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Jan 24, 2007 10:22 am

More Noted Things

The science carnival, Tangled Bank #71, is up at The Voltage Gate with an 18th century science theme.

"Concerned Academics" have sent a letter, undated but recent, to University of Colorado President Hank Brown. It appeals to him to recommend to the university's board of trustees that it sustain Ward Churchill's tenure at the university. Among the historians who signed the letter: Bob Buzzanco, University of Houston; John M. Cammett, John Jay College and the Graduate School, CUNY; Sandi E. Cooper, CUNY, Staten Island, and the Graduate School; Vinay Lil, UCLA; Kerby Miller, University of Missouri, Columbia; and Henry Silverman, Michigan State. You have to wonder what grounds, if any, these historians think would oblige a college or university to dismiss any tenured faculty member.

Jan Crawford Greenburg's Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court broke from the gates yesterday with a fast start. Here's Greenburg's interview with NPR's Terry Gross. In"Breaking Silence and Legal Ground," LA Times, 23 January, David Garrow gives the book high marks. Michiko Kakutani's"‘Supreme Conflict'," NY Times, 23 January, does, as well.* Kakutani's opening paragraph is a lesson in how not to open a book review, however. In a single sentence paragraph, we get left and right polarities, incompetence, the Bush administration, Douglas Brinkley, Sean Wilentz, Eric Foner,"worst presidents", a"metastasizing war in Iraq, a ballooning deficit, the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, ... a widening credibility gap," the kitchen sink, her grandmother's hysterectomy .... Well, actually, I threw in those last two, but you see my point. Her editor should have struck that broad-brush, choking mouthful of a paragraph altogether, because it still doesn't get to the subject of the review, which is the Court.
*See also: Oren Kerr's recommendation at The Volokh Conspiracy.

By contrast, when my colleague, Rob MacDougall, hides out from us by not posting at Cliopatria or Old is the New New, he can be found at his livejournal, where he writes wondrous sentences like:"‘Some Like It Hot' Shall Be the Whole of the Law."

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Oscar Chamberlain - 1/24/2007

The statement links to an AAUP press release to indicate some of the opposition to Chuchill's being fired. However, the AAUP statement was more nuanced.

It states that Churchill's statements about 9/11 do not constitute grounds for dismissal or for judging him more harshly in other circumstances. It does not oppose his being found unfit on other grounds, if the case is clear and due process has been followed. The "concerned acadmics'" statement is not nearly so careful.

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