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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Who Gets Hurt

By Keith Schmitz
In yet another triumph of affect, the Ozaukee County Board has voted to cut off their funding to the UW County Extension program by the amount of UW Instructor Kevin Barrett’s salary, all of its whopping $8,427. What’s more they are urging the other 71 county boards to do the same. Barrett is, as you know, the adjunct who made the horribly bad career move of talking about his theories tagging 9/11 on the Bush administration over Jessica McBride’s program airing on “News the Way We See It” 620 WTMJ.

Children everywhere can now feel respectable knowing that the board has stooped to their level by going off after that portion of our fine UW system – the part that helps farmers and other business throughout the state – to go after someone who is in a different, non-related part of the system. If this rant translated into a vote spreads across the state the Extension system stands to lose $600,000. But is doubtful because many other places seem to be flourishing nicely in the 21st century and it will probably turn out to be just a winger feel good.

This whole brouhaha (emphasis on the ha ha) came about due to the gossamer confidence the right wing has in the ability to insulate their children against contrary opinion and perhaps a few facts here and there.

Investigations into Barrett’s support of the notion of Bush administration orchestrating 9/11 found that he did not really occupy all of his 51 semester teaching hours on his conspiracy ruminations. Probably didn't talk about it much at all. Just for the record, and I must, logic tells you that in an operation this big someone would have squealed by now.

It’s time for certain members of our society to get a grip, though they really don’t want to. Why let people think about the mess authoritarian conservatives have made of this country when you can say, “hey look over there at the nut talking about his whacko ideas.” This really sums up what conservatives have to offer to our electorate, but the voters are becoming tired of being treated like rubes.

And who gets hurt in the end? The students, their parents and ultimately our economy which depends upon the brains and research that gets cranked out of our great U system. But hey, what’s a little scorched earth when you want to root out one insurgent. It works in Iraq.

But god forbid. You spend 18 years nurturing your little darlings’ reactionary views of the world, only to have it threatened by a ranting lunatic. Never mind the fact that in a college career students are exposed to the varying and conflicting views of at least 40 teachers and professors, most of whom has no political agenda in their intro to botany course. Of course there is always Ave Maria College, Liberty College or John McAdams if you want to keep the lids on their noggins closed.

Oh yeah, then there is the “I don’t want a dollar of tax money to finance this nonsense.” Take a look at Iraq reconstruction and how badly it is going if you want to see lots of dollars financing nonsense.

Never mind the fact that once they leave college, your kids will spend the next 45 years of their lives in the cozy conservative world of business where you will often have to listen to your high and mighty CEO’s expound on their views tinged by the pronouncements of that neurotic Russian expatriate Ayn Rand.

Ironically Barrett rolled out his "product” for public consumption on McBride’s slot. Jessie also works for the same U system, but you don’t hear progressives demanding cuts in say the UWM Post because she too is prone to irrational rants.

Think of it. For most of us Barrett is just a nuisance. McBride’s opinions on the other hand led us into an occupation that will run past a $1 trillion tab -- based on conspiracy theories. Looks like our nut is a better bargain.

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