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  • June 29, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Should a public university build footbaths for Muslim students who are required by their faith to wash their feet before prayer? Yes, according to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, which is renovating two bathrooms on campus to include two new “foot washing stations.” The footbaths reportedly cost about $25,000, (out of a total renovation cost of $100,000,) raising questions about the expenditure of public funds for sectarian religious purposes.

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  • June 27, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Civil libertarians have good reason to mourn the Supreme Court’s latest rulings eviscerating student speech rights and empowering the president to divert public funds to sectarian religious groups. In the wake of the Court’s earlier decision this term upholding bans on second trimester abortions, these cases confirm that the Court is now pretty firmly under the control of authoritarian (not libertarian) conservatives.

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  • June 20, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Last month, a British union of college and university professors called for a boycott of Israeli academics, revitalizing a vituperative debate. The presidents of NYU, Columbia, and Yeshiva University have strongly protested the proposed boycott, which is officially opposed by the American Association of University Professors.

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  • June 15, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Convicted felon Scooter Libby was guilty of nothing more than a bad memory, according to his most ardent defenders, who tend to ignore the inconvenient fact that a jury found him guilty on four felony counts for lying to the FBI and the grand jury investigating the outing of former covert agent Valerie Plame. But, personally, I doubt very much that Libby’s defenders actually believe he was innocent of lying about his conversation with reporters.

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  • June 12, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Last month a student magazine at Tufts University, The Primary Source, was hauled before a disciplinary committee and punished for publishing a satire of affirmative action in December '06 (a Christmas carol entitled “O Come All Ye Black Folk”) and then a harsh critique of Islam, during an official Muslim Awareness Week.

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  • June 07, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Language policing suffered a setback this week: a federal appeals court struck down a new Federal Communications Commission indecency policy imposing sanctions on the broadcast of occasional or “fleeting" expletives. The FCC has long held the inappropriate power to regulate “dirty words,” pursuant to a famous 1975 Supreme Court decision upholding the sanctioning of a provocative George Carlin radio monologue; but that decision was interpreted narrowly so as not to prohibit occasional or isolated utterances.

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  • June 06, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Everyone once in a while, justice prevails. Julie Amero, the substitute teacher who faced 40 years in prison for risking injury to children when a computer in her class was bombarded by pornography, has just been granted a new trial. Her claim that she was unable to control the pornographic images that popped up did not deter her prosecution or sway the jury in her case but did persuade an array of experts to denounce her conviction, to good effect. She is not expected to be re-tried.

  • June 06, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Last month, Ronald Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College, delivered a Baccalaureate Address that should perhaps be required reading at Tufts, Brandeis, and all the other "liberal" schools that promote the censorship of politically incorrect speech, often in the name of diversity. (Read all about them at thefire.

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