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Thread: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

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    Wisconsin's most dangerous professor


    What follows from this New York Times' op-ed about the historical context of the political conflict in Wisconsin, is a fascinating collision between public's right to know and academic freedom at a public university. Whichever side you're on in the underlying political conflict, here's a topic worth your momentary attention. Please share your thoughts.

    My own sense is that this is another example where certain kinds of publicly supported information should not be made widely available under most circumstances. Florida went through a similar challenge this century when the Orlando Sentinel sought access to autopsy photographs of Dale Earnhardt¹.

    Excerpted from “Wisconsin's most dangerous professor; Why are Republicans desperate to see Bill Cronon's emails? Because ideas and history matter” BY ANDREW LEONARD, “How The World Works” (blog), Salon, FRIDAY, MAR 25, 2011 15:12 ET
    [T]here are consequences for taking a stand. As surely nearly everyone who has been following developments in Wisconsin already knows, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has filed an open records request demanding access to any emails [University of Wisconsin Professor William] Cronon has sent or received since Jan. 1 containing the search terms "Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell."

    The obvious goal is to find something damaging or embarrassing to Cronon -- although judging by Cronon's account, smoking guns seem unlikely to be lying around in plain sight. (Eight of the names referenced in the request belong to the eight Republican state senators targeted by Democrats for recall.) …
    “Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great State University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.” — Board of Regents in 1894²

    Professor Cronon has responded to the Republican Party of Wisconsin open records request.

    Excerpted from “Abusing Open Records to Attack Academic Freedom” By William Cronon, “Scholar as Citizen” (blog), March 24, 2011
    [T]he Wisconsin Republican Party has issued an Open Records Law request for access to my emails since January 1 in response to a blog entry I posted on March 15 concerning the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in influencing recent legislation in this state and across the country. I find this a disturbing development, and hope readers will bear with me as I explain the strange circumstances in which I find myself as a result. …
    The first entry in William Cronon's “Scholar as Citizen” blog.

    Excerpted from “Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere? (Hint: It Didn’t Start Here)” By William Cronon, “Scholar as Citizent” (blog), March 15, 2011
    [W]ho’s really behind recent Republican legislation in Wisconsin and elsewhere? …

    Here’s my preliminary answer. …

    The most important group, I’m pretty sure, is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which was founded in 1973 by Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and (surprise, surprise) Paul Weyrich. Its goal for the past forty years has been to draft “model bills” that conservative legislators can introduce in the 50 states. Its website claims that in each legislative cycle, its members introduce 1000 pieces of legislation based on its work, and claims that roughly 18% of these bills are enacted into law. (Among them was the controversial 2010 anti-immigrant law in Arizona.)

    If you’re as impressed by these numbers as I am, I’m hoping you’ll agree with me that it may be time to start paying more attention to ALEC and the bills its seeks to promote. …
    See Also: My Worlds Collide | Talking Points Memo
    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor


    William Cronon, the professor targeted by the Wisconsin Republican Party, is the current president-elect of the American Historical Association (AHA) which has now weighed in on the controversy.

    Excerpted from “AHA Deplores Effort to Intimidate William Cronon,” statement, American Historical Association, March 27, 2011
    The purpose of the state’s Open Records Law is to promote informed public conversation. Historians vigorously support the freedom of information act traditions of the United States of which this law is a part. In this case, however, the law has been invoked to do the opposite: to find a pretext for discrediting a scholar who has taken a public position. This inquiry will damage, rather than promote, public conversation. It will discourage other historians (and scholars in other disciplines) employed by public institutions from speaking out as citizen-scholars in their blogs, op-ed pieces, articles, books, and other writings. We call on public-spirited individuals and organizations to join us in denouncing this assault on academic freedom, and in asking the Wisconsin Republican party to withdraw its request, and to participate in a forthright and fair public conversation about the issues Professor Cronon has raised.


    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    NY Times wrote something of this extent, what a surprise, not even worth the read.
    "It is a sad day in society when people adjust the facts to fit their beliefs, rather than adjust their beliefs to fit the facts."
    Libertarian/Conservative/Christian Beliefs

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    Quote Originally Posted by DontDoIt View Post
    NY Times wrote something of this extent, what a surprise, not even worth the read.
    Really? Do tell. What did the NY Times write?
    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    And, so the witch hunts begin.

    Excerpted from “Conservative Think Tank Seeks Michigan Profs' Emails About Wisconsin Union Battle ... And Maddow” By Evan McMorris-Santoro, Talking Points Memo DC, March 29, 2011, 10:12AM
    A free enterprise think tank in Michigan -- backed by some of the biggest names in national conservative donor circles -- has made a broad public records request to at least three in-state universities with departments that specialize in the study of labor relations, seeking all their emails regarding the union battle in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, TPM has learned.

    According to professors subject to the request, filed under Michigan's version of the Freedom Of Information Act, the request is extremely rare in academic circles. An employee at the think tank requesting the emails tells TPM they're part of an investigation into what labor studies professors at state schools in Michigan are saying about the situation in Madison, Wisc., the epicenter of the clashes between unions and Republican-run state governments across the Midwest.

    One professor subject to the FOIA described it as anti-union advocates "going after folks they don't agree with." …
    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    Really? Do tell. What did the NY Times write?
    His reading comprehension has seen better days.

    Great research and posts, by the way.
    Ted Cruz is the dumbest person alive.

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    Really? Do tell. What did the NY Times write?
    The source was all the farther I needed to go.
    "It is a sad day in society when people adjust the facts to fit their beliefs, rather than adjust their beliefs to fit the facts."
    Libertarian/Conservative/Christian Beliefs

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    But while Americans are aware of this progressive tradition, they probably don’t know that many of the innovations on behalf of working people were at least as much the work of Republicans as of Democrats.

    The policies that the current governor, Scott Walker, has sought to overturn, in other words, are legacies of his own party.
    Why does this matter? Who gives a ****?

    They've identitied problems, tried to come up with a workable solution. I don't feel something should *not* be dealt with because "so-n-so who started the idea was a republican" or whatever.

    If it is a problem then it has to go or change REGARDLESS of political ideology, party affiliation and the history of it.

    And for all that's going on - while people don't want it to pass - they've yet ot come up with a viable alternative to take care of the problems that it's suppose to solve.
    A screaming comes across the sky.
    It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.
    Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    Quote Originally Posted by DontDoIt View Post
    The source was all the farther I needed to go.
    Meaning you prefer a source that is heavily biased, like maybe the American (non)Thinker or the Weekly Standard?

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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    Re: Wisconsin's most dangerous professor

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Why does this matter? Who gives a ****?

    They've identitied problems, tried to come up with a workable solution. I don't feel something should *not* be dealt with because "so-n-so who started the idea was a republican" or whatever.

    If it is a problem then it has to go or change REGARDLESS of political ideology, party affiliation and the history of it.

    And for all that's going on - while people don't want it to pass - they've yet ot come up with a viable alternative to take care of the problems that it's suppose to solve.
    Well, you might stop those tax cuts for the wealthy. It would do more to actually balance things.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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