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Special Report

Is the University of Wisconsin Taking Freedom of Speech Too Far?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Conspiracy Class

The Kevin Barrett to teach a fall class on Islam, including his theory that the U.S. government planned the 9/11 terror attacks to launch a war on Muslim nations. Provost Patrick Farrell says a 10-day review of Barrett's history found a record of "quality teaching," adding, "we cannot allow political pressure from critics of unpopular ideas to inhibit the free exchange of ideas."

Barrett, who believes many of the so-called 9/11 hijackers are alive and calls Al Qaeda a "myth" fabricated by the government, tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he plans to spend a week of the class studying a "variety of viewpoints" on the 9/11 attacks.

'Overtly Racist' Sheriff?

The ACLU is demanding that a Louisiana lawman retract what it says are "overtly racist" remarks, denouncing his call to question young African Americans walking the streets "with dreadlocks and 'chee wee' hairstyles," as a civil rights violation.

But St Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, who is white, says he was merely engaging in basic police work when he made the statements on local TV — since he's trying to find two suspects in a quadruple murder case who match that description.

Still, the ACLU accused Strain of engaging in racial profiling of Katrina evacuees from New Orleans, and says ACLU officials will meet with local NAACP leaders to discuss their concerns.

Party Plagiarism

Editors at the University of Iowa's student newspaper the Daily Iowan have fired student columnist John Heineman after discovering his column advocating a minimum wage hike was lifted nearly word for word from a Democratic Party document.

Heineman's July 10 column borrows liberally from a June 29 Democratic Policy Committee press release blasting Congress raising its own pay before bumping up the minimum wage.

The cub reporter may have picked up the release in his role as a Washington intern for Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who ironically opposes a minimum wage hike. Heineman has since apologized, but is still encouraging students to write for the paper, calling it "truly a platform that can be used for positive change."

Using Your Head

French soccer star Zinedine Zidane, who was thrown out of the World Cup's championship game in overtime for headbutting an Italian opponent, returned to France Monday.

You might expect that he'd be greeted with boos, or condemned for contributing to his country's heartbreaking penalty-kick defeat. Not quite. Instead, Zidane received an invitation to join President Jacques Chirac for lunch at the Elysee Palace.

Chirac expressed the "admiration and affection of the whole nation" for Zidane, calling him "a man of the heart, of commitment, of conviction, and that's why France admires and loves you."

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.