Saturday, July 08, 2006

MSM and the public's view of the economy

Let's do a little one, two, three.

One is the Gallup Organization's latest report on the public's view of the current state of America's economy. Two is some information about the economy. Three looks at influences on the public's view of the current economy.

One: For decades Gallup has asked Americans:

How would you rate economic conditions in this country today -- as excellent, good, only fair, or poor?
Gallup then reports what it calls a Current Economic Situation Index. It obtains the index by adding the number of respondents rating the economy "excellent" or "good" and then subtracting from the excellent/good total the number of respondents rating the economy "poor." The difference is then converted to a precentage which is the index.

For 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration, the index averaged 64%. By 2002 the index had dropped to 10%.

The drop is understandable given that by 2002 the stock market bubble had burst, 9/11 had impacted the economy and the country was just begining to recover from a recession which, although short and shallow by historical standards, the Democratic dominated MSM had described in terms appropriate for the Great Depression.

But since 2002 the country has experienced strong, sustained economic growth. Shouldn't many more Americans be telling Gallup the economy is "excellent" or "good?"

Yes, but it isn't happening.

Gallup's Current Economic Index for 2005 was only 13%, a very slight increase from the 10% reported in 2002; and nowhere near the 64% reported in 2000. In early June Gallup reported the index stood at only 18%.

Now Two: Some information economist Lawrance Kudlow provides today in his column:
Did you know that just over the past 11 quarters, dating back to the June 2003 Bush tax cuts, America has increased the size of its entire economy by 20 percent?

In less than three years, the U.S. economic pie has expanded by $2.2 trillion, an output add-on that is roughly the same size as the total Chinese economy, and much larger than the total economic size of nations like India, Mexico, Ireland and Belgium. (bold added) […]

Since the 2003 tax cuts, tax-revenue collections from the expanding economy have been surging at double-digit rates, while the deficit is constantly being revised downward.

For those who bother to look, the economic power of lower-tax-rate incentives is once again working its magic. While most reporters obsess about a mild slowdown in housing, the big-bang story is a high-sizzle pick-up in private business investment, which is directly traceable to Bush's tax reform. It was private investment that was hardest hit in the early decade stock market plunge and the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist bombings.

So team Bush's wise men correctly targeted investment in order to slash the after-tax cost of capital and rejuvenate investment incentives.

The move paid off. Investors now keep nearly 50 percent more of their after-tax capital returns -- an enormous increase that has resulted in a remarkably profitable and highly productive business sector. While the overall economy has grown by one-fifth since mid-2003, private business investment has expanded by 37 percent. […]

Wages are rising today, so we know domestic labor markets must be tightening, not softening. To wit, average hourly compensation has risen to 3.9 percent over the past year, while average weekly earnings have grown to 4.5 percent. In early 2004, these wage measures were only up 1.5 percent.
Now Three: With all that economic growth, why isn't Gallup economic index much higher than it is?

Kudlow supplies what I think is a big part of the answer:
Most in the mainstream media would rather tout the faults of American capitalism than sing its praises. And of course, the media will almost always discuss supply-side tax cuts in negative terms, such as big budget deficits and static revenue losses.[...]

[And MSM keeps as a]dirty little secret[the fact]that record low tax rates on capital are leading to continued job and income gains, as businesses continue to expand.[...]
Left leaning media organizations, whether in America or elsewhere, are going to have difficulty reporting on the success of the American economy because such success is a refutation of fundamental leftist beliefs.

But there's another reason why most MSM are having trouble reporting fairly and fully on our economic success: they're afraid President Bush will get much of the credit for the economy's success. So they keep the good news secret.

And that $2.2 trillion add-on to the U.S. economy in the last three years. That's another secret the leftist, Democratic dominated media has kept from us.

Requests to the New York Times and its media kind:

1) Start disclosing wonderful economic news.

2) Stop disclosing national security secrets.
Post URLs:

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Churchill Series – July 7, 2006

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

Regular readers of this series know we’ve often smiled and laughed. Sometimes it’s been because of something Churchill said or did; sometimes it’s been something someone said about him. Recall Clementine Churchill’s explanation for why Churchill often left for the train station at the last minute and had to race to catch the train: “Winston’s a sporting man. He likes to give the train a chance.”

Today we won’t smile. We’ll see Churchill at age eighty attend the funeral of his closest friend, and then walk to his friend’s graveside for the final rites. Sad moments and joyous ones are part of a full life.

From Martin Gilbert :

The passage of Churchill’s remaining years was inevitably marked by the sadness of the death of close friends. In July 1957, his closest friend and confidant, Lord Cherwell, died; he was seventy-one years old, the same age as Clementine. Before the war it was with “Prof” that he had examined the weaknesses and inventions of Britain’s Defense policy. It was to him that Churchill had entrusted the secrets of Britain’s nuclear policy during both his wartime and peacetime Premierships.

[Churchill] went to Oxford for Cherwell’s funeral. “As he came up the aisle of Christ Church Cathedral,” one of the mourners later recalled, “the congregation rose spontaneously to their feet. After the service he drove to the cemetery. He walked in procession up the cemetery path. He walked beyond the path, advancing over the difficult tufts of grass, with unfaltering but ageing steps, onward to the graveside of his dear old friend.”
Later that year Churchill completed the fourth and final volume of his war memoirs. He died on January 24, 1965, following a massive stroke two weeks earlier.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 961-952)

Duke lacrosse: Questions for the Raleigh News & Observer

At Raleigh News & Observer’s Editor Blog readers have been expressing outrage at the N&O’s Duke lacrosse reporting which has helped make a terrible situation worse, including more dangerous. They're also asking N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill some tough questions and pointing out important aspects of the story the N&O has chosen to ignore.

Here are examples of what readers are saying:

I have to read posters comments to find out that the False Accuser's boyfriend is in Jail, along with her Ex-husband, and her good friend. Murchison's Kin is now in Jail?

Nifong is a Democrat and a Media Darling and it seems the Media has absolutely no interest in uncovering this story.

Whose names are on the cell phone of the accuser? Could it be names of political, law enforcement or judicial personnel

Here is a big Hint! Michael Cornacchiais, he is one of Finnerty attorney's and is a specialist in private & government corruption investigations. He was the chief investigative counsel under Paul Volcker for the investigation of the UN Oil-for Food Scandal and a former US Eastern asst District Prosecutor. You see him with Kevin Finnerty on many occasions, both in DC & Durham.

After a week of silence Sill responded to readers today with a few PR type comments. Here’s part of her latest comment made 7/7 at 13: 27

I truly appreciate all of the comments, but I will be posting next week on new topics and unless we report a story that prompts another post on the case I will not be responding further to comments in this thread. Many of your questions are good ones to pose to key players in the case -- we'll report all that we know (according to our standards of verification and sourcing).(bold mine)
It’s a shame Sill won’t respond to many important questions. There’s so much readers want to know that she hasn’t told us

Why, for instance, did the N&O on Apr. 2 publish the “vigilante poster” knowing that doing so would only make things more dangerous for the players?

What was the purpose of publishing it anyway? The story it accompanies doesn’t even mention the “vigilante poster.”

You can read at the bottom of the poster photo that only 43 players are pictured on it because Duke removed from a website the photos of the other players.

That’s true enough. Duke pulled the other players’ photos because of concerns for their safety.

But for some reason the N&O decided not to tell that to readers. Why?

Sill talks about “our standards of verification and sourcing.”

What individual(s) or organization(s) was the source of the “vigilante poster?” What verification did the N&O do?

I’ve asked four people at the N&O those questions about sourcing and verification. No one has given me any answer other “You’ll have to ask someone else,” “I can’t tell you who worked on the story,” and N&O public editor Ted Vaden's response in a phone conversation: “I’m just not going to answer those questions. I’ve got to go now.”

I hope you visit the Editor’s Blog, read what Sill and readers have posted, and perhaps leave your own questions and comments.

Sill has said often that’s she’s “proud” of the N&O’s Duke lacrosse reporting.

Here’s a question we should all be asking her: “What’s to be proud of?”

Terrorism: London, New York and elsewhere

Today is the first anniversary of the London transportation bombings.

And this just crossed the Associated Press wire:

FBI disrupts New York transportation plot
The story begins:
Authorities have disrupted planning by foreign terrorists who wanted to attack the New York City-area transportation system, the federal government announced Friday.

The planning appeared to be in the early stages, and the tunnels and other transportation routes weren't believed to have ever been at serious risk.

"We have disrupted a terrorist network that was in the planning stages of an attack," the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. […]
A few thoughts:

London and New York: “We’re all in it together.”

Madrid, Bali, Baghdad, Miami, Toronto, Amman, Paris and many other places: “We’re all in it together.”

So how about less talk from MSM, Democrats, and other Bush-bashers about “Bush’s so called war on terror.”

Surely even Bill Keller and Pinch Sulzberger, for all their partisanship and arrogance, must now realize it’s Civilization’s war against terror.

President Bush recognized that on 9/11 as did most Americans. It's time Keller, Sulzberger and those like them did too.

Keller, Sulzberger and so many in MSM and the Democratic Party need to stop enabling terrorists and help the rest of us win the war on terrorism.

Extremist Muslim ideology fuels the terrorism. The best people to counter the ideology are moderate Muslims.

Here in the states the Council on American-Islamic Relations could do a lot more to express its rejection of extremist ideology.

CAIR could do a lot more to promote the growth of toleration in the Muslim world by, for example, pressing the Saudi government to permit the open worship of other religions in that country.

I'd also like to see CAIR openly, loudly and repeatedly condemn the virulent anti-Semitism that’s a hallmark of much of the press in Muslim countries.
Post URLs:;

Talking with JinC Regulars – July 7, 2006

(One of a series of posts in the original web log tradition: notes and "thinking out loud." These posts will be most easily understood by regular visitors and are But others are welcome. John)

I deleted a comment from one of you. It was a personal attack.

They’re not allowed, even by someone for whom I have respect and fond feelings.

Another comment matter - - -

Someone who’s recently begun commenting at JinC said Duke’s Professor of Cultural Anthropology Orin Starn was a signer of the faculty Group of 88’s “listening statement.”

It turns out Starn didn’t sign the very talky “listening statement.” He asked for a correction. Our new commenter made an apology ASAP. It was full and generous.

JinC reaction:

The new commenter showed class. I hope the person continues to comment here.

Message to Starn:

What about the apology you owe Coach K?

Also, do you remember the day Reade Seligman had to walk to the Durham County courthouse past racist hate-mongers shouting,” Justice will be done, Rapist"

And surely you remember that when Reade entered the courtroom, there were shouts that included "Dead man walking!"

Did you speak out in any way that day on behalf of Reade, his family and those who abhor racist hate groups and their enablers?

Did you speak out the way you spoke out today for yourself?

The answers to those questions tell, don’t they?

New item:

Think of the old ad: “Run, don’t walk to our auto showroom.”

Yes, it’s a hustle.

But folks, believe me, if you haven’t been to McClatchy’s Editor’s Blog in the last day or two you need to run, not walk there.

Readers are teeing off with fact-based questions about the Duke lacrosse case and Raleigh N&O exec editor Melanie Sill has been unable to fob off the readers.

Here's the kind of thing readers are getting at: The judge in the case has not asked his protégé, DA Mike Nifong, to turn over records of the accuser’s cell phone. That’s troubling on many counts, not least because while Sill and the rest of the N&O’s “news team” tell us the “victim of sex crimes” is a “dancer,” “mother,” “honor student,” etc; it turns out her cell phone records (or perhaps Kim's. I don't think is entirely certain who owned the cell) may contain records of calls to – you know -- “dance partners” and “ prominent citizens from the fields of law, politics and journalism.”

See what’s happening at the Editor’s Blog. It’s extraordinary. I hope you comment there. If you do, please link or “heads up” here.

Later today I’ll post a few of the questions I’d be asking Sill if she hadn’t repeatedly threatened to ban me from McClatchy’s blog.

Meanwhile, it looks like intelligent readers are doing just fine at the Editor’s Blog.

I’ll post the next Talking with JinC Regulars post this weekend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Churchill Series – July 6, 2006

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

When someone mentions the Churchill- Roosevelt relationship we assume the person is referring to the two great Allied war leaders. But in today’s post, when we talk about Churchill and Roosevelt, we’ll be talking about Winston and Eleanor. Did you know they had a little spat at a London dinner in October, 1942?

Mrs. Roosevelt was in England for a goodwill visit. She made the usual visits to factories and training facilities and met the people who needed to be met. The trip was a great success except for the little spat. Jon Meacham, author of Winston and Franklin: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, tells us about it:

At a small diner in London, Eleanor and Churchill exchanged words over Loyalist Spain. “I remarked that I could not see why the Loyalist government could not have been helped, and the prime minister replied that he and I would have been the first to lose our heads if the Loyalists had won – the feeling against people like us would have spread,” Mrs. Roosevelt recalled.

[She continued]: “I said that losing my head was unimportant, whereupon he said: ‘I don’t want you to lose your head and neither do I want to lose mine.’

Then Mrs. Churchill leaned across the table and said: ‘I think perhaps Mrs. Roosevelt is right.’

The prime minister was quite annoyed by this time and said: ‘I have held certain beliefs for sixty years and I’m not going to change now’” (p. 200)
Meacham goes on to say Eleanor Roosevelt’s friends thought Churchill “hopeless.”

Eleanor Roosevelt and Winston Churchill’s relationship was one of mutual respect but no great affection. Many factors explain that. For one thing, Churchill had a wonderful sense of humor which bubbled even in the worst of times. Eleanor was almost humorless. In my experience, a humorless person always finds someone like Churchill a strain.

Also, Eleanor disapproved of Churchill’s enjoyment of alcohol. Her father and brother were both alcoholics whose lives were cut short by their drinking.

Duke lacrosse: Prof who misrepresented Coach K responds

Reader’s Note:

Welcome visitors from Court TV, Duke Basketball Report, Friends of Duke University, Free Republic, History News Network, and Johnsville. If I’ve missed some blogs linking, please let me know.

If you’re not familiar with Duke professor of cultural anthropology Orin Starn’s misrepresentation of remarks by Duke’s Men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski go here for background.


This post contains: 1) a copy of the email I sent Starn yesterday, July 5; 2) a copy of Starn’s reply which I received yesterday afternoon; and 3) my response to Starn’s email.

Item 1) my email to Starn - - -

Dear Professor Starn:

I blog as John in Carolina and read your Raleigh N&O op-ed, “Let’s Talk Sports.” I’ve just posted a response, "Duke lacrosse: "Prof misrepresents Coach K."

Surely we can agree that at his recent press conference Coach K said: “The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”

Could Coach K have been any clearer when he said the “racial aspect of [the Duke lacrosse case is], in some ways, its most sensitive aspect?”

And after reading Houston Baker’s letter, listening to the rants of some Duke faculty and the New Black Panthers, and watching DA Nifong at work, who doubts that some people have exploited a terrible situation by creating “something that isn’t there?”

Yet you told N&O readers: “It's hard to understand how Coach K or anyone else could not see a ‘racial aspect’ here.”

Frankly, Professor Starn, it’s hard to understand how you could have misrepresented what Coach K actually said, even allowing for your bias toward him.

Whatever the explanation, you owe Coach K an apology and N&O readers a correction.

In the coming days I’ll be posting on other parts of your op-ed.

In the meantime, why do you single Mike Nifong out for resignation? He had so many enablers. Shouldn’t they be held to account?



Item 2) Starn’s email to me - - -

Hi, John:

I really disagree about this. Coach K was saying that the "racial aspect" of the case was brought in by people (I guess the media, professors, or others, although I'm not sure who he meant) trying to "create something that isn't there." That he says he thinks it's now a "sensitive thing" (as, of course, it is) does not take away from the fact that he was saying it was made up from nothing in the first place. In fact, he went on directly afterwards to talk about Durham's "excellent" race relations, as if to underline his assertion that race was not a factor in the case. I don't know if Coack K saw that statement, but it reminded me of when Joe Cheshire said at the courthouse press conference words to the effect that race was absolutely no factor in the case. The charges of sexual assault may indeed not be true as I said in the article (although we are now only getting the defense version), a sadly terrible false accusation if it is so. But for Coach K, Cheshire, or anyone to say there is no race element in the case is just wrong, at least if the reports of what was said at the party are true (and I suspect the defense would have denied them by now if they were not, although I could be wrong). For me, this is more than a matter of just back-and-forth argument about the case. If students at an all-white Duke party are using racial epithets as it appears, it suggests that we need to do more work around race relations, as opposed to assume that things are fixed already.

As to judging who has acted badly in this case and who is not, I want for my part to hear the defense case -- and the testimony of the woman making the charges -- before making up my mind. I do think, if the charges prove false, that Nifong bears a central responsibility. He is our chief law enforcement officer -- and he told us all in no uncertain times and in many forums that the lacrosse guys were guilty. Although there may be lessons to be learned all around, it does seem to me that his role, especially if he knew otherwise, is probably the single most problematic one. Contrary to what some have suggested, neither Houston Baker nor the AAS faculty in that add said that the lacrosse players were guilty (and, in fact, both mentioned that we'd have to see what happened) -- and in that sense were more cautious than Nifong.

all the best, Orin

Item 3) My response to Starn’s email to me - - -

Dear Professor Starn:

Thank you for your response yesterday to my email. I hope by now you’ve also read the JinC post, whose URL I included in my email.

Coach K said:

“The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”
You presented to N&O readers the following as representing what Coach K had said:
“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”
Let’s look at what you had to do with Coach K’s statement in order to create what you presented to N&O readers.

First, you took Coach K's unambiguous acknowledgement of "The racial aspect of this" and substituted in its place something entirely different: "Those who see a 'racial aspect.'" (bolds mine)

Next, you withheld from readers the fact that Coach K had said the racial aspect was, in some respects, the case's "most sensitive" aspect. (bold mine)

Only by eliminating Coach K’s unambiguous acknowledgement of “The racial aspect;” substituting for his words your words that made it appear he was saying some people were merely perceiving a racial aspect (“Those who see…”); and withholding from readers the information that the coach had said the racial aspect was in some ways the case’s “most sensitive” aspect were you then able to present to N&O readers as what Coach K had said: “Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”

You misrepresented what Coach K said and it’s very hard, Professor Starn, to see how your misrepresentation could be anything other than deliberate.

After misrepresenting Coach K, you went on and falsely accused him of “not see[ing] a ‘racial aspect’ here.”

You owe the coach an apology and N&O readers a correction.

Is your treatment of Coach K’s statement typical of how you treat raw data when you prepare lectures, articles and books? Is what you did accepted practice for Duke faculty? If you can't speak for the broader faculty, than is what you did accepted practice in the Department of Cultural Anthropology?

You know those are important questions. I hope you'll answer them. I also plan to ask them of others.

I’ve said what I feel needs to be said at this time about your misrepresentation and false accusation.

If you care to respond, I’ll find a way to post your email but other than referring readers back to what I say here and my posts yesterday and today, I don’t see any need to get into extended and tangential discussions.

I raised a clearly defined, important matter and called it to you attention and the attention of readers.

What I’ve said and what you published in the N&O and your response(s) here will be in the blogosphere, and available for anyone to look at and make whatever judgments they care to make.

Here’s a link to today’s post:

During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting on others parts of your N&O op-ed, your email of yesterday, and your writings about Duke, particularly those relating to the lacrosse case.

I’ll send you links and will share with readers any responses you care to make.



Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Churchill Series – July 5, 2006

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

In 1876 Lord Randolph Churchill was appointed Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, his father. Two year old Winston Churchill accompanied his parents to Dublin where the Churchills would live for the next for years. Young Churchill’s nurse, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Everest, accompanied him to Ireland. We learn, courtesy of the Churchill Centre, a few things about Winnie, as family members often called him, from a letter of his mother's and his granddaughter's commentary.

A letter from his mother described life in Dublin with her young son: "Winston is flourishing tho rather X the last 2 days more teeth I think. Everest has been bothering me about some clothes for him saying that it was quite a disgrace how few things he had & how shabby at that."

Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys, offers this portrait: "Winston had arrived in Dublin a month after his second birthday dressed, as was the fashion, like a girl. At that time children were dressed alike, making boys and girls indistinguishable one from the other, for the first few years of their lives."
Randolph and Jennie Churchill were neglectful parents; and their neglect of a son who loved them constituted more than harshness. It amounted to a cruelty.

I often wonder how Churchill would have turned our if Mrs. Everest hadn't been there from right after his birth until he was a young man. She was to him and his younger brother John (Jack) everything a loving parent should be.

Everest never married. The Mrs. before her name reflects the custom at the time to call nurses Mrs. even if they were unmarried.

Also, you may have seen her middle name spelled “Anne.” That’s how it’s usually spelled. But the Churchill Archives at Churchill College, Cambridge University give it as “Ann” so that’s what I use.

Duke lacrosse: Prof misrepresents Coach K

At a recent press conference Duke Men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke about the racial aspect of the Duke lacrosse case: “The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”

Reasonable people will agree with Coach K that the race aspect of the case, if not its most sensitive aspect, is certainly one of them. And after reading Professor Houston Baker’s letter, listening to the rants of some Duke faculty and the New Black Panthers, and watching DA Nifong in action, who doubts that some people have exploited a terrible situation by “creating something that isn’t there?”

With Coach K’s remarks in mind, let’s look at what Duke professor of cultural anthropology Orin Starn did with them in an Apr. 2 Raleigh News & Observer op-ed, "Let talk Sports."

Starn told readers we have “learned from the men’s basketball coach :”

Those who see a "racial aspect" to the lacrosse case have "tried to create something that isn't there."
After sharing some of his take on the racial aspect of the case, Starn told readers:
It's hard to understand how Coach K or anyone else could not see a ‘racial aspect’ here.
What Starn told readers Coach K said is the opposite of what the coach actually said.

No one reading Starn’s op-ed could miss his biases toward Coach K. They reek throughout it. But even allowing for them, how could Starn have gotten such a simple but important matter so wrong?

I’m sending Starn the following email which includes a link to this post. I’ll let you know if he responds. I’m also sending the N&O an email letter to the editor, a copy of which follows my email to Starn.

I’ll soon post on other parts of Starn’s op-ed that disturbed me as much or more than his misrepresentation of Coach K's statement.

Also, I hope you take a look at historian and Brooklyn College Professor KC Johnson's lucid and detailed response to Starn. Johnson's post is titled "Shameless."

Dear Professor Starn:

I blog as John in Carolina and read your Raleigh N&O op-ed, “Let’s Talk Sports.” I’ve just posted a response. Here's the URL:

Surely we can agree that at his recent press conference Coach K said: “The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”

Could Coach K have been any clearer when he said the “racial aspect of [the Duke lacrosse case is], in some ways, its most sensitive aspect?”

And after reading Houston Baker’s letter, listening to the rants of some Duke faculty and the New Black Panthers, and watching DA Nifong at work, who doubts that some people have exploited a terrible situation by creating “something that isn’t there?”

Yet you told N&O readers: “It's hard to understand how Coach K or anyone else could not see a ‘racial aspect’ here.”

Frankly, Professor Starn, it’s hard to understand how you could have misrepresented what Coach K actually said, even allowing for your bias toward him.

Whatever the explanation, you owe Coach K an apology and N&O readers a correction.

In the coming days I’ll be posting on other parts of your op-ed.

In the meantime, why do you single Mike Nifong out for resignation? He had so many enablers. Shouldn’t they be held to account?



To the editor

At a June 20 press conference Duke University’s Men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said this about the Duke lacrosse case: “The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community” The coach couldn't have been clearer about there being a racial aspect to the case, could he?

So why does Duke professor of cultural anthropology Orin Starn (“Let’s talk sports,” July 2 Op-ed page) use selective quotes from Coach K’s statement to create and pass on to N&O readers the following misrepresentation of what the coach actually said: "Those who see a 'racial aspect' to the lacrosse case have 'tried to create something that isn't there?’'' And why does Starn compound his misrepresentation by saying: “It's hard to understand how Coach K or anyone else could not see a ‘racial aspect’ here?”

What fair-minded readers will find hard to understand is why Professor Starn misrepresented what Coach K said. Starn owes the coach an apology.

For his part, Coach K might use Starn’s misrepresentation the next time he’s talking about people trying to “create something that isn’t there.”


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Churchill Series – July 4, 2006

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

Churchill’s family ties to America were many. His biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us something about them:

In 1963, in a message sent when he was eighty-three years old, Churchill remarked with pride to President John F. Kennedy that the story of his association with the United States went back nearly ninety years “to the day of my father’s marriage.”

That marriage took place in Paris on 15 April 1874. The bridegroom, Lord Randolph Spencer Chruchill, was the son of a British duke. The bride, Jennie Jerome, was the daughter of an American millionaire – although at that precise moment Leonard Jerome’s fortune has taken a temporary dip. […]

The first member of [Jennie’s] family to settle in America was an Englishman, Timothy Jerome, who reached America from the Isle of Wight in 1710, a descendant of Huguenot Protestants who had fled France for Britain three generations earlier.

One of Winston Churchill’s great-great-grandfathers, Lieutenant Reuban Murray, had served during the American Revolutionary War in the 17th Connecticut Regiment and the 7th Connecticut Regiment and the 7th Albany Regiment, New York Militia. […]

Leonard Jerome and his brother Lawrence married two sisters. Lawrence Jerome’s son, William Travers Jerome – Churchill’s second cousin – was to become a reforming District Attorney of New York who refused to bow to the dictates of Tammany Hall, with its strong political control. In 1906 he sought to be nominated as Governor of New York, but was unsuccessful.

The biographer of Churchill’s mother, Ralph G. Martin, speculates that if Travers Jerome had won the nomination and the governorship in 1906, “he might well have been nominated by the Democrats for President in 1912 instead of Woodrow Wilson.” […]

In 1865, from the window of their house on East Twenty-sixth Street, Jennie and her two sisters watched as the horse-drawn coffin of the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln passed in solemn procession on the street below.
All three of Leonard Jerome’s daughters married Englishmen.

I think Churchill had it right when, in his December 26, 1941 address to a Joint Session of Congress, he said:
By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own. (laughter)

In that case this would not have been the first time you would have heard my voice.(laughter)In that case I should not have needed any invitation. But if I had it is hardly likely that it would have been unanimous. (laughter) So perhaps things are better as they are.
I’m late with this post. I hope you all had a good Fourth.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 1-4) Churchill's address to Congress can be found here.

Pundit asks: "Is patriotism obsolete?"

Like most of you who visit and comment at JinC, columnist and scholar Thosmas Sowell loves America; and he's worried about the decline in patriotism. Sowell calls patriotism the "glue" that holds America together. This from his July 3 column:

On the eve of a holiday that used to stir patriotic emotions -- the Fourth of July -- it has been painful to see examples of how little remains of that glue that holds a society together.

Perhaps the worst of these signs of national disintegration was the New York Times' recent revealing to the whole world the covert methods by which the American government has been tracking the money that finances international terrorism.

The usual excuses about "the public's right to know" ring even more hollow than usual in this case. The public was not dying to know the methods by which their lives were being safeguarded. Only the terrorists were helped by these revelations.

Americans may in fact be dying literally now because of what the terrorists have been told -- and ultimately because a jerk inherited the New York Times. As usual, the mainstream media circled the wagons around one of their own.
Folks, to help our country - to do something for the men and women defending us - please call, write or email you local editor ASAP.

Tell him or her what you think about the Times handing out national security secrets to terrorists with a "we know best and the safety of our service men and women be damned" attitude.

If you get stuck for words, just tell the editor you sending along a copy of Sowell's column.

Let's stay at it. We need to turn things around.
Post URL:

Ye Olde Times exposed

Scott Johnson at Powerline discloses what the New York Times was doing in 1775.

Some organizations never change.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

A great post on patriotism

Betsy Newmark has a great July Fourth post on patriotism. She begins with a link to a Lorie Byrd post, "Some thoughts on patriotism," in which Lorie discusses the problems many Libs have with patriotism. Betsy summarizes Lorie’s post along the way providing this dumber than dirt quote from Dixie Chick Natalie Maines:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."
Of course, the whole country doesn’t disagree with Maines. To find that out all she needs to do is spend a little time in some MSM news rooms, go to a few “speak-outs” on college campuses or just listen a little more the next time she’s at a Hollywood Gala for Hillary Clinton or John Kerry.

There’s a lot more in Betsy’s post including a graph comparing Ds, Rs and Is agree/disagree responses from 1987 through 2003 to the statement: “I am very patriotic.”

My favorite part of the post comes at the end. Betsy’s commentary is in italics; the portion of Lincoln’s speech she quotes is indented. The bold is Betsy's.

At this time of the year when we are remembering the Founders, I like to go back to what Abraham Lincoln had to say about the founding. He firmly believed that the Declaration of Independence was the crucial founding document of our nation because it established the ideals of what our country could be, not what it was, but the ideal that all free men should strive for. In a speech in June, 1857 in response to the Dred Scott decision, he laid this out so clearly.
Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough to include the whole human family, but he and Judge Douglas argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend to include negroes, by the fact that they did not at once, actually place them on an equality with the whites.

Now this grave argument comes to just nothing at all, by the other fact, that they did not at once, or ever afterwards, actually place all white people on an equality with one or another. And this is the staple argument of both the Chief Justice and the Senator, for doing this obvious violence to the plain unmistakable language of the Declaration.

I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal—equal in "certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This they said, and this meant.

They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.

They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere.

The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, not for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.
And that is enough for me. I love the ideal of this country and that it was founded on those principles and even though I know we fall short every day, I still love being part of a country that, unlike any other country, had that ideal as its foundation.

So do I, Betsy, and so do many others. Thanks for a great July Fourth post.

Irving Berlin: A great American

Happy Fourth of July and welcome.

Tired of all the self-indulgence, Bush-bashing and just plain stupidity we’re exposed to from the likes of Sean Penn, the Dixie Chicks, and Barbra Streisand?

Would you like to spend part of your Fourth reading about a “show biz” celeb who loved America and knew he owed it plenty and tried to pay her back?

I’ll bet you would.

Than take a look at Stafan Kanfer’s City Journal article, The Americanization of Irving Berlin, which appeared in the mags Spring 2002 issue. Kanfer begins:

It is supremely fitting that “God Bless America”—that stirring hymn to patriotism—has become our unofficial anthem in the aftermath of September 11, since the life of the legendary New York songsmith who penned it, Irving Berlin, born one Israel Baline in 1888 in distant Siberia, epitomizes everything about America’s indomitable civilization that our terrorist enemies despise: its openness to striving and talent, its freedom, its inexhaustible optimism and creativity.

Baline’s amazing American success story began when he stepped onto Ellis Island in 1893, on his way to Gotham’s teeming Lower East Side, “the eyesore of New York and perhaps the filthiest place on the continent,” according to the New York Times of the era. However dirty and poor, this Jewish ghetto was incubating an American renaissance that would produce legislators, merchants, professionals of all stripes—and Irving Berlin.

Berlin’s family was too poor to provide piano lessons, let alone a piano; Berlin would remain musically illiterate. His father, Moses, a cantor, gave him a love of melody and a quick wit, but that was about all he could afford.

To supplement the family’s meager income, Israel, more fluent in English than his parents and five older siblings, haggled with a nearby junk shop. “I used to go there selling bits and pieces of an old samovar that my mother had brought from Russia and kept under the bed,” he once recalled. “I’d get five and ten cents for the pieces and kept selling them until the entire samovar disappeared.”
Kanfer's article is here. I think it will leave you with a very good feeling.

I’ve only one quibble with Kanfer. He says Berlin was tightfisted. Certainly Berlin was a careful investor and kept a close watch on his money. That’s just smart.

But tight fisted? Berlin gave away the rights to a number of his songs including “God Bless America,” the rights to which he gave to the Girl Scouts. In both WWI and WWII he made frequent appearances to entertain the troops never asking a penny for his service. There's nothing more valuable we can give then our time. And when Berlin made overseas USO trips during WWII he, like other entertainers who want overseas, was taking a significant risk.

Enjoy The Americanization of Irving Berlin.

And God bless America.
Post URL:

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Churchill Series – July 3, 2006

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

From a Washington Times feature on the Library of Congress’ Churchill and the Great Republic exhibit which opened in 2004

As the British minister in charge of munitions during World War I, Churchill had worked closely with American industry and with the U.S. munitions chief, Bernard Baruch, who was later an adviser to the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. Churchill's familiarity with America proved vital to his role leading Britain in World War II.

"Well before the outbreak of the Second World War, he is very well-informed about American affairs, and he has seen firsthand the industrial might and potential of the United States," said [British historian Alan] Packwood, who will address a noon luncheon today at the Heritage Foundation.
The library’s exhibit is extremely interesting. The site I’ve linked to is interactive. You’ll find letters, telegrams, photos and other memorabilia. My favorite item is a letter Churchill wrote on his first visit to America. He had just turned 21 and visited New York, met some of the 400 and gone up to West Point. He tells his 15 year old brother Jack all about it.

The library's site is a very appropriate place to visit on July 4.

I wish you all a very happy Fourth. We have a great county. Churchill loved it.

Scientist says Gore's wrong; Clinton too

Yesterday Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, assured WSJ readers Al Gore's “global warming” epic, “An Inconvinient Truth,” is mostly hot air. And former President Bill Clinton’s speeches endorsing “An Inconvenient Truth?” More hot air.

Lindzen begins:

According to Al Gore's new film "An Inconvenient Truth," we're in for "a planetary emergency": melting ice sheets, huge increases in sea levels, more and stronger hurricanes, and invasions of tropical disease, among other cataclysms--unless we change the way we live now.

Bill Clinton has become the latest evangelist for Mr. Gore's gospel, proclaiming that current weather events show that he and Mr. Gore were right about global warming, and we are all suffering the consequences of President Bush's obtuseness on the matter. And why not? Mr. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over." […]
Lindzen goes on to offer readers two things the Clinton/Gore administration was usually short on: facts and reason.
To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.

They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why.

The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights. Malaria, claimed as a byproduct of warming, was once common in Michigan and Siberia and remains common in Siberia--mosquitoes don't require tropical warmth. Hurricanes, too, vary on multidecadal time scales; sea-surface temperature is likely to be an important factor. This temperature, itself, varies on multidecadal time scales.

However, questions concerning the origin of the relevant sea-surface temperatures and the nature of trends in hurricane intensity are being hotly argued within the profession.

Even among those arguing, there is general agreement that we can't attribute any particular hurricane to global warming. To be sure, there is one exception, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who argues that it must be global warming because he can't think of anything else.
Interesting facts, aren’t they? And doesn’t Holland sound like just the sort of climatologist who might find himself the president’s science advisor in a future Clinton or Kerry administration?

Lindzen’s main points are found in this paragraph:
A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended--at least not in terms of the actual science.
I hope you read the whole column. And I'm betting the Ken Fallin cartoon that accompanies Lindzen's op-ed will make you smile, maybe even LOL.
Post URL:

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Duke lacrosse DA's Humpty Dumpty world (A repost)

Readers' Note: This post was first published Apr. 29, three days before Mike Nifong won the Democratic primary. I was reminded of it when interviewing attorney Alex Charns who, on behalf of an unindicted player, is requesting an official investigation and apology for the Durham CrimeStoppers poster which told the community:“The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.”

Noting that the poster was distributed before police had finished their investigation, Charns likened CrimeStoppers' actions to an "Alice in Wonderland" world in which people are first found guilty and them investigated.

My Apr. 29 post examined some actions of Mike Nifong's which reminded me of "Alice in Wonderland." Hense, the repost. Take a look.

Regarding attendance at the Duke lacrosse party the night of Mar. 13/14: reports:

A noise violation and an alcohol possession violation against David Evans, a team captain, is being reinstated, [Durham DA Mike] Nifong said, because the party was held at the house where Evans lived.

Nifong said he will reinstate the charges against players with active deferred prosecution deals if they can't prove they weren't at the party. … reports:
[The second dancer, Kim] Roberts, 31, was arrested on March 22 -- eight days after the party -- on a probation violation from a 2001 conviction for embezzling $25,000 from a photofinishing company in Durham where she was a payroll specialist, according to documents obtained by the AP.

On Monday, the same day a grand jury indicted lacrosse players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, a judge agreed to a change so that Roberts would no longer have to pay a 15 percent fee to a bonding agent.

District Attorney Mike Nifong signed a document saying he would not oppose the change.
Got that?

Nifong has no problem with Roberts attending the party, even being one of its principal professional performers.

Afterwards he approves a reduction in her bail terms.

But Nifong thinks its pretty bad stuff for certain lacrosse players to attend the same party.

So bad that he's revoking agreements his office made with them.

What’s more, Nifong’s going to revoke agreements his office made with some lacrosse players who say they weren’t even at the party but just can’t prove it.

If what Nifong's doing bothers you, try chanting to yourself, “Guilty until proven innocent.” That's the mantra of a lot of his Durham supporters.

But if it doesn’t work for you, remember what Humpty Dumpty told Alice: “A word can mean whatever I want it to mean.”

In DA Nifong's world, being at a party can mean whatever he wants it to mean, including the same as not being at the party.

If you like DA Nifong’s Alice in Wonderland brand of justice, you can vote for him on May 2.

Responding to Readers’ Comments – 7 - 2 - 06

(Readers’ Note: Comments at JinC are growing. Some raise issues I should post on but can’t because of lack of time. So I’m going to post brief responses here to part or all of reader comments that I might otherwise post on. I'm going to try this for a week or so and see how it works.

Reader comments are indented. My responses follow. JinC)

Regarding the Raleigh News & Observer’s publication of the infamous “vigilante poster” after warnings that doing so would endanger the 43 lacrosse players pictured on it, a reader asks:

When …[the N&O} published the so-called vigilante poster libeling the members of the Duke lacrosse team, who provided the poster to [N&E exec editor for news Melanie] Sill’s newspaper?
That’s a very important question. I've asked four people at the N&O that question and they won't say. One of the four is N&O public editor Ted Vaden.

I hope you and others ask Vaden that question. Maybe you'll have more luck than I've had. You can email him at

Recently on the thread to her post, "Duke case coverage," Sill spoke to readers about N&O sourcing and "on the record material." Here from the thread with the relevant part of Sill's comment:

Comment from: Melanie Sill [Member] •
06/20/06 at 21:57

As I've said in other posts, I think what distinguishes our work has been original reporting, primary sourcing and on the record material.(bold added)

If what Sill said was true, we would all know the answer to the question.

BTW – It was three months today that the N&O published the "vigilante poster."

Now this question:
With few exceptions, why have the major Carolina newspapers done so little to investigate the investigators and Nifong in light of the overwhelming indication that justice is not being served?
I don’t know for certain and I don’t want to speculate right now. But you’re asking a very good question we should all be asking again and again until they do.
Has Sill ever explained why her newspaper referred to the accuser as the "victim" numerous times?
I assume you mean referred to the accuser as “victim” without qualifying it with “alleged” or “reported.” If that’s the case, this post, "Duke lacrosse: McClatchy editor is unbelievable," will interest you.
Read this analysis by an attorney and legal expert,[Jonna Spilbor], on possibly even worse news for Nifong. Based on Nifong's statements at his numerous early press conferences, he may have given up his own immunity to prosecution. Here's the link.

I’ve posted on Spilbor at least once urging folks to take a look at her columns. What she says seems reasonable to me, but I’m not an attorney.

We need in North Carolina for some law professor’s to start speaking out to help inform the public as to the law, customary legal practices, and their own opinions of actions that have left thoughtful citizens asking what “justice in Durham” is.
Is there any legal way to deal with an out-of-control prosecutor? And what about the role of Judge Stephens?
Historian KC Johnson's excellent post, Roy Cooper's Silence, deals with both questions. I link to Johnson in this post.
What's the real story on the Durham police chief?
We’d all like to know. The public explanation is that Chief Steve Chalmers’ mother is very ill and he’s taking care of her. It’s been months since he’s been seen in public but we're told he's following the case just like the rest of us.
How exactly did Nifong originally get appointed to his position?
He served in Durham for more than 20 years as an Asst. DA. When the DA, Ron Stephens, vacated his office to accept a seat on the Superior Court bench, Gov. Mike Easley appointed Nifong to serve out the remainder of Stephens’ term.

And yes, the Duke lacrosse Judge and former DA Ron Stephens are the same person.

I'll end today responding to this comment unrelated to Duke lacrosse
[A program's] just lambasted the Democrats for promoting a “Cut & Run” program in Iraq. Of course we now see General Casey has a program to reduce the troop strength, just in time for the elections. Are these same people going to lambaste General Casey? I wonder how are troops in Iraq would feel about troop reductions, if they actually got the whole story?
I listened to all of General Casey's announcement (Secretary Rumsfeld at his side) and the reporter Q&A which followed.

Casey said he was announcing a phased withdrawal that was contingent on the new Iraqi government's ability to successfully defend itself. He and Rumsfeld stressed the importance of that contingency. They also said that during the troop drawdown there would be periods during which troop numbers in Iraq actually would increase because troops being replaced would remain after their replacements came in so as to assure a proper turnover.

What Casey announced wasn't "Cut and Run" so I hope he's not lambasted.

Talking with JinC regulars – 7 - 2 - 06

(One of a series of posts in the original web log tradition: notes and "thinking out loud." These posts will be most easily understood by regular visitors and are written with them especially in mind. But others are welcome. John)

I just went back on the comment threads through June 24 and removed spam. I think I got them all. But the spammers keep slipping new ones in. You’re smart; you’ll ignore them and keep scrolling.

I left a number of comments for you all. I hope you see them.

A big thanks to those of you who are linking JinC items/posts to places like Free Republic, Court TV, etc.

Isn’t that great news about Cheek. He turned in about 10,000 signatures and he needs 6303 “verifieds” to get on the ballot. The people who worked Cheek’s petition drive are very experienced. I’m betting Cheek has more than the number he needs.

I read in the Dur H-S yesterday that Monks says he’ll support Cheek if his name is placed on the ballot.

I hope you’re finding the Charns/CrimeStoppers posts interesting. The process Charns has begun could be long but IMHO it will lead to very important information about how the investigation was conducted in those critical first weeks, including learning more about the DA's office and DPD's respect for the rights of the young people they were investigating.

I plan to post in a few days my lay person’s take on Charns' June 13 email to Dur. City Mgr. Baker and Police Chief Chalmers.

I’d like to share an example of what I'm plannig, and ask for your feedback/advice.

Charns' email includes:

In response to my initial request for certified copies of all city of Durham and Durham Police Department press releases or posters concerning the Duke lacrosse alleged rape investigation, some records were released to me. I do not believe all records concerning these posters were given to me because I received a certified copy of the poster that I provided to the city as proof instead of copies of the poster from police department files or computers. (bold mine)
How about that? What were some police thinking when they copied Charns’ poster and sent it back to him as their response to his request for a copy of a poster that was in DPD’s files?

Why didn’t Charns receive a copy directly from police files? Or a photocopy of a poster in the DPD's files?

With those questions in mind we read what Charns wrote next:
If records have been destroyed or deleted, I request records concerning the destruction of the records including but not limited to authorizations for their destruction and the date of their destruction.
We need to remember that Charns is only implying; not asserting.

When I interviewed Charns on June 29 he’d not heard back from DPD. It will be interesting to see how they respond.

I’ll end this with a “Happy Four of July” to you. In fact, I’ll do more. This post, Freedom at the Raleigh News & Observer, should give you a July Fourth smile if you haven't already seen it.