Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

Seal_of_the_California_State_UniversityTriceratops-skull-Zachi-Evenor-002There is a controversy at the California State University where scientist Mark Armitage claims that he was fired for his creationist beliefs as an evangelical Christian. Armitage recently published a paper where he suggested that soft tissue that he found in a triceratops suggested that the animal died no more than 4000 years ago rather than the common view putting extinction at 65 million years ago. The school is investigating his claim of religious discrimination.

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I have received a fair number of emails over the debate last week featuring my views on executive power on the Senate floor. The debate concerned the growing fight over immigration and I have been asked by journalists if I believe that the President is also violating the Separation of Powers with the suggestion of unilateral measures in the area. I am indeed troubled by the suggestion of a new round of unilateral actions by the President. However, the details are still unclear.

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mark_landisnewAccounting Professor Mark Landis has been arrested in a bizarre alleged crime where the San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco professor taped students using his San Francisco apartment’s bathroom.
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s11_4787Republican state Sen. Alan Hays really really liked the film “America.” So much so that he wants to make viewing the film by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza required viewing for all students. Hays seems entirely unaware of the inherent conflict in responding to what he views as the dangerous influence of liberal views by seeking the mandatory viewing of conservative views.

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UW-Madison_logo.svgLee Hansen, a professor emeritus of economics at UW-Madison, has caused a stir in academic with an article entitled “Madness in Madison” with the John William Hope Pope Center for Higher Education, a North Carolina-based think tank. The article quotes at length from a UW-Madison guideline entitled Forward Together: A Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence that refers to equity in grading and also references how minority students should be allowed into special programs or high-demand majors. The broad language raises concerns with faculty like Hansen over how professors are supposed to achieve these goals and whether they will be evaluated based on such guidelines. Hansen is a well-respected economist with a long and impressive academic history.

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1405809806000-Dan-MarkelFlorida State law professor and leading blogger legal Dan Markel died on Friday from an apparent gunshot wound at his home. Markel, 41, was a popular professor at Florida State University College of Law and the founder of Prawfsblawg, a popular legal blog. All such deaths without witnesses (called “unattended incidents”) are investigated as possible homicides. UPDATE: The police are saying that Markel was “targeted’ and murdered.

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220px-Naiad1If you are a creationist and believe that the Earth is just 5000 years old, stop reading now. However, for the rest of humanity there is a very very cool study out on a teenage girl named Naia. Naia is now nearly 13,000 years old. Her skeleton was found in an underwater cave system in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. She is believed to a key link to North Americans who first settled in this continent. (No, she did not look like Naiad of the painting by John William Waterhouse but I like the painting so the researchers will have to forgive me).

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220px-The_ProcuressThe criminalization of prostitution has always been an anomaly in the law when compared to sex on camera for the adult entertainment industry. Libertarians question why consenting adults should not be able to agree to such arrangements since they can have as many lovers for free as a form of protected conduct. For those who have argued for legalization of prostitution, a recent study by Baylor University’s Scott Cunningham and Manisha Shah of the University of California, Los Angeles may give them something of a boost. The study found that, for the years when prostitution was effectively legal in Rhode Island (but not street walking), both public health and public safety substantially improved with a drop in rape and a drop in the rate of gonorrhea among women.

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Badge_of_the_Riverside_County_Sheriff's_DepartmentThe video below has been released in a lawsuit over a highly disturbing case where a Riverside undercover officer befriended a 17-year-old boy with autism and convinced him to buy pot for him. They then arrested him and added him to their list of drug war statistics. Before the arrest, in addition to autism, their son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome and anxiety disorders.

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240px-John_Wayne_-_1961UnknownWe have previously discussed the absurd growth of trademark and copyright claims in this country. Now, John Wayne’s descendants have had to go to court to seek the right to continue to use the legendary actor’s nickname, “Duke,” over the objections of Duke University which now claims to own the word “Duke.” The University has objected to a line of alcoholic beverages by the family called “Duke.” They appear to be using the line from the Duke’s character Wil Anderson in The Cowboys (1972) “I wouldn’t make it a habit of calling me that son.”

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We only recently passed the 21,000,000 mark last April but we just hit 22,000,000 today, according to WordPress. Congratulations everyone. This has been a banner year for the site with a continuing increase in traffic, links on other sites, and new voices on the blog. These milestones are coming faster and they give us a chance to look at the spread of our regular readers and commentators. As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mark Esposito, Eliane Magliaro, Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Charlton Stanley, Darren Smith, and Kimberly Deines. The increasing traffic on the site is gratifying and reaffirms that there are many people looking for mature and civil debate. Even among the top ten sites, I believe that we offer a unique forum of different views and backgrounds in the discussion of law and politics (and a few quirky items).

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220px-SherpaThis may be one of my favorite science stories in years. Researchers have concluded that the “superathlete” gene that helps Sherpas and other Tibetans thrive at high altitudes is actually traced to an ancient species of human, the Denisovans. The gene, EPAS1, regulates the body’s production of hemoglobin, and was acquired from the Denisovans. Of course, the Denisovans went extinct some 40,000 years ago so for those creationists who insist that the Earth is only a few thousand years old . . . you might want to move on to the next story.

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ersula-oreThere is a growing controversy in Arizona over the arrest of Arizona State University Professor Ersula Ore who refused to show her identification to a police officer and ended up being thrown to the ground and arrested — a scene captured on the videotape below.

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devlin_pageMassLawLogoMartin Odemena, a former law student at the Massachusetts School of Law, has taken the school to court over a D that he received in contracts. Odemena maintains that Professor Joseph Devlin clearly stated in his syllabus that a quiz would not count toward the final grade and then counted the score. It is an ironic position for Devlin (left) who specializes in drafting contracts. The result was that Odemena was suspended for academic performance and was unable to transfer to another school. He is suing for more than $100,000. The case is Odemena v. Devlin et al.

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220px-Northwestern_University_Seal.svgThere is an interesting case at my alma mater, Northwestern University School of Law, where a former student is suing over his expulsion shortly before his graduation. The student is Mauricio Celis, 42, and he was expelled for not disclosing that he is a former felon in Texas who was convicted for falsely holding himself out as a lawyer as well as a misdemeanor conviction of portraying himself as a police officer in a bizarre case involving a woman who wandered nude from his hot tub and walked into a convenience store. Celis objects that Northwestern expelled him for the failure to disclose but that it never asked him to disclose any criminal history when he applied for his master of laws. After suing Northwestern, Celis and Northwestern agreed to a voluntary dismissal of the suit.

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