while it may take a while to wade through the cross references in the bill itself, the bottom line is rather simple. the bill would create a board designed to monitor the scholarship and curricula of university programs and to assess them in light of whether they provide sufficient airtime to champions of american foreign policy. the board will be able to use governmental resources to evaluate and investigate both academic scholarship and courses to assure that they have acceptable content, and, if not, can threaten to cut off their funding. the members of the board will be appointed by the secretary of education, speaker of the house and president pro tem of the senate (p. 19 of the pdf)--all three of which are currently held by republicans. notably, the bill further specifies that some of the first appointees to the board will have longer terms than subsequent appointees (p. 23), guaranteeing that apologists for this administration will dominate the board and thus influence federal funding of middle eastern programs through the next presidential term, regardless of who wins presidential election or ends up with control of congress.
juan cole's post (juan is a professor of middle eastern history at the university of michigan) has a well-thought out analysis of the flaws of this legislation and includes the following plea:
I plead with all the thousands of you who have expressed interest in this site and read it frequently, to FAX your senator, or the senate generally, expressing your conviction that this advisory committee be excised from the final bill. Repeat: The message should be that HR 3077 is OK in general, but the "Advisory Board" stinks. The contact information is below. An email is better than nothing, but the FAX is what would get the job done.at the end of juan's post is contact information for each member of the senate health, education, labor and pension committee, who will be considering HR 3077. remember, polite messages are must more effective than rude sarcastic ones. it can be hard to restrain one's self sometimes. but if you want your message to have an impact and not be summarily tossed in the "wacko" pile, you need to avoid inflamatory words and stick to substantive polite argument. sometimes you gotta pretend to be respectable to be heard.
UPDATE:SENATE COMMITTEE (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) CONTACT
** If your senators are not on this list, it is still important to
contact them, especially in the event that the legislation is
confirmed by the HELP committee and goes to the entire Senate.
Contact information for senators is available at: www.senate.gov
SENATE COMMITTEE (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) CONTACT INFO:
** If your senators are not on this list, it is still important to contact them, especially in the event that the legislation is confirmed by the HELP committee and goes to the entire Senate. Contact information for senators is available at: www.senate.gov
Judd Gregg (R-NH) -- (202) 224-3324 or (603) 225-7115
Senator Edward Kennedy (MA) -- (202) 224-4543 or (617) 565-3170
Senator Christopher Dodd (CT) -- (202) 224-2823 or (860) 258-6940
Senator Tom Harkin (IA) -- (202) 224-3254 or (515) 284-4574
Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD) -- (202) 224-4654 or (410) 962-4510
Senator James Jeffords (I) (VT) -- (202) 224-5141 or (802) 223-5273
Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM) -- (202) 224-5521 or (505) 988-6647
Senator Patty Murray (WA) -- (202) 224-2621 or (206) 553-5545
Senator Jack Reed (RI) -- (202) 224-4642 or (401) 943-3100
Senator John Edwards (NC) -- (202) 224-3154 or (919) 856-4245
Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) -- (202) 224-4451 or (212) 688-6262
Senator Bill Frist (TN) -- (202) 224-3344 or (615) 352-9411
Senator Mike Enzi (WY) -- (202) 224-3424 or (307) 682-6268
Senator Mike DeWine (OH) -- (202) 224-2315 or (614) 469-5186
Senator Christopher Bond (MO) -- (202) 224-5721 or (573) 634-2488
Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) -- (202) 224-4944 or (615) 736-5129
Senator John Ensign (NV) -- (202) 224-6244 or (702) 388-6605
Senator Jeff Sessions (AL) -- (202) 224-4124 or (334) 244-7017
Senator Pat Roberts (KS) -- (202) 224-4774 or (913) 451-9343
Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) -- (202) 224-5972 or (864) 250-1417
Senator John Warner (VA) -- (202) 224-2023 or (804) 771-2579
(thanks to leah for taking up and passing on juan's call to arms).