William Cronon is a historian at the University of Wisconsin -- Madison. His work has recently led him into an inquiry into the shift in Republican policy in his state, and he published some preliminary notes linking that change to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC, a conservative pressure group that drafts "model bills" that it promulgates through its members, including many local, state and national legislators; they claim responsibility for Arizona's controversial immigration legislation).
Cronon's speculation about ALEC's link to Wisconsin politics has hit a nerve: for the first time in his career, the chaired, tenured professor has found himself to be the subject of a freedom of information act request from the Republican Party of Wisconsin, seeking the disclosure of any emails relating to Republicans in general, ALEC, various Republican politicians, labor, unions, etc.
Cronon is understandably alarmed: it appears that the Republican party is using sunshine laws to harass scholars who investigate its workings; Cronon points out that the inquiry that the GOP has requested will result in the unlawful disclosure of academic reports on students, as well as confidential (but not improper) discussions with other scholars. He thinks that the GOP is looking for a pretense in his email -- some personal or political communique that violates state rules against using his official email for personal work -- with which to discredit him.
Cronon claims that there is no such skeleton in his closet -- but he still wants to fight the disclosure, on the grounds that it is an improper use of sunshine laws for partisan intimidation.
In the meantime, there's a Streisand Effect aborning: if the Wisconsin Republican Party goes berserk any time someone speculates about a link between it and ALEC, well, perhaps more of us should be looking more closely at whether such a connection exists.
Abusing Open Records to Attack Academic Freedom
(Thanks, SalJake, via Submitterator)
Legalist is a startup founded by Thiel Fellow Eva Shang and Christian Haigh, backed by Y Combinator: it will use data-mining to identify people who have been legally wronged by deep-pocketed aggressors and offer to finance their litigation in return for a share of the winnings.
The new Ikea Catalog is making a big bet on very small living spaces — the kind of place that costs more than half your monthly salary but is too small for a dinner-table, let alone a separate room for your kids, who are supposed to sleep in a bunk-bed in the living room (“Why […]
Retired Brigadier General John Adams served for 30 years, including a stint as a military intelligence officer: in an op-ed in The Hill, he says that while he supports trade deals, the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership has almost nothing to do with trade, and will hasten America’s de-industrialization, making it harder for the US military […]
The Lytro Illum is our all-time best-selling camera and here’s our best deal yet. Apply the code “Lytro10” to save an extra 10% off on this camera’s mind-blowing functionality in this exclusive one day only sale.
If you’re looking to earn a top salary in the tech industry, there’s no better career than coding. However, sometimes the hardest part of entering this career path is knowing where to begin.We took the Complete Web Developer Course because it took that decision out of our hands. This course teaches beginner-friendly coding languages that will also help land an immediate […]
To be a Pokémon master, you’ll need a phone that won’t constantly die on you. Because nothing is worse than seeing the screen go black right as you’ve finally found the Charizard of your dreams.That’s why we’re so excited about the LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery ($39.99). With its 3.0 Amp HyperCharging technology, this slim battery will […]