Tag Archive: September 11


Does “academic freedom” come with accountability?

Does “academic freedom” come with personal responsibility, no matter how contentious the subject?

Does “academic freedom” come with an expectation of kindness, civility and integrity?

Or does “academic freedom” mean an anointed tenured professor has the license to say whatever he or she downright pleases just as long as the speech is judged to be not racist, homophobic or misogynist?

Translated: Outside these boundaries, can a tenured professor utter/write/tweet whatever he or she downright wants to say – no matter how ugly or vile – and then hide behind the First Amendment cloak of “Academic Freedom.”

Time-and-time again, the embarrassed university will fall back on the Mother of All Lame Arguments: (e.g., “the tenured professor is speaking for himself/herself, not the university”).

Sure.

And yet the media headlines will start with “University of Colorado Professor …” or “Fresno State University Professor …” or “Georgetown University Professor …,” not distinguishing the professor’s private screed with the his or her official duties.

And why should they?

This distinction reached the highest level of the absurd this past week when Twitter suspended offending Georgetown University Professor Christine Fair’s social media account, while the oldest Catholic University in the country warmed up for the next-in-a-long-line of university wrist slaps.

Wouldn’t want to get the bowels of tenured faculty unions into an uproar, now would we?

Suggesting that certain white males should die while feminists laugh at their last gasps of air, and how they should subsequently be castrated and fed to swine for some reason doesn’t work for Twitter, but it’s been essentially dismissed by Georgetown.

Almost DailyBrett to Professor Christine: Please don’t contend your vileness has been taken out of context … calling for castration of dead males and feeding their private body parts to pigs … is crystal clear in any plain reading.

“Amazing Racist”?

“Fuck out of here with your nice words.” – Fresno State Professor Randa Jarrar

Last April, immediately upon the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush, Professor Randa Jarrar took to Twitter to proclaim the newly departed as “As a generous and smart and amazing racist.”

She then added her wish for quick deaths for the entire Bush family, which produced two presidents and two governors.

Jarrar taunted those who dared to take issue with her rhetoric, saying she would not be fired by Fresno State.

Guess what? She was not terminated by Fresno State.

“Little Eichmanns”?

“As for those in the World Trade Center… True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. …  If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.” – Former Colorado University Professor Ward L. Churchill essay the day after the September 11 terror attacks

Quiz question: Which attack on U.S. soil produced a greater loss of innocent American lives? Pearl Harbor? September 11?

The answer is September 11, 2001, when 3,000 Americans succumbed, who were just going to work or flying on planes that would never reach their intended destinations.

And yet former University of Colorado Professor Churchill branded these innocent Americans as “little Eichmanns” after Adolf Eichmann, the notorious SS Holocaust organizer, who was executed in Israel.

Churchill was fired by Colorado University in 2007. After a series of court hearings, Churchill’s termination was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2012. The SCOTUS refused to consider the case, making the professor’s departure final.

Keep in mind, Churchill was not fired for his “little Eichmanns” comment, but instead for plagiarism, falsification and other misconduct. The university determined that a professor’s rant, comparing September 11 victims to a Holocaust plotter, was consistent with Churchill’s First Amendment Rights.

Castrated parts being fed to swine? The witch is dead? Little Eichmanns?

Is more of the same on the way from celebrated academics with tenure status? Count on it.

Is there any reasonable, enforceable way to put the brakes on vile statements from coddled professors?

How about a code of conduct clause in their contracts? First Amendment protection? Yes. Requirements for civility and integrity? Yes.

The academic unions will instinctively object to code of conduct clauses, demanding more legal tender instead.

How about university presidents insisting upon common decency in collective bargaining?

Time to go the mat? Don’t count on it.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/georgetown-professor-who-wished-death-to-gop-senators-supporting-kavanaugh-on-leave

https://www.foxnews.com/us/controversial-professor-suspended-by-twitter-after-call-for-deaths-of-gop-senators-kavanaugh

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/19940243/ns/us_news-education/t/professor-fired-after–nazi-comparison/#.W7vJ_Ruou70

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/us/court-upholds-colorado-professor-ward-churchills-firing.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FChurchill%2C%20Ward%20L.&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/have-you-no-decency-professor/

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/biographies/eichmann-biography.htm

https://resources.workable.com/employee-code-of-conduct-company-policy

Where I think we’ve got a little sideways as a culture is that people take it personally, if you have a different perspective, a different point of view. I would say, we just need to lighten up.” – Portland Mayor Ken Wheeler on “60 Minutes.”

Can we all learn to eventually let go? Yes, let it go.

And what about the “lighten up” suggestion made by Portland Mayor Ken Wheeler?

In this tumultuous Age of Trump, have we crossed the threshold that anyone who does not agree with our pre-ordained philosophy and Weltanschauung is our mortal enemy, never to emerge from the Pit of Misery?

As the author of Almost DailyBrett prepares to exit the professional world stage in four blessed months, one reflects back to the battles of life, and asks:

How many of these conflicts were truly worth fighting? Were their Pyrrhic victories in which battles were won, and wars were lost? If so, what was the point?

More to today’s discussion: How many issues in life are really worth going to the mat?

Very few in reality, when you for example look back over the course of a four-decade career.

Allegedly Margaret Thatcher as played by Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” upon receiving a marriage proposal from Denis, romantically replied that “Life must have purpose.”

Agreed. That does not mean that each-and-every topic of life must have purpose. Reading Howard Kurtz’ Media Madness, Donald Trump , The Press And The War Over The Truth leaves the reader absolutely exhausted after only 200 pages.

Is there a remote control for life? Can we change the channel (bad metaphor, the networks are part of the problem)? Can we simply turn down the sound, if not mute the noise?

Now before you insinuate that Almost DailyBrett is changing the tune about being up to date on what is happening in the world, please understand that the Polish proverb, Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys, simply applies to the notion of carefully picking our battles.

Going To The Mat

Gary Oldman playing the role of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour spars valiantly against those in England’s War Cabinet, who advocate negotiating mit dem Führer upon the Fall of France and the Low Countries in 1940. He resists the pressure, goes to the mat, fights and wins the battle of his life.

On the worst modern era day of our lives – September 11 – my company was contemplating proceeding with the layoff of 600 workers, shuttering two factories, about 8 percent of our total workforce … the following day.

Yours truly was shocked that a serious discussion to proceed was occurring in the board room as the smoke was rising from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. There is no way that Almost DailyBrett wanted to be associated with this exercise.

Even though my salary (not including benefits, options and the Employee Stock Purchase Program – ESPP) reached northward toward $200,000 per annum, there was no question about severing and refusing to allow my personal brand and reputation to be tied to this wrong action.

The Nürnberg defense about “just following orders,” did not and would not apply.

Fortunately even though the rocket scientists in HR were upset for weeks, we collectively made the decision to postpone the restructuring until America returned to some semblance of normalcy: The planes were flying, the markets were open, the ball games were being played.

Yes, this postponement was a cause worth fighting and winning.

The Rear View Mirror

“The reason that university politics is so vicious is because stakes are so small” – Former Harvard Professor Henry Kissinger

The graying temples and follicly challenged appearance may be signals about growing wisdom, if not moving toward the sunset of one’s life.

Looking around, one can see battles to fight and dragons to slay. Maybe someone else can engage in these wars and get en fuego with fiery reptiles?

When one contemplates Kissinger’s quote one sees the linkage between the words, “vicious” and “small.”  If one concludes a matter is small and does even come close to warranting going to the mat, then why risk rising one’s blood pressure if only viciousness is the result?

There is a sense of liberation that comes from letting go and lightening up. One can assert that the need to NOT be so “tightly wound,” is a legitimate criticism.

Being Type A has resulted in many victories and achievements, but at what price in terms of health and happiness?

Sometimes we need to learn to allow others to have the “opportunity” to pay the price.

Let the latest fight/cause be their circus and their monkeys.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-ann-kennedy/not-my-circus-not-my-monk_b_5390455.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/depression-management-techniques/201412/not-my-circus-not-my-monkeys

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/portland/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/going-to-the-mat/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/your-company-and-religious-intolerance/

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/609695-the-reason-that-university-politics-is-so-vicious-is-because

 

 

 

 

“ … Y’all sit here, y’all trying to interview people during their worst times. Like that’s not the smartest thing to do … like people are really breaking down, and y’all are sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the fuck is wrong with us.” – Houston Mother to CNN covering Hurricane Harvey

“We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blond, who comes on at five. She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye. It’s interesting when people die. Give us dirty laundry.” – Don Henley, Dirty Laundry, 1982

The author of Almost DailyBrett was present at more than his fair share of fires, floods and earthquakes, first as a reporter and later as the press secretary for former California George Deukmejian.

Regardless of the particular circumstances or magnitude of the disaster (e.g., 1989 Loma Prieta 7.1 intensity earthquake), one thing was always certain: The media was out of control, and had no sense of proportion.

The media eventually becomes obsessed with who is responsible, when it just can a combination of geography (i.e., flood plains, seismic faults, hurricane paths) and the ferocity of Mother Nature. Many times no one is at fault, but with the media someone must be the scapegoat – the higher in the political strata, the better

The pattern begins with the media focusing on the particulars (e.g., time, epicenter, Richter scale reading, number dead, number wounded, damage estimates, how to contribute to disaster relief …). This information is vital to the public, and demonstrates the power of the media at its finest.

Predictably, the media grows bored with the mere reporting the facts and inevitably the hunt begins for who is responsible – even when no one is responsible. The attitude changes from reporting the news to an all-effort to assign blame.

But that’s not all.

Next up is the effort to interpret the news, offering their expert opinions, and to become part of the story by portraying the “human tragedy.”

The media for years has been guilty of placing a live camera lens and a boom mike in the face of someone is obviously grieving and suffering – maybe the Houston mother and her children having the worst day in their lives – and asking how she feels right then and there.

This footage is considered to be great television in Atlanta or New York, which drives ratings and in-turn, precious advertiser dollars. What may be great television to network execs (e.g., CNN) is seen by many as cheap exploitation of those who are suffering by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Do these victims deserve a little consideration and sympathy before the boom mike and camera is thrust into their faces? The Houston mom called out CNN in a graphic and profane way for having absolutely no consideration of her feelings, and the suffering endured by her children.

Will CNN and its rivals ever learn a lesson about sensitivity and empathy as a result of this shameless exercise? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.”

Redefining ‘Disaster Porn’

“Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet? You know, the boys in the newsroom got a running bet, get the widow on the set! We need dirty laundry” – Dirty Laundry, Don Henley

The conventional definition of “Disaster Porn” reflects on those who try to economically exploit a crisis (e.g., September 11, Boston Marathon Bombing) with special t-shirts and hats to demonstrate solidarity with the responders and victims. In reality, these are arbitrage opportunities disguised as cause marketing for those who only look to profit off misery.

But what is the difference in making a buck by selling t-shirts and hats on one hand, and thrusting boom mikes and microphones in the face of grieving people while broadcasting live to drive ratings on the other hand?

Almost DailyBrett is not necessarily equating making a cheap buck off the sale of disaster event hats and t-shirts with the exploitation of misery by the networks and labeling both of them as “disaster porn.”

Having said that, there needs to be a process in which the network asks off-camera with the full-calm assent of the victim to a live or taped interview before the interview takes place.

How about it, CNN?

Sure beats being scolded on national television with an F-bomb for emphasis.

http://nypost.com/2017/08/29/harvey-victim-with-freezing-kid-curses-out-cnn-reporter/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=disaster%20porn

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/americas-addiction-to-disaster-porn/

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/disaster-porn-or-ethical-coverage-houston-mom-goes-off-on-cnn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Laundry_(Don_Henley_song)

https://playback.fm/charts/top-100-songs/video/1982/Don-Henley-Dirty-Laundry

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/loma-prieta/

 

“91,000 people. 33 exit gates. One sniper …” Promo for the 1976 film, “Two-Minute Warning”

Terrorism is not the only threat hovering over American society and sports, both college and professional.

There is also the realistic spectre that arises from the proliferation of guns in society … there are more firearms (about 357 million) in the United States than people (318.9 million). Combine an overly armed society with intoxicants, emotion and rage … to Almost DailyBrett it is only a matter of time before …

Your author doesn’t want to think the unthinkable, let alone give anyone any unpleasant ideas. Having said that, let’s ask the obvious: At some point, will an out-of-control fan be tempted to shoot a player, a coach or an umpire or referee on the field, on the court or on the ice?

To be honest, Almost DailyBrett has thought about this subject too many times, the latest just this past Saturday night during the disgraceful, out-of-control NFL Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Six men were arrested for antics ranging from hitting a woman in the face to urinating on another woman. We all know it can be worse … much worse.arrestedcincyfans

The visiting Steelers pulled out a grinding-and-crushing 18-16 playoff win, aided by two horrific, late personal-foul penalties against the hometown Bengals. Would a male fan want to enter the under-the-influence of testosterone men’s room at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium, wearing Pittsburgh black-and-yellow following the game?

Maybe, that biological imperative can wait?

Considering that fans indulge a wide variety of libations and substances of varying degrees of intoxicant properties for literally hours before the game (night games have to be the worst), the game end-results may be adverse, and guns are simply too many and too easy to acquire, is an opposing player, coach or fan taking his or her life into their hands by simply participating or attending the game?

And considering that virtually every game, regardless of the sport, is broadcast by some outlet (conventional or digital), the game venue would instantaneously turn into a televised crime scene. Would that instantaneous publicity (e.g., 15-minutes of fame) prompt copycat shootings at other stadiums and arenas?

Never thought it would get to this point, but we as a troubled society may already be there.

Are Metal Detectors Enough?

In the aftermath of September 11, the Paris attacks and the assault on a soft-target in San Bernardino, there will be heightened security for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California as there should be. The Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement as a whole will be on high alert on February 7.

But let’s not dismiss games without the same stakes.

Consider the Oregon vs. Eastern Washington game this past September. The set up was that Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams was playing against his former team. Even though the outcome of the game was decided in the fourth quarter, Adams was knocked out of the game by EWU linebacker, John Kreifels, with a vicious helmet-first targeting hit. Kreifels was ejected.kreifels

Heading back to the locker room, Kreifels taunted the fans at Autzen Stadium. As a season ticket holder for 26 years, Autzen fans are for the most part passionate, but well-behaved. But what would happen if one person … and it only takes one … out of nearly 60,000 fans takes matters into his own hands? There are no metal detectors at Autzen.  Alas, there was a gun and a shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg about 70 miles away.

Is this concern unreasonable?

Six seasons ago, Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount popped taunting Boise State linebacker Byron Hout. When the Boise fans started to jeer Blount, the 6’0”, 247-lb running back started to charge the stands. Fortunately, Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost pulled Blount away from the fans. What if one of these fans had a firearm, a distinct possibility in Idaho? Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to think about it, but these thoughts just won’t go away.

Crisis Communications Is More Than Response

Jim Nance of CBS Sports labeled the atmosphere around the Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh game this past weekend as a “disgrace”, including the pelting with garbage of injured Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being carted into the locker room for treatment.

The NFL does have metal detectors at its games, but has the league and its teams (particularly their PR departments) given adequate consideration of the worst case scenario? Certainly, they have simulated terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but what about an inebriated fan with a firearm?

Have our professional leagues (i.e., NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, MLB) and our colleges (e.g., NCAA) ever given any consideration to asking fans … not just in agate print on the back of ticket stubs … but through public service announcements (PSAs) to not bring weapons to a stadium. They have no place in stadiums, arenas and ice rinks, particularly with children going to the games.

Sports public relations departments appear to be doing a decent job in combatting drinking and driving, especially before the trip back home after the game, but what about weapons?twominutewarning

We have seen a San Francisco Giants fan in a life-threatening coma after being attacked in the parking lot following the first-game of the 162-game season at Dodger Stadium. We may recall about a crazed Alabama fan poisoning the oak trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. And then there was Ron Artest (a.k.a. Metta World Peace) leading the Indiana Pacers into the stands in Detroit (“The Malice at the Palace”). And then there are the chardonnay-sipping Oakland Raider fans …

Before we can contemplate the terror of 91,000 fans, 33 exits and one sniper or deranged fan with a gun, sports public relations and marketing pros need to think more than just how to respond to this awful scenario, but how to prevent it in the first place.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/At-least-6-fans-arrested-Saturday-at-Paul-Brown-Stadium/37365086

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/14/baseballs-new-metal-detectors-wont-keep-you-safe-theyll-just-make-you-miss-a-few-innings/

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/11/14/nfl-statement-on-stadium-security/

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25295913/eastern-washington-suspends-player-for-cheap-shot-on-oregon-qb-vernon-adams

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2014/11/18/ten-years-later-brawl-prompted-change-nba/19256997/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/11/16/pistons-malice-palace-brawl-commissioner-artest-adam-silver/19138239/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Minute_Warning

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/05/guns-in-the-united-states-one-for-every-man-woman-and-child-and-then-some/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu3GzNDs74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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