Saturday, August 05, 2006

Duke lacrosse: Brodhead's scapegoating

Historian and blogger KC Johnson has done it again.

This time he’s called Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead for his denial he scapegoated the Men’s lacrosse team.

In typical KC fashion, he gets right to the point:

Richard Brodhead’s recent denial of “scapegoating” the lacrosse team seems unsustainable. In the Duke president’s public response to Friends of Duke University, the sole evidence that he cited to substantiate his claim that he hasn't scaegoated the team was the existence of the Coleman Committee report.

But he had described this document to the University community as favorable to the lacrosse team only in that it did not “confirm the worst allegations against this team”—which, of course, were that three players committed gang rape and dozens of others covered it up.

Many people would consider Brodhead’s failure to mention that the report detailed the players’ positive academic performance, excellent relations with Duke staff, and extensive record of community service confirmation of the charge of his scapegoating the team.

More important, the Coleman Committee report conclusively showed how Brodhead already had scapegoated the team when he forced the resignation of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler.

As William Gerrish, whose son captained the 2005 Duke lacrosse team, recently noted, Pressler “is perhaps the only one who did nothing wrong during this incident, and yet he ended up paying for it.”
There's a lot more, all of it informative.

KC cares about doing right, something we're seen little of from Duke faculty and administrators as the lacrosse hoax and frame-ups play themselves out.

Praise for McClatchy and the Raleigh News & Observer

People who visit JinC regularly will tell you that every once in a while I’ve been a little critical of the N&O.

And that’s true. I criticized, for example, the N&O refusal to report the disclosure that Sen. Ted Kennedy was a member for almost fifty years of The Owl Club, a private, all-male, smooze and booze club open only to graduates of Harvard who could fork over big-buck initiation and annual membership fees.

The “Teddy and the Owl” disclosure came just as the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sam Alito were ending. During the hearings, the N&O repeatedly reported on Kennedy’s objection to Alito’s brief membership while a Princeton undergraduate in a student organization Kennedy felt didn’t esteem women quite as highly as he’d have liked.

I said the N&O’s silence on Kennedy’s membership in the Owl Club, from which he only resigned when his membership became public knowledge as the Alito hearings were ending, was an example of the N&O liberal/leftist bias and news suppression.

But enough of that. Today I come to praise the N&O and its owner, the McClatchy Company.

While other news organizations struggle with how to make their blogs interesting places where enough readers will go so that the news organizations can generate revenue through blog ad sales, the N&O has found the answer. Only it’s not shouting it from the rooftops.

Perhaps the N&O is quiet about its success because it doesn’t want the competition to catch on too quickly.

I can respect that and I hope you do to because I’m about to disclose the secret of McClatchy’s and the N&O’s newly found blog success.

You promise you won’t tell?

OK, then here’s the secret: Get rid of the journalists; let the readers take over.

Have you been to the Editor’s Blog since exec editor Melanie Sill quit commenting and "disappeared?"

It’s now an interesting place, free of bias and news suppression, isn’t it?

The Editor’s Blog now has solid news reporting and thoughtful commentary; the kinds of things the N&O hasn’t provided readers in over a century.

But bring in a handful of dedicated readers and - GAZING, GAZING – they start filling the threads with investigative reporting. We’re reading about “the fat, bald” cop. We’re reading excellent reporting on Judge Titus’ gag order. And a lot more.

Meanwhile, look at the kinds of things professional journalists have been offering in the N&O’s print edition.

Just this week we had a story about the Durham City Council spending $13,000 last year for meals, coffees and a few large public receptions. The reporter told us some of the money was used to buy chicken salad sandwiches. How’s that for in-depth reporting?

It seems the $13,000 expenditure was reasonable and honestly spent.

Opps! That is news in Durham. I’m being too hard on the reporter.

But I think I’m right about the N&O blog secret.

You want another example of what I mean?

Look at what’s happening at the Metro Blog now that Ruth Sheehan’s gone off, she says, on vacation.

The readers are working the blog. Their comments are thoughtful and funny.

When Sheehan’s there, you don’t get “thoughtful” nor “funny,” do you? You get attacks on college students who are doing nothing more than following the advice of their counsels and demands for the firing of their coach, a husband, father of three children and good neighbor, who has done nothing wrong and an awful lot right.

You know that. You know you know.

Wrap up: Congratulations to some great reader/reporter/commentors.

And congratulations to McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt. At the start of July, McClatchy’s stock was at 39. It closed yesterday, Aug. 4, at 43.30.

That’s more than a 10% price jump in just over a month.

ADVICE TO CEO PRUITT: Offer at least some health care coverage and a stock option plan to the “citizen journalists” working on your threads.

If you lose them, you’ll have to go back to using professional journalists.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 4, 2006

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

We’ve finished the series of posts concerning the three month long trip Churchill, his brother, Jack, and their sons, Randolph and Johnny, took in 1929 across Canada, down the West coast, and than back by train across America to New York.

I want to share a few comments concerning the “travel series” and will welcome your comments.

Churchill’s zest for living, his capacity to wring so much out of a day never ceases to amaze me. Throughout that trip he produced newspaper and magazine articles, wrote and delivered at least 24 speeches by my count (no doubt he delivered more), and researched for the four volume biography of his ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough.

Some of those speeches were on complicated and internationally sensitive subjects such as naval force reduction treaties and international debt repayment plans. They were delivered before important and well-informed audiences; and were almost always followed by Q&A sessions.

Most politicians would have had to rely on many different sets of expert staffers to produce those speeches. But, with the exception of some occasional consultation with British consulate staff, Churchill produced the speeches himself. He had few books and policy papers with him. Most of what went into those speeches came right from one of the twentieth century’s greatest storehouses of knowledge: Churchill’s mind.

His command of knowledge in diverse areas and his ability to organize that knowledge reminds us again: he was a very brilliant man.

There’s more I could say but I don’t want to rattle on. I’d be very glad to hear what you think.


Duke lacrosse: A cool "movie" at Johnsville

A movie house is usually a good place to cool off.

If you go to Johnsville's "movie house," you'll not only "cool off," you'll get to "see" Mike Nifong "star" in a role that was just made for him.

When even France has to admit the truth

A blog friend says: Hezbollah is controlled by Iran and enabled by Syria. So this from Powerline should come as no surprise:

…in a speech to a Muslim conference in Malaysia, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the solution to problems in the Middle East is the destruction of Israel:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate halt to fighting in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.

Ahmadinejad, who has drawn international condemnation with previous calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, said the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime." Israel "is an illegitimate regime, there is no legal basis for its existence," he said.
Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel was coupled with a demand for a cease-fire in Lebanon:
"Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented," he said.
Ahmadinejad obviously wants a cease-fire not in the interest of peace in the region, but as a tactical move that will contribute to the ultimate destruction of Israel.

Which illustrates why neither the government of Israel nor the Bush administration wants a cease-fire. One has to wonder: do other leaders who urge an immediate cessation of fighting, like Kofi Annan and various European heads of state, have motives that are purer than Ahmadinejad's? Or do they share his view as to how peace should ultimately come to the Middle East?

Good question, no? Of course last Monday we had this:
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said earlier Monday in Beirut.

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran - a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.
Captain Ed Morrissey takes up this thread:
The French just figured out exactly what kind of stabilization Iran has in mind for the Middle East. Just days after his jaw-dropping description of the radical Iranian mullahcracy as a "stabilizing force" in the region, the French Foreign Minister had to eat his words:
Days after calling Iran a "stabilizing" force in the Middle East, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy issued a statement harshly criticizing Iran's call on Thursday to destroy Israel.

"I totally condemn these words," Douste-Blazy said on France-Inter radio, in response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement Thursday that the solution to the current Middle East crisis was to destroy Israel.

"Peace and security in Lebanon and its borders has to be preserved by the Lebanese government and people. Deployment of foreign forces is not acceptable in any shape unless it is just, based on UN rules and preserves the unity and territorial integrity of Lebanon," he said.

The words are "absolutely unacceptable on anyone's part, especially from a head of state," Douste-Blazy said.

Douste-Blazy said that the crisis had presented an opportunity for Iran to "show that it can play a positive and stabilizing role in the region," but added that Ahmadinejad's statement "confirmed that this is not the case."
Not to be rude, but no s**t, Sherlock. And France wonders why no one trusts them?

It doesn't take a genius to understand that someone who keeps asking Europe to dismantle a sovereign nation and move them onto the Continent isn't interested in "stabilizing" the region.

I'm not sure what Phillipe Douste-Blazy actually does for a living, but it certainly has nothing to do with actually reading what Iranian leaders have written and spoken for the last several months.

Perhaps Douste-Blazy has had a “Road to Damascus” moment today. At least one can hope that someone with the demonstrable cluelessness of Douste-Blazy has the capacity for some intellectual growth. Now maybe we can get some real progress not just on allowing Israel to complete its mission against Hezbollah but also regarding the mullahcracy's nuclear-weapons programs.

In the meantime, though, CQ would like to give Douste-Blazy the Captain Louis Renault award for being “shocked, shocked” that Iran plays a malevolent role in international affairs.

Notre Capitaine had an epiphany at the end of Casablanca about working with appeasers and collaborators in their pursuit of genocide.

Dare we hope that Douste-Blazy also tosses the Vichy water into the trash and thinks about starting a beautiful friendship with the West?
Let's hope so but I wouldn't bet you a day's supply of Vichy water on it.

A thank you to Mike Williams, the best blogger not blogging.

Duke lacrosse: Nifong, Churchill, Brodhead and me

Here's Durham DA Mike Nifong as quoted in the Mar. 29 Raleigh N&O:

"I would like to think that somebody who was not in the bathroom has the human decency to call up and say, 'What am I doing covering up for a bunch of hooligans?' " Nifong said.

"I'd like to be able to think that there were some people in that house that were not involved in this and were as horrified by it as the rest of us are."
This from the Presumption of Innocence article in Legal Encyclopedia, Thompson & Gale.
"In practice the presumption of innocence is animated by the requirement that the government prove the charges against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt."
Here's Winston S. Churchill in a letter to the Times of London, July 8, 1902:
"[I]t is for the accuser to prove his charge, not for the defendant to prove his innocence.”
Here's Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead in his letter to the Friends of Duke University, July 25, 2006:
"We are eager for our students to be proved innocent."
And here I am today, Aug. 4, 2006:
"I would like to think that somebody on the Brodhead team who was not involved in drafting the letter has the human decency to call up and say, 'What am I doing covering up for a bunch that doesn’t understand the common law?'" John in Carolina said.

"I'd like to be able to think that there are at least some people in the Allen Building that were not involved in the letter, and are as horrified by the 'proved innocent' misconception as the rest of us are."

Duke lacrosse: This Duke Friend is a Durham friend, too

Attorney and Friends of Duke University spokesperson Jason Trumpbour is a friend of Durham, too. You'll see that when you read his letter published today in the Durham Herald Sun:

To the editor:

In an August 1 editorial, you found District Attorney Mike Nifong "courageous" and "contrite" in his discussion of the Duke lacrosse case at a recent press conference.

Unfortunately, there is little courage to be found in a desperate appeal to sympathy by an embattled politician. And Nifong was hardly contrite as he continued to obfuscate the relevant legal standards for his conduct.

You also stated that Nifong "still believes he has a good case" and find that significant for some reason. Yet, Nifong apparently lacks the courage of those convictions. After ramrodding evidence through a hopelessly backlogged SBI crime lab and racing to get indictments before the election, Nifong is now trying to postpone the day of reckoning until next spring.

Nifong refused to even look at any of the exculpatory evidence proffered to him by the defense. This action violated North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8 which prohibits a prosecutor from avoiding "pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor's case."

In hiding his eyes from that evidence, Nifong abdicated the responsibilities of the office to which he was appointed and should have no further claim to it.

While, ideally, the voters of Durham County should elect the person who will be their district attorney, at least they have the opportunity to choose who they do not want for that office. The writer is a member of Friends of Duke University.

Parkton, Md.
August 4, 2006
Now there's a person looking out for Durham!

Trumpbour's letter is an excellent "clip and send," only today it's just a click or two and you save the cost of postage.

I hope many of you who are bloggers will post Trumpbour's letter.

You JinC Regulars who've been so effective in alerting folks at Court TV, Talk Left, Free Rebublic and elsewhere to posts here know what to do.

In a few hours we should be able to get Trumpbour's letter buzzing all around the blogoshere.

I'm including links to:

Friends of Duke University.

KC Johnson's post,"Roy Cooper's Silence," which includes a scholarly review of N. C. law and procedures relating to Nifong's misconduct. KC writes lucidly and to the point.

Professor James E. Coleman Jr's letter calling for Nifong's replacement with a special prosecutor.

Coleman's letter makes very clear what Nifong did to get his indictments which people like Duke President Richard Brodhead now want to serve as the basis for a trial of three Duke students on multiple felony charges.

Coleman said of the photo ID Nifong arranged with the police:
Thus, the police not only failed to include people they knew were not suspects among the photographs shown the woman, they told the witness in effect that there would be no such "fillers" among the photographs she would see.

This strongly suggests that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice. (bold added)
Does anyone doubt Coleman is describing a frame-up?

Let's get Trumpbour and Coleman's letters out there along with Johnson's post.

After you do that, have a nice day.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 3, 2006

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

Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert tells us:

Churchill’s return to New York coincided with Black Thursday, the sudden collapse of the New York stock market. That night Churchill dined with Bernard Baruch on Fifth Avenue.

“He had gathered around his table,” Churchill later wrote, “forty or more of the leading bankers and financiers of New York, and I remember that when one of them proposed my health he addressed the company as “Friends and former millionaires.”

Churchill himself was deeply involved in the American stock market and suffered severe financial loss. But the payments he received for the articles he had contracted to write for such a high remuneration more than covered his losses.

On the day of the Crash, Churchill witnessed its consequences at first hand. “Under my window, he later wrote, “a gentleman cast himself down fifteen stories and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade.” …
Later that day Churchill was invited to visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Gilbert continues :
The 1,200 members of the [Exchange] were precluded, Churchill wrote, “by the strongest rules from running or raising their voices unduly. So there they were, walking to and fro like a slow-motion picture of a disturbed ant heap, offering each other enormous blocks of securities at a third of their old prices and half their present value, and for many minutes together finding no one strong enough to pick up the sure fortunes they were compelled to offer.
The article just quoted appeared in the Dec. 9, 1929 edition of the Daily Telegraph. It tells us a lot about Churchill that in the midst of perhaps the greatest financial panic of the twentieth century he could keep his head and tell readers that those shares on offer represented “sure fortunes” for those strong enough to buy.

Churchill and his brother Jack sailed for England on October 30. Tomorrow I’ll share a few thoughts as a wrap-up to this series within the series covering Churchill's almost three month long trip across Canada, down the West coast, and then across America to New York and other East coast sites including Washington.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 118-123)

Talking to JicC Regulars and Readers - 8-3-06

Sorry I didn’t get anything posted today besides this and that little "note" to N&O Editor Sill.

Travel always takes time from blogging.

Anyway, some thanks and news.

Thanks for the great comments, the links to places like talk left, Freepers, something called “Truth getting its pants on,” La Shawn Barber , Johnsville, KC Johnson and FODU among others.

Your comments and questions have helped sharpen my thinking and posts.

Example: Many of you have been asking about any liability the N&O might have for what it’s done to the lacrosse players and coaches, their families, and the community.

I been asking journalists and attorneys about that. I hope in a week or two I can say something that may shed a little light.

Another example: Reader comments and info put me on to the H-S fake story of "previously undisclosed [DNA] matches.]

I never made any contact this week with Durham City Mgr. Patrick Baker. I did get an email this afternoon from attorney Charns. He’s also not had any contact from Baker this week.

Charns and I are going to get together tomorrow so I can take another look at the public part of his CrimeStoppers file.

I want to nail down timelines regarding when the first CS poster was produced, how soon thereafter the N&O’s “vigilante” poster appeared, and just when DPD Maj. Lee Russ directed DPD Cpl. David Addison to change the first CS poster.

Russ' direction resulted in Addison producing a second, modified version of the first CS poster; which was again changed at Russ’ direction, that direction from Russ thereby leading to the production of a third version of the CS poster.

I also want to learn as much as I can regarding how the CS "wanted" poster production timelines fit with the production timelines of the N&O's "vigialnte" poster.

More on all of that over the weekend.

I heard back from Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley on my email follow-up to the post: "Duke lacrosse: A fake Herald Sun story?"

Ashley said he didn’t want to “debate news judgments” with me.

Of course, I didn’t ask Ashley about his news judgments. I asked him about the truthfulness of what he was claiming and telling readers: “previously undisclosed [DNA] matches.”

I also asked about the H-S's failure to ID Joyner and his connection to the Duke lacrosse matter.

I’ll get back to Ashley in a day or two.

I thank all of you who posted “go for it” and “here’s more info” comments here and at the Editor’s Blog re: The H-S non-story story. I hope you join in when I comment to Ashley.

And hey, if you don’t want to wait, let me be the first to say to you, “Go for it!”

I’ll post another Talking with JinC and Readers post tomorrow evening.

In the meantime, if anyone sees the fat, bald principle Durham Police investigator of the Duke lacrosse frame-up, please tell him to stop hanging out in sports bars and finish those investigative report notes he was supposed to have completed four months ago.

My helpful comment at the Editor's Blog

The McClatchy Company, which owns the Raleigh News & Observer, is trying like the dickens to make the Editor's Blog, and the N&O's print edition better. has just introduced two new features which the N&O's exec editor for news, Melanie Sill, understandably puffed about at the Editor's Blog.

I wanted to help and offered the following comment, the first on the thread where Sill puffed the new features.

I'll let you know what I hear back.


Dear Melanie,

I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner to your request to readers for our suggestions concerning how to improve the Editor’s Blog, and the N&O print edition.

It will be wonderful for the community and the N&O if they can all improve. I promise I’ll do what I can to help.

As regards the new features at, a few reactions:

I “tested” the traffic report feature. I also phoned three friends and asked them to do the same.

My reaction: Very small “contact” points. Can you make them bigger or build-in a feature where when there are delays on a certain section of roadway, its “contact” point is automatically enlarged?

That would make for easier use and would be a great way to call the delay to readers’ attention.

To me and one other friend, the report seemed a little too “busy,” with much detail and many wrap around ads.

Two friends said they would be more apt to use the traffic report if it had an “alternate routes” feature.

One friend is a tech exec who said building in such a feature would be simple.

As regards your “most watched” feature, you say 24 hour and 7 day but you don’t distinguish between the two. I think people will want that. It just makes sense.

I noticed among your most watched as 9:30 a.m. EDT this headline: Two Duke lacrosse DNA tests are positive.

The headline, as you know, leads an 8/2 Ben Niolet story that’s a good “knockdown” of a sham, now fully discredited story the Herald Sun ran the previous day claiming it was reporting on “previously undisclosed [DNA] matches,” when in fact the “news” had been disclosed by the N&O and others almost four months ago. The results in question don’t in any way support what the accuser has said.

So a hat tip to Niolet for his “knockdown” story but the N&O’s headline, Two Duke lacrosse DNA tests are positive, is seriously misleading. It could have served as the lead for the H-S’s sham story.

The N&O really needs to stop its bias against the Duke lacrosse players. Really, you should stop your news bias entirely.

I’m sure when you and McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt talk you discuss how best to engage in interactive journalism.

How do you decide, for example, that you’re going to ignore all the readers’ questions at the Editor’s Blog about the “bald police officer” the cook said was one of his attackers? You know, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

Or questions about the source of the N&O’s “vigilante” poster; why neither the source or the poster were never even mentioned in the story; and whether the N&O has considered apologizing for publishing it, first and foremost to the players and their families, but also to the community.

The Editor’s Blog , or the Editors’ Blog if you now prefer the plural, will, IMHO, never have the success you and Mr. Pruitt wish for it unless you give honest, fact-based answers to readers’ questions.

One final thought, Melanie.

These last 3 or 4 months the readers here have done a fantastic job of offering news tips, story ideas, and important information. I wish you would pay more attention to them. They can help make the N&O a better paper which, if I’ve correctly understand what I’ve heard and read Mr. Pruitt say, is just what he wants interactive journalism to do.



Traveling this morning. Posting resumes this afternoon

Look for posts starting around 6 p.m. this evening.

One post will be a response to Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley regarding the Herald Sun's now discredited "previously undisclosed [DNA] matches" story.

Another will be addressed to the Duke Alumni magazine. Post theme: Why has the mag done nothing on the Duke lacrosse case as its fallen apart and come to be recognized as a hoax by just about everyone except folks like President Brodhead and the faculty Group of 88?

I'll also catch up on the Churchill Series post.

Until then.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 2, 2006

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

On October 5, 1929, Churchill, his brother, Jack, and their sons, Randolph and Johnny, left Chicago by overnight train for New York.

While in New York they stayed at the Plaza Hotel (yes, the Neil Simon “Plaza Suite” hotel). A few days after their arrival Randolph and Johnny sailed for England and their schools. Winston and Jack did not leave New York until October 30. Thus, Churchill was in New York when the Great Crash occurred.

In a moment Martin Gilbert will recount some of what Churchill did between October 6 and October 24, generally agreed to be the day on which the Great Crash began. Tomorrow, we’ll read some of Churchill’s eyewitness account of New York at the time of the Crash.

Now Gilbert:

[For some days Churchill worked ] on the many articles he was committed to write for newspapers and magazines in both Britain and the United States. He had contracted to write twenty-two magazine articles. “all involving heavy work on return,” he telegraphed to Clementine.

The work was indeed to be heavy, but his remuneration made him the highest-paid journalist of the day in either Britain or the United States, for these twenty-two articles were to earn him an astonishing 40,000 pounds.
In a footnote Gilbert reports Churchill earned for the twenty-two articles the equivalent in 2005 dollars of $3 million which he calculates as almost $160,000 for each article.

Churchill also found time to visit Washington where he was invited to the White House and met President Herbert Hoover. Churchill also toured Civil War battlefields in Northern Virginia.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 119- 123)

Blinco police assault story makes the N&O blink

The McClatchy Company owns the Raleigh News & Observer. It also sponsors the Editor's Blog, where the N&O's exec editor for news, Melanie Sill, is supposed to respond to questions and commentary.

Lately readers have been asking Sill a slew of questions about the N&O's failure to report on critical questions concerning an alleged assault by Durham police officers a week ago last Thursday.

The incident occurred just before midnight in the parking lot of Blinco's, a popular Raleigh sports bar frequented by some Durham police officers who witnesses at the scene described as "regulars."

Raleigh police have charged two Durham police officers with assault, but the alleged victim, a cook at Blinco's, says Raleigh police charged the wrong brother officers.

The cook described one of his assailants as fat and bald, a description which fits Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, principal investigator in the Duke lacrosse case, who was at the scene of the assault. Photos of the two officers charged show them with full heads of hair.

Pruitt's Raleigh N&O, which only a few months ago searched courthouse records to find any misdemeanor charge leveled against anyone whose name appeared on a Duke Men's lacrosse roster going as far back as 1999, just can't seem to work up any interest in finding out about the police assault at Blinco's or the bald, fat officer.

Trying to get news about the incident from Editor Sill or any N&O reporter is like asking them why they deliberately called the accuser "the victim" in their Mar. 24 and 25 "news stories" or why on Apr. 2 the N&O printed and distributed the infamous "vigilante" poster

I think everyone understands why the N&O now refuses to answer questions about it's deliberate framing of the Duke lacrosse players, but why is it silent about a story on its own "doorstep?"

Well, one things for sure: Readers aren't folding like rented chairs or N&O reporters.

Just look at what they're saying and reporting on the comment thread of "A few responses on Duke lacrosse."

All the comments are worth reading, but scroll down to the comment from Markie on 7/27/06 at 17:47 and read down from there for the most recent material.

You'll see readers point out what the N&O isn't telling them: That the bald guy in the police assault on the cook at Blinco's sports bar the cook mentioned as an assaulter was not charged; that two guys with hair were; that the cook then said Raleigh PD had charged the wrong guys; and the N&O ignored it all.

You'll see where a reader does what the N&O may have done but hasn't reported on so far: Visit Blinco's and try to determine how likely it is that a Durham Police deputy chief's statement that the two groups of Durham police at Blinco's at the same time just before the incident didn't know each other were police is true.

The reader/ reporter (doing the job an N&O reporter should have done) concludes that given the relatively small size of Blinco's, it's not very likely that two groups of cops in plain clothes could have been there at the same time without each group not knowing the other was there.

Not very likely.

The small size of Blinco's makes it virtually impossible the two groups didn't recognize each other.

There are two other reasons why it's virtually impossible the two groups didn't know the other were police:

1) Whenever off-duty police out of uniform enter a bar, they almost always identify themselves to the bartender/mgr/owner for all sorts of reasons; not least because they want the bartender/mgr/owner to know that if something happens in a flash (a robbery, for instance) and they needed to draw their guns, the bartender/etc will know they are good guys, and not fire on them with a gun the bartender/etc might have.

2) Again, if one group of officers need "in a flash" to draw their guns, the last thing they want is for another group of officers to take them for "bad guys" and start firing on them.

So off-duty cops always let barkeeps know they're off-duty cops, and always make sure to know who in the bar might also be off-duty cops.

Why is the N&O avoiding reporting critical aspects of this story?

All those professors don't get much right

In the current issue of Weekly Standard, Bruce Thornton, tells us

THE MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION, the professional gatekeeper of American academic orthodoxy on all matters Islamic, has posted the lineup of presentations for its upcoming meeting in Boston this November.
Most of you won’t be surprised to learn the program offerings tilt way left and against Israel and the U. S.

We find such offerings as:
"Anxious for Armageddon: Christian Zionism and U.S. Policy in the Middle East"

"Bad Fences for Bad Neighbors: The Divisive Process of the Israel-Palestine Border"

"A Tale of Two Walled Cities: Jerusalem and Johannesburg"
Betsy Newmark comments:
It seems that the people who are the professors responsible for teaching the next generation about the issues in Middle East are a toxic mix of typical left-wing ideology combined with an overlay anti-western rhetoric.

It is from these professors' classes that we have been stocking many of those who now have jobs in the State Department and various think tanks. And nothing will be changing, judging from the papers they choose to highlight at their annual convention.

So much of academic research in the humanities and social sciences is basically overly esoteric and relatively worthless anyway; but it is such a shame that, in an era when we need expertise on this part of the world, we're dependent on these ideologues to turn out our next generation of so-called experts.
Right on, Betsy.

I'll bet many of the professors Betsy's talking about were also telling us in the early 1980s that President Reagan was foolish and downright dangerous.

Remember all those academics who ridiculed Reagan as an "amiable dunce" when he said the Soviet Union was an evil empire that would soon wind up on the "ash heap of History?"

Remember how many of them said Reagan's arms buildup would only encourage the Soviets to become more belligerent?

And then there was "star wars." Sen. Ted Kennedy gave it as his most sober judgment that an anti-missile shield was pure foolishness. Kennedy, many academics and really smart pundits like Tom Friedman, Helen Thomas and Doyle McManus said the idea would never work.

Well, we know how all that turned out. The American people had enough sense to ignore all those academic experts and pundits. If I recall it right President Reagan was reelected in a landslide, carrying 49 states.

But we can't always count on the good sense on the American people to protect us from the leftist ideologues who dominate our colleges and universities, and are increasingly coming to dominate our primary and secondary schools.

We need to be talking about how to turn things around. One simple, immediate step millions of us can take: Stop giving to your college or university if, like almost all of them, its tilting left.

Duke lacrosse: I ask reporter & editor, "Was that a fake story?"

Readers’ Note:

Yesterday I posted "Duke lacrosse: A fake Herald Sun story?"

I said I’d send emails to the reporter, John Stevenson, and his editor, Bob Ashley. They follow.

I’ll let you know what, if anything, I hear back.


Reporter John Stevenson
Durham Herald Sun

Dear Reporter Stevenson:

Your Aug. 1 story, “Lawyers haggle over DNA matches," appears to be based on a "repackaging" of information that's been in the public domain for over three months.

See the Apr. 11 Raleigh N&O story and the WRAL.COM Apr. 10 story referenced in this post:

It seems you were not reporting on "previously undisclosed [DNA] matches" as you claimed in your story.

If I'm in error, please correct me with information I can verify.

If I'm correct, will you please explain to me and to your readers in a follow up story why you made the "previously undisclosed claim" and repackaged "old news?"

Also, in your story you fail to identify attorney and N. C. Central University Law School Professor Irving Joyner's connection to the Duke lacrosse case.

It is a very serious violation of legal ethics for an attorney to speak publicly about a case he's involved in without disclosing that involvement.

I have no doubt Professor Joyner observed proper ethical practice.

Shouldn't you have identified Joyner's connection to the case and also let readers know about some of his previous comments, hardly those of a disinterested party?

I plan to post this email, along with one I'm sending Editor Bob Ashley, at my blog.

I'll publish your response in full.

Overall, I think your reporting on Duke lacrosse has been quite good.




Editor Bob Ashley
Durham Herald Sun

Dear Editor Ashley:

I sent the email below to Reporter John Stevenson.

I'm asking you the same questions I asked him.

But I want to ask you another question: Why did you decide to expand your "support Nifong/ignore injustice" agenda from the editorial pages and start running it in the news columns?

As in the case of Stevenson, I'll publish your response in full.

Thank you for your attention to this request.



Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 2, 2006

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

On October 2, 1929, Churchill, along with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, arrived by train in Chicago. They were met there by an old friend of Churchill’s, Bernard Baruch, one of America’s wealthiest men and an advisor to President.

Baruch put his private rail car at the disposal of the Churchill party for its trip to New York, where they would be Baruch’s guest at the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street and 5th Avenue.

Before leaving Chicago, Churchill gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of naval cooperation between America and Britain. He said he believed if the two fleets were ever used together it would be “for the preservation of peace.”

Such a speech may seem like pretty tame stuff to us today, but at the time it was quite a bold speech. Isolationist sentiment was very strong in America. So was anti-British sentiment, especially in cities like Chicago which had large numbers of Irish and Irish-Americans.

The city’s Mayor, William “Big Bill” Thompson, often told audiences that King George V was “America’s greatest enemy.” Thompson had a standard campaign pledge: “If I ever meet King George, I’ll punch him in the nose for all of us.”

One of the constants of Churchill’s long public career was his commitment, in words and deeds, to a strong, active Anglo-American union. It’s been that union that for more than three-quarters of a century has led the fight to preserve and expand civilization.

The more we study Churchill’s life, the more we realize how much we owe him.

Tomorrow he goes to New York and is there when the Great Crash of 1929 occurs.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America (pgs. 118-120), contains all the information in this post except that relating to the pugnacious Mayor "Big Bill" Thompson. For that go to any search engine and enter: Chicago Mayor England King. That will call up many sources

Duke lacrosse: A fake Herald Sun story?

From the Merriam –Webster Online Dictionary:

Fake - Not authentic or genuine; a sham.
From today’s Durham Herald Sun, “Lawyers haggle over DNA matches”:
Semen found in the house where three Duke lacrosse players allegedly raped an exotic dancer matches the DNA of two team members, but lawyers disagree about its potential impact on the unfolding case.

The previously undisclosed matches, one involving indicted rape suspect David Evans and the other involving a player not charged, have been confirmed by several sources close to the case. (bold added)

According to the sources, semen on a towel was DNA-linked to Evans.

The towel was retrieved from a hallway at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann are accused of raping an exotic dancer during an off-campus lacrosse party in mid-March.

The towel also contained non-semen-based DNA from someone else, the sources said.

They said the other DNA did not match the alleged rape victim or any of more than 40 Duke lacrosse players who gave bodily samples for analyses.

Excerpt from the Apr. 11 Raleigh News & Observer, "DNA clears players, lawyers say; DA vows to continue Duke inquiry:"
They also found no DNA on the woman's clothing or belongings, players' attorneys said. The tests found DNA matches to two players, from a towel outside the bathroom and on another object, [defense attorney Joseph] Cheshire said.

One sample was from a player's semen and another was a different type of DNA, Cheshire said. He said that was to be expected in a bathroom shared by the three men who lived in the house.

Excerpt from WRAL.Com Apr. 10 “DA Plans To Proceed With Case Despite No DNA Matches:”
Answering questions from reporters, defense attorney Joe Cheshire did say that DNA of two of the men was found on a towel and on the floor of the bathroom, but that it was not in any way related to the DNA found on the alleged victim.

"The bathroom where this DNA was found happened to be the bathroom of the two boys," Cheshire said. "And any expert and any person in the world will tell you that your DNA is in your bathroom."
Are reporter John Stevenson, editor Bob Ashely and the Herald Sun giving us a genuine story of previously undisclosed DNA matches or are they giving us a sham repackaging of material previously disclosed?

Public demand is growing for the replacement of DA Mike Nifong, whom the Herald Sun supports, with an ethical special prosecutor who'd review the indictments.

If a special prosecutor takes over, most legal experts who’ve expressed an opinion expect the prosecutor to move to dismiss the indictments because they’re based on flawed and very possibly fabricated evidence.

If the indictments are dismissed, there'll be no basis for a trial of the three students. However, Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley has said he wants “the privilege” of seeing the students on trial as do other Durham community leaders such as former school board member Jacqueline Wagstaff and Duke president Richard Brodhead.

Question: Did the Herald Sun today give us a genuine story about previously undisclosed DNA matches, or did it give us a sham repackaged "old news" story intended to prop up sagging public support for a case most people know has been nothing so much as a series of injustices?

I plan to send the story reporter, John Stevenson, and editor Bob Ashley emails asking them the question: genuine or fake? I'll include a link to this post. I'll let you know what I hear back.

I also plan to ask both of them why the story doesn't tell readers about N.C. Central University law professor Irving Joyner’s connection to the Duke lacrosse case. Here's all the Herald Sun told readers:
N.C. Central University law professor Irving Joyner also said Monday the semen evidence should not be automatically discounted.

"It would tend to support the prosecution's case," he said
But as the Apr. 19 reported:
Irving Joyner, an N.C. Central law professor, is monitoring the case as requested by the state chapter of the NAACP.

"It was important that arrests were made and more that it was explained why (additional) arrests weren't made," said Joyner, who teaches criminal law, civil rights and race and the law. The police report described the alleged victim as saying she was raped by three men. …

Joyner was in touch with state NAACP leaders. "My assessment," he said, "was that things are moving forward. We're now on track. And we'll just have to wait and see what happens next."
Editor Bob Ashley came to Durham less than two years ago. His first act was to fire scores of dedicated, honest journalists and others like them who worked at the Herald Sun.

Ashley told the community not to be concerned. “Just wait until you get to know me,” he said. "Wait until you see what I do with the paper."

Well, people in Durham have. And guess what? The paper's circulation is down more than 25% since Ashley took over, and by all reports circulation's continuing to decline.

A few closing thoughts: This morning’s story, “Lawyers haggle over DNA matches,” may help keep people like Wagstaff and Brodhead as subscribers but not too many others. And it does nothing to promote informed citizenry or justice in Durham.

Hat Tips: Anon. reader and KC Johnson

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Churchill Series – July 31, 2006

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

In late September, 1929 Churchill, along with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, left California on the last leg of a three month long trip that had taken them across Canada and down the West coast to California. Ahead of them was a train journey to New York.

The party traveled as far as Chicago in a private car of Charles Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel Company. Churchill and Schwab had met during WWI when Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and Schwab’s company made submarines for the Royal Navy.

One of the Churchill's first stops along the way was at the Grand Canyon. Their rail car was parked by the South rim. The party stayed twenty-four hours which gave the Churchill’s plenty of time to explore the canyon.

There’s something else I can’t document but don’t doubt helps explain their twenty-four hour stay at the canyon. I think Churchill, by 1929 a skilled amateur painter extraordinarily sensitive to color, wanted to see the canyon’s varied rock and sand strata change hues, even colors, as the sun and moon played on them.

Churchill later wrote Clementine a description of the canyon’s great depth and colors which he said were “scarcely exaggerated.”

From the Grand Canyon the party continued its journey through the Rockies and across the plains. For most of the trip, Churchill worked on newspaper and magazine articles.

Tomorrow, Churchill gives a speech in Chicago, changes trains, and heads for New York.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America (pgs. 118-119)

David Boyd keeps on doing it

Few bloggers can pack more common sense into a short post than David Boyd.

There was his post about 20 and 30,000 sq. ft. houses advertised as “green-friendly.”

Look, David said, if you want to live in a mega-house with rooms you’ll only visit once, fine. But spare us the “green-friendly” talk.

David keeps doing that kind of post. Here he is today:

The terrorist psyche


With a poster of the burning World Trade Center behind him, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant appeared on tape Thursday calling on Muslims to join the fight against Israel and "rise up seeking martyrdom and attack the crusaders and Zionists."
The problem with these terrorist types is twofold. First, they have delusions of grandeur. They can't abide being a worker bee like all the rest of us. They actually think they're special. Second, they're lazy. Get a job, you bums. Engage in commerce like everybody else and give up running around playing army.

David’s “engage in commerce” remark reminds us of something we should all remember when we hear anyone bash the capitalist system.

If on September 11 those 19 guys had gotten on the planes with some of them headed to LA to make sales, others going to conferences to improve their job skills, and one of them being a PR guy who would accompany that kid who won the national geography contest and was flying for the first time with his Mom and teacher to receive the award, we wouldn’t have had …

Advice to PC preachers: Don’t knock business so much. And check in on David Boyd often. At the least, he should help you improve your sermons.

Duke lacrosse: Letter to Durham H-S Editor Ashley

Readers' Note: I'm sending Durham Herald Sun Editor Bob Ashley the email below along with a link to this post. I'll offer to publish on the "main page" any reply he makes.


July 31, 2006

Bob Ashley, Editor
Durham Herald Sun

Re: Your column, "Has the lacrosse case induced insanity?" (July 23)

Dear Editor Ashley:

I blog as John in Carolina. I’ve lived in and around Durham for almost thirty-three years. Like you, I’m a Duke alum.

I publish often on the Duke lacrosse hoax, especially that portion of media coverage that has turned what should have been a fair, thorough police investigation into something hideously different: A series of monumental injustices that have damaged the lives of innocent people and shaken citizens’ faith in Durham’s police, its DA, our court system and much of our area media.

Public opinion was once strongly against the players. Remember the pot bangers? And remember how many approved the Raleigh N&O’s Apr. 2 publication of “vigilante” poster; and your publication on Apr. 9 of the Rev. Canon Dr. Sam Wells’ Apr. 2 Duke Chapel sermon?

Now public opinion has changed and you don’t like it. You blame defense attorneys. You say:

The Herald-Sun [has] tried to consistently remind [readers] that the defense attorneys are releasing just what fragments of the total evidence they choose to make public.
Only “fragments from defense attorneys? What misleading nonsense!

There’s been an avalanche of evidence made public. Almost all of it comes from Nifong and the police, who were forced by law to disclose it.

It’s that evidence that’s influenced public opinion.

You supported gathering DNA from the 46 white Duke lacrosse players. Nifong, whom you endorsed in the primary and continue to support, promised the community the DNA results would identify the guilty.

Public opinion began to shift dramatically in the players favor when the DNA lab results found not a single match to any of them. Attorneys talking didn’t cause that shift; the lab report caused it.

Nifong then ordered a second round of DNA testing.

The only positive match the second round produced was to the accuser’s boyfriend’s semen.

You can’t blame that finding and the further shift in opinion it caused on the defense attorneys unless somehow you're ready to argue one of them is the boyfriend.

The “indentification process” used to “pick any three” has angered and revolted decent citizens. They reacted that way not because of anything the defense attorneys told them, but because they read part or all of the Durham Police Department's own records of its “pick any three” ID procedure.

Here’s how Duke Law Professor James E. Coleman Jr. described and analyzed the procedure:
According to the police account of the identification, however, the police officer who presided over the proceedings told the alleged victim at the outset that he wanted her to look at people the police had reason to believe attended the party.

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

This strongly suggests that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice. (bold added)

The prosecutor would not care if the pre-trial identification was subsequently thrown out by the court. The accuser would identify them at trial by pointing to the three defendants seated in front of her as the three men who assaulted her. The prosecutor would argue that she had an independent basis (independent of the identifications thrown out) for doing so.
Editor Ashley, there are many tens of thousands of us in Durham, including Herald Sun readers, who don’t need a defense attorney to tell us what to call a police lineup procedure in which “[a]ny three students would do [and there was] no wrong choice.”

We call it a frame-up.

What do you call it?



Duke lacrosse: Charlotte Observer says "a special prosecutor"

This morning's lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer offers Durham a "solution:" a special prosecutor.


DA: I erred in blabbing to media about the case

Meanwhile, District Attorney Nifong has delivered himself of this confession: He talked too much about the case early on. Well, no kidding.

It was hard not to read something about Mr. Nifong's characterization of the defendants as "hooligans" who he was sure had committed rape. "My handling of the media coverage of this case has occasioned substantial criticism, some of which is undoubtedly justified," Mr. Nifong was quoted by the AP as saying. "I both underestimated the level of media attention this case would draw and misjudged the effect that my words would have. That having been said, this case remains a Durham problem and it demands a Durham solution."

Here's one solution: a special prosecutor, which Commissioner Cheek (see previous item) says he would have appointed to handle the case. (bold added)
The appointment of a special prosecutor is long overdue. As Duke Law Professor James E. Colemen Jr pointed out in June:
Whatever the truth is, Nifong can no longer personally restore public confidence in the prosecution of this case.

Someone with professional detachment and unquestioned integrity must review the case and determine whether the evidence against the three students warrants further prosecution. That would serve the best interest of the alleged victim, the three defendants and public.
Well said, Professor. And thank you for speaking out on behalf of justice.

Nifong still has many supporters.

The Raleigh News & Observer, for example, continues to back Nifong editorially although its reporters and news editors now support him less enthusiastically than they did in the swaggering days of March, April, and May.

Back then, the N&O's "news team" joined with Nifong in telling the community the accuser was "the victim" and framed the lacrosse players as a group made up on three brutal rapists and their teammates who were covering up for them.

The N&O even arranged to distribute in its Apr. 2 edition hundreds of thousands of copies of the "vigilante" poster which, among other things, helped Nifong as he campaigned in Durham and in media to paint the lacrosse players as heartless criminals. But I doubt the N&O would reprint the "vigilante" poster now even if it was sure it would help Nifong and Duke's President Brodhead would offer no objection.

Nifong's hometown newspaper, the Durham Herald Sun, also supports him editorially. In fact, H-S editor Bob Ashley recently told readers how much he's looking forward to the trial of Duke students David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

A special thanks to historian and blogger KC Johnson who tipped me to the Observer's editorial.