THE HANDSTAND

JULY 2007

 
doremus observes

Doremus Jessup, editor of the Fort Beulah The Daily Informer, in Sinclair Lewis' famous book "It Can't Happen Here", at its conclusion, "drove out saluted by the meadow larks, and onward all day, to a hidden cabin in the Northern Woods where quiet men awaited news of freedom.....still Doremus goes on, into the sunrise, for a Doremus Jessup can never die.

July 2, 2007

Scientist in Tenure Fight With MIT Is Locked Out of his Lab

James L. Sherley, a stem-cell biologist who went on a 12-day hunger strike in February to protest his tenure denial at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reached the end of his term of employment at the institute on Friday — and met the scheduled event with more protest.

After getting locked out of his laboratory this weekend, Mr. Sherley wrote an e-mail message to the institute’s president, Susan Hockfield, expressing concern about the strains of mouse and human stem cells under refrigeration in his lab. He also said he was concerned about the lab’s live mice, and about the possible biohazards of moving live cell cultures.

Mr. Sherley, who is black, has argued that his career at MIT was cut short because of his race. The university denies that allegation. It announced in February, days before Mr. Sherley began his hunger strike, that it would formally examine the career issues of minority faculty members.

On June 20, Douglas A. Lauffenburger, director of the biological-engineering division at MIT, wrote a letter to Mr. Sherley confirming that his appointment would end on June 30. In the letter, Mr. Lauffenburger noted that Mr. Sherley’s appointment had been extended three times, in part to give him time to move out of his lab. “You have not provided any information about the transition of your research,” Mr. Lauffenburger wrote.

In his letter to Ms. Hockfield, Mr. Sherley wrote that “the forced closure of my laboratory is an illegitimate injustice by your office” and said that the institute had not yet given him a “fair hearing” with regard to his complaints of discrimination. —John Gravois

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Backgroud material...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Professor at MIT Resigns, Criticizing Its Dealings With a Colleague Who Was Denied Tenure

By SIERRA MILLMAN

A prominent professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has resigned, saying the university breached an agreement to reconsider allegations that racism played a role in the decision to deny tenure to his colleague, James L. Sherley.

"I leave because I would neither be able to advise young blacks about their prospects of flourishing in the current environment, nor about avenues available to effect change when agreements or promises are transgressed," Frank L. Douglas, executive director of the university's Center for Biomedical Innovation, wrote in an e-mail message on Friday to MIT's president and provost, among other officials. Mr. Douglas and Mr. Sherley are both black.

MIT officials said on Monday that they believed Mr. Douglas's decision was based on "inaccurate information" and that they hoped he would "reconsider his decision" after meeting with administrators.

Mr. Sherley, an associate professor of biological engineering, has been contesting the decision to deny him tenure for more than two years and held a 12-day hunger strike this year in an effort to get the university to admit that racism played a role in that decision. He ended the hunger strike on February 16 after exchanging statements with university officials and forging an agreement with them that is now in dispute.

Faculty members in the biological-engineering department have defended their decision not to recommend Mr. Sherley for tenure, and the university has said its review found no evidence of racism in the proceedings. In February, the university announced plans to formally review the hiring, advancement, and experience of minority faculty members. An administrator said there was no connection between the timing of that announcement and Mr. Sherley's hunger strike (The Chronicle, February 6).

In the statements exchanged in February, the university pledged to "work toward resolution of our differences with Professor Sherley," and the professor said his demands, while "carefully modified from the original," were "still on the table."

Mr. Sherley and his supporters say the university's statement conveyed the spirit of a verbal agreement made by top administrators to participate in an external review of Mr. Sherley's case that might lead to his being tenured and that extended the deadline for his leaving the university.

In an e-mail reply to Mr. Douglas's message of resignation, however, an administrator unequivocally dissented.

"I can state categorically that MIT did not agree, implicitly or explicitly, to arbitration or to extend Professor Sherley's faculty appointment beyond June 30," wrote Claude R. Canizares, associate provost. "MIT's sole agreement with Professor Sherley was to exchange and release our respective statements."

Both Mr. Douglas, who declined to comment on Monday, and Mr. Sherley questioned why such a flimsy gesture would have persuaded Mr. Sherley to stop fasting.

"I mean, how could anybody believe that all I did was meet with them, and then we wrote some things down and passed them to each other, and then I left?" Mr. Sherley said in an interview on Monday.

Mr. Douglas posed a similar question in his response to Mr. Canizares's e-mail message.

Mr. Sherley said he would not meet with administrators until they agreed to acknowledge that the June 30 deadline for his exit was "not legitimate within our understanding of our agreement." So far, administrators have declined.

He also said that he was not sure that Mr. Douglas's resignation would persuade administrators to reconsider his case, but that he was "stunned" and "moved" that Mr. Douglas was willing to put his career at risk on principle.

He added that until learning of Mr. Douglas's decision on Friday, he had not spoken with the more-senior professor since a point during the hunger strike. At that time, he said, Mr. Douglas had, with "almost fatherly" support, suggested that he consider "another approach."

The two academics have said they are responding to what they see as a pattern at MIT of poor treatment of faculty members who are black or members of other underrepresented minority groups.

Another supporter of Mr. Sherley's said he also believed that there was such a pattern. "MIT's failure to fulfill their promise ... sends a very chilling message to all the minorities in the faculty, including the young and up-and-coming individuals," said Chi-Sang Poon, a research scientist who calls his own experience at the institute "terrible."

Mr. Poon sued the university in 2001, alleging discrimination and retaliation. He said he took that action "out of desperation" after having been consistently passed up for promotion over nearly two decades. Since he filed the lawsuit, he said, more Asian-Americans and members of underrepresented minority groups have been hired in his department and at the university, but it hasn't helped him. "I'm still struggling," he said.

Sylvia L. Sanders, a former assistant professor of biology at the institute, said she admired Mr. Douglas for taking a stand.

In February, Ms. Sanders wrote an open letter to the university protesting its treatment of Mr. Sherley. "I was the sole African American member of MIT's biology department from 1997-2001, when I resigned," Ms. Sanders wrote. "Some of my experiences during that time undercut my status and represent the kind of racism that Professor Sherley is opposing and that his ... colleagues claim does not exist."

Ms. Sanders left academe and now teaches third grade at a public school in Palo Alto, Calif. She said racism contributed to her resignation but was not the only cause. "It depends a lot on your personality too, whether you would thrive in an environment like that," Ms. Sanders said in an interview on Monday. "And, clearly, mine was not the thriving sort. Was that because of race? I don't know. Probably, partly. It gets very complicated and hard to say."

Ms. Sanders said she puts little faith in the university's decision to formally review the experience of minority faculty members. "The university announced that they would start this task force or whatever, and then they renege on their promise to James Sherley to negotiate, so why would anyone believe them?" she asked.


Copyright 2007 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Social Activism is not a hobby: it's a Lifestyle lasting a Lifetime
http://blackeducator.blogspot.com
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[TheBlackList] Black Scientist in Tenure Fight With MIT Is Locked Out of his Lab


Criminal Indictments Sought Against Police, Giuliani Staffers Who Had Reporter Arrested For Asking Question

Eyewitnesses describe how Secret Service were directing arrest, intimidation of group

Paul Joseph Watson
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2007/060607criminalindictments.htm
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
        

Matt Lepacek, the reporter who was kicked out of the CNN press room and arrested after asking Rudy Giuliani's staff a question, has now been released on bail. Criminal indictments are now being pursued against the police involved as well as Giuliani's staffers for their flagrant abuse of the First Amendment, assault and wrongful arrest.

Lepacek appeared as a guest on the Alex Jones Show to relate his experience after the Republican presidential debate last night.

In addition to the details that were already outlined in our previous article, fellow We Are Change member Luke Rudkowski also related how he was just silently filming the fracas when Giuliani staffers, and in particular one unidentified female, started hitting and attempting to steal his camera, before Lepacek and Rudkowski were pointed out by the staffers and five to seven police arrived to grab them and throw them out of the building.

The female staffer was witnessed to be instrumental in alerting the police to the "crime" of Lepacek asking a question that the Giuliani camp weren't comfortable with.

Rudkowski was assaulted and questioned on who he was working for despite the fact that he hadn't even asked a question and was standing separately from Lepacek.

Lepacek was told that other eyewitnesses saw police stamp on one of the cameras as it lay on the floor.

Another eyewitness said that the entire arrest was clearly being directed by Secret Service, who were ordering the police to threaten anyone who asked questions about the incident with arrest.

Lepacek was later released on $400 bail but faces charges of criminal trespassing even though he had obtained a CNN press pass well in advance and the debate was a public event. State police have refused to hand back electronic equipment that they seized from the group.

CNN staff attempted to dissuade police from arresting Lepacek as he was led out into the parking lot but were ignored.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul was informed about what had occurred and stated words to the effect that while we are supposed to be spreading freedom and democracy abroad, we couldn't even handle it in New Hampshire.

We are now being inundated by media requests and expect this controversy to receive attention on the major news networks and newspapers over the coming days.

The fact that the Giuliani camp views it as legitimate to have members of the media intimidated, assaulted and arrested for asking a question should be a wake up call for the kind of America Giuliani would oversee as a future President and this incident should contribute to derailing his entire campaign.

The actions of the New Hampshire State Police were completely unconstitutional and we are now pursuing criminal indictments against the police involved as well as the Giuliani staffers that assaulted the group and their property, and demanding that any charges against Matt Lepacek be dropped immediately.

This represents a flagrant abuse of the First Amendment, clear wrongful arrest and an act of official oppression.

On Tuesday [May 26, 2007], members of a 911 truth activist group confronted former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a New York fundraiser about the fall of the World Trade Center.

"How come people in the buildings weren't notified?" asked one member of the group. "And how can you sleep at night?"

Giuliani's politely-phrased response, caught by WNBC newscameras filming the event, was

"I didn't know that the towers were going to collapse."

That response contradicts remarks the former New York City mayor made about being warned about the collapse during a phone interview with onetime ABC anchor Peter Jennings on September 11, 2001, as shown in a transcript WNBC obtained from the Giuliani 2008 campaign. Giuliani told Jennings,

 "I--I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the police commissioner, the fire commissioner, the head of emergency management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us." Global Research Articles by David Edwards


Atlast a media reader gets angry -



Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Friday June 29, 2007
The Guardian

Did the release of Paris Hilton from a Los Angeles jail merit the media attention it received? That question reached a critical point for one US cable news presenter when she refused to read out the lead item on a popular morning breakfast show.

"I have an apology," presenter Mika Brzezinski told the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe programme, "and that is for the lead story. I hate this story. I don't think it should be the lead."

Taunted by her co-presenters, Brzezinski proceeded to tear up the script, attempting to set light to it before finally putting it through a shredder. "You have changed the world," mocked host Joe Scarborough."Yes I have," replied Brzezinski, "at least my world."

The exchanges, broadcast a few hours after the early morning release of the celebrity heiress, have become an internet hit, with an edited clip of the show viewed 250,000 times on YouTube.

Throughout the exchanges Brzezinski appeared angry at the inclusion of the item as the lead in the morning's news and at the action she is taking. At times she held her head in her hands, at others she appeared close to tears, her face bearing an exasperated expression.

Other news that morning included criticism of George Bush's Iraq policy from a senior Republican. But editors at MSNBC had other priorities.

"My producer is not listening to me," said Brzezinski, brandishing the script in her hands, "he's put it as the lead."

She took a cigarette lighter from a fellow presenter and tried, but failed, to set light to the sheaf of papers.

"I'm done with the Paris Hilton story," she declared. "I won't do it."

Having failed to set fire to the script, she started to tear it up before offering it to a colleague. "Will you burn this for me, please?" she asked. "I'm about to snap." When he refused, she took it back and rose from her desk, saying, "I'm shredding it."

As she returned to her seat, Scarborough asked the producer to run footage of Hilton leaving jail. When the cameras returned to the studio Brzezinski was shown with her head in her hands.

"I just don't believe in covering that story, especially not as the lead story in a newscast when you have a day like today," she said. Brzezinski was brought up to consider weightier matters than a pampered socialite. Her father, Zbigniew Brzezinski, served as national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter.



CHILD ARRESTED FOR 'MULTIPLICATION DENIAL'

Anti-Defamation League Sees New Form of Jew-Hatred in Numeric Disease

Hebron

A high school student in this West Bank town has been arrested for "multiplication denial," after repeatedly insisting that a negative number multiplied by another negative number yields a negative product. A world-wide consensus of mathematicians determined long ago that two negative numbers multiplied together produces a positive product.

"It's obvious," protested the 14-year-old student, Rihab Hanafi, as she was led away in chains by Uzi-toting guards. "Multiplication magnifies; therefore two negative numbers multiplied together necessarily produces a more negative product."

Hanafi's dogmatic insistence on her own point of view, and her refusal to instantly accept the word of others, gave her away as a died-in-the-wool Denier right off the bat. "This kind of superficially plausible reasoning is characteristic of Holocaust Deniers, to which Mathematics Denial is obviously related," said Abraham Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League. "But the underlying motive is obviously hatred for truth and hatred for Jews, the principal bearers of truth."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Hanafi's antics are just the latest in a series of anti-math atrocities that are making the world a perilous place for number theorists. Last year, a Belgian neo-Nazi announced he had discovered a new whole number, which he claimed belonged between 3 and 4. He was arrested for trivializing the integers. A short time later a Palestinian detainee claimed that Israel's policy of reserving 92% of the land for the Jewish people made it mathematically impossible to achieve equality with the Palestinians. He is currently serving a life sentence for denying the decimals.

Given the growing threat to objective numerical truth, Rihab Hanafi has been placed in solitary confinement, and her website arguing her case has been removed from the world wide web. ADL officials stated yesterday that thousands of innocent victims around the world have been led astray by her multiplication deviance. The Hanafi family lawyer responded that if Enron could proceed on the basis that a negative plus a negative is a positive then there is no reason his client can't bring "creative accounting" to the multiplication tables. Israeli officials will soon charge him with numerical anti-Semitism.

Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, reached for comment at an international conference on Peace Through Guilt, said that the negative numbers fiasco highlights the terrifying fragility of quantitative truth. "Numbers are the foundation of civilization. Once we allow them to be questioned, only disaster can ensue. If Mathematics Denial is left unchecked, buildings will fall, bridges collapse, cities grind to a halt. Just think where we would be if Einstein had deliberately miscalculated e=mc2. Hiroshima might never have become famous." Asked for an estimation of how serious the current situation is, he replied: "Today negative numbers, tomorrow the extinction of world Jewry. Never again."

A spokesman for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has spent years tracking down Nazi war criminals that escaped Allied prosecution at Nuremberg, added his opinion that, "Denying the properties of negative numbers is no different than denying that six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Next thing you know Deniers will argue that Jesus's mother was not a virgin. We can't have that. Skepticism in any form is but a first step towards genocide against Jews."

In a surprise development, Jews are no longer alone in fighting off Denial. Political activists the world over are now finding parallels with their own struggles in the Hanafi case. Randall Berry of "No More Gays," a pro-family group, says that Procreation Deniers are his biggest challenge. "They just don't get it. We tell them over and over that same-sex relations are sterile, but they consciously lie and say that any two people who love each other ought to be left alone. How sick can they get?"

And there are many other examples, including:

Islamofascist Deniers, who argue that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is a crime. "None of them will admit that Muslim evil predates 2003," observes Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens, "and therefore is the cause of the current war."

Merit Deniers in the affirmative action movement. "It's incredible," says UC Regent Ward Connerly, "these people actually think that social conditions have something to do with one's station in life. It's some kind of bizarre mystical doctrine."

Free Market Deniers, who insist people have a right to the resources they need to live a decent life, regardless of whether they can prostitute themselves to the private owners of the economy. "The entitlement mentality is running amok," warned economist Milton Friedman just before his death.

Fetal Holocaust Deniers, who cannot get it through their thick heads that a child conceived in rape is just as precious in the eyes of God as any other. The consequences of their selfish delusions have long since reached genocidal proportions.

American Dream Deniers, who would substitute the perverse ideal of bio-diversity for the opportunity to consume without limit. What can they be thinking of?



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