OT: Hugo Chavez, the Left's second favorite leader (the other one's nearly dead), now has the power to rule Venezuela by decree.
From our Great Moments In Academic Oratory department: "Suppose Ward Churchill isn’t an Indian – so what?" he asked. "Are only women permitted to have opinions . . . on women’s issues? Are only chickens permitted to judge egg salad sandwiches?" — Roland Chrisjohn, director of native studies at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, at Ward Churchill's recent speech in Halifax
Grant Crowell checks in with audio of an insightful interview with David French, who was president of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) when the interview took place (August 2005). Some cherrypicked quotes:
“There is a perception in the university environment or in the university culture that freedom is under attack generally. …There is a perception in the university community that they feel they are besieged or under siege often… How did we get into a position where our public universities, these are the taxpayer owned institutions where every single person working there is a government official, that many of our public institutions have begin to view themselves more as a revolutionary cell than a body of scholars? … It seems like in many public universities faculty and administration have begun to characterize themselves as something other than what they should be which is a body of scholars which is teaching the next generation. Instead they look at themselves as a group of activists acting in opposition to a dominant culture. That is not the role of the public university faculty. I am sorry. It is simply not the role and it leads to an enormous amount of repression. Because if you are running a revolutionary cell instead of an actual English faculty there is no value for dissent. Dissent harms the purpose of the activists. Dissent distracts from activism. Activists want to get on with their business and not deal with all of this pesky dissent and so it leads to dramatic amounts of censorship within the university.”...and:
“The thing about Ward Churchill is it is beyond debate that the guy has no respect for free speech. People often lionize the individuals who are subject to censorship. Ward Churchill is a bad champion for free speech. Here is a guy who argues for censorship through as I noted just hysterical interpretations of the 9th amendment. A guy who as the evidence seems to indicate has committed multiple academic offenses and he is being feted throughout the land. In criminal law you don’t see someone who gets off an armed robber who escapes conviction on the grounds of an illegal search or seizure being toasted throughout the land and being given huge speaking fees.”