Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quote of the day

When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to
answer "Present" or "Not Guilty."

-Theodore Roosevelt

Just don't question their patriotism, OK?

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, via the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler:

A national tour featuring decorated veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan won't be stopping at Forest Lake Area High School today as planned, after school leaders abruptly canceled the visit.

Steve Massey, the school principal, said the decision to cancel was prompted by concerns that the event was becoming political rather than educational and therefore was not suitable for a public school.

He said the school had received several phone calls from parents and others, some of whom indicated that they may stage a protest if the event took place.

To paraprhase Charlie Brown, "AAAaaaaaaaargh!" I can understand people disagreeing with the war, but are censorship and expressions of contempt for American war veterans really the most productive way to get their point across?

But maybe they are getting their point across. Maybe these people honestly think that American soldiers are evil, and that anyone who disagrees with them is evil, and they think that being courteous to war veterans is teaching students to respect evil.

And maybe that's not the lesson that some teenagers need to learn.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unfortunate quote of the day

[Former Governor Andrew] Young also quipped that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has her husband behind her, and that 'Bill is every bit as black as Barack.'

'He's probably gone with more black women than Barack,' Young said of former President Clinton, drawing laughter from a live television audience. Young, 75, was quick to follow his comment on Bill Clinton with the disclaimer, 'I'm clowning.'

- Associated Press story, from Mary Mitchell's blog.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quote of the day

Please avoid anything morbid or grotesque in the display of the dead midget lying under the table.

- 1966 NBC memo about a script for the sitcom "Get Smart" (Wall Street Journal, How Maxwell Smart and His Shoe-Phone Changed TV, March 21, 2008)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

With apologies ...

A tasteless but thought-provoking take on our nation's anti-terrorism policies, and an even more tasteless (and mildly obscene) take on the subprime mortgage crisis.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Book banning at Indiana / Purdue

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

In a stunning series of events at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Keith Sampson, a university employee and student, has been charged with racial harassment for reading a book during his work breaks.

Sampson is in his early fifties, does janitorial work for the campus facility services at IUPUI, and is ten credits shy of a degree in communication studies. He is also an avid reader who usually brings books with him to work so that he can read in the break room when he is not on the clock. Last year, he began reading a book entitled Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. The book, which has garnered great reviews in such places as The Indiana Magazine of History and Notre Dame Magazine, discusses the events surrounding two days in May 1924, when a group of Notre Dame students got into a street fight in South Bend with members of the Ku Klux Klan. As an historical account of the students' response in the face of anti-Catholic prejudice, the book would seem to be a relevant and worthwhile read, both for residents of the state of Indiana and for anyone interested in this chapter of American history.

But others at IUPUI clearly did not see it that way. First, a shop steward told Sampson that reading a book about the KKK was like bringing pornography to work (apparently this holds true in his eyes regardless of the context in which a book discusses the KKK, the position it takes, and so on).
The university banned Mr. Sampson from reading this book inthe presence of others after a far hearing. At least we have to assume that the hearing was fair; as it turns out Mr. Sampson wasn't invited to it:
Despite his not being given a chance to defend himself, he subsequently received a letter from Lillian Charleston of the AAO, dated November 25, 2007, informing him that AAO had completed its investigation of the matter. The letter stated,

You demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your coworkers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black coworkers.

Ajzar Majeed, who wrote this piece for the FIRE's blog The Torch, compares Mr. Sampson's plight with the bizarre story of Jihad Daniel at William Patterson University.