2/16/2005

Stories from FreakWorld

Two items from the Center for American Progress Report today that make me want to expatriate:
1. DAVID HOROWITZ, CHAMPION OF OPEN DEBATE: Horowitz, who has been the driving force behind the movement for "academic freedom" in Ohio and other states, has a distinguished history of intellectual defamation, historical inaccuracy and political bullying. He has freely compared American liberals to Islamic terrorists, slandered the Democratic Party and John Kerry for criticizing the war in Iraq and made a habit out of accusing his detractors of racism. Most recently, when African-American historian John Hope Franklin questioned Horowitz's 2001 claim that black people benefited from slavery and owed a "debt" to white America, Horowitz responded by calling the eminent historian "a racial ideologue rather than a historian" and "almost pathological." Horowitz has no academic credentials and routinely distorts facts – exactly the crime he accuses "liberal" professors of committing – to fit his political bias.
Horowitz's best attempt to prove liberal bias on campus is his "Academic Freedom Abuse Center," housed on the Students for Academic Freedom (SAS) website. But the database, which invites students to report having their "rights abused" in class, only looks impressive until you start reading the actual claims. Some highlights: One student complains because her professor suggested men and women might see colors differently. Another is offended she was asked to watch an "immoral Seinfeld episode." The latest entry in the database as of Tuesday afternoon was from an Ohio State student who claims he got a bad grade on an essay because his English professor "hates families and thinks it's okay to be gay." One of the complaints comes from an Augustana College senior who is upset her school used "funds from Student activity fees to bring in the one-sided speaker David Horowitz."
2. ADMINISTRATION – PUTTING IDEOLOGY BEFORE SUICIDE PREVENTION: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, essentially forced the deletion of the words "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual" and "transgender" from the title of an upcoming suicide prevention workshop, even though it was meant to address those particular at-risk populations, at a federally funded conference. Wielding its funding power much in the same manner as Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, the administration requested the removal of those words as well as an additional workshop "session on faith-based suicide prevention." SAMHSA has defended its actions by claiming a preference for the "inclusive" term "sexual orientation," but as one of the three outraged workshop presenters explained, "Everyone has a sexual orientation. But this was about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders," who are at two to three times higher risk of attempting suicide.

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