Monday, March 06, 2006

Moving!

I have decided to leave this site up for archival reasons, but for all new posts my blog is moving to Http://leaningstraightup.com

See you there!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The UW Senate Steering Committee minutes, 2-17-2006

The UW Senate Steering committee met 2-17-2006 and their meeting minutes are now posted.

I think these are interesting because they again show how they characterize the whole debate in an interesting manner. But in all fairness, it is necessary to understand this from their perspective too.

I will list the full text below, but here are the highlights as they pertain to the Pappy Boyington Flap. Many things I have blogged on previously are mentioned:
  • A discussion of the press coverage
  • Mention of a large amount of dehumanizing emails regarding the memorial vote.
  • The (Jill) Edwards Apology Resolution is introduced (R-12-24)
  • The introduction of Nathan Bedle, not a Senator, as a cosponsor of R-12-24. He is also a Sgt in the Marine Corps Reserve.
  • He noted that there is no military representative in the Senate.
  • Discussion of offense versus free speech.
  • The open expectation that R-12-24 will be tabled indefinitely
  • The introduction of A Resolution Calling For a Memorial for UW Alumni awarded the Medal of Honor (R-12-26)
  • A suggestion is made to immediately table R-12-26 indefinitely as being a duplicate of the original memorial resolution.
  • R-12-24 was referred to the General Affairs Committee.
  • While approving the Senate Agenda, it is noted that an ROTC Representative will speak before the next Senate Session.
  • In the General Discussion, the idea of recording the meetings was discussed.
  • It was noted there was concern that recording the sessions might alter the debate.
  • A motion was made to reconsider the 2-7-2006 Minutes.
  • Ashley Miller began a defense/clarification of her comments.
  • A number of students defended Ashley's comments
  • The amount of scrutiny these minutes have received was noted.
  • How the change was to be documented on the minutes website was discussed.
  • It was noted that any changes to the minutes would be closely noted by the media.
  • The intent was to have the changes be on the original minutes.
  • The committee was cautioned about the implications of any changes, and how that would affect the criticism and perception. It was also noted that changes could jeopardize the reputation and integrity of the Senate.
  • The motion was amended to have a new set of minutes posted separately reflecting the changes.

The minutes in full, and unedited:


ASUW Student Senate Steering Committee
02-17-2006
Minutes

Respectfully Submitted by Senate Secretary Travis McCoy

I. Call to Order and Roll Call

Alex Kim called the meeting to order at 3:44PM
Alex Kim
Erin Shields – not present
Travis McCoy
Travis Grandy
Lee Dunbar – proxy Jon Lee
Hala Dillsi
Jon Lee
Derek Hazen – not present
Sam Al-Khoury
Cailin Magruder – proxy Brianne King
Shawn Fisher
Jerome McCuin – not present
Alvin Chen – not present
Rene Singleton

II. Approval of the Agenda

Travis McCoy moved to approve the agenda. Seconded. Passed without objection.

III. Chair’s Report

Alex Kim noted that ASUW has had a busy week dealing with the press coverage of the recent resolution considered. He said ASUW has prepared an official press statement regarding the issue.

He said that there has been a large influx of dehumanizing emails regarding the decision on R-12-18. He said every Senate officer and ASUW officer is working to maintain the right of senators to speak their minds.

He noted that his letter to the Daily was published today, and that he had submitted the letter to other publications as well.

He said disagreement was expected and encouraged on the issue, but that there should be outrage over the way some have handled the issue.

Ashley Miller said that she didn’t think the minutes accurately reflected what she thought she said.

Alex Kim encouraged her to address that issue during general discussion.

Hala Dillsi thanked Alex Kim and Lee Dunbar for their efforts and words at the previous Senate meeting. She said she thought Senators appreciated being updated on the issue.

IV. Officers’ Reports

Travis McCoy said he had no new news to report.

Travis Grandy said those senators who were in bad standing were cut as of the last meeting.

He said the fundraiser was a huge success and raised $273 for charity. He thanked those who auctioned themselves off.

Andrew Everett noted that R-12-25 had been rescinded by its sponsor.

V. Legislative Referral

R-12-24 Edwards Apology

Alex Kim read the resolution out loud.

Alex Kim entertained a motion to refer the legislation to Steering Committee.

Shawn Fisher moved to refer the legislation to Steering committee. Seconded.

Objection.

Travis Grandy asked if that was allowed by the by-laws.

It was noted that the bylaws do not specifically forbid legislation from being referred to Steering
Committee.

Andrew Everett asked if there was a censure policy in place for senators.

Rene Singleton said there was not.

Travis Grandy objected because he felt the resolution did not pertain to the rules and bylaws of Senate.

Alex Kim noted that it was not specifically forbidden.

Sam Al-Khoury read the specific bylaws pertaining to the issue.

The motion failed.

Nathan Bedle presented the legislation as a sponsor.

He said he is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve.

He said he apologized on behalf of those who had made offensive comments

He said he didn’t feel the comments made were inappropriate, and that while he didn’t intend to punish a senator, he felt it needed to be expressed that such comments were unacceptable as they were discriminatory in nature.

He said he had no intention of the resolution passing, but merely wanted to bring the issue to Senate.

He said that he was surprised when he realized that the military has no representative on Senate.

He said the issue was particularly important to him and other members of the military, and that he hoped some sort of censure procedure could be developed for future conflicts.

Alex Kim said he appreciated Nathan Bedle coming to committee to represent himself.

He said he understood that ROTC and other military organizations would be coming to Senate to represent themselves.

Andrew Everett said Jill Edwards emailed him an apology and said he would make it available to Alex if he asked. He said because the apology wasn’t public, he thought it had created some backlash.

Rene Singleton noted that while everyone was having a debate, there was no evidence of offense. She said she thought that the way the comments were documented may have created the controversy. She said she didn’t see any immediate reaction from Senate once the controversial comments were made.

She said she thought a new method for taking minutes might be in order.

Alex Kim said that one of the misconceptions in the public eye is the scope of Senate’s power. He said that a decision by Student Senate didn’t equate to immediate results.

Shawn Fisher said that Senate needs to maintain a situation in which people can freely express themselves regardless of how offensive the comments are.

He said by asking people to apologize would set a horrible precedent and cause some people to not express themselves freely. He said that it was contradictory for those in the military to ask for people to be censured for exercising the freedom of speech the military tries to protect.

Nathan Bedle said he wasn’t tryin to restrict anyone’s rights. He said Senate should have a way to deal with comments that are needlessly discriminatory. He said there is a responsibility to be polite in a public forum and that rude comments needed to be recognized.

Alex Kim explained how legislation flowed through Senate and what process it would go through. He said he expected the legislation would be tabled, as Nathan Bedle had expected, as that was the general procedure taken by Senate. He said he wanted to make sure that the debate itself was open and thus opinions could be debated and corrected during the discussion.

Jon Lee moved to refer the legislation to Membership Committee. Seconded.

Passed without objection.

R-12-25 An Act Supporting Those Who Work for a Free and Democratic Society

Shawn Fisher moved to refer to Steering Committee. Seconded. Objection.

Andrew Everett noted that the sponsor has requested the resolution not be considered.

Andrew Everett moved to table the resolution indefinitely. Seconded. Passed without objection.

R-12-26 A Resolution Calling a Memorial for UW Alumni awarded the Medal of Honor

Andrew Everett read the ‘that’ clauses in his resolution.

Shawn Fisher said in his opinion the Senate saw the same resolution two weeks ago. He said Steering should table the resolution indefinitely.

Sam Al-Khoury said he disagreed because the resolution was not wide enough in its scope, and that the new resolution met more individuals’ needs.

Jon Lee moved to refer the resolution to General Affairs. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed.

VI. Approval of Committee Appointments

Jon Lee moved to approve the committee appointments. Seconded. Passed without objection.

VII. Approval of the Senate Agenda

Alex Kim noted that Dr. Barceló needed to leave at 5:30. He suggested the Public Forum begin at the start of the meeting.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to place the public forum as the first item of the agenda.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Sam Al-Khoury asked if there was a specific topic to be discussed.

Alex Kim said it would mostly be question and answer.

He said he would be allowing an ROTC representative to speak during his Chair’s Report.

Travis Grandy moved to approve the agenda. Seconded. Passed without objection.

VIII. General Discussion

Andrew Everett said he’s in the process of writing an Organic Act to propose an audio recording be made of each meeting.

Travis McCoy said he thought the idea had merit, but that he was concerned with the feasibility of the project and its impact on the debate in Senate.

Alex Kim said there has been a recurring theme of whether or not to record Senate meetings. He said there is a question of whether having recording devices present might alter the nature of debate.

Travis Grandy moved to reconsider the minutes from February 7th, 2006.

Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed.

Ashley Miller said that what is lacking in the minutes and that she has been under attack for is that she was understood as saying there are already enough monuments, and that was not what she meant to convey with her comments.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to strike the word “already” from Ashley Miller’s statement. Seconded.
Objection.

Andrew Everett said he has spoken to multiple media outlets about her comments.

Shawn Fisher said that he favored the amendment, but that he thought her intent was to note that there were already enough monuments honoring certain people.

Ashley Miller said she couldn’t be responsible for the way it was interpreted, but that there was no intent on her part to convey that impression.

Travis McCoy said that while he wanted to ensure the minutes were as accurate as possible, he thought the intent was accurately conveyed despite not being a verbatim quote, and that he was concerned with how the change would be perceived by the outside world.

Hala Dillsi said that she sat next to Ashley in the room during the meeting, and that she specifically remembered Ashley saying “This was not in reference to Colonel Boyington and this resolution, but…” She said she thought Steering Committee’s job was to produce amendments that most accurately represent what was said. She said she didn’t think the amendment was inappropriate, and in fact was Steering’s responsibility.

Alex Kim amended the amendment to insert a steering committee note indicating how the minutes were passed originally. Seconded. Passed without objection

Alex Kim said that there has been a lot of scrutiny on this set of minutes, and that the concern is that Steering will be seen as covering up its tracks.

Travis Grandy saw he thought Steering’s ultimate goal was to have the most accurate minutes possible.

Rene Singleton asked how the change would be represented on the website.

Alex Kim clarified his intent was to have all changes reflected on one set of minutes.

Andrew Everett said that reporters have told him that any change in the minutes will be very closely noted.

Travis McCoy said he wanted Steering to be aware of the implications of changing the minutes. He said the change would not lessen the criticism of Senate, and that it would be perceived as wavering under public pressure. He said that so far, while outsiders could disagree with Senate’s ideas, they could not question its integrity or adherence to procedure. He said that if any further changes were made to the minutes, that reputation would be seriously jeopardized.

Rene Singleton suggested that the new minutes be posted separately online.

The amendment passed unanimously with one abstention.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to approve the minutes. Seconded. Passed without objection.

IX. Approval of the Minutes

The motion was made to approve the Steering minutes of February 13, 2006.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Shawn Fisher moved to approve the Senate minutes of February 14, 2006.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

X. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:01PM

UW Senate Minutes 2-21-2006

Bearing in mind the disclaimer provided by the UW Senate that unless quotations are used, the minutes are to be considered a summary and paraphrase of the session, not a verbatim account of the proceedings, here is a brief highlight of last weeks minutes.

The Letter from The Military Community of the University of Washington is a MUST read.

My comments are noted in italics:

Minutes
February 21, 2006
5:00PM HUB 310
Respectfully submitted by Senate Secretary Travis McCoy

(skip to session III for one military related issue)

III. Public Forum Dr. Nancy Rusty Barcelo, Vice President for Minority Affairs

Dr. Barcelo said she has been working on all three campuses with issues
regarding diversity.
....
Andrew Everett said the number of officers in training programs have been dropping for several years. He asked what was being done to address that issue.

Dr. Barcelo said she grew up in the US Air Force and that she had just finished a meeting with ROTC, so she was personally concerned with that issue. She said she would look into the issue more fully.

Encouraging

V. Committee Reports

Faculty And Administrative Affairs - The committee had no legislation to consider
Academic Affairs - The committee discussed ASUW coverage in the news
Publicity and Outreach - The committee discussed ASUW press coverage

I wonder if they mentioned me?

Membership - The committee discussed R-12-24 tabled it indefinitely

Note: This is the Jill Edwards apology resolution.

Campus Affairs - The committee discussed R-12-23 and passed favorably
Off Campus Affairs - The committee brainstormed places to advertise the
commuter forum
General Affairs - The committee considered R-12-22 and it passed with a
unanimous favorable recommendation

This is the committee that has the Resolution for the MOH Awardees, but I don't know if it had been referred to them last week or not.

Alex Kim said he was excited to see so many people interested in Senate.

He welcomed Dan Byron, a Cadet and member of the ROTC committee.

Dan Byron said the UW has been receiving a lot of criticism it didn't deserve.

He presented a letter from the military community on campus.

Student Senate,

Of the many student organizations on campus, the military community often holds a negative image. The various Reserve Officer Training Corp programs are frequently criticized by some as producing trained killers. Yet these programs are designed with considerable effort to produce leaders of integrity, courage and dedication.

The individuals thats come out of ROTC are some of the brightest leaders our nation is capable of producing. They are exactly the sort of people the UW should strive to
produce.

The military community does not desire parades, monuments or banners. We do our jobs not for thanks nor praise. We do our duty because we believe we serve a purpose greater than ourselves. However, we resent the fact that some members of the student government would liken us to criminals or murderers. It is true that the profession of arms is a violent one. But as a professional military, our services put an unbelievable amount of effort to accomplish the mission with as little damage and loss of life as possible. The world is still a violent place and the only thing that keeps violence off of our doorstep, is that other men and women stand ready to absorb that violence.

Soldiers are not responsible for making policy. We are assigned missions by the duly appointed civilian leadership, one not unlike the concept of the student senate. Like the American public we each have our own political opinions and beliefs. The ideas and politics of each person in uniform is as diverse as can be found anywhere on campus. Yet we all share one commonly parroted ideal; that freedom of thought and liberty are divine rights to be enjoyed by all humankind.

To this day there are millions of people who live under the weight of oppression. Few people around the world enjoy the same security, luxury and freedoms that are so openly taken for granted in our nation. Gregory Boyington and men like him literally bled to protect liberty from a growing oppressive empire. Many before him, many of his peers, and many future graduates from his Alma Mater have, and will continue to pay the price of liberty with their own blood.

So easy is it to condemn and criticize others. And so easy is it to give way to ignorance and preconceived notions. We are all guilty of it, all of us. While it is not uncommon, it is also not fair that some confuse the necessity of violence with murder or fascism. No American warrior fights solely for his appointed Commander in Chief. No American warrior fights for oil. Americans take up arms not to force their choices on others, but to give and protect the liberty of choice.

Despite all the criticism and the apparent negative feelings of all involved parties, we are PROUD to be members of the University community. The UW may not always support the military community, but we strongly support the University of Washington.

The UW is and will continue to be a main center of academic achievement, as well as a diverse community of politics and ideas. We firmly support the University of Washington because great minds do not think alike. Great minds think for themselves.

With Genuine Respect,
The Military Community of the University of Washington

Nice. I guess Roadkill's "War Party" don't all use Jackboots.

Alex Kim said much of the discussion across the country is more argument than discussion.

He said he thought much of the country suffers from a wound by which human beings cannot talk to each other.

He said the sort of dialogue that takes place within Senate is critical for healing and consensus in today's crossfire democracy.

He said the last two weeks have taught him how important such dialogue is.

I believe I mentioned that in my free speech post...Skipping ahead.

X. Orders of the Day
B. Old Business

I am including this because it shows that the UW Senate does practice some very interesting debate, even if it is a bit heavy on the PC rhetoric.

R-12-20 A Resolution in Opposition to the Denial of Federal Financial Aid Based on Drug Convictions

Karl Smith, sponsor of the legislation, reviewed the resolution.

He said the act was discriminatory as drug laws in general target minorities, and withheld the ability of those without means to get an education.

Zach Tobin moved to amend the resolution to add a citation to the "whereas" clause regarding the discriminatory nature of drug policy.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Gary Stute said he thought Karl brought up good points and that the bill prevented people from getting ahead in life.

He encouraged senators to pass the resolution.

Alex Gwozda moved to amend the first whereas clause to add the word "recent" before "drug conviction" and add "or repeated offenses" to the end of the clause. His motion also added a second "whereas" clause stating "WHEREAS, specifically, possession of a controlled substance disqualifies a student from receiving financial aid for one year after the 1st offense, for two years after the 2nd offense, and indefinitely after the 3rd, and additionally, delivery of a controlled substance disqualifies a student from receiving financial aid for two years after the 1st offense and indefinitely after the 2nd, and"

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Andrew Everett asked if there were any statistics from government entities regarding drug use among minorities.

Alex Kim said the National Crime Statistic Survey was one of the few sources of data on the issue.

Ashley Miller said a professor at UW, Katherine Beckett, had done research indicating drug useage and trafficking was higher among whites,but that arrests were higher among minorities.

Erin Shields asked what the purpose of the legislation was.

Karl Smith responded it was supposedly aimed at reducing drug useage among college students.

Steve Valm said he thought the act would prevent people from bettering themselves by restricting their access to higher education.

Bryce McKibben moved to remove the word "federal" from the title and add "financial" before the word "aid" in both "that" clauses.

Seconded. Objection.

Bryce McKibben said it singled out the federal level, and that students should oppose such practices at all levels.

Shawn Fisher said he agreed with the first part of the change, but that the committee added the word "federal" in the title as students were still eligible for state based aid.

Travis Grandy moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed. Debate was closed on the amendment.

Travis Grandy moved to divide the question. Seconded. Passed without objection.

The first part of the amendment failed. The second part of the amendment passed.

Shawn Fisher said he hoped the resolution was passed unanimously as UW students needed to stand up for their fellow peers.

Jerome McCuin said he had noticed that every four years, the convictions on drug convictions increase. He said that drug convictions are not all the same, as some are prosecuted differently than others. He said the new law undoes what the original financial aid act did by balancing access to education in society.

Nathan Bedle asked how many students would be affected.

Jerome McCuin responded that in 2001, 9,000 applicants lost their aid, and that 836,000 left that specific question blank on the application.

Nathan Bedle said he thought the "whereas" clause regarding the use of possessing small amounts of narcotics.

Brent Hoffsteder moved to remove the "whereas" clause regarding
discrimination.

Seconded. Objection.

He said he thought it was an issue about people's personal choices, and not an issue of race. He said he didn't think it appropriate to include racial issues as grounds on which to oppose the policy.

Karl Smith said he thought it was an appropriate thing to mention in the resolution.

Jerome McCuin moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed. The amendment failed.

Karl Smith highlighted the second "that" clause on the resolution and said the ACLU is looking for a student who has been denied aid.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed.
The resolution passed

End of quoted minutes

So, as I noted in my free speech blog, they debate, they dissent, they discuss and debate more until one side prevails.

What happened in the blogsphere and radio shows is merely an extension of that concept.

UW Memorial Status- Limbo

There are still no minutes posted for the Senate Session on the 21st, nor the Steering Committee on the 20th.

Also a new disclaimer is on the minutes site, advising one and all that "ALL MINUTES ARE PARAPHRASED UNLESS QUOTATION MARKS (" ") ARE INCLUDED!

Can't say they don't learn. I am sure the minutes are undergoing a severe vetting process this time. I can't say I blame them, but honestly, once again I remind them that all they have to do is post the session in a Podcast and then no one would worry about accurate quotes.

The Resolution for an apology from Jill Edwards as well as the Resolution in Support of the Right of Military Recruiters to be Present on Campus have both been tabled indefinitely, which means they are effectively dead.

We all waited anxiously because of the Seattle Times Article suggesting a vote on the memorial for all MOH awardees was possibly going to happen.

It did not, the matter has not even been heard in committee. A rumor suggests the resolution is being suppressed until the media blitz wears down, but others dispute that, and insist that it is just having to wait its turn in committee.

Finally I read that the Senate Sessions are open to the public Tuesdays at 5pm in HUB 310, so I encourage any interested parties to attend and see for themselves, rather then rely on paraphrased minutes. I am considering it myself.

I doubt there is a means for public commentary, but that question should be addressed to the Senate Chair.

I also strongly encourage anyone who decides to attend to do so as passive observers, and be respectful and not disruptive. I would extend that to any mail or communication to any parties. There is enough bad feeling going around. Let's try communication instead.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Free Speech at the UW and Beyond

I am a fairly tolerant guy, I really am. Sure I get surly about some things, but I have learned that getting pissed about minor stuff is pointless

But this raging debate about free speech concerning the Boyington Memorial is really starting to irritate me. The matter itself is simple enough to understand. They debated a proposed memorial, and in the process a couple of people spoke their minds. The details of those comments were heard by a larger audience, who expressed disapproval and outrage. The memorial was defeated and that drew more outrage.

Suddenly, it was not about respect, or race, (re: the comments by the students) it was all about free speech, and suddenly the bloggers and talk radio were under attack as trying to tamper with the opinions of the students, and we are being disrespectful.

Can you say "blame shifting"?

Lee Dunbar is quoted as saying:

...He has been witness to blatant disregard and disrespect toward students and their right to express themselves freely.

...

He said he would do everything in his power to prevent such blatant disrespect for student's opinions.

Roadkill Blog, in a post that minimalized the students as just silly, but criminalized the critics as "not quite Nazis" and chickenhawks, shows his dissatisfaction of the wider debate thusly:

(speaking of the bloggers and radio shows)...But not to the war party. They just couldn't wait to put a jackboot on somebody's neck because they cannot tolerate any more dissent, especially now, that their Iraq escapade is in tatters. It's not quite a NAZI attitude, but it's on the path to it. Since the wars this fallen Nation chooses to embroil itself in no longer have any real honor, the war fanatics fight at every turn to stoke the inherently tarnished, diminished honor of the volunteers who have chosen to follow our misleaders.

and in my comments:

There is something fundamentally tainted about raising a ruckus to force - coerce, actually - someone to support an honor they would freely choose not to support.

When this thing is built - I will assume it will be - people will walk by and remember this was the one the military mob forced down the Senate's throat. The conflict will be recalled before the medal winners, which is a shame. The assault on free speech will be remembered and the assaults on the Solomons forgotten... Again.

You know, what the UW really needs is a monument to the futility of force...

Now would Possum, the noble MINO* please answer me a question? How is the act of protest and debate an act of forcing, and as any true moderate should know, is that any different then the attempts to drain the memorial of its substance by watering the language? Did they not just force that issue, then kill it when they couldn't contain it?

Rather hypocritical, really. If you say it, it is free speech, and protected and sacred, and magic and special, but if *I* disagree, then *my* speech is disrespectful and coercive.

Sweet...

Um, this is a debate gang, of course it's coercive! The whole point of debate is to oppose the other sides arguments and convince the undecided to support *you*. Is that not what happened? Hello? Bueller?

What pisses everyone off is that the debate continued after the resolution was killed. Rather then simply slink away, tail between legs, cowed for having the audacity to propose a memorial, the sponsor refused to give up, and now the students face a consequence that they seem to feel they are above: A few are being held accountable for their words.

Nicole Brodeur stated it well in her Seattle Times column:

(Speaking of Senator Jill Edwards)

Bloggers jumped all over her, one writer suggesting a Pappy Boyington Memorial Scholarship at UW for U.S. Marines or their children.

...

Edwards had a few things of her own to post on a UW page: "I talked more than I ever have before and realized exactly why I never talk. I am thouroughly (sic) regretting opeining (sic) my mouth."

And therein lies the irony. Guys like Pappy Boyington won her the freedom to do that.

What you do with that freedom can carry consequences. The trick is to learn from those mistakes Â? and from the people who made such lessons possible.

Bingo. In case you missed it, here is the short version:

Free speech isn't really free.

First of all, people like Pappy died to win you that freedom, and second, free speech is not an absolute. There are some restrictions on it, regardless of what you or the ACLU may say. Oh, not just the tired old "shouting Fire in a crowded theater" example. Remember hate speech? Threatening the president? What about preaching sedition? Are those free speech? Nope, all illegal.

Oh, don't get me wrong, the examples are limited for a good reason. Free speech must exist in as much freedom as it can, or we are not free.

So, what is free speech really?

It is certainly easy to open your mouth and spew out anything you want, that's true. But that really isn't free speech. Free speech doesn't happen until you are wildly disagreed with, but your right to say what you did is respected. Free speech is not saying what everyone around you agrees with, it is saying what they intensely disagree with, and them allowing you to disagree.

Missed it again? Free speech is not about words, it is about ideas. It is about conveying an idea, and the Courts protect it when it isn't even in words. It is about communication.

So a few students protested their opinion of unworthiness of the honoree. Totally acceptable free speech. So some bloggers and radio shows expressed that they thought the students were ignorant and disrespectful. Also protected free speech.

So a debate began to continue the project anyway, a perfect example of effective communication and, as anyone who passed Civics might know, a perfect example of the continuing evolving legislative process.

The students understand coercion, they passed this resolution endorsing Lobby Day, and they passed this one opposing Denial of Federal Financial Aid due to drug convictions, in which they encourage people affected to contact the ACLU and don't forget the Resolutoin currently in consideration to Admonish Military Recruiters.

The even have a Lobbying Blog: http://asuwogr.blogspot.com/

Isn't that the sweetest little bit of irony? They are complaining that bloggers are trying to coerce them, operate a blog detailing their attempts to coerce (lobby) the State Legislature. I love it.

They obviously get it. They use it. They work to influence the world around them through debate and resolution, through communication of ideas. They just don't like it when the world tries to influence them back; then they call it unfair and disrespectful.

Ya know what? Grow up. I repeat: Grow up. You don't like being called petulant, then don't whine.

Free speech is all the rage when the people agree with you, isn't it? But is sure sucks when it comes knocking on your door with it's own opinion, and you sure don't like when it disagrees with you.

Yes, this post is very cynical, I admit it. But the whining is growing tiresome.

To Jill and Ashley: You said it, now own it and deal with it.

And I again categorically condemn any hate mail you, or anyone else received.

To the UW Senate: Keep it up. Debate hard, and loud, and with passion. Influence the world around you, but remember you do so in what Lee Dunbar called "A center of the community." You would be well advised to remember that the community extends beyond the campus to the world around you. You know this, because you lobby to change that world. If so, then you have to accept that the world is also watching and will try to influence you.

Don't get snarky about.

Communicate.

*MINO= Moderate In Name Only...Fair is fair, he calls me a Moderate in Training. If he is an example of a trained moderate, God Help us.