Saturday, January 06, 2007

Thank you, Beth Brewer

I hope you all know about Beth Brewer, the Durham citizen with no political experience who led the fight to defeat Durham DA Nifong in the November election.

Brewer wasn't looking for campaign work. But no one else among all Durham's "leaders" was willing to step up and take on a rogue DA. So she added defeating Nifong to her work and family activities.

After Nifong deceived his way to a narrow Democratic Primary election win on May 2, it looked to everyone like he was a sure bet for election in November. He had no opposition in heavily Democratic Durham County. On primary night Nifong thought he was home free.

This from an interview with Fox News that night:

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, sir, this was a Democratic primary. Is there a general election and you're unopposed? Is that correct?

NIFONG: Yes, ma'am, that's correct. No Republican filed, so as the winner of the Democratic primary, I will run unopposed in November.
But he didn't run unopposed. The Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek campaign came into being and Brewer volunteered to serve as its spokesperson and helped lead the group in countless other ways.

Brewer worked to use the election exactly the way our Founders hoped citizens would: To throw out scoundrels who abuse the public trust.

RN-VC gave Nifong a stout fight and in the process helped convince many people of how fraudulently he's used the powers of the DA's office.

Nifong had the active support of the Durham Democratic Party, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, the People's Alliance, the Durham Herald Sun, and The Independent, a self-described "progressive" publication that tells readers it doesn't like police and DAs who violate citizens rights, but decided to make an exception in Nifong's case and enthusiastically endorse him.

Nifong also had at least the tacit support of Durham's Mayor, Bill Bell, every member of the Durham City Council, and every County Commissioner except Lewis Cheek.

Perhaps most important for Nifong, he had the tacit support of Duke University's Board of Trustees and its President, Richard H. Brodhead.

Brodhead refused to say a single word critical of Nifong, even after Duke Law Professor James Coleman and others had called for Nifong's removal from the Duke lacrosse case. Brodhead on a number of occasions expressed his support for Nifong's plan to bring three clearly innocent young men to trial.

Had Brodhead spoken critically of Nifong before the election, his words would very likely have been a death blow to Nifong, who won in a squeaker.

With all his support, Nifong got only 49% of the vote while other Durham Democrats in contested elections were pulling about 75% of the vote.

I plan sometime next week to say more about what I think Brewer and those who helped her accomplished in the campaign. In my opinion Brewer and the others accomplished much more than the public has recognized.

Meanwhile, I'll end with part of the tribute colunist Joan Collins paid Brewer:
After the election, Beth will return to her private life as a citizen of Durham. She will return to her home, her family and her career. In his book, “The Greatest Generation”, Tom Brokaw observed, "Heroes are people who rise to the occasion and slip quietly away." After the election, Beth will slip quietly away, but her contribution will not be forgotten.
Hat tip: Liestoppers, which published Collins' column.

This made me smile

I'm often away from the computer when a thought about some item for a post comes to mind.

If I'm home, I usually stop what I'm doing, go to the computer, and "save" the thought by typing it into a "Blog scraps" folder for a later look.

A post thought came to me today while I was in the kitchen with my wife. I headed for the computer while repeating the thought under my breath so I'd have it just right for typing.

Then I heard my wife say:

"John, I love it when you walk away talking to yourself. It's so sexy."
Just another reason why I love her.

Nifong, in brief

JinC Regulars know I love those one or two sentence letters to the editor that make an importent point, often with humor.

One such letter appears today in the Raleigh N&O:

Regarding the Jan. 3 article "Nifong: I'll help Durham heal:" Mike Nifong healing Durham is like Typhoid Mary healing a typhoid epidemic.

Bill Koch
Bless you, Bill Koch

Wonderful Brodhead parody

Duke University Professor Michael Gustafson is one of the few Duke faculty members who've been outspoken for right, reason and justice.

He's put together a wonderful Brodhead parody concerning the Dowd suit alleging visiting Political Science Professor Kim Curtis, a Group of 88 signatory, gave a Men's lacrosse team member an undeserved failing grade.

Michael’s parody plays off Brodhead's self-serving, "throw them under the bus," and pander to the Left statements:

“This afternoon the faculty member notified Provost Lange and me that she wished to suspend teaching duties until the grade calculation results come back.

I met with the faculty member this morning and she expressed regret for her errors of judgment and the embarrassment she had caused herself, her family, the political science department and the university. She repeated her denial of the criminal allegations that have been widely reported against her.

“Provost Lange and I welcomed these initiatives from the faculty member. We believe that suspension of lecturing is the right course of action, and we also see the importance of her taking responsibility for her conduct.

In a slight modification, I have decided that future courses should be suspended until there is a clearer resolution of the legal situation. I shared the decision this afternoon with the trustees, who fully support it.
The rest of President Brodhead's "statement" is here.

Read it. You'll be glad you did, unless your Richard H. Brodhead or one of those who wants him to stay at Duke so he can he can continue doing what he's been doing and not doing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jan. 5, 2006

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

After serving as Churchill’s bodyguard for over 20 years, including throughout WW II, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Walter Thompson retired. He was then in great demand as a lecturer about his experiences with Churchill. A point Thompson made often was: “Nothing escaped Churchill’s attention.”

We get an idea of that in the memo we’re about to read. It’s dated Oct.16, 1940, six weeks after the start of the London Blitz.

Prime Minister to Secretary of State for Air and Chief of Air Staff:

I see it reported that last night a large number of land mines were dropped here, many of which have not yet gone off, and that great harm was done.

Let me have your proposals forthwith for effective retaliation upon Germany.

I am informed that it is quite possible to carry similar mines or large bombs to Germany, and that the squadrons wish to use them, but that the Air Ministry are refusing permission.

I trust that due consideration will be given to my views and wishes. It is now abut three weeks since I began pressing for similar treatment of German military objectives to that which they are meting out to us.

Who is responsible for paralyzing action?
Thompson had it right, didn’t he?
Thompson’s observation, shared by others who served with Churchill, has been quoted by many historians. A copy of the Oct. 16 memo is found on pg. 365 of Churchill’s Their Finest Hour, 1949 Riverside edition.

At the N&O: Truth and cover-up

Readers Note: Back on Dec. 26 at the Editors' Blog Melanie Sill, executive editor for news at The Raleigh N&O, the paper which for nine months withheld from readers and the rest of media the news that the false accuser, in her Mar. 24 interview, had identified the second dancer and made statements which the N&O says it didn’t mention because they were libelous, posted this little item Sill titled, “Crime chatter:”

Mandy Locke writes today about forums and chat rooms surrounding crime investigations including several local cases: Duke lacrosse, Peyton Strickland and Michelle Young.
Reporter Locke’s piece is one of those typical “ridicule the blogs and their readers” stories many MSM newspapers run in order to discourage people from reading and commenting at blogs, forums, etc.

Here’s a small sample Locke’s “reporting:”
Itching to find out whether Jason Young's mistress gave a eulogy at his departed wife Michelle's funeral? Can't wait to offer some theory about why New Hanover County sheriff's deputy Chris Long shot to death Durham native Peyton Strickland? Want to dissect DNA testing procedures used in the Duke lacrosse rape case? […]

Online forums -- often sparked by the latest titillating crime story -- have become portals for people around the world to swap theories or debate each salacious turn in the case. It's partly about playing detective, partly about gossiping at the lunchroom table. […]

Why was she buying Strawberry Shortcake bed linens? The question kept posters going for a half hour just before 4 a.m. one day last week.

"I understand she has a little boy. She seems a little old to be enticing her husband to bed with those kind of sheets," one poster wrote.
Melanie Sill's post about Locke’s “story” didn’t draw a single comment until this morning, when it drew a very thoughtful and powerful one.

I responded to the commenter.

The comment and my response follow.

After reading them I hope you’ll leave your own comment on the "Crime chatter" thread. I hope those of you who post at other blogs, forums, etc will pass the word to them and encourage more comments. And, as always, I look forward to your comments.


Comment from: Michelle West [Visitor]
01/05/07 at 09:06

This morning I read the account by a Professor Davidson defending her decision to sign a petition before knowing anything about the guilt or innocence of any of the lacrosse players. She described most of the critical comments that she has received as coming from "right winged hooligans" ---- that term used again.

My hope is that before any of my children are old enough to attend college, the Duke administration will "clean house". The narrow-minded jealousy, prejudice and ignorance that runs through my fellow Ph.D.'s at this institution is a poison that will eventually destroy it from within.

Imagine, just for once if those boys did not have the financial means to fight off this blatant attack on their rights? They would be in jail for many years because of a corrupt District Attorney and a faculty group of 88 that exists without the guts and backbone to say "I'm sorry". They continue to rationalize for their own self-serving purposes.

No one forced that woman to strip. She wanted to make money. That is all. There is no noble meaning to her choice. None at all. She was doing a job.

I am also a professor and I have watched this in horror. It matters not the color of the unjustly accused, there is no glory in a false accusation. I am a Black woman. And I have a relative attending Duke. This is horrifying.

Comment from: John [Visitor] ·
01/05/07 at 15:13
Dear Dr. West,

Thank you for a concise, informed analysis of much of what's been going on in the Duke Hoax case. It’s a fine response to N&O reporter Mandy Locke’s story which refers to “the Duke lacrosse rape case;” and then goes on to ridicule people who comment at blogs, forums and chat rooms

You’re right in everything you say, but I want to add something to your comment. I hope you respond.

DA Nifong and Duke’s faculty group of 88 have been helped to do the great injustices they’ve done by many others.

Among the most important of those who’ve enabled Nifong and “the 88” are those reporters and editors at The Raleigh News & Observer who gave readers and the rest of media biased, inflammatory and false reporting that included extensive news suppression; and who continue to engage in a deliberate cover-up of what they did.

People commenting on the Hoax Case at blogs, forums, etc like Free Republic, Liestoppers, Friends of Duke University, Right Angles, Betsy’s Page, La Shawn Barber, Durham-in-Wonderland, here at the Editors’ Blog and my blog are intelligent, serious, informed and concerned citizens who want to expose the N&O’s cover-up.

They’re asking questions the N&O should answer.

Why did the N&O withhold from readers and the rest of media the news that during its interview with the false accuser she identified the second dancer and made statements the N&O now says it would have been libelous for it to publish? How could the N&O be libel if it published accurately what the false accuser said?

Why won’t the N&O, the ridiculed commenters ask, publish the full transcript of the interview?

Why is the N&O acting like Nixon at the time of Watergate when he said he would only release parts of the tapes?

Why did the N&O withhold from its now discredited Mar. 25 story and many others that followed it, the news it had that the players had cooperated with police extensively and repeatedly?

Why did the N&O instead promulgate in its Mar. 25 story the lie that the players were stonewalling and covering up for teammates?

Why did the N&O continue to report that lie in subsequent stories without telling readers what it knew of the players cooperation?

Why did the N&O publish “the vigilante” poster after Duke had expressed concerns that doing so would endanger not only the 43 white lacrosse players pictured on the poster but other Duke students and citizens?

I hope, Dr. West, that you continue to comment here. If enough of us speak up often enough someone at McClatchy may finally take notice and do what needs to be done to correct some things that are terribly wrong at the N&O.

McClatchy could start by exposing the cover-up. Readers and the rest of media are entitled to the truth.


John in Carolina

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jan. 4 2006

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

Historians continue to discuss the meeting of Churchill and President Roosevelt at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland in August, 1941. This BBC page has some information about their meeting.

But we’ll not be discussing their meeting today. Instead we’ll take a look at what Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Walter Thompson had to say about his meeting with Roosevelt at Placentia Bay. Thompson tells us:

During the Atlantic Meeting of August 1941, I accompanied Mr. Churchill over to the [USS] Augusta, where he was to have dinner with President Roosevelt.

Talking to my opposite number Mike Reilly …, I expressed an ambition to meet Mr. Roosevelt. He said that he would arrange for me to be introduced to the President that evening.

We were on the way to arrange this when we met Mr. Churchill. I explained to him what we had in mind, and he replied, “Oh, no. I will perform that introduction myself.”

He turned round, led me into the cabin, and said to Mr. Roosevelt, “Inspector Thompson has guarded me faithfully for a period of nearly twenty years. It gives me great pleasure to present him to you.”

It was a proud moment.

The President talked for a few moments and as he said goodbye, added, “Look after the Prime Minister. He is one of the greatest men in the world.”
Thompson’s account of his meeting Roosevelt is found on pg. 102 of Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard, a reproduction in its entirety of Thompson’s Sixty Minutes with Winston Churchill, first published in 1953.

Duke's first lax suit

WRAL TV reports:

A former Duke University lacrosse player sued the university Thursday alleging that one of his professors unfairly gave him a failing grade because he was a member of the team.[…]
The 20 page complaint was filed in Durham County Superior Court on behalf of the former student, Kyle Dowd, and his parents, Patricia Dowd and Benjamin Dowd against visiting political science professor Kim F. Curtis as well as the university. You can read the complaint here. (pdf )

I was impressed when I read it; and then doubly impressed when I learned the plaintives’ attorney’s name and firm.

Since 2003, the Dowd’s attorney, Joseph E. Zeszotarski, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America; listing being the result of peer review rankings. He’s a Past Chair of both the Criminal Law Section, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Criminal Justice Section, North Carolina Bar Association.

Zeszotarski’s law firm, Poyner & Spruill, has over 100 attorneys, and is one of the most important and respected law firms in the Southeast.

What about Professor Curtis? A search of Duke's website reveals she been a "visiting professor" since at least 1996. (Yes, 10 years is a long visit. But then leftist professors seem somehow to like Duke even though many of them say terrible things about it. At least they stay and stay and stay even when they're only "visiting.")

Curtis is a signatory of the notorious Duke Arts & Science faculty Group of 88 "listening statement."

She comments often on public issues. Here's some of what she said shortly after 9/11:
Taking another example, many feel distress over the long-time support by the U.S. of the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, whose oppression of women has been brutal. The distress this knowledge engenders is useful because it reveals the current administration's effort to position the U.S. as a defender of the rights of Afghani women for what it is: a cynical effort to orchestrate support for its war. This support depends upon controlling its citizens' knowledge of and feelings about this ugly history.

We violate our students' trust in not raising critical issues such as these, and by not teaching them to let these emotions move their intellect along paths other than those the authorities wish.
KC Johnson has more on Curtis' background and the Dowd suit here.

Final item: On Oct. 26 I posted: "KC Johnson at Duke tonight." On the post's thread Locomotive Breath has just reminded me there's this comment:
Judith said...

My wonderfully politically incorrect son, who was a Duke ROTC student, an athlete and an outspoken conservative will be there.

He was also a victim of "selective" justice" in Spring 2004 when he was a student of Professor Kim Curtis, one of the Group of 88. She FAILED him for the entire course for turning in ONE paper ONE DAY late. After finals were over, and students were dismissed for the summer, she brought charges against him for Lying with the Undergraduate Judicial Board.

His hearing was scheduled for August 27, 2004 (before classes even started) and he was not even able to present any credible defense. He was found GUILTY and suspended for two semesters.

He was ordered to vacate his West Campus dorm room within 48 hours, and his Duke Card was invalidated so that he could not buy a meal or even get into his dorm room to start moving out.

I have written about him a bit on the KC Johnson's blog, Duke in Wonderland. My issue is not my son's case, it is that these 88 professors are a threat to any student who does not toe their intellectual line.

I am willing to provide documentation regarding my son's case to anyone with a credible interest.
I hadn't done anything with the comment until tonight when I emailed it with a brief cover note to attorney Zeszotarski.

I know we'll all stay tuned on this one.

This just in: The Raleigh News & Observer is reporting the Dowd suit

Sheehan column links and an "old" JinC post

Some of you have asked for Sheehan column links:

Here's a link to her Mar. 27 "Team's Silence is Sickening" column:

And here's a link to her equally awful Apr. 3 "Shut down the team" column in which she tells Duke that it should "dump" Coach Pressler, something Duke did two days later.

While researching for a post I'll put up later today, I came upon the JinC post below, "Duke lacrosse: Seeking to avoid responsibility."

I posted it on June 19. Note that I said then the players were "possibly" the victims of crimes. The "possibly" doesn't really belong in there now, does it?

Anyway, you may find the post interesting reading. And those of you who are regaular readers of Sheehan will see, I'm sorry to say, that she hasn't changed since June 19.


Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Ruth Sheehan is getting kudos today for acknowledging that Durham DA Mike Nifong may not be all he should be and ought to step out of the Duke lacrosse case.

I’m glad Sheehan’s saying that but I’m very troubled by something else she does in her column.

Sheehan excuses herself and the rest of media from any responsibility for the hysterical, vigilante atmosphere that’s targeted the players and made a terrible situation worse, including more dangerous.

According to Sheehan, it’s all Nifong’s fault. She tells readers :

Say all you want about the media's rush to judgment. But the truth is we report on allegations and charges out of district attorneys' offices every single day. And when a DA, especially one with Nifong's reputation for being a quiet, behind-the-scenes guy, comes out not only saying that a rape occurred, but that it was a brutal gang rape, in which the woman was strangled and beaten, you had to figure he had incontrovertible evidence.
No you didn’t. That’s nonsense!

We’ve all heard sometimes defense attorneys spin cases; DAs do it too. Sheehan knows that.

She also knows that in recent years, we’ve had in North Carolina a number of highly publicized cases in which DAs have committed very serious wrongs, including withholding evidence that proved innocence.

Then there were all the pressures of a tough election campaign weighing on Nifong.

Most of all, Sheehan knows about presumption of innocence and due process.

What all of us had to figure out when the Duke lacrosse case broke was how to be fair and respect the rights of the accuser and the accused.

For Sheehan and the N&O that proved to be a “Mission Impossible.”

Let’s take a look at just how the McClatchy news organization’s N&O (Its motto: “Fair and Accurate”) and Sheehan went about reporting the story as it first became public.

On Mar. 24 the N&O broke the Duke lacrosse story with a report calculated to turn public sentiment against the lacrosse players.

The N&O referred seven times in that report to the accuser as either “the victim” or with the possessive “victim’s,” never once preceding them with “alleged” or “reported.”

Thus, in the first story other media and the public would read about the Duke lacrosse case, the N&O cast the accuser as the victim leaving the accused players cast as victimizers.

The next day the N&O produced a sympathetic interview with the accuser which it headlined across five columns on page one:

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
But the N&O’s Mar. 25 story was about more than a sympathetic interview with the anonymous accuser.

A police officer was quoted as saying the police would “be relentless in finding out who committed this crime." The N&O followed that with an explanation that it granted anonymity to “victims of sex crimes.”

The N&O told readers authorities had vowed to crack the players’ “wall of silence.” The N&O didn’t tell readers about the cooperation players had provided police until advised by counsels to remain silent until counsels were certain the players’ rights would be respected.

The N&O ended its Mar. 25 story with this:
[Duke’s Paul] Haagen, a law professor who specializes in sports law, said studies show that violence against women is more prevalent among male athletes than among male students in general -- and higher still among such "helmet sports" as football, hockey and lacrosse.

"These are sports of violence," he said. "This is clearly a concern."
Prosecutors try to end their jury summations with something that helps the jurors understand why the accused would have committed the crime or crimes. They call it “the clincher.”

I don’t know if N&O reporters and editors have a name for their placement of Haagen’s remarks at the end of an interview in which the accuser “told her story.” (Well, one of them.)

I also don’t know whether Professor Haagen was told his remarks would be part of the accuser interview story or how they would be used. I plan to email him and ask. I’ll let you know what I hear back.

On Mar. 26 the N&O reported on a vigil at the house on Buchanan Blvd held by supporters of the woman the N&O reported two days earlier was the “victim” of an horrendous crime.

Here’s an excerpt from the Mar. 26 report:
"This is to let her know that we're with her," Tompkins said. "If anyone could come and take a piece of her grief, we would."

Religious groups, neighborhood associations, and students and faculty from the university sang "Amazing Grace" and prayed.

Allyson Van Wyk challenged parents of the lacrosse players to talk to their children.

"The parents need to make them stand up and be men," she shouted.
The next day, Mar. 27, Sheehan followed that with her “Team's silence is sickening” column, in which she savaged the players for doing no more than following advice of counsel. She ended with:
Every member of the men's lacrosse team knows who was involved, whether it was gang rape or not.

Until the team members come forward with that information, forfeiting games isn't enough.

Shut down the team.
But what did the N&O report Nifong said as the N&O broke the story and during the next few days?

I undertook a customized search of N&O archives for the period Mar. 24 to Mar. 30 using the input word “Nifong.”

The first time an article with “Nifong” appeared in the search result was Mar. 28, after the publication of the N&O’s first three Duke lacrosse stories and Sheehan’s column.

Separate searches using the same dates and the input terms “District Attorney” and “DA” failed to turn up any archived items referencing or quoting Nifong in any capacity before Mar. 28.

On Mar. 28 Nifong appears in two N&O stories in the full Nifong mode so many of us have come to abhor.

In one story he calls the players “a bunch of hooligans” and in the other he says, "We're talking about a situation where had somebody spoken up and said, 'Wait a minute, we can't do this,' this incident might not have taken place."

I don’t question that Nifong’s remarks in the Mar. 28 articles were prejudicial to the lacrosse players. But they followed the N&O’s first three stories and Sheehan’s column.

By all means we should hold Nifong accountable for his actions.

But we must do the same with Sheehan, the N&O, and the rest of media that acted in ways that were grossly prejudicial to a group of college students who we may yet learn are the victims of a monumental injustice, and possibly, of crimes.

We must not let Sheehan, the N&O or the rest of media involved in unfairly targeting and framing the players dump what they are responsible for onto Nifong.

That shouldn’t happen because it would be unfair. And it shouldn’t happen because if they avoid acknowledging and correcting what they’ve done, it’s more likely that other individuals and groups will suffer unfair treatment from much of media just as the players have.

Media in America need to be held to a high standard; and it can’t be one it decides for itself.

Which of us would want to receive from a major news organization the kind of treatment the Duke lacrosse players received from the "Fair and Accurate" Raleigh News & Observer?
Post URLs

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Churchill Series - Jan. 3, 2006

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

Readers Note: Here's the last of the "Amusing Oldies:" post that have appeared before but which I'm posting again during the holiday season in the hope they will give you smiles and perhaps a story or two to share with family and friends.

Tomorrow, new posts resume.



During WW II Churchill frequently worked 18 or more hours a day. And he sometimes went days with just a few hours sleep per night. His aides were often forced to keep those same hours, much to their displeasure.

Detective- Inspector Walter Thompson, for many years Churchill’s principal bodyguard, recalled the time in June, 1940 when Churchill and his party had just arrived back in England after two exhausting days in France trying to persuade the French not to agree to an armistice with the Germans.

The party had just landed at Hendon airport near London when Churchill announced, “We will have a Cabinet meeting at 10 p. m.”

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, was dismayed. “Surely not tonight, Winston,” Halifax pleaded. “We have had a long day; it will make such a late night.”

Churchill paused a moment before saying, “All right, we’ll make it 9:30 instead.”
Tom Hickman, Churchill's Bodyguard: The Authorized Biography of Walter H. Thompson. (pgs. 117-118)

Can you believe this N&O news columnist


I don't have time tonight to do the work I want to do on some of the very questionable statements The Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Ruth Sheehan made in her Jan. 1 column.

But I'll be at it tomorrow.

I plan to question why Sheehan said to readers:

What kind of dimwitted fools does Nifong believe us, and the potential jurors, to be?

I ask this, of course, from some experience.

I was one of the hopelessly naive who fell -- hard -- for Nifong's original depiction of the case.

In statements the State Bar now says violated ethics rules, Nifong described in detail the horrors of the alleged gang rape, including an attempted strangulation and racial insults.

Like others, I was outraged. And I wrote about it. I make no apology for that.
If you fell -- hard -- for what Sheehan told readers, you're no doubt saying to yourself: "Gee, poor Ruthie, she was fooled by Nifong just like me. I must send her a 'Cheer up; it's not your fault' card."

Ah, but if you've keep reasonable track of things, you know Sheehan viciously attacked the Duke students for following the advice of their parents and attorneys in a column that ran in the N&O on Mar. 27, before Mike Nifong spoke publicly about the case.

Mike Nifong is an early riser, so he had plenty of time to read Sheehan's Mar. 27 column before later in the day speaking publicly for the first time about a case that Sheehan had already said involved a team's silence that was sickening.

But now she's blaming Nifong for "his oringinal depiction of the case."

I want Nifong disbarred. I think he should go to jail. But he shouldn't be Sheehan's excuse for her column unless he spoke to her before she wrote it or spoke to other N&O staffers who "fed" Sheehan what she wrote.

I'll have more to say tomorrow.

Nifong can heal?

It looks like the NC State Bar, his fellow NC DAs and possibly other legal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice will put Nifong & Enablers out of the frame-up and conspiracy business.

Faced with that loss, MSM news organizations say Nifong’s now planning to open a healing business.

But that doesn’t make any sense. As award-winning blogger, Duke Mom and Raleigh Charter School teacher Betsy Newmark points out:

The only way he could help Durham heal is to confess his abuse of power and acknowledge that he now knows that the accuser made the story up and that the lacrosse players are guilty of no more than bad judgment.
Betsy’s right about all of that, isn't she?

Well that got me asking: Could MSM news orgs be wrong when they say Nifong’s going into the healing business?

I’m wondering if what Nifong was really telling MSM was that he was going into the heeling business.

Wordnet offers as one definition of heel someone who is reprehensible. Remember the line in the old Jimmy Cagney movie: “You dirty, rotten heel?”

Who doubts Nifong belongs in the heel business?

In fact, I'm sure many of you know Nifong’s been in the heel business for quite some time; and on the public payroll at that.

We’ll all be relieved when Nifong goes into the heel business for himself and not at the expense of innocent people and justice.

Blogging resumes tonight


Today's a travel day but by 8 pm or so tonight I'll have a few posts up:

One will concern Nifong and reports of "healing."

Another will be a fact-based inquiry to N&O news columnist regarding some statements she made in her Jan. 1 column.

I hope you are back tonight or tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Churchill Series - Jan. 2, 2006

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

Here's another "Amusing Oldie:" a post which has run previously, but is here again during this holiday period in the hope it may give you a smile and perhaps a story to share with family and friends.

New posts begin again on Jan. 4.



Today I saw one of America's finest, this one in Army uniform, enjoying a beer.

She brought to mind Ben Franklin and Winston Churchill.

It was Franklin who said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

And it was Churchill who,on October 21, 1944, flew from Cairo to Naples where he met with Allied military leaders, including General Harold Alexander, commander of British troops in Italy.

Alexander pressed Churchill with many requests. One was for more beer for British troops.

Churchill promptly sent a minute to the Secretary of State for War, saying in part:

The Americans are said to have four bottles a week, and the British rarely get one. You should make an immediate effort, and come to me for support in case other Departments are involved.

Let me have a plan with time schedule for this beer. The question of importing ingredients should also be considered.

The priority in issue is to go to the fighting troops at the front, and only work back to the rear as and when supplies open out.
I think Churchill and Franklin would have got along splendidly, at least most of the time.

And wouldn't we have loved to join them for dinner. Or even just a beer, if they were busy.
Martin Gilbert, Road to Victory. (p. 1036)(One of a series of daily posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Pajamas expose Nifong

Early this morning DA Mike Nifong got up, dressed, drove with his wife to the courthouse, and was sworn in in private while media and the public were locked outside.

Nifong later assured media and the public it wasn’t his fault they were locked out.

But, like so much Nifong says, that wasn’t true.

Pajama media folks quickly moved into action, and helped expose Nifong’s full-frontal, naked lie.

WRAL had reported:

District Attorney Mike Nifong, under fire for his handling of the Duke University lacrosse case and public statements he has made about the investigation, was sworn in for his first four-year term early Tuesday out of the public eye.

Nifong insisted he didn't make the call to keep out the media or the public from the ceremony, but said he scheduled it for 8 a.m. so his staff could go straight to work afterward without dealing with the media.

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill, whose office runs the courthouse, said it wasn't his call either -- it's just that the building doesn't open to the public until 8:30 a.m.
Well, that all seemed simple enough.

But when a serial liar is involved, few things are simple.

Citizen journalist KRD Durham alerted readers at Liestoppers Forum that a Durham County Sheriff’s Captain had contradicted Nifong.

The Captain said Nifong had made the call to lock out media and the public.

LS checked KRD Durham’s report. It stood up.

So LS moved the report to its main page. KDR reported:
"Man, Tivo is one of the greatest inventions…

"When asked who made the call to keep the press out, Nifong replied, “I don’t know that there was such a call.”

Then a reporter tries to clarify, “But it wasn’t you?” Nifong replied, “There’s no reason for me to make such a call, I scheduled it at 8:00 knowing full well the courthouse opened at 8:30.”

"Then the sheriff’s deputy is interviewed, Capt. Bill Wrenn, “I went up and asked did they want to let anyone in the building, and I was told no.”

"Anthony Wilson (wtvd11 reporter) then asks, “Who told you no?”

"Capt. Wrenn replies, “I asked Mr. Nifong.”
You can check what KDR reported by viewing and listening to Carolina 14's video.

Message to KDR: Great catch.

To KDR and LS: Great teamwork.

To Mike Nifong: You shouldn't lie.

To readers: Part of the importance of KDR and LS's work has to do with the fact that many news editors now monitor "the Duke lacrosse blogs." They'll know that what KDR and LS spotlighted is somewhere in the AP story that will cross their wires tonight.

Some editors may choose to ignore what KDR and LS reported but in the morning they won't be able to tell blog-savvy readers they didn't know Nifong had told a lie about ordering the courthouse locked.

Back to KDR and LS: Your pajamas look mighty nice tonight.

Nifong’s appropriateness

Since DA Mike Nifong hid exculpatory DNA evidence from the defense and public during his election campaign, there was a shameful appropriateness to his hiding his swearing in ceremony from media and the public.

Media and the public were also given a false story as to why they couldn’t witness and record Nifong swearing to uphold the Constitution.

Given Nifong’s conduct as DA, a false story was a most appropriate beginning to Nifong’s new term.

Now at we find this headline: “Nifong swearing-in becomes private.”

Since Nifong’s used the public office of DA for his private benefit, could the N&O have run a more appropriate headline?

Usually a swearing in is something the office-holder looks forward to and welcomes friends and the public to attend.

But Nifong’s swearing in confronted him with two choices:

1) Bad – Hide from the public, put out a false cover story and take a pounding for that

2) Worse than Bad – Have the cameras record and the public witness his swearing to uphold the Constitution, and then face the national scorn and anger that would follow that.

Nifong knew his Bad choice was the best he could hope for.

Don’t believe his denials. He, like us, knows “the noose is tightening.”

Nifong hides, dissembles

While campaigning for election, Durham DA Mike Nifong conspired to hide exculpatory DNA evidence from defense attorneys and the public.

Today, at the start of new term, Nifong effectively turned the Durham County Courthouse into a bunker so he could hide from the public as he swore the two oaths of office all NC judicial office holders must swear.

Both oaths required Nifong to swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

No wonder he hid.

Carolina Journal publisher and blogger Jon Ham was at the Courthouse. His minute-by-minute report begins:

Durham DA Mike Nifong was indeed sworn in this morning at 8 a.m. in the Durham Judicial Building. The only problem is the building does not open to the public until 8:30 a.m. Consequently, a gaggle of upset media types were stuck outside until the ceremony was over.

At 8:03 a.m. there was a bit of excitement when a deputy opened one of the doors and said, “Come on in, cameras in hand.” But he was shouted down by two other deputies who yelled, “Don’t let them in.”
The rest of Jon’s account is here.

He says he’ll have photos and video later. I’ll keep checking in. You can to at Jon’s blog, Right Angles.

Liestoppers reports:
The excuse given at the courthouse door was that a scheduling errror prevented public access to the courthouse which does not open until 8:30AM, while the swearing-in was scheduled for 8:00AM.

Curiously, last months's swearing-in of Clerk of the Court, Archie Smith was open to the press and the public despite also taking place at 8:00AM (Monday December 4, 2006).
So there’s Listoppers acting as an alert liecatcher. The rest of LS’s report is here.

While it's revolting, it's also very fitting that Nifong began his new term hiding something important and lying.

Let’s keep working to get him out of office, disbarred and in jail.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jan. 1, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts concerning Winston S. Churchill.)

New Year’s Day and Champagne.

In 1915 Churchill wrote his brother that he was enjoying the four essentials of daily life. Cold champagne was, of curse, one of them. The others were hot baths, new peas and old brandy.

From at least 1908 through the rest of his life, Pol Roger was his favorite champagne.

From his letters we know that Churchill began drinking champagne while still in his teens.

As WW II was ending and the Champagne region was liberated, he wrote Pol Roger and placed an order. Concerning its bubbly, he told Pol Roger: “In defeat it need it, in victory I deserve it.”

During the early 1950s when he owned a racing stable, Churchill named one of his horses Pol Roger. It won three races.

Now, here’s to you and a healthy and happy 2007.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Talking with Regulars and Readers – 12-31-06 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of today’s first “talking post” which I understand some of you missed because you spent most of the day with DA Mike Nifong helping him select his defense attorneys.

You’re just in time now to get my New Year’s wishes for all Regulars and Readers (sans trolls):

Every blessing to each of you in 2007.

Here and at other blogs, boards, etc you’ve spoken up and asked for reliable information from MSM news organizations.

You’ve examined what MSM offered and sorted “the chaff from the wheat.”

Often, most of what we’ve gotten from MSM has been “the chaff.”

But that hasn’t discouraged you.

You’ve pressed for information and called "chaff" what it is.

And together with others, you’ve made a difference.

If you doubt that, go take a look at the posts and comment threads at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog.

The N&O editors thought the EB would be the place where they could “explain journalism to our readers;” and you would just go along with what the “news professionals” fed us.

Not so!

The Editors’ Blog has become a place where you and others are demanding the N&O disclose the important information it withheld from readers and other news organizations when it ran its now infamous and discredited Mar. 25 anonymous interview story.

You are doing that and so much more at the EB. Melanie Sill and the other editors barely finish their incomplete, misleading and, in some cases, outright false statement before one of you or someone like you is posting a response. And others of you follow.

On just about every important story the N&O editors have tried to “sell readers,” you and others have put the editors in “checkmate.”

You've done all of that and I haven’t even begun to talk about the work many of you do over at Liestoppers, Free Republic, etc. as well as the support you give bloggers and pundits such as KC Johnson, Bill Anderson, Betsy Newmark, La Shawn Barber, Lori Byrd, Jason Trumpbour and many others.

Mixed in with the work are the laughs we have together.

I could go on but you know what I'm saying.


Folks, I’m looking forward to working with you.

I’ll make one prediction about something we’ll help make happen in ’07.

We’ll learn with reasonable certainty just what it was the false accuser said to the N&O that was so important and libelous that the N&O suppressed it; and to this day has failed to tell its trusting print readers what it did.

Every blessing,


Talking with Regulars and Readers - 12-31-06

(Readers Note: This is an old type web logger post. John)


You remain, among other things, the best editors a blogger could have. A little while ago in "Singing Nifong Out," I referred to “Scotch ancestors.” One of you let me know it should have been “Scot ancestors.” Thanks, especially for "working" on New Year's Eve.

Other matters ---

Even if you believed it was going to happen to Nifong, did you believe it would happen so quickly and forcefully?

Every other DA in North Carolina is now telling him, in effect, "In the name of God, go!"

Even Duke's President, Richard H. Brodhead has jumped ship.

Sure, Nifong hasn't been disbarred yet, but do you doubt that will happen?

The "betting question" now is can Nifong avoid jail?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I'll say something else.

When the Feds come in, as I think they will, and start to unravel what I believe were multiple conspiracies that led, first to the framing of the three innocent young men, and second, to actions to cover up those conspiracies, what will Nifong have to "trade" in exchange for his cooperation?

I wanted to say more but I'm "out of time now."

I'll be back this evening with more Talking.

All the best to you.

You’re a very special group. I'll say more about that tonight.


Contacting Wendy Murphy

Legal historian and blogger KC Johnson has just posted, “The Wendy Murphy File.”

If you’ve already read it, you might want to skip down below the star line where I begin commentary and report on action taken.

I hope the rest of you read KC’s post. Here are excerpts beginning with quotes from Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law:

"To suggest [the indicted players] were well behaved: Hitler never beat his wife either. So what?"
--“The Situation,” 5 June 2006

"I bet one or more of the players was, you know, molested or something as a child."
--“CNN Live,” 3 May 2006

"I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth."
--“The Situation,” 5 June 2006

Three elements of this case distinguish it from its high-profile criminal counterparts.

First, the behavior and statements of the students’ own professors were cited as grounds for a change of venue—an action all but unprecedented in modern American criminal law. Second, blogs have played an important (and, I would argue, helpful) role. Third, the 24-hour cable news networks seized upon the case from the start, and have continued commentary more sporadically thereafter.

Sometimes, these shows have offered quality commentary—the “Abrams Report” early on, some broadcasts of “Greta” in recent weeks. Often, however, these programs feature little more than talking heads, with one adopting a pro-prosecution slant and another praising the defense.

A frequent guest on MSNBC, FOX, and CBS has been Wendy Murphy. Usually described as a former “sex crimes prosecutor” and law professor at Boston’s New England School of Law, she’s actually an adjunct professor, an inconvenient fact she rarely, if ever, reveals.

Murphy defended Nifong in a recent USA Today op-ed—and her remarks were eviscerated by Liestoppers, which also has nominated her as a “hag of the hoax.”

Murphy’s bizarre claims to USA Today prompted me to perform a Lexis/Nexis search of her myriad case-related appearances. The results were deeply disturbing.

In addition to the outrageous quotes highlighted above, on at least 18 occasions over the past nine months, Murphy has made demonstrably untrue statements. She also has engaged in a pattern of wholly unfounded speculation and has routinely denigrated due process.

Given that the preamble to the Massachusetts State Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct states that “a lawyer is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system, and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice,” Murphy’s behavior raises some serious questions:

• What sort of network would put such a figure on the air?

• How could the Massachusetts Bar license such a figure to practice law?

• How could Dean John O’Brien of New England School of Law allow such a figure to teach future lawyers? […]

Most of you are familiar with the careful, extensivly documented posts KC Johnson produces on a daily basis. But I’m betting Wendy Murphy isn’t.

I doubt she’s read, for instance, “Roy Cooper’s Silence.” KC published that post back in June. Its topic? The NC laws and statues that related to DA Mike Nifong’s conduct and which would allow for his removal from what we were then calling “the Duke lacrosse case.”

In May KC posted “Gagging in Durham.” It included this:
If nothing else can be said about this case, it’s that the accuser has received the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, the state went so far in giving the accuser the benefit of the doubt that one prominent legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, has predicted that the case could end with Nifong’s losing his license to practice law.
I doubt Murphy has read that post, either.

Advice to Wendy Murphy: Start following KC Johnson. Begin with “The Wendy Murphy File.” Then go back and read the two posts I’ve cited here and others in which for many months KC's pointed out actions of Nifong that merited NC State Bar review and action.

As I’m sure you know, our NC State Bar just announced it's been reviewing Nifong’s conduct and will take action with regard to it.

Now KC is calling attention to some of your public conduct; and how it appears to fail to conform to the standards the Massachusetts State Bar says its members must uphold.

For many months Nifong ignored, even ridiculed his critics. He should have taken them more seriously, especially KC Johnson and others like him.

Message to JinC readers: I’m sending Wendy Murphy the email below. I’ll let you know if I hear back.

Dear Professor Murphy:

I blog at and have posted often on what has really now become the Nifong Hoax Case.

I’ve never posted concerning your case commentary but my attention was drawn to legal historian KC Johnson’s post today: “The Wendy Murphy File.”

But Johnson’s post provides so much documentation and deals with such important matters, that I’ve posted on it.

Here’s a link to my post, “Contacting Wendy Murphy:”

I’ll publish in full a response you make to Johnson’s post. My practice is to let a respondent’s post “sit” on the main page for a day or two before responding. That gives the respondent a chance to “have a say” without my immediately jumping in. It also allows JinC readers to judge for themselves the respondent’s reply.

JinC is read often by journalists here in North Carolina and elsewhere.


John in Carolina

Message to KC Johnson:
When I finished reading your Wendy Murphy File post, I didn’t say, “KC can't top today’s post.” That’s because every time I say you can’t top one post, you go on and produce another post that’s even better.

So I’ll just say: “Thank you for reminding Murphy she's a member of the Massachusetts State Bar; and for letting us know what we should expect from Murphy by virtue of her Bar membership.

I hope she has sense, care and character enough to respond fully and professionally to your post.

Singing Nifong out

At Christmas JinC Regular and citizen journalist Locomotive Breath gave us "Nifong Roasting," a satirical rewording of the lyrics to the Nat King Cole Christmas favorite that begins: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire."

Now, just in time for New Year's Eve, LB offers another set of lyrics. He writes:

From constant repetition, “Auld Lang Syne” has an instantly recognizable tune and first three lines. ...

I offer my deepest apologies to my Scot forebears for this desecration of the holy writ of Robert Burns.

I’m introducing it early in the day to give plenty of time for it to be forgotten by midnight.

This is a song of commiseration, unity and eventual triumph for the Duke lacrosse team and is intended, like the original, to be sung at an annual celebration of the hoped-for and ever-more-likely complete exoneration of the entire Duke lax team and the disbarment of Mike Nifong.

I’m sorry to add to their misfortune, but this song is dedicated to Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Auld Nifong Bind

When equal justice is forgot, and never brought to mind.
When equal justice is forgot; you get the Nifong bind.

You get the Nifong bind, my friend.
You get the Nifong bind.
When equal justice is forgot.
You get the Nifong bind

Fantastic liar finger points, DA indicts in time.
He’s won election on our backs; he used the Nifong bind.

He used the Nifong bind, my friend.
He used the Nifong bind.
He’s won election on our backs.
He used the Nifong bind.

Once we stood astride the field, we scored and won and shined.
He’s stolen all that’s dear to us, while in the Nifong bind.

While in the Nifong bind, my friend.
While in the Nifong bind.
He’s stolen all that’s dear to us.
While in the Nifong bind.

You know that I am by your side, and I know you’re by mine.
We’ll stick together to the end; we’ll break the Nifong bind.

We’ll break the Nifong bind, my friend.
We’ll break the Nifong bind.
We’ll stick together to the end.
We’ll break the Nifong bind.

The DA should have thought it through; the bar will find his crimes.
He’ll never practice law again; he’s in the Nifong bind.

He’s in the Nifong bind, my friend.
He’s in the Nifong bind.
He’ll never practice law again.
He’s in the Nifong bind.

Locomotive Breath adds:

A year from now, I hope we can change some of the future tense to past tense.

“We’ll break the Nifong bind.” becomes “We broke the Nifong bind.” and “…the bar will find his crimes.” becomes “…the bar has found his crimes”, etc.

And FWIW I wrote the lines about the bar before the recent announcement. Anyone could see that coming sooner or later.

Do I really think that I’m going to find the Duke lacrosse team singing this song next year?

Naaah – my doggerel won’t hunt.

JinC – keep up the good work.

Happy New Year everyone!

Message to Locomotive Breath: We're all looking forward to that tense change. A big hat tip for your latest.

Message to everyone else: From the beginning, Locomotive Breath has been one of the justice seekers.