Monday, August 06, 2007

Responding to Comments – 8/6/07


I’m continuing a trial to see whether responding to your comments in the form below allows me to respond to more comments with the time I have.

I read all comments. If your comment isn’t specifically noted, it may be because I’ve noted the matter elsewhere, the matter is too complex for a brief answer, it’s some nice words which I appreciate but don’t need to comment on, etc.

Today I’m responding to comments or parts thereof on the threads of posts from 7/22 to 7/26.

Now let’s begin. My responses are in italics and parentheses ----


al-Qaeda defeats & the Dems: where’s the N&O?

[This is off the topic but has N&O executive editor for news Melanie] Sill ever apologized for the infamous late March 2006 story that helped to ignite the framing of the lacrosse players?

( Not as far as I know. But I’ll check with N&O public editor Ted Vaden tomorrow and let you know what he says. )

Nifong & Duke's FERPA Fake

I wondered why Duke settled so quickly without any extended negotiations.

( It may be that at least one factor in Duke’s quick settlement of the lawsuits was that it may have violated FERPA laws. At this point we don’t know.

I hope the Whichard Committee’s work brings us closer to an answer, but I think what we’ll really need to find out what Duke did are state and federal investigations.

I’m sorry to think that’s the case. )

[Duke] now appears to be an incredibly dirty, corrupt organization. I cannot imagine paying to send students into that cesspool.

( There’s a great deal that’s good at Duke. That said, it’s astounding the trustees and senior administrators have let things get to the point they’re at.

There’s silence when racists shout death threats at a student; silence when a rogue DA attempts to frame students; and silence when the police tell lies about what happened at a student-hosted party and thereby inflame community feeling against the students.

KC Johnson’s series on the scholarship of some Group of 88 members has been a shocker even for those of us who’ve been concerned that in recent years A&S faculty hiring and promotion appears to have involved cases where ideology trumped scholarship.

There are very serious questions still unanswered regarding possible FERPA violations. No one has yet said where the funds came from to pay for the now discredited “Listening” ad.

And there's more. )

It is worth noting the True Believer Syndrome, and in their conviction that they are right they proceed right ahead without regard for niceties deemed irrelevant.

( The commenter noting the TBS included this link.

Without taking a final stand one way or the other, I just have a lot of trouble believing so many at Duke, even those who are primarily ideology-driven, could have fallen for the obvious lies Mangum was telling. )

Duke's Moneta: "Nothing To Add." Really?

It's amazing (to me, anyway) that the DPD interviewed Moneta at all given that they failed to interview so many other people surrounding the case.

(Good point. )

Why would they interview Moneta about internal Duke conversations? What bearing would that have on the "investigation"?

( Great question. Here’s an example that isn’t, so far as I know, actual but gets at answering your question: “Mr. Moneta, has any senior Duke administrator or the university counsel expressed to you any concerns about how we’re treating students?” )

Did anybody ever figure out who created the vigilante poster?? I'd like to know. Sorry that this is off topic

( Not so far.)

"Comment Verification" Is Turned Off

Thanks, John.

( I’m sorry there was so much trouble with it. I wonder whether it’s the program because I have trouble with it when I go to other blogs that use it.

Anyway, Blogger has put in some technology that catches most of the spam. I’m told they’re also in other ways improving security but it’s all too technical for me to understand, much less explain. )

Excusing Brodhead Hurts Duke

It seems the more light you shine on Duke, the more putrid the odor emanating from the administration.

( It gives me no pleasure to have to agree with you. I think what best indicates how awful the administrations Duke Hoax response has been is the fact that it really can’t talk about so much of what it did.

Have you met a senior administrator or trustee yet whose said something like: “Oh sure, I’ll be happy to tell you why President Brodhead refused to meet with the lacrosse parents for many months. The reason is ……… ?”

Or how about: “I’ve no problem explaining why President Brodhead said nothing when they circulated the “Vigilante” and “Wanted” posters on campus. We talked about it at great length, You see, what we said to each other was ……?” )

Could not agree with you more. As an alumnus, I am more distressed each day with the (in)actions of Brodhead, the administration, and the BOT to not at least say "We're sorry", and to address the deplorable behavior of the "88."

( A year ago I wouldn’t have said what I’m about to say, and you all may think I’m the last one to start figuring things out, but I’m coming to believe an important reason Brodhead hasn’t deplored the behavior of the “88” is because he doesn’t share the view that it was deplorable for faculty members to publish that ad at a time when any sensible people knew it would make an already dangerous situation more dangerous. )

The hope for Duke lies within its own walls. Professor James Coleman for President.

( Brodhead’s successor will certainly need an abundance of the splendid leadership skills and integrity Coleman possesses. )

( On another thread someone asked why a parent would by $30K per year to send a son or daughter to Duke with the way things are there now. A commenter on this thread noted the cost was closer to $46K but added: “your question still stands.”

Worth noting and much to the credit of Duke is its policy of full need-based financial assistance. I think it’s one of only about 20 colleges and universities in the country that have such a policy. )

When I went to Pressler's book signing at the Regulator [bookstore near Duke,] one older gentleman got up and remarked that he had spent 40 years as an archivist at Duke Library. He then went on to remark that Duke never ever apologizes for anything.

( I don’t know enough to affirm or dispute that, but I hope it’s not true.

All people and institutions make mistakes. And the best ones are usually the quickest to recognize them, admit them, make apologies as necessary and fix, in so far as they can, what was wrong. )

Brodhead and [Trustee Chair Robert] Steele are using Alumni contributions to pay off the lawsuits! PLEASE, can't somebody do something about that? It would seem to me to be a misuse of the funds which were generously provided to Duke for educational purposes, NOT to pay for administration's misdeeds.

( I agree absolutely. In just three years, Brodhead’s already the most costly president Duke’s ever had. )

[ Would] just one or more Lacrosse players please NOT take the money and settle??? Just please, somebody, take them to court for the sake of all the people who have suffered so much and for those who have borne the heat of the battle day after day in support of the innocent.

( I’m told by attorneys there are people with reasonable claims against Duke who can still bring suit. Also, in civil suits against other individuals and agencies, we may learn more about Duke’s role in the Hoax.

There’s also the Whichard Committee and possibly state and federal investigations that will tell us much.

And this: I’ve not talked to KC Johnson about the book he’s co-authoring with Stuart Taylor. But just about all the advanced reviews I’ve read reference what the reviews say is the extensive documentation Johnson/Taylor provide about Duke’s role.

Easy prediction: A year from now we’ll know a great deal more than we do now about Duke’s role in the Hoax; and most of it won’t reflect well on Duke.

Folks, be persistent in demanding the media do more reporting, continue to demand investigations of the attempted frame-up, and the on-going cover-up of that frame-up.

At the same time that you’re persisting and supporting others who are doing likewise, remember to be patient.

It will take great effort, even risks, but there is a lot more we are going to learn about a series of conspiracies that led to massive injustices and tell us much about Duke/Durham and America. )

I think the "Dinner with Dick" tour is over, and won't be repeated. In Philadelphia, his reception was decidedly mixed, with the only audience applause coming in reference to questions as to why Kim Curtis was still on the faculty, and why he wouldn't meet with the lacrosse families. (He didn't answer either question.) I doubt he will expose himself to to such questions anytime soon.

( I’m right with you. And I’ll bet you and people who’ve looked at those advanced reviews of the Johnson/Taylor book will agree that he’s not likely to go on any dinner/Q&A tours once the book is released. )

What Dems Have Wrought

We hear a lot of whining about the partisan politics of Washington. Our system was designed for partisan politics where political philosophies can be debated in a civil fashion. The whining should be about the lack of civility. I believe the civility level among the democrats is significantly lower than that of the republicans. At the same time, I think that republicans seem to consciously avoid the many opportunities to show how they differ from the democrats--and those differences seem to diminish daily.

( I agree with you on every point. )


( Folks, in the “racial slurs” post I noted that N&O reporter Anne Blythe, who along with Samiha Khanna, was bylined on the N&O’s biased and racially inflammatory March 24 and 25, 2006 Duke lacrosse stories, was wrong when she recently reported:

Defense lawyers have said the players scattered in the wee hours of the morning after the team party because the second escort service dancer threatened to call police about racial slurs uttered by partygoers.
I sent an email to Blythe asking for a correction and offering to post any response she made. )

John: Please do not hold your breath waiting for a reply.

( I never hold my breath in such cases but I always appreciate thoughtful readers who remind me not to. I think of it as a way we keep in touch. Thanks. )

I have written to her before, but she does not respond. My emails are not nasty, but, nonetheless, do point out her nefarious role in the Hoax.

( Blythe is not the only one at the N&O who does not respond. The same is true at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog where most readers have stopped commenting which seems to be fine with the editors. )

Although I don't believe you will receive a response, I suspect your inquiry is a source of continuing irritation to Anne.

That alone makes it worthwhile.

( I’ve heard from folks I know at the N&O and journalists elsewhere that my fact-based posts are very irritating to many at the N&O.

That doesn’t give me any pleasure. I wish the N&O would examine what I say, correct me when I’m wrong and correct themselves when they’re wrong.

One plus with posts like the “racial slurs” is that you folks see it and it remains on the net for others to see in the future.

That's very helpful in letting people know about the N&O is like. )

[ For the N&O] "’Sorry’ Seems To Be The Hardest Word"

( That’s so true )

Has Editor Sill ever apologized for the inflammatory story in late March 2006 by the N&O's Khanna and Blythe? This story appeared to ignite the Nifong/Durham police frame of the lacrosse players.

( I think you’re referring to the now discredited March 25, 2006 “anonymous interview” story from which the N&O withheld the crucially important and exculpatory for the players news that Mangum had said the second dancer was also sexually assaulted and would “do anything for money.” Also, it was in that story that the N&O withheld news of the players cooperation and instead promulgated the lie that they were not cooperating with police.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I plan to ask the N&O public editor whether Sill, on behalf of the N&O has apologized for the story. )

I consider Nifong's apology very mild.. Again, he tried to make us believe that he did not have all the information , therefore he decided to indict the three young men. Actually, he was motivated by political ambitions and he desperately needed the black vote - this was the real reason he went after innocent people.

Also, nowhere in his statement does he acknowledge that he hid the exculpatory evidence. The DPD should also be carefully investigated. As John mentioned, it is only in a totalitarian state that the police follow the orders of the prosecutor, always a political appointee and not an elected one.

( Everything you say is reasonable and a good reminder that I need to post further on Nifong’s apology. )

Folks, that’s it for now. I’ll try to be back tomorrow in “catch-up” mode covering more posts.

I’d like to get to a point at which I’m responding within a day or two of the comment’s posting.



Anonymous said...

John: I think it is wonderful of you to respond to comments. I hope available time allows you to do more of it. I applaud your courage when posting on the N&O and others. You have my admiration and respect. Excellent and revealing work.

Anonymous said...

The poster was contributed by patrolman D. Addison and Dean S Wasiolek

MIke Lee said...

Great work as always John. A point I think that needs to be driven home is that a total of 3 people have paid for thier actions in this case with their jobs; Mike Pressler, Mike Nifong, and Linwood Wilson.

While there are many sad things about the case at this point, the saddest by far is the fact that Kim Curtis remains employed by Duke University. I wonder what would happen to a student at Duke if they acted in a similar dishonest manner. Surely there would be severe punishment. I don't know how Duke thinks it can maintain any type of moral high ground while employing such a Professor.

It's also a very sad commentary on Durham that David Addison and Mark Gottlieb are still badge wearing gun carrying officers on their force. Gottlieb is just plain dirty and needs to be bagging groceries. Addison needs to either be fired for his outright lies that inflamed the community, or he needs to explain who ordered him to lie to the public.

Either way it seems to me that these 3 individuals have committed egregious sins that warrant their termination from employment.

Don't even get me started on the 88 dishonest professors. For them to fail to see the harm they caused and apologize is unacceptable. They should be ashamed.