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SRJC teacher found dead - Instructor's 'kill the president' e-mail assignment controversial
The Press Democrap ^ | 11-10-04 | By PAUL PAYNE

Posted on 11/10/2004 8:49:24 AM PST by Doomonyou

SRJC teacher found dead

Instructor's 'kill the president' e-mail assignment controversial

Wednesday, November 10, 2004



Michael H. Ballou, a Santa Rosa Junior College instructor questioned last year by the Secret Service over a controversial assignment involving President Bush, has died, the Sonoma County coroner said Tuesday.

The 49-year-old political science instructor died Saturday at his Guerneville home where he lived alone, Sheriff's Sgt. Will Wallman said.

The cause of his death is under investigation, but detectives have ruled out homicide, Wallman said. "There's nothing to say he died at the hands of another, but, otherwise, the book is wide open."

He said an autopsy has been conducted and authorities await the results of toxicology and microscopic tissue tests.

A neighbor discovered the body.

Ballou, who also spelled his name Ballow, was a part-time teacher at the junior college's Petaluma campus and had been on the faculty since 1990.

Ballou was born in Ogden, Utah. He had a master's degree from Brigham Young University and a bachelor's degree from Weber State College, an SRJC spokeswoman said.

He became embroiled in controversy in the summer of 2003 when he assigned students to compose an e-mail with the words "kill the president" in the body of the text.

Ballou said he was trying to demonstrate to students' fear of government and the "growing police state."

Although he said students were instructed not to send the message, one e-mailed it to the Washington office of Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena. Within days, Secret Service agents arrived to question Ballou .

Ballou defended his lesson, saying he meant no harm to the president. In a newspaper column, Ballou said the response proved his point.

Students supported him, saying it was a valuable experience. But faculty, administrators and parents weren't impressed. Robert Agrella, the college president, said he was "ashamed and embarrassed," and fellow teachers wrote letters to the editor, calling the assignment irresponsible. However, administrators stopped short of disciplinary action.

"He was a pretty controversial guy," Agrella said Tuesday.

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aids; bush; dead; michaelballou; rats; sorelosers; srjc; teacher
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To: rlmorel

I'm sure He doesn't. And I also don't want to make the mistake of attributing human emotions to God.

61 posted on 11/10/2004 9:29:07 AM PST by twigs
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To: dead

Does he have tenure?

62 posted on 11/10/2004 9:29:39 AM PST by processing please hold (All I ever need to know about Islam, I learned on 9-11)
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To: wtc911
elizabetty wrote: Reeping what you sow? _________________________________ Exactly what did he "sow"? An ill advised but ultimately harmless lesson that showed students that they are not moving through the world unobserved? In your book that warrants death? Unbelievable

Please do not overlook my question mark. It means, "I do not know, I am questioning" It in no way means anything like what you suggest.

63 posted on 11/10/2004 9:34:03 AM PST by elizabetty
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To: frog_jerk_2004

I think it is illegal to advocate the "violent overthrow" or use force. I think it is perfectly legal to advocate the "peaceful overthrow", since that is what an election is...

64 posted on 11/10/2004 9:34:20 AM PST by TommyDale
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To: Doomonyou

Below is an interesting interchange between a fellow who owns a web site and this former fudgepacker for Kerry:

W(h)ine Country
... away, "Lazy Bear Weekend" for super-sized, hairy gay men (and their admirers) will dominate Guerneville.I'd say ... Best to all, Michael H. Ballou. Political Science Professor ... 2003_07_01_whino_archive.html

Friday, July 18, 2003

More on SRJC instructor Michael Ballou (of "Kill the President" notoriety), the Stupidest Guy in Sonoma County.
"Calling himself an "unrepentant sinner," Santa Rosa Junior College instructor Michael Ballou Thursday responded to his college president's criticism of his "kill the president" class assignment, labeling his boss "hypocritical" and saying the incident was blown out of proportion."

This space has thus far limited itself to a few pithy remarks about the stories posted. We depart from that policy to give Mr. Ballou the 'fisking' he is asking for. Below, his response as printed, interspersed with our comments:

Ouch! Dr. Agrella. But don't you think you're protesting just a bit too much given the facts of the case and the unanswered questions? And isn't it a bit possible you're engaging in just another one of your famous vendettas? This new statement of yours does nothing to explain your complicity in blowing this issue wildly out of proportion. Why did you involve the media?
Funny, the original story gives Ballou's students, not the head of SRJC as the ones who blew the whistle. They contacted the FBI and and Cong. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena
Just when are you going to take responsibility for your role in the creation of this farce? Given the number of scandals Dr. Robert Agrella has foisted upon the SRJC community over the years, I'm hardly going to take much criticism from him to heart. "Shamed and embarrassed" is he for the school? Lordy, how hypocritical could one man be?
It appears Dr. Agrella is accused of some unprofessional behavior. We have no opinion on that at this time, but will certainly look into it. regardless, the pot calling the kettle black doesn't mean both aren't black.
Secondly, to the Secret Service: If the concern here is the physical safety of the President and that tracking the words "kill the president" somehow makes this possible, isn't this the worst way to achieve this goal? Or is it just another example of “blow back� that our intelligence services have been experiencing of late. They made a big deal of it. Now there’s a reaction and “kill the president� is all over the place. Didn't they just make their job more difficult?
How is it someone in the teaching profession has so little knowledge of how the world works, especially these days?
And as for President Bush, the man...well I'm no fan of his, but I have been impressed at the speed at which this whole episode has unfolded. He should sleep well at night. And maybe while he's busy scapegoating the intelligence services and other secret services for his own blunders in the Middle East, he should reflect back on the hair-trigger performance of those same forces covering his back in such dangerous locations as bucolic Sonoma County. No Osama, no Saddam, no WMDs, but we can certainly find and scare the bejesus out of some political science students in northern California. Now don’t you all feel safe?
Osama's dead. Saddam may be, or is at least literally underground. Clinton, Gore, Daschle, Pelosi, Blix, Ritter, and even Chirac said Saddam had WMD. Saddam has even used WMD against the Kurds and Iran. But a mantra is a mantra...
Nope, the fact that Dr. Agrella notified the media, the timing, the presence of the Secret Service and the FBI, and the involvement of all my students point to the conclusion that this is meant for public consumption. They could have just limited this to the three people involved. Why didn't they? Why all the fuss? And how does this compare with the College and the FBI's own very un-hypothetical object lesson?
Are we supposed to accept this oblique plea of naivete? Isn' this guy on the same side as those decrying the 'heavy handed' feds and the 'trashing' of our civil rights? Ballou seems to think only he can yell 'Fire!" in a crowded theater.
My class exercise was just a provocative phrase on a computer or a piece of paper to bring out people's fear of government surveillance. I’ve used this exercise for a long time and have never had a problem. So I suppose the question is “Why now?� It’s been a couple of years since 9/11, so that doesn’t explain it?
Maybe he does exist in an informational vacuum. I thought there was a war on.
Do you think it’s because we’re whipping ourselves up into a state of frenzy? And who's responsible for that? As I tell my students "You can't have a National Security State without a National Insecurity state".
By this time, I think we can all figure out who is in a frenzy.
People are sick and tired of the constant alerts and alarms. In the face of this growing stress and tension caused in the main by the media and forces within our own government, I think one student fed into the fear and the other acted defiantly.
I think they were just sick and tired with your shit, Mike.
But now we come to the more interesting question: what is it about the words "kill the president" that upset people so?
For the media, it's the sensation of the phrase and it's marketability. The Press Democrat who self-righteously opined that my assignment was a “melodramatic stunt that demonstrates nothing� nevertheless gave it prominence on their front page.
Now throw in a pinch of anti-Californian bias (those crazy Californians!!!), anti-Bay area bias (those even crazier Homos, former hippies, radical peace protesters!!!), and a pinch of anti-Academia bias and cook it at 350 Fahrenheit until we move on to the next piece of sensation.
Taken literally, that's the first sense he's made in this screed.
Well, something happened the other day that explains a lot: I got a note from an anonymous source with a name "Michael - kill the president - Ballou" written in Arabic. Connect the dots and you'll understand that people are afraid...very, very afraid. And here something comes along that attacks our team captain (or at least the notion of a team captain). This author apparently also feels that we are at war with Arabic-speaking people. Ergo, I am now a traitor to the team and to the cause.
What else did it say? That one quote is somewhat out of context. Turn it over to the Feds, if it is threatening.
In this spin, the President is not just the head of the executive branch that according to our Constitution is subordinate to Congress in nearly all ways, but actually a sort of “personality cult�. The civic "sin" I've committed (more like stumbled into) is to expose and question the validity of one or more unspoken rules of his mystique.
Most Americans would be shocked to learn that outside of the conduct of war, presidents are meant to be very boring administrators, facilitators and bureaucrats. He is most emphatically not our “fearless� leader or Captain of the Football Team or Leader of the Free World. That’s why presidents of every political persuasion like war so much.
Really? Was FDR during the Depression boring? Not a 'fearless' leader, only cautioning us to fear fear itself?
Secondly, whether it is an extremely intelligent man like Bill Clinton or George W., a “legacy� student with C grades from Yale, he gets excoriated by the system. No one can fulfill the requirements of the job. Like the pace of media, or our growing fears and paranoia, the demands of the Presidency have spun out of control and are crashing. That’s how Ritalin works, by the way; it speeds you up to slow you down.
My attention is wandering a little right now.
Also, let’s face it – we’ve been at war with someone someplace for the better part of a century. Our institutions are built around it. It’s going to take some time to change the face of those institutions and what informed people call their “raison d’etre�. What we can change today, however, is our personal attitude toward those institutions.
All we are saying, is give Dean a chance.
In short, we put too much into our Presidents.
So I say, instead of “kill the president�, let’s kill the Presidency….in our hearts and in our minds. No more team captains, or “Sun Kings� or celebrity culture. Putting this man as the apex of our society is a projection of our own elitist attitudes anyway which wouldn’t happen in a truly democratic society. It’s clear to me now that boring presidents who don’t appear on the evening news very often is probably a good indicator of the degree of democracy in a society.
Oh, it's all society's fault. I should have guessed.
So there you have it. What may superficially appear to be a puff piece or a silly farce is likely another battle between those who would engineer a culture of elitism and those who favor democracy.
He's a victim! Can he parley this into martyrhood, and get on the college speaker circuit?
Finally, let me address the issue of crazy Californians. As I type this I am three miles away from the Bohemian Grove where the male members of our ruling elite will have a summer camp this weekend. They will have their alleged "satanic" rituals, their drag shows, urine will flow freely along the trails and byways. Down the road, protests will take place and a "Fat Cat" parade will prove that progressives really do have more fun while they endeavor to make the world a better place. Another ten miles away, there will be an ultra-realistic Civil War re-enactment. Up the road, the Occidental Fire Dept will hold it's event. Another seven miles or so away, "Lazy Bear Weekend" for super-sized, hairy gay men (and their admirers) will dominate Guerneville.I'd say we're crazy and isn't it grand?! I've fallen in love with the place all over again. The rest of the country has reason to be jealous.....and nervous.
Not as much as the bears.
Best to all,
Michael H. Ballou
Political Science Professor
Santa Rosa Junior College

A long PS follows, but you get the jist. He's been wronged, he did nothing wrong, he isn't responsible, blah blah blah.

# posted by Crispin @ 3:31 PM

65 posted on 11/10/2004 9:36:16 AM PST by Grampa Dave (FNC/ABCNNBCBS & the MSM fishwraps are the Rathering Fraudcasters of America!)
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To: FairfaxVA
A wonderful mis-reading of what this guy did. The lesson that he was trying to get to his students was that they are being observed at a distance. It something they should know, something you probably already do know. If you doubt it try the exercise and send the message to yourself. If you get a call it means the guy was right. let me know how it works out.

What was the full text of the message that included the phrase "kill the president"? Did it reference W. or was it along the lines of "my dad got screwed by that car dealer and he'd like to "kill the president" of Ford."? or Maybe talking about a movie they saw where these guys tried to "kill the President". I don't know. I think that neither do you yet you classify it as a threat against the president.

66 posted on 11/10/2004 9:37:00 AM PST by wtc911 (W will win because God still loves America)
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To: wtc911

Tell you what.

You post a threat against our president, and you will find out how harmless that is.

There is nothing harmless with threats like this disguised as an class exercise.

67 posted on 11/10/2004 9:38:06 AM PST by Grampa Dave (FNC/ABCNNBCBS & the MSM fishwraps are the Rathering Fraudcasters of America!)
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To: Doomonyou

The first of the Dems on suicide watch to go?

68 posted on 11/10/2004 9:39:12 AM PST by BushisTheMan
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
I guess he was trying to demonstrate that Carnivore sifts through all emails

Carnivore was most likely not the reason for the Secret Service visit. I would think the fact that the email was sent to Rep. Mike Thompson might have something to do with it.

69 posted on 11/10/2004 9:41:28 AM PST by kaboom
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To: Doomonyou

Of course there was no evidence of homocide. Those Delta guys in the black helicopters know how to make it look like natural causes. If you need further proof, just look at the Wellstone case...



[/sarcasm] - for those of you who might have been taking me seriously.

70 posted on 11/10/2004 9:42:57 AM PST by BlueNgold (Feed the Tree .....)
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To: Grampa Dave
Tell you what....find and post the original class assignment text so we can all see exactly what the wording and context were. As I wrote in another post there are a hundred different harmless sentences in which the phrase can be written that have nothing to do with a threat to the president, eg...

"John Wilkes Booth planned for weeks to kill the President."

Do you know the exact wording used? If you do, post it. If you don't then you're just guessing.

71 posted on 11/10/2004 9:43:25 AM PST by wtc911 (W will win because God still loves America)
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To: Doomonyou
My favorite line from the thread so far...

"SRJC is one of the best schools in the country BTW. My educational experiences after attending there always paled." (from poster Sideways)

Must be one of them Ivy League Junior Colleges...

72 posted on 11/10/2004 9:43:26 AM PST by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: Doomonyou

I think these come in three's don't they??

73 posted on 11/10/2004 9:47:07 AM PST by rlwinston
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
"SRJC is one of the best schools in the country BTW. My educational experiences after attending there always paled." (from poster Sideways)

Must be one of them Ivy League Junior Colleges...

It was a good school when I went there in 78-79, I hate to think what drivel is being pumped into students heads these days, especially the poly-Sci dept.

74 posted on 11/10/2004 9:47:54 AM PST by Doomonyou (Molon Labe! FMCDH!)
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To: wtc911

There will be zero tolerance with anyone going this route of threatening our president.

Mike Thompson is a uber liberal congressman, and his office sent this to the secret service when they found out about it.

Interesting you are spending all of this effort to defend someone who pushes killing the president.

75 posted on 11/10/2004 9:48:04 AM PST by Grampa Dave (FNC/ABCNNBCBS & the MSM fishwraps are the Rathering Fraudcasters of America!)
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To: Doomonyou

Haliburton hit squad hehehe

76 posted on 11/10/2004 9:48:27 AM PST by edchambers
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To: twigs

I can. When Arafat is "officially" dead, I will be estatic. I have had some people tell me that this is wrong and un-christian. I got to thinking that maybe they were right, then it dawned on me, that Arafat wasn't a christian -so F--- him.

77 posted on 11/10/2004 9:48:31 AM PST by packrat35 (reality is for people who can't face science fiction)
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To: Grampa Dave
Interesting you are spending all of this effort to defend someone who pushes killing the president.....

Yeah, you're right, that's what I'm doing.

78 posted on 11/10/2004 9:50:27 AM PST by wtc911 (W will win because God still loves America)
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To: rlwinston
I think these come in three's don't they??

And you can believe it's all going to be Bush's fault!

79 posted on 11/10/2004 9:51:48 AM PST by Doomonyou (Molon Labe! FMCDH!)
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To: murdoog

They linked it inside their de-bunking of the Clinton Body Count.

Another FReeper warned me about it, and bygod he was right!

80 posted on 11/10/2004 9:53:40 AM PST by The Flying Dutchman
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