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Bill Maxwell, St. Petersburg Times: Intimidation from the Right (re Cronon's ALEC blog)

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 12:25 PM
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Bill Maxwell, St. Petersburg Times: Intimidation from the Right (re Cronon's ALEC blog)

Intimidation from the right
By Bill Maxwell, Times Correspondent
In Print: Sunday, April 3, 2011

I always have been troubled that instead of public policy being generated at our public universities, too much policy is created and controlled by powerful think tanks, organizations in which well-paid experts give advice and ideas on specific economic and political issues. They are funded mainly by large businesses and major foundations, and they provide customized agendas and playbooks for elected officials and others who influence public policy.

With the rise of conservatism, our universities increasingly are being weakened in their role as leaders in solving the nation's most pressing problems. Universities, with professors out front, best serve taxpayers by helping government establish equitable, sensible public policies and by assisting in improving quality of life in general. Professors' primary job was never to create ideologically expedient studies and talking points that serve special interests and politicians on either side of the aisle.

Professors must be free to disseminate their research and observations without fear of reprisals from elected officials and others. But if recent efforts by conservative think tanks and other Republican-affiliated groups in Michigan and Wisconsin to obtain the e-mails of public university professors they find objectionable turn into a national trend, "academic freedom" will be eroded even more.

-snipping paragraphs about the WI GOP and Michigan's Mackinac Center using FOIA requests to try to intimidate Cronon and other professors, and a paragraph about how Florida Gov. Rick Scott has aligned himself with such right-wing think tanks as the the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation (which as I pointed out in another topic was behind his opposition to high speed rail) and Heritage Foundation-

How long, then, will it be before Scott and his think tank advisers start going after the e-mails of Florida professors with whom they disagree?
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