Patterico's Pontifications


Today’s Links

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:39 am

  • Obama coins: a piece of history turns out to be attractive on the surface — but the substance is paper-thin, flimsy, and worthless. Ah, the symbolism. (h/t Pablo.)
  • Professor allegedly calls student a “fascist bastard” for his speech against same-sex marriage. The complaint is here; it includes the professor’s comments, including one that says: “Ask God what your grade is”:

50 Responses to “Today’s Links”

  1. Now who’s the fascist bastard, “Professor” Matteson? Liberal professors typically rail against “the oppressor” but think nothing of wielding their little fiefdom power over their students. Glad to see it when some fight back.

    The Alliance Defense Fund is awesome. Hope Mr. Lopez gets a very satisfying outcome in this case.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  2. I can’t see freedom of speech or freedom of religion issues in a rhetorical exercise in a classroom. Often, students are assigned the position the professor wants them to argue not the one they want to argue. Sometimes they are asked to argue both sides of the question. That’s the best way to learn advocacy and public speaking.

    Both the professor and the student sound like doofuses to me.

    BTW, I did not know you could have a jury for injunctive/declaratory relief in California?

    nk (e8cae4)

  3. […] brought to my attention by Patterico. Better video […]

    Moe Lane » ‘Commemorative Obama coins’ not as advertised. (da2344)

  4. 1. Crichton was right. So is Bjørn Lomborg. Yes there is manmade contribution to Global Warming and no it is not the end of mankind. Al Gore and Prince Charles can continue to live in hypocrisy flying the world in private jets to preach their cause.

    2. If you were stupid enough to buy an Obama coin you deserve it.

    3. How about an apology and a fair grade? You can’t sue every douchebag can you? Okay, just the really douchey ones.

    4. Lesson learned, make sure you do not get a refund in states like this or move to a state without income tax.

    5. Unfortunately, probably. The seventies return!

    6. NYT/End of Exclusionary Rule?: I will bet no. End of NYT? Keep it up what you have been doing and maybe.

    7. Cool. Well stop trying to kill us and we will stop actually killing you.

    Joe (17aeff)

  5. The death from above was a bird. Cool but I probably should have watched it before commenting about predator drones.

    Joe (17aeff)

  6. The complaint is here; it includes the professor’s comments, including one that says: “Ask God what your grade is”:

    See, that’s what is going to hang the professor.

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  7. Scott – That prof will be ostracized for acknowledging the existence of God.

    JD (acbb4c)

  8. Seriously, what is wrong with her. Yeah, I have grudges against Oliver Cromwell. He was a Tim Geithner? My bad.

    Joe (17aeff)

  9. Sometimes I am a spaz. Sorry.

    Joe (17aeff)

  10. Imagine if the professor had given a Muslim student the mark “Ask Allah what your grade is….”

    What would be the reaction/story?

    Techie (6b5d8d)

  11. The quality of professors at community colleges is probably not very high, and the quality of students is even lower. What should bother the overtaxed citizens of California is that they’re paying for this bitchfight, by a couple of drones, who should be both be walking behind a garbage truck, emptying trash bins, instead of giving higher education a bad name.

    nk (e8cae4)

  12. I’m glad the GOP in the California Legislature has held out against tax increases as long as it has. Maybe those tax increases will be scaled back or eliminated entirely.

    Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  13. The quality of professors at community colleges is probably not very high, and the quality of students is even lower.


    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  14. So, should I have split all these up into separate super-quick posts, Instapundit style? (That would make commenting on topic easier.) Or do we like sticking a bunch of relatively interesting links in one post?

    Often, I don’t blog interesting links that I have — because I have little of substance to say about them, and I figure many of you have seen them elsewhere. But it was actually satisfying to clear everything off my browser and get it all onto the blog.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  15. “God said I got an A.


    mojo (8096f2)

  16. So, should I have split all these up into separate super-quick posts, Instapundit style?

    If Instapundit could blog like Patterico, he would not be blogging like Instapundit. If I want to read Instapundit, I’ll click on Instapundit. And just how much interest do you have in nanotechnology, anyway?

    This post is just fine. Let’s see how many catfights will start in the comments.

    nk (e8cae4)

  17. Comment by Scott Jacobs — 2/17/2009 @ 7:58 am

    “No generality is worth a damn, including this one”.

    nk (e8cae4)

  18. Comment by mojo — 2/17/2009 @ 8:04 am

    That would have been my exact reply…

    Comment by nk — 2/17/2009 @ 8:10 am

    Sure sure… You say that now

    Back pedal faster, buddy. 🙂

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  19. I think I would make a decent Rhetorics teacher. Here’s a sample, gratis. Whenever you can, stand up to speak. It has two benefits. It multiplies the projection of your voice because you are not crushing your diaphragm, and it is the body language of respect for your audience.

    (And, BTW, I discovered it for myself. I had no patience for bullshit courses in college.)

    nk (e8cae4)

  20. Tim Geithner says: “It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.”

    This is rather nerdy and geekish of me, but Geithner does look like Brad Dourif’s Piter De Vries in Dune

    Joe (dcebbd)

  21. heh… Bet he was just waiting for Gregg to get confirmed…

    I can just HEAR Obama saying “But you’re a Harkonnen Democrat now, aren’t you Thufir Gregg?”

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  22. Hey, Scott. Have you ever seen The Storm Riders?

    nk (e8cae4)

  23. I’m a little curious why people are blaming the student in the case of the professor shutting down his speech. The only real detail I’d be curious about would be what the assignment was. If it was really open-ended, then the professor had no right to essentially fail the student because of the subject of his speech, only if he was giving a bad one.

    In high school, I was assigned the task in an economics class of defending apartheid in South Africa, which I abhorred. I didn’t want to do it, but I did such a good job that I actually got an “A”.

    In college, I gave a presentation for a marine biology class that advocated whaling for a professor who was very much against the practice, but he didn’t shut me down and I got high marks for the presentation.

    That’s the way it is supposed to work.

    Eirik (e64fca)

  24. Geithner….
    Will he be the first Cabinet Secretary run out of town?

    Should we start a pool on who will be (after confirmation and installation, of course)?

    AD - RtR/OS (58203b)

  25. Eirik, the one thing that bothers me about the whole community college speech thing is that by some accounts the school was beginning disciplinary procedures against the instructor, but that the complainant in the case, Mr. Lopez, had ceased cooperating with them. If that is true (and it is a big “if”), then some of this smacks of a student seeking a payday and the Alliance Defense Fund seeking publicity.

    At the same time, it was extremely stupid for the Dean to include in her response letter the line about how two students were “deeply offended” by Mr. Lopez’s speech. That comes off as a clue to the mindset of the LACC administration and I am sure it will work against their efforts to portray themselves as being fully open to all viewpoints.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  26. JVW, if you read the complaint you’ll see that the school basically said “we’re handling this internally, and we can’t tell you anything about what we’re doing”, while at the same time trying to justify things because two other students in the class were offended.

    The letters are in the complaint, and they paint a somewhat different picture than the news blog post.

    Skip (ba6438)

  27. Former astronaut is global warming skeptic. (For what it’s worth, I’m not.)

    Why did you feel the need for the disclaimer?

    What evidence has convinced you not to be a skeptic?

    Do you feel that your career will be threatened if you don’t join Chicken Little’s quest?

    j curtis (82de53)

  28. JVW, trust me on this one. Administrators in academia are not at all canny—and they are usually extremely politicized. They say the darnest things, to repeat a phrase from long ago.

    Go check out the FIRE website ( for some deeply troubling things that even college Presidents have written or said when they have been challenged.

    As for the actual case at LACC, it was interesting. I suspect that one of the students writing a complaint about Mr. Lopez was coached—look at the prose style.

    But rest assured that a few students will either exaggerate to support or to demean a given professor. There is an awful lot of cheerleading going on. What the students don’t understand (and they may find out in this case) is that what they write they must be responsible for writing.

    As for ceasing to cooperate with the investigation, JVW, remember that the professor in question confronted the student just after he saw the Dean (saw the student with the Dean, in fact), and said he would do everything possible to get the student expelled. I don’t doubt the professor said that, based on his documented behavior.

    Mr. Lopez didn’t feel he would get a fair hearing. And I believe he is correct in that assumption. Colleges and universities look after their own first, and that usually does not include the tuition paying students.

    I work in academia, and I have to tell you…it’s like Bismarck wrote— there are two things a person does not want to see made: law and sausage. I would add the inner workings of an academic institution to that list.

    The Dean should insist on a written apology from the professor, to be printed in the campus newspaper and delivered to Mr. Lopez’s lawyers. It will never happen. Which is the reason the Dean said that this was being handled “internally.”

    This professor, incidentally, is a dunce. Whenever you, as an instructor, give open ended assignments, you have to protect the class and yourself.

    I once had a student who wanted to write his term paper in genetics on “religion and the genetics of homosexuality.” I sat down with the student and we developed a contract: he had to discuss this with five different faiths with representation on campus (that is to say, there were leaders of five religious faiths on campus available to him), rather than base it solely on his own religious convictions (and incidentally, I am a “person of faith”). And there had to be no condemnation of any person or group in the term paper.

    He said that he felt I was restricting him, and I told him that the title of the course was “genetics” and he was free to select another topic. He signed the contract.

    So he wrote the paper, and guess what? Gays were going to go to Hell. There was no discussion of the perspectives of other faiths, nor referenced current religious dogma within the student’s own faith structure. So I told him it was unacceptable, and he had to rewrite. I gave him an extra week, rather than calling it a late assignment.

    He went to the Dean. I brought a copy of the contract, and a copy of the paper.

    End of story. He picked another topic, wrote a paper, and I gave him a “B” that he deserved on that paper. I’m sure he reamed me out on evaluations, but that goes with the territory, sometimes.

    The other approach is to give the student carte blanche. The LACC professor did this, and as you can see, it can be a knotty problem. What bothers me about the professor is stopping the student during his speech, and even canceling class. The follow up snark by the professor definitely created a “hostile environment.”

    Oh well. I didn’t mean to go on about it. I get irritated when I see professors like this one, who think it is all about them, and their beliefs, instead of training the students. There are many professors and teachers who work very hard to not let their own beliefs and feelings color the classroom. They don’t get this press, unfortunately.

    Eric Blair (ec334b)

  29. Do you feel that your career will be threatened if you don’t join Chicken Little’s quest?

    Huh? Why on Earth would you suggest that? I’m miles beyond skeptical myself, but that’s a very odd question.

    Pablo (99243e)

  30. I’m not so much a global warming skeptic as a global warming mocker, myself.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  31. Here is some support for your point of view PCachu:

    The politics of all of this obscures any science. And notice that the political philosophy in this situation is ALL about governmental control of free enterprise. Worldwide.

    Because experts know best. Even when they don’t.

    Just remember: the debate is over!

    Eric Blair (ec334b)

  32. There is a consensus, beeyotches. Quit yer whinin’. Baracky won.

    JD (acbb4c)

  33. Patterico,

    Are you not a skeptic about temperatures gradually warming over the last 10,000 years or so, or not a skeptic about capitalism being the cause of it, or not a skeptic about capitalism being the primary cause of it?

    ras (20bd5b)

  34. I think they call “temperatures gradually warming over the last 10,000 years or so” an “Interglacial Warm Period”, FWIW.

    Personally, I prefer them to the 100,000 year-long Glacial Periods.

    mojo (8096f2)

  35. With regard to man made GoreBal warming.

    Anytime government funds are involved science takes a back seat, its about getting funding and the GoreBal government doesn’t give our tax payer funds to dissenters.

    So that can only mean the “science” in favor of GoreBal warming is topnotch!

    ML (14488c)

  36. I understand the points that Skip (10:22) and Eric (10:28) make. Believe me, I am very familiar with venal administrators and academics, and I do follow FIRE’s website and the important work that they do.

    Having said that, I still regret that we live in a society where the answer to all problems seems to be “lawyer up and start litigating.” I am having trouble accessing Mr. Lopez’s complaint (I probably have to re-install Acrobat), so I can’t really address the issues therein, but let’s not forget that a complaint is only one side of the story. As I said, if I had to bet on it I would put my money on the professor being a horse’s a** and the administration acting in a craven fashion. Despite that, and considering that the incident precipitating this legal action took place as late as November or December, it just seems to me that Mr. Lopez and his people could have made more of an effort at resolution than to file suit within two or three months. Maybe I am just pining for a less litigious society that has long since gone away.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  37. This reminds me of what my father always said to me as a boy:

    Clean up your room, or I’ll do it for you. And you won’t like the way I do it.

    If academia doesn’t start acting apolitically, then the lawyers and judges will be there every freaking day.

    Seriously. Go watch “Indoctrinate U” for just a taste of what goes on.

    And it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Eric Blair (ec334b)

  38. JVW, Lopez did seek a redress of grievances with the proper people. The professor then threatened more harm to Lopez’s college education, namely expulsion. Then Lopez lawyered up and the attorneys twice more sought a redress of grievances outside the court system. Failing that, they took it to court.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  39. OK, I got Acrobat sorted out an read the complaint. I agree that it does not look good for the professor and administrators. In a way I feel sorry for the LACC Administration: the collective bargaining agreement that prohibits them from publicly disclosing personnel issues makes it looks like they are sweeping the matter under the rug (and perhaps they are). Maybe we need some sort of ballot initiative — and I hate them as much as anyone — that mandates disclosure of disciplinary action against any employee who violates the rights of a member of the public. Even if is just to say that the employee has been warned, the public needs to have confidence that these matters are taken seriously. Otherwise, we will get more of these types of lawsuits.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  40. Patterico – on the “Arnold” item, is it not the custom/tradition/Constitution here in the US and CA that, with respect to the Budget, the Chief Executive proposes and the Legislature disposes ?

    The Chief Executive can propose a budget till he looks like a Braveheart battle-scene extra, and the Legislature in Sacramento will still pass the Budget that the Legislature can agree to … the Chief Executive can then essentially sign it or veto it – but he signs or vetoes the Legislature’s Budget, does he not ?

    Is it not correct to say that our Governator is carrying out the will and instructions of the Legislature in Sacramento – even when he prepares to lay off thousands ? I didn’t think you subscribed to the LAtimes’ propaganda that the current stuff is all the fault of Arnold and the GOP …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  41. Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

    Anonymous (5fa9a5)

  42. As per usual, I haven’t read all of the comments. I was surprised to see that the professor capitalized God, but then I noticed that the use of capitals seemed kind of random. My boyfriend and I were talking about a similar type of news story and noting that ten years ago we never would have heard of it. Don’t these folks realize that this stuff will circle the globe in hours?

    RR Ryan (60b8d7)

  43. The concentration of carbon dioxide continued to rise in 2008. Temperatures plummeted after ten years of being fairly level. The fantastic theory that the earth’s temerature is controlled not by that big yellow ball in the sky but by a trace element that comprises .03 percent of the earth’s atmosphere has neen proven false.

    Global cooling deniers will however remain as strongly in evidence as Obama enthusiasts for about one more year.

    Terry Gain (6081c3)

  44. Comment by Alasdair — 2/17/2009 @ 1:43 pm

    The Gov. of CA has the luxury of the line-item veto.

    AD - RtR/OS (58203b)

  45. Exclusionary rule? You mean try a defendant on the merits of his case?

    I dunno, sounds like it might be a good idea.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  46. With the exception of the bird attack, there is a thread through all of these links – the power of the state vs. the rights of its citizens.

    The state has the power through due process to take your property, put you in jail and even take your life. Our Constitution guarantees citizens the rights to life, liberty and property.

    Government has assumed too much power. They have the authority to tax income for the purpose of operating the government, but should they be redistributing wealth? How can the comptroller of California spend money that his state owes its taxpayers? Where in the Constitution is the authority to promote political propaganda in public education? Who gave the Federal Government the power to invoke cloture on scientific research?

    Given this pattern, should we allow the “Fairness Doctrine” to be imposed on radio, TV, Newspapers and the Internet including blogs?

    arch (f0c1a2)

  47. It’s really too bad President Obama couldn’t figure out a way to jettison these two [Reid & Pelosi] who are poster children for everything that is wrong in Washington.

    Has Jack Cafferty lost his mind or is this just a contrarian view of the world ?
    How long can he last at CNN writing stuff like this ?

    Neo (cba5df)

  48. […] Patterico had a link to the complaint. I’ll comment when I have time to review it. With exhibits it is […]

    PFB Blog » Blog Archive » More Intellectual Freedom at School: Censored for Being Against Gay Marriage Update: Complaint Linked (ca3733)

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