Saturday, September 09, 2006

Duke lacrosse: ALERT – Those DPD emails

Folks, Here’s a 1, 2, 3 post.

1 – Part of the discovery motion filed Aug. 25 in NC Superior Court by attorneys representing three Duke students whom Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, wants to see put on trial for gang-rape and other felonies.

2 – A JinC reader’s comment on that part of the discovery motion.

3 – Some expert commentary by two friends regarding 1 and 2.


1 - From the motion:

On May 26, 2006, Durham Police Department Major S. Mihalch sent a memo to DPD personnel involved in the investigation of these cases directing them "to print and produce to Major L. Russ all email messages sent to or received by you from March 13, 2006 to the present which relate in any way to: the disturbance reported as occurring at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. on or about March 13, 2006, and the rape reported at 3457 Hillsborough Road on or about the same date." The memo gave its recipients a response deadline of June 5, 2006, and went on to threaten disciplinary action for noncompliance. The memo also required anyone who did not provide copies of e-mails to certify they had not, in fact, sent or received any such e-mails.
2 – The JinC Anonymous reader’s comment:
This is a layup question John!

If Mihalch wanted to find any emails exchanged within DPD he only had to go to the person in the IT department that backups up their email system each day.

This person may be referred to as the "custodian" of the data files. Mihalch would ask the custodian to retrieve all the email sent or received within the specified period by any employee. (If you recall, Duke's email custodian was ordered to produce relevant emails in this fashion).

This is expressly permitted since virtually all organizations have email policies that state emails exchanged on the org's email system aren't subject to privacy rules. To cull the list of emails down to those of interest, you could search the contents for such key words as "rape, 'ho, Duke, lacrosse, hooligan, frame, hoax, hide, lie, stonewall, Nifong, Blinco's, etc".

If the email was exchanged solely to and from an independent mail service such as Hotmail, DPD would be entirely dependent upon the integrity of their employees to produce copies of such emails. Most likely, incriminating emails would be deleted.

Deleted emails from a service like Hotmail can be retrieved with a court order for a very short period. After that you are out of luck.

What are the odds that one of the purposes of Mihalch's directive was to "remind" the key players at DPD that they should delete any incriminating emails from their personal accounts?

Shouldn't the defense ask for a Court Order directing the DPD custodian to turn over copies of the emails rather than depend on what may be produced voluntarily?
3 – Even a tech dummy like me knows Anon’s comments put important questions “out there.”

But I don’t know enough to make an informed comment on what Anon. said.

So I called a friend who’s an expert in tech areas relevant to Anon’s comment.

He read 1 and 2.

He then said something very close to this:
Anon. is right in almost every respect.

A “Hey, folks, send me everything by next week” corporate email is often really a “For God’s sake, everyone, check and delete as necessary” message that doesn’t fool anyone. Courts now recognize such emails and “frown on them.”

My friend cautioned he wasn’t saying “For God’s sake, everyone…” was the message intended by DPD Major S. Mihalch, but he said Mihalch's email raises lots of questions.

He noted that what Anon. was suggesting in the Duke lacrosse case has happened in many other cases where an organization doesn’t want the courts and public to know what it did. Enron was one of many example cases he cited where a “For God’s sake…” email had been used.

He cited others and added: “Your readers can tell you about many more Enron-like cases.”

He said Anon. “had it right” when he said Mihalch had only to contact his own IT people if all he wanted were relevant emails.

“Ask yourself, John, why Mihalch didn’t do that.”

He also said most attorneys litigating in areas where email deletion was a possibility “were on to that, and I’m sure those kids’ attorneys are.”

He had one difference with Anon.

My friend said he was “almost 100% sure” any deleted emails could be retrieved.
"Google, Yahoo, they all save emails. It may take a court order and some ‘digging,” but almost any ‘deleted’ email can be retrieved.”
My tech friend ended with: “Get the word out there. You never know who knows what and how it could help.”

I did further checking with a second friend who, while not as expert in tech matters as my first friend, has considerable experience working with law enforcement agencies.

After reading 1 and 2, my second friend didn’t contradict anything Anon reader and my first friend said, but he cautioned we should allow that perhaps Major Mihalch is, like me, a tech dummy; and his email may represent what he thought was the best way to make a good faith effort to gather the case emails.

Thank you to both friends

And thank you, Anon reader

Folks, JinC Regulars know I’m out of my depth on this one but many of you are not.

Your comments are welcome and will, I’m sure, be read by people who are tech and/or legal knowledgeable.

What’s more, many of you are in touch with bloggers and others who can knowledgeably pursue this matter. You’ll alert and inform them.

Thank you.

Justice will continue to be a struggle but day-by-day we make progress.


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Churchill Series - Sept. 8, 2006

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

Yesterday's post was long and serious. Today I want to offer something briefer and lighter.

It's an anecdote that comes from The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill, a collection of mostly amusing items compiled by Dominique Enright. I've never before used anything from Enright in the series because she doesn't cite sources, and some of the anecdotes are known to be apocryphal.

But the following story sure sounds genuine, at least as regards what Churchill does. So let's go with it. It’ll do you no harm if you remember my cautions; and it should leave you smiling. I've given Enright's account a few tweaks for clarity's sake:

In 1955 Churchill, then in his early eighties and no longer Prime Minister, was sitting by himself in a large armchair in the Members' Bar enjoying a late afternoon drink.

Three young Tory MP's entered. They failed to notice Churchill and began chattering a bit loudly about him.

"You know," one remarked, "it's very sad about old Winston. He's getting awfully forgetful."

"Shame, isn't it?" said another. "He's really very doddery now, I gather."

"Not only that," added the third, "but I've heard that he's going a bit - you know - ga-ga."

"Yes," rumbled a deep voice from the nearby armchair, "but they say his hearing's not gone yet." (p. 131)
I hope you're all back on Monday.

Duke lacrosse: A little peek inside the DPD

I was over at Johnsville News last evening reading the defense motion filed August 25 by attorneys for the three Duke students Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, is eager to see put on trial.

The lengthy, detailed motion is well worth a read. I’m not going to say much about it. I’ll leave analysis and commentary to others more knowledgeable in legal matters than I.

And all of you can form your own conclusions as you wish.

But I do want to call one paragraph in the motion to your attention; and then ask you a question.

Here’s the paragraph :

12. On May 26, 2006, Durham Police Department Major S. Mihalch sent a memo to DPD personnel involved in the investigation of these cases directing them "to print and produce to Major L. Russ all email messages sent to or received by you from March 13, 2006 to the present which relate in any way to: the disturbance reported as occurring at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. on or about March 13, 2006, and the rape reported at 3457 Hillsborough Road on or about the same date." The memo gave its recipients a response deadline of June 5, 2006,and went on to threaten disciplinary action for noncompliance. The memo also required anyone who did not provide copies of e-mails to certify they had not, in fact, sent or received any such e-mails.
Now, folks, what’s the trust level like at your work sites?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Churchill Series - Sept. 7, 2006

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

Readers’ Note: In the Sept. 1 Series post I said :

In September, 1940 America and Great Britain reached an agreement. America gave Britain 50 destroyers in exchange for 99 year lease rights to naval ports and other facilities in British possessions in the Caribbean and North Atlantic. …

President Roosevelt and Churchill conducted much of the negotiations directly between themselves and in secret. Anticipating ultimate agreement, they made arrangements for the swift implementation of the agreement even before it was signed. For example, without public announcement British naval crews were sent to American bases where they were trained to sail the American destroyers. …

On September 5 Churchill announced the agreement in the House of Commons.
I followed my remarks with an extensive excerpt of Churchill’s announcement which I said illustrated his skill as a parliamentarian.

I promised to say more about that skill in a follow-up post. This is it. Below is an excerpt of Churchill’s announcement to the House. My comments are in parentheses and italics at the end of Churchill's paragraphs :
The memorable transactions between Great Britain and the United States, which were foreshadowed when I last addressed the House, have now been completed. …

(“[F]oreshadowed when I last addressed the House” is a very deft way of telling the members they knew something like this was coming and he’d told them what he could.)

I have no doubt that Herr Hitler will not like this transference of destroyers, and I have no doubt that he will pay the United States out, if he ever gets the chance. That is why I am very glad that the army, air, and naval frontiers of the United States have been advanced along a wide arc into the Atlantic Ocean, and that this will enable them to take danger by the throat while it is still hundreds of miles away from their homeland.

(This paragraph puts Members who’d object to any part of the treaty in the same “pub corner” with Hitler, but Churchill doesn’t actually say that. But the Members know they’ve been given “notice.”)

The Admiralty tell us also that they are very glad to have these fifty destroyers, and that they will come in most conveniently to bridge the gap which, as I have previously explained to the House, inevitably intervenes before our considerable wartime programme of new construction comes into service. …

(“The Admiralty tell us.” So it’s not Churchill who’s saying this agreement will make Britian's embattled navy, now defending the island home, “very glad.”

The Admiralty itself tell us that.

Again, without actually saying it, Churchill has challenged the Members: Do any of you want to get up in a few minutes and question what has made the Admiralty “very glad?”)

There will be no delay in bringing the American destroyers into active service; in fact, British crews are already meeting them at the various ports where they are being delivered. You might call it the long arm of coincidence.

(Churchill’s “long arm of coincidence” metaphor is a “wink and nod” to the Members.

He's really saying, “Sure, I've had to do some of the negotiating leading up to the agreement in secret but you can understand that. And you can smile with me as you learn what was done as regards British crews training to man the destroyers. We're all in this together.”)

I really do not think that there is any more to be said about the whole business at the present time. This is not the appropriate occasion for rhetoric. Perhaps I may, however, very respectfully, offer this counsel to the House: When you have got a thing where you want it, it is a good thing to leave it where it is.

(Just in case any Member missed the point of his remarks, Churchill says in his closing paragraph: “This is not the appropriate occasion for rhetoric.”

But having said what he intended to be a directive to the Members, but one we know under Parliamentary procedure he can't require they follow, we find our very skilled parliamentarian in the next sentence wondering if he might “very respectfully, offers this counsel to the House: When you have got a thing where you want it, it is a good thing to leave it where it is.

Churchill’s “counsel” is a repeat of his “This is not the appropriate occasion for rhetoric” statement but in a much softer vein.

It’s an acknowledgement to the Members that he knows he can’t direct them to remain silent on the agreement but he leaves them with a common sense reminder of why they should leave the agreement “where it is.”)
There’s more I could say, but time presses and I’ve pretty much got this post where I want it, so I’ll leave it where it is.
Background information regarding the agreement and the text of Churchill's announcement to the House can be found in Winston S. Churchill's Their Finest Hour.

Duke lacrosse: A 60 Minutes proposal

So CBS’s 60 Minutes really is going to do a Duke segment on September 24.

That’s got a lot of people saying they hope 60 Minutes shows the bathroom where "the crimes" are alleged to have occurred.

I’m all for showing the bathroom. I’ve talked to a number of people who’ve been in it. They all tell me the same thing: it’s very small.

What’s more, in separate conversations, two people who are friends of mine and friends of the former owner who last year sold the house to Duke, say he’s told them he doesn’t see how three people, let along four, could all fit in that bathroom at the same time.

Showing that bathroom will serve a very important public purpose.

For the Nifong/Gottlieb version of events to be true, four people have to not only be able to fit into that bathroom, they also need to do a lot of moving around as three of them seek to subdue the fourth, who’s fighting them off as ….. (well, you know how the rest of “the story” goes.)

And then, at the end of about a half-hour of desperate struggle, all four walk out of the bathroom without one of them having a fracture, dislocation or cut requiring stitching.

So please, 60 Minutes, show that bathroom! We should be allowed to see it after listening to and watching all of Nifong’s descriptions and reenactments of what he says happened there.

And something else, 60 Minutes. Please put four good size people in that bathroom if you can and show us what that looks like.

Using miniature, radio-controlled TV cameras means one of the four in the bathroom won’t need to be a CBS technician. Cameras can be attached to the walls and ceiling. They can be moved to scan what’s happening in the bathroom by a technician outside the bathroom working the radio controls.

Naturally, one of the four in the bathroom (assuming they can all fit in) will be the 60 Minutes interviewer whom I’m told will be Ed Bradley.

The other three?

Duke’s President Richard H. Brodhead should definitely be one of them. Since the university owns the house, Brodhead’s the landlord so to speak. So he needs to be there to keep an eye on things, don’t you agree?

Brodhead can also answer questions Bradley asks. I think the bathroom’s the perfect place to ask Brodhead why he hasn’t said a word of criticism of Nifong’s handling of the investigation and his disrespect for the students’ legal rights.

The next person to join Bradley and Brodhead in the bathroom has to be DA Mike Nifong himself.

After months listening to and watching Nifong explain and demonstrate at news conferences and during TV interviews what he believes happened in the bathroom, we’ll all welcome the chance to see Nifong demonstrating at what he says is the actual "crime scene."

Of course, at that point there’ll still only be three people in that small bathroom.

Let’s let Ed Bradley introduce the fourth person and finish this post :

“Now, folks, this is Sgt. Mark Gottlieb who’s squeezing in here and joining us in what’s now a very crowded bathroom. Before ... be careful there, President Brodhead, you’re backing up against the toilet.

Before going further, I want to remind 60 Minutes' viewers that we advised parental discretion at the start of the program.

Now with that taken care of, I wonder, Sgt. Gottlieb, if in a minute you’d be willing to demonstrate the actions you believe the accuser took to defend herself that night right here in this bathroom?

And would you, DA Nifong, be willing to demonstrate the things you say those three students did here that night?

President Brodhead and I will just try to stay out of the way while you and Sgt. Gottlieb…..”

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Churchill Series - Sept. 6, 2006

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

I'm still recovering from travel so we won't have the parliamentarian post until tomorrow. Here's a Churchill story in his own words about an incident that he say taught him something about discipline and the "old British army. At the time of this soty Churchill was 19 and a cadet at The Royal Military College, Sandhurst:

The rule was, that if you went outside the college bounds, you first of all wrote your name in the company leave-book, and might then assume that your request was sanctioned.

One day I drove a tandem (hired) over to Aldershot to see a friend in a militia battalion then training there. As I drove down the Marlborough lines, whom should I meet but [my very strict Company Commander] Major Ball himself driving a spanking dog-cart home to Sandhurst.

As I took off my hat to him, I remembered with a flash of anxiety that I had been too lazy or careless to write my name in the leave-book. However, I thought, "there is still a chance. He many not look at it until Mess; and I will write my name down as soon as I get back."

I curtailed my visit to the militia battalion and hastened back to the college as fast as the ponies could trot.

It was six o'clock when I dot in. I ran along the passage to the desk where the leave-book lay, and the first thing that caught my eyes was the Major's initials, "O.B." at the foot of the leaves granted for the day.

I was too late. He had seen me in Aldershot and had seen that my name was not in the book, Then I looked again, and there to my astonishment was my own name written in the Major's hand-writing and duly approved by his initials.

This opened my eyes to the kind of like which existed in the old British army and how the very strictest discipline could be maintained among officer without the slightest departure from the standards of a courteous and easy society.

Naturally, after such a rebuke I never was so neglectful again.
Whenever I read this story I'm reminded of the time during WWI when Churchill was serving at the front and checking the sentry posts one night. At one he found the sentry, a very young but veteren soldier asleep.

Had Churchill put the sentry on report, the soldier would very likely at the least have received a 2 year sentence at hard labor; and possibly worse, if the regiment decided to make an example of him.

Churchill says he put a great fright into the sentry, and then said no more of the matter.
Winston S. Churchill, My Early Life. (pgs. 49-50) for the Sandhurst story; my recollection for the WW I story.

Duke lacrosse: Here's a "Nifong, Brodhead and who else" question

At the end of a long travel day, I began work on a post concerning the Duke Hoax.

In the middle of a sentence, I realized I needed to fact-check.

Tomorrow I'll go back through archives and do that.

In the meantime, can any of you answer the question that stopped me, and can you cite sources to support your answer?

Be careful when you read the question, it's a long one.

The question: Is it true that --

the following people all want three Duke students put on trial for multiply felonies, including rape:

1) Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong

2) Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead

3) Durham Community Activist Victoria Peterson

4) Duke University Professor of Cultural Anthropology Orin Starn

5) New Black Panther Party Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz?
I'm fairly sure both District Attorney Nifong and Duke’s President Brodhead want the students tried.

But if you know anything about Nifong or Brodhead, you know you have to be very careful about what they say. What they say doesn’t always turn out to be …

Now what about Peterson, Starn and Shabazz?

Peterson’s said so many wildly irresponsible things about the Duke Hoax that you'd almost think she was trying to get Mike Nifong's attention, and hoping if she got it, that Nifong might say, “ You’re just the person I want to head my election campaign.”

Of course, that’s a ridiculous idea.

Opps! Sorry about that.

You’re right. Peterson is Nifong's election campaign co-chair.

Well, I said it's been a long travel day.

The lesson here is: I need to do more research before I can say Peterson belongs in the same category with Nifong and Brodhead, at least as regards a trial of the three students.

Now, what about Professor Starn, who some people at Duke claim was one of those who encouraged the Group of 88 to publish its now discredited “listening ad?”

Does Starn agree with Nifong and Brodhead, and maybe Peterson?

JinC Regulars will recall that Starn has a "history" here. It involves my calling Starn out for what it’s very hard to see is anything other than a deliberate misrepresentation of statements by a distinguished member of the Duke and Durham communities.

Tomorrow, I'll say more about Starn. At least until then, I hope we all withhold judgment as regards whether Starn wants to see a trial.

Now what about New Black Panther Chairman Shabazz? What’s his feeling about a trial for the students?

I’m sure DA Nifong, who’s met with Shabezz, can answer that question. But I can’t.

I’m not sure whether Shabazz thinks there needs to be a trial before the punishments he's called for are inflicted on the Duke students.

Perhaps President Brodhead will form a committee to find out about that.

See you all tomorrow.

Posting resumes Sept. 6 at about 9 p.m. EDT


I'll be traveling most of the day.

I hope you're back tonight or tomorrow.


Congrats Liestoppers; thank you Editor Bob Ashley

Historian and Durham-in-Wonderland blogger Robert KC Johnson has been to the battle to right the many wrongs of the Duke Hoax what Babe Ruth was to baseball.

There’s no aspect of the Hoax KC hasn’t addressed. His posts are fact-based and carefully reasoned.

They frequently make news and help “advance the story.” One example is his recent interview with Duke Law Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, arguably America’s leading liberal law scholar and a likely Supreme Court nominee if the Democrats regain the White House.

KC got Chemerinsky on the record regarding DA Nifong’s conduct and other legal matters related to it. Here's part of that post. KC asks Chemerinsky:

"Are you aware of comparable cases, either from your time in LA or since you arrived in North Carolina, where a prosecutor first assumed control of a police investigation and then disregarded multiple standard procedures in order to secure indictments?"

Chemerinsky: "I can’t think of any in such a high profile case."
Folks, are you asking yourselves, “Why didn’t the Raleigh N&O get Chemerinsky on the record? Why did a blogger have to do that?”

Good questions. You can ask them here at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog. But don’t hold your breaths waiting for answers. Yours aren't the kind of questions N&O editors like.

Now back to KC. Today he posted “Best of the Case,” a short list that includes press coverage “items” KC says are “not to be missed.”

KC’s a brave guy. There have been so many excellent items written about the Hoax I’d hate to have to select among them.

Two bloggers’ items made KC’s list. One is Liestoppers’ Occam’s Razor.

Congratulations, Liestoppers. In the little more than a month you’ve been “up and doing” you’ve made a very important contribution to exposing the Hoax. Occam’s Razor is one outstanding example of that.

The second blogger item is a July 31 JinC post, “Letter to Durham H-S Editor Ashley.”

Because of the way my parents and teachers raised me, I’m saying, “Thank you, KC.”

But my heart really isn’t in those words. I’m just being formally polite.

I don’t deserve any credit for that post. The Herald Sun’s Bob Ashley made it possible with a rambling, illogical column that boiled down to:
Whatever DA Nifong says or does is fine with me and gosh, I want to see those Duke kids put on trial.”
It would have been fitting if Ashley had ended his column with:
Duke’s President Richard H. Brodhead, like me, has said he wants to see those boys tried.

Why do I mention that?

Because I want President Brodhead to know that if I get to the courtroom first, I’ll save him a seat, and I hope he’ll do the same for me.
Thank you, Durham Herald Sun Editor Bob Ashley. Your kind of “journalism” is not good for Durham, but you sure make my posting easy.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No Churchill Series post - Sept. 5, 2006


Tuesday and part of Wednesday I'll be traveling.

I'll post again on Sept. 6 very late that evening.

Thank you for your understanding.


Great news! Carolina FreedomNet 2006

Saturday, October 7, should be a great day for North Carolina bloggers.

It should also be a great day for bloggers from other parts of the country who happen to be in Greensboro, NC on October 7.

And it should be a great day for citizens tired of what MSM passes off as "news."


Because on Oct. 7, The John Locke Foundation is sponsoring Carolina FreedomNet 2006, a blog conference whose keynote speaker is Powerline's Scott Johnson.

Powerline? Isn't that one of the blogs that took the lead in exposing Dan Rather and 60 Minutes TANG story based on forged documents? Right.

Scott Johnson? Isn't he the blogger who asked that question at Sen. Durbin's news conference and Durbin didn't know how to answer it so he ended the news conference? Right again.

But wait, there’ll be a lot more at Carolina FreedomNet 2006, including a number of bloggers who call North Carolina home.

You can find out who they are and read more about the conference here.

I'll continue to post on it in the coming weeks.

I think it'll be a great event for all of us who keep saying:” We can do better than the Raleigh N&O, NPR, and Maureen Dowd."

And I think it'll be a great event for any citizen disgusted with the sort of "news" we get from people like Dan Rather and NYT exec editor Bill Keller.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, in Greenboro you'll meet and learn more about "those bloggers" who are upsetting so many in the MSM."

Questions for Raleigh N&O Editor Sill – 9-5-06

Readers’ Note: In her most recent column in the print edition of the Raleigh News &Observer, Melanie Sill, the N&O’s executive editor for news, had quite a lot to tell readers. ("Come in; the blog is open")

After finishing the column, I had many questions and decided to ask Sill a few of them at the Editors’ Blog, which is the blog Sill told readers "is open."

I just left the following post/comment at the Editors’ Blog. I’ll be sure to let you know what Melanie says.


Dear Melanie,

Some questions about what you told N&O print readers in your most recent column.

You told them:

“The blog has been invaluable for addressing some urgent questions right away. For instance, after we published a front-page story in January saying that West Virginia miners were alive when instead they had died, I was able to explain the error immediately.”
Melanie, it wasn’t like that at all. Print readers can see that for themselves if they go to your Sago mine post and read your explanation and the comments that followed.

Most commenters didn’t believe what you said. They offered proof refuting your explanation. Here’s a sample:
Comment from: Stewart Bible [Visitor]

01/04/06 at 16:27

There were plenty of papers on the East Coast who chose not to run unconfirmed reports, or qualified statements as not fact but only report, please see the link you provided and

The Roanoke Times, Roanoke VA
The Boston Globe, Boston MA
The Reading Eagle, Reading PA
The New York Times, New York, NY
The Miami Herald, Miami FL

Closer to home:

The Fayetteville Observer, Fayetteville NC
The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte NC

How could it not be journalistic failure if so many didn't fail?

Ask yourself, "How did these papers get it right?"
Melanie, surely you remember referring to such readers who didn’t believe what you said and made reasoned, fact-based comments as “[f]olks who look for any opportunity to bash us.”

Why didn’t you give your print readers an account of what happened at the blog that’s a little closer to the truth?

Further on you told print readers:
"[The blog] exchange differs in tone and substance from other ways I encounter readers -- for instance, through meetings with community groups or phone calls.

Many blog commenters are anonymous. Some use insults to make their case."
Just one minute, Melanie.

The overwhelming majority of blog commenters are civil and informed like Stewart Bible above. They frequently expose major errors and bias in N&O reporting and news commentary.

Why didn’t you mention any of that in your print column? Such commenters deserve thanks, not your scorn.

And your print readers, most of whom trust you to tell them the truth, deserve to know what things are really like here at the Editors’ Blog.

You went on and said:
I've found that blogging takes time. People who post questions and comments expect a response, rightfully.

Though there isn't always an answer that satisfies critics, a blog should be interactive.
Melanie, why didn’t you tell your print readers neither you nor any of the other four McClatchy editors here have bothered to respond to scores of Duke lacrosse questions and commentaries for almost three weeks?

When readers have asked, you haven’t told them the source(s) of the “vigilante” poster.

You refuse to tell readers whether the Mar. 25 anonymous interview was taped. Why?

You refuse to tell readers exactly how the N&O learned the identity of the anonymous accuser and what conversation(s) occurred between her and/or her representatives and N&O representatives before she agreed to be interviewed.

Why won’t you answer those questions?

After refusing to answer so many questions at the blog, why did you tell print readers the blog should be “interactive” and a place where people “who post questions and comments expect a response, rightfully?”

In truth, Melanie, you should have told N&O print readers most of us who comment and question here would like straight answers but don’t really expect them. We keep commenting because we think it’s important for you and others to know what we think about things the N&O does and doesn’t do.

I’ll close with a comment I made in January that you never responded to. The comment’s as timely today as it was then.

Comment from: John [Visitor] ·
01/04/06 at 21:24

You say: "There are occasions when we fall down on our responsibilities; this isn't one of them."

Give us a few examples of what you see as The N&O falling down on its responsibilities?

Thank you.


Monday, September 04, 2006

The Churchill Series - Sept. 4, 2006

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

I promised a post for today focused on Churchill's skill as a parliamentarian. I've not completed it, so there'll be a delay of a day or two.

In the meantime, I think you’ll all enjoy this story Churchill tells in My Early Life. He recalls "one day in the winter of 1915 when I was serving [at the front] with the Grenadier Guards." Churchill continues:

Our Colonel, then the well-known 'Ma' Jeffreys, a super-martinet and a splendid officer utterly unaffected by sixteen months of the brunt, deprecated the use of alcohol (apart from the regular rum ration) on duty, even under the shocking winter weather and in the front line. It was his wish, though not his actual order, that it should not be taken into the trenches.

In a dark and dripping dug-out a bottle of port was being consumed, when the cry, "Commanding Officer," was heard and Colonel Jeffreys began to descend the steps.

A young officer in whom there evidently lay the germs of military genius instinctively stuck the guttering candle which lighted the dug-out into the mouth of the bottle. Such candlesticks were common.

Everything passed off perfectly.

However, six months later this young officer found himself on leave in the Guards' Club, and there met Colonel Jeffreys.

"Have a glass of port wine?" said the Colonel. The subaltern accepted.

The bottle was brought and the glasses emptied: "Does it taste of candle grease?" said the Colonel; and they both laughed together. (p.50)

This made me smile

This is going around the net:

I dialed a number and got the following recording:
"I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."

Campus diversity scares the left

We read in today’s WSJ’s Review & Outlook:

The left-leaning faction that dominates American higher education doesn't take kindly to strangers--particularly those who challenge the prevailing academic orthodoxies. Just ask Harvard's Larry Summers.

Or consider the escalating governance controversy at Dartmouth College. A few reformers have achieved a bit of influence, and now the New Hampshire school's insular establishment is doing everything it can to run them out of Hanover.

Since 1891, Dartmouth has been among the handful of colleges and universities that allows alumni to elect leaders directly. At present, eight of the 18 members of the governing Board of Trustees are chosen by the popular vote of some 66,500 graduates, from a slate nominated by a small, mostly unelected committee. (The remaining seats, reserved for major donors, are filled by appointment.)

In practice, the Trustees have been largely ornamental overseers, rubber-stamping the management decisions of the "progressive" college administration and faculty. The passivity of the Trustees owes, in part, to the fact that many official alumni representatives operate as a de facto wing of the establishment, pushing candidates who won't make trouble.

In 2004 and 2005, however, Dartmouth alumni were finally offered genuine choices. Over three successive Trustee contests, independent candidates bypassed the official channels and got onto the ballot by collecting alumni signatures. Each of the petition candidates--T.J. Rodgers, a Silicon Valley CEO; Peter Robinson, a former Reagan speechwriter and current Hoover Institution fellow; and Todd Zywicki, a law professor--ran on explicit platforms emphasizing academic standards, free speech and Dartmouth's acute leadership crisis.

All three were unexpectedly elected by wide margins despite intense institutional opposition.

Not only did [their elections] give expression to the general alumni discontent over how Dartmouth is being run (a rare thing in academia), but a critical mass was also building for more muscular stewardship, and, with it, fundamental change.

Dartmouth's inner circles, quite naturally, loathe all of this. And so the Alumni Council--the representative body of sorts for the whole--decided there was nothing to be done but change the rules.
Change the rules?

We can all understand that, can’t we? If elections don’t go the way the left likes, what else can the left do but change the rules?

The left can’t let people show up at university trustee meetings who don’t subscribe to its orthodoxy that's dominant on most American campuses.

If you let people critical of the leftist orthodoxy attend trustee meetings, there’s no telling what they'd do. Question speech codes, perhaps. Or wonder why so many faculty in the humanities and social sciences are leftist.

Things could get out of control. The next thing you know, somebody will ask why the university won’t allow the military to recruit on campus the kind of people who bear arms and sometimes give their lives defending the faculty members’ right to tear at America while telling students they need to “understand the plight” of people who want to kill us.

What leftist wants genuine intellectual and political diversity on campus?

Folks, we need to keep pressing for more intellectual and political diversity on our campuses.

The rest of the WSJ article is here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Duke lacrosse: A disturbing Chronicle story

While researching this morning for future posts, I came across this news story, “Men's lacrosse team faces rape allegations,” published Mar. 27 in the Duke student newspaper, The Chronicle.

A portion of the story disturbed me. I think it will disturb many of you.

As we prepare to read it, let’s keep in mind all the help the lacrosse captains who rented the house on N. Buchanan Blvd. gave police on Mar. 16, including helping them locate students who were at the party, voluntarily submitting to hours of police questioning and rape kit testing at Duke Hospital.

Let’s also remember the 46 players ordered to submit to DNA testing and strip to the waist for lineup photos were told by attorneys they could contest the order but not a single one did. All denied each of the many versions of the accuser’s “story.”

One other point to bear in mind as you read the article excerpt: At the time each of the three Duke administrators - President Brodhead, Senior Vice President Burness, and Vice President Moneta - were quoted in the Mar. 27 story, they knew the information you and I have just reviewed. Now from the Monday, Mar. 27, Chronicle story:

John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said Sunday that he has not talked directly to the players, but he noted that there are "two very different versions of what went on at the party."

"My understanding is that some people who have talked to the players have suggested it would be very much in their advantage to get their side of the story out in one way or another," Burness said.

Brodhead released a statement Saturday urging individuals "to cooperate to the fullest with the police inquiry while we wait to learn the truth."

"Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke," Brodhead said. "The criminal allegations against three members of our men's lacrosse team, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties."

Parents of some members of the team met with University representatives Saturday afternoon.

"The meeting was about keeping the parents informed and focusing on the consequences for their kids and the way we will proceed pending the conclusion of the investigation," said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs.

He added that the parents were frightened and nervous for their children.
Does anyone who’s just read the Chronicle excerpt have any problem understanding why Brodhead says we shouldn’t go back and look at the past?

If you were Brodhead and you wanted people to believe you'd been fair to the lacrosse players back in March, would you want people reading, discussing and asking questions about what you said on that Mar. 25 Saturday?

Remember that morning the Raleigh News & Observer published its front-page, five column wide “anonymous victim” interview story which began with the N&O referring to the players “wall of solidarity” which the N&O said authorities had “vowed to crack.” The story ended with Duke Law Professor Paul Haagen, Brodhead's good friend and colleague, citing “research” he’d found which justified, Haagen believed, his opining for N&O readers on lacrosse as a helmet sport which produces “violence?”

And look at what Moneta says about the parents: They “were frightened and nervous for their children.”

No doubt they were. But is that all, Vice President Moneta?

Are we to believe there were no parents speaking out who were critical of the university? And were there no questions about what Haagen had done?

Are we to believe that no parent asked why Brodhead and other top university officials weren't speaking out and criticizing the bias, inaccuracies, omissions and inflammatory language in the N&O’s Mar. 24 and 25 stories, which cast the accuser as “the victim” and framed their sons as her victimizers among whom were three gang-rapists and their teammates who were remaining silent while police tried to identify the gang-rapists?

What Moneta is quoted as saying about the meeting amounts to what many parents of small children call "a night-night line."

Folks, can you see why the portion of the Chronicle story disturbed me? I hope it disturbed you, too.

And I hope we all let President Brodhead and the rest of his administrative team know we want answers to questions about what they did regarding the Hoax, especially their treatment of the Duke students who are innocent victims of a vicious hoax which many Duke trustees, administrators and faculty enabled through silence, or butt-covering, or, worst of all, exploitation.

Exploitation? Yes, of the sort engaged in by the faculty’s Group of 88 and Professors Houston Baker, Orin Starn and Peter Wood.

The entire Chronicle story is here.

Duke lacrosse: Lots of good blogging

It's a quiet Sunday. The newspapers aren't what they once were except for crosswords and the obits.

So we turn to bloggers.

Here are four posts I’m glad I just read:

At Johnsville News the post is titled, “Beating a dead ‘No Names Please’ Duke case to death again and again,” but it’s about a lot more than "beating a dead horse."

If Mike Nifong reads it, I’ll bet he goes “Ouch, ouch” as Johnsvile uses facts, timelines and photos to take apart a key element of the Nifong/Gottlieb/NYT “case.” Don't miss Johnsville's post here.

Liestoppers lives up to it name by exposing some phoney claims reported about date rape drug testing. Liestoppers says :

The media continues to promote the possibility that a date rape drug was used despite the information that scientific testing has proven otherwise. It is another example of the upside down world, where the accused must prove that they did not do it and couldn’t have done, over and over again.
Very true, Liestoppers.

KC Johnson this morning from Durham-in-Wonderland:
To date, Mike Nifong has resisted calls from his state’s largest newspaper, the Charlotte Observer, that he recuse himself from the lacrosse case and request a special prosecutor. Duke law professor James Coleman has recommended a similar approach. So have the Winston-Salem Journal and Rocky Mount Telegram.
KC thinks Nifong may have to recuse himself from a possible trial even if he doesn’t want to. It has to do with Nifong being called as a witness. Read all about it here.

I’ve started paying more attention to William Anderson’s fine Duke Hoax blogging (Yes, I'm the last to know). I’m even going back through his archives. I found one post in which he talks about one of JinC’s favorite groups: bloggers. Here’s part of what Anderson says:
If the MSM is little more than a relic of the Progressive Era, then the blogs are the living relic of a time when freedom of the press meant that people with an opinion could get out their message unmolested. Read them, enjoy, and realize that you are taking part in a revolution that is bringing back real freedom of the press.
Anderson’s whole piece is a good read.