Saturday, May 06, 2006

McCain's invitation and a Mayo Clinic question

At we learn:

U.S. Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and past and possibly future presidential candidate [is scheduled to be this year’s commencement speaker] at the New School.

But hundreds of students, staff and faculty members at the institution of about 9,000 students have signed paper and online petitions that seek to revoke the invitation.

Several students and faculty members pointed out that McCain has supported banning gay marriage in Arizona, and that, three days before his visit to the New School, McCain will be speaking at Liberty University, whose founder and chancellor, Rev. Jerry Falwell, has openly expressed his opposition to homosexuality. […]
Plans are underway to disrupt the commencement if McCain, a war hero who endured years of torture while a POW in North Vietnam, speaks.

On the comment thread following the report, we find statements such as:
“Honoring free speech does not mean staying silent in the face of someone abetting those who mean to criminalize your existence.”


“He’s a homopohobic (sic) bigot, just like the rest of them.”
Not all commenters agree with such sentiments. We read, for example:
“I just love it when people preach inclusion while seeking to exclude.”

“Student Harper Keenan notes that in ‘our classes we’re taught the value of inclusion of all people. . .’ except, of course, conservatives, Republicans, war heroes, Christians, and people with old fashioned family values.”

When you hear about liberals and leftists at the New School and elsewhere upset that McCain may speak at the commencement, do you ask yourself:
Does the Mayo Clinic have treatment programs for liberals and leftists suffering from post- traumatic stress disorders resulting from exposure to democracy, constitutional rights and informed opinions?

This Duke lacrosse commentary deserves, “Hip, hip, hypocrisy”

Barry Jacobs is the Chairman of The Orange County Board of Commissioners. Orange borders Durham County and includes the town of Chapel Hill and the campus of the University of North Carolina.

Jacobs regularly writes about women’s sports. Recently he sounded off in response to the Duke lacrosse case and made linkages to things liberal/leftists like to call “the larger truths.” Here’s some of Jacobs:

Under the best of circumstances, collegiate athletic competition involving women--most often condescendingly called "ladies" or "girls" by the sports media--routinely commands second-class coverage. […]

The off-field excesses of the Duke lacrosse team (men's) [provide] a dark and hurtful reminder of larger truths about sex, race and privilege.

How must female athletes, black and white, look at their male counterparts after such an episode, or rather how must they imagine their male counterparts look at them?

And, if boys-will-be-boys is tolerated by athletic administrators, where does a woman turn for support? […]
Jacobs serves up a lot more just like that and closes with:
But celebration of the ACC women's transcendent season was cut short by tales of racism, alcohol abuse and alleged sexual assault perpetuated (sic) by male Duke athletes. In this, too, the lacrosse team and its excesses served to victimize women.
Jacobs' piece appeared in the Apr. 12 edition of The Independent, a free, weekly newspaper with strong social and political appeal to the region’s “progressive community.”

The Independent survives on advertising revenue. Some of it comes from restaurants, bars advertising happy hours, book stores, and such.

But a lot of The Independent’s revenue comes from what Jacobs could tell you is a special niche market. The Independent pretty much has the market to itself because most other publications avoid it if they can.

I wish Jacobs was here to tell us what he calls the market. We’ll just have to do with a few examples. These ads are from the Mar. 29 Independent:

Introducing five brand new co-ed hotties to your area for the next three weeks only. Check out our pics online. Offering one-of-a –kind two girl shows. In or Out. Call: XXXX (no contact information will be provided in this post)

XXXX (ad title is also an internet address)

For the best of exotic dance, massage and entertainment try our ladies. Also selectively hiring
There are a lot more ads with titles such as BIG, SEXY & READY and PARTY, PARTY, PARTY. There’s even one that claims it provides “schedules, reviews & profiles” of other ESCORT SITES.

The Indy, as Jacobs calls it, has pages of ads with photos inviting readers to TRY IT and contact LOCAL DATELINE which bills itself as CASUAL, INTIMATE, and JUST FUN.

Speaking of bills, the ads often remind readers to have a Visa or Amex ready.

If you’re in Durham or anywhere else in the Triangle you can pick up a copy of The Indy most anywhere. The Indy must have at least 5 distribution points at Duke, including one in the lobby of the Bryan Student Center. Duke undergrads are a major target group for most Indy advertisers.

The Indy’s very popular at Duke. The other day I must have seen about 10 copies of it on desks and tables at the Divinity School.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn the lacrosse players who hired the exotic dancers found their contact information in The Indy.

I’ll bet it wouldn’t surprise Jacobs, either.

Now a little advice for all of you. If you’re ever speaking before the Orange County Commissioners, for goodness sakes don’t slip up and call a group of women "ladies" or "girls."

You know how mad that makes Commissioner Barry Jacobs.

For Commissioner Jacobs everybody get up and shout, "Hip, hip, hypocrisy!"

I’m emailing Jacobs a link to this post. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.

If you’d like to contact Jacobs his email is:
URL to full text of Jacobs' article:

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Churchill Series - May 5, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The other day I listened to a discussion, the outcome of which was this: the participants agreed Churchill wasn’t such a great man. He only seems that way, they said, because his ideas and actions are always being compared to people like Hitler and Mussolini. If he was compared to someone like – and here the discussants all agree on Gandhi – well, Churchill wouldn't look so great matched against Gandhi.

I didn’t say anything, but I thought to share a reaction with you here in the series.

So I went home and got out some notes I made a few years ago about Gandhi.

Let’s compare Churchill and Gandhi positions with regard to what were then, and are always, literally life and death matters: our response to violence and the kind of governance we accept for ourselves and others.

Churchill first.

It’s Oct. 29, 1941. Churchill's speaking to the students at his old school, Harrow:

“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.''
Vintage Churchill!

Now Gandhi.

On Apr. 9, 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway. Four days later Gandhi urged Danes, Norwegians and others to adopt a passive, non-cooperative response to the Nazis, even if that meant mass slaughter. He told Europeans:
“ The unexpected spectacle of endless rows upon rows of men and women simply dying rather then surrender to the will of an aggressor must ultimately melt him and his soldiery.”
That wasn’t a one-day only response. On June 29, 1940, with the Battle of France lost and the Battle of Britain about to begin, Gandhi advised the British Viceroy that Britain should:
“…fight Nazism without arms…invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island. If these gentlemen choose to occupy you homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered.”
The Viceroy later described himself as “taken aback.”

(I’ll get the text citations for the Gandhi by Tuesday when I’ll be at a university library.)

The deaths of millions never softened the Nazis. If anything, slaughter seems to have energized them to even greater evil; something Churchill had predicted.

As long as people know some history and value their Western freedoms, Churchill will rank among the Immortals.

A blogger and mother offers good advice to young woman

The Raleigh News & Observer reported today that a Duke University undergrad woman believes she was raped. Here's part of The N&O's report:

The woman, who first met the man at the party, told police that she had been drinking since the afternoon and that, although she was not used to taking drugs, she got a strong dose of the marijuana smoke.
Because of her intoxication, the woman's memory is sporadic for the rest of the night, but she does remember the man walking her home, she told police. She told police she remembers being in bed later and hearing, then seeing the man as he left her dorm room. He left his contact information on her computer.

The next morning, she felt like something had happened, according to the search warrant.
Blogger Betsy Newmark, a mother of two daughters and a school teacher, responded to The N&O's story with some advice:
Ladies, don't get stinking drunk, inhale marijuana, hang out in a guy's room, and then spend the next day wondering if some guy did something to you.
I think Betsy's advice will upset some feminists at Duke and elsewhere but it sounds fine to me.

It's the just the sort of advice my wife and I hope out granddaughter hears again and again.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Churchill Series - May 4, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Reading The Churchill Centre’s Action This Day report for June 10, 1944, we learn a bit about what happened when Churchill and other allied leaders visited the headquarters of the Allied ground commander, General Bernard Montgomery, four days after D-Day.

On June 10th, after Montgomery announced that "we have won the battle of the beaches" Churchill, Smuts, Brooke, General Marshall and Admiral King crossed the Channel where they were met by Montgomery. After a beach welcome they drove through "our limited but fertile domain in Normandy."

[Afterwards] they lunched on the lawn at Montgomery's headquarters, looking towards the front which was only three miles away.

Churchill enquired about the chances of German - armour breaking up their lunch.

Montgomery acknowledged that the chateau had indeed taken a pounding the night before.

The Prime Minister reminded him that "anything can be done once or for a short time, but custom, repetition, prolongation, is always to be avoided when possible in war."

Montgomery moved his headquarters two days later.

More McClatchy Duke headline bias – 5/4/06


Now comes another example of McClatchy's Raleigh News & Observer's “news team” at work.

A few minutes ago, a journalist friend emailed:


Along the line of what we were discussing, take a look at the N&O's Web site.

You'll see a headline: "Duke police investigate new rape case." (bold added)

Now, we don't know whether or not a rape occurred at the lacrosse party, but suddenly the N&O declares that Duke police are looking into a "new" rape case, this one in a dormitory.

The paper is playing too loose with language.

"New rape case" leads the reader to think, yes, a rape did occur at the lacrosse party (evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). This is truly shoddy journalism.

The headline should read, "Duke police investigate reported rape."(bold added)

My friend’s right in one way. The headline should read,

"Duke police investigate reported rape,"
as long as we assume all The N&O wanted to do was report news.

But what if The N&O wanted to smear the young students on Duke Men's lacrosse team?

In that case, the headline,
"Duke police investigate new rape case,"
works a lot better, doesn't it?

Let’s give McClatchy's N&O “news team” credit for knowing how to frame.

More N&O Duke lacrosse reporting bias

Raleigh News & Observer exec editor for news Melanie Sill continues to avoid serious discussion of the paper's much criticized Duke lacrosse reporting.

Sill's done what she often does: fall back on the old "Gee, we get it from both sides so we must be doing it right" argument instead of addressing specific, fact-based criticisms.

I left the comment you see at the end of this post at her blog.

I'll post again early this evening on a matter involving The N&O's failure to report important information concerning arrests and criminal proceedings against some lacrosse players.

Please come back.

Comment from: John [Visitor] •

05/04/06 at 02:52


"We get it from both sides " is an old excuse.

Specific examples that people can examine against a standard are what matter.

Readers have provided you with dozens of examples of The N&O's biased reporting.

Here are two more examples from many I could cite.

Your Apr. 1 story, “Tension spreads in lacrosse case,” included this photo caption:

Mike Pressler, coach of the Duke men's lacrosse team, snakes his way through players during a practice session Friday. The team's games have been suspended until allegations of a sexual assault at a players' party are resolved.

Pressler SNAKES his way through...???

When was the last time The N&O used "snakes" to describe a person walking among others?

You've told us about the accuser’s academic record, including that she got an A in a "hard course."

What have you said about the lacrosse team's academic accomplishments?

I don't recall The N&O telling readers anything like the following:

In 2005, twenty seven members of the lacrosse team, more than half, made the Atlantic Coast Conference's Academic Honor Roll, more than any other ACC lacrosse team.

Between 2001 and 2005, 146 members of the lacrosse team made the Academic Honor Roll, twice as many as the next ACC lacrosse team.

The lacrosse team's academic performance generally is one of the best among all Duke athletic teams.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Churchill Series – May 3, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In February 1902, twenty-seven year old Winston Churchill took his seat for the first time in the House of Commons. He was extremely ambitious and eager to advance in Parliament, so what he did a few months later is really extraordinary. He challenged the British political and military establishments over what for Churchill were matters of principle. What’s even more extraordinary, he prevailed.

According to Richard Hough:

At Winston’s old college, Sandhurst, there had occurred a series of mysterious fires. Accusations of [arson] were made against three cadets, but no evidence of guilt was discovered.

When the fires continued, an order was issued by the War Office and read out to an assembly. Unless the guilty were found within forty-eight hours, all cadets of C Company (where the fires had broken out) would be rusticated and all their servants (mostly old soldiers) discharged unless they could prove they were elsewhere when the fires broke out. Among them were the three cadets who had already been found not guilty.
Churchill took up the cadets’ cause. In a letter to the editor of The Times of London he said the War Offices action’s violated “three cardinal principles of equity.”

His biographer Martin Gilbert continues the narrative:
These principles were “that suspicion in not evidence; that accused should be heard in their own defense; and that it is for the accuser to prove his charge, not for the defendant to prove his innocence.”

All twenty-nine cadets had been sent down from the college. None had been charged with any offence. “Nothing having the remotest semblance to a judicial enquiry has been held.”

Even poor parents had to pay for a term in which their sons were not allowed to be in college, and which would not count towards their time there. “All the cadets I have seen strenuously deny and complicity with the “offence,” [Churchill wrote].

Churchill’s letter was answered by the headmaster of Sherborne School, the Reverend Frederick Westcott. Soldiers had to learn the lessons of corporate punishment, he wrote. “The innocent, doubtless, suffer with the guilty; but then they always do. The world has been so arranged.”

“Has it indeed?” Churchill asked in his reply on July 8. No doubt Westcott had taken care “that the little world over which he presides in arranged on that admirable plan, but it is necessary to tell him that elsewhere the punishment of innocent people is regarded as a crime, or as a calamity to be prevented by unstinting exertion.”

So long as the “delinquencies of a schoolmaster” were within the law, Churchill added, “the House of Commons has no right to intervene, but when a Commander-in-Chief and a Secretary of State are encouraged to imitate him, it is time to take notice” ….

Churchill wanted to discuss the Sandhurst punishments in the Commons. But [Prime Minister] Balfour…refused to allow time for any such debate [so] Churchill [arranged to have the matter] raised in the Lords.

During the debate there, the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Roberts, agreed that each individual case would be investigated and that no innocent cadet would lose a term of study. Commenting on this outcome, The Times praised Churchill’s efforts, calling him “an effective advocate.”
All but two of the cadets were reinstated as were the servants. The arsonist(s) were never identified. The commandant at Sandhurst was soon replaced because of the general state of disorder there.

The parallels to the Duke lacrosse case are striking. They enable us to make some very informed judgments about what Churchill would be saying and doing now if he lived in Durham. For one thing, I’m sure he wouldn’t have voted yesterday for DA Mike Nifong.

If in 1902 you had watched Churchill place his ambition second to his principles and challenge his country’s political and military establishments, during the 1930s you could have told a visitor listening to him in the Commons: “He’s done this sort of thing before.”
In haste. Sources added this evening.

Duke lacrosse coach: A mob victim

A month ago Ruth Sheehan, news columnist for the McClatchy Company’s Raleigh News & Observer, helped lead a media mob demanding Duke University fire Men’s lacrosse coach Mike Pressler.

From Sheehan’s April 3 column:

Upholding Duke's standards, [senior vice president for public affairs] Burness said, was lacrosse coach Mike Pressler's responsibility.

So dump him.
Duke initially stood by Pressler as many staffers there, former players and their parents, opposing coaches, neighbors and others spoke out on his behalf.

But the mob continued to howl, egged on by some angry faculty who attacked the university for protecting, as English Department Professor Houston Baker put it, “a violent and irresponsible group [behind] timorous piety and sentimental legalism.”

Duke soon buckled and forced Pressler’s resignation.

Now, exactly one month to the day Sheehan demanded Duke “dump” Pressler, we read in The N&O of a Duke faculty committee’s just-released report on the lacrosse program. Here’s some of what The N&O reported:
The professors who conducted interviews and examined internal records found that Pressler took action to punish his players -- when he was informed about their misconduct.

Sometimes he made them run laps; in 2005, when the team made it to the national championship game, he suspended two players from post-season play.

But most of the time, Pressler was unaware of his players' troubles with the law or with the internal disciplinary system at Duke.

Except [for Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs ] Bryan and Pressler, the faculty report said, "no other administrator appears to have treated the lacrosse team's disciplinary record as a matter of serious concern."

Once Pressler learned of the disciplinary record, he asked Bryan to notify him of future infractions. But Pressler apparently was made aware of misconduct only sporadically; the last communication was in November 2005.

The report was welcomed by Pressler's defenders.

"The perception that he let his players run amok was ironic, because he's tough," said Kerstin Kimel, the Duke women's lacrosse coach. "His reputation among the other [Duke] coaches is he's a disciplinarian with his players, maybe to a fault sometimes."
Pressler is married and has three children. The Pressler’s don’t talk publicly about it but the family’s been through hell these past weeks.

I’d like to ask Sheehan and anyone else in the mob two questions:
1) What should Pressler and his wife tell their children when they ask why people demanded Duke fire their father?

2) Where should Pressler go to get his reputation back?

You can read a copy of the faculty report here.

It’s lengthy (25 pages with footnotes), but well worth reading. It has a lot of information that's been widely available but the MSM hasn’t gotten around to reporting. Example:
In 2005, twenty seven members of the lacrosse team, more than half, made the Atlantic Coast Conference's Academic Honor Roll, more than any other ACC lacrosse team. 9

Between 2001 and 2005, 146 members of the lacrosse team made the Academic Honor Roll, twice as many as the next ACC lacrosse team. The lacrosse team's academic performance generally is one of the best among all Duke athletic teams
I’ll bet this is the first time you’ve read any of that. But the information’s been out there for a long time. Athletic teams are proud of that sort of accomplishment. They eagerly publicize it.

That we haven’t heard about the team’s academic accomplishments tells us a lot about MSM reporting of the Duke lacrosse story.

I’m sending links to this post to Sheehan and N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill.

If you care to contact either of them, their email addresses are:

The May 2 Churchill Series post is done

I just put that May 2 post up.

Thanks for your patience.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Churchill Series - May 2, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)


Today I want to share some thoughts with those of you who’ve read the just completed six consecutive posts focusing on Churchill’s brother and only sibling, John (Jack) Strange Spencer Churchill (1880-1947).

If you missed any or all of the posts here are links to them: April 24, April 25, April 26, April 27, April 28, and May 1.

You know I set out to do a three post series. It ended up six: and I struggled to keep it at that.

That’s because there's to say about Jack and his relationship to Winston.

Jack Churchill was a substantial personality whose life is extremely interesting in its own right. Add to that the fact that he was one of Winston’s closest, if not closest, confidants from the time Winston was a boy until 1947 and what do you have?

Three posts? Six posts?

Jack Churchill deserves a multi-volume biography by biographer of the caliber of Martin Gilbert or David McCullough.

I’d planned to just mention Mrs. Everest in passing. What a mistake!

How did I think I could talk about the bond between the brothers and just mention in passing the woman who gave them both love and attention of the kind they would later each give to the other?

Goonie came along and had to be part of the brothers’ story. And from 1908 on, how do you leave Clementine out of anything important in Churchill’s life.

So the series certainly didn’t keep a “tight focus.”

With all that said, I want to ask you a few questions. I hope you’ll respond.

How did you like the series? What could I have done to better meet your interests?

What do you think of the idea of more short series focused a particular person or event in Churchill’s life?

Feel free to make other suggestions not prompted by these questions.

I’d like to hear from you.


TIME for a laugh

Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer posted about one of those "100 People Who" lists TIME magazine's always inflicting on us. He noted the A&E section of the list has a huge leftward tilt. Surprised?

Anyway, that got Brian's graphics guy going. He's put together a "TIME cover" that will have you LOL.

Here's a blowup of the cover.

Here's Brian's post.


The Duke lacrosse case: Gender bias? Yes. Political bias too

Kathleen Parker’s latest column isn’t just another Duke lacrosse piece.

Take a look:

"We don't know all the facts about the alleged Duke lacrosse rape, but ..."

That's more or less how commentators have introduced their remarks on the case that has reduced the Durham, N.C., community to prayers, tears and recriminations.

Let me interpret the code for you: Men are bad.

Even though we don't know what happened, we're not going to let the absence of facts interfere with our indictment of a team, a coach, a school, but more to the point - of boys.

About the only thing to emerge with any clarity since a black exotic dancer claimed that three white lacrosse players raped her last month is our willingness to believe the worst about males. ...
Our willingness? It's only some of us who are willing to believe the worst about males.

Now let's move on:
[Believing the worst about males] is all the more rewarding if the males happen to be white, as well as athletes, and especially if they're perceived to be privileged. If there's one thing we can't bear in this country, it's spoiled white boys who think the world owes them a good time. ...
True unless those spoiled white boys happen to share our social ideology and politics.

Examples: Remember the Good Friday 1991 escapades of Sen. Ted Kennedy, his son, Patrick, and his nephew, Willie? First drinking into the wee hours at a strip joint; then taking two women back to the Kennedy’s Palm Beach compound.

The woman later made multiple accusations, including ones that led to a rape trial with Kennedy’s nephew as defendant.

The Kennedy’s hired dozens of lawyers and investigators, including some whose job it was to search out the women’s backgrounds and make information available to friendly media. NBC and the New York Times even published the name of the woman who made the rape charge despite Florida having a rape-shield law.

How much outrage did we hear then from the same people and news organizations now crying class, race, privilege and fairness?

When Sen. Kennedy recently pounded Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for his brief membership while an undergrad in an organization that barred women, we heard a lot about white males and privilege.

But when shortly thereafter The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, disclosed that “the liberal Lion” had been for more than 50 years a member of the exclusive eating and drinking Owl Club which bars women, we didn’t hear much about spoiled whites and privilege, did we?

Many people first ask “Who is it?” before they decide to attack white males, spoiled, athletic, or otherwise.

That may be nothing new but we shouldn’t forget it.

And we shouldn’t forget where most of the angry anti-male attitude in this country is housed: on the political, academic and media left. Hence, not so much outrage when a Kennedy, Clinton or Jackson is involved.

But white, male, Duke lacrosse players? That’s another matter. They sound Republican.

I agree with most everything else Parker says, especially her closer:
While we wait to hear more on the case, we might turn our harsh judgment inward and recognize that the anti-male groupthink that permitted a presumption of guilt in Durham is little different than the lynch-mob mentality that once channeled rage against blacks.

Obviously, no woman deserves to be raped for any reason, under any circumstances. But nor do men deserve to be presumed guilty just because they're men.
Parker's column is here.

Hat Tip: Mike Williams

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Churchill Series - May 1, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Reader’s Note: Previous posts dealing with John(Jack) Strange Spencer Churchill (1880-1947) and his relationship with his only brother and sibling, Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965), are here, here, here, here. and here.

Chartwell guest books for the 1920s and 30s reveal Jack Churchill, his wife Goonie, and their children were Winston and Clementine’s most frequent overnight guests. In 1929 Winston and his son Randolph, and Jack and his son John, toured Canada and the American West coast together, visiting among other places William Randolph Hearst’s castle home at San Simeon (Churchill used the occasion to arrange with Hearst to write a series of articles for his papers).

During the years between the wars Jack worked as a financier. He was a man “in the City”, a British expression that conveys much the same thing as “she works in Wall Street” conveys here.

It must have been extremely difficult for Jack to be Winston’s brother and not fall to saying at least a few indiscreet things or get drawn into deals where others are hoping to take advantage of your contacts. Or worst of all, to use those contacts fro your own gain. But Jack avoided all of that, while still serving as serving as confidant and sounding board for his powerful brother.

In 1940 Goonie’s health became a concern. She was subsequently diagnosed with cancer, and moved to the country, which was thought better for her health. Jack remained to work in London and come out on weekends. Goonie died in 1941.

Jack continued to work in the City. His house was bombed and thereafter he moved in with Winston and Clementine at 10 Downing Street and in the Annexe, the nearby bomb shelter Churchill and other government leaders and their principal aides used. He was often the last person Churchill spoke to at night.

In 1945. Jack suffered a heart attack. Thereafter his health deteriorated. He died on Feb 23, 1947, age 67 years. He was buried next to his parents in the Bladon Churchyard a mile from Blenheim Palace. Eighteen years later, his brother Winston was laid to rest beside him.

At the time of Jack’s death The Times of London noted he'd remained throughout his life “on the closest terms with his elder brother.”
For background I've relied on Speaking for Themselves: The personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Mary Soames, Editor), Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life and Richard Hough’s Winston and Clementine: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Churchills.

Motion for Duke lacrosse DA to step aside

What was your April like?

Durham DA Mike Nifong's spent his granting more than 50 media interviews, including some "big time" ones on national TV. He called Duke lacrosse players "hooligans," demanded DNA samples from every white player because he said the DNA results would establish who committed the rapes Nifong “knows” three white players committed against a black exotic dancer at a party that only some of the players attended.

When the DNA results came back negative, Nifong said that was no problem. The players who did it wore condoms. He also found time to deny he was trying the case in public and attended to his reelection campaign.

Mind you, that not all Nifong did durng April but let's move on.

Today, an attorney for Reade Seligmann, one of the two player's indicted in the case, asked a court to remove Nifong and his office from the case if Nifong doesn't do so himself.

The attorney's motion says Nifong has, among other things, used the case to aid his election campaign and "negatively affected [Seligmann's] rights to a fair trial and impartial jury."

William Teach at Pirate's Cove has a good summery of what happened today as well as some brief, on point commentary.

If you have time read the attorney's motion. It asserts as facts some things that have been washing over the old Durham rumor mill. Example: Some of the people at the party were not members of the lacrosse team.

The motion is free of bluster. It's easy to read. For each claim made facts, witnesses, etc are cited.

Here's a link to a very readable copy of the motion I found at The Raleigh N&O's online site. (pdf form)

I'll be interested to see what attorneys not connected with the case say about the motion.

If you read the motion, I'd love to know what you think of it.

Sorry for Blogger support difficulties


I don't know if you'll get this post.

I've been having Blogger tech difficulties all day.

If you know Blogger, you know it doesn't give you much help.

I'm looking for another provider.

I've stayed with Blogger because it's hard to "migrate" archives from one support source to another. I've close to 1000 posts I'll need to take with me to another support source.

Any suggestions?

I'll gladly pay for better support and service to you than Blogger provides.

Blogger hasn't "launched" one of today's JinC posts.

It's "launched" another at Internet Explorer.

At AOL the same post is double posted and remains so despite my efforts to take down the second post.

At Mozilla I can't post at all. (Opps! Just checked Mozilla. Now it's double post there; and I can't take one down.)

So it goes.

Any advice will be appreciated.

I now some idea how the guy on the desert island putting the message in the bottle felt.

Tomorrow will be better I'm sure.


A USA Today Duke lacrosse report: Can you miss it's bias?

While researching media coverage of the Duke lacrosse story, I came across a March 29 USA Today story, “Rape allegations cast pall at Duke.”

Let’s look at USA Today's story which ran just five days after the media began reporting on the rape allegation and its fallout. I think even those of you with a low opinion of MSM will be shocked by the story’s blatant bias.

USA Today reporter Sal Ruibal’s story begins:

The flier being distributed outside Duke's student union Wednesday night looked like a wanted poster: 40 faces of young men, smiling smugly for the camera.

What was most disturbing to those gathered was the possibility several of the Duke men's lacrosse players whose photos were arranged in those neat rows may have committed criminal charges, including forcible rape and sodomy.

These men are wanted on the Duke campus. Their fellow students want them to come forward about what happened in a shabby off-campus house March 13. Police say the athletes have refused to cooperate with their investigation. …

Alvaro Jarrin, a Duke graduate student, wore a T-shirt imploring the silent players to speak up.

"It is important that we not let this go down easily," he said as hundreds of marchers began gathering on Duke's east campus. "There's a culture of rape at Duke, so we're hoping this will get them to speak up. This rape is a symptom of a larger problem at Duke." (bold added – JinC)
USA Today’s story continues with more of the same.

A photo of the poster accompanies the story. It’s caption:
A flier featuring the faces of members of the Duke lacrosse team peppered the Durham, N.C., campus as students rallied and pled for team members to come forward with information on the alleged March 13 rape.
USA Today’s photo is not large enough to let you see whether the players are smiling, to say nothing of whether they’re smiling “smugly” as USA Today reports.

But I live in Durham and am often at Duke. I’ve viewed what people here now call “the vigilante poster.”

Many, if not most, of the players are not “smiling smugly.” They’re not smiling at all. They look serious.

Reporting they’re “smiling smugly” is a USA Today fiction.

In contradiction to USA Today’s “These men are wanted on the Duke campus” reporting, most Duke students were appalled and outraged by the poster. They felt it was prejudicial to fellow students, many of whom are classmates and friends. They said the poster stigmatized as criminals people whove been convicted of no crime. They worried that distribution of the inflammatory poster would make a terrible situation worse, including more dangerous.

None of that was reported by USA Today or most MSM. To learn about it you had to talk to those students or read editorials, columns and letters in Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle.

Certainly there were and are Duke students like Alvaro Jarrin who USA Today quoted speaking authoritatively about “This rape.” Some faculty members talk that way too. But all those folks taken together are just a small, albeit loud, minority at Duke.

On Mar. 29 most Duke students were far more sensible and fair-minded than Jarrin. They just didn’t get any attention from USA Today and other MSM outfits. That’s because what they were saying didn’t fit with how most media “framed” the Duke lacrosse story.

But the “vigilante poster?” It fit within the "frame" quite nicely, thank you.

Duke lacrosse questions for The Raleigh N&O - 5-1-06

The McClatchy Company's Raleigh News & Observer's executive editor for news Melanie Sill tells readers:

Next Sunday's Q section, print and online, will explore people's responses to a couple of questions: "What do you think are the important issues in the Duke lacrosse case? How should the community talk about them?" This isn't a dissection of the evidence in the criminal case; instead, it aims to air thoughts on what people see beyond the charges themselves. We've invited some people to write longer pieces and are looking for additional community discussion and views.
Sill invites readers to submit comments (200 words or less )which The N&O will consider publishing.

I responded to Sill, asking her what The N&O's selected writers will cover. Below is my comment I left at her blog. (Hyperlinks, not possible at Sill's blog, are added here. Also, at Sill's blog, a sentence "I hope not" has been corrected here to read "I hope so." Yes, ouch! Sorry. I left a correction at Sill's blog.)


Re: Those people you've "invited to write longer pieces" concerning "the Duke lacrosse case."

Will any of them discuss The N&O's Duke lacrosse coverage?

I hope not.

Many readers want to know why The N&O published "the vigilante poster."

And why The N&O ran news columnist Ruth Sheehan’s “We know you know” column attacking Duke students and lacrosse players who were only exercising their constitutional rights upon advice of counsel.

Other media quoted extensively legal scholars such as UNC Law School Professor Ken Broun defending the young people’s exercise of their constitutional rights. The N&O didn’t. Will readers learn why not?

The N&O has used as a news source and quoted Duke Professor Houston Baker, author of an open letter attacking the university and the lacrosse players. When Duke Provost Peter Lange responded to Baker’s letter with one of his own, The N&O reported Lange was responding to Baker’s “outspoken” letter.

In fact, at the outset of his letter, Lange called Baker’s letter a “form of prejudice.

Will readers learn why The N&O decided to report “outspoken” instead “form of prejudice?”

The N&O failed to report that Baker, in a variant of Sheehan’s attack, denounced Duke for “shelter(ing)” the lacrosse players “under the protection of pious sentiments (and) sentimental legalism.”

Will any of the writers tell us what Baker means by “pious sentiments” and “sentimental legalism.” Are they anything like due process and presumption of innocence?

Will any of the writers tell N&O readers Duke has made copies of Baker and Lange’s letter’s available at it news site?

On April 5, a particularly tense day in the Duke lacrosse story, NCCU Chancellor James Ammons released a calm, wise public statement to “the NCCU family.” One area daily reprinted it in full. The N&O ignored it entirely.

I hope one of the “longer pieces” explains why.

Concerning your Sunday Apr 2 front page, above the fold, almost 2000 word lead story, “Incident imperils Duke's image.”

All the Duke students and alums quoted in the story were critical of Duke. Why was that?

The N&O could easily have found students and alums who would have spoken well of a university they know is not perfect but which they respect and are proud to be part of?

There are literally many thousands of such people on Duke’s campuses and in the community.

One of your writers should explain why you didn’t quote even one of them.

I could say more, Melanie, but the hour is late.

I’ll close by repeating something I posted about three weeks ago on another of your blog threads: The N&O’s Duke lacrosse coverage has been biased and inflammatory. It has helped make a terrible situation worse, including more dangerous.

Why the repeat?

Because in the three weeks since, The N&O coverage has remained the same.

That’s disgraceful. I hope and pray it doesn’t also prove to be tragic.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Steyn skewers Kerry; gives him history lesson, too

Mark Steyn today:

John Kerry announced this week's John Kerry Iraq Policy of the Week the other day: "Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to deal with these intransigent issues and at last put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military."

With a sulky pout perhaps? With hands on hips and a full flip of the hair?

Did he get that from Churchill? "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, at least until May 15, when I have a windsurfing engagement off Nantucket."

Actually, no. He got it from Thomas Jefferson. "This is not the first time in American history when patriotism has been distorted to deflect criticism and mislead the nation," warned Sen. Kerry, placing his courage in the broader historical context. "No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: 'Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.' "

Close enough. According to the Jefferson Library: "There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes are: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "
Poor stumbling Senator Kerry.

To paraphrase the old folk song, “When will he ever learn, when will he ever learn?’

How can Kerry commit so many gaffes and remain so arrogant?

Anyway, Steyn’s always worth reading. Today’s column is here.

Business Week knocks on Newmark's Door

JinC regulars know about Newmark's Door, NC State University Economics Professor Craig Newmark's blog where there are lots of short, informative and insightful posts spiced with a wit.

Well now Business Week Online has published his undergraduate recommended reading list.

There's one book on it, Price Theory and Applications, Sixth Ed. by Steven Landsburg, that sounds just a little too heavy for me.

On the other hand, there's

Getting Rich in America: Eight Simple Rules for Building a Fortune and a Satisfying Life by Dwight R. Lee and Richard B. McKenzie.
As the title indicates, this book explains how an average person can get "rich." There are no gimmicks or tricks, just sound advice firmly grounded in empirical and theoretical economics. The authors are leading academic economists.
Thanks, Craig. That's my kind of book.

Take a look at the list, folks, and at Newmark's Door.

Environmental groups impact on energy supplies

Has America become:

"a country of a million Walter Mittys driving 75 mph in their gas-guzzling Bushwhack-Safari sport-utility roadsters with a moose head on the hood, a country whose crude oil production has dropped 32 percent in the last 25 years but which will not drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for fear of disturbing the mating habits of caribou.?"
Charles Krauthammer thought so when he wrote the above 10 years ago.

Today Krauthammer says:
I wrote that during the '96 witch hunt for price gougers. Nothing has changed. Except that since then, U.S. crude oil production has dropped an additional 12.3 percent.
The drop in domestic crude oil production is shocking. I'll say a few things about it in a moment.

But first this: One of President Bush's biggest mistakes has been his failure to commit the government to a vigorous energy conservation program, with an active role for every America.

We had such a program in WW II. As President Roosevelt knew, the conservation program, besides conserving vital war resources, gave citizens one more way to show support for the war. It helped sustain morale and support for the President as Commander-in-Chief.

Regarding the production drop:

Environmental groups are primarily responsible for it.

For decades they've successfully opposed every effort to lower our foreign energy dependence and increase domestic production. Domestic exploration? They've opposed it. Build new, more energy efficient refineries? Opposed. Nuclear power plants? Opposed. And on and on it goes.

The environmental groups opposition to expansion of domestic energy supplies has created a situation where it's now much easier and cheaper for energy companies to buy oil overseas than to find and develop news energy sources here.

But when groups such as Greenpeace and The Sierra Club fund-raise, they don't mention that. Instead they tell people to "Think Green" and help make the world a better place for Bambi.

That's enough to get millions of credulous people reaching for their credit cards.

I wish MSM reporters, pundits and editorialist would say more about environmental groups’ opposition to sensible energy policies.

Then maybe fewer people would find themselves saying, "I've got Amex # 18 .....

You can read Krauthammer's column here.