Saturday, February 09, 2008

Would the Raleigh N&O have published the "Fujita, grilled" letter?

Please read blogger and law professor Ann Althouse's post, Fujita, grilled?

Then be ready for a short quiz.

Althouse begins ----

The other day I disparaged the pathetic Madison, Wisconsin newspaper, The Capital Times, for its inane letter publishing policy. I must continue the theme.

On January 26, 2008, it published a long letter from area 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett. Excerpts, with my boldface:

I am out of a job because The Capital Times and other mainstream media outlets refuse to report the news....Along with hundreds of other scholars, engineers, architects, and former high-level military, intelligence and executive branch officials...,

I have pointed out that the official story of 9/11 is a ridiculous fairy tale....

Last week, the probable next prime minister of Japan, Yukihisa Fujita, grilled current prime minister Fukuda for half an hour about the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center and the staged events at the Pentagon and asked whether the Japanese police could arrest George W. Bush for his complicity in 9/11.

Why wasn't that front page news?....

[M]y reputation has been ruined, at least in the eyes of the fewer and fewer people naive enough to believe the mainstream media...

Today, we see this hilarious response:
Dear Editor:

I am Yukihisa Fujita, a Japanese MP who was mentioned in a Jan. 26 letter to the editor by Kevin Barrett.

I wish to correct two points in his letter:

1. I can never be the probable next prime minister because the prime minister of Japan has to be elected among Lower House MPs, while I am an Upper House MP! I do not have any position in the shadow Cabinet in the Democratic Party of Japan.

2. I never asked the Japanese police to arrest President Bush.

Yukihisa Fujita, Japan

Some things aren't in the news because — unexciting as it may be to the mind of the conspiracy buff — they didn't happen.


Short quiz - - -

Would the liberal/leftist Capital Times have published the letter without fact-checking if it hadn't been a Bush-basher? I say no.

I don't think Kevin Barrett's reputation is "ruined." In fact, his letter very likely improved his chances of getting a responsible position in a future Clinton or Obama administration. What do you think?

The Raleigh N&O, for all its faults, would not have published Barrett's letter. Do you agree?

Message to Ann Althouse: Thanks for reminding us why sensible people wish the loony Bush-bashers really would move on instead of staying, and staying and staying.

Hat tip: AC

Why Romney Failed

John Ellis at ReadClearPolitics cites what he says were Romney's "5 big mistakes:”

1. Romney had to address the Mormon issue early and often in the first half of 2007. It wasn't a one-speech issue with the Republican base. It was a huge issue. And the de-fusing of it required a concerted effort on Romney's part to explain his faith to those who didn't understand its tenets. ...

2. Packaging Romney as a 700 Club Republican was a non-starter from day one. This point has been made time and time again, but it bears repeating. It's important to remember that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee spent very little money in Iowa, relatively speaking. Romney may have outspent him there by as much as 15-to-1. But Huckabee won Iowa decisively, despite a stumbling finish. The speed with which Romney 1.0 was jettisoned after Iowa confirms the abject failure of the positioning. It failed because it was nonsense.

3. Romney never addressed the War with anything but boilerplate. It is the job of the new candidate, fresh to the national stage, to address, in detail and across diplomatic, military, financial and law enforcement portfolios, the most important threat to the national security interests of the United States of America. The Romney campaign seemed determined to avoid the issue, as if it could only do their candidate political harm. ... This was inexcusable and the most unattractive aspect of the Romney campaign.

4. The Romney campaign never made the pivot to the core economic issue. By October, it was clear to almost every sentient person in the financial community that the sub-prime meltdown would soon mushroom into a solvency crisis at key American financial institutions. And indeed it did. …

Senator McCain couldn't talk about it. He didn't and doesn't understand it. Gov. Huckabee couldn't talk about it. He had and has no idea what it implies.

All Romney had to do was declare a "crisis" (which it surely is) and then address the crisis with ideas about how it might be resolved. In a crisis, people (voters) naturally gravitate to the smartest guy (or woman) in the room.

But the Romney campaign steadfastly refused to raise the issue, despite countless pleas from Romney supporters in the financial community and elsewhere.

5. They sold silly spin all the way to the end. Having mismanaged their candidate to political defeat, the Romney team added insult to injury by spinning his departure as reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's defeat in 1976. …

Reagan left the stage as a force because he was a force. Romney leaves the stage having carried Michigan and Massachusetts and a number of caucus states. And he leaves having given it his very best effort. But he does not leave as a force, because he is not yet a significant force in the Republican Party.

The sad thing about the Romney campaign's demise is that Mitt Romney is an exceptional person; highly intelligent, enormously hard-working, a man of great integrity and grit and executive ability. Given the dearth of talent in both parties -- the seemingly endless parade of mediocrity and venality -- we're lucky to have people like Mitt Romney who are willing to get in the game.

But he was terribly served by his campaign staff and advisors. I would argue that they win the worst campaign team of 2008. Good riddance to them. They had everything they needed to make a good run and they made a complete hash of it.
I agree with Ellis on all points except number 5. While in some important ways Romney’s “departure” wasn’t reminisant of Raegan’s in 1976, in some important respects it was.

It’s mostly being ignored by MSM but people who were at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting say he received 5 standing ovations with the last the loudest and longest. Mort Kondrake said just that last night on Fox News.

Romney’s most important accomplishment of the primary campaign may be that he’s established himself with conservatives to such an extent that while he’s no Reagan, =most of them won’t reject him out-of-hand if there's a next time.

If there is, it's very likely Romney will start out with a large core, perhaps even the majority, of conservative leaders and rank –and –file supporting him.

Ellis’ entire column is here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 8, 2008

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

November 8,1895.

Churchill, a few weeks shy of 21, is on board Cunard's RMS Etruria and nearing the end of his first trans-Atlantic crossing.

How did he like the crossing?

He wrote his mother:

I do not contemplate ever taking a sea voyage for pleasure, and I shall always look upon journeys by sea as necessary evils which have to be undergone in the carrying out of any definite plan. ...

(Although the weather gave some) bad moments we were never seasick. ...

There are no nice people on board to speak of - certainly none to write of. ...

There is to be a concert on board tonight at which all the stupid people among the passengers intend to perform and the stupider ones to applaud. The days have seemed very long & uninteresting.
The next day Etruria sailed through the Narrows into New York harbor. To starboard Churchill could see Brooklyn, where his mother, Jennie Jerome, was born and grew up. Directly ahead was Manhattan. A few hours later Churchill set foot in America for the first time.

Jennie had arranged for her son to stay at the home of one of New York's most influential citizens, Bourke Cockran. Years later, Churchill would say of him,” I have never seen his like, or in some respects his equal."

On Churchill's first night in America, Cockran hosted a glittering dinner in his honor. There's no record of any of the guests offering to perform a concert.
Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: Youth, 1874 - 1900. (pgs. 256-259)

ABC News gushes for Obama

At ABC News’ Politics Vote ’08 Web site there’s what purports to be a news report by correspondent Susan Donaldson James. It headlined:

Passing the Torch: Kennedy's Touch on Obama's Words

Ted Sorensen, Legendary Speechwriter, Lends Support, Eloquence to Democratic Contender
ABC is free to pick its headlines, but I think more accurate headlines would have been:
ABC gushes for Obama.

Gives Sorenson “hero treatment” as he links Obama to Kennedy
ABC’s "news story" starts out:
It's no accident the Kennedy magic has infused itself into the campaign of Barack Obama.
And it's no accident most sensible readers have by this point caught on to what ABC is doing. The story continues [extracts]:
Theodore "Ted" Sorensen, the adviser whom John F. Kennedy once called his "intellectual blood bank," is lending his unabashed support -- and eloquence -- to the Obama campaign.

Oprah, another gushing Obama supporter, may have star power, but Sorensen has brain power.

At the age of 24, he joined the staff of the newly elected Sen. John F. Kennedy and later helped him win the presidency, calling on Americans to pass the torch to a new generation.

The legendary speechwriter helped Kennedy craft the now-famous 1961 Inaugural address in which the new president proclaimed, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis -- when Sorensen was 34 -- he penned the letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev that historians say saved the world from nuclear destruction.

Today, at 79 years old and blind, Sorensen has a new mission: to resurrect Camelot. And it seems the Obama campaign is listening.

"I've given them a phrase or suggestion or two," Sorensen admits.

As for all the comparisons that have been drawn between Obama and Kennedy, "I probably started it," he told …

At nearly 80, Sorensen managed to work his charismatic magic with a new generation. At a dinner before his speech, he fielded questions from students, such as 16-year-old Jackie Wang.

"I wasn't prepared to meet such an extraordinary man," said Wang. "Mr. Sorensen never had the opportunity to thank or part ways with former President Kennedy. The emotions I imagined he experienced when hearing about his death moved me to tears."
There’s more. You can read it here.

How can ABC tell us Oprah’s a “gushy” Obama supporter and call its “Passing the Torch” story straight news reporting?

Easy prediction: We’re going to see a lot more MSM gushing for Obama.

Raleigh N&O, Duke Lacrosse & Defamation (Post 2)

Readers Note: This post should be read as a continuation of Raleigh N&O, Duke Lacrosse & Defamation (Post 1) with the cautions and qualifications noted in that post applying as well to this post.

Now to matters concerning how North Carolina statute of limitations and court interpretations of same bear on possible libel (print) and slander (spoken, as when N&O reporters gave interviews) involved in the Raleigh News & Observer's coverage of the Duke lacrosse case.

According to attorneys I’ve discussed those matters with, the short answer is NC statute of limitations and court rulings weigh heavily against the lacrosse players and others connected to the case being able to now bring defamation claims against the N&O.

The principal reason is NC’s one year statute of limitations for defamation claims. The N&O coverage most likely to be at issue in defamation claims occurred in 2006.

With that said, there are “workarounds” to the statute of limitations. For example, the one year statute is typically seen to be “accruing” (in lay times “when the clock starts ticking" – JinC ) in the case of a newspaper article from the first day of publication.

However, consider from the Web site Dancing With Lawyers this extract titled “Delaying the Date of Accrual”:

If the date of "discovery" (not to be confused with the legal process of discovery, which means squeezing information out of the other team) comes after the act then you may be able to get the statute of limitations extended.

In this sense "discovery" means when you discovered that defamation had happened, or when it started doing you harm. There is likely to be a good bit of "shoulda-woulda-coulda" when two lawyers get to arguing.

With a defective product that usually means the day the defect showed up. But with defamation it may not be as clear – their lawyer shows the slander was quoted in The New York Times; your lawyer shows that you were on a two-year expedition in the Amazon rain forest. Their lawyer shows that you were in New York City for a week during those two years; your lawyer shows that you didn't meet anyone who had read the newspaper story. And so on....
I questioned whether the date of accrual could be delayed based on plaintiff(s) discovering at a later date that a news story was not “straight reporting” but a case where the paper willfully reported material it knew was false or failed to check and the plaintiff(s) only learned of the newspaper’s willfulness and/or failure to check later.

Here’s a paraphrase of what one attorney said: Yes, possibly, but it would be a very long-shot and so hard to do. You’ll encounter all sorts of objections to forcing reporters to testify. And people lie, you know. The courts usually come down on the side of the papers and give them a lot of “freedom of the press” leeway.

The other attorneys pretty much said the same thing along with the “you can never be sure what will happen” qualification. The uniqueness of the case in terms of the public attention its received and the financial resources and legal firepower plaintiffs could bring to bear were also mentioned as factors which could lead to a successful “workaround” in terms of statute of limitations precluding claims against the N&O.

One last matter I’ll mention is an emerging area of law having to do with Internet posting of material.

The attorneys I talked to all mentioned it and stressed it was a very complicated and unsettled area of law involving mostly cases in which plaintiffs have argued that accrual begins anew each time an Internet document such as a newspaper story is accessed by someone on the Web.

None of the attorneys was willing to speculate on how this and other emerging areas of what’s sometimes called cyber law or tech law could impact statute of limitations regarding the Duke lacrosse case; and I won’t either.

Those of you interested in the area can search the Web. There’s a good deal out there.

I found this Tech Law Journal summary and discussion dated Dec. 21, 2007 of a recent U. S. Court of Appeals ruling very interesting, especially the last five paragraphs which noted issues the courts have not yet addressed concerning public access to newspapers’ archives issues and statute of limitation accrual.

I’ll post again in a few days concerning matters related to any legal liability the N&O may bear for its biased, racially inflammatory and sometime false coverage of what we now know was a frame-up attempt and a cover-up of it, both beginning in March 2006.

The frame-up attempt ended on April 11, 2007 when the NC Attorney General declared the three former Duke students and lacrosse players "innocent." The cover-up continues to this day.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 7, 2008

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

During World War II, the noted Oxford historian Isaiah Berlin served in the Foreign Office.

His postings included one to the British Embassy in Washington, where his assignment was to write assessments of American political and social leaders and issues.

Churchill became a regular and admiring reader of Berlin's assessments. He told aides that when Berlin was back in England, he wanted to meet him.

The Prime Minister's wish was swiftly passed to Foreign Office staffers and others.

Not long after that, word came back to Churchill's aides that Berlin was indeed in England. So arrangements were made for Berlin to join a luncheon group the PM would be hosting at 10 Downing Street.The seating plan placed Berlin at Churchill's talbe one place removed from his right.

Now, readers, our story comes to a "bump in the road."

Not for the first time, eager government staffers didn't get things quite right.

So it was a surprised and honored Irving Berlin who received the luncheon invitation just days after arriving in England with a USO show.

Author Stefan Kanfer tells about the luncheon:

Berlin showed up at Number 10. The PM addressed him as Professor and grilled him about the progress of the war.

Bewildered, the composer answered in monosyllables, until a frustrated Churchill gave up and turned to the guest on his left.

Later, (Churchill) commented: “Berlin’s like most bureaucrats. Wonderful on paper, but disappointing when you meet them face to face.”
Perhaps the aides later comforted each other with something like, "Simple enough mistake. Both I. Berlin, you know."
Stefan Kanfer, "The Americanization of Irving Berlin." City Journal (Spring, 2002)

Romney's sense, class and values

This from the AP:

Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign on Thursday, effectively sealing the Republican presidential nomination for John McCain. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney told conservatives.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. ...

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters ... many of you right here in this room ... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming president. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America," Romney said. ...

"I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating al- Qaida and terror," Romney said. ...
I think Romney would have made a very good President.

But it was clear if he was to have any chance for the GOP's presidential nomination, he'd have to get into a "blood-bath" fight in which he'd demolish McCain.

That would've left the GOP weakened and its nomination not worth a tinker's damn.

Romney showed good political sense in passing on a fight that would've had no winners except on the Dem side.

He bowed out today with class and expressing what should be every presidential candidate’s priorities.

Germany, Iran, appeasement, and partisanship

Today at the Daily Standard Joseph Loconte, a senior fellow at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy, begins:

Last week Germany marked the 75th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's rise to power, on January 30, 1933. Within a decade the Nazi juggernaut had devoured much of Europe, and its death camps had incinerated millions.

No nation in Europe bears the shame of Nazism and anti-Semitism more heavily, yet none seems more determined to prevent their recurrence.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier no doubt spoke for many over the weekend: "The memory of the genocide committed by the Germans serves to keep us alert and fight anti-Semitism and racial hatred around the world."

This is a good thing, this mixture of grief and resolve. We will need more of it. For on the very same day last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--in yet another bellicose political sermon--promised that Iran would produce nuclear energy within a year and that Israel would soon collapse. "I warn you to abandon the filthy Zionist entity," he said, "which has reached the end of the line."

All historical analogies are hazardous, of course. Yet it is not necessary to believe that the Iranian president shares Hitler's demonic fury, or that his brand of Shi'a Islam is a kind of Islamo-fascism, to draw useful lessons from Europe's decade of appeasement.

Foremost among these lessons was the fatally naïve critique of Hitler, his anti-Semitism, and his designs on Europe. …
Laconte’s entire article is here.

Mentioning a “fatally naïve critique” brings to mind the recent NIE report which seemed to claim Iran was no longer developing nuclear weapons; and the eager hyping of the report by many Dems and their MSM allies who saw in the NIE’s alleged claim a chance to undermine President Bush’s oft repeated warnings that Iran’s determined to become a nuclear power and the world’s need to prevent that.

After reading Laconte’s article and recalling how the Ds and so much of MSM reacted to the NIE report, I was reminded again that while I’m not an R, I can’t be a D.

A “hiring announcement” Duke didn't make

From The Chronicle:

Duke has hired former U.S. deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick to assist in the defense against the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by three unindicted members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team, University officials confirmed Wednesday. …
The entire Chronicle report is here.

If the University was more transparent, Duke’s latest “hiring announcement” would have begun as follows:
President Brodhead and the trustees announced today the hiring of prominent Washington attorney Jamie Gorelick.

“I’m really, really happy to welcome Jamie Gorelick to the Duke team,” President Richard H. Brodhead said. “I’m confident she’ll be an enormous help to me and others as the University moves on and things get uglier and Dukier.”
But Brodhead never said that.

Dem delegate math: trouble to follow?

At Captain's Quarters Ed Morrissey does some Dem delegate math and sees trouble ahead for the Dems [excerpt]:

The delegate assignments have mostly shaken out from the Super Tuesday contests, and the situation looks even more grim than yesterday for the Democrats. Barack Obama now has a narrow five-delegate lead among non-superdelegates, 635-630, at roughly the halfway point.

The remaining state delegates will now have to break markedly in favor of one candidate over the other in order to avoid making the superdelegates select the party nominee….

Democrats have 4,049 delegate that will attend the convention, but 796 of these are superdelegates. That leaves 3,253 elected delegates, of which 1,291 have already been assigned to one of the candidates. That leaves 1,961 delegates left, and the winner has to have 2,025 to gain the nomination. Both Hillary and Obama would need almost 1,400 of them to win -- or 69%.

One of them would have to start winning all the proportionally-allocated states by more than a 2-1 margin the rest of the way through the calendar, at least if they wanted to win without the superdelegates. That looks like a complete impossibility.

The Democrats will have to either broker a deal between Hillary and Obama to avoid a floor fight, or they will have to have the party establishment pick the winner. And the closer the two candidates are at the end of the process, the more divisive that outcome will be.

I hope you read the entire post.

"Divisive outcome" may turn out to be an understatement.

Hillary's waited 16 years for her chance to be President. She has passionate supporters. Look at the bitter public denunciations of Sen. Ted Kennedy by many Clinton allies after he endorsed Obama. Obama's people are passionate about "the dream" and "Change."

It's very possible we'll see a situation in the fall in which there'll be public declarations of unity and support from both Hillary and Obama, but the supporters of one of them will be resentful and not "fully in the fight."

Hat tip: Mike Williams

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 6, 2008

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

It's an amusing exchange. I bet most of you know it:

In the first decade of the twentieth century, George Bernard Shaw, still smarting from Churchill's critical review of his previous play, sends Churchill a note just prior to the opening of his latest play: "Have reserved two tickets for first night. Come and bring a friend, if you have one."

Churchill writes back: "Impossible to come to first night. Will come to second night, if you have one."
Amusing, yes, but I'm not sure the exchange ever really happened. A number of reliable sources don't mention it, while most unreliable ones do.

But I have confidence in what I'm about to tell you now.

The famed political cartoonist David Low once remarked:
"Churchill is one of the few men I have met who... give me the impression of genius. Shaw is another. It is amusing to know that each thinks the other is much overrated!"
By October, 1950 Shaw and Churchill would no doubt have agreed that the public was low-rating them both. Shaw's works were then ridiculed by many critics while Churchill was struggling to win enough public support to assure him a return to the Prime Minister's office.

In those circumstances, Churchill learned that Shaw had been hospitalized. He sent him flowers and a warm note. Shaw sent back a copy of his newest book, Sixteen Half Sketches, along with a note in which he said:
"You need only read (a bit of it) as you and I are officially classed as ignoramuses."
For the Low quote, see The Churchill Centre's Contemporaries. (Here and scroll down)

For the exchange of notes ending with "ignoramuses," see Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: Young Statesman. (p. 1)

Sen. Kerry “inappropriately, but on the other hand”

Jeff Poor at Business & Media Institute:

Politicians using tragedy to advance an agenda has been a tried-and-true strategy….

[Former Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John] Kerry appeared on MSNBC on February 6 to discuss storms that have killed at least 50 people throughout the Southeastern United States.

So, of course, Kerry used the platform to advance global warming alarmism.

“[I] don’t want to sort of leap into the larger meaning of, you know, inappropriately, but on the other hand, the weather service has told us we are going to have more and more intense storms,” Kerry said. “And insurance companies are beginning to look at this issue and understand this is related to the intensity of storms that is related to the warming of the earth. And so it goes to global warming and larger issues that we’re not paying attention to.” …
Since Kerry and his wife have five large homes and three SUVs, I can understand him thinking he has a certain bona fides where global warming is concerned.

Still, I’ll pay more attention to a meteorologist Poor cites:
Roger Edwards, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla., has doubts about any global warming and tornado relationship.

“As of this writing, no scientific studies solidly relate climatic global temperature trends to tornadoes,” Edwards wrote on the Earth & Sky Web site in April 2007. “I don’t expect any such results in the near future either, because tornadoes are too small, short–lived, hard to measure and count, and too dependent on day to day, even minute to minute weather conditions.”
Message to Jeff Poor: Thanks for some science and a reminder of why we should be grateful Bush won.

MSM doesn't give us much of either.

Hat tip: Matt Drudge

Is the N&O public editor's job about the truth?

I’ve posted often about Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Ruth Sheehan's statements published in her column and the Yaeger (with Pressler) book, It’s Not About The Truth, explaining that she was misled by the disgraced Mike Nifong who was an anonymous source for her March 27, 2006 “Team’s silence is sickening.”

Sheehan's column savaged the Duke lacrosse players much as Nifong did when he first spoke publicly about the case after publication of Sheehan’s column.

I’ve also posted with questions about the N&O’s use of Nifong as an anonymous source for its now discredited Mar. 25, 2006 “anonymous interview” story it said was about “the victim’s” account of a night which ended in “sexual violence.”

For further information, source citations and links concerning all of the foregoing refer to this: N&O editor's response re: Nifong as anonymous source.

For more than 20 months, neither Sheehan nor any N&O editor I contacted and asked questions of concerning her claims and the paper's use of Nifong as an anonymous source responded to me until last week, at which time I received the following email from N&O public editor Ted Vaden in response to this post: What’s really hurting the Raleigh N&O :


I don't see here that Ruth said Nifong was an anonymous source for The N&O.

The paper did not quote any anonymous sources in the course of its
coverage of the lacrosse case, with the exception of the early interview with the accuser.

And, of course, she was not anonymous, but unnamed in the article.

In those early days, Nifong was anything but anonymous, which was part of his eventual downfall.

Ted V.
I've just sent Vaden the following response:

Dear Editor Vaden:

You say "Nifong was anything but anonymous."

DA Mike Nifong did not begin speaking publicly about the frame-up attempt until after the March 25 "anonymous interview/sexual violence" story and Sheehan's March 27 column were published. The N&O didn't mention Nifong in connection with the attempted frame-up until March 28.

You surely know that.

Concerning your preposterous statement the false accuser Crystal Mangum was "not anonymous, but unnamed in the article," I offer the following from your Apr. 2, 2006 column: "Searching for fairness in the Duke story"
"In my view, the interview is at odds with The N&O's own policy on anonymous sources, which discourages their use except when the information can be obtained no other way."
A little further along you said:
But let's talk more about the anonymous interview.
Further on you told readers:
The difference, though, is that The N&O did not offer to let the accused speak anonymously, as it did for the accuser.(bolds JinC's)
Concerning Nifong serving as an anonymous source for Sheehan's March 27 column, please take another look at the following which I've previously provided you. I've placed this latest submission between star lines and highlighted parts of Sheehan's statements in bold.


Sheehan says Nifong and “people” at the N&O who were in touch with him were the actual sources for her March 27 column attacking the players and demanding the lacrosse team be "shut down" until the players cooperated with police.

Don Yeager, in his recently released It's Not About the Truth (Threshold Editions, 2007), quotes Sheehan:
"I think on Saturday [March 25] we had the interview with the alleged victim. It was on Sunday I called into the office. I already had a column in the can because I run on Mondays.

But I called in about this story and they told me that there was another story with Nifong talking about how there was this wall of silence.

That's when I decided on that Sunday to write my first column about the case.[...]

I have to write a column about what people are talking about. And everybody was talking about it. It was so outrageous, the stuff that was in the paper. Her story, Nifong's recounting of it. Oh, my God. It was just like , . , you couldn't even believe it." (ellipses in Yeager) (pg. 154)
A little further on Yeager writes:
As she wrote, Sheehan made clear that in her mind the stories bubbling up from Nifong's office and the Durham Police Department were true. She was not alone. (pg. 155)
Yeager then tells readers Sheehan added:
"Back during that period, no one was telling us that the players had been cooperative," she said in a January 2007 interview. "I know now that was not true. If I had known that then, I would have never written what I did. I would have thought what is Nifong talking about? That's not a wall of silence then. How is that a wall of silence?"(pg. 155)
The N&O’s March 25 "anonymous interview" story refers to “authorities [who’ve] vowed to crack the team's wall of solidarity.”

It then continues: "We're asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward," Durham police Cpl. David Addison said. "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime."

But neither that March 25 story nor any N&O Duke lacrosse story that appeared before March 28 mentions Nifong or some variant such as “the DA’s office said” as a news source.

No one at the N&O has challenged Sheehan's account of calling the paper on Sunday, March 26, and being told by journalist(s) there details of what Nifong was providing the N&O.

In the N&O's recent report of Yeager’s book, staff writer Jim Nesbitt didn't even mention Sheehan’s account.

I posted on Nesbitt’s story here. I raised questions about why the N&O’s story said nothing about Yeager's reporting on Sheehan’s column or any other part of the N&O’s framing of the lacrosse players last March.

I emailed Nesbitt and asked why that was the case. I offered to publish his response in full.

I received no reply to my email or to phone messages I left for Nesbitt and other N&O staffers.

Sheehan’s disclosures to Yeager are, as far as I know, her most detailed public statements identifying Nifong as a source for her March 27 column.

I'm not aware of Sheehan ever before publicly disclosing Nifong spoke to journalists at the N&O by at least Sunday, March 26, and perhaps earlier. Or that journalists at the N&O used what Nifong told them to convince Sheehan to write her column viciously and falsely attacking the players. (Sheehan has since apologized for the column. - JinC).

But Sheehan's statements to Yeager are not the first time she's blamed Nifong for her May 27 column.

Last June 19 she wrote a column saying she'd been wrong to base her March 27 column on what Nifong had said.

I posted on her column the same day asking among other things how Sheehan could blame Nifong for her column when he didn’t begin speaking publicly about the case until AFTER her column had run.

I sent Sheehan an email asking that question but never heard back.


Given all of the foregoing, Editor Vaden, it's difficult to see how a reasonably responsible public editor would claim Sheehan is saying anything other than Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27 column; or that she is saying anything other than Nifong's source information was passed to her by journalist(s) she reached by phone at the N&O.

I hope you will now give me and all other N&O readers full and frank answers to the questions I've been asking about the N&O's use of Nifong as an anonymous source in March 2006.

Isn't that the kind of service a public editor is supposed to provide readers?

If you can't provide that service, please direct me to someone at the N&O or the McClatchy Company who can?

I'll publish your response in full at my blog.

Thank you for your attention to this document.


John in Carolina

When Obama Got a Tough Question in '06

Readers Note: Many of you will be interested in the post below: Sen. Obama Gets a Pointed Question. It was published June 29, 2006.


TV network interviewers know the unwritten rule: you don’t ask liberal Dems tough questions.

That’s why you never hear questions like: “How did it feel, Mr. Clinton, when the Supreme Court acted unanimously to disbar you and you had to turn in your license to practice before the court?”

Or: “If you feel so strongly about the environment, Sen. Kerry, why do you own five large homes and three SUVs?”

But recently, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts either forgot or just ingored the rule.

Blogger Mark Finkelstein at Newsbusters tells us about it:

In introducing [Sen. Barack] Obama, GMA's Robin Roberts did describe him as "one of the Democrats' rising stars." But I think that might be some kind of required FCC label, so we'll cut Robin slack. Particularly so in light of the very probing question with which she ultimately hit Obama, and the telling response she elicited.

The topic was the Dems' uneasy relationship with religion and religious voters, and the speech Obama gave yesterday exhorting Democrats to "compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans."

Frankly, I expected Roberts to accord kid-MSM glove treatment to Obama. But after some nice chit chat, she landed this blow:

"We saw, of course, in the last presidential election moral values very much on the minds of voters who went to the polls. But it's also, when evangelicals talk about the way Democrats traditionally vote, when it comes to gay rights and abortion. So it's not so much the family values that you talk about, but about how Democrats vote. Does there have to be a change there?"


Obama: "There are going to be differences and issues and not all these issues that touch on religious faith are easily resolved. I mean, the fact of the matter is that there are going to be contentious debates around abortion and gay marriage and that's part of our democratic process. My simple point is to make sure that we don't get so locked into a particular perception about how one party or the other thinks that we miss the enormous complexity and diversity of religious views across the country."

Translation: "When it comes to social issues, we Democrats are going to keep voting like the liberals we are. But we have to figure out a way to change the religious voters' perception of what we're up to." ( Finkelstein’s bolds and italics)
If there were more questions like the one Roberts asked, those network ratings might go up.

Of course, it would also be a lot harder to get the lib Dems to come on the shows.

Thanks, Mark, for a good catch.
Post URL:

MSM's Twisted Economic and Iraq War Coverage

I want to share the following which Instapundit posted last week. I make a few comments after it below the star line.

Now Instapundit - - -

READER RICK GIOVANELLI SENDS THIS STORY ON THE ECONOMY from The New York Times and observes, "Don't you wish Vegas or the online markets would let you bet on things like the number of articles linking a weak economy to President Bush compared to the number of articles (approximately zero) linking him to the strong economy of the past 4-5 years?"

You don't bet on certainties. But I'm reminded of a passage from Mark Penn's book on how the media treated the economy in 1992:

I have found over the years that there is often a huge disconnect between belief about the economy and the true economic state of affairs. Until the statistics are actually published, people tend to assess the economy through the eyes of the national media.

In 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidency based on worries about the economy, the statistics that came out after the election showed that the period leading up to November had actually been a period of record growth. . . .

In his 1996 State of the Union speech, President Clinton said we had the best economy in thirty years -- a statement that sent a flurry of reporters to check actual statistics rather than popular political movements and sweeping, politically motivated statements. The more people looked at the facts, the more they agreed, and six months later, there was near-unanimity that the economy was in good shape.

Had the economy changed? No, what had changed was knowledge about the true facts of the economy. (emphasis JinC)

Hmm. Regardless of the data, we get bad economic "news" when there's a Republican in the White House., and good economic "news" when a Democrat is running for reelection. Perhaps that New York Times headline -- "Echo of First Bush" -- is more accurate than I first thought . . . .


If you've paid much attention to MSM lately and you're one of those who trust the lib/Dem news organizations, you may be surprised to learn the country isn't in a recession yet.

It's tough for the mostly partisan Dems in MSM to report good economic news when an R occupies the White House.

It's also tough for MSM to report good news from Iraq.

MSM's Iraq war reporting is so bad Lt. Gen. Sanchez, former commander of ground troops there, recently delivered a speech in which he castigated MSM for its flagrantly biased reporting of the war even to the point of say some reporting was costing American lives.

But almost all of MSM ignored what Sanchez said regarding their war reporting.

Whether its the war or the economy, you can count of most MSM news organizations to twist, spin and shill for the Dems. On the other hand, they almost always get the ball scores right.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 5, 2008

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

Cast your mind back to April, 1941.

It's been nine months since France collapsed and signed an armistice with Hitler's Germany.

There’s no Eastern front. Germany won’t attack Russia for another three months.

The United States won’t enter the war until Dec. 7, 1941.

The Axis powers appear invinciable.

Nevertheless, Britain and the Commonwealth fight on.

On the home island, the fight involves a mostly defensive battle against German bombing raids. The Royal Air Force destroys many attacking bombers but others get through and do their worst.

Bristol is hard hit during a nighttime raid that April.

The following morning, Churchill and Clementine left London for Bristol to view the damage and comfort victims. A small party accompanied them. It included an American, Averell Harriman, then in England as a representative of President Roosevelt.

Everyone was moved by the damage they witnessed and the "pluck" of the survivors.

That evening, Harriman arranged to make a large, anonymous donation to a relief fund for the bombing victims.

Clementine learned of his gesture. She sent him the following letter:

Tuesday, April the 15th. 1941

My dear Mr. Harriman:

I am sending your generous present to the Lord Mayor of Bristol & although I shall respect your wish that it shall be anonymous, I shall tell him how moved the giver was by the sufferings and bearing of the people of Bristol.

I feel it is the fervent hope and prayer of many of us that all this pain and grief, some of which we have perhaps deserved by our blindness and negligence, may bring our two countries permanently together & that they may grow to understand each other.

Anyhow, whatever happens we do not feel alone any more.

Yours very sincerely,

Clementine S. Churchill
We often forget that in Freedom's great struggle,there were two Churchills who used the English language to touch, sustain, and inspire.
Clementine Churchill's letter was included in a Library of Congress exhibit: Churchill and the Great Republic. A transcript of the letter may be viewed here.

Kristin Butler news & highlights

Duke senior and award-winning Chronicle columnist Kristin Butler’s Tuesday column didn’t run today. Kristin sent an email last evening explaining a non-emergency but time consuming family matter had come up recently "so my very understanding editors agreed that it wouldn't be realistic to write a column on no sleep and information overload.”

The good news for all of us who appreciate Kristin’s literate, gutsy, truth-telling columns is she’ll be back next week.

In the meantime, I offer a few Kristin Butler highlights for all of us who admire Kristin’s outstanding journalism.

The following are the first four paragraphs and the last one of her Sept. 19, 2007 “Is $30 Million Too Much?” column.

News & Observer columnist Barry Saunders doesn't think Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans deserve a $30-million settlement from Durham.

The way Saunders sees it, "a fish sandwich, a Yoo-hoo and a one-way Greyhound bus ticket" would cover the "inconvenience" the "Blue Demon 3" suffered while waiting "for the magistrate to finish lunch so daddykins could post bail." On this point, Saunders feels so strongly that "if the city settles and pays an exorbitant amount without a fight" he's going to "go down to city hall and slap somebody."

"Like a bad rash," Saunders' hateful words rub this Duke student the wrong damn way. Reasonable people can certainly disagree on whether $30 million represents an appropriate settlement; as a recent Chronicle editorial pointed out, the proposed sum can seem "a little steep.... The 'bad guys' in this case are not the Durham citizens who will be paying the lion's share of that settlement, but rather Nifong and certain members of the Durham Police Department."

But as Saunders' screed demonstrates, the harm that's been done to our former classmates' reputations is as ongoing as it is real. Lest we forget, these young men's mugshots were broadcast across the country, accompanied by headlines like "Sex, Lies and Duke." They endured death threats, were driven from their homes by negative publicity and spent an entire year of their lives fighting sexual assault and kidnapping indictments. …

Too little has changed since Mike Nifong once ran roughshod over the Constitution. Just last week, the powerful Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People endorsed local activist and arch-bigot Victoria Peterson-who in addition to believing in Nifong's "integrity and goodness," said she feels that "approving... health benefits for sodomites ought to be illegal." When things like that happen, I strongly suspect that this may not be the county's last $30-million check.
I was taught one mark of fine expository writing was whether you could take a writer’s first and last few paragraphs, but them together, and have something a reader just coming upon them would understand.

Kristen did that with those paragraphs. They can stand by themselves as a splendid “short” column.

I went through The Chronicle’s archives to find Kristin’s first column. It appears to be "Impale Yale" which ran on May 25, 2006. The column concerned Yale’s decision to admit a former Taliban leader, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, as a special, non-degree seeking student. Here’s some of what Kristin said:
[I’m] hoping that you will … be upset by his presence at Yale for two reasons.

The first is the hypocrisy at the heart of Yale's conduct. The university cloaks Rahmatullah's admission in euphemisms like "increase understanding."

Yet Yale certainly doesn't apply this standard to the United States Armed Forces, whose ROTC programs it has deliberately banned from campus.

Yale can't have this both ways; considering that 281 American soldiers (as of March) have died since 2001 to defend all of us from the Taliban, how could Rahmatullah's voice be welcome when the military's is not?

My second, larger concern is the moral relativism that has infested Yale-and portions of academia in general.

Consider the words of Yale Law's assistant director of giving, who actually called one graduate's concerns over Rahmatullah's crimes "retarded" and "disgusting."

Indeed, this parallel universe in which Yale's administration obviously dwells is a place where a man's complicity in a regime marked by genocide, torture and rape constitute, in the words of Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, "personal accomplishments that had a significant impact."

Clearly it's not the alumni who are retarded. …
The entire column is here.

It will be wonderful to welcome Kristin back next week.

Raleigh N&O, Duke Lacrosse & Defamation (Post 1)

Readers Caution: I’m not an attorney and I’m not offering here any “final” or “firm” answers.”

I’m providing some limited information which you’ll want to verify for yourselves and some links to sites which will be of some help to those of you who’ve asked questions concerning legal liabilities the Raleigh News & Observer may bear for its biased, racially inflammatory and, in some cases, deliberately fraudulent coverage trashing the Duke students who were members of the school’s 2006 Men’s lacrosse team; and for it enablement of what we now know was the attempted frame-up of three members of the team for multiple felonies, including gang rape and the cover-up of the frame-up attempt, a cover-up which is ongoing to this day.

With that caution before you, let’s begin:

First, a condensation of what a number of attorneys who litigate in the area of media defamation have told me since a few months after the case “broke” on March 24, 2006:

It will be very, very hard, but not totally impossible, to hold the N&O to some account for what it did. There are many strong defenses the N&O can raise to avoid liability.

Even allowing that it can be held to some account, there are questions of whether it will be worth the expenditure of time and money involved to pursue defamatory claims.

Separate from any legal action, it is in the N&O’s long-term interests to be forthcoming about errors it made and to make retractions and apologies as warranted.
Attorneys have stressed that where slander and libel are concerned, news organizations have protections the ordinary citizen doesn’t have. "There’s 'a very high wall' that protects them," is how one attorney put it.

All of the attorneys referenced a Supreme Court decision in 1964 which is explained in a U. S. State Department public information document as follows [extracts]:
…[In] 1964 when the Supreme Court issued a ruling that revolutionized libel law in the United States. The famous decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan once and for all created a national rule that squared more fully with the free press guarantees of the First Amendment.

In its ruling, the Court decided that public officials no longer could sue successfully for libel unless reporters or editors were guilty of "actual malice" when publishing false statements about them.

And just what is malice when it comes to proving libel?

Retired Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., who wrote the Sullivan decision, defined it as "knowledge that the [published information] was false" or that it was published "with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not."

In other words, public officials no longer could sue for libel simply by proving that something that had been broadcast or printed about them was false. Now they would have to prove that a journalist had knowingly printed false information while making little, if any, attempt to distinguish truth from lies.

The Supreme Court later extended its so-called Sullivan rule to cover "public figures," meaning individuals who are not in public office but who are still newsworthy because of their prominence in the public eye.

Over the years, American courts have ruled that this category includes celebrities in the entertainment field, well-known writers, athletes, and others who often attract attention in the media.

For purely private individuals, the test for proving libel is not as difficult.

Although Supreme Court rulings such as the Sullivan decision apply everywhere in the United States, most states continue to have their own libel laws that cover private individuals. …
When discussing Sullivan, attorneys have used the term “deliberately malicious.”

They’ve explained it to mean that it’s not enough for a plaintiff to prove that a news organization’s report was “malicious.” The plaintiff must also prove the news organization “deliberately” intended to be “malicious.”

“The plaintiff’s burden is to prove both ‘deliberativeness’ and ‘maliciousness.’ ‘Maliciousness by itself won’t do it,” one attorney said.

News organizations often defend themselves from the “deliberately” part of “deliberately malicious” by what attorneys refer to as an “incompetency defense.

In cases involving slander and libel, news organizations will argue something like this: “We didn’t do it deliberately. We make mistakes all the time. Here, look at this long list of mistakes we made. And they're just from this past year.”

In the case of the Duke students, the question of whether a court would view them as "public figures" or private citizens would also come up.

On that question all the attorneys said you could argue it either way, but all said they thought ultimately the courts would rule the students were "public figures" by virtue of the very public nature of the case.

I asked each attorney whether each of the players being named a suspect in the NTO request was the kind of act which could be used to argue they were "public figures." They all said yes.

Some attorneys said that membership on a nationally ranked sports team, by itself, could make the players "public figures" in the eyes of the court.

None of the attorneys ruled out entirely the players and others being able to successfully bring actions against the N&O. They just repeatedly stressed how difficult that will be.

What I’ve just presented only touches on a few important aspects of very complex matters. But I hope it was of some interest and help.

I’ll post in a day or two concerning statue of limitation questions in regard to legal claims that might yet be brought against the N&O.

The entire State Department public information document is here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 4, 2008

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

In September 1943, American high school and college students knew that on the Russian front, Soviet and German soldiers their age were being killed, wounded or taken prisoners of war by the hundreds of thousands.

The students also knew that in the South Pacific, Americans they might soon join were fighting and dying side-by-side with Australian and other Allies against suicidal Japanese resistance.

Many of the students read the casualty lists the War Department released each day. Often they recognized names of friends they thought had been serving in Italy or with a bomber command or on a sub somewhere in the Atlantic. But the lists didn’t say much about where or with what units the dead, wounded and missing had been serving. The students understood .

Like everyone else, they didn’t want to read anything in the newspapers that might help the enemy. It was before such students and to America’s youth that Churchill spoke at Harvard University on September 6, 1943:

"To the youth of America, as to the youth of all the Britains, I say, 'You cannot stop. It must be world anarchy or world order.'

You will find in the British Commonwealth good comrades to whom you are united by other ties besides those of State policy and public need. Law, language, literature...common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice, and above all the love of personal freedom. These are common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-Speaking Peoples."
In 1943 British and American “common conceptions of what is right and decent” were under attack from without.

Today, they're under attack from within as well as without. ________________________________________________________

The quote is referenced in many Churchill biographies.It can also be found in
The Churchill Centre's Finest Hour. (Winter, 2000-2001) Go here and scroll down.

Questions about Huckabee

This from CBS News' Scott Conroy:

Mitt Romney fired back against Mike Huckabee over the former Arkansas governor’s accusation that Mitt Romney has engaged in “voter suppression” in arguing that a vote for Huckabee is a vote for John McCain.

“I don't think he's chosen the right word,” Romney said at a press conference after speaking to hundreds of enthusiastic supporters at a rally here. “It's not voter suppression. I want people to vote, but I want them to vote for me. That's sort of the nature of politics, as I understand it.”

In recent days, Romney has avoided responding to Huckabee’s barrage of attacks, as the former Massachusetts governor seeks to portray the nomination fight as a two-man race between himself and McCain. But in his remarks this afternoon, Romney hit back hard.

“First a couple of rules in politics,” he said. “One: no whining. And number two: you get them to vote for you and so I want them not to vote for Mike Huckabee and not to vote for John McCain and to vote for me … that’s not voter suppression. That’s known as politics.”

The rest of the story's here.

Of course, Romney's right. In politics you want people voting for you and not the other candidates.

So where did Huckabee come up with his "voter suppression" charge?

Do you think he's been taking advice from those veteran campaigners, the Revs. Sharpton and Jackson?

Don’t stick taxpayers with subprime bailout

Former LA Times political reporter Ron Brownstein, now political director of Atlantic Media Group, is, according to one colleague, “blandly liberal.”

But in a recent National Journal column concerning mortgage foreclosures and who should pay for “subprime mortgages” fraudulently obtained and now in default, Brownstein was anything but “blandly liberal.” He was more like “a passionate liberal.”

With at best questionable evidence Brownstein began by claiming Blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately victimized by current mortgage market conditions. He went on to exaggerate the extent of mortgage foreclosures. He was silent regarding people who obtained mortgages fraudulently. And he wound up calling for American taxpayers to pay the huge bill for mortgage loans which should never have been made in the first place.

That's "passionate" liberalism.

What follows are excerpts from Brownstein’s column and, below the star line, an email I sent him.

Brownstein began:

The surging tide of housing foreclosures is threatening to sweep away one of the most encouraging, if little-noticed, social success stories of the past 15 years.

Starting under President Clinton and continuing under President Bush, African-Americans and Latinos made dramatic advances in homeownership from the mid-1990s through the first part of this decade. Those gains stabilized troubled neighborhoods, boosted city treasuries, and helped minority families build wealth.
But now that escalator has stopped.

From 1995 through 2004, the homeownership rate among African-Americans increased every year -- from 43 percent to just below 50 percent overall. But since then, the homeownership rate among blacks has fallen back under 48 percent, according to the Census Bureau. The Latino homeownership rate, which was just 42 percent in 1995, hit a record 50 percent in late 2005 but has stagnated since.

Whites are losing ground, too: Their homeownership rate has dipped from a peak of 76 percent in 2004 to about 75 percent now. But the trend in minority communities is more ominous because their advances were more tenuous. And the problem, for whites and minorities alike, is likely to get worse before it improves. …

"The numbers are going to be dismal, especially in the minority communities, over the next two years," says Lori Gay, president and CEO of Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, a nonprofit organization focused on low-income homeownership.

Gay's group is at the front line of the foreclosure crisis. Every day, it deals with the impact of the rapid, almost unregulated, growth of the subprime lending market. Subprime loans are made by brokers and dealers of sundry ethics and common sense, often to borrowers who might not qualify to borrow as much (or any) money from conventional lenders. …

These loans, which barely existed in the early 1990s, now account for about one-fifth of new mortgages, with African-Americans and Latinos more likely to have them than whites. …

There's plenty of blame to share. Many borrowers were misled, but others were complicit in the carnage. Bruce Solomon, a bracingly clear-eyed loan officer at the L.A. housing group, recently worked with an African-American man who inherited a home from his parents and then lost it to foreclosure after he misrepresented his income and obtained a $570,000 refinancing loan.

The lender gave the man a wildly inappropriate loan and winked at his financial forms (because the lender planned to quickly sell the loan to someone else). But the man knowingly borrowed a sum that he could not possibly repay on his real income: $1,000 a month in Social Security benefits. "People got to the point where ... the only thing they wanted to hear was yes," Solomon said.

In the near term, Gay says, the most pressing need is money for cities to help keep struggling borrowers in their homes -- and to help nonprofit groups committed to community development obtain more of the homes that are lost to foreclosure.

Longer term, Washington needs to explore tougher oversight of subprime lenders and the creation of a federally backed corporation that would convert troubled adjustable loans into stable 30-year fixed mortgages.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., is sensibly pressing Senate leaders to include help for cities and homeowners in the stimulus plan heading toward Bush's desk. …
Dear Mr. Brownstein:

Do you remember there used to be another name for “subprime” mortgages? They were called “high risk” until about 15 years ago.

Why aren’t you and others in the MSM calling mortgages made to less credit-worthy borrowers and/or for the full or near full market value of the property “high risk mortgages?” Overwhelming data show those are the mortgages most apt to fall to foreclosure.

Why do you speak of a “surging tide of housing foreclosures?”

In most areas, foreclosure rates are well below 1%? In the worst areas, they’re below 2%?

Your “surging tide” language left me wondering whether you were trying to gin up support for a government sponsored bailout.

You say “Bruce Solomon, a bracingly clear-eyed loan officer at the L.A. housing group, recently worked with an African-American man who inherited a home from his parents and then lost it to foreclosure after he misrepresented his income and obtained a $570,000 refinancing loan.”

Assuming what you say is correct, why is Soloman working with a man who committed loan fraud? Why isn’t the man being investigated and/or prosecuted?

And if the lender knowingly winked at fraudulent mortgage application documents, why isn’t that lender also being investigated and/or prosecuted?

Who will pick up the costs associated with the fraudulent $570,000 mortgage loan?

Is that where Sen. Dodd’s plan kicks in and the taxpayers get hit with the bill?

And by the way, do you know whether the African-American who obtained the re-fi did so after the Clinton administration made clear to lenders they should be making more loans to African-Americans?

What Dodd’s proposing is a taxpayer-funded bailout of people who should be held to account for their own actions.

You see the current mortgage market as particularly tough for African-Americans and Hispanics. Actually for them, as for all other Americans who are credit-worthy and financially sensible, now is a very good time as far as home mortgages go.

According to Mortgage Bank News’ latest report, home mortgage rates are at their lowest level in four years.

What an opportunity for tens of millions of people to refinance and lower their interest costs; and for millions of others seeking to begin homeownership to do so with their interest costs the lowest in years.

But you didn't you mention any of that wonderful news. Why not?

And will you now do something to help get that wonderful news out to people of every race and nationality?

I’m posting this at my blog. Should you care to respond, I‘ll publish your response in full.


John in Carolina

McClatchy reporter gives Clinton’s the “R” treatment

McClatchy Newspapers’ Washington correspondent Matt Stearns has been treating the Clintons the way most MSM reporters treat the Rs.

But Stearns has to know the Clintons aren’t Republicans. Yet look at the way he’s treating them.

From a Feb. 3 report:

To hear Hillary Clinton talk, she's spent her entire career putting her Yale Law School degree to work for the common good.

She routinely tells voters that she's "been working to bring positive change to people's lives for 35 years." She told a voter in New Hampshire: "I've spent so much of my life in the nonprofit sector." Speaking in South Carolina, Bill Clinton said his wife "could have taken a job with a firm ... Instead she went to work with Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund."

The overall portrait is of a lifelong, selfless do-gooder. The whole story is more complicated — and less flattering.

Clinton worked at the Children's Defense Fund for less than a year, and that's the only full-time job in the nonprofit sector she's ever had. She also worked briefly as a law professor.

Clinton spent the bulk of her career — 15 of those 35 years — at one of Arkansas' most prestigious corporate law firms, where she represented big companies and served on corporate boards.

Neither she nor her surrogates, however, ever mention that on the campaign trail.

Her campaign Web site biography devotes six paragraphs to her pro bono legal work for the poor but sums up the bulk of her experience in one sentence: "She also continued her legal career as a partner in a law firm."
There’s more. You can read it all here.

And look at how Stearns treated former President Clinton in a story which ran Jan. 23 in the McClatchy owned Raleigh News & Observer [excerpts]:
Bill Clinton finally had a good day Tuesday: His only mistake was the color of his tie.

Campaigning in University of South Carolina country, Clinton sported a Clemson-orange tie instead of Gamecocks garnet.

"I left all my red ties at home," Clinton apologized to Russell Pardee, a voter who called Clinton on it at a Columbia diner.

Given the criticism recently piled on the former president as he became wife Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief attack dog against Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama, a tie gaffe is nothing. It's been so bad that influential African-American Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., warned him to "chill." …

"He used to be my boyfriend, but I have no respect for him for the remarks that he's been making," said Bennie Bayard, 60, a black retiree from Greenville who attended an Obama rally. …

Clinton did distort a few things on Tuesday -- but to his and his wife's benefit, not at her opponents' expense.

He continued the mythology that the campaign has built around Hillary Clinton's legal career: "She could have taken a job with a firm . . . instead she went to work with Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund."

In fact, Hillary Clinton worked less than two years at the Children's Defense Fund. She spent the bulk of her career -- 15-plus years -- as a corporate lawyer at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark.

Clinton boasted about his hybrid "Mercury mini-SUV that gets 39 miles to the gallon," even as he regularly circles the globe by private jet and in motorcades featuring full-size, gas-guzzling SUVs.

And he was as full of contradictions as ever. Hours after criticizing reporters in Columbia for focusing on the "spat" between Obama and Hillary Clinton at the Monday debate, Clinton told voters in Greenville: "I kind of liked seeing Barack and Hillary fight last night. They're real people. Neither one of them is supposed to be this wind-up doll who's supposed to behave a certain way. ... I like this. I think it's exciting." …

Clinton's infamous temper flashed briefly when a Greenville voter asked if Clinton felt he was standing in Obama's way as the Illinois senator tries to become the first black president.

"I'm not standing in his way," Clinton snapped. "Nobody has a right to be president."

But Clinton quickly chilled out. …
Here’s the entire N&O story.

The former President's an “attack dog” with an “infamous temper?” Hillary's a self-promoting corporate lawyer who’s tried to cover that up?

That’s usually not what we’ve been told about the Clintons.

Until recently we mostly heard Bill Clinton “rocked.” He was “very popular in contrast to Bush” and Hillary’s “greatest asset.”

And Hillary? We heard a lot about how she cared so much for children she even wrote a book telling us how to raise them: It Takes a Whole Village.


I don’t know whether McClatchy’s Stearns is one of many in MSM who’ve swooned for Sen. Obama and are angry at the Clintons for their opposition to him.

It could be Stearns is a reporter who simply tells it like he sees it.

I’ll be watching for his byline and reading his reports as the campaign unfolds.

Ernie Pyle death photo & D-Day column

(Welcome visitors from Black Five and Mudvile Gazette. )

My vote for best WW II correspondent goes to Ernie Pyle. Of the many great correspondents who covered the war, none did a better job of conveying the ordeals and sacrifices of our military and the war’s meaning for America and the rest of the world.

Today the AP reports:

The figure in the photograph is clad in Army fatigues, boots and helmet, lying on his back in peaceful repose, folded hands holding a military cap. Except for a thin trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth, he could be asleep.

But he is not asleep; he is dead. And this is not just another fallen GI; it is Ernie Pyle, the most celebrated war correspondent of World War II.

As far as can be determined, the photograph has never been published. Sixty-three years after Pyle was killed by the Japanese, it has surfaced — surprising historians, reminding a forgetful world of a humble correspondent who artfully and ardently told the story of a war from the foxholes. …
The rest of the AP’s story is here. Attached to it is a story reporting Pyle’s death and reaction to it. It begins:
"COMMAND POST, IE SHIMA, April 18 (AP) — Ernie Pyle, war correspondent beloved by his co-workers, GIs and generals alike, was killed by a Japanese machine-gun bullet through his left temple this morning. ...

The news stunned a nation still mourning the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt six days earlier. Callers besieged newspaper switchboards. "Ernie is mourned by the Army," said soldier-artist Bill Mauldin, whose droll, irreverent GI cartoons had made him nearly as famous as Pyle.

He was right; even amid heavy fighting, Pyle's death was a prime topic among the troops.

"If I had not been there to see it, I would have taken with a grain of salt any report that the GI was taking Ernie Pyle's death `hard,' but that is the only word that best describes the universal reaction out here," Army photographer Alexander Roberts wrote to Lee Miller, a friend of Ernie and his first biographer….
As JinC Regulars know, each year as part of my D-Day tribute I quote from Pyle’s D-Day column. Written June 7 Pyle described the previous day’s battle on Omaha Beach and his thoughts as he walked the beach after the fighting had moved inland.

The column, which Pyle titled "A Pure Miracle," was held by military censors for five days and then published in America on June 12, 1944. It follows in full:

In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.

Ashore, facing us, were more enemy troops than we had in our assault waves. The advantages were all theirs, the disadvantages all ours. The Germans were dug into positions that they had been working on for months, although these were not yet all complete.

A one-hundred-foot bluff a couple of hundred yards back from the beach had great concrete gun emplacements built right into the hilltop. These opened to the sides instead of to the front, thus making it very hard for naval fire from the sea to reach them. They could shoot parallel with the beach and cover every foot of it for miles with artillery fire.

Then they had hidden machine-gun nests on the forward slopes, with crossfire taking in every inch of the beach. These nests were connected by networks of trenches, so that the German gunners could move about without exposing themselves.

Throughout the length of the beach, running zigzag a couple of hundred yards back from the shoreline, was an immense V-shaped ditch fifteen feet deep. Nothing could cross it, not even men on foot, until fills had been made.

And in other places at the far end of the beach, where the ground is flatter, they had great concrete walls. These were blasted by our naval gunfire or by explosives set by hand after we got ashore.

Our only exits from the beach were several swales or valleys, each about one hundred yards wide. The Germans made the most of these funnel-like traps, sowing them with buried mines. They contained, also, barbed-wire entanglements with mines attached, hidden ditches, and machine guns firing from the slopes.

This is what was on the shore.

But our men had to go through a maze nearly as deadly as this before they even got ashore. Underwater obstacles were terrific. The Germans had whole fields of evil devices under the water to catch our boats.

Even now, several days after the landing, we have cleared only channels through them and cannot yet approach the whole length of the beach with our ships. Even now some ship or boat hits one of these mines every day and is knocked out of commission.

The Germans had masses of those great six-pronged spiders, made of railroad iron and standing shoulder-high, just beneath the surface of the water for our landing craft to run into. They also had huge logs buried in the sand, pointing upward and outward, their tops just below the water. Attached to these logs were mines.

In addition to these obstacles they had floating mines offshore, land mines buried in the sand of the beach, and more mines in checkerboard rows in the tall grass beyond the sand. And the enemy had four men on shore for every three men we had approaching the shore.

And yet we got on.

You can read more about Ernie Pyle as well as some of his WW II columns at this site hosted by Indiana University's Journalism School.

Special thanks to JinC Regular AC

Ernie Pyle (August 3, 1900 - April 18, 1945) RIP

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Talking to Regulars & Commenters – 2/3/08

( A post in the old web log tradition: “notes at the end of the day” for those who “follow the blog.” Others are welcome to read as well, but don’t look for links and expect some “informality.”)

I won’t get done today the post I promised responding to a column by liberal/leftist journalist Ron Brownstein.

You can read that column here.

Most of you who read Brownstein’s column will quickly see his liberalism glaringly evident in his failure to call subprime mortgages what we know them to be – high risk – and his “solution” for foreclosed mortgage debt which must be paid by someone: let the American taxpayers foot the bill.

Now that's liberalism, isn't it?

I’ll try very hard to get my post responding to Brownstein up tomorrow.

I didn’t get the “first pass” post up concerning whether the N&O can be held to account for its biased, racially inflammatory and, in some cases, deliberately fraudulent coverage of what we now know was the trashing of Duke students who were members of the school’s 2006 Men’s lacrosse team, and the attempt to frame three of them for multiple felonies, including gang rape.

I’ll get that up tomorrow.

The short answer is: It will be very, very hard, but not totally impossible, to hold the N&O to some account for what it did. Even allowing that it can be held to some account, there’ll be a question of whether its worth the great effort.

In the same post I plan to touch on why I think it’s in the N&O’s parent McClatchy Company’s best long-term interest to acknowledge fully and frankly the accidental mistakes and deliberate deceptions which were essential to the framing of the Duke students in the public’s mind, and which remain very important "props" for the ongoing cover-up of the attempted frame-up.

Moving on - - -

Some of you are linking my posts to other blogs.

Thank you very much.

Look for more tomorrow.


N&O Editor’s Nifong reply & “small errors”

Regulars here are familiar with my posts concerning a Raleigh News & Observer news columnist statements published in her column and the Yaeger (with Pressler) book, It’s Not About The Truth, concerning the N&O’s use of the disgraced Mike Nifong as an anonymous source during March 2006 when the N&O led the media trashing and framing of the Duke lacrosse players.

Regulars also know I’ve asked questions about the N&O’s use of Nifong as an anonymous source for its now discredited Mar. 25, 2006 “anonymous interview” story it said was about “the victim’s” account of a night which ended in “sexual violence.”

Background to all of this, source citations and links are in this post: N&O editor's response re: Nifong as anonymous source.

Since June 2006, the columnist and editors at the N&O have ignored my questions about their use of Nifong as an anonymous source until this past Friday when I received the following email from the N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden, in response to my recent post: What’s really hurting the Raleigh N&O :


I don't see here that Ruth said Nifong was an anonymous source for The N&O.

The paper did not quote any anonymous sources in the course of its
coverage of the lacrosse case, with the exception of the early interview with the accuser.

And, of course, she was not anonymous, but unnamed in the article.(emphasis mine)

In those early days, Nifong was anything but anonymous, which was part of his eventual downfall.

Ted V.
I’m preparing a response to Vaden's self-contradictory, at variance with the facts reply which I’ll post this evening or tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I thought you’d be interested to know some of what, while researching for my response, I found in Vaden’s Apr. 2, 2006 column: "Searching for fairness in the Duke story"

In the following three snips Vaden's discussing the Mar. 25 "anonymous interview/sexual violence" story.
"In my view, the interview is at odds with The N&O's own policy on anonymous sources, which discourages their use except when the information can be obtained no other way."
A little further along he says:
But let's talk more about the anonymous interview.
And we also find in Vaden's column:
The difference, though, is that The N&O did not offer to let the accused speak anonymously, as it did for the accuser.
Vaden recently ran a column in which he said newspapers' credibility are being hurt by “small errors.”

But small spelling errors and getting the address of a fire wrong aren’t what’s destroying newspapers’ credibility.

It's major reporting errors, news suppression and gross bias such as we've all seen in the coverage of the Duke lacrosse story, and and what newspapers do to cover them up that’s really hurting their credibility.

Surely Vaden knows that.