The e-mail messages wouldn't have won Donald Steiner any dinner invitations to the president's home.
In one e-mail to a faculty discussion group at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Steiner -- a research professor -- responded to a recent message from President Shirley Jackson to the faculty by writing: "Sadly, I found more of the same subterfuge and insulting pabulum."
Alan Contreras is an increasing rarity these days: a knowledgeable public official who says what he thinks without worrying too much about whom he offends. That trait has him in a scrape over free speech with his superiors in Oregon's state government. And while they backed away Thursday from the action that had most troubled him, Contreras isn't backing down from the fight.