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Doesn't a published columnist have obligation to get facts right?

To The Daily Sun,

In his response to my letter calling attention to his bogus assertion that the Dearborn City Council instituted Sharia Law, Mr. Meade asks whether I believe "that students don't read the opinions their teachers write in the newspapers and are therefore not academically or politically influenced by them." I think he is suggesting that I should not be offering my opinions in public.

That is exactly why there is academic freedom and tenure, Bob. So, people like you, who don't like a particular teacher's opinions, don't get to decide whether they get to keep their jobs. Do you know anything about the teaching of those whose livelihoods you've threatened? Do you know that I celebrate every student who expresses an opinion whether they agree with me or not?

Do I challenge them? Of course. I challenge them all to make their points more effectively using logic and evidence and by doing the hard work necessary, like checking their facts, to win their arguments. My job, which I take very seriously, is to develop their critical faculties, not to convince them that I'm right about this issue or that. Diversity of opinion is, in fact, a great teaching tool.

Bob also said that his reference to the Dearborn City Council and Sharia Law wasn't about anyone breaching the church/state barrier. That's a head-scratcher, since that's exactly what it is when elected officials vote to follow religious law — a violation of the First Amendment prohibition regarding the separation of church and state.

Finally, Bob says he stands by what he wrote even though it was factually incorrect because it seemed consistent with his other research. So I guess he is saying that facts and the truth don't matter as long as they sound good. What is that if not motivated reasoning? Don't you have an obligation, Bob, as a published columnist, to get your facts right?

By the way, Bob, some of my students do read my letters. Some of them agree with me and some don't, but they all see me modeling a form of civic engagement. I encourage them to write about what they believe in — using logic and evidence.

Dave Pollak

Laconia

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I was overwhelmed with Donald Trump's knowledge & impact

To The Daily Sun,

I attended the Donald Trump rally at the Weirs Beach Community Center in Laconia (Thursday) evening. The hall was full, 350 people and another 650 stood in the parking lot. Listening to Mr. Trump speak in person is the most enlightening and positive experience that I have ever had.

I was overwhelmed with his knowledge and his positive impact on myself and the audience. He let everyone know that he has $10 billion and will not be bought by any donors. His speech was truthful and all about making America great again. I believe that he can put our country together and bring our jobs back home.

I was unsure if I would support him before the rally, I will now support him 100 percent.

If you have a chance to attend one of his rallies please do so.

Douglas Isleib
Gilmanton Iron Works

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