A University of Wisconsin professor claims the Twin Towers were brought down on 9-11 via "controlled demolitions" and that the US government was behind it all. What is it about state-funded "higher education" that attracts such boneheads? Naturally, politicians are calling for the university to fire the professor, and normally, we'd agree, for no other reason than that the professor has nothing but his hatred of the US to support his theory. But in this case, as much as we despise goverment-funded academia, we're inclined to hope that UW keeps this idiot on payroll forever, so that generations of students were afforded access to an enduring and convenient example of moonbattery at its finest.
The Vanishing American has a thoughtful essay on the Churchill burlesque
The strange saga of Ward Churchill, Identity Thief, is a story that is part and parcel of the 'counterculture' movement of the late 60s/early 70s, a time when Churchill, born in 1947, was coming of age. He is very much a product of his times.
I confess to being old enough to remember that era and to have been at ground zero, on college campuses, during the 70s. There were many 'little Ward Churchills' then, young men (and women too) of leftist leanings and 'native American' pretensions. It was the early days of 'identity politics' on campus, with a 'Black Students' Union' on most campuses, and usually an 'American Indian' or 'Native American' student association. On my campus(es) (I attended two colleges during the 70s) there were a number of hangers-on who desperately wanted to be 'Native American' who dressed in beads and feathers and turquoise jewelry, and who claimed some nebulous Indian ancestry. Most often their ancestry was said to be 'Cherokee' and almost 100% of the time, that Cherokee blood was from a 'full-blood Cherokee' great-grandmother. Almost 100% of the time, the claimant looked to be purely European by descent, and had no specifics on their 'Native' ancestry except for family legend. Now, being charitable, maybe a few of these people did possess genuine Indian ancestry, or at least honestly believed they did. Some, however, appeared mostly to be rather sad young people who were obsessed with the idealized 'noble savage' a la Rousseau, and who rejected their whitebread American ancestry; after all, whitey was the bad guy in the prevailing leftist worldview. Whitey was an oppressor and a ravager of Mother Earth and a bloodthirsty conqueror, while the gentle 'Native American' was a paragon of leftist virtue. What leftist would not prefer to disavow their white ancestry in favor of the idealized Indian image? Ward Churchill may have been one of those who believed in his putative Indian ancestry, or he may be a charlatan who seized on the Indian persona as a way of self-promotion. Only he really knows, at this point, and he ain't telling. He seems determined to brazen it out, and he seems incapable of honesty on the issue, in my opinion.
His belligerent statements of defiance never really refute the charges (of plagiarism, for example) which have been laid against him. Instead he seems merely to accuse his accusers, and to proclaim his own self-righteous victimhood. Right out of the leftist playbook.
Inside Higher Education has a multi-purpose essay by Jon Wiener that manages to both condemn Ward Churchill and whitewash Michael Bellesiles.
If you're having trouble figuring out what's next in the Churchill burlesque, here's the Denver Post's handy-dandy guide to the process (bottom of the page)
The cost of militant political correctness (via OpinionJournal)
Just days before University President Lawrence H. Summers steps down after losing the confidence of professors, Oracle CEO Lawrence J. Ellison announced that he has lost trust in Harvard University and will not carry through on a pledge made one year ago to donate $115 million dollars [sic] to create an institute to study global health initiatives.
The donation would have been the largest in Harvard's history, but Ellison said Tuesday that with Summers gone, he has lost faith in the University to properly administer the funds.
"The reason I didn't finish my gift to Harvard was because of the way Larry Summers suddenly left Harvard. I lost confidence that that money would be well spent," Ellison said, according to the Daily Telegraph of Britain.