Opposite world

March 12, 2009

Alright, I’m really having a tough time with this. See, as much as I want to hate the Boulder Daily Camera — and I really, really, really do — I found myself pumping the refresh button like a coke-addled chimpanzee on their site all day today, while I barely paid any attention at all to  DU’s Race to the Bottom, which I was just extolling the virtues of yesterday.

Yeah, I’m fickle.

Anyway, highlights from the Daily Camera.

To begin, it turns out the Guv doesn’t have much of  a memory.

Attorney David Lane began his questioning of Owens by playing for the jury a video of a deposition of former CU President Betsy Hoffman, in which Hoffman said Owens called her a few days after Churchill’s 9/11 essay began to make headlines to demand that she “fire Ward Churchill tomorrow.”

She testified in that proceeding that Owens told her if she didn’t, that he would “unleash his plan.”

“It was very short, threatening phone call,” she was seen saying.

Owens said he didn’t recall making those kinds of statements to Hoffman.

“I don’t remember that conversation, but it doesn’t sound like me,” the former governor testified. “I don’t deal with people in an angry and threatening way.”

And he doesn’t deal in threats. He just states facts. 

Lane next challenged Owens on statements he made to Bill O’Reilly, on the conservative talk-show host’s national TV program, on March 29, 2005.

He showed a transcript of the show to the jury and highlighted a response Owens gave when O’Reilly asked him if he had any power to remove Churchill from CU.

Owens told O’Reilly he couldn’t fire him, but that he did have some authority over the state budget.

“I do have some budget authority over the budget,” Owens said to O’Reilly, according to the transcript. “l do have some bully pulpit authority.”

Lane asked the former governor if that didn’t constitute a “not so veiled threat” to CU to fire Churchill or else risk a cut in its budget.

“I wouldn’t suggest its a veiled threat, it’s just stating a fact,” Owens said.

It’s sort of like if I told you I’d just bought a .45 and would just as soon put a round in your head as look at you. That’s not a threat, see? Just a fact.

Then there’s this gem, which I remember from the time.

Lane pushed further, quoting Owens on O’Reilly’s show after the talk-show host told the governor that it looked like a process was in place to methodically get Churchill fired in a way that wouldn’t pose any legal problems.

Lane said it sounded like Owens was describing a grand plan for finishing off Churchill as a professor.

“That’s exactly right, that’s exactly right,” the transcript shows Owens telling O’Reilly. “The process is starting. I think it will result in his being fired.”

The context was clear, of course. No need to jump the gun, was the official line from Owens, the Regents, and pretty much all of CU’s Administration, we’ll take our time and get him good.

But that was really nothing compared to CU Law School Dean David Getches’ admission that he sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted to be tried by anyone as obviously biased as Mimi Wesson.

Lane also attacked Getches for reviving old allegations of misconduct from an academic rival of Churchill’s — University of New Mexico law professor John LaVelle.

He said it seemed like odd timing that as one of the key people looking into whether Churchill’s essay was protected speech, Getches was introducing allegations of academic misconduct that had first been brought to his attention by LaVelle six years earlier.

“All of a sudden here you are advancing LaVelle’s cause to this committee,” Lane said.

Lane finished his questioning of Getches by asking him why law professor and colleague Mimi Wesson was chosen to head up the investigative committee looking into Churchill’s scholarship after she had written in an email that Churchill was “a thoroughly unpleasant individual” and “another male celebrity wrongdoer” who had similarities with the worst attributes of O.J. Simpson, Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson.

He asked Getches if he’d want to be judged by someone who had made similar comments about him.

Getches said he wouldn’t.

Good God is this fun. Can’t wait until tomorrow.


2 Responses to “Opposite world”

  1. […] deposition — and has spent the better part of the morning feigning the sort of memory lapses which Bill Owens perfected last […]

  2. […] deposition — and has spent the better part of the morning feigning the sort of memory lapses which Bill Owens perfected last […]

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