Race To The Bottom has at long last posted its coverage of the morning session (subtitled Last Day: Jury Instructions and Regents Revealed) and the afternoon session subtitled "The Smoking Gun"
Excerpt from the morning session report:
Since this point was discussed by witnesses a great deal, the following review of the reports indicates the following breakdown between professors recommending suspension and dismissal
We should point out that this chart is somewhat misleading, since a non-dismissal vote was not a vote to exonerate Churchill, but rather, a vote for lesser sanctions, such as suspension, cut in pay, etc. We'd amend it as follows:
Excerpt from the afternoon session report:
And now for the smoking gun. Or, as one activist leader and Churchill supporter who has been a trial regular put it: “We have the ringleader testifying today.” Thomas Brown, professor of sociology currently at Northeast Lakeview College in Live Oak, Texas (near San Antonio), negotiated his wheelchair to sit in front of the witness box and was requested to speak slowly for the benefit of the court reporter (and the rest of us!). Prompted by CU counsel Kari Hershey, Prof Brown spoke strongly, loudly, forthrightly about the fact that he is familiar with Churchill’s writings and is the person who contacted Paul Campos of the Rocky Mountain News to raise concerns about Churchill’s academic misconduct. He was never, ever contacted by any person from CU, never asked to bring allegations forward, never encouraged by the University in any way. Prof Brown submitted his findings of Churchill’s plagiarism, misrepresentation and ghostwriting (presumably to the SCRM committee, but that wasn’t clear) in 2005. Many of those allegations ended up being proven in the various reports, but some were dismissed for lack of evidence. Prof Brown appeared extremely proud of his role in “shifting the public debate.” He noted, “It was clear to me that the debate was focused on issues of academic freedom and that the university would support academic freedom. I was trying to shift the public debate to focus on Professor Churchill’s research misconduct.”See how it goes? We do all the heavy lifting, what with our puppetmastering CU administrators and the Denver media (as Churchill and his backscratching buddy, Professor Bruce Johansen, claim), and some fast-talkin' guy from Texas gets credit for being the ringleader. We need a new press agent.
Mr. Lane objected to the testimony before it was presented, and reiterated his objection as it started. Prof Brown was not a subpoenaed witness, but was brought in by the defense as a rebuttal witness to the notion—raised by a juror in a question and expounded on by Lane—that CU sought out allegations of academic misconduct as a way to “get” Churchill through stories planted by Campos for CU.
But your Honor, they are rebutting their own witness!
Judge Naves: There is nothing wrong with rebutting your own case, if that is what you choose to do.
John Aguilar's almost-liveblogging Teh Trial again today
CU Regent Steve Bosley exploded on the stand this morning when Ward Churchill's attorney accused him of firing his client because he was offended by the content of the former ethnic studies professor's his 9/11 essay.Update: Professor Thomas Brown gets called to the stand to shoot down David Lane's preposterous conspiracy theory
"Absolutely not, sir," Bosley said to Churchill attorney David Lane in a raised voice . "Do not put words in my mouth. I was there. I was not working in theory. I am working in real life."
Lane said he had nothing further, turned toward the spectator section, and smiled in the direction of Churchill's wife.
[...] CU brought in a sociology professor from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas [sic] to rebut a suggestion made by Churchill attorney David Lane last week that CU worked through the Rocky Mountain News to launch a probe into Churchill's scholarship.Update II: Judge Naves threw out one of Churchill's two claims
Tom Brown told the jury that he was the one who alerted Paul Campos, a Rocky columnist and a law professor at CU, about some major allegations of misconduct concerning Churchill.
During questioning of CU Regent Michael Carrigan last week, Lane had raised the scenario that dean of the CU law school, David Getches, began feeding Campos in February 2005 with information about Churchill's scholarship, allowing the allegations of wrongdoing to leak into the public consciousness without making it look like CU was behind it.
"I saw you floated a conspiracy theory about Campos," Brown told Lane during cross-examination.
When asked if CU had ever approached him to solicit information, Brown adamantly denied it.
"No one from CU ever contacted me whatsoever," Brown said excitedly.
Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves threw out one of Ward Churchill's two claims this afternoon, ruling that the former professor's assertion that the University of Colorado launched an investigation into his scholarship in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights was not "actionable."Too early to tell how much this depreciates the value of Lane's two solid weeks of parading the Ethnic Studies Echo Chamber on the stand. Probably not enough to help CU's galactically incompetent defense.
The judge and lawyers met out of the presence of the jury Tuesday afternoon to go over the final language on the jury verdict form.
"This case will go to the jury on the other claim where there is clearly an adverse employment action, which is being terminated," the judge said.
The second claim in Churchill's civil lawsuit against the school is the primary claim -- that CU fired Churchill for exercising his free speech rights.
Race To The Bottom says jury deliberations start tomorrow. We're going to go out on a limb here and say that unless CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke produces a bag of anthrax during his closing argument and tosses handfuls of it at everyone in the courtroom until they quit moving, CU's gonna lose. And much as we hate to admit it, we're as impressed with David Lane's very real courtroom skills (No? You try turning a due process case into a public vindication of Churchill's bogus fakaktah bullshit smallpox story, smart guy) as we are disgusted with O'Rourke's total lack of same. As we noted elsewhere, we doubt O'Rourke is capable of successfully arguing butter onto his toast in the morning.
We've been unable to confirm the rumor we reported here that The Perfesser had been subpoenaed as a hostile witness in the Anna Mae Aquash murder trial, so we're chalking it up as just another rumorrhoid.
Apparently, when he's not knitting toaster-cozies for Ward Churchill, Michael Roberts over at Westwad is credulously reporting the paranoid delusions of Churchill's dog, Benjie. Confidential to Mikey: If Craig Silverman were a good enough attorney to give advice to another attorney, would he be co-hosting a radio talk show? We submit that legal advice from Craig Silverman is about as valuable as history lessons from Ward Churchill. Frankly, giving even good legal advice to O'Rourke would be as pointless as explaining how to diagram sentences to a Poland-China.
The Blog of Record says CU deserves Churchill
Our favorite line: "These racial and gender studies departments sure aren’t created because anything that can be called work with a straight face is expected from them."
John Aguilar at the Daily Camera resumes his near-liveblogging of Teh Trial
CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke focused his questioning for [member of the University of Colorado's Privilege & Tenure Committee, Mary Ann] Cutter, a philosophy professor at CU-Colorado Springs, on the subject of ghostwriting.
Churchill has acknowledged writing articles that other scholars signed their names to. Churchill then cited back to those works as third-party independent sources. He has testified that there is nothing wrong with the practice.
Cutter vociferously disagreed.
"It gives the impression that there are multiple attestations, multiple supports, for data, evidence, views, ideas, claims," she told the jury. "And in academia, multiple supports for an idea is typically seen as important, and it makes a difference in how that idea is used down the line. Both (ghostwriting and citing back to the work) have to do with violating truth-telling."
Cutter said Churchill never provided the P&T committee with evidence that Rebecca Robbins, a professor of American Indian studies who had signed her name to a Churchill essay, had ever indicated that she agreed with every word of the essay before adopting it as her own.
Incidentally, we find nothing in CU's policies prohibiting zoophilia, either (nor does it appear to be illegal in Colorado)—a relief, no doubt, to Churchill's dog, Benjie.
Update: On that same trial coverage page, the Daily Camera is running a poll (bottom of lefthand column):
Should CU be ordered to reinstate fired professor Ward Churchill?
- Yes. Clearly he was fired for his 9/11 comments not academic misconduct.
- No. Plagiarism is plagiarism, no matter how or why it was uncovered.
- Enough with Ward Churchill already.
If the results are any indication of how the jury is perceiving this (when we checked around 2pm today, 58% of 2008 total votes said "No. Plagiarism is plagiarism"), O'Rourke just might, incredibly, pull this off.
Race To The Bottom has an interesting post this morning entitled "The Importance of Professor's Morley Testimony to CU and Churchill" (ht Leah)
OT: Teach Your Children? Well... (via redsounding)
It appears that the disappearing of posts among the DBAB is not limited to blogs owned & operated by Churchill's dog, Benjie. Those madcaps over at wardchurchill.net also appear to have done some disappearing, this time of all posts not directly related to The Perfesser and His Martyrdom. For instance, back in November of '07, we posted the following link to wardchurchill.net: an Indian scholar has been denied tenure at UC-Davis. Don't bother clicking it; it is broken. At first we thought it was simply that wardchurchill.net had changed its directory structure but not bothered to make things easy for the no-doubt thousands of now-broken links to find the appropriate document. And yes, they did that, rendering quite a few links we (and many others, we're sure) had to their content inoperable. But the disappearing of posts, that's a different phenomenon. The former is simple incompetence. The latter seems much more, um, deliberate. And pointless.
Tech Note: We're currently upgrading the software behind PB, and while we don't expect problems (like a second marriage, deciding to upgrade software is invariably the triumph of hope over experience), be aware that problems may crop up.
Update: We've apparently made a successful transition to the upgraded software, but we're still experiencing difficulties with comments.
Update II: New comments are working and displaying properly, but archived comments continue to be stubbornly resistant to the upgrade. We're working on it.
Update III: Search is not functioning properly, either. We've added it to our list of things to
Update IV: Bizarre search problem reported to software developers, and a patch was issued that fixed the problem. Now, back to the annoying comments problem....
On Matters of Mysterious Uncited Sources
We noted in our recent "On Matters of Historical Fabulism" that in his Works and Days essay, Churchill coyly demurred on actually citing sources he says prove his assertion that the smallpox epidemic that decimated the Mandan Indians in 1837 was intentionally inflicted upon them, and that further, he is now convinced the source of the smallpox came from Maryland.
Now, we have to wonder if this mysterious source (or at least one of his sources) is an interview conducted in 1879 with Gen. Bernard Pratt, Jr. by the Missouri Republican. We believe it is, but you be the judge.
Excerpt from a 1949 Missouri Historical Society reprint (The Bulletin v. VI, no. 1, pp. 59-71) of a November 24, 1879 Missouri Republican interview with Gen. Bernard Pratte, Jr.:
The same year the Mandans, numbering some 2,500 souls, were nearly extirpated by that scourge of the Indian, the small-pox, and Gen. Pratte supposes that he was in some measure the innocent cause of the calamity. The Mandans were in some respects an interesting people. They were visited by Lewis and Clarke [sic] in the early part of the century, and [George] Catlin spent many days with the tribe in 1832. During a trip up the Missouri in 1836, Gen. Pratte buried 18 men on the voyage up. When he got opposite the Mandan village he had a man on board who had had the small pox and recovered, the wages paid being a temptation to him to continue on the voyage. While on watch during the night an Indian swam on board and stole this man's blanket. Every effort was made to avert the danger, and word was left among the Indians that the thief was on shore with the stolen blanket. The Indians were adjured to hunt up the thief and urged to send him out on the plains, there to die alone, without infecting the whole village. The result was that the Mandans were infected with the small-pox and out of 2,500 only sixty souls left[,] who afterwards became amalgamated with the Arickarees and the celebrated tribe of the Mandans became extinct. The epidemic spread among the other tribes, and it was estimated, from facts subsequently obtained from all the different agencies, that 60,000 Indians perished from the disease—all owing to an Indian stealing a blanket.
When the steamer arrived at the mouth of the Yellowstone the Indians in that region were inoculated and saved from destruction. This dire calamity among the Indians was altogether the fault of an agent. There was a young man who had the small-pox in Hagerstown, Md. He was a trapper and had been in the employ of Pratte, Chouteau & Co. He wrote to a gentleman in St. Louis to send him money. The money was not sent, and out of revenge the young man bundled up some clothes with directions that they be put on board of a steamer, and left [at] Fort Pierce.
Jim Beckwith, the renowned desperado, went up on the boat and used the bundle which was put on board as a pillow. He contracted, in consequence, the small-pox. Gen. Pratte has never seen a case of small-pox. Beckwith complained of pains in the back and it was thought he had a bilious attack. The general prescribed a dose of ipecac, and he recovered. Eighteen men in succession were buried. The next case of recovery was a little Indian boy. His mother said let him go—alluding to the ipecac—better that he should die a natural death.
Note that while the interview has Pratte discussing a steamer voyage up the Missouri in 1836, he is almost certainly talking about the fateful 1837 voyage; bear in mind that this is a reporter's paraphrase of an old man's recall of events 30 years past. One would think it quite risky to hang one's professorial reputation from such a tenuous thread, but hey, it's Churchill's career, not ours.
BTW: Other sources say this rumor (or "oral tradition" if you prefer) about freedman, trapper, and fur trader Jim Beckwourth (not Beckwith) was widely circulated and believed, but that it was a canard; here's what Elinor Wilson had to say about it in her book, Jim Beckwourth:
To blame any one man for the spread of a plague is as foolish as it is evil, but if Jim's known enemies were told that he was responsible for a horror that they could neither escape nor understand, the mountain men were guilty, at least, of character assassination and, at worst, of exposing him to certain death should he encounter the Blackfeet. In any case, there is something less than honorable in this relation: If [Jim] Bridger blamed Jim [Beckwourth], he is lying; if [well-known mountain man Joe] Meek manufactured the tale, then he and [author Frances Fuller] Victor maligned both Bridger and Beckwourth.
However, once told, the story spread rapidly and was snatched up for use in reminiscences such as those of General Bernard Pratte, Jr., and of the Reverend Samuel Allis, a missionary with the Pawnee Indians. General Pratte recalled in his old age that Jim had been a passenger on his boat and caught the small-pox from sleeping on some infected clothing which had been put on board by a disgruntled former employee.
[I]t is interesting to note that, although Allis says Beckwourth departed St. Louis on April 6, records show that Jim Beckwourth was charged $3 for "7 ys of calico" in that city on April 17, 1837 [the same day the sidewheeler St. Peter's departed St. Louis].
Also by the way: Following that link to the Beckwourth biography will reveal the probable source of Churchill's claim the smallpox-infected blankets were placed on "a pair of Mackinaw boats": Reminiscences of the aforementioned mountain man Joe Meek, who Wilson quotes as saying (emphasis ours)
"The Blackfeet found the camp of Bridger too strong for them. They were severely beaten and compelled to retire to their village, leaving Bridger free to move on. The following day the camp reached the village of Little Robe, the Chief of the Peagans, who held a talk with Bridger, complaining that his nation were all perishing from the small pox which had been given to them by the whites. Bridger was able to explain to Little Robe his error; insomuch as although the disease might have originated among the whites, it was communicated to the Blackfeet by Jim Beckwith, a negro and principal chief of their enemies the Crows. This unscrupulous wretch had caused two infected articles to be taken from a Mackinaw boat, up from St. Louis, and disposed of them to the Blackfeet—whence the horrible scourge under which they were suffering."
Professor Ward Churchill, Professor Eric Cheyfitz also published an essay (albeit much shorter and, by comparison, enormously footnote-deficient) in the recent issue of Works and Days. Because CU's Investigating Subcommittee comprised an Indian law professor, a history professor, a chicano/a studies professor, a sociology professor, and a law professor, Cheyfitz insists "[t]he composition of the IC [...] violates the standards, noted previously, that the SCRM is intended to follow in establishing such a committee, which is supposed to be made up of scholars 'who have expertise relevant to the allegations being investigated.'" Cheyfitz, btw, is an English professor, so we'll agree that he's qualified to properly punctuate the subcommittee's report, but to criticize the subcommittee's composition? It is to laugh. (ht anonymous jackbooted thug)
Update: Cheyfitz says
Further, these four subjects [the Dawes Act, The Indian Arts & Crafts Act, Captain John Smith's alleged connection to the outbreak of disease in New England, and the Mandan smallpox epidemic of 1837] can be grouped under two topics central to American Indian studies and exceptionally controversial: identity and genocide.
Clearly, the other four members of the IC have no expertise whatsoever in these matters, which necessarily left them entirely dependent on [Robert] Clinton's "expertise" and judgment.
We feel compelled to remind Cheyfitz that one does not need to be an American Indian history expert, or even a scholar, to recognize Churchill's lies, obfuscations, and fabrications. One simply needs to be able to see more than the interior of one's own colon.
Update II: Cheyfitz says (emphasis ours)
Out of the four historical allegations made in the IC Report, the P&T Report upholds only the claim that Churchill, while having credible support for his overall claim about the Mandan epidemic, "deliberately [...] fabricated" three details of his account of the epidemic: the infected blankets came from an infirmary in St.Louis; Army doctors or the post surgeon advised the Indians to scatter after smallpox broke out among them; the number of Indians that died in the pandemic that followed the Fort Clark situation (sections 5.5.4-5.5.7). If one understands, as I do, that fabrication cannot occur without intent and that intent cannot be proven in this case given the size of the sample, then what we have here is not research misconduct, but rather a few questions about the accuracy of Churchill's narrative that deserve answers: the kinds of questions that scholars raise all the time about each other's work in the normal course of scholarly debate.
If one understands, as we do, that Cheyfitz is a pompous phony, then what we have here is the sort of circling-the-wagons professional self-preservation one would expect from the Ethnic Studies Echo Chamber.
Update III: Cheyfitz says (emphasis ours)
Professor Tom Mayer of the Department of Sociology of UCB has thoroughly deconstructed these remaining charges [sic] and l am indebted to him in particular for his analysis of the plagiarism charges ("The Plagiarism Charges"). In general, following Mayer, I find all these charges frivolous. When I testified before the P&T Committee in January of 2007, I said in effect that though Churchill's practice of ghostwriting and using the ghostwritten material as third-party evidence "is 'not my cup of tea." I did not find it to be "a significant problem[.]"
No, Cheyfitz, you wouldn't.
BTW: This Works and Days issue isn't entirely comprised of gasbags whining pretentiously about the raw deal Churchill is getting. Somehow, an actual rational thinker managed to to sneak into the mix. Robert M. O'Neil, Professor of Law Emeritus and Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, notes in an essay titled "The Post-9/11 University: It Could Have Been Much Worse":
[T]here have been suggestions that the quality of Churchill's scholarship would never have been targeted but for the inquiry into his posted writings. Since that inquiry concluded the statements about "little Eichmanns" and "courage of their convictions" enjoyed First Amendment protection and could not support any sanction, Churchill himself claimed that the research inquiry was thus "a pretext to penalize constitutionally protected speech" (Gravois 1).1 Thus runs the argument that the research misconduct charges were effectively a classic case of "fruit of the poisonous tree" and for that reason could not be used fairly as the basis of an alleged nonspeech dismissal charge.
This argument surely has a more than superficial appeal. There are, however, several countervailing considerations. For one, Churchill's research had been a matter of separate concern to the Boulder campus administration for some time, well before "little Eichmanns" appeared on the radar. Indeed, scholars from other institutions had apparently written years earlier to express precisely this concern to Colorado officials, but such accusations apparently languished in the chancellor's office files. The reasons for prior inaction have never been clarified, though we know the academic process has never been a model of efficiency. Second, the research inquiry process was wholly separate from the probe of Churchill's extramural speech—a completely distinct faculty committee (in fact two sequential faculty inquiries), examining an entirely different body of material under quite distinct standards.
Finally, and perhaps most compelling, the nexus between two facets of such a case need not be entirely blank; while "fruit of the poisonous tree" may not be used for collateral purposes in certain criminal proceedings, such constraints need not apply to inquiries into academic fitness. Indeed, had the Boulder administration declined to probe Churchill's scholarship solely because the contentious postings made him a visible campus figure, such abstention would rightly have been viewed as abdication of a responsibility to students, faculty, and the larger academic community. Consequently, despite the superficial appeal of this claim derived from the link between the two charges, it does not follow that vindication on one ground ensures total immunity with regard to other possible academic transgressions.
Update (31March09): We remain unable to confirm this rumorrhoid; it appears to be incorrect.
In the comments section to yesterday's Race To The Bottom morning session post, Professor Thomas Brown directly refutes Lane's ludicrous Rocky-CU conspiracy theory:
"Lane's conspiracy theory is entirely speculative. I was the person who contacted Paul Campos in the first week of February 2005. I told him about how I discovered that Churchill had fabricated the Army smallpox blanket incident, and I gave him the cite to John LaVelle's article. He published that in the Rocky on February 8. No one from CU ever solicited anything from me."
Drunkablog, who yesterday had a computer *cough*attack of laziness*cough* malfunction, highlights a Salt Lake Tribune column contrasting Churchill with a real scholar.
Money quote from the SLT column:
To fight American racism, which was built upon fantasy and deception, minorities needed to keep a steady grip on their only real weapon: the truth. And that's precisely the lesson that seems to have eluded Ward Churchill.
|Face The State has a good take on Teh Trial:|
|Yeah, we know Churchill's the plaintiff in Teh Trial, but it wasn't us who made the case all about Churchill's fraud.|
While lengthily not gloating at length over the certain defeat of CU in Teh Trial, Churchill's dog, Benjie actually makes a salient point (emphasis ours):
Here’s the biggest factor [working against CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke], and the one I’ve enjoyed the most. See, most of the people who hate Churchill hate Churchill as a symbol of something else. So, Vincent Carroll and the bloggers see him as perfectly emblematic of what they consider the worst excesses of identity politics and postmodernism (which they don’t seem to have a real good grasp of). So, they’re always using Churchill to try to prove the general corruption of Ethnic Studies and Critical Theory. The problem being, that they’re kinda on the fringe on this one. They’re never gonna find a jury that even knows much of what these things are, let alone that gives a shit. Moreover, they’ve painted themselves into an impossible corner, in that if Churchill is emblematic of a certain kind of academic corruption, than ipso facto, what he’s doing is by definition accepted practice within those areas of study.
On Matters of Historical Fabulism
We've received, via one of our jackbooted thugs, a copy of Professor Ward Churchill's recent Works and Days article "The Myth of Academic Freedom: Experiencing the Application of Liberal Principle in a Neoconservative Era" (published a few scant weeks before Teh Trial began). It is as chockful o'facts as we've come to expect of any Churchill screed, provided that—in this PoMo world—zero still equals zero. We're reading it over the weekend, and we'll post our impressions as time and industry (or our lack of same) permit.
Perhaps most notable in the entire Works and Days article is Churchill's long-awaited (and much-promised) justification for his intentional army smallpox-blanket story (from footnote 258, emphasis ours):
Bernard Pratte, Jr., captain of the St. Peter's—the boat on which the infected items were transported upriver—stated in an interview some thirty years after the fact that they were brought to St. Louis from Baltimore by an unnamed fur company employee whom I've been able to identify as William May. Pratte says May placed the items aboard the St. Peter's itself. An independent source both identifies the infected items as having been blankets, and says that they were towed upriver in a pair of Mackinaw boats. It is confirmed that the St. Peter's was towing such boats. I have also been able to confirm that smallpox was present in Baltimore in late 1836, reaching epidemic proportions in 1837. Citations regarding these matters are being withheld, pending publication of an essay fully devoted to the topic.Get it? Churchill has the source to back up his preposterous claims, but he's withholding identifying those sources for the time being [update: see our "On Matters of Mysterious Uncited Sources" for a demystification of Churchill's new sources]. Sort of like that video footage that confirms his Indian heritage. (BTW: note that Churchill cites Pratte as saying the infected items were placed aboard the St. Peter's itself, which Churchill then contradicts with the claim of an independent (and unnamed, of course) source that the items were towed behind the steamer in Macinaw boats, because, you know, smallpox is icky. Keelboats, btw, were often towed behind steamboats to increase their hauling capacity; the steamboats were, after all, commercial enterprises; for instance, they were employed to haul the thousands of buffalo hides purchased from the Indians, as well as to haul trade goods to the Indians. One might say their existence depended upon the Indians, because it did. Intentionally killing them off would have been, like, a totally bad idea.)
Almost immediately, Churchill seems to contradict his own outrageous story (with its suspiciously concealed sources) by saying that in 1837
"[Charles Larpenteur] exposed a group of forty Assiniboins [sic] to a child in the most highly contagious stage of the disease, them told them to flee back to their home village(s)"
and cites in the accompanying footnote Larpenteur's own Forty Years A Fur Trader as part of his documentation (his other source is the two-volume A History of the American Fur Trade in the Far West by Hiram Martin Chittenden—which, incidentally, Churchill consistently misspells as Chittendon). Unfortunately for Churchill, the text of Forty Years is available on the Internet, and the relevant passage reads thus:
While the epidemic was at its height a party of about 40 Indians came in, not exactly on a trade, but more on a begging visit, under the celebrated old chief Co-han; and the word was, "Hurry up! Open the door!" which had been locked for many days, to keep the crazy folks in.
Nothing else would do we must open the door; but on showing him a little boy who had not recovered, and whose face was still one solid scab, by holding him above the pickets, the Indians finally concluded to leave. Not long afterward we learned that more than one-half of the party had died some said all of them.
Clearly, Churchill would have the reader believe Larpenteur's actions were consciously malicious toward the Indians, while the text is far less self-accusatory. More importantly, the immediately preceding sentences give the reader a very different perspective on the incident:
"[...] for immediately on the landing of the [steamer] we learned that smallpox was on board. Mr. J. Halsey, the gentleman who was to take charge this summer, had the disease, of which several of the hands had died; but it had subsided, and this was the only case on board. Our only apprehensions were that the disease might spread among the Indians, for Mr. Halsey had been vaccinated, and soon recovered. Prompt measures were adopted to prevent an epidemic. As we had no vaccine matter we decided to inoculate with the smallpox itself; and after the systems of those who were to be inoculated had been prepared according to Dr. Thomas' medical book, the operation was performed upon about 30 Indian squaws and a few white men. This was done with the view to have it all over and everything cleaned up before any Indians should come in, on their fall trade, which commenced early in September. The smallpox matter should have been taken from a very healthy person; but, unfortunately, Mr. Halsey was not sound, and the operation proved fatal to most of our patients. About 15 days afterward there was such a stench in the fort that it could be smelt at the distance of 300 yards. It was awful the scene in the fort, where some went crazy, and others were half eaten up by maggots before they died; yet, singular to say, not a single bad expression was ever uttered by a sick Indian. Many died, and those who recovered were so much disfigured that one could scarcely recognize them."
That Larpenteur was not only not maliciously intent on infecting Indians with smallpox, but rather, was trying desperately to save them (even observing in admiration their courage in the face of certain death), Churchill does not note in his "history," probably because it interferes with—the uncharitable might say baldly contradicts—his narrative. Count us among the uncharitable.
Churchill notes that Larpenteur was a fur company employee who filled in as post surgeon at Fort Union "while Denig was recovering from a very mild case of the pox" and cites Barton H. Barbour's Fort Union and the Upper Missouri Fur Trade as the source for this assertion, but Barbour himself only notes that Denig "was stricken with an unidentified violent fever, probably a mild case of the disease." (emphasis ours)
By the way: Larpenteur's account (being, as it is, one told by someone who was there and completely involved in the events) offers what we'd call pretty substantial proof that the smallpox epidemic started with the infected white trader, Mr. J. Halsey. One would think that to contradict such a straightforward recounting of events as witnessed by a participant with a tale of malicious and intentional infliction of smallpox by the US Army would require at least a similarly first-person account of same. One, of course, would be wrong. Churchill need offer no such proof; he need only note that he has seen said proof. He is, after all, Ward Churchill.
Churchill's "That Depends On What The Meaning of 'Is' Is" Moment
From the section entitled "Self-Citation of Ghostwritten Material" (page 168):
At issue here is the question of whether my citation of what the investigative panel described in their report as "two apparently independent third-party sources" (emphasis in original)-i.e., material I myself had ghostwritten-constitutes a "form of evidentiary fabrication" which was "part of a deliberate research stratagem to create the appearance of independent verifiable claims that could not be supported through existing primary and secondary sources. Elsewhere in the report, the panelists elaborated further, claiming that such citations allowed me "to create the false appearance that [certain of my] claims are supported by other scholars when, in fact, [I am] the only source for such claims" as were involved in my interpretations of the General Allotment Act and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.Yes, it's quite a reach to claim large components of the academic world might frown upon ghostwriting scholarly pieces for others, then citing those pieces in one's own research, and further, to imagine the practice might be so obviously unethical it required no codification. Why, using that sort of reasoning, one might conclude that pederasty was immoral. Imagine!
While the P&T reviewers addressed this matter only collaterally, observing that it "contributed" to the supposed failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications involved in my ghostwriting of the Robbins and Jaimes essays, they did state that my practice in this regard "seems inherently deceptive" and at odds with "what we take to be accepted standards by large components of the academic world" (emphasis added). Once again, the conflation of "established standards"-which, as was shown in the preceding section, do not exist-with "accepted practices" is obvious. So, too, the sheer vacuity of the phrase "what we take to be," used as it was to define such practices, accepted by equally nebulous, but nonetheless "large," "components" of the academic world" as I am alleged to have deliberately transgressed.
The article is 93 pages in length, and over half of that is footnotes. Yes, 40 pages of article, and 53 pages of footnotes (429 footnotes, to be exact). And the footnotes are in a smaller font than the article text. Just for fun we converted the smaller font to the one used in the article text, and found that the article was well over 75% footnotes.
Perhaps more interesting is that much of the article (and its hyperthyroid footnotes) is almost entirely a reprint (oddly, there is no footnote pointing this out) of Churchill's "The Myth of Academic Freedom: Personal Experiences of Liberal Principle in a Neoconservative Era" published last year in What Is Wrong With Academia Today Essays on the Politicization of American Education by Edwin Mellen Press, and available to you and your posterity for a mere 119 American dollars.
Just a spot check of the footnotes reveals how much of an (apparently) unacknowledged reprint it is. Footnote 24 in the Works & Days article is identical to footnote 24 in the Mellen Press article. Until #69, footnotes are virtually identical between the two articles (which to us indicates a similar identicality in the text itself); up through #139 in the Works and Daysarticle (#138 in the Mellen Press version) the footnotes appear to be identical. It is in the section Churchill calls "The Charges" that we find the first substantial changes, mostly in citations to statements made by CU administrators and members of the various committees involved in the investigation.
Incidentally, the multiple citations Churchill made in last year's Mellen Press article to the maliciously pro-fraud tryworks blog persist in this year's Works and Days version, despite the fact that tryworks was disappeared (for the second time) six months ago.
Race To The Bottom has posted its coverage of the morning session and the afternoon session
Update: We missed this, but three weeks ago, Professor Martin Katz of Sturm College of Law wrote an excellent overview for Race To The Bottom of what the two parties to Teh Trial must prove (or disprove) in order to prevail.
There are two claims that will be tried: A wrongful termination claim under the 1st Amendment and a wrongful investigation claim under the 1st Amendment.
Wrongful termination. This is a fairly traditional claim. The claim is that Prof. Churchill was fired because of his speech (particularly, his post-9/11 essay). The University does not appear eager to fight a test case over whether state universities can control the speech of their professors. So it will likely rely on the factual argument that it did not fire Prof. Churchill because of his speech. This claim will be analyzed under the familiar framework in Mt. Healthy University Dist. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977).
Wrongful investigation. This claim is essentially a clever variation of the wrongful termination claim. Prof. Churchill could fight the wrongful termination claim by arguing that he would not have been fired but for the investigation and that he would not have been investigated but for his speech. But doing so would require him to take on the burden of proving two levels of but for causation – not an easy task. So instead, he has advanced a fairly novel claim: a wrongful investigation claim. This claim is essentially that the University decided to investigate him because of his speech.
Teh Trial resumed this morning; here's John Aguilar's near-liveblogging today's testimony for the Daily Camera
Update: Churchill's attorney David Lane floats a "conspiracy theory" trial balloon:
Lane threw out an explosive allegation in response to the juror question, asking Carrigan if CU might have been in cahoots with the Rocky Mountain News to bring his client down.
He asked if it was unthinkable that CU law professor Paul Campos, who was a columnist with the now-defunct paper, might have acted as a go-between to tip the Rocky off to possible misconduct allegations floating around. After all, Lane said, Campos worked with CU Law School Dean David Getches -- the person who first received the core allegation from New Mexico law professor John LaVelle that Churchill had fabricated evidence.
"And you don't know how it is that the newspaper ended up in possession of the LaVelle allegations?" Lane asked Carrigan.
The regent said he didn't.
"Even if those allegations are planted by a faculty member who wrote a column for the Rocky Mountain News?" Lane queried. "That's all just a big coincidence?"
Carrigan said it was ridiculous to think that CU planted stories about academic misconduct in local papers to justify launching an investigation into Churchill's scholarship, particularly when the school had been the subject of so much negative coverage.
Update II: And, as if Lane weren't getting enough help from O'Rourke, the freakin' jury wades in to help Churchill's case:
Before the day ended, the jury upbraided Privilege & Tenure Committee member Don Morley for something he had said concerning Ward Churchill's practice of ghostwriting.
Earlier in the afternoon, the CU professor of communications testified that ghostwriting was an unacceptable academic practice because it didn't properly credit those who are doing the work.
The juror, through Chief Denver District Judge Larry Naves, asked Morley why he hadn't yet informed the University of San Francisco, which employs professor Rebecca Robbins, that she had attached her name to an essay Churchill had written and claimed it as her own.
The juror wanted to know why Morley hadn't tried to correct the academic record as quickly as possible by letting Robbins' employer know what she had done.
Morley acknowledged that he had been inconsistent in that regard but assured the jury, somewhat sheepishly, he would do something about it within a month.
While a very good question, the answer to it should have no bearing upon the case—and it won't, since O'Rourke's already won the case for Churchill.
Reason magazine associate editor Katherine Mangu-Ward has a so-so overview of Teh Trial (and what led to it) in the Wall Street Journal.
Without the controversy over the 9/11 essay, would Mr. Churchill have been fired over otherwise unrelated charges of academic sloppiness and dishonesty? Mr. Churchill and his lawyers say "no" and demand that he be reinstated. In the second sentence of its report, the university's investigative committee admits that there is no way to separate the original furor from the subsequent investigation, noting "its concern regarding the timing and, perhaps, the motives for the University's decision to initiate these charges at this time." Still, it asserts that Mr. Churchill's scholarly malfeasance was real and serious.
As the specifics of his academic fraud started to circulate in 2006, Mr. Churchill began to lose support among his colleagues. Fewer and fewer signatures appeared on each new petition circulated on his behalf. Mr. Churchill has periodically expressed surprise that his friends in the ivory tower sided against him. And perhaps he is right to wonder why they were suddenly so preoccupied with rigorous, bureaucratic adherence to university policy, after he had enjoyed so many years of promotions and awards in the ethnic-studies department without regard for the usual credentialing and publication requirements.
PB reader Lill points out that the commenters over at The Chronicle of Higher Education are doing a far better job trying CU's case than defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke is doing.
OT: We've added a new page containing all of our rotating quotes (and the links to their sources)
From our Oh, He's In Big, Big Trouble Now department: Westword claims Churchill may have been illegally sneaking a smoke or two in a Denver County courthouse men's room during Teh Trial.
Update: Here's Race To The Bottom's coverage of today's truncated testimony, wherein CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke makes an all too rare salient point (and one probably lost on the jury):
O’Rouke on redirect [of CU Regent Kyle Hybl] asked if multiple levels of review were installed to insure the accuracy of the investigation and Hybl concurred explaining that is their purpose. He also explained that accuracy was further established by the higher burden of proof found not by the Investigative Committee (using “preponderance of evidence,” but by the reviewing “Privilege and Tenure Committee” in its report at Paragraph 6.1.3 that found the pattern of research misconduct by “clear and convincing evidence” since this much higher burden is required when termination was being considered by the university.
Working title for our book on the
Update: We note without comment that Patrick O'Rourke's area of legal expertise seems to be medical litigation (for the confused, O'Rourke's c.v. is the "Hummingbird Asses" link above).
Update: The snow storm in Denver has shut down the trial for the day. It will resume tomorrow morning, District Court Judge Larry Naves says, "weather permitting."
John Aguilar at the Daily Camera doggedly continues his near-liveblogging of Teh Trial, with CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke trying to do damage control—and surprisingly, partly succeeding, at least on re-direct of CU Standing Committee on Research Misconduct head Joe Rosse:
O'Rourke immediately attempted to dismantle Lane's suggestion from Wednesday's proceedings that the CU faculty that found Churchill guilty were victims of "group think."
"Don't you think if the faculty members are going to group think with anyone, they would more likely group think with other faculty?" O'Rourke asked.
Rosse said the way Churchill was investigated -- with four separate and distinct committees, no strong leader, and devil's advocates around every corner -- it was doubtful peer pressure guided the process.
"I don't think group think is a particularly good metaphor for what happened in this instance," he said.
Drunkablog finds a Face The State article that examines the 20-something make-up of the jury for Teh Trial
Update: In that same post, Drunkablog also discovers that Bill O'Reilly thinks Churchill is losing his case.
...And CU faculty house organ Silver & Gold Record has four (so far) special supplements covering the trial (ht Leah):
- Churchill Takes The Stand
- Radelet Testifies As Defense Witness At Churchill Trial
- Churchill Trial Features Testimony From 2 Investigative Committee Members, Tenure Expert And Others
- Ethnic And American Indian Studies Faculty Testify About Churchill's Scholarship, Investigative Committee Process
OT: One of the DBAB comes up with a flattering new epithet to describe us: A little circle of shit-knitters. Speaking of curiously vile detraction, here's what this "Not My Tribe" blog said (in another post) about Professor Emeritus Marjorie McIntosh during her testimony:
She came across like a wise elder, her scolding kind and maternal. She had me convinced that Ward should be sent to his room, but for an indelible pallor that began to infect her testimony as the retired professor grew tired under scrutiny. And like the history of 14th Century England which was her specialization, it became inescapably evident that Marjorie McIntosh was very, very white.Is "white" now a derogatory term? Don't bother answering; it's a rhetorical question.
Rounding out the coverage is Race to the Bottom with a post on Truthforce's morning tears, and the CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke's afternoon rearranging of the Titanic's deck furniture.
Truthforce takes the stand (apparently, Churchill's legal team was not finished with its parade of witnesses as we erroneously noted below)
Update: Betcha O'Rourke won't be able to impeach Truthforce's credibility. Christ, what a clusterfuck. Leave it to CU to counter a blatant fraud with an incompetent buffoon. The Perfesser was prophetic: He will end up owning CU.
Update II: Excerpt from John Aguilar's nearly-liveblogging of the trial:
Natsu Taylor Saito broke down while describing how the University of Colorado effectively discredited her husband's life work and his attempts to challenge the dominant version of history and give traditionally oppressed ethnic groups a more complex and thorough story of their past.Remember, as we've noted before, whenever someone criticizes Ward Churchill, a puppy dies.
"He calls out the big lies in history, not these ridiculous picky things we're arguing about here. The most harmful thing to Ward, and to me, is that it was an attempt to silence that history," Saito said, her words disappearing in a flow of tears.
Update III: It appears from Aguilar's post that CU's attorney Patrick O'Rourke had no questions for Truthforce. None at all.
Update IV: Noj points out in the comments section that Truthforce's testimony puts Churchill at her home (ostensibly living there) September 12, 2001, which certainly adds an unmistakable whiff of nepotism to Churchill hiring her to teach in his department at CU in 2004.
CU defense attorney Patrick "Call Me Chris Darden" O'Rourke gets some last-minute adjustments to his intellectual armor.
Almost forgotten in the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes yesterday is that with Churchill, the plaintiff's team has presented all its witnesses, and CU called Tilman "Tillie" Bishop, currently the vice-chair of the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado, to the stand.
Excerpt from Race To The Bottom's coverage of Bishop's testimony yesterday afternoon:
Pressed by [Churchill's attorney, David] Lane, Bishop said he not only did not read the 9/11 essay, but he does not know whether the essay compared the 9/11 victims in a favorable or unfavorable light. Both Lane and the jury seemed stunned and Lane pressed Bishop on this point several times—“for all you know, the essay could be comparing the victims to the Boys Scouts” and Bishop said “yes.” Bishop also said he did not read all of the Investigative Report trusting CU’s faculty on the committee investigating the allegations.We expect CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke to call Snapple to the stand either today or tomorrow. Quite frankly, it would be one of his smarter moves.
Vince Carroll, whistling in the dark (via Drunkablog)
A Brief Interlude
We've recently come into possession of some correspondence, and we publish it here, for the edification of our readers:
December 12, 2008
Acme Boot Company
1237 Greenwood Street
Dallas, TX 50666
This letter shall serve as notification to your company that I intend to bring suit against you on behalf of a client of mine who wishes to remain anonymous. For the sake of clarity, I'll refer to him as Paddy O'Rook.
On July 9th, 2008, Mr. O'Rook purchased a pair of your wading boots, style #782, which were guaranteed by your firm in writing to be free of defects. Mr. O'Rook then used these boots while working on a septic tank, during which time one of the boots became inadvertently filled with urine. Consulting your written guarantee, Mr. O'Rook learned that the instructions for emptying the boot were affixed to the heel of said boots, and Mr. O'Rook did, indeed, discover the instructions for emptying the boot exactly where directed to look. However, despite following your directions carefully, Mr. O'Rook discovered to his frustration and dismay that the boot remained filled with this malodorous fluid. I should tell you now that I also attempted to follow your directions, and achieved the same lack of results. The boots remain unusable to this day, which I find unacceptable.
It is rare I come across a more clear-cut case of consumer fraud. Your product is defective, sirs; I await your response, which will, I am sure, include a reasonable settlement offer.
Patrick O'Rourke, Esq.
CNews 24March09 Part II
One of PB's jackbooted thugs was in the courtroom today, and files these observations:
CU lost the case today. O’Rourke needed a knockout in his cross of Churchill. He attacked Churchill valiantly, but Churchill fought him to a draw. A juror asked Churchill if he thought the investigation was driven by the 9/11 essay controversy. Case over, folks.
O’Rourke scored a lot of points, but failed to deliver the deathblow. He let Churchill bullshit and dissemble at length, boring the jury into submission.
It was so boring that Truthforce Junior was making exaggerated yawns to her friends to show her boredom. By the end of the day, Truthforce, Junior, and Junior’s spousal unit were all three playing Sudoku instead of paying attention.
After Churchill’s testimony concluded, a short burst of applause was led by a creepy female groupie who stares intently at Churchill and makes little orgasmic noises when he speaks.
Lane hasn’t rested his case yet. Who will he call after Churchill?
Random Churchill Nuttiness:
Churchill made the argument that when they try to silence Churchill, they are silencing all Indians, because he speaks for all Indians.
When he said “Mandan Indians”, Churchill says he meant “all Plains Indians” all the way up into Canada.
Churchill said that he has received job offers from other schools, but could not document them for O’Rourke, who termed them “oral history” job offers.
Truthforce Jr. is a germophobe. She uses a paper towel to turn the sink faucet in the bathroom. If I grew up in the Churchill household, I’d take ten showers a day.
Drunkablog was there, and if you follow the link, you will be, too!
Race To The Bottom has a post up on the juror's questions to Ward Churchill this afternoon, parenthetically labeled "Bad News for the Defense"
Update: RTTB's coverage of the morning session, and the afternoon session (subtitled "Score One for the Plaintiff")
Excerpt from the morning session report:
In this case, the devil is in the details, and cross examination is where they raise their little horns.O’Rourke had—and will continue to have after lunch break—lots of particular “you said this here but this there” sorts of questions for the Plaintiff. Churchill has yet to be shaken by any of them. He knows the details and does not lose track of who said what, when. His basic explanation doesn’t change, which makes him a very effective witness for his cause.
Excerpt from the afternoon session report:
All and all, the cross tended to bring out problems with each of the allegations against Churchill. A hint that it did not strengthen the University's case came from the questions that jurors wanted to ask Churchill.
The Denver Post's coverage of Ward Churchill's cross-examination this afternoon:
O'Rourke has continued to hammer away at Churchill about the claims about American Indians being infected by smallpox-infected blankets. In that line of questioning, O'Rourke asked Churchill why he said that he preferred to be called doctor at the start of his testimony on Monday when he has only earned a master's degree.
Churchill: "I have an honorary doctorate.
O'Rourke: "They gave you an honorary title?"
Churchill: "You wish to dishonor it?"
Why doesn't O'Rourke go back to preparing wills and incorporating small businesses? He seems ill-suited for anything more legally taxing. Is it only in the movies the attorney gets to say "Please direct the witness to answer my question, your honor"?
More on the afternoon cross, from John Aguilar over at the Daily Camera:
"Do you got anything for me on the Mandans being sick and being ordered to scatter?" O'Rourke asked.
Churchill said he might have been a little imprecise with the term Mandan, but said the larger point was sound in that American Indian tribes in the area had been told to scatter by white military personnel.
The lawyer also asked Churchill to support his claim that blankets infected with smallpox had been ordered upriver to Fort Clark by a commander at the military installation.
Churchill responded that if he had cited blankets, even though they weren't specifically mentioned in the sources he footnoted, "then mea culpa." He said his larger point about smallpox being deliberately spread by the U.S. military was still sound and supported by historical accounts.
So, Churchill accepts the blame for something. That in itself is a major accomplishment. Two cheers, O'Rourke. BTW: "Do you got...." Don't you just love it when college graduates establish their street cred with colloquialisms? It's so adorable.
More from Aguilar:
On re-direct, Churchill lawyer David Lane put CU's academic regulations -- forbidding falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism -- up on the screen.
He asked Churchill if he saw anything in writing from the school concerning a regulation against ghostwriting.
"No," the former professor said.
A brief round of applause burst out in the courtroom.
John Aguilar at the Daily Camera has kicked off his Tuesday semi-liveblogging of Teh Trial, with Ward Churchill still on the stand. Aguilar says in his post that CU will likely cross-examine Churchill later this morning. From Aguilar's post on Lane's direct examination of Churchill:
Churchill told the jury that he had a discussion years ago with an American Indian man he admired who told him that he had to teach the harsh truths of the world to people.
"If it's murder, it's murder -- it's not somehting else. If it's genocide, it's genocide, and it's not something else," he testified. "That's what I've been doing ever since."
By firing him, Churchill said CU essentially "thwarted" his efforts to engage in that kind of teaching.
"They try to nullify me, they try to nullify that voice," Churchill testified.
We're all choked up.... Talk amongst yourselves. Topic: When someone criticizes Churchill, does a puppy really die? Discuss.
Okay, we're back again. Here's Aguilar pointing out the silver lining:
Churchill described how his academic output has shrunk to 5 percent of what it was. He said he's essentially been out of work for two years.
...And here's Felisa Cardona over at the Denver Post, with The Perfesser whining about not having enough time during CU's investigatory process to gather information in his defense:
"I was not allowed to respond to charges that kept changing and that piled on top of one another," Churchill said of the committee. "When you spend 20 or 30 years accumulating information as it comes to you in random fashion and someone suddenly says make this particular point, it may take a while to take it out."
We can sympathize. After only a couple of weeks, taking out all that information that's accumulated in our horse stalls is a real chore.
More from the DP:
"Are you sitting here asking this jury to give you money?" his attorney, David Lane asked.
"No," Churchill answered.
"What are you asking for?" Lane asked.
"I want my job and I want restitution and acknowledgment that the entire process to remove me from the university was fraudulent," Churchill said.
Hold out both hands, "Doctor."
O'Rourke and Churchill are going back and forth over established standards of ghostwriting and proper citations in the academic community.
O'Rourke: "You brought these people to trial. You brought all these people in precisely to tell the jury what the standards are, and none of them say that this is the common practice. We have 20 tenured faculty members at the University of Colorado, all of them who agree and say this is wrong
Churchill: "I would disagree and point out that I would continue to disagree. This 20 may feel that way, there may be 40 more, who knows?"
How unfortunate Churchill's legal sock-puppet David Lane never thought to put any of those 40 on the stand, and instead picked the 20 crazed loners who disagreed with Churchill.
Moony-eyed Michael Roberts over at Westword writes a mash note to The Perfesser.
From our Despair—Part Of This Nutritious Breakfast department: One of our jackbooted thugs files this mini-report:
The trial is going very badly. Earlier, Lane slyly stated something like "let's just call the Investigative Committee 'The Wesson Committee'" when the defense was distracted. They made no objection, though we wanted to scream one from the peanut galley. From then on out it was Wesson Committee constantly. Wesson is the weak link on the committee and now the kids in the jury box hear her name constantly. Churchill also called McIntosh a hobbyist in African history, which is all "oral history" and since she is not an expert on oral history, she can't properly do African History. I looked at her CV; she has a master's degree in African history from Harvard and O'Rourke should have caught that. Nor is African History all "oral history". I took two undergraduate African History courses and we hardly talked about oral history at all, focusing almost entirely on the written records.
We're beginning to wonder whether CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke was born stupid, or achieved his present state of drooling incompetence through years of study.
Update: John Martin, of Drunkablog fame, is in the courtroom today, and let's us know in our comments section:
I think your spectator is a little more pessimistic than I are. I thought O'R was effective in pointing out to C that none of his own witnesses had ever done, or seen anyone else do, what he did in his ghostwriting. The jury looked decidedly grumpy (as much as such youth can look grumpy).
CNews 23March09 Part II
Race To The Bottom finally files its reports on the morning session and the afternoon session (straight recording of testimony sadly lacking in the background color present in many of RTTB's earlier reports).
One of PB's own jackbooted thugs attended the trial today, and just now (6:44pm MST) filed this report:
The day started with Michael Radelet, one of the CU Investigative Committee members. Radelet was effective in describing Churchill’s misconduct re the John Smith smallpox myth. David Lane went at Radelet hard, but Radelet was able to respond without giving an inch. Finally, Lane attempted to impeach Radelet by referring to an article by one of Radelet’s critics. With every sally from Lane, CU objected, and all were sustained by the judge. Eventually, the judge became exasperated and called Lane to a sidebar to chastise him. Lane came back and still would not cease attempting to smear Radelet. The judge called lunch break, and called Lane to another sidebar for more discipline.
Radelet called out Churchill for lying about a joke that Radelet had told. Apparently Churchill accused Radelet of making a Holocaust joke at the 2006 graduation about gassing Churchill, and then Churchill compared Radelet to Herman Goerring. Radelet responded that he never even attended graduation that year. At another event in mid- 2005, Radelet joked that Bill Owens had run some hoses from the air conditioner into Churchill’s office.
Next up was George Tinker, who identified himself to the jury as Tink Tinker. He is unbelievably full of shit -- e.g., naming Eric Cheyfitz as an expert on Indian law (or full of himself, same difference).
Asked whether he’d ever known Churchill to be a liar, Tinker’s response was that every word is sacred to an Indian, and basically that Indians are incapable of lying.
Tinker was intent on criticizing a book by CU professor Sam Gill. CU objected. The judge allowed some discussion of Gill, but eventually shut Tink down.
Tinker also complained that he and Churchill had filed a research misconduct compliant against CU law professor George Wilkinson, and that CU failed to conduct a full-blown investigation.
Next was Russell Means, who was even more full of himself, and even more irrelevant. He was presented as an expert witness, a PhD, and a professor, all of which are bogus. Asked his occupation, Means responded that he is chief of the Lakotah Republic. He neglected to mention that the real Lakota tribe doesn’t consider his little group legitimate.
Either Means or Tinker their testimony runs together in my memory said that a lie by an Indian destroys the Indian community. Churchill must have rained hell all over Indian Country with all of his lies. Oh wait Churchill’s not an Indian, so it’s not a problem.
Lane asked Means how he feels about the Investigative Committee report. Means attempted to show off his acting chops, pretending to get bleary-eyed. But he’s such a poor actor that he couldn’t even get one cheek wet. If Lane needs a crying Indian for his next production, he should get that guy from the pollution commercial.
Neither Means nor Tinker acknowledged that Churchill’s Indian identity is widely contested among Indians.
I had trouble concentrating during Churchill’s testimony, because we’ve heard all of his lies before.
Churchill claimed to be an enrolled member of the Keetowah Cherokees.
Churchill claimed to be entitled to be called “Dr.” Churchill. (He’s a doctor the same way he’s a Keetowah totally honorary and unearned/undeserved.)
Churchill now thinks he knows who plagiarized Fay Cohen: it was a group of guys either in Seattle or Portland. He’s not sure which city. After the trial, he and OJ are going to go looking for the real culprits.
Churchill said he’s never cited his plagiarism of Dam the Dams in Z Magazine. In fact, he has cited his plagiarism in two of his books.
Churchill said that a young man brought the smallpox blankets from Maryland, and that he must have gone through St. Louis to get to the Mandans. Churchill believes that he was correct in saying that the blankets originated in St. Louis. Churchill didn’t try to explain how this exonerates his original claim that the blankets came from an Army smallpox infirmary in St. Louis.
Re the John Smith fabrication, Churchill is still resting on his Squanto tale for his defense.
…and so forth. There were so many lies, it was hard to keep track of all of them. It’s almost certain that the jury will buy most of them. I give CU a 30% chance of winning at best.
Churchill may have perjured himself a number of times.
The CU legal team acquitted themselves well, but David Lane is an extremely talented lawyer. Lane’s strategy has been to put on a dog and pony show, and keep hitting the weaknesses in CU’s case relentlessly. Lane excels at this.
Churchill placed an eagle feather on the witness stand in front of him. I wonder if the bailiff knows that eagle feathers are a controlled substance under federal law, and that this one is contraband? As a non-Indian, Churchill cannot have the legal right to possess an eagle feather.
Robert the Bruce [a member of Churchill's legal team] looks like a car salesman.
The audience is full of Churchill groupies. The groupies fall into several demographic categories: (1) young hippie kids; (2) fat middle-aged Indians, nearly all male; (3) middle-aged radical women activists. One woman stared intently at Churchill as he testified, with a creepy cult follower smile plastered across her face the entire time.
Walking by a huddle of the two Indian witnesses Russ Means and George Tinker—shortly before the afternoon session resumed—I was overwhelmed by the smell of alcohol.
Excerpt from John Aguilar's semi-liveblogging of Ward Churchill on the witness stand today:
Churchill said he wrote the [little eichmanns] piece during the afternoon and evening of Sept. 11, 2001 to make the point that Americans shouldn't be surprised that people who have long felt oppressed by U.S. foreign policy would choose to strike back.
"This was perfectly predictable," Churchill told the jury. "The U.S. has been doing things to people and the world as as matter of course, as a matter of routine."
He said if you make it a "practice of killing other peoples' babies for your own personal gain, that eventually, they are going to give you a taste of the same thing."
Churchill testified that he was "apalled" at former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's use of the term "collateral damage" to describe innocent people killed in Iraq and other places the United States has bombed.
He said the use of the term "Little Eichmanns" -- a reference to Nazi technocrat Adolf Eichmann -- in his essay was his way of trying to make it clear that even those whose roles in society are seemingly innocent are still participating in helping push along the greater system in which they live.
Without Eichmann, he said, the Nazis' efforts to wipe out millions of Jews would not have been nearly as efficient and quick.
"When you bring your skills to bear for profit, you are the moral equivalent of Adolf Eichmann," Churchill told the jury.
We can't find the link, but we seem to recall The Perfesser saying long ago that he wrote the little eichmanns piece on September 12. Nope, it was published on Dark Night Field Notes September 12, but written the afternoon and evening of September 11, as Churchill himself told the Boulder Weekly back in February 2005: "it was the early afternoon -- I got a call from the woman who was the editor of Dark Night Field Notes-... She said, 'We need a from-the-gut response on this, and we need it in time to post it tomorrow.'"
Update: Churchill claims in his testimony today that he only copy-edited Fay Cohen's essay " 'In Usual and Accustomed Places" that was plagiarized in The State of Native America, but as we note in our "Footnotes and Fallacies", Churchill listed the piece as his own in the Faculty Report of Professional Activity for the year 1991. As the Investigative Subcommittee Report notes:
Professor Churchill’s claim that he does not know who was responsible for the misappropriation of Professor Cohen’s work is not, however, convincing. Contrary to his claim that he did only light copyediting work on it, the essay in question, “In Usual and Accustomed Places,” is listed as a work written (not edited) by him in his Faculty Report of Professional Activity for the year 1991, followed by the parenthetical notation “for the Institute for Natural Progress.” That essay is listed in the same category—“Refereed Articles or Chapters Published in Journals Periodicals, Books, or Scholarly Encyclopedias”—as the article ascribed to his sole authorship in the same volume and another attributed to him and Winona LaDuke (whom he also acknowledges in his Faculty Report of Professional Activity).The Denver Post has more coverage, including our favorite Churchill paragraph of the Day:
"Do you wish to be called Prof. Churchill?" his attorney David Lane asked. "I prefer professor, but doctor will do," Churchill said.For those just joining us, Churchill's doctorate is an honorary doctorate in humane letters, given to him by Alfred University after he gave a no-doubt fabulous lecture there on American Indian history in 1992.
Update II: Churchill said today (under oath) that one of the sources for his claim that the US Army intentionally inflicted smallpox on the Mandan Indians was Mandan oral tradition. Churchill proposes, Drunkablog fisks.
It occurs to us that now might be the perfect time to require Churchill to prove his ancestry once and for all. Attend: It appears that only Native Americans are permitted by Federal law to possess eagle feathers. Yet, as the Daily Camera has reported, Churchill took the stand today "with an eagle feather placed on red fabric next to him in the witness box[.]" (ht Fred and Ph.D. Anthro) According to Wikipedia, "Under the current language of the eagle feather law, only individuals of certifiable Native American ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle feathers. Unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $25,000." Unless, of course, it's really a turkey feather, as Ph.D. Anthro suggests, in which case, heh.
In a poorly researched story in Indian Country Today ("former governor" instead of "then-governor"; only Churchill's legal team is quoted, etc.), Churchill's legal sock-puppet David Lane tries hard to make The Perfesser's firing about race.
Our favorite paragraph:
“I think history is written by white guys in suits,” observed noted civil rights attorney David [White Guy In A Suit] Lane, lead counsel for Churchill. “Ward Churchill gives a different aspect that affects and frightens white guys in suits.”
Colorado Daily says that Ward Churchill himself is taking the stand today.
Update: CD still expects The Perfesser to take the stand today.
Update II: And take it he does. (but not before twin sock-puppets George Tinker and Russell Means did their little show) [N.B. We've moved our commentary on Churchill's testimony to its own post]
Update .9: We missed this—Drunkablog has good stuff on investigative subcommittee member Michael Radelet's testimony this morning.
Update .91: Russell Means, choking up on the stand: "[T]o take a small phrase and besmirch [Churchill] and try to ruin his reputation among the people who know what he writes. It is a scholarly massacre — it's what I call it. It's not right and it's full of holes...they do not treat white professors at CU the same way." (via Drunkadewd) No, you're right, Russ. CU wouldn't treat a white professor that way (last item).
Update to Dr. Barbara Alice Mann's eminence as an historian: In order to buttress her thesis that various epidemics were intentionally inflicted upon Indians (in her book George Washington's War on Native America), Mann cites Ward Churchill extensively. (ht, gulp, Snapple via Drunkablog's own comments section; sorry, D-a-B. You snooze, you lose). This might be a good time to recall our own "Ethnic Studies Echo Chamber," wherein we discuss exactly why it's so vitally important that Victims Studies "scholars" support and defend
PB reader Laurie brings up an excellent point, and has inspired two questions that CU defense attorney Patrick O'Rourke should have been asking every single one of Churchill's witnesses:
- Have you cited Churchill's works in your own scholarly writing?
- If so, how much of your own scholarly writing would be undermined if Churchill were proven to have lied in the works you cited?
The New York Times offers us a funhouse-mirror snapshot of Teh Trial. (ht Frank Castle)
Vince Carroll applies hammer to nailhead in a Denver Post editorial today:
Why so much coverage of Ward Churchill, readers used to wonder during the heyday of the Churchill circus. He's just one rogue professor. Even if he's committed every alleged offense, what does it matter in the larger scheme of things?
It matters because Churchill is not alone, because he stands for a small but aggressive wing of academia at war with the belief that history is reconstructed by sifting through credible evidence to reach fact-based conclusions. To them, history is politics by another name. This mentality has been on vivid display in court for two weeks, where the former University of Colorado ethnic studies professor is suing CU. At times, the testimony has achieved a looking glass quality — and never more so than on Wednesday, when Professor Michael Yellow Bird of the University of Kansas returned to the stand.
Yellow Bird spent much of his testimony asserting that academics are free to embellish history — maintaining, for example, that they frequently "invent possibilities" and "treat them almost as a fact, yes." But he did stop short of openly saying that fraudulence was fine. Yet as his testimony drew to a close, CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke pounced with a Perry Mason moment: Hadn't Yellow Bird once told a CU faculty committee that a "fabricated, made-up account promoted truth"?
As O'Rourke asked, a transcript of Yellow Bird's statement to the committee was displayed on a screen. The professor hesitated, then admitted, "Yes."
Why so much coverage of Churchill? Because if he wins, so do all the other enemies of academic integrity — like Yellow Bird.
Idle Thoughts: The makeup of Churchill's witness list was very much like the cast of Churchillpalooza, and the songs they sang were all the same. We do note, however, the conspicuous absence of Truthforce (last item). Too bad; she wrote such glowing reviews of Churchill's work.
Update: Back in April 2007, three of Churchill's witnesses—Eric Cheyfitz, Emma Perez, and Michael Yellow Bird—were all signatories to a demand that CU retract the charges against Churchill; they even threatened that misconduct charges might be filed against the investigating subcommittee if the retraction were not forthcoming. Wonder whatever happened to those misconduct charges (which were, in fact, filed)...
Speaking of Cheyfitz (who has clearly spent too much time on the Victims Studies holodeck).... First, here's the pertinent portion of Four Bears' alleged deathbed speech (full text here, scroll to p. 8):
"[...] all that you hold dear, are all Dead, or Dying, with their faces all rotten, caused by those dogs the whites"Now, here's Cheyfitz skillfully and dramatically worrying out of that speech the fact that the US military intentionally infected the Mandans with smallpox:
"I mean, it's quite clear what the speech says - it says whites spread smallpox. And although it doesn't say the Army spread smallpox, we can assume, I think - safely assume - that amongst those white people that Four Bears was referencing in that speech he certainly had the Army in mind as part of it, since the Indians' major interaction with white people was with the Army."(Cheyfitz quote from a May 2007 Rocky Mountain News article headlined "Churchill's backers misrepresented sources, relied on faulty books" that is no longer available, but, luckily, has been copied over at Discover The Networks)
Mildly OT: "Postmodernism Unpeeled" (ht Wm T Sherman)
CU’s attorney asked numerous times, and Professor Mann replied several times that she had not seen primary and secondary sources supporting Professor Churchill’s proposition that smallpox blankets were dispersed to the American Indians. She then clarified that “It doesn’t mean that [the primary or secondary source] doesn’t exist. It means I haven’t seen it.” The attorney established, by getting a positive response from Professor Mann, that “it is not appropriate” to fabricate facts that are not supported by primary and/or secondary sources supporting some of Professor Churchill’s propositions about the spreading of smallpox to the American Indian population.
Really? Earlier, RTTB reported that Mann testified that (emphasis ours) "Churchill's claims about how the disease was spread — primarily by the U.S. Army and with deliberate purpose — have backing in the historical record." Which, apparently, she has not seen. But she's no doubt been assured by Churchill that the proof is there, so it's okay, then.
From the afternoon session (wherein one clown cross-examines another):
To summation, while Mr. O'Rourke tried to make points with the jury by going over the issues of research misconduct with [Professor Eric] Cheyfitz, Cheyfitz skillfully and dramatically countered O'Rourke in every instance.
John Aguilar's near-liveblogging for the Daily Camera continues, with cross-examination of Dr. Barbara Alice Mann. Mann, btw, is a crony of our old pal Professor Bruce Johansen (she's edited a book with him; he's written a forward to one of hers—as has Churchill), and although Race To The Bottom says she is an "eminent historian," we find that she is a lecturer for the English Department at the University of Toledo (her c.v.). Also btw: she was signature 281 on the Teachers for a Democratic Society's "Unfire Ward Churchill" petition, and even authored an outraged (and outrageous) supportive letter for Teh Perfesser.
From Aguilar's post:
CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke countered Mann by asking that even if she didn't cite specific sources for her information in her footnotes, she could produce those sources if asked.
Yes, and Churchill has agreed—nay, promised—to provide proof of his Indian heritage, of his smallpox assertions, et al—none of which has been presented. Accepting an assertion from any member of Churchill's camp is at the very least, foolish. We wonder whether Mann understands the laws concerning perjury.
With all these Victims Studies professors and English teachers testifying on the marvelous wonderfulness of Ward Churchill's historical screeds, we find it interesting to recall what a real historian, Timothy Burke (Associate Professor of History at Swarthmore College), said about that very same subject, four years ago:
Churchill’s scholarly oeuvre is practically a guided tour of every trope of identity politics: polemical extensions of the concept of genocide into every possible institutional or social interaction between the colonized and colonizer, erasures of any historical or programmatic distinctions between colonizers in different eras or systems, reduction of all history and contemporary society into a sociologically and morally simple binary schema of colonizer and colonized (hence the remark that the people in the Twin Towers were “little Eichmanns” while Iraqis are literally infantilized into starving babies and nothing more), pervasive indictments of systems of representation, and aggressive assertions of exclusive cultural, moral, political and economic ownership of anything and everything connected with a particular identity group (Native Americans in this case).
Anything and everything can be fed, often with appalling casualness, into the polemic machine he builds: other scholars become, if not heroic comrades, mere “crypto-fascists” (there is no other possible position or posture). Mickey Spillane’s novels are part of a cohesive infrastructure for global hegemony. All power is endlessly and floridly conspiratorial. And so on.
John Aguilar over at the Daily Camera is still semi-liveblogging Teh Trial; this morning featured the revelation that Victims Studies professors appear to have a firm grasp on only four numbers: One, Two, Three, and Genocide.
Update: Churchill's legal sock-puppet, David Lane, indulges in some theatre of the absurd (or has it been that way all along?)
Emma Perez (Churchill's successor to the CU Ethnic Studies chair), on the witness stand: ""In [the Investigating Subcommittee's] report, they falsified and fabricated and trumped up charges to fire him." Really, Emma? Where, exactly, did they falsify? Where, exactly, did they fabricate? Where, exactly, did they trump up charges?
Drunkablog learns that convicted terrorist assistant/disbarred attorney/sumo wrestler Lynne Stewart will be in town March 24 to support
...meanwhile, Race To The Bottom wonders if sequestering the jury might not be such a bad idea.
Update: RTTB's usual late but excellent coverage of the morning session, and the afternoon session.
Silver & Gold Record's coverage of Teh Trial seems to be improving (perhaps because veteran writer Jefferson Dodge is on the job) (ht Leah)
Michael Yellow Bird, "invent[ing] the possibility that these things happened."
...and O'Rourke finally joins the battle:
For the final question CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke asked indigenous studies professor Michael Yellow Bird during his re-cross Wednesday morning, he pulled up a transcript of previous testimony the professor had given to CU's Privilege & Tenure Committee and asked him if he had made the statement that "fabricated, made-up accounts promote the truth."
With a slight pause, Yellow Bird said yes.
No further questions," O'Rourke said, closing his binder and taking a seat.
Update: Speaking of evisceration, Race To The Bottom has a much more detailed examination of Yellow Bird's cross-examination by O'Rourke, as well as the afternoon testimony of Churchill's vanity publisher, City Lights' Elaine Katzenberger.
Update II: And DrunkaProle has more, and more, and more!
According to 5280 magazine, Channel 9, the Daily Camera, and PB reader Boe,
Update: Once again, our skepticism regarding all things Chutchillian proves prudent: "Churchill's testimony delayed"
Quote of the day: “The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended” — Frederic Bastiat
CU faculty house organ Silver & Gold Record presents its special Ward Churchill supplement, and they needn't have bothered; nothing new here. (ht Leah)
With the beginning of the second week of Teh Trial, it's becoming more obvious that Churchill's legal sock puppet David Lane is giving the jury a mini-course in Victims Studies. Interesting legal strategy; if you can't win on facts, re-educate the jury. Wonder why CU's defense team isn't objecting to Lane's parade of irrelevant phonies.
Update: Mimi Wesson was on the stand this morning; read John Aguilar's nearly-live blog report at the link posted above (or visit DrunkaPaperChase for even more reportage)
Update II: DrunkaStenographer has the afternoon session, with Mimi Wesson still on the stand.
Update III: Always worth the wait, Race To The Bottom examines the morning session, and the afternoon session.
...And Race To The Bottom notes that modest press coverage of Teh Trial seems contrary to the substantial increase in web traffic they are seeing to their own superlative coverage. One might think the MSM is dedicated to proving its own uselessness. One would be right. Knowing where OctoMom shops is far more important.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (located in Rome, Georgia) has finally published news of the Ward Churchill visit last month. Written by senior staff writer Angie Marie Woody, the article is a press release for Works and Days, with two partial quotes (ostensibly uttered during the visit) from Churchill. Here's the relevant excerpt:
Churchill spoke of his case, which "has gone on longer than most of [the attendees] have been in college."
Though Churchill noted that "this isn't my preferred terrain to fight on," he urged students to never compromise their rights or principles. Those are bedrock, Churchill said.
That's some fine reportage there, Angie.
Speaking of Works and Days, the table of contents for the latest issue is available online. Of the 30-odd contributors, The Perfesser himself accounts for a full sixth of the 585 pages of blah-blah. (ht Leah for both the above items)
John Aguilar over at the Daily Camera appears to be the only member of the media attending Teh Trial today. And too bad, because apparently David Lane has asked for a mistrial.
The judge and Lane are arguing over whether Bell can testify about whether he thinks the University of Colorado overreached in its decision to fire Churchill for what Lane called "minor transgressions."
Naves said soliciting such information from Bell would be tantamount to rendering a legal opinion on the case rather than a factual opinion and ruled it inappropriate.
Lane immediately entered a motion for a mistrial, which the judge denied.
Lane is now counseling Bell on his upcoming testimony and the jury will be brought in shortly.
Update: Race To The Bottom has more on the motion for mistrial as well as what followed (Lane was annoyed he wasn't allowed to use Critical Race Theory to wash away Churchill's sins). It was not a good day for Churchill's team.
Update II: Here's Bell's "story" Lane wanted to use. (ht Leah)
Race To The Bottom takes a look at juror questions.
DrunkaShellAnswerMan examines yesterday's testimony of failed investigating committee member Robert Williams.
The upshot of his ramble, though, besides that the Churchill investigating committee was incompetent, was that they used inapplicable criteria--the standards of the American Historical Association. These, Williams said, being rooted in 19th century white racism, should not be applied to something as unique and precious as American Indian Studies.
On the lighter side, Evan Cantor shares with us his "1/16th (The Ballad Of Ward Churchill)." We give it an 8; it's catchy, has a good beat, and you can dance to it.
Channel 7's Steve "asleep at the wheel" Saunders live-blogging Teh Trial again: "Hank Brown Testifies"
Update: DrunkaJimmyOlsen wins the feather today for best reporting. (okay, so it's because he mentions PB. We're vain that way.)
Update II: ...and Race To The Bottom limps in with a solid, but late report on the day's festivities. Read it, if for no other reason, to learn of Churchill's attorney, David Lane, sparring with former CU president Hank Brown.
CU's faculty house organ Silver & Gold Record interviewed
During a break in the trial after Owens' testimony, Churchill told Silver & Gold Record that the former governor didn't need to resort to cutting CU's budget because CU faculty and administrators "had fallen in line and were doing exactly what he wanted them to do."
"People act like faculty are stupid people: they aren't," Churchill said. "They got the message of what they needed to do to ensure their own preservation and they would do it, even if it meant sacrificing one of their own."
S&GR also notes that it will post a "special online supplement" about the trial Monday.
From our For What It's Worth department: If this is the best offense David Lane can mount, we sure hope Churchill can put a stop-pay on the legal fees check.
In "Defined By Whining," David Thompson has the Olympian detachment to see the posturing of radical academics for what it is. (ht TerryH)
The problem is that adversarial role-play has little to do with reason, refutation or how the world actually is. It does, however, have a great deal to do with how those concerned wish to seem. In order to maintain a self-image of heroic radicalism - and in order to justify funding, influence and status - great leaps of imagination, or paranoia, may be required. Hence the goal posts of persecution tend to move and new and rarer forms of exploitation and injustice have to be discovered, many of which are curiously invisible to the untutored eye. Thus, the rebel academic tends towards extremism, intolerance and absurdity, not because the mainstream of society is becoming more racist, prejudiced, patriarchal or oppressive – but precisely because it isn’t.
Thompson's advice? "Get the hell over yourselves, you whiny, parasitic little bitches."
Steve Saunders is live-blogging Teh Trial for Channel 7 today. He is not the reporter—or live-blogger, if you will—that yesterday's Lance Hernandez is.
Update: Saunders notes that Robert Perkinson, a former student of Churchill's, is on the stand defending Teh Perfesser's research practices. Who is Perkinson? Glad you asked. Not exactly a disinterested third party, Perkinson was signature 345 on the Teachers for a Democratic Society "Unfire Ward Churchill" petition.
Update II: No telling what the plan was, or if it even existed, but Betsy "C Word" Hoffman claims that during a phone conversation with her back in 2005, Owens threatened in an angry tone to "unleash my plan." Owens testified today that "It doesn't really sound like me; that is not the way I deal with people. I don't deal with people in an angry, threatening way."
Update III: And once again, Race To The Bottom's coverage is the most insightful and evenhanded. (and here's RTTB's critique of DiStefano's testimony)
Update IV: Drunkablog files his report, and You! Are! There!
DrunkaIGotNothing examines the pundits' punditifying on Teh Trial so far.
Denver's Channel 7 (ABC) is live-blogging Teh Trial, while Race To The Bottom ponders the dearth of coverage: "[w]ith most focused on the economy, the isolated musings of a single professor at a state university don't pack the same wallop, however incendiary they had been. It perhaps is a metaphor for the distance the country has come since 2005."
Update: Two notes from Channel 7's live-blogging are of interest. David Lane is making his argument: "[Churchill] was a voice for Native Americans" and later, "[[Churchill] has spent numerous days in the American ghetto on the reservation." Numerous days, huh? We've driven through several reservations; does that make us a voice for Native Americans, too?
...and The Post checks in with "Lawyer calls Churchill a victim of a 'howling mob'"
...and something the others missed, the Daily Camera notes that Lane compares The Perfesser to Galileo and Scopes. (ht Leah, who also notes that the article says the jury's decision must be unanimous and made using the "preponderance of the evidence" standard to most civil trials)
Update II: Again, Race To The Bottom's coverage of Teh Trial is superlative. Here's an excerpt of the defense examination of Churchill's witness, Evelyn Hu-Dehart:
The afternoon session began with O'Rourke's quiet questioning of Professor Hu-Dehart from Brown University. She described her past professional relationship with DiStefano and also discussed the interdisciplenary [sic] nature of ethnic studies. Questioning rapidly moved toward the subject of plagarism and falsification, and Hu-Dehart become increasingly more evasive. While she agreed that no professors should falsely cite personal opinions as facts, she gave round-about answers to straight-forward questions, indicating that one would probably expect "facts" from a publication to be related to the source an author cites.
Update III: DrunkaMatlock was there; he quotes Evelyn Hu-Dehart: "I don't understand what you mean by 'plagiarism.' That's a broad term."
Update IV: Some video of the actual trial is associated with this Channel 9 report. (ht Leah)
Jury selected; opening arguments tomorrow morning (our favorite David Lane quote: ""If he cheated the way they said he did, fire him.")
Funny, the headline reads "Churchill: Jury to have last word on suit" but there's no mention in the accompanying article of such a quote
(ht for both links to, who else, Leah)
Update: Best coverage of the trial is definitely The Race To The Bottom blog. (via Drunkablabbermouth)
DrunkaShyster undead-blogs Day One (spoiler alert: Nothing happened)
Fox News has Bill O'Reilly's talking points posted, and his report on the Churchill-Ayers confab features this quote we didn't catch from The Perfesser: "Guess what? By virtue of being American, you are not innocent."
For those who aren't up to speed on tomorrow (where have you been?), The Daily Camera has a good synopsis of the upcoming trial and events leading up to it.
Meanwhile, Churchill's latest wife, Natsu "Truthforce" Saito, is over on the Friends of Leonard Peltier blog begging money to pay hubby's legal fees. (both links courtesy Leah)
From Truthforce's post:
Supporters have organized a kick-off event is [sic] Monday, March 9, 2009 from 9:30am-5pm, with refreshments across the street from the courthouse in Civic Center Park. For more info or ride shares, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Will there be Kool-Aid?
Ben Whitmer, former CU instructor and longtime Ward Churchill apologist, again iterates through his faulty reasoning process. (ht, as always, Leah)
I defend Ward Churchill because he was the first to write the obvious about the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001. That the technocrats on the upper levels of the World Trade Center weren’t targeted because they provided some symbolically metaphysical representation of American power; they were targeted because they made their living on the bodies of Arab children. This is not to say that everyone in the World Trade Center was a “little Eichmann”, a point Churchill made clear.No, Benjie. Churchill did not make that clear, a point we made clear nearly three years ago. But please, continue:
He used a different term for the service workers and children in the World Trade Center, one popularized by the US military. They were “collateral damage”, a miraculously precise and objective term that, as the reaction to Ward Churchill’s essay evidences, is divested of all precision and objectivity when one is staring at the corpses of their own dead.Nowhere in the "Roosting Chickens" essay does Churchill draw this distinction. And as far as this nonexistent distinction being "a miraculously precise and objective term" goes—did the state of Colorado actually pay Benjie to teach?
Benjie briefly marvels at how Churchill was the first to suggest slicing the bread before it was sold, then concludes with "I defend the right to call little Eichmanns little Eichmanns." Yes, Benjie. And we reserve the right to call deceptive claptrap deceptive claptrap.
A University of Denver Sturm College of Law blog intends to cover the upcoming Rumble In The, um, Denver (via DrunkaInstamatic)
The inevitable slew of articles on the Thrilla In, um, Boulder:
Churchill, Ayers take stage at CU
Some slew, huh.
Update: CBS4 has video and an article on the Thrilla, wherein The Perfesser notes that he is battling the university "not for myself but for the possibility of younger generations to hear what they have a right to hear, which is their teachers' version of the truth." (ht Leah)
Update II: And 9News has more coverage. Ayers is quoted saying ""I worry about Ward Churchill, but I don't worry as much about Rashid Khalidi, Susan Sontag, or Ward Churchill, or myself, as I worry about the teacher in Denver who teaches Social Studies to eighth graders and can't bring herself to raise a critical question because she saw what happened to Ward Churchill. So the damage is done." Somewhat true; Sontag died a couple of years ago, so nobody needs to worry much about her. (ht Leah, again)
Update III: At long last, DrunkaBlog posts his own Cynic On The Scene report, perhaps the most honest, and certainly the most amusing, coverage. Now with pictures!
Update IV: And El Presidente (if that is his real name) over at Slapstick Politics has more video and pics.
Update V: The Daily Camera has a glamor shot of The Perfesser. (once again, ht Leah)
...and they're still quoting Churchill as if he were an actual scholar, with unsurprising results.
We somehow stumbled upon the CU P&T committee's "Panel Report Regarding Dismissal For Cause of Ward Churchill and The Issue of Selective Enforcement" (pdf), which both CU and Churchill declined to release back in April 2007, when it was written.
Excerpt from the Summary of Conclusions (bf ours):
The panel has reviewed the evidence admitted before our panel in the light of our specific charge. We have reviewed the testimony of the witnesses at the Dismissal for Cause Hearing, and the evidence admitted at that hearing and after it. We have also, as individuals, reviewed video recordings of any parts of the Dismissal for Cause Hearing for those few situations for which an individual could not be physically present. Our review has been limited to the evidence actually admitted through the hearing process. Our conclusions, described in more detail in following
- We find that Professor Churchill did not show by a preponderance of the evidence that the University engaged in Selective Enforcement of its rules concerning Research Misconduct. While we did find a preponderance of the evidence of one element of Selective Enforcement (“but for” causation), we found that Professor Churchill had not met his burden of proof in showing the second required element of motivation.
- We find that Professor Churchill did not show by a preponderance of the evidence that the investigation of allegations of Research Misconduct denied him his right to Due Process. While specific mistakes were made, as described more fully in subsequent sections, we find that Professor Churchill has not met his burden of proof in showing that the process was so fundamentally flawed as to deprive him of his constitutional right to Due Process, noting in particular that he has now had subsequent opportunity to provide additional information and clarification, which this panel has taken into account.
- We find that the University showed by clear and convincing evidence that Professor Churchill engaged in “conduct which falls below minimum standards of professional integrity” in several specific instances, though in fewer such instances than those in which Research Misconduct was previously found.
Jury selection on the Trial of the Century begins today (via DrunkaWireless)
For those among us who prefer books with pictures in them, Westword has a cartoon honoring, if that is the word, the
Or apologies to our readers. For some nefarious reason, internet service has been cut off since yesterday to any number of Colorado horse breeders, including us, when a contractor apparently cut through a Innertube line and forced untold thousands to see what was on TV. Or polish their Ninja Gaiden skills.
PB reader Leah directs our attention to a channel 7 video report on the upcoming whineathon Thursday at CU that quotes (with no attribution) "the university is bracing for a crowd of 1,200." (see video labeled "related to story")
For an irony-rich environment, one simply can't beat the campus of CU, where activists will "unveil a "free speech cage" Tuesday in advance of Bill "I don't regret setting bombs" Ayers' visit. The drama queens, er, pro-Ward Churchill activists say they will read excerpts from "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," and invite passers-by into the free speech cage wherein they, too, might experience the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of exercising their right of free speech.
Update: PB reader Leah points us to the Daily Camera's article and photo gallery of the construction of the free speech cage. We note with interest that the coils of wire along the top of the cage appear to be of the barbless variety. Suh-weet, sweet irony.
Update II: PB reader Leah has become our go-to gal for all things chutchillian; this time she's found a special page at the Daily Camera for ongoing Ward Churchill coverage.
Update III: Critical thinking. They keep saying those words. We do not think they mean what they think they mean. (DrunkaTenCentsAMinute has more, and as usual, more humoroidesque)