do with free speech and academic freedom, they didn’t seem interested in because it didn’t match their meme-frame of liberal-controlled academia.

    I honestly must say I like a great deal of what FIRE does in the realm of putting pressure on institutions to encourage free environments for dialogue and discouraging groupthink. However, my personal experience with them leads me to question how many of those cases were legitimate and in need of attention, and which ones were merely FIRE indulging in a deluded crusade against “the big, bad universities”.

  74. The closest I’ve come to posting political material on my door is an Onion article titled “Iran in possession of trillions of dangerous atoms.” But I also have several other articles from the science section of the Onion.

    A guy on my hallway has some strongly anti-war material on his door. I agree with every word of it, but I wouldn’t post it on my door. However, I don’t see any reason to fire over it either. Likewise, I see no reason to fire over the material on this door.

    Now, if these rants are coming into class in a manner that interferes with teaching, that’s a separate issue.

  75. The ACLU’s statement is neutral in regards to a left/right political ideology, whereas FIRE singles out opposition to a set of ideas – not just violations of individual rights in the pursuit of those ideas, but to the ideas themselves.

    The statement is neutral, but that’s where neutrality ends. If it walks like a got dam duck there is a goodly chance it might be a duck.

    Due process? When, exactly, does the ACLU plan to take on the IRS over due process? They’ve had 75 years……

  76. robc,

    The fact that the war wasn’t declared via Congressional action may well make it an illegal of unconstitutional war (I disagree, but let’s not go there right now), but it doesn’t stop it from being a war.

    Ignoring that, were we fighting a “war” after VJ day in Japan? No, we were doing post-war occupation and cleanup. Ditto Germany. Ditto Iraq. No, there is no ditto there. The fact that deaths to hostile fire in Germany after VE day were zero, in Japan were zero, and in Iraq are close to 4000 (counting other coalition troops) suggests to me that we are not talking about equivalent circumstances.

    We are not doing “post-war clean-up.” We are fighting the insurgency-portion of the war that Saddam Hussein and his military leadership called for and prepared. In addition to a bunch of other stuff, some of which is a civil war that we are not necessarily a party to, and some of which (fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, fighting the anti-Saddam Shiite insurgents) are conflicts in which we are a party.

  77. TWC,

    You remember that the ACLU defended the Nazi Party’s march through Skokie, right?

    I know, I know, they haven’t picked up every cause you’d like them too. The scope of their work isn’t exactly what you’d like it to be. That’s fine, and you may have a point.

    Nonetheless, the ACLU takes on right-wingers’ cases because the ACLU isn’t there to advance a partisan agenda, while FIRE is.

  78. FIRE defended Churchill.

    http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/5305.html

    FIRE requests that CU immediately and publicly declare that the university will fully and consistently protect the free speech rights of all students and professors. FIRE also requests that if the university initiates academic fraud investigations against Churchill, those proceedings be conducted in accordance with long-standing university policy, providing Churchill with the same level of protection afforded to professors who are not as controversial or reviled…
    We need not fear his words, and we must not allow our anger to cause us to betray our deepest moral and legal principles. Indeed, it is most important that at times like these we defend our fundamental liberties. Liberty faces a far greater threat from a rejection of the First Amendment than it does from the opinions of Ward Churchill. The University of Colorado must respect Churchill’s constitutional rights – and the rights of all students and professors.

  79. joe,

    Huh, I would have guessed that you were wrong about Germany (by half a dozen or so) but the Werwolfs managed to kill no US troops after the war.

    I disagree with you about Iraq. We defeated the Baathists. War over. Now we are building a new government. Oops, what the hell is this? More fighting? My point is, we could have (and still can) declare victory and go home. If we leave now, we still won the war in Iraq. Saddam is dead, the Baathists are out of power. WMDs are not a threat.

    Knocking a sitting government out is easy for our military. We can leave now and tell them to form a stable government that is friendly to us or we will come back. Im not recommending this strategy, but it better than our current one.

  80. lmnop,

    Is there a difference between fraud and parody?

    You bet, and actually a great deal of the conversation with the lawyers was about the borders of parody, which tends to revolve around whether there was some indication that there was an intent to satirize, and whether a reasonable member of the community would recognize it as a parody and not an offer of a service in good faith. (The Hustler case figured into the conversation a lot, particularly.)

    The group screwed themselves doubly by not disclaiming, and also by actually collecting several application which were seriously intended (and of which the people who filled them out testified they thought it was seriously intended).

    Then again, Ive always thought that one of the stupid crinimals who get nailed in one of those “you have won a prize” stings should sue the cops after he gets out of jail in order to get his prize. Even more so, the non-criminals who always end up showing up to claim their prize.

    LOL!

  81. When I was in college, I had profs who were not only flat out commies, no surprise there, but real live fascists, as well, one guy had fought on Franco’s side in the Spanish civil war and another Cuban exile who could not give a lecture without a tirade against Fidel. They all worked together and socialized together, and they were all good teachers, so no one bugged them about their political beliefs. That was an age of real tolerance.

  82. Due process? When, exactly, does the ACLU plan to take on the IRS over due process? They’ve had 75 years……

    When they have money they feel like pissing away. I’m sure this case has been made and gotten smacked down multiple times.

  83. Will. Thanks for answering my question.

  84. robc,

    We defeated the Baathists. War over. That’s what I’m saying: no, we didn’t. The SRGs, Fedayeen Saddam, and all sorts of Baathists never stopped fighting, never laid down their arms, just adopted a different set of tactics.

    If we leave now, we still won the war in Iraq. Saddam is dead, the Baathists are out of power. But, you see, unlike Germany and Japan, “building a new government” isn’t just something we had to do after achieving our war objectives. Building a new government was the primary objective of this war from the beginning. Not just the overthrow of the Baathist regime and the destruction of its military capacity to threaten us – which were the objectives of the European and Pacific wars – but the creation of the New Iraq.

    What you’re saying SHOULD HAVE BEEN the war we fought (assuming we had to fight a war), but it wasn’t.

  85. Joe, FIRE is very narrowly focused on free speech issues on college campuses. Like the ACLU, they pick and choose, and since there aren’t too many lefties being censored on college campuses FIRE cases revolve around the free speech of people you don’t agree with. That isn’t a stand against ideology, it is a stand consistent with free speech.

    Come on Mo, the IRS comes in an audits you, demands all your records, and when they find tax fraud they forward the information to the US Attorney’s office, who then prosecutes you for for criminal tax fraud by using evidence the IRS got from you without due process. That is a serious issue and you are exposed everytime you sign a tax return.

  86. No problem, Mo.

    Also, for what it’s worth, FIRE’s President just addressed the “Is FIRE a conservative group?” question a few weeks back on their blog:

    http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/9069.html

    If FIRE is a secret right-wing front group, this sinister secret has apparently been hidden from me. When I started as FIRE’s first Director of Legal and Public Advocacy back in 2001, my very first letter defended the rights of University of New Mexico Professor Richard Berthold, under attack for the following statement: “Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon has my vote.” My first TV appearance was to defend the free speech and due process rights of then-University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian. I have appeared on Fox News defending the rights of Ward Churchill (who called the World Trade Center victims “little Eichmanns”) and Nicholas DeGenova (“I pray for a million Mogadishus”), and debated Pat Buchanan about tiny and isolated “free speech zones” at Texas Tech. As for my background, before graduating law school I worked for such crazy right-wing outfits as the ACLU of Northern California, the EnvironMentors Project in Washington, D.C., the Organization for Aid to Refugees in Prague, and the Fulbright program.

    Has DeDeo noticed that FIRE has been front and center through some of the least popular cases involving protecting liberal speech? Most recently, no one-right, left or center-was a fan of our case at Colorado State University, where we defended an editorial that read in its entirety: “TASER THIS: FUCK BUSH.”

    But this is not about proving some kind of liberal credentials for myself or FIRE. I have said it before and I will say it again: FIRE is a non-partisan group, hard as that can be to understand.

    Really, all I would ask of DeDeo is that he follow our cases more carefully. I have been deeply frustrated by the liberal blogosphere’s failure to take note of cases like our recent fight at Valdosta State University-where an environmentally-minded liberal student was expelled for a collage protesting a parking garage-or at Brandeis-where a liberal professor is in trouble for explaining and criticizing the use of the word “wetback.” It is as if the country has become so hopelessly polarized that bloggers like DeDeo won’t even pay attention when groups he clearly dislikes take up causes he apparently deeply believes in.

    And even if DeDeo is only interested in helping bring attention to the liberal or progressive FIRE cases, that is just fine. He can be as partisan as he likes. Meanwhile, FIRE will continue to defend people across the political spectrum, just as we have throughout our entire existence.

  87. I guess Prof. Crandall has never heard of YouTube?
    Instead of pissing off a few dozen people he could be offending millions.

  88. The only things I put on my office door are copies of the Common Sense for Drug Policy ads from Reason. I usually get positive comments from students about them.

  89. TWC,

    and since there aren’t too many lefties being censored on college campuses FIRE cases revolve around the free speech of people you don’t agree with

    I don’t think it’s possible to read their own words – either from that web page, or in the writings of their members – and draw that conclusion. They are a self-defined conservative group, dedicated not just to free speech, but to opposing a “group identity,” “radical political orthodoxies,” “legal inequality,” “intrusion into private conscience,” and “the moral reality of individual rights and responsibilities” and other ideas the consider to be too prevalent on college campuses.

  90. My apologies to you, Mr. Obvious. 🙂 Your comment came right after joe’s, so I lashed out at friend and foe alike.

  91. Looking at the doors that FIRE put up and this other guys, it appears that a case could be made that this guy is making disparaging remarks about “the Muslim world” in ways that the other doors simply are not (for example, broad asides against “Catholics” or “the Judaic world”). Now, I think a person should have the freedom to criticize and satirize religions as well as any other system of ideas, and so the guy should probably be left alone. However, I bet if any liberal had some broad asides against “Catholics” or “Zionists” they may get in trouble too…If they did not, then we would really have a double standard. Either way I think FIRE is right on this case.

    Re: FIRE’s political claims. The cases pointed out by Will’s post are a good argument that they are acting non-partisanly. A beef that I have always had about them is that they start out defining their mission as leaving hands off any college that is blatant and up front about not giving a damn about free speech (like religious colleges) and I would think that in doing so they have to know that this leaves most of the places where right wing indocrtination in higher ed goes on “off limits” to FIRE action. If indoctrination is bad then it should be bad whether it goes on in a public college, a private college that says it respects free speech, and a private college that says it does not respect free speech. I think FIRE has a case that in the last instance you at least don’t have a fraud, but you still have indoctrination, and if that in itself is bad, as much of their literature suggests, then they should speak out about it…

    My 2 cents…

  92. Wow. That guy’s indeed a tool. And the sheer volume of retardation on his door is higher than the leftist examples.

    Also, he does get his paycheck from the state, so I’d be OK if they simply stated that political propaganda was verboten. But since it clearly isn’t, at least in lower volumes, this would appear to be something of a content-based restriction of speech, which is generally considered inappropriate.

    Going after this guy based upon the specific content (not the general political nature but the ‘offensive’ political nature) does seem to be providing government sanction against one set of ideas while tolerating others. The congresscritters trying to ban NORML or Drug Policy Aliance posters in the DC Metro comes to mind.

  93. joe,

    Building a new government was the primary objective of this war from the beginning.

    They have had a constitution and everything for a few years now. Seems like this goal is well accomplished to.

    It took us 11 years after Independence to get a decent constitution in place.

    The civil war isnt our problem, sure some of them are Baathists trying to get back into power, but, THEY ARE OUT OF POWER RIGHT NOW. Success.

    There is even a stable government. Just acknowledge Kurdistan as an independent nation and we have more than achieved our goals. A sorta-democratic nation that is a clear US ally. What more could we want. Let that small part [ 🙂 ] of Iraq that isnt Kurdish deal, we have the government we are trying to form in the North.

  94. One says, “And that’s my youngest son, Hakim. He’ll be martyring in the fall.” The other replies, “They blow up so fast.”

    That is funny.

  95. In re: general freakage of shit. I do a fair number of college gigs, and as near as I can tell, there’s no one so easily and sloppily offended as your average college kid

  96. robc,

    Seems like this goal is well accomplished to. On paper. As I understand the neoconservative position, they were actually hoping for a government that was capable of governing, had control over its territory, and wouldn’t fall as soon as we left. So I’d have to say that they haven’t quite taken that particular hill.

    It took us 11 years after Independence to get a decent constitution in place. But civil control was established over American-controlled territory even before the war ended. This is about REAL government actually existing and operating.

    THEY ARE OUT OF POWER RIGHT NOW. Success. As I already said, THAT PART of the war’s objective was met.

    Just acknowledge Kurdistan as an independent nation and we have more than achieved our goals. Hey, I’m with you, but we’re not the ones running this war.

  97. TWC,
    I’m not saying it’s not a worthy cause, just that it’s a quixotic one. Have others tried to beat the rap this way? What happened to them?

  98. the ACLU takes on a very scant few right-wingers’ cases because the ACLU isn’t there to advance a partisan agenda wants to appear to be unbiased.

    There.

  99. Nonetheless, the ACLU takes on right-wingers’ cases because the ACLU isn’t there to advance a partisan agenda, while FIRE is.

    For fuck’s sake, their case history is available on their website. Try reading it before sounding like a moron.

  100. That’s why the ACLU takes on very high-profile right-winger cases.
    But then again, I say this as a SUPPORTER of the ACLU.

  101. Here’s the link. You’ll see their cases are listed under such notoriously rightwing causes such as “Due Process”, “Free Speech”, “Freedom of Conscience”, and “Religious Liberty.” Truly terrifying! Of course, nobody is surprised that modern leftwingers see these as rightwing beliefs.

  102. For fuck’s sake, their case history is available on their website. Try reading it before sounding like a moron you embarrass yourself further.

    Fixed it for you. This is H&R, and there are traditions to be maintained, after all.

  103. “Due Process”, “Free Speech”, “Freedom of Conscience”, and “Religious Liberty.” are all pleasant-sounding terms that can be trotted out for any reason.

    I recall a “religious liberty” case in which an RA didn’t want to have to counsel gay students on is floor.

  104. joe,

    Hey, I’m with you, but we’re not the ones running this war.

    I wouldnt trust you with anything else, but you can run that part of the government.

  105. “Due Process”, “Free Speech”, “Freedom of Conscience”, and “Religious Liberty.” are all pleasant-sounding terms that can be trotted out for any reason.

    I recall a “religious liberty” case in which an RA didn’t want to have to counsel gay students on is floor.

    Hence the link, so you could read the actual cases. But we all bow before your awesome powers of recall.

  106. I also intended to post the “Is FIRE a conservative group?” blog post, but Will beat me to it and you conveniently ignored it.

  107. I disagree with you about Iraq. We defeated the Baathists. War over.

    The traditional definition of war is armed conflict between states, so applying that definition this would be correct.

    Unless anyone is willing to take the leap that the extensive Iranian support for various “insurgent” groups means that Iran is at war with Iraq and the US?

    That’s not necessarily the only definition, but it is the traditional one that is used for at least some of the Geneva Conventions, as I recall.

  108. Mo, sorry, I missed your original meaning, took it as being dismissive…..

    Jordan & Will thanks for posting that information. Happen to agree with your take on it.

    A lot of lefties are comfortable with academia because it seems quite fair and balanced when viewed in the light of that worldview. There isn’t a need for a biased right-wing group like FIRE to exist when academia is so, well, mainstream.

    Don’t like that straw man? DR’d be happy to beat it with a stick.

    I heard tell that Harvey Silvergate was a guest speaker at a recent Reason event, guess Reason must be just like FIRE–guilt by association and all.

  109. As impressive as it is, Jordan, that you can find cases where they represented someone who wasn’t a conservative, I’m still going to take their own statement of mission and values as a better indication of their mission and values than your speculation.

    The traditional definition of war is armed conflict between states, so applying that definition this would be correct. The first war declared by the United States of America was against a stateless group, the Barbary Pirates.

  110. Since we’re not at war in Iraq anymore, RC, nor against al Qaeda, I guess the President can’t claim the rights of a Commander in Chief during wartime.

  111. In the 1940s, Jordan, the United States supplied weaponry and equipment to the Stalinist regime, as well as to several communist resistance groups. Does this mean the United States had become communist?

    No, it meant that we took up a cause and an ally to help us advance our own, non-communist objectives.

  112. As impressive as it is, Jordan, that you can find cases where they represented someone who wasn’t a conservative, I’m still going to take their own statement of mission and values as a better indication of their mission and values than your speculation.

    Oh please, that mission statement you posted was no more political than the ACLU’s, you just saw what you wanted to see. Hell, it could have come directly from the ACLU’s website.

    In the 1940s, Jordan, the United States supplied weaponry and equipment to the Stalinist regime, as well as to several communist resistance groups. Does this mean the United States had become communist?

    No, it meant that we took up a cause and an ally to help us advance our own, non-communist objectives.

    Okay…

    So what is FIRE’s agenda then? Could it be that they defend the individual liberties of leftwing college students/staff in order to advance their agenda of, erm, defending the individual liberties of college students/staff? Damn they’re crafty.

  113. Your right to equal protection under the law – equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.

    The above was taken from the ACLU’s mission statement. Of course, it’s laughable given the ACLU’s extensive support for affirmative action policies. So, mission statement’s aren’t exactly the gospel.

  114. FIRE has also published guides on such topics as free speech, legal equality, due process, etc on campus here. They’re very insidious, explaining to students their legal rights on campus. It’s okay though, I don’t expect you to read them or the case history. Just cling to your bizarre interpretation of one paragraph of FIRE’s mission statement. It’s like a security blanket, really. Interestingly, you ignored this paragraph:

    The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience-the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

  115. Does FIRE really mean it when it says this? “The university setting is where students are MOST subject to the assignment of group identity, to indoctrination of radical political orthodoxies, to legal inequality,” etc.

    Where students are MOST subject to these evils? Hasn’t anybody at FIRE ever been in one of those group-think wallows of indoctrination known as a church?

    I’ll believe FIRE is not essentially a right-wing group when it starts going after free-speech-hating public colleges like VMI and the Citadel.

    From VMI’s Mission Statement:

    “[I]t is the mission of the Virginia Military Institute to produce…advocates of the American Democracy and free enterprise system…” Not just people who can understand democracy and capitalism, but ADVOCATES of them. Is that really what a liberal education is about?

    VMI’s New Cadet Handbook forbids “[c]onduct unbecoming a cadet,” which is to say, “is any behavior which compromises, or can reasonably be expected to compromise the character of the cadet, or the name and reputation of the Institute.”

    Sounds vague enough to rule out an awful lot of constitutionally protected speech.

    FIRE ought to be all over VMI.

  116. By that logic, the ACLU ought to be all over the U.S. military. This isn’t terribly difficult.

  117. Damn, don’t you guys ever get tired of the “Make rediculous assumptions about Joe” clusterf*&k you turn every thread into?

    Honestly I’ve agreed with the guy maybe two or three times in the last couple of years I’ve been around here, but I just don’t understand the need to go all ballistic over what the Joe in your head is saying, as opposed to what the guy is actually saying.

  118. Jordan, VMI and the Citadel are NOT the U.S. military. They are colleges. Their students do not go off into battle between classes. They go from class to the library to class to the cafeteria to their dorm rooms. Can you give me one good reason why any of the rationales the military uses to justify its restrictions on speech should apply to a publicly funded state college? Or that gives such a college a license to indoctrinate?

    Maybe LSSU should rename itself the Michigan Peace Institute and start requiring its students to wear Birkenstocks and march around campus every day singing “Give Peace a Chance.” Then it should revise its mission statement to include something about making students into advocates for gay marriage and animal rights.

    VMI and the Citadel subordinate free inquiry to their express mission of producing military leadership. Why can’t LSSU claim a similar mission and use it as an excuse to subordinate free inquiry? The answer is, it can’t. Neither can VMI and the Citadel. Unless, of course, they want to go private.

    Gillespie writes, “FIRE has always made a consistent argument (and has defended scholars and the right and the left) that public universities, precisely because they are government-sponsored, are totally bound by the First Amendment.”

    Where’s the exception for schools like VMI?

    No taxpayer support for indoctrination–whether at LSSU or VMI. Stop making excuses, people.

  119. Eveningsun:

    FIRE is the “Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.” As such, churches are outside their mission.

    FIRE takes on cases of individuals who contact them. Apparently, no one at VMI or the Citidel has done so. FIRE is most interested in those situations where individuals are singled out for inequitable treatment, and where administrative persons violate the institutions purported standards of free expression because of their own biases.

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  122. I’m not usually one to eagerly await academic journal symposiums

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