Saturday, October 07, 2006

Storms. This to N&O. Then shutting down until A.M.

There are many thunderstorms in our area now.

I'm shutting down until tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I left this a while ago at the Relaigh News & Observer's Editors' Blog on the March 25 story post:

I just want to commend the readers, really citizen journalists, here who are exposing the falsehoods in the N&O's original Mar. 25 story as well as refuting and exposing point-by-point the self-serving, incomplete and misleading justifications Editor Williams made in her post and Editor Sill has made on the comment thread.

You are rendering an important service to those of us who want facts and not PC and leftist agendas.

Your work is also bringing some measure of comfort to the many innocent people who have been harmed and endangered by what Williams' post and this thread make very clear was the N&O's recklessly irresponsible, if not deliberately malicious, reporting.


See you all tomorrow.


Duke lacrosse: Citizen journalists slam N&O

Agenda-driven liberal and leftist professional journalists at the McClatchy News Company's Raleigh News & Observer used an unstable hoaxer's wildly improbalbe and unsubstantiated claims as the basis for the following headlines which the N&O ran five column wide on page one and above the fold on March 25:

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
Those headlines are one example of the N&O's biased, inaccurate and inflammatory Duke lacrosse reporting which, in the words of one veteran journalist, "violated every bedrock principle of ethical journalism."

Yesterday at the N&O's Editors’ Blog Deputy Managing Editor Linda Williams offered the N&O's latest justifications for a story its executive editor for news Melanie Sill tells readers she's "proud" of.

N&O readers commenting in response to Williams' justifications don't see why the N&O is proud of its Mar. 25 story.

Those readers, in the best citizen journalist tradition, are exposing the falsehoods in the N&O's original Mar. 25 story. They're also refuting and exposing point-by-point the self-serving, incomplete and misleading justifications Williams made in her post and Sill has made on the comment thread.

You don't want to miss it.

The citizen journalists, God bless them, are serving all of us, and most especially all the innocent people the N&O has so recklessly harmed and endangered.

I plan to leave a comment at the N&O and another here tonight.

Duke Alumni site hacked?

I’m a Duke Alumni Association member who wants to think the best of DAA.

That’s why I’m trying to believe hackers broke into DAA’s website and defaced it, leaving behind statements meant to embarrass DAA officers and staff.

The defacement statements will surely concern, even anger, most Duke alums.

Below are a few examples of what I hope are defacement statements I found at DAA’s site at 8 a.m. EDT, Oct. 7.

First, from the DAA’s “Lacrosse Responses: A Few Key Points” page which begins:

Questions about the Duke lacrosse incident range from details about the criminal case (about which Duke has no inside expertise) to issues involving the university's response and programs. Many of these questions are addressed below, prefaced by a few key points
And what’s the DAA’s first key point? It’s this :
Academics come first at Duke, although many Duke students also excel in athletics, science, the arts, community service and other fields.
“Academics come first at Duke, although many Duke students also excel in athletics, science, the arts….”

Can you believe such a foolish statement?

Everyone knows the sciences and arts are a major part of academics at Duke. Only a hacker would have made such a foolish statement the DAA’s first “key point,” right?

And just in case you’re an English speaking visitor from Planet Neptune who doesn’t know what we’re talking about, here’s a link to Duke’s Arts & Sciences Faculty website.

Now let’s look at the second key point at DAA’s website:
The issues raised by the lacrosse event are not unique to Duke. They are societal and widespread on college campuses, and Duke is addressing them honestly.
That second key point claiming “issues raised by the lacrosse event are not unique to Duke” is as foolish as the first key point.

Not unique?

What other university president besides Duke’s Richard H. Brodhead has refused to meet with parents of a large group of his students who were just court ordered to submit to DNA testing and mug shot photos for which they had to strip to their waists and extend their arms; with the court order being part of a police investigation into allegations the students engaged in multiple felonies, including gang-rape, that supposedly occurred at a house owned by the president’s university?

Brodhead’s refusal to meet with parents in such circumstances is surely unique.

On May 18 Duke student Reade Seligmann walked to the Durham County Courthouse amidst repeated threats shouted by members of a racist hate group and others. ( “Justice will be done, Rapist.”)

After Seligmann entered the courtroom and for some minutes before the judge entered it, Seligmann was again repeatedly threatened, with the threats this time including explicit death threats. (“Dead man walking.”)

Does anyone, including DAA officers and staffers, know of a single university president since the Civil Rights Movement who, in similar circumstances, said nothing either condemning the racists or supporting his university's student?

Brodhead’s silence is unique. It's shameful, too.

Just as unique as Brodhead’s silence is the silence of Duke’s Arts & Sciences Faculty regarding the May 18 assaults.

Can anyone think of another American university faculty in the post Civil Rights era that’s been silent in the face of such vicious and widely publicized racism and threats directed at one of its students?

The Faculty’s silence is unique. And it too is shameful.

Further down the DAA page are statements much worse than the ones I’ve mentioned.

Can you believe, for example, there are statements at DAA's website that make it appear DAA has no objection to Nifong's Travesty, which calls for placing three Duke students on trial for gang-rape based on statements by a self-contradictory hoaxer, ID identifications with “no wrong answers,” and Sgt. Gottlieb’s 32 page typed, single space “notes” filled with investigative details Gottlieb recalled months after the events thanks to his unbelievable memory?

President Brodhead is a steadfast and very prominent supporter of Nifong's Travesty. However, the overwhelming majority of Duke alums I’ve heard from despise Nifong's Travesty. They support The Coleman Solution presented in June by Duke Law School Professor James Coleman who believes:
Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should ask the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor for the rape case against three Duke lacrosse players and then remove himself and his office from further involvement. This is the only way to restore some degree of public confidence in the handling of the case. Up to now, virtually everything that Nifong has done has undermined public confidence in the case.
As much as I wish the DAA statements, especially those which appear to reject of The Coleman Solution in favor of the Brodhead endorsed Nifong Plan, are hackers’ defacements, there are many very informed people who insist they’re not.

One of those people is historian and blogger KC Johnson. As far as Johnson’s concerned, none of the DAA statements are defacements.

Johnson says they accurately convey what DAA officers and staffers believe. What’s more, he provides extensive evidence to support his claim in two posts: "Justify or Retract" and "In Denial."

Johnson’s posts are “must reads” for anyone who cares about both justice for the Duke students and the greater good of Duke University.

How do we decide whether KC is right or whether, as I’d like to believe, the statements are hackers’ defacements?

DAA officers and staffers are the best people to settle the matter.

Suppose we try for this. KC often visits JinC. I’m sure he’ll read this post. So I’m leaving him a message.

Message to KC Johnson: Are you OK with my sending emails to DAA Executive Director Sterly Wilder and GAA officers and directors asking them to settle the matter between us?

I’ll include in the email brief summaries of our respective positions as well as links to your post and this one. I’ll offer to publish in full at JinC the DAA’s organization response as well as any responses from individual officers and directors.

I also plan to encourage Executive Director Wilder and the officers and directors to respond to particular parts of your posts on the comment threads of those posts.

What do you think? I’m open to other suggestions.



When I hear from KC, I’ll post his response on the main page with a title something like “DAA: Hack victim or foolish promoter?”

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Churchill Sereis – Oct. 6, 2006

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

In yesterday's post I said:

I want to introduce here and in a follow-up post tomorrow something I think was very important to the success of Churchill’s wartime leadership that doesn’t receive much attention from historians. It’s what for want of a better term I’ll call Churchill’s ability to remind people at certain key psychological moments “that on the other hand.” Churchill used “on the other hands” to help the British people moderate the emotional highs and lows that could interfere with the resolve and constancy they needed to see the war through to final victory.
I offered, as an example, Churchill's reminder to the British people in the midst of their joy over the deliverance of their army as a result of "the miracle of Dunkirk:" "Wars are not won by evacuations."

Jon Meacham in Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship writes about Churchill's "on the other hand" leadership following the great British victory at El Alamein in November, 1943:
[Churchill] did not want the good news from North Africa to lull his listeners into thinking the hard work was over. "I promise nothing," Churchill said. "I predict nothing."

Winning battles did not mean winning the war, and just as the British has borne early defeats with equanimity, so now they must resist overreacting to success.

This was insightful psychological leadership on a grand scale: The natural reaction of a war-weary people to the glory of El Alamein – it had indeed been a long time since London could celebrate a victory – was to exhale and begin to think that perhaps the worst was over.

Churchill knew better and told the nation so. “I know of nothing that has happened yet which justifies the hope that the war will not be long, or that bitter and bloody years do not lie ahead,” he said.
(p. 203)
Between them, Churchill and Meacham make my point so well there’s nothing I feel I need to add except a wish that you all have a nice weekend.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Churchill Series – Oct. 5, 2006

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

Whenever Churchill’s wartime leadership is discussed, his determination and ability to inspire hope are invariably cited as two of his most important leadership qualities. There’s no doubt about the importance of either of those qualities.

But I want to introduce here and in a follow-up post tomorrow something I think was very important to the success of Churchill’s wartime leadership that doesn’t receive much attention from historians. It’s what for want of a better term I’ll call Churchill’s ability to remind people at certain key psychological moments “that on the other hand.” Churchill used “on the other hands” to help the British people moderate the emotional highs and lows that could interfere with the resolve and constancy they needed to see the war through to final victory.

So, for example, in the midst of the euphoria that followed “the miracle of Dunkirk” that delivered almost all their army safely back to the home island, Churchill reminded his countrymen “wars are not won by evacuations.”

(to be continued)

On this panel - Black tie optional

The National Press Club recently sponsored a “Pajamas Media” panel event.

The topic: “How Partisan Is Too Partisan?”

The Panelists were Michael Barone (US News), Paul Mirengoff (Powerline), Tom Bevan (Real Clear Politics), Mark Blumenthal(The Mystery Pollster), Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and Jane Hall of Fox News Watch. Roger Simon was “impresario.” The moderator was Instapundiit Glenn Reynolds.

Barone blogged about it:

The stated subject was "How partisan is too partisan?" but much of the discussion was about the biases of the mainstream media.
Hall, whom I had not previously met, thought it was unfair to tar everyone in the MSM as biased, and she questioned my assertion that about 90 percent of MSM personnel is Democrats and liberals (I was surprised she wasn't familiar with the research that supports this).

Rosett recalled an election night party in 1980 of Wall Street Journal reporters based in Chicago, at which only she and Paul Gigot were Reagan supporters–and were accordingly thrown out of the party.

I made some points that I have often made in my columns, in this blog, and in speeches. Americans are currently divided almost evenly between the parties, primarily along cultural lines, and the demographic factor that correlates most highly with voting behavior is religion.

This has generated angry partisanship, because the things that divide us are things we really care about. The harshness of the partisanship has been exacerbated by the fact that our two most recent presidents–both born in the first year of the baby boom (1946) and both graduating in the high school class with the peak SAT scores (1964)—just happen to have personal characteristics and political instincts that people on the other side of the cultural divide absolutely loathe.
There’s a lot more, all of it interesting. Read the whole thing, as Glenn Reynolds often advises.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Churchill Series – Oct. 4, 2006

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

November 30, 1955 was Churchill’s eighty-first birthday. Among many gifts and good wishes he received, Churchill was especially touched by a gold medallion and letter from one of those he had worked closest with during the war, the then President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The medallion, Ike told him, was :

a token of America’s enduring gratitude…

The English-Speaking peoples, and the entire world, are the better for the wisdom of your counsel, for the inspiration of your unflagging optimism and for the heartening example of your shining courage.

You have been a towering leader in the quest for peace, as you were in the battle for freedom through the dark days of war.
Churchill replied that same day with a letter addressed "My dear Friend,"
Your letter has moved me more than I can tell you. As you know, it is my deepest conviction that it is on the friend ship between our two nations that the happiness and security of the free peoples rest – and indeed that of the whole world.

Your eloquent words have once more given me proof, if it were needed, that you share my own feeling and reciprocate my personal affection.
Churchill and Eisenhower had many policy difference during the war and when Ike became President. But their relationship was extraordinarily productive and marked by mutual professional respect and personal affection.
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair. (Vol. 8)

Duke lacrosse: A letter to the Chapel Dean.

Rev. Canon Dr. Sam Wells
Dean of the Chapel
Duke University

Dear Dean Wells:

I'm a Duke alum. I publish the electronic daily,

I’ve often written and published on the Duke hoax and the witch hunt that's grievously victimized and endangered many innocent people, and done great harm to Duke and Durham.

As you know, the Durham Herald Sun recently reported statements it said you made. (“Duke leaders discuss ‘toll’ of lacrosse,” Sept. 30)

Newspapers often get things wrong.

That allows me to hope you didn’t make the statements the H-S attributes to you. Or if you did, that the H-S so misrepresented the actual import of your statements that you are taking steps to publicly correct the misrepresentation(s).

According to the H-S :

The Rev. Canon Sam Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel and one of [five panelists from Duke’s Campus Cultural Initiative committee], said he believes the university is in the third of three chapters.

The first chapter, Wells said, ran from the 1920s to the late 1950s, with the world -- as seen by Duke -- run by a particular class, race and religious tradition and summed up in one word: "Privilege."
The 1920s to the late 1950s “as seen by Duke” can be summed up in one word: “Privilege?”

That’s nonsense!

Most students in the “Privilege” period arrived at Duke carrying a few suitcases. Compare that to the loaded SUVs and U-Hauls today.

Before, during and after the Depression many Duke students couldn’t afford the cost of going home for Thanksgiving. There are people still alive in Durham who took some of those students into their homes at Thanksgiving.

You must know, Dean Wells, that none of your predecessors in those decades were privileged to accept anything like the handsome salary and benefits package the University “insisted” you accept when you agreed to “answer the call.”

From the “Privilege” period came the Duke men and women who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Many of them gave “the last full measure of devotion".

Do you really believe that university students from the 20s to the 50s– at least the overwhelming majority of them – who overcame the Great Depression, wars, Nazism, and Communism, and who witnessed in every part to the world sectarian violence and multiple genocides as well as the growth and spread of terrorism – saw or now see the world as “run by a particular class, race and religious tradition?”

What the H-S reports you said sounds a lot like what we often hear from leftist academics, including many at Duke.

Surely you don't believe or preach such nonsense.

Those leftist academics are as wrong and as fatuous as someone saying the period from the 20s to the 50s at Duke can be “summed up in one word: Privilege.”

That’s why, Dean Wells, I hope the H-S misrepresented what you said.

More from the H-S :
The second chapter, Wells said, was the 1960s, with the bastion being broken down by those who had been "wrongly" excluded in the previous chapter. .
Regarding the “second chapter” and “Wells said:” Does that H-S paragraph, Dean Wells, fairly characterize what you said about “the 1960s?”

You surely know of the great good done during the 60s by Dukies from the 20s to 50s classes. Dr. King often said the Movement couldn’t have made a difference without such people.

Many thousands from Duke’s classes in the 60s’ and from the classes in the decades preceding the 60s have contributed to a fairer and more just America. Members of those classes were and are leaders at the state and national level while others day-by-day helped to make justice grow in their communities. They continue to do that and each May they're joined by members of the newest class, most of whom will strive to “live the dream" and be what they preach.

But I didn’t find even a small mention of any of that in the H-S story. Please, Dean Wells, tell us what happened.

Next from the H-S :
"We're in chapter three," [Wells] said. "And what I felt was probably going on in the spring was a bit of nostalgia from some groups from chapter one, when you knew what rules were and everything was well with the world."

Combined with that, Wells said, was "a bit of nostalgia" from chapter two, when protest was the form of exchange and there was a sense of accomplishment by minorities.
Could the Dean of Duke Chapel and a leader of the University really say anything like what the H-S reports Wells said?

Dean Wells, you surely know what happened last Spring is that a hoaxer made a series of wildly improbable and contradictory claims that should have been the subjects of fair, thorough police investigations.

But, instead, very many in media, at Duke, in Durham’s leadership and community activists cadre, and in “rights organizations” endorsed and amplified the hoaxer's false accusations.

You must remember, Dean Wells, the righteous “pot bangers,” “community outrage,” “our President” who 'couldn't meet with their parents, “their sickening silence,” “faculty demands and the ‘listening statement,’” your own “naming [the] silences” sermon delivered the same Sunday the N&O published and distrubuted onver 200,000 “vigilante” posters targeting the lacrosse players , “Justice will be done, Rapist,” and “Dead man walking.”

All that righteousness and viciousness enabled what four months ago Duke Law Professor James Coleman made clear to the Duke and Durham communities :
According to the police account of the identification, however, the police officer who presided over the proceedings told the alleged victim at the outset that he wanted her to look at people the police had reason to believe attended the party.

Thus, the police not only failed to include people they knew were not suspects among the photographs shown the woman, they told the witness in effect that there would be no such "fillers" among the photographs she would see.

This strongly suggests that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged.

Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice.

The prosecutor would not care if the pre-trial identification was subsequently thrown out by the court. The accuser would identify them at trial by pointing to the three defendants seated in front of her as the three men who assaulted her. The prosecutor would argue that she had an independent basis (independent of the identifications thrown out) for doing so.
What Professor Coleman is talking about is a frame up, not "a bit of nostalgia."

To ask again: Can you see Dean Wells why I hope you didn’t say the things the H-S says you said?

A final question, Dean Wells. The H-S says you talked about people who wanted to have a “nostalgia fest. If the H-S had that right, what’s a “nostalgia fest?”

Is it anything like asking President Brodhead what he said on or after May 18 when racists shouted “Justice will be done, Rapist” at a Duke student, Reade Seligmann, as he walked to the Durham County Courthouse.

And if I ask what you said publicly on or after May 18 about the racist's death threats shouted in the courtroom at Seligmann, “Dead man walking,” am I part of a “nostalgia fest?”

I look forward to hearing from you.



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Churchill Sereis – Oct. 3, 2006

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

Just before Christmas, 1941 Churchill and a British war-planning party arrived in Washington. Churchill stayed at the White House. His bedroom was just across the hall from FDR’s. Many nights the two leaders stayed up talking into the wee hours; their friendship at high tide.

On December 26 Churchill delivered a speech to a joint session of the Congress. It was very well received by the lawmakers and the nation. In An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, Jon Meacham tells us the speech’s positive reception concerned some of FDR’s aides but not their chief:

The men around Roosevelt were worried that their guest’s rhetorical triumph on Capitol Hill would overshadow their boss as the State of the Union message drew near. [Press Secretary] Steve Early, “fiercely loyal and jealous of his Chief’s prestige,” [Speechwriter Robert] Sherwood recalled, “kept a chart showing the fluctuations of the size of the President’s radio audiences and he did not welcome the appearance of a new star attraction in a field which Roosevelt had so long monopolized.”

Roosevelt was as competitive as any man who ever lived, but in this flush season of friendship, Sherwood said, he “was not troubled; he was greatly amused by his friends’ concern.

Churchill may have sensed something of the behind-the-scenes drama, for when Roosevelt read a draft to him, Churchill was flattering. “It went over big,” Roosevelt told his advisers later.

Perhaps one reason Roosevelt was able to laugh off his aides’ anxiety about his rank in the rhetorical arena was that the politician in him understood that whatever the style of the speech, it s substance would guarantee his preeminence in the emerging firm of Roosevelt & Churchill (p. 158)
Churchill and Roosevelt were often rivals but the source(s) of their rivalries were, I think, less a matter of their egos clashing than is was the genuine policy and strategy differences the two men had.

A point where I’d question Meacham: How does he know Churchill responded to FDR’s reading of his draft State of the Union address with flattery? Churchill’s praise may have been genuine.

Duke lacrosse: Three “top-of- the-line” posts

Johnsville today documents the growth of gangs in Durham and the great harm they’re doing to our community while Durham DA Mike Nifong spends his time trying to put David Evens, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann in jail and Durham Herald Sun Editor Bob Ashley slumbers in his paper’s snooze room.

KC Johnson at Durham-in-Wonderland takes another look at Herald Sun “reporting” on Nifong’s self-serving, often contradictory statements and his abuses of the powers of his office. KC makes clear that if it wasn’t for how harmful Nifong’s actions are, we could dismiss much of the Herald Sun’s Duke lacrosse and Nifong reporting as farce. [For some weeks after the Duke Hoax story broke, the Herald Sun did some good, even excellent reporting. Then Ashley decided he needed to get more “hands on;” after which the H-S Duke lacrosse reporting declined rapidly to the level it’s at now. – JinC]

Liestoppers offers “Durham DA Race Heats Up, Ashley Pretends Not to Notice” The post contains important information on the DA’s race, including an exposure of Ashley’s deceptions about important aspects of the race in what’s supposed to be The Herald Sun’s non-partisan voter’s guide. Would it surprise you that the deceptions are clearly meant to discourage a vote for Lewis Cheek?

All three post are “top of the line.”

BTW - I don't know who came up with "snooze room," but if it's you who's reading this now, "Thank you." John

Al Qaeda has problems

If you listen to Sens. Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, Reps. Nancy Pelosi and their flacks who dominate “news reporting” at MSM organizations, you’re hearing that now is “the best of times” for al Qaeda terrorists.

To hear Dem reporters and newscasters tell it, the Iraq War has so energized America’s enemies that recruits are flocking to al Qaeda and most of the world is tipping in its direction.

But that’s not what we learn when we read a letter a top al Qaeda leader wrote to terrorist al Zarqawi, who murdered so many innocents in Iraq, and is now thankfully dead as a result of an American bomb dropped on what al Zarqawi thought was a "safe house." Excerpts from the letter[Ed comments and bolds by Powerline’s John Hinderaker]:

The path is long and difficult, and the enemy isn’t easy, for he is great and numerous and he can take quite a bit of punishment as well. [Ed.: This is very different from how al Qaeda wrote about the U.S. after the flight from Somalia.]

I command you, my brother, and I am your brother and I have nothing except these words that are between the two of us and God as the third party, that you send messengers from your end to Waziristan so that they meet with the brothers of the leadership, and the rational and experienced people and the shaykhs here, because you have a greater chance to send messengers (brothers that you choose) than your brothers have here. [So al Qaeda's leadership is so pinned down that they can't even send messengers to Iraq.]

I am now on a visit to them and I am writing you this letter as I am with them, and they have some comments about some of your circumstances, may God guide you, with due confidence, affection, respect, and esteem. They wish that they had a way to talk to you and advise you, and to guide and instruct you; however, they too are occupied with vicious enemies here. [That would be us, I assume.]

They are also weak, and we ask God that He strengthen them and mend their fractures. They have many of their own problems, but they are people of reason, experience, and sound, beneficial knowledge. [Note: al Qaeda's leadership is "weak."]

Know that we, like all the mujahidin, are still weak. We are in the stage of weakness and a state of paucity. We have not yet reached a level of stability. We have no alternative but to not squander any element of the foundations of strength, or any helper or supporter.
There’s much more at Hinderaker’s post. He provides context for the letter and his usual sound analysis.

If you only want to read the letter it’s here at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

It's dangerous to underestimate your enemy's strength. It's also dangerous to overestimate the enemy's strength.

And America's hurt when politicians and their MSM flacks seek to gain partisan advantage in matters of national security.

Now before any one accuses me of being unfair to a certain party and much of MSM, someone please do this: compare the attention a letter such as the one excerpted here and many others like it have received from, for example, the NY Times and the Raleigh N&O compared to the attention those "news organizations" have given the "national security findings" of Rep. John Murtha and Activist Cindy Sheehan.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Churchill Series – Oct. 2, 2006

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

If 106 years ago today you looked at The Times of London, you’d have read that young Winston Churchill, Lord Randolph’s son, author, and Boer War hero had been defeated the previous day in a parliamentary election in the two-seat Oldham constituency in Northwest England.

The news might not have been surprised you. Churchill had run for a seat in the same Oldham constituency the previous year and been defeated. But The Times was wrong. Churchill’s biographer, Martin Gilbert, tell us what really happened.

Polling at Oldham took place on October 1. It was one of the very first seats to be fought in an election where polling was spread over three weeks. Churchill was successful, but only just.

In the two-member constituency, the largest number of votes, 12,947, went to the first of his Liberal challengers, who was duly elected. Churchill, with only sixteen less votes, was also a victor. The second Liberal candidate, a mere 221 voted behind Churchill, was defeated, as was the second Conservative, Churchill’s co-challenger, with 187 fewer votes. It had been an exceptionally close result.
An exceptionally close vote: we’ll all agree with that, won’t we?

And we’ll give Thanks that Churchill went on to render in Parliament historic services to freedom and civilization.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs..135-136)

Duke lacrosse: A second look at the N&O's Nifong story

Yesterday’s Raleigh N & O carried a 2700 word front-page story on Durham DA Mike Nifong. I posted a few “observations” and invited comments. The comments are well worth reading. Also, be sure to read the takes of “the usual suspects” – Durham-in-Wonderland, Johnsville News and Liestoppers.

Today I’m taking a second look at the story.

Question: Is Mike Nifong -- how shall I put this –- politically motivated?

Not according to yesterday’s N&O story. Sure, Mike has a temper. He cusses and fusses some, especially after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which is now in remission.

But Mike Nifong politically motivated? The N&O's story begins:

Anyone who asks why Mike Nifong won't drop the Duke University lacrosse rape case doesn't know Mike Nifong.
And for anyone asking “Why,” the N&O explains:
In his long career, Nifong has earned a reputation as a prosecutor who charges hard at his opposition and relishes going to trial. Although his unpredictable behavior might puzzle some observers of the lacrosse case, it is vintage Nifong.
Oh, vintage Nifong. You mean it’s just the way the man is? I see

The N&O goes on:
For six months, Nifong has been the public face of -- and the driving force behind -- the case against three Duke lacrosse players who are accused of raping a woman hired to dance at a team party. Even after DNA tests came back negative or inconclusive, and evidence emerged that contradicts the state's case, Nifong pressed ahead.

He was so confident in the accuser's story and his case that he refused to meet with lawyers who said they could prove players' innocence. …
You know, I wondered why he refused to meet with them. So it was because he was confident. I like confident prosecutors. What about you?

Has Nifong always been this good?

Here's some of what the N&O found out about that:
In more than 300 felony trials and countless pleas, Nifong's confidence and bluster have served him and Durham County well. For most of his career, he has been sending to prison people who belonged there.
This Nifong fellow sounds like just the sort of person who ought to be Durham's DA.

Right now Nifong has the Duke lacrosse case to contend with. He’s up against a defense team the N&O says is:
well-funded and includes some of the most highly regarded lawyers in the state. …

The case has drawn national media attention, and Nifong's saber-rattling has been on display for the world.
Saber-rattling? Is that what it’s called?

When Nifong kept saying he wished someone at the party had the decency to tell what happened even as he knew all about the cooperation and information the players had provided and their attorneys wanted to provide, do you know what I called what Nifong was doing?

I called it lying. But it seems it was really just "saber-rattling."

Did you know that?

The N&O does say something about an upcoming election Nifong’s involved in. But it’s a very small part of the story which the N&O begins with this sentence :
Nifong, 56, is a prosecutor, not a politician.
How thoughtful of the N&O to tell us that. Now we don't need to wonder about it?

The N&O tells us:
Nifong declined to answer questions for this story. The News & Observer interviewed nearly two dozen people, reviewed court files and listened to recordings of him in court. The interviews and documents help shed light on why, when saddled with a case that another prosecutor might have dropped, Nifong has chosen to continue.(bold mine)
Why, indeed? That's the very question people all over town are asking.

What’s the answer, N&O?

Here’s the subhead that follows the “Why?":
That's followed by:
At the trial, Nifong's key witness will be the accuser, who will presumably testify that she was raped by Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann. Under North Carolina law, her accusation is enough evidence to take the case to a jury.
The N&O has a UNC public law and government prof tell us Nifong doesn’t have to try the case. He can use his judgment.

And what is the result of Nifong's judgment?
Although Nifong has never heard the woman tell her story, he believes her
The N&O doesn’t say which of her stories Nifong believes; or where he read or heard the one he believes. The N&O doesn't even mention there's more than one "out there."

But, hey folks, you can’t have everything, even in a 2700 word story.

Besides, there’s that wonderful 1994 case the N&O tells us about, first with the subhead:
Echoes of '94 case
and then:
Twelve years ago, Nifong prosecuted a man in a rape case that bore some similarity to the one he is focused on now.
As in the Duke lacrosse case, Nifong had on his side the word of the woman. And the defense said it had plenty of evidence that no rape happened.
So you see, what Mike’s doing now is just “vintage Nifong.” It’s all “part and parcel” of the man who’s spent his career “sending to prison people who belong there.”

The N&O quotes the 1994 case accuser (Jury verdict: “Not guilty.”):
"He believed in me, and until that time, I didn't feel anybody else believed in me," she said. "I felt like the system let me down until Mike took the case."
Now that the N&O has explained what Nifong did in the 1994 case and we’ve heard from the accuser in the case, who would say anything unkind about Nifong or his motives.

Well, enough of that, folks.

I’m sure you see my point.

A few other items and I’ll be done with the story.

Look at this paragraph :
In his prosecutions, Nifong opened up his entire file to defense lawyers -- something the law didn't require until 2004. It was a matter of fairness, he said in the 2005 interview, but it also added to the intimidation factor. He would tell a lawyer what he had and what he was going to do, and then in court he would do it.
Can you believe that after running that paragraph, the N&O didn't consider why Nifong has been so withholding of evidence in the Duke case?

The N&O's story is filled with paragraphs that can be spliced unedited into Nifong campaign commercials. I'll end this post with three of them which would make a wonderful thirty second Nifong commercial:
In 1999, Nifong was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He endured surgery, radiation and a year of hormone therapy.

After missing months of work, he said in the 2005 interview, he returned less convinced that things were black and white. His illness changed the way he thought about the courtroom.

"What you may lose sight of when all you're worried about is winning ... that's not really what the DA's office is here for," Nifong said. "This is really supposed to be about justice."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

This made me smile

Duke’s Homecoming Weekend ended today: a beautiful October Sunday.

For part of the afternoon I visited with friends at the Women’s Soccer game.(Duke 3- NC State 0. It was a fine game with handshakes afterwards and players from both teams leaving the field together before splitting to meet family and friends.)

During the game, there was, of course, a lot of: “Hi. This is wonderful. I haven’t seen you in years.”

While I was sitting with a woman friend who’s a gastroenterologist, another woman dropped by. She was a classmate of my gastroenterologist friend. But my friend didn’t immediately recognize her.

Well, that was no problem. For the next 10 minutes, the two women sat side by side and “caught up” on families, careers and former classmates.

When the woman got ready to leave, my friend joked: “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you. It must be age. I don’t recognize anyone anymore unless they’re bending over.”

The other woman laughed. “I understand,” she said. “Next year I’ll wear a hospital gown.”

Duke lacrosse: About today’s Raleigh N&O’s Nifong story

Today’s Raleigh News & Observer carries a 2700 word front-page story on Durham DA Mike Nifong, the lead actor in a series of media, Duke University, and Durham Police and DA office travesties that have resulted in monumental injustices, most notably the indictments of David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann.

I don’t have time to systematically assess the story. But here are a few “observations.”

A Word seach of the story reveals the N&O never once uses the words “victim” or “victim’s”

By my hand count, the N&O 18 times refers to the Duke hoaxer as either “the accuser,” “the woman” or with the feminine pronoun. I did not count the times the N&O referred to the hoaxer by other terms such as “dancer.”

In the N&O’s Mar. 24 front-page story - the first media report to link “Duke lacrosse” to some of the contradictory claims the hoaxer had been making for 10 days - the N&O seven times referred to the hoaxer as either “the victim” or with the possessive “the victim’s.”

In today’s story we read:

The News & Observer generally does not identify complainants in sexual assault cases.
But back on Mar. 25 when N&O reporters and editors were working diligently to cast the hoaxer as “the victim” while framing the Duke Men’s lacrosse team as composed of three gang-rapists and their teammates who were refusing to help the police identify the rapists, the N&O told readers:
It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify the victims of sex crimes.
The third paragraph in today's story begins
He was so confident in the accuser's story and his case that he refused to meet with lawyers who said they could prove players' innocence. (bold added).
How do Reporter Ben Niolet and his editors know confidence is what motivated Nifong to refuse to meet with attorneys? Couldn't his refusal have been for other reason(s)?

Of course it could!

Niolet and the editor’s “confident” claim is opinion masked as news reporting. You find that all the time in the N&O’s “news columns.”

The N&O “confident” claim enables it to avoid mentioning that Nifong had a sworn duty to meet with attorneys to seek out exculpatory evidence that might prove the lacrosse players innocent.

I'll end here.

What do you all think of the story?

Duke lacrosse: It's time to play "Pick the Prof"

Below are portions from essays in two current publications. One is by a Professor of English, who occupies an endowed chair at Duke University. The other is by a Duke undergraduate.

Decide which portion you think is by the professor and which by the student.

Once you’ve made your choices, I’ll ask why you made them. Then I’ll tell you what the reasons for your choices reveal about you.

You may learn things about yourself you’ve never known. There’s no charge for the information. It’s just one of many free benefits you receive for visiting JinC.

Now, let’s begin.

Portion 1

Until we recognize that sports reinforces exactly those behaviors of entitlement which have been and can be so abusive to women and girls and those "othered" by their sports' history of membership, the bodies who will bear evidence and consequence of the field's conduct will remain, after the fact of the matter, laboring to retrieve the lofty goals of education, to elevate the character of the place, to restore a space where they can do the work they came to the university to accomplish.
Portion 2:
All of our coaches have been college students and, in most cases, student-athletes. Although many professors may not have played sports, it is important to understand and respect what kind of impact athletics has on Duke University, its culture and its students, athletes and non-athletes alike. Duke is unique not only because of its innovation in the laboratories or the lecture halls. Duke gains its sense of community and culture from the fact that it combines a first-rate academic curriculum with an incredibly successful athletic department, and this is what the students rally behind. Without athletics, Duke would still be great, but not complete. The combination of elite academics and athletics creates a strong feeling of community and school spirit. My former teammate called it "Blue Devil magic." To me, this is what sets Duke apart, and what has attracted many, if not most, of its students.
Before going further, can we all agree Portion 1 is a run on sentence?

Good. Then let’s move on.

Portion 1 was written by Duke University’s William R. Kenan Professor of English Dr. Karla Holloway. In addition to her regular departmental duties, Professor Holloway is arguably one of the more gifted and talented members of Duke’s Arts & Science faculty’s “Group of 88,” a kind of “informal think tank” whose members Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, and his board of trustee supporters often turn to for guidance.

Did you pick Portion 1 as “by the Prof” because you said, “This is great?”

If you did, JinC profile analysis reveals you may be either a Group of 88 member yourself or a self-identified “strongly committed” Nifong voter. You admire Sen. Ted Kennedy (D- MA) for “his strong stands on women’s rights” and film-maker Michael Moore for “just being out there.” You tell friends: “I don’t understand why everyone keeps saying all those things about Brodhead. He’s wonderful.”

Or did you pick Portion 1 as “by the Prof” because you thought: “This is nonsense. It sounds just like something Karla Holloway or one of Brodhead’s other faculty favorites would write?”

In that case, JinC profile analysis reveals you’re intelligent, caring and very strongly connected to reality. You want what’s best for Duke. You wonder why so many of Duke’s recent endowed AAS professorships have gone to folks who share the Group of 88’s leftist ideology.

And Portion 2?

Portion 2 was written by Ms. Rachel Shack, a junior and member of Duke’s championship Women’s lacrosse team.

If you picked Portion 2 as “by the student” because you said to yourself, “I don’t know any AAS faculty member who writes this well,” then you appreciate fine expository writing. You’re also familiar with the recent writings of such AAS faculty "standouts” as Professors William Chafe, Orin Starn and Peter Wood

Or did you pick Portion 2 as “by the Prof” because you thought, “Portion 1 is the kind of thing a professor hands back to a student for a rewrite. So Portion 2 has to be by the Prof?”

If you did, than you have at least average intelligence but you've not kept up with a lot that's been happening at Duke during the last twenty or thirty years.

Well,that ends “Pick the Prof.”

I thank Professor Holloway, whose essay you can read here, and Student Shack, whose essay you can read here.

Hat Tip: KC Johnson