Saturday, December 09, 2006

Carter sinks to new low

Yesterday I posted, “Carter’s book draws fire.” It began with an AP report:

A Carter Center fellow and longtime adviser to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has resigned after sharply criticizing Carter's new book on Palestine, and a Jewish human rights group said it obtained thousands of signatures from supporters also protesting the book.

Kenneth Stein, director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel at Emory University, resigned as a Carter Center fellow for Middle East Affairs after reading Carter's 21st book, titled "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid," which was released last week. […]
The post links to Stein’s letter, a Fox News story concerning possible plagerism by Carter and more.

Stein’s letter included this:
President Carter's book … is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments.
Carter’s responded to the criticisms in an LA Times op-ed. After some background on how he came to write the book and his experiences monitoring Palestinian elections, he said:
The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations — but not in the United States. For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts.
At that point there was a part of me that wanted to stop reading.

I’m no Carter fan. I think he’s a failed President who’s as a former President has often acted against the best interests of America. But I still didn’t want to see what I was pretty sure Carter would do next: He’d “blame the Jews” for his book troubles

Carter continued:
This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices. […]

Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations who would be unlikely to visit the occupied territories, and their primary criticism is that the book is anti-Israel.
I encourage you to read Carter’s op-ed. If you don't, you may not believe he said what he said.

After reading Carter's op-ed, I hope you go on a read Betsy Newmark’s post, “The bigoted void that is Jimmy Carter,”which begins:
Jimmy Carter writes a column for the Los Angeles Times denying that he is anti-Israel. Oh, and by the way, any criticism of him is all the Jews' fault.
Hat tip: Mike Williams

Duke/Durham snapshots

(A few “snapshots” that may help bring “the big picture” into focus.)

I was talking the other day with a friend who’s a Duke A&S faculty emeritus. He’s recently back from living and researching overseas since early June. He said he hadn’t followed the case while away but was hearing about it again from colleagues.

“So what are you hearing?” I asked.

“Well, when I we left they were all guilty. Now everyone tells me they’re innocent.”

On the phone the other night, a friend from out of state said he hadn’t been following the case very closely but it seemed to him Nifong’s case was “very weak.”

“Do you think he really has a ‘smoking gun?’” my friend wondered.

His question got me thinking about the last time I’d heard anyone in Durham bring up “the smoking gun?”

Even during the recent election campaign, I can’t recall a single Nifong supporter mentioning it.

I heard a lot of “if Mike believes you” and some of the even more nonsensical “we need a trial so the community can come together,” but nobody told me Mike would be producing “the smoking gun" anytime soon.

I have “a big pile of snapshots” from last Spring of Durham folks who call themselves “rights advocates.” They all have very pained looks on their faces. That’s because as “the shutter snapped” they were saying things like: “I can’t tell you what it does to me every time I think of what she must have endured.”

I also have “a big pile of snapshots” from this Fall of those same people. And they all have the same pained looks on their faces, only in the Fall they’re saying things like: “Well, maybe it didn’t happen, but …..”

Not one “rights advocate” I’ve talked with in Durham has said anything like: “I feel better now that I realize it didn’t happen.”

You just can't please some people.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 8, 2006

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

Readers’ Note: The quantity of comments on this series is few but the quality is very high. I read every comment and thank you all for them. I plan to take a crack at answering one – why did Hitler turn on Russia before he finished with Britain? – in a week or so. I plan after the first of the year to answer another reader's question concerning particular subjects of Nazi propaganda related to Churchill. We can all guess one already: He was “a drunk.”


Yesterday’s post quoted Churchill concerning “silly people” in the Axis countries and even in some Allied countries who believed after Pearl Harbor that America would not make a significant contribution to the war, and might even be a drag on Allied war efforts.

Churchill went on to refute those “silly people” and explain why, when he heard the news of Pearl Harbor, he knew “we had won.”

I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. Anerican blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey [,foreign secretary at the time of WW I,] had made to me more that thirty years before – that the United States is like “a gigantic boiler. Once the fire if lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.”

Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.
On December 12 Churchill secretly boarded the battleship HMS Duke of York to begin a journey to America where he’d meet with President Roosevelt for joint war planning.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 343-347)

Regulars/Readers post tomorrow

It’s been a while since I posted a "Talking with Regulars/Readers."

By failing to do such posts, I’ve let a lot go by unacknowledged that deserved comments and an opportunity for you to respond.

I offer no excuses but I'm sory.

I'll post a “Regulars/Readers” tomorrow.

The post will acknowledge a few particular comments, say some things about past posts, and share information about what I hope to do in the next week or so.


Carter’s book draws fire

Yesterday the AP reported:

A Carter Center fellow and longtime adviser to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has resigned after sharply criticizing Carter's new book on Palestine, and a Jewish human rights group said it obtained thousands of signatures from supporters also protesting the book.

Kenneth Stein, director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel at Emory University, resigned as a Carter Center fellow for Middle East Affairs after reading Carter's 21st book, titled "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid," which was released last week. […]

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday on its Web site that Stein said he was "sad but not sorry" about his resignation. […]

The newspaper printed an excerpt of the letter saying the book:
"is not based on unvarnished analysis; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments ... Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book."
Today Carter and his book came under further criticism. This time the charge is plagiarism. Fox News reports:
Former President Jimmy Carter faced new criticism Friday over his controversial book on Palestinian lands when a former Middle East diplomat accused him of improperly publishing maps that did not belong to him.

The new charge came as Carter attempted to counter charges from a former top aide that the book manipulates facts to distort history.

Ambassador Dennis Ross, a former Mideast envoy and FOX News foreign affairs analyst, claims maps commissioned and published by him were improperly republished in Carter's book.

"I think there should be a correction and an attribution," Ross said. "These were maps that never existed, I created them."

After Ross saw the maps in Carter's book, he told his publisher he wanted a correction.

When asked if the former president ripped him off, Ross replied: “it sure looks that way.”
JinC is going to follow this story. Look for more tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Stein’s letter is here.

The Political Pit Bull offers a lot more here.

A Duke “Rogues’ Gallery”

That’s what National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor offered readers last May 22.

Right at the start Taylor said no Duke Men’s lacrosse players were part of his Duke Rogues’ Gallery. He was 85% certain the three indicted players – David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann – were innocent. What’s more, he said they and their teammates had been slimed by many in media and at Duke.

Today, Taylor wouldn’t need to alert readers they’d be “no lacrosse players” in his Duke Rogues’ Gallery. But on May 22 a lot of people were expecting DA Mike Nifong to produce “the smoking gun any day now.” KC Johnson wasn’t a familiar name to those following the case. Professor Coleman’s letter wouldn’t appear for another three weeks.

Who did appear in the rogues’ gallery. Well, Professor Houston Baker, now at Vanderbilt, led Taylor’s list. Taylor explained:

I'll start with Houston Baker, a Duke professor of English and of African and African-American studies. In a public letter dated March 29, he assailed "white ... male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech" and "sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness." He all but pronounced them guilty of "abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white, male privilege loosed amongst us" against a "black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life." And on he raved, oozing that brand of racism which consists of falsely smearing decent people as racists.
"And on he raved, oozing that brand of racism which consists of falsely smearing decent people as racists.”

Isn't that a finely crafted, absolutely on point sentence? The first time I read it, I wanted to cheer. I'd the same reaction the second time. I bet I'll feel the same way the third time.

Remember President Brodhead’s chums, William Bowen and Julius Chambers?

Brodhead brought them to Duke so they could tell us what a good job he was doing although he didn’t quite put it that way. He said they'd assess how well Duke's administration had reacted to lacrosse case issues.

Bowen and Chambers' report earned them places in the Duke Rogues' Gallery. As Taylor explained:
The gallery also includes former Princeton University President William Bowen and civil-rights lawyer Julius Chambers. They went out of their way to slime the lacrosse players in a report on the Duke administration's handling of the rape scandal -- a report that is a parody of race-obsessed political correctness. […]

A curiously unbalanced team to evaluate the handling of this case, both have spent much of their careers peddling preferential treatment of racial minorities and women at the expense of white males. Not to mention Bowen's two books blasting college athletic programs.

So what remedy did they prescribe in their May 4 report for wounds caused by what they had ample reason to know was a probably-false rape charge victimizing innocent white males? You guessed it: more "diversity"! More racial and gender preferences in doling out top administrative jobs!

The report unsurprisingly commended Duke President Richard Brodhead, who had appointed Bowen and Chambers. They especially liked Brodhead's "eloquent" statements implicitly associating the lacrosse players with rape and "dehumanization," with "memories of ... systematic racial oppression," with "inequalities of wealth, privilege, and opportunity ... and the attitudes of superiority those inequalities breed."

The two did criticize some Brodhead subordinates -- for inadequate "sensitivities" toward minorities, of course. These sins included giving credence to the Duke campus police report that the accuser was not very credible because she had initially said she had been raped by 20 men and then revised it to three.
A number of others appear in the “rogues’ gallery” before Taylor ends with:
[H]ow likely is it that the more than 40 kids described by [Women’s lacrosse coach Kirstin] Kimel and the Coleman report could have maintained an airtight cover-up since March 14 of a gang rape in a small, crowded house, with not one heeding pleas by parents and lawyers to protect himself by fingering any guilty parties?

And what of various team members' handing over evidence sought by police three long days after the alleged rape, such as the accuser's fake fingernails? And of offers to take polygraph tests (which Nifong spurned)? And of other conduct inconsistent with any cover-up?

"Being at an elite university," adds Kimel, "where every side of every issue is debated, my kids were shocked, disillusioned, and disappointed that their professors and the university community were so one-sided in their condemnation of the lacrosse players."

Something is rotten at Duke, as at many universities. I don't think it has much to do with lacrosse.
Taylor wrote a superb column last May. Read it if you missed it. If you read it back then, I hope you give it another read. Great columns, like great books, are worth rereading.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 7, 2006

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

A Pearl Harbor background statement at the White House Historical Association’s website notes “Churchill knew immediately the implications of this attack.”

The most important implication? America’s entry into the war assured Allied victory.

In hindsight that seems so obvious a conclusion that you might ask: “Why bother even mentioning it?”

Because in 1941 the decisive role America would play in assuring victory wasn’t so obvious. Those who controlled policy in Japan, for instance, to the extent they considered it, discounted it.

More than 10 years after Pearl Harbor Churchill had such short-sighted people in mind when he wrote:

Silly people, and there were many, not only in enemy countries, might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand bloodletting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyze their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy and talkative people.”
Churchill’s words are found in his The Second World War, Vol. 3, (pg. 539).

Tomorrow we’ll read Churchill’s answer to the “silly people” and I’ll offer some commentary.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance

Lieutenant (JG) F.H. White was on board the USS West Virginia when it was attacked and sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The following is from White’s action report written on December 11, 1941:

At 0756, approximately, I was in the wardroom when the Fire and Rescue party was called away by bugle. I ran to the quarter deck.

The first thing I saw, on reaching topside was a Japanese plane over a ship, ahead of the West Virginia, from which a column of water and smoke was rising. As I ran forward, I stopped at the Deck office and sounded the general alarm just as the first torpedo struck the ship.

In route my battle station in secondary forward I noticed no one in charge of the AA battery on the boat deck where the crews were manning the guns, so I remained there and took charge of the battery, breaking out the ready service ammunition, forming an ammunition train and getting the starboard guns firing, local control.

The ship had received three or four torpedo hits which threw oil and water all over the decks, which combined with the list to -- approximately 25° -- made footing very precarious. Due to the list of the ship, the port gun crews were brought to starboard as their guns would not elevate sufficiently. The air to the guns had gone out, which necessitated depression for hand loading. While the guns were in action, several bombs dropped on or near the ship, but the discipline on the guns was excellent. […]

Lieutenant Commander J.H. Harper saw me and told me to go to the bridge and bring down the Captain who was wounded.

Lieutenant C.V. Ricketts, Ens. V. Delano, C.S.M. Siewert, D. Miller, M.Att.2c. and several signalmen were on the signal and flag bridges, in the immediate vicinity of the starboard admiral's walk where the Captain was lying.

The Captain's abdomen was cut apparently by a fragment of bomb, about three by four inches, with part of his intestines protruding. The Captain deserves the highest praise, for although he was in great pain, his only concern was for the ship and crew. […]

A serious oil fire from the galley spread to the mast structure, with flame and thick black smoke preventing our lowering the Captain forward of the conning tower although an unsuccessful attempt was made. The smoke and flames prevented us from seeing more than a foot or two, and the heat was intense. […]

The life jackets stowage and signal bags were burning by this time and Lt. Ricketts, Seiwert and I threw burning flags over the side. A fire hose was sent up by heaving line which I used to try to fight fire but the pressure was insufficient. By this time the bridge was burning to starboard, and the signal bridge all over.

Ens. Graham went up the starboard boat crane and sent over a line which we secured to the rail on the bridge and used to cross to the carne and thence to the boat deck. From then until relieved fought fire. […]
And this from a history of the West Virginia
The ship's commanding officer, Capt. Mervyn S. Bennion, arrived on his bridge early in the battle, only to be struck down by a bomb fragment hurled in his direction when a 15-inch "bomb" hit the center gun in Tennessee's Turret II, spraying that ship's superstructure and West Virginia's with fragments.

Bennion, hit in the abdomen, crumpled to the deck, mortally wounded, but clung tenaciously to life until just before the ship was abandoned, involved in the conduct of the ship's defense up to the last moment of his life. For his conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, Capt. Bennion was awarded a Medal of Honor.
The West Virginia was later raised from the bottom and repaired. It took part in actions off the Philippines, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. By the war's end, it had earned five battle stars.

On August 31, 1945 the West Virginia sailed into Tokyo Bay. It was thus a "witness" two days later to Japan's formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

The West Virginia's website is here. It's well worth a visit.

I can never find the right words to properly express my admiration and appreciation for our military men and woman. Their service and sacrifices make our freedoms possible and protect much of the world from becoming like North Korea or Sudan.

Michelle Malkin and Rich Moran posted outstanding tributes that include photos and links.

The Raleigh News & Observer recently published two beautifully written remembrance stories: “Living links to Pearl Harbor wane” and “Seeking peace at Pearl.” They're examples of American journalism at its best.

Gustafson help: "Thanks"

Bless those who pointed out links in the post "Duke prof on Steel" were "bad" and showed me the way to get them right.

They’re fixed now.

I'll try to do better in the future but please continue to watch out for me.

Again, thanks.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 6, 2006

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

On the night of December 7, 1941 Churchill was having dinner with the American Ambassador, John G. Winant. Martin Gilbert’s account in Churchill and America of the evening includes the following:

”I turned on my small wireless set shortly after the nine o’clock news had started,” Churchill later wrote. “There were a number of items about the fighting on the Russian front and on the British front on Libya, at the end of which some few sentences were spoken regarding an air attack by the Japanese on American at Hawaii, and also Japanese attacks on British vessels in the Dutch East Indies. …

Winant later recalled the ensuing scene. “We looked at one another incredulously. Then Churchill jumped to his feet and started for the door with the announcement, ‘We shall declare war on Japan’”
Gilbert’s account continues:
Winant added: “There is nothing half-hearted or un-positive about Churchill – certainly not when he is on the move. Without ceremony I too left the table and followed him out of the room. ‘Good God,’ I said, ’You can’t declare war on a radio announcement’

He stopped and looked at me half-seriously, half-quizzically, and then said quietly, ‘What shall I do?’

The question was asked not because he needed me to tell him what to do, but as a courtesy to the representative of the country attacked. I said, ‘I will call up the President by telephone and ask him what the facts are.’ And he added, ‘And I shall talk with him too.’”
Roosevelt and Churchill did talk. Roosevelt confirmed the attack (“We are all in the same boat now.”) and said he would ask Congress the next day to declare war. Churchill promised Britain would declare war “within the hour” of Congress’ war declaration.

A few minutes after their conversation ended, Churchill’s principal private secretary informed him the Admiralty had just confirmed that Japanese forces were attacking British bases in Malaya.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 240-244)

Marlette and Anderson letters text

Two outstanding letters appear in the Dec. 7 Durham Herald Sun. One is by Professor William Anderson whose writings on the Duke Hoax injustices many of you have read. The other is by someone I don't know, Graham Hayes Marlette.

Both letters are available now online at the H-S's site. However, the H-S generally "pulls" letters off its site after a day or two.

Since letters to the editor are not subject to newspaper copyright, I'm republishing the letters in full below so they'll remain available online.

The truth in Brooklyn

Duke professor Thomas J. Crowley, in his letter of Dec. 1, is right to apologize for his uninformed remarks about the Duke lacrosse case. As a strong supporter of Duke and its faculty, I have been appalled to read opinion pieces by academics who apparently know nothing about the rule of law. Their writings about this case, mostly in The Herald-Sun, reveal a callous disregard for the suffering of the accused students and their families.

Just as the foundation of our justice system is the presumption of innocence of any accused, the foundation of learning must be the quest for truth, the search for evidence in order to support a given position. Instead, what we read from the worst of these writers are self-righteous platitudes, dripping with political correctness that is based on nothing but their personal dislike of male athletes and the bizarre notion that it is not possible for a woman to lie about being raped.

Professor Crowley is also right to call for the lifting of "standards of justice" in Durham. There is a law professor at Brooklyn College who is teaching a course about prosecutorial misconduct and the miscarriage of justice based entirely on the facts of the Duke lacrosse case.

Perhaps these uninformed academicians could take a sabbatical to Brooklyn so that they could find out what is actually going on here in Durham.

Graham Hayes Marlette
December 7, 2006

Free the 'Duke 3'

In reading The Herald-Sun editorials and letters to the editor, I see how the paper has framed the Duke lacrosse case and evidence, especially exculpatory evidence.

For example, we hear that the accuser told multiple stories, and that constitutes "proof" that a rape occurred because she must have been so traumatized that she could not remember what had happened.

Then we are given Sgt. Mark Gottlieb's 33-page account, from memory, that claims the accuser told a consistent story. That too, according to many in Durham (and The New York Times) constitutes "proof" that the "Duke 3" are guilty of rape. Of course, those two different accounts are mutually exclusive, but we are told that both are equally true and valid.

Likewise, we hear from District Attorney Mike Nifong that the accuser was too badly injured to work. When we find she was on the job immediately, we are told that people who are raped go right back to work. Two mutually-exclusive statements, both are said to be "proof" of a rape.

In other words, if there is exculpatory evidence, then it is explained away by an insistence that mutual exclusivity means both things must have happened simultaneously, which is a logical absurdity and in most cases would be seen as evidence that there was no rape.

So, let's face it. The Herald-Sun, and Durham in general, simply want to railroad a conviction, not find the truth. No wonder Professor K.C. Johnson calls Durham "Wonderland."

William L. Anderson
Cumberland, Md.
December 7, 2006

Help wanted on post links

I posted here on Duke Professor Michael Gustafson’s comments regarding Robert K. Steel's dual roles as Duke BOE Chairman and Undersecretary of the Treasury.

In that post I linked once to Gustafson’s bio page and twice to his blog post where he commented re: Steel.

Some of you report the link to Gustafson’s bio “works” but the links to his Steel post comments don’t.

I’ve had the same experience.

I’ve tried to make things right using the following URLs:

To Gustafson's bio page:

To his blog post comments:

When I do that, I can link to his bio but the blog post comments URL takes me to his bio.

That's the same problem some of you are having.

Is there anyone who can help?

I’ll appreciate it.



"Wanted"/"Vigilante" delay

I'd planned to begin today a three post series concerning the malicious "Wanted" (text only; produced by Durham CrimeStoppers) and "Vigilante" (text and graphics, including face photos of 43 white Duke's Men's lacrosse players; source(s) not publicly known) posters which appeared in late March.

I need to delay the series. My new start date is Monday, Dec.11.

Researching for the posts has been much more time consuming than I'd anticipated.

I'm sorry for the delay. Thank you for your understanding.


Duke prof on Steel

The Washington Post and historian and blogger KC Johnson are among those who've called attention to conflict of interest concerns involving Robert K. Steel's dual roles as undersecretary of the Treasury and chairman of Duke University's Board of Trustees.

Today, Michael Gustafson, a professor in Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, adds his voice to the discussion. At his Blog of Convenience he's posted "Pictures, and Thousands of Words." Here's some of what Gustafson says:

This is not the time for Duke to have a leader who must walk on eggshells to avoid any sense of conflict of interest. If, for example, Duke wants to oppose the City of Durham regarding rezoning, or rebuilding Central Campus - we now have a Chairman who must either remain silent or face headlines the next morning, "Federal Official Applies Pressure to Durham - Uses Leverage to Promote Duke."

And, heaven forbid anyone decides to look into the claims of prosecutorial misconduct in the lacrosse case or Duke-Durham relations with respect to allegations of improper behavior by the Durham Police Department. Though, I suppose that's not really going to happen. Maybe in the next round of committees, we can create an "Off-Campus Culture Initiative."
You can read the entire post here. It includes a link to a story in today's Chronicle concerning Steel's dual roles.

Gustufson has commented often on aspects of the Hoax Case. He's always been well-informed and on point. He also impresses me as someone who cares deeply about Duke and his students.

Anderson on the Hoax

Early on in the Duke-Nifong Hoax Case professor and columnist William Anderson began calling attention to the travesties and injustices of DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham police officers. Anderson says their actions reflect a corrupt justice system in Durham that's representative of a corrupt justice system in America.

I wouldn't go as far as Anderson in faulting America's court system but he's certainly on target when he points out how often police, prosecutors and the courts fail to deliver justice or even an approximation of it. And in the case of the three young man wrongly indicted in Durham, those failures have been especially egregious.

Anderson’s posted a column explaining why the Hoax Case matters so much to him. I hope you give it a look.

Anderson’s column reminded me I hadn’t put up a post I’d written a week ago about his previous column. So I'm posting it now, just below this.

My week old post's a “hats off” to Anderson for asserting a standard of justice now rejected by people like Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley and Duke’s faculty “Group of 88.”


Post title: “Anderson: Against and For”

Not-Duke Professor William “Bill” Anderson writes often on what he calls “The Duke Non-Rape case.”

Bill recently wrote:

[The] courtroom is a place where we are supposed to find that thing called "truth," at least how truth applies to the events being examined.

Obviously, it often is difficult to find "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," given human limitations and the predilections of people to lie, but nonetheless those people who are officers of the court and those who testify under oath are expected to be truthful….

Furthermore, the rules of the courtroom require prosecutors to present a truthful rendition, or at least a reasonable account, of what occurred. For example, if I am on trial for robbery, the prosecutor first must establish that an actual robbery occurred, and, second, that I was the one who committed the act. He or she is not legally free to concoct an event that never occurred, and then pick me out at random to bring charges.

That prosecutors might do such a thing does not change the fact that such conduct is illegal.
How do you feel about what Anderson is saying? Do you think he’s right? Or are you against what he’s saying?

Let’s do a “for and against” and then wrap the post.

Against: Shadee Malkulou, a Duke senior and Women’s Studies and Cultural Anthropology double major. In the Durham Herald Sun Malkulou recently wrote:
”Much of the emphasis on [the lacrosse players’] ‘innocence’ has ignored the gender and racial prejudice of the March 13 party. If nothing else, Nifong is holding the lacrosse players accountable for that; and as a woman at Duke who knows just how much these men get away with, I’m thankful.”
Malaklou’s position is clear. She approves of Nifong ignoring people’s “innocence” when he uses his police and court powers to punish people she wants punished.

Now, speaking for what Bill Anderson wrote we have Winston Churchill who in 1902, while sitting in his first Parliament, took up the cause of a group of Royal Military College cadets who’d been punished as a group for “remaining silent” regarding a series of arson fires. The cadets, twenty-seven in all, were sent down from the college without any individual inquiries or hearings.

In a letter to The Times of London, Churchill invoked on the cadets’ behalf what he reminded readers were the “three cardinal principles” of equity:
“that suspicion in not evidence; that accused should be heard in their own defense; and that it is for the accuser to prove his charge, not for the defendant to prove his innocence.”
Wrap:Lately when I've read Churchill’s words,
“and that it is for the accuser to prove his charge, not for the defendant to prove his innocence.,”
I've thought of Duke President Richard H. Brodhead’s belief that a trial is the place where three young men will have the burden to be “proved innocent.”

If Churchill were here, he would remind President Brodhead and others such as Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley and Raleigh News & Observer editorial page editor Steve Ford there’s a name for countries where the trial burden is on the accused to be “proved innocenct.” They’re called “police states.”
Source note: The Herald Sun, as far as I know, never put Maluklou's op-ed online. It ran in the H-S on Nov. 19. Regarding the Sandhurst episode and Churchill's letter, I relied on Martin Gilbert's Churchill:A Life (pgs. 148-149. It's still in print and available at many public libraries.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 5, 2006

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

If today you could ask Churchill one question, what would it be?

Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, was recently asked that question during an interview conducted by Canadian Broadcasting Company news anchor Peter Mansbridge.

Mansbridge prefaced his question by reminding CBC viewers that Gilbert’s written not only a multivolume life of Churchill but more than a dozen other Churchill books. What’s more, Mansbridge said, it’s been estimated the total of Churchill documents Gilbert’s read weigh 15 tons.

And what question would Gilbert ask Churchill. Gilbert said:

”It would be a question he asked [in his lifetime] and I'd like to know what his answer would be. He asked a friend, ‘Do you think I spent too much energy on the German question and not enough on the Soviet question toward the end of the war?’ “
I don’t know anything about Mansbridge other than what I learned from reading a post by Canadian blogger Mike Campbell who quoted from his interview with Gilbert. But I’ll say this much: Mansbridge followed Gilbert’s answer with the question that was surely on most viewers minds: “What do you think [Churchill’s] answer would be?”

Gilbert responded:
”I'd like to feel that it would be 'No,' that he did his best but he was a very self-critical person so he probably feels that he did fail in that regard.”
What Gilbert says is, we know, speculative but it’s very informed speculation by arguably the person now alive who “knows” Churchill best.”

And once again - If today you could ask Churchill one question, what would it be?

What McClancy told The N&O

On April 2 the Raleigh News & Observer published its infamous “Vigilante” poster photo containing the names and face photos of 43 white Duke lacrosse players. We did not know then the DNA results would be negative; and we were many weeks away from learning about the rigged identification procedure in which, as Duke Law professor James Coleman said, “there could be no wrong answers.”

So on April 3 when N&O reader John McClancy left a comment at 17:43 on this post thread at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog he knew nothing about the DNA results or the identification travesty.

With that in mind, let’s look at some what McClancy said Apr. 3 to the N&O’s executive editor for news, Melanie Sill:

Instead of focusing on the facts, your paper trades in classic yellow journalist, pandering to sensationalism to sell newspapers regardless of the cost of another’s reputation or safety.

The only thing that is clear is that the woman had sex. It has not been established who she had sex with or under what conditions, or that it even occurred at the party at all.

Yet the News and Observer, both through your columnists and bias (sic) reporting, continues to inflame the community. The players are castigated and defamed merely for exercising their constitutional rights to follow their attorneys’ wise council.

As a journalist, would you treat exercising the first amendment with the same contempt?

Refusing to comment, especially to a reporter, is not an admission of guilt or even of knowledge of a crime: it is simply good sense! Or do you really expect them to trust the balanced reporting of the News and Observer? […]

After Duke wisely removed the players’ photographs from the website for their own safety, the News and Observer published them so that anyone not getting to the website in time would still have names and faces.

Most, if not all, of these young men may not have been involved in any way, but the News and Observer has lead the way in making them all targets in an emotionally charged and racially divided community.

It may be that this woman’s story is the absolute truth. Even so, the perpetrators deserve their day in court. And those who may be completely innocent deserve to be able to go on with their lives without fear of becoming the victim of a reprisal because of your need to sell newspapers.
Duke University’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, has said last March and April were a “very confusing” time.

N&O reader John McClancy doesn't sound very confused, does he?

I hope McClancy sees this.

A parachute for Ashley?

Many Durham people who’ve watched Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley since he took over the paper two years ago say he has his eye out for a position with Duke University’s News Service or a public information office at one of Duke’s graduate schools or its medical center.

Under Ashley’s editorship advertising revenue and circulation have dropped significantly. H-S weekday and Sunday circulations are down by more than a third while Durham’s economy is strong and its population growing. And of course, the Duke Hoax story has played out these past nine months smack in the middle of the H-S’s circulation area.

The privately held Paxton Media Group, which owns the H-S, has announced no turn-around plan. In fact, the paper doesn’t discuss with readers its revenue and circulation problems. As people have left the H-S, their positions have often not been filled.

“It doesn’t make me happy to say this but the Herald Sun is in a death spiral,” a journalist friend told me. “Ashley’s got to be looking for a parachute. He knows he won’t get a gold one or maybe any kind from Paxton so a Duke Blue one is what he’s reaching for.”

A long-time H-S reader who’s recently taken up blog reading said this:

“Your ‘three suspects’ blog friends (“the three suspects” are what I sometimes call the three Duke Hoax blogs I read daily: Durham-in-Wonderland, Johnsville News and Liestoppers. – JinC) do some great work. But they’re missing something. For at least the last year Ashley’s edited that paper with a Duke job in mind.

Think about it, John. Ashley’s been critical of the lacrosse players. He’s had nothing bad to say about how the Durham police treat Duke kids differently than other citizens. He boosts Nifong and says we need a trial. He slammed the 60 Minutes episode. All that’s ‘beautiful music’ at the Allen Building [President Brodhead and other top Duke administrators offices' are in the Allen Building. – JinC].

I'm not saying there's any spoken quid pro quo. I don't think there is. But Ashley knows everyone at Duke can read. I think he hopes they'll appreciate what he's doing.
I’ve thought a lot about all of this, especially since I read KC Johnson's Durham-in-Wonderland post “Steel Trap” and then took a look at what the Winston-Salam Journal and the H-S did with the same story.

First, KC’s post which he published on Dec. 1.[excerpts]
This morning’s Washington Post provides a troubling article on Steel’s new dual role—he is serving as undersecretary of the Treasury while remaining as Duke Board chairman. In fact, the paper reveals that Steel said that he would accept the Treasury job only if allowed to remain as BOT chairman. […]

The Post story features a long line of quotes from specialists in government ethics denouncing Steel’s action. NYU professor Paul C. Light said that Steel should resign from the Duke board, as “the potential conflicts are significant. His positions violate the spirit of the law that separates public and private service.”

Three other ethics experts, from varying ideological viewpoints, were more direct:
“It’s a conflict of interest,” said Thomas J. Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group. “In his role as the chairman of the Board of Trustees, there will be decisions he will make that will be in conflict with his role as a high-level government official.”

Melanie Sloan, executive director of the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, agreed. “The concept of having a government job is that you work only on behalf of the American people, and being a trustee creates a divided loyalty,” she said.

Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, added: “He’s creating the very real possibility that he will face situations where he has not just the appearance of a conflict but the reality of a conflict and then will have to decide how to behave. There will always be questions about whether he handled that kind of situation appropriately.”
The obvious conflict: how can Steel avoid choosing between his fiduciary responsibilities as chairman of the Duke trustees and his position at Treasury? [...]
On Dec. 2 the Winston-Salam Journal published the Post story in full.

Ashley’s Herald Sun told readers nothing about the Post story either on Dec. 1 or 2.

Then on Dec. 3 the H-S headlined: “Steel: Dual roles won't conflict” (subscription req’d)

Duke University Board of Trustees Chairman Robert K. Steel says he will recuse himself from committees and issues that may be perceived as conflicting interests with the chairman's new job, undersecretary of the Treasury Department in charge of domestic finance.[...]

After receiving the nomination for the position from President George W. Bush in September, Steel immediately checked to ensure he could keep both jobs, Duke President Richard Brodhead said. Steel made it clear to all involved he would not take the government job if it meant he had to step down from his role at Duke. [...]

Asked Saturday to respond to the criticisms of government watchdog groups who questioned the propriety of his new dual role, Steel promised he would no longer be involved with university fundraising or Duke's management company DUMAC, and would recuse himself from any other committees that might give the appearance of a conflict.

The university's upcoming capital campaign will likely be handled by the 34 other trustees Steel said would be able step in if needed.

Upon being offered the Treasury job, Steel alerted the Senate Finance Committee as well as the Office of Government Ethics of his position at Duke immediately after being offered the position "so there would be no secrets," he said.

Four separate government agencies went on to give the arrangement their approval, according to Duke Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations John Burness.

If there was a conflict of interest, one of those groups would have said so, Steel maintained.

"I don't know how to be more open or honest," Steel said.[...]
There's more but none of it includes quotes from the experts the Post cited or anyone else questioning Steel's dual role.

Ashley doesn't even specifically mention the Post story. We just get a reference to "criticisms of government watchdog groups" which the H-S story goes on to knock down.

The H-S story reads like a press release someone on Steel's staff would draft responding to the Post's story and being careful not to alert anyone to the actual story itself. It's a neat PR trick but disreputable journalism.

Ashley is a Duke alum who likes to tell community groups about his love for his alma mater and Durham.

What are your thoughts on Ashley's editorship? And what about a Duke Blue parachute?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Churchill Series – Dec. 4, 2006

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

Frequent readers of this series know I often quote passages from the works of Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert. I thought it might be interesting, therefore, to offer something today about Gilbert himself.

So here are excerpts from an interview a writer for an Ottawa, Canada newspaper conducted shortly after the publication of Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life.

Everyone asks Gilbert if he ever actually met Churchill. Regrettably, no. But as a schoolboy he regularly went to the House of Commons and watched him in action, and one night stood outside No. 10 ("You can’t do that now of course") when Churchill gave a dinner party on his resignation.

Gilbert had, of course, met Clementine. "I used to read chapters to her once a month. She insisted I look at all their private letters. . . . She imposed no censorship whatsoever and let anything be used. . . . She felt he was a large enough man to survive things that were not so creditable. You did not need to whitewash someone like him."

The sheer volume of their correspondence amazes even Gilbert. "When he came to Canada, in 1929, every night he would write eight or nine pages to her, and in the trenches during the war, while his fellow officers were sleeping, he would write her five or six pages every night."

Gilbert himself did not have an official assistant for years — "I couldn’t afford one" — until enough money was sprung loose for a graduate researcher on a three months’ trial. He married her.

"We both read all the documents (most of which are photo-copied because of the risk of loss). I write my next chapter and she reads it and points out anything I may have left out. Sometimes she suggests re-writing." The eighth volume is dedicated to her; the new book, to his two children. It was Suzy, his wife, who recently made a drastic alteration to Gilbert’s writing habits.

Over the years a total of 40 books, which include definitive works on the Holocaust and 12 historical atlases, Gilbert has always written longhand, in pen and ink on the right-side pages only, leaving space for alterations on the left. But two years ago when he started on Churchill: A Life, his wife presented him with a personal computer.
The entire interview is here.

Hat tip: The Churchill Centre

Ashley’s “integrity”

Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley writes often about integrity and character. He says they’re very important. He wants us to have good character and act with integrity.

So let’s see how Bob responds to the following email.


Robert Ashley
Durham Herald Sun

Dear Editor Ashely:

Your Dec. 3 edition carried the story below under the headline “Duke's trustees create new department.” Herald Sun readers were told the story is “From staff reports.”

But if you go to the Duke News site, you’ll find this press release: “Duke Elevates African and African American Studies to Department.”

With the exception of a slight rewording in the first sentence, every single bit of the Herald Sun’s story is lifted verbatim from the Duke News press release.


Why did you poach the story from Duke News in the first place?

Having poached, why did you tell readers the story was “From staff reports?”

How do you square what your paper did with the Duke press release with your frequent admonitions to readers to act with integrity and character?

I’ll publish your response at my blog.


John in Carolina

“Duke's trustees create new department.”

From staff reports : The Herald-Sun
Dec 2, 2006 : 10:04 pm ET

Duke University's Board of Trustees approved elevating Duke's African and African American Studies Program to departmental status at its Saturday meeting.

"As the mission of AAAS has expanded, it has become appropriate to graduate from program status to that of a full department," said Dean of the Faculty of Arts Sciences George McLendon.

Academic departments at Duke offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. Because the AAAS program currently offers an undergraduate degree and a graduate certificate, it already functions much like a department, said Arts and Sciences Dean of the Social Sciences Sarah Deutsch.

"And it became clear that in circles outside of Duke, the label 'program' carried connotations of impermanence and standing that were not applicable to our program," she said. "The shift to 'department' better represents Duke's commitment to the enterprise, and the standing and activity of the unit."

The university's Academic Programs Committee unanimously approved the change at its Oct. 25 meeting, and in a resolution commended AAAS "for its quality research and undergraduate programs. The AAAS faculty, including those with joint and secondary appointments, have demonstrated an admirable commitment to advanced research, teaching and outreach activities that deserves recognition."

The Academic Programs Committee also encouraged AAAS to consider establishing a Ph.D. program in the future.

AAAS has 15 core faculty members. Some 50 other Duke faculty members, whose teaching, research and cross-listed courses contribute to scholarship in AAAS, are designated as faculty affiliates. Currently, 33 undergraduate students major in African and African American Studies, 22 undergraduates minor in it and 24 graduate students are enrolled in the graduate certificate program.

In related business, the trustees also approved several new academic programs, including two new dual degree programs at Duke Law School: a three-year JD/DESS (diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées) in global business law in partnership with two top French universities, and a JD/MEMP (Masters of Engineering Management) in cooperation with Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

The Global Business Law JD/DESS degree program is a partnership with University of Paris I and with Sciences Po in Paris. The program involves two years of study at Duke and one year in Paris, where students will enroll in primarily master's degree-level courses in global business law and economics and, if needed, an introduction to French law.

Duke joins a select group of American law schools in offering the JD/DESS, which is open to 20 French students and 10 U.S. students each year; law schools at Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia also offer the program.

"Law practice in most fields is increasingly international and law graduates who have had meaningful international experience are highly sought after by U.S. law firms," said Duke Law School Dean Katharine Bartlett.

Establishing a dual degree in law and engineering management responds to a demand from applicants to Duke Law School and the Pratt School of Engineering, Bartlett said, and builds on the schools' existing partnership in which a three-year JD is offered in combination with an MS in engineering. Students enrolled in the new program will begin their studies in June instead of August, and will be required to complete 72 credits at the Law School and 30 in the Master of Engineering Management Program.

Currently, about 25 percent of Duke law students are enrolled in a dual degree program.

The trustees also approved:

- A new Joint Doctor of Medicine degree to be granted by the Duke/National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School. This collaboration, which was formalized in 2005, is not only intended to educate future physicians and promote biomedical research in Asia, but represents an opportunity for Duke to expand its global presence in science and medicine, said Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs at Duke and CEO of the Duke University Health System.

- The creation of a joint master of management studies degree involving the Fuqua School of Business and Seoul National University. Those SNU students accepted into the program would first attend SNU, then travel to Fuqua in the spring of their first year for Fuqua's final six-week term. This would be followed by a summer internship and a second year of study at Fuqua. At the conclusion of their course work, students would be issued an MMS from Fuqua. The students would receive their Masters of Business Administration degree from SNU once they completed other requirements.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Interesting USA Today story

I’ve just been searching to learn more about one of Collin Finnerty’s attorneys, Michael Cornacchia. The Raleigh News & Observer reports today ("DA's critics ask bar, feds to intervene"):

“[Cornacchia] wrote to the U.S. attorney general, the FBI director, the congressional delegations of North Carolina and Long Island and others, saying Nifong had violated the civil rights of the three players. The case merits an immediate investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, wrote Cornacchia, a former prosecutor who recently served as chief investigative counsel for the probe of the United Nation's oil-for-food program.”
I found an April 19 USA Today story reporting on the court hearing Finnerty attended in Durham on April 18, the day after a grand jury indicted Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

The story includes a color photo of Finnerty leaving the courthouse with his father and Cornacchia, who is the man in suit and tie just behind Finnerty’s right shoulder.

USA Today makes no mention of Cornacchia but does quote a number of attorneys. Some are directly involved in the case. Others are not directly involved but were interviewed by USA Today to provide “background and context” for its story.

Two of the attorneys not directly involved but providing “background and context” are Duke Law School professors Erwin Chemerinsky and James Coleman.

Chemerinsky, Coleman and all the other attorneys USA Today quoted were speaking before any of them or us knew about a host of investigative travesties DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham police officers committed in order to obtain indictments of then two and later a third lacrosse player, David Evans. All three are clearly innocent of the charges.

I found it very interesting to read what the attorneys were saying more than eight months ago and then to consider what subsequently happened.

In Coleman's case we know that weeks after what we read on April 19 he'll release the Coleman Report. Also, that on June 12 he'll write a letter to the N&O calling on DA Mike Nifong to step aside and allow a special prosecutor to take over the case.

Still later on 60 Minutes Coleman will describe in chilling detail the rigged identification procedures ("there could be no wrong answers") that were essential for the indictments; and which I feel comfortable saying were part of a deliberate frame-up of the indicted players.

In Chemerinsky's case some of you may not be aware that blogger and historian KC Johnson got him on the record speaking about the case in August.

Folks, I want to propose that you do something.

First, read the USA Today April 19 story bearing in mind all that the public, including Chemerinsky and Coleman, didn't know at that time.

Then read the letter Coleman wrote to the N&O almost two months later and Chemerinsky's comments reported in Johnson's post in August.

If you do that, I think most of you will say to yourselves something like:
"Chemerinsky and Coleman didn't come to the positions they came to because of 'what defense attorneys say'. So why do N&O editorial page editor Steve Ford and Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley use the "defense attorneys" excuse to justify their continued support of Nifong?"
I'll be interested to read your comments regarding the April 19 story and what followed.