Saturday, February 10, 2007

That affidavit got results

On Friday Beth Brewer, a Durham resident who led the Recall Nifong – Elect Cheek campaign, filed a sworn affidavit in Durham County Superior Court asking the court to exercise its authority to remove DA Mike Nifong from the office he’s abused and disgraced.

News organizations are now reporting the court, in the person of Nifong’s long-time judicial colleague and fellow Democrat, Judge Orlando Hudson, will claim the court needs to let the NC State Bar complete its response to charges brought by its Ethics Committee against Nifong.

On that basis, the reports say, Hudson will stay Brewer’s request.

There’s always a chance the news reports are wrong, but it isn’t likely.

If the order is stayed, many will say Brewer’s action was a futile gesture.

It was no such thing!

Brewer’s action has already achieved important results.

I’ll cite some of them today; and others tomorrow.

Brewer’s affidavit filing and the news it’s generated has been one more public reminder of Nifong’s unfitness to serve as DA.

Even worse for Nifong, the affidavit, in effect, told Durham's public: “You don’t have to accept four more years of this guy. There’s a way to get rid of him. A judge can order Nifong out of office because he did all those things we can still see him doing on the video tapes.”

If Brewer accomplished nothing else but those two things, what she did would still be a “big deal.”

But there’s so much more.

Others may have missed the importance of the “You don’t have to ..” message, including the threat it poses to Nifong as he maneuvers to hang on to the DA’s office with its large staff which currently acts under his supervision.

But Nifong didn’t miss it.

That’s why, instead of hiding from the press as is his usual practice when his travesties are revealed, Nifong was suddenly talking to reporters yesterday.

Nifong dismissed Brewer’s action with a personal slap at her (“This was filed by a woman who tried to defeat me…”) as he urged the public to “withhold judgment until they hear the evidence.”

Nifong also told the N&O:

"I'm looking forward to having the case heard and having the opportunity to have my side told publicly."
Some people will insist Nifong helped himself with his comments.

They’re wrong. He hurt himself.

Every time Nifong attacks someone personally, as he did Brewer, he reminds people of his repeated, vicious and false attacks on the lacrosse players which now even Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, acknowledges were unfounded.

Even worse for Nifong is this: Every time he asks the public to withhold judgment until it sees the evidence against him, he reminds fair-minded and informed persons of at least three things:

1) Nifong didn’t have any evidence before proclaiming the players guilty;

2) Nifong, along with certain Durham police officers, actually manufactured evidence in order to frame three of the players ( “ Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice." )

3) Nifong conspired to withhold DNA evidence of the players’ actual innocence as discussed in this post.

After months of slamming and framing the players and hiding evidence of their innocence, Nifong’s insistence that the public should wait for “my side” has the same effect now as did Nixon’s Watergate insistence that “I am not a crook.”

I’ll wrap this post up by citing another very important result of what Brewer and the other justice seekers who team with her accomplished with the affidavit filing. From a WRAL News [excerpt]:
The complaint is significant, former federal prosecutor Dan Boyce said, and raises questions not only about Nifong's ability to serve as district attorney, but also his right to practice law.

"I think he's got to consider whether, in the interest of justice and in fairness to the people of Durham County, whether it's time to resign," Boyce said. "There's too much attention being focused on him and not enough attention being focused on the (Duke lacrosse) case itself."
Boyce ran in 2000 as the Republican candidate for NC attorney general against present incumbent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, who won with 51% of the popular vote to Boyce’s 46%. Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor also received 46% of the vote. (Results here)

As far as I know, Boyce is the first state-wide NC political leader of either party to publicly suggest it’s time for Nifong to consider resigning.

With Friday's affidavit filing, Brewer and those working with her accomplished everything I’ve noted in this post and more.

I’ll talk about “more” tomorrow.

Question for Nifong and his helpers: Can you think of a way for Nifong to excuse what he did without in the process making things worse for him by calling attention to everything he did in the first place?

Question for Brewer and her helpers: Will you all promise to keep doing the kinds of things you’re doing?

Message to Brewer and her helpers: Well done. Thank you.

Air Pelosi: Fit for the Queen

Richard Miniter in today’s NY Post:

Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped out of her Georgetown home and into a government-owned black Chevy Tahoe SUV.

That gas-guzzler truck took her directly to the Rayburn House Office Building - where she was the lead witness at a Science and Technology Committee hearing on global warming.

This, the day after word broke of Pelosi's request for regular use of a U.S. Air Force C-32 - the same plane that flies the vice president and first lady.

She wants to travel in luxury. The Air Force jet is the same size and airframe as the Boeing 757-200, which carries about 300 passengers. The C-32 boasts 42 business-class seats - plus a wood-paneled state room, big-screen TV, full-size bed and crew of 16, including uniformed stewards who bring drinks and meals on request. Oh, and an open bar.

Cost to taxpayers? Some $15,000 an hour.

A round-trip to Rep. Pelosi's home in San Francisco could easily run $300,000.

Meanwhile, the same flight on a commercial jet can run less than $300.

Pelosi campaigned on the promise that she would clean up the GOP's waste and abuse of taxpayer's dollars. So why doesn't she use the little commuter jet that the Air Force lent to Dennis Hastert, the previous speaker?

She said it was "not big enough" to accommodate her staff, supporters and other members of the California delegation.
Well, of course. Why didn’t we realize Pelosi needed a 300 passenger Boeing 757? The Speaker shouldn’t have had to take interrupt her busy schedule to tell us that.

Miniter continues:
Also, it would have to stop to refuel. "There's a certain amount of inefficiency and risk involved in stopping and having to refuel," a Pelosi spokesman said.
My goodness, I never thought about all those inefficient and risky refueling stops.

Maybe Pelosi really does need her own 757.

I mean, won’t she use it mostly for “work,” anyway?

You know, in flight “meetings” with “advocates who speak for the homeless, women’s rights, civil rights and the proper stewardship of our precious natural resources.”

And we want those “work sessions” to be as open to the press as possible. With more seats available, there’ll be more room for the press to accompany Pelosi and “report” to us what’s going on.

Sure, most of those reporters will be her fellow Democrats, but they don’t let that get in the way when they’re on the job, do they?

Miniter closes with this:
Congress should live under the laws it makes for the rest of us - gas taxes, plane travel and all. If Congress' leaders find these too onerous, they can change them for all of us.

Congress could learn a lesson from Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles. On their last visit to America, they flew commercial.
Just a moment, Richard Miniter!

Before you go too far, remember your talking about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s recently crowned Queen.

You can read Miniter's column here.

Hat Tips:

Anon JinC reader who put me on to the likelihood Pelosi will use the plane to give “rides” to the press, who’ll then write “stories” that could take the rest of us for “rides.”

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb 9, 2007

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

Admiral of the Fleet Earl Louis Mountbatten of Burma in 1970 told the following story during a lecture sponsored by the Churchill Centre:

[President Roosevelt and Churchill] liked pulling each other's leg and teasing each other. I saw the preparation of a marvelous practical joke on Winston Churchill.

The President had found one of these American middle-aged crusading women. This woman's crusade was that the British should quit India and give her independence.

Roosevelt knew that this was the very last thing Churchill wanted. He had been brought up on Rudyard Kipling, playing polo and so forth in India, and the last thing he wanted was the Indians to get independence.

They had luncheon in the small room at the White House with perhaps eight or ten people. The Prime Minister sat next to the President and then came the crusading woman. All the others there knew what was going to happen except Winston.

The crusading woman could hardly contain herself and at the first possible opportunity she said: "Mr. Prime Minister, what do you intend to do about those wretched Indians?"

Winston drew himself up and replied: "Madam, to which Indians do you refer? Do you by chance refer to [the ones who] under benign and beneficent British rule [have] multiplied and prospered exceedingly or do you mean those unfortunate Indians of the North American continent?”
I’m sorry to tell you Mountbatten didn't say what happened next.

It may have been something as simple as: “And would you pass the rolls, Madam. I think the President wants one.”

Have a good weekend. I hope you're all back Monday.

WRAL: Judge Will Stay Complaint Against Nifong

WRAL is reporting:

A judge said early Friday evening he will issue an order on Monday to stay any action on a Durham resident's attempt to remove former Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong from office.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson said the civil complaint filed Friday by Elizabeth Brewer basically mirrors ethics charges the North Carolina State Bar filed against the Durham County district attorney within the past two months.

Citing provisions in North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 7A-66 on the removal of district attorneys, Brewer charges Nifong with willful misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the office into disrepute. ...

This was filed by a woman who tried to defeat me through the political process," Nifong told WRAL's Julia Lewis early Friday evening after he had a chance to review the complaint. "Since that wasn't successful, she obviously tried to pursue this through this particular remedy." ...

Nifong also said Friday he is looking forward to defending himself against the State Bar's ethics charges and that he is working with his attorneys on a response, which is due Feb. 23."I wish everyone would withhold judgment until they hear the evidence, as well as my response," he told WRAL, adding that there is more to the Duke lacrosse case than what the media has reported.
More to the case than has been reported?

Is Nifong trying to mislead us again with “he must have a ‘smoking gun?’”

Surely, no one other than Durham H- S editor Bob Ashley, the state’s NAACP leadership and a few others will now help him sell that hoodwink.

I’ll be sorry if Judge Hudson stays Brewer’s request.

Nifong needs to be removed from office. Governor Mike Easley should never have appointed his fellow Democrat DA in the first place.

I’ll post again on Brewer’s removal request later tonight or tomorrow.

A Liestoppers post worth stealing?

I was tempted to steal the Liestoppers post below and claim it as my own.

I mean, LS put the post up only a few minutes ago, so if anyone asked I could always claim LS really stole the post from me. The time differences would only be because our watches were a “little off.”

I haven’t watched Mike Nifong for 10 months and learned nothing.

But then I thought about Beth Brewer and the Duke Women’s lacrosse team and Duke Law professor James Coleman and folks like that.

I told myself: “You better not cheat.”

Anyway, here’s my post – oops – Liestoppers’ post:

Irony or Simply BS?

Defendant Nifong responding to charges filed against him by the State Bar and Beth Brewer: "I wish everyone would withhold judgment until they hear the evidence, as well as my response," he [Nifong] told WRAL.

Defendant Nifong responding to charges against the Hoax victims one day after his first briefing from Durham Police: “I am convinced that there was a rape, yes, sir.”

Not that it matters, but was Nifong speaking of "my response" that resulted in additional charges of dishonesty from the State Bar or has he invented a new one?

Citizen to Court: “Remove Nifong”

From Liestoppers:

On Thursday, Durham County NC resident, Elizabeth Brewer, filed a sworn affidavit with the Clerk of Superior Court in Durham County requesting the Court remove District Attorney Mike Nifong from office.

Under the provisions set forth in NC General Statute §7A-66, Removal of district attorneys, Ms. Brewer’s affidavit charges Mr. Nifong with §7A-66(2) Willful misconduct in office and §7A-66(6) Conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute. Either of the charges, if found to be true, are grounds for removal under the statute.

In her affidavit Ms. Brewer cites many of the same charges recently brought against Mr. Nifong by the NC State Bar.
Brewer’s a Durham resident with no connection to Duke University or the three young men wrongly indicted during the Duke Hoax witch hunt.

Last fall Brewer chaired of the Recall Nifong – Vote Cheek campaign which sought to defeat Nifong in the November election. Nifong was elected with 49% of the vote in a three-way race.

Liestoppers again:
Brewer [says], “There can be no faith in our justice system with a district attorney who, in a very public case, conspires to withhold exculpatory evidence from the defense and repeatedly makes misrepresentations and false statements to the Court and opposing counsel about the matter.”
Brewer's affidavit is part of this post. (Scroll down)

I’ve read it. It’s carefully constructed, clearly stated, detailed, and fact-based. Brewer cites many of the same Nifong statements and actions that convinced the NC State Bar’s Ethic’s Committee to bring charges against him which many say will result in his disbarment.

What happens now?

According to KC Johnson:
The affidavit [will be brought to the attention of the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Durham County,] Orlando Hudson. Within 30 days, he must: dismiss the charges; act upon them by suspending or removing Nifong from office; or refer them to another judge.

If he takes the third option, the referring judge gets another 30 days to review the case, at which point the judge can suspend or remove Nifong.

If either Hudson or the referring judge entertains Brewer’s affidavit, Nifong would be entitled to a hearing between 10 and 30 days later. The hearing would be open to the public. All testimony shall be recorded. The judge would hear all evidence and make all findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Maybe in the course of his proceedings, Hudson could also take time to interview the grand jurors, to determine whether they were given misleading or false testimony by either Sgt. Gottlieb, Det. Himan, or both.
Of course, JinC will follow this story as it plays out.

Later tonight I'll say more about Brewer's action today.

Almost all of you who come here are cheering what Brewer's done. So am I.

I hope you drop Beth Brewer an email at:

What Beth Brewer did today is rare but vital to democracy.

She stepped forward and exercised her citizen’s right to “speak truth to power.”

We all think about it; few of us do it.

Thank you, Beth.

Columnist: 88 didn’t consider “innocence”

Brandon McGinley at [excerpt]

Without considering the potential innocence of their students, the postmodern elite among the faculty at Duke sprung into action, unleashing a torrent of intellectually stylish buzz words such as "race," "class," "gender" and the granddaddy of them all: "white male privilege."

It was irrelevant that the case against the students deteriorated daily; it was irrelevant that the accused were members of the Duke community and, as such, might be entitled to respect and support; and it was irrelevant that the young men were innocent until proven guilty. Their status as wealthy Caucasian males was enough to pass judgment on their actions and their character.

Within a few weeks of the allegation, apparently outraged [Group of 88] faculty members seized the opportunity to promote their radical leftist ideology of racial, sexual and financial oppression in the local press.

[In “Duke’s Tenured Vigilantes,” Weekly Standard writer Charlotte] Allen makes a convincing case that the rush judgment by the [Group of 88] enabled both the district attorney and the national media to forge onward with their own crusades against the hapless lacrosse players.
McGinley’s “on the money” from start to finish. The only thing I disagree with is his referring to the 88 as “elite.”

They come across more like pampered, self-indulged preeners.

McGinley's voice is new to me. How about you?

I'm sending him an H/T and a link to this post. His email:

I hope he contunues to speak out.

A “big, black man” and faculty duty

Readers' Note: It's been called to my attention that in a Jan. 27 letter to The Chronicle Professor Wahneema Lubiano has termed "a misrepresentation of my thoughts" press reports that she knew the 88's ad would be seen by many as a "stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team." You can read Lubiano's letter here.


Reasonable people at Duke University and elsewhere continue to question its faculty Group of 88’s “listening statement,” published last April as a full-page advertisement in the University’s student newspaper, The Chronicle. (Ad here. Pdf)

The ad was signed by 88 faculty members and endorsed by more than a dozen academic departments and programs.

It’s been widely-reported that Professor Wahneema Lubiano, who laid out the ad, knew it would be seen by many as "a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team." Lubiano's never denied the reports.

Among the growing ranks of those questioning the 88’s ad are Friends of Duke University, which yesterday placed it’s own ad in The Chronicle, and historian and blogger Robert KC Johnson.

Johnson today posted: "Friends of Duke Confronts the Group of 88."

It’s an informative and thought-provoking post that poses questions all of us, including Duke’s trustees and President Brodhead, should be asking the 88.

Here’s one of KC's questions followed by my response:

The April 6 ad contains the following anonymous quote from an alleged Duke student: “Being a big, black man, it’s hard to walk anywhere at night, and not have a campus police car slowly drive by me.” Have any of you approached the Duke police force to ask if it has a policy of slowing down when officers see a Black man on campus? Have any of you experienced or observed this phenomenon?
I can answer KC’s question because at various times during the last 30-plus years I’ve been a Duke student, parent, and contract service provider. I’ve lived in Durham most of those years and have been on campus thousands of times during the day and night.

I answered KC’s question last November in a post, “Duke faculty duties,” addressed to 88 signatory and William R. Kenan Professor of English Karla FC Holloway, then a member of President Brodhead’s Campus Culture Initiative committee. [excerpt]:
It’s true that at night campus police cars drive slowly by big, black men. We’ve both seen them do it.

But we also know that at night Duke police cars drive slowly by small white women, elderly Asian couples, Hispanics and grandparents of every ethnicity holding their grandchildren’s hands.

Duke police are watching out for all of us regardless of our size, race, or gender.

To do that, they need to see us and any threats that might be behind or about us.

So they “slowly drive by” us.

Responsible adults would explain all of that to the “big, black man.”

Who would leave him seeing a racial aspect in a police practice that has none?

The student’s misperception doesn’t help him or the police who seek to protect him. In fact, it makes serious misunderstandings between them more likely.

Didn’t you, as a faculty member, have a duty to tell the student why the campus police drive slowly by him at night?

Didn’t your “listening statement” colleagues have that same duty?

I hope you agree it was a failure of duty to advertise the student’s misperception in The Chronicle under any circumstances, but especially so at a tense time when some on campus were circulating “vigilante” posters targeting Duke students, and others were encouraging them.
I’ve never heard back from Professor Holloway.

And as far as I know, no member of the 88 or senior Duke administrator has publicly spoken to the question KC asked or those I asked.

People who care about Duke students and the University need to keep asking questions.

And President Brodhead and the University should begin answering them.

Hat tip: Johnsville News

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 8, 2007

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

The post below first appeared on Feb. 20, 2006. I republishing it today because it’s a series favorite; and I have some interesting information regarding it that I’ll add here following the post.

Did you know Churchill disliked whistling? His aides did and made sure not to whistle when he was around.But there was a London newsboy who didn’t know about Churchill’s dislike. What’s more, when he learned of it from Churchill himself, the boy didn’t care.

The incident happened one day as Churchill and his bodyguard, Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, were making the short walk from Parliament to 10 Downing Street. As Thompson tells it:

Approaching …(us) was a boy of about thirteen years of age, hands in pockets, newspapers under his arms, whistling loudly and cheerfully.

When the boy drew near, Winston hunched his shoulders, walked towards the boy and said in a stern voice: “Stop that whistling.”

The boy looked up at the Prime Minister with complete unconcern and answered: “Why should I?”

“Because I don’t like it and it’s a horrible noise,” growled Winston.The boy moved onwards a few steps, then turned round and called out: “Well, you can shut your ears, can’t you?”With that he walked on.

Winston was completely taken aback , and for a moment he looked furious. Then, as he crossed the road, he began to smile and quietly repeated to himself the words “You can shut your ears, can’t you?” and followed it up with a hearty chuckle.
I wonder whether Churchill chuckled because in his mind’s eye he saw something of himself in the boy.
Tom Hickman, Churchill's Bodyguard. (pgs, 116-117)


Peter Ackroyd in London: The Biography says that in times past “London’s small children, so that they might learn how to survive in a difficult environment, [were brought up] in a tradition of sharpness and impertinence. When Winston Churchill met a boy outside Downing in Street and asked him to stop whistling, the child replied: “Why should I? You can shut your ears, can’t you? …

The “artful dodger’ is perhaps only a slightly dramatized version of any “street-wise” London child , that imp of the perverse who seems somehow to have inherited all the leveling and egalitarian spirit of the city in his or her own small person." (p. 633)

Liestoppers on Easley

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, Liestoppers posted: “Easley’s Comments Questioned.”

The post's a first-rate mix of reporting and commentary; and still the most comprehensive of all the “Eaesley stumbled at NYU” pieces I’ve read.

Liestoppers not only pulled together and organized extensive reporting and commentary from MSM and blogs, they even “dipped into” some of Easley’s recent judicial appointments that seem to have – how to put this? – a political aspect.

Do you know what I think is the highest compliment – compliments really – that’s been paid LS's post?

A few people I know who “follow politics” and whose paths may cross with Easley’s have printed or electronically filed that post. And I’ll bet others like them have, too.

It's here.

Welcome to The Chronicle Blogger

Chronicle editor-in-chief Ryan McCartney started blogging yesterday at The Chronicle Blogger (CB). You can visit here.

I hope you will pay a welcome visit and share opinions, questions and concerns.

You’ll be one of the first to comment. At 11:30 A.M. Eastern, Feb. 8, there were only two comments there.

The Chronicle itself and Duke University pay attention to The Chronicle’s
institutional history. McCartney’s decision to lead The Chronicle into the blogosphere is a very significant one. Why he and others made it, how they manage the blog, and its impact on The Chronicle and Duke will be looked at and assessed for many decades.

More immediately, The Chronicle Blogger is going to receive intense scrutiny from many in the Duke community, especially those weary of blogs or worse, who've exhibited the kind of prejudice toward blogs that allows them to demean all blogs for the actions of only some, just as people with other forms of prejudice demean all members of a group based on the actions of only some group members.

The CB may cause “a little heartburn” among those in senior administration and on faculty who want everyone to “look forward.” That’s because I think once people discover the blog, many of them will start asking the kinds of questions I asked in the comment I left for Ryan at the CB. (see below)

It’s quite a step McCartney (with I know support and planning from other editors and staffers) has taken.

I wish The Chronicle Blogger well.

My comment to Ryan follows.


Dear Ryan,

Welcome to the blogosphere. I hope you and other Chronicle staff have a productive and satisfying stay.

Does your presence here mean that the next time President Brodhead or professors attack bloggers, the Chronicle will have a more fact-based and balance response than just slam the bloggers?

I have a question about news and editorial coverage of the events of May 18. Remember? That was when racists shouted threats at Reade Seligmann, including death threats in the courtroom?

To the best of my knowledge, TC never reported or editorialized on those events? Why not?

The trustees, President Brodhead, the senior administration, and just about everyone on the A&S faculty said nothing.

Their silences were and remain a big story. But I can’t find any mention of them in either your news or editorial columns. Why not?

The Chronicle had a reason(s) for not speaking out when the Women’s Lacrosse team was subjected to all that sexist media abuse when the women decided to wear sweat bands with the indicted players numbers on them at the National Championship in Boston.
What was The Chronicle’s reason for not speaking out?

Here’s a news tip: In his press releases on Mar. 25 and Apr. 5, President Brodhead never said anything about the extensive cooperation the players had provided the police.

As Brodhead remained silent, the “Wanted” and “Vigilante” posters circulated; and the dangers to the players, other Dukies and everyone else in the community grew.

How about doing a story on why Brodhead said nothing back then about the “wall of silence” falsehood.

Dean of students Sue Wasiolek knows a lot about the players’ cooperation with police. She’d be a good source for background.

There’s more I could say but I don’t want this to get overly long.

Again, Ryan, welcome to the blogoshpere. I’m glad you and TC have taken this step.


John in Carolina

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 7, 2007

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

After his December 1941 visit to the White House for war planning sessions and a trip to Canada where he addressed that country’s Parliament, Churchill took a brief vacation in Florida. It was his only one of the war.

He stayed at an oceanfront house in Palm Beach. His bodyguard, Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, tells us what happened one day when, in a light-hearted mode, Churchill went for a swim:

As he got ready a shout from the beach conveyed the information that a fifteen-foot shark had just swum to within a few yards of the shore, but that it was probably a harmless sand shark.

“I am not so sure about that ,” said Winston with a smile. “I want to see his identity card before I trust myself to him.”

As he sat down in the shallows by the water’s edge, he asked me to keep a sharp lookout.

“Let me know if that ‘inoffensive’ shark comes back,” he said.

But we saw no more of it, and when he left the water Mr. Churchill remarked, “My bulk must have frightened him away!”
Once again we see Churchill’s ability to poke fun at himself. You don’t find Hitler doing that.

Walter Thompson, Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard. (p, 106)

Air Pelosi: My solution

I guess you all know:

Speaker Pelosi has requested an Air Force C-32 - a plane from a fleet that that typically carries the vice president, the first lady, and Cabinet officials. Operating Costs are approximately $15,000 an hour.

Speaker Pelosi is not responsible for paying for the use of her "personal" Department of Defense jet - which will be used to transport not just herself, but staff, family, other members and friends.

That bill is paid for by taxpayer dollars allotted to the Department of Defense.
Well, of course, the bill would be paid by taxpayers. Who else?

Pelosi’s a powerful liberal Democrat. So she naturally expects ordinary taxpayers to pay for “her” plane?

If you don’t understand that, you probably don’t appreciate everything Sen. Ted Kennedy’s done for you.

You may even be one of those who are so heartless as to oppose Kennedy’s plan to give everyone “free health care.”

You know, like they get in Cuba and North Korea.

(You’re drifting, John. What about Air Pelosi ? )

You’re right. Sorry about that.

My solution to Pelosi’s problem?


All the people who think Pelosi needs her own Air Force C-32 should do what Americans did at the depths of the Depression when they learned President Franklin Roosevelt, who’d been stricken with polio in 1921, could benefit from a swimming pool in The White House.

At we read:
As the men and women of New York opened copies of the New York Daily News on March 14, 1933, they learned of a campaign to raise money for building the president a swimming pool at the White House.

The effort was a way to honor President Franklin Roosevelt, a New York native who suffered from the crippling disease, poliomyelitis. The President often swam at therapy pools at his Hyde Park home in New York or at a center in Warm Springs, Georgia.

The campaign was a success, and the workmen gathered around the pool on June 2, 1933 to listen to President Roosevelt, who spoke from his wheelchair and thanked them for their work. […]
Imagine that. Individual Americans – tens of thousands of them – chipped in to pay for the swimming pool.

Why can’t something like that happen now?

Surely, just among top Democratic Party leaders, Pelosi could raise enough to buy, staff and maintain her own Air Pelosi One.

Think about it.

Sen. John Kerry has five large homes. Ted Kennedy has four large ones, as does his nephew, the “environmental activist,” Robert Kennedy Jr.

Then there’s Democratic presidential candidate John “Don’t buy at Wal-Mart” Edwards’ with his 30,000 sq. ft. house.

I’ll bet you could fit that C-32 Pelosi wants in Edwards’ living room and still have enough space left to build in a liqueur cabinet for Ted Kennedy and a secure storage file for all those Navy records Kerry still won't release.

Did I mention Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)?

Don’t you agree just those Democratic Party leaders can swing a C- 32 for Pelosi without even dipping into their next month’s “entertainment” budgets?

So there’s my solution. Let the super-rich Democrats pay for Air Pelosi.

And give ordinary taxpayers a break.

Chronicle Brodhead poll problems - update

Yesterday I posted: "Chronicle Brodhead poll problems."

Chronicle editor-in-chief Ryan McCartney has been very responsive regarding resolving issues I raised in the post.

But I want to do some fact chacking and systems checking before I post on "the latest."

I'm staying on it.

Keep looking in.

Why Easley stumbled

Columnist John Hood had it right:

Easley Stumbles on Duke Lacrosse

"Gov. Mike Easley has a significant public-relations problem on his hands. I wonder if he and his staff fully comprehend its magnitude." […]
If Easley and his staff didn’t comprehend the problem before this morning, they must now. The state’s two largest newspapers - The Raleigh News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer - editorialized about it this morning.

Among other things, the editors wondered why Easley went all the way to New York to comment on Mike Nifong’s conduct. (I’ll get to that question in just a bit.)

But first - - -

Why did Easley - an attorney, a former DA, a former state Attorney General, and the twice elected Governor of one of the largest states in the nation - stumble so badly on the question about his appointment of Nifong.

Easley could have answered that question with something as simple and straightforward as:
”At the time I appointed Nifong, I was acting on the best advice I could get. He’d had a long career in Durham and many people, including some leading attorneys and the two most recent DA’s he’d served under, urged his appointment.

If I could undo that appointment now, I would. But I can’t.

Both as the Governor and as an attorney, I support the NC State Bar’s Ethics Committee’s decision of to bring charges against Nifong.

I’ve told Attorney General Roy Cooper that if there’s anything my office can do to assist his office in conducting a fair and full investigation into the charges the woman made and what was subsequently done by Durham police and DA Nifong about them, Cooper just needs to call me.

I don’t want to say anything more about the case except I want justice to take its course. And I believe the people of North Carolina want the same thing."
If Easley had said something like that, he’d be standing today on the high ground.

I think Easley stumbled because he was in a situation where he had to answer a question he knew he would be asked but didn’t want to answer, and hadn’t prepared to answer.


Easley was in New York, IMO, to meet with big givers who could help bankroll an Easley ’10 U.S. Senate run against freshman Republican Richard Burr.

Before “investing,” big givers want to learn a lot of things including: “How does he handle the tough questions?”

Thus, the Q&A at NYU. The big givers may not have arranged that “opportunity.” It’s more likely some “inside player” advancing for Easley got the NYU date and tied it in with big giver meetings.

I doubt the big givers went to the NYU session but they would “hear reports.” And, yes, NYU made sure to audio tape the session.

If Easley had been home in NC he could have fobbed off the question. But he knew the big givers were “tuning in.”

So he had to respond.


In 2004 Easley and President Bush both carried NC with almost the same number of popular votes and the same vote percentage ( 56%). But they didn’t have the same voter base.

Easley’s base included 90% of black voters as well as a very large number of white voters who’d voted for Bush. If Easley can preserve his ability to appeal to both those voter groups, he’ll succeed in a ’10 Senate race.

But the Hoax Case presents Easley with the challenge of responding without alienation significant numbers of people in two voter groups which are seen as on opposite sides of the Hoax Case.

That’s the short answer explanation for why Easley didn’t want to answer the question and, in fact, hadn’t spoken at all about a case that’s embroiled our state for 10 months.

Easley tried for a “please everyone a little” answer which doesn't seem to have pleased anyone. Here's how one reader reacted (excerpt):
Easley states, without any equivocation, that "racial slurs" were used. He does not call it an allegation, etc. and he mentions "conduct," all of which seem to me to be perpetuating the myth that drove this story in the first place.

His only REAL criticism of Nifong seems to be that Nifong spoke to the media. His tone of voice and offhandedness about purposely not disclosing exculpatory evidence has morphed into a focus on the passage of the law in N.C. about evidence that happened during his tenure as A.G.- his tenure as A.G. seems to be the most salient point for him.
Easley stumbled so badly he wound up completing what I thought was “a mission impossible:” he’s made President Brodhead seem not so bad after all.


The story’s told that when the young Lyndon Johnson applied for his first teaching job, a school board member asked him how he would teach the then very controversial theory of evolution.

“What are you looking for?” Johnson’s supposed to have asked. “I can teach it either way.”

Why wasn’t Easley prepared? I don’t know. I hope some of the political jockeys weigh in on the question.

I’d also like to hear what you think.

And as I said in yesterday's post,"NC's weasely Easley," to really "get" what Easley said and how he presented himself listen to the audio tape of his remarks.(directions to it are in the post)

Excellent news and commentary is at Durham-in-Wonderland, Johnsville News and Liestoppers.

I'll post again on this story tonight and include in that post some other blog links.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Churchill Series - Feb. 6, 2007

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

During most of his public life, The Times of London was one of Churchill’s sharpest critics, particularly during the 1930s.

Many of The Times’ editorials from that period castigating Churchill for his opposition to appeasement and his warnings of German rearmament and Nazi aggression read more like pieces composed in Berlin rather than in London’s Fleet Street.

During WW II, of course, The Times was generally on the side of the Government Churchill led.

But as the war was coming to an end, The Times decided it knew how Churchill could best serve his country and the world. Churchill was ready with his response. From The New York Times’ obituary of Jan. 26, 1965:

At the end of the war, before the election that he lost in 1945, The Times of London prepared an editorial suggesting that he campaign as a nonpartisan world leader and retire gracefully rather soon afterward. The editor first informed Churchill that he was going to make these two points.

"Mr. Editor," Churchill said to the first point, "I fight for my corner." And, to the second: "Mr. Editor, I leave when the pub closes."
I'll bet most of you are saying, “That’s telling him, Mr. Churchill. Cheers!”

At his death The Times of London paid Churchill many tributes. One in particular touched the British people. The paper removed all advertising from its front page. It had not done that in more than half a century.

The New York Times’ obituary can be found here thanks to The Churchill Centre.

NC’s weasely Easley

From Merriam –Webster’s Online Dictionary:

weasel word -- a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position.

By now everyone’s heard that our Governor, Mike Easley, told the city folks at NYU Law School a tale about how a good ol’ boy like himself turned country lawyer turned Brunswick County DA turned NC State Attorney General turned twice elected NC Governor came one day to appointing as Durham DA that slick Mike Nifong, his fellow Democrat.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported some of Easley's weasely comments. (“Easley: Nifong broke his word.”)

But the N&O’s story left out some important items.

Ol’ JinC recommends anyone “traveling down Tobacco Road” listen to what Easley actually said.

To do that, go here at N&O online where you’ll see a photo of Governor Easley. Beneath it are some menus. The second menu’s titled: Related Content.

The first link below Related Content is to the audio of Easley’s remarks. They’re part of a Q&A and last about three minutes.

Don’t miss listening to the audio of Easley’s tale.

You’ll hear, for instance, Easley say: “I do know the obvious conduct and we’ve seen with the racial slurs and that sort of thing certainly does not – does not speak well for the conduct …. However, you can’t comment … [comment trails off].

Was that weasling or just Easley stumbling?

Will anyone at the N&O or elsewhere among MSM follow-up on that? Why did they ignore it in the first place?

Then there’s Easley allowing as how “I” appointed judges but “we” appointed Nifong.

Who’s the “we?” How did we get from "I" to "we?"

On the audio Easley says when he learned Nifong was going to run for a full term “I almost unappointed him”.

Could Easley really have done that?

Was Nifong only serving at the pleasure of the Governor?

Or was Easley just “talkin’ through his britches?”

I’ll post more on this story tomorrow.

Meanwhile, two items.

1) Some people are saying the N&O was the first to report on Easley’s remarks.

I have it in my head that about Jan. 22 or 23 Liestoppers mentioned Easley’s remarks at NYU.

I feel very sure it was a Liestoppers’ report that prompted my call to Easley’s office around the 23rd seeking clarification concerning his NYU remarks.

I hit a brick wall on that.

2) Don’t miss John Hood’s insightful column on Easley’s weasly NYU words.

I’ll be back on this story tomorrow.

That’s a promise.

And I won’t Easley out on it.

If I do, you can Nifong me.

Easley post delayed

I won't have the Easley post up by 2 P.M.

It will be more like 7 P.M.

Work's a factor.

So too is the situation I encountered when I started what looked like it would be an easy post concerning Chronicle poll findings re: President Brodhead's handling of the you know what.

You can read about what happened here.

I hope you're back around 7.

I'm sorry for the delay.


Chronicle Brodhead poll problems


We have a mystery involving the publication at The Chronicle's online site of poll results of President Brodhead's handling of what the editors still call "the lacrosse scandal."

Below in Section 1 you'll find a post I started about noon when I saw at The Chronicle the poll results reported in Section 1.

A little after 1 P.M. I interrupted work on the post to check The Chronicle's link.

I then found a dramatically different set of poll results at The Chronicle.

I've pasted those second poll results into Section 2 below.

Following that is a copy of an email I'm sending Ryan McCartney, Chronicle editor-in-chief.

I'll keep you posted


SECTION 1 ----

At The Chronicle's online site I found the following:

Current Question

How well did President Brodhead handle the lacrosse scandal?

Exceeded expectations --- 7%

He did the best he could have --- 11%

Not very well --- 50%

He bungled every aspect of Duke's responses --- 32%

This The Chronicle poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.
Indeed, it's not scientific.

Still, I was surprised by how poorly the respondents rated Brodhead's handling of what I hope The Chronicle will soon stop calling "the lacrosse scandal." (Note to Chronicle editors - Try "the Duke Hoax" or "the Nifong scandal.")

Eighty-two percent of respondents said Brodhead hadn't handled things "very well" or

SECTION 2 --- Poll results found at 1:15 P.M.
Current Question
How has President Brodhead handled the lacrosse incident?

Brodhead exceeded expectations --- 46%

As well as anybody could do --- 27%

Not very well --- 18%

Brodhead was terrible --- 9%

This The Chronicle poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.

SECTION 3 - Email to Editor McCartney

Dear Editor McCartney:

If you take a look at this post:

you'll see that within an hour I face-page printed two dramatically different sets of Chronicle poll results concerning President Brodhead's handling of "the lacrosse scandal."

Not only did the percentages differ dramatically but, in some instances, response stems did too.

I would appreciate you're looking into this matter.

I'll publish in full at JinC your response to my request.


John in Carolina

The Churchill Series – Feb. 5, 2007

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

In Winston Churchill and His Inner Circle Sir John “Jock” Colville, Churchill’s Private Secretary for much of WW II and later his close friend, writes:

In the first few years after the war Britain was the sole European victor. …

Churchill’s mission, as he saw it, was to promote unity, but although Britain would be “of Europe,” she would, as he had written in 1930, not be comprised in it. Her destiny lay with the Empire and on the seas. It would be furthered and also insured by a close and special relationship with the United States.

Britain, strong and independent, would certainly not be excluded from Europe: on the contrary, she would add purpose and stability to the new continental union. She would provide a vital link not only with the United States but, because of her vast Empire, with Asia, Africa and the Pacific basin. (pgs. 263-264)
A lot could be said about all of that.

I’ll make just four points now:

1) Britain today is ambivalent about it’s place in a united Europe. It’s still won’t, for example, give up it own currency as so many other European countries have. (I'm not suggesting it should.)

2) The Anglo-American alliance was the 20th century’s most important alliance for democracy, commerce and a chance for a better life for billions of us.

3) Britain lost her Empire but the dominance of the English language was an enormously important, still under-appreciated contribution to human betterment.

4) What Colville terms “Churchill’s mission” is one more reminder of what a great and good man he was.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Signs at Johnsville News

Over at Johnsville News you can see some "signs of the times."

They're spoofs of reverse racism. If you can't laugh at that sort of thing, don't go to JN and look here.

But if you do go, among the signs be sure to notice the sign of The Times.

You may have to squint, but it's there.

Easley-Nifong-Hood comments tomorrow

I’ll be commenting tomorrow on Gov. Mike Easley's remarks at NYU Law School concerning Durham DA Mike Nifong.

I’ll also comment on John Hood’s column as well as my efforts to get something out of Easley’s press office when I first learned from Liestoppers that Easley had spoken about Nifong at NYU.

It’s a story that says something about how "news" is made.

I hope you look in.

My post will be up by 2 pm Eastern.

My Valentine

A little while ago my wife told me she’d been to the mall and stopped in a card shop.

“I tried to find a card for you, but all the decent ones were expensive. So I passed them up and came home.

When I drove into the garage, I saw you hadn’t put the garbage out.

I did it for you. Happy Valentine.”

KC Johnson’s N&O omission

Today, KC Johnson posted: “Consistencies.”

His post contains this paragraph:

To my knowledge, the only journalist to issue an out-and-out apology for his or her early handling of [the Duke lacrosse] case was Susan Ihne of the Asheville Citizen-Times. David Brooks and Ruth Sheehan did so implicitly, by looking beyond their early judgments and seeking the truth. (If there are others, please let me know.) The New York Times? Nothing. The Herald-Sun? Nothing.
If you’ve followed the case, you know KC’s right about the New York Times and The Durham Herald-Sun.

But I’ll bet you're also asking yourselves:“Why didn’t KC mention The Raleigh News & Observer? Could we have had the witch hunt without the N&O?”

So am I.

I hope KC tells us.

Bill Anderson: Right from the start

Professor and columnist William “Bill” Anderson said at the end of his April 15, 2006 column:

”If this situation were not so politically charged, I seriously doubt whether rape charges would follow. Instead, we see something much worse, politics and government in action to railroad people into prison. What happened at the Duke party was ugly, but what has transpired since then is even uglier.”
Two days later, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were indicted as part of a frame-up; with David Evans indicted shortly thereafter.

Professor Anderson had it nailed eight months before Duke President Richard H. Brodhead could bring himself to say a single word critical of DA Mike Nifong.

Bill responded today to my post:“The Attorney’s Lesson.”

Here’s part of what he said:
Nifong should go to prison, but we shall see. …

[Nifong] needs to see some real crowbar motel time. Nothing less will suffice, as far as I am concerned.
I’m with Bill on that.

“Crowbar motel” was a new one on me.

Question and comment for Bill – Will Nifong get at that motel what he can get at NC’s Central Prison: three hots and a cot?

I know you aren’t happy to have been proved right but thank you for alerting us. So many others who had a good idea of what was going on didn’t speak up. Brodhead, of course. NC’s Gov. Mike Easley, for another.

Bill’s April 15 column is here.

The Attorney’s Lesson

An attorney I was talking with the other day gave me a lesson.

The attorney said the public still has no idea “just how extraordinarily important and powerful” the DNA evidence is that DA Nifong and DNA Security Lab director Brian Meehan conspired to withhold from the defense.

What follows is a close paraphrase, using a first person voice, of what the attorney then said:

Suppose it’s 1985 and those three guy are accused and indicted just as they were. Everything’s the same as it is now except no DNA.

At the trial it’s only the woman’s word and she’s changed her story a couple of times.

But that’s no problem. The prosecution puts expert witnesses on the stand who tell the jury it’s normal for a woman to change her story.

I’ve seen cases where prosecutors have told juries that the woman changing her story is one more proof she was raped.

Factor in the media onslaught you had against those kids and you get convictions. They’re sent away for life.

Twenty years goes by.

Now it's 2006 and DNA evidence identical to the evidence Nifong and Meehan tried to hide is brought forward in an actual innocence claim on the players' behalf.

That evidence, in and of itself, is enough to set those guys free. Just that DNA evidence. It’s that powerful. It's that important.

Not only that, and I could cite the appellate court decisions for you, in circumstances like that states have been directed by the courts to expunge any records of the charges, the convictions, and the imprisonments. The state is supposed to also make formal apologies to the guys.

It's all an attempt to “make the person whole;” only you can’t really make a person whole in those circumstances.

The state is also supposed to look at the case again.

Did the woman lie? Was she drugged and just didn’t know who? Did she just ID the wrong guys? Is she still claiming rape? ( The attorney mentioned that when North Carolina prosecutors seek indictment for rape, they almost always also seek indictments for sexual assault and kidnapping as happened in the Hoax case. Attorneys and judges refer to the practice of linking the three as “boxcaring.” - JinC)

If the state believes the woman is confused but still has some credibility or if it believes on some other basis a sex crime was committed against her, it should treat the other men, excluding the driver, whose DNA was found in her as suspects; and then either eliminate them as suspects or weigh bringing charges.
The attorney’s words were quite a lesson, at least for me.

They helped strengthen my belief the State Bar will disbar Nifong. Given the seriousness of what he did and the public's growing awareness of that, the Bar doesn’t dare do otherwise, even if it’s so inclined.

The attorney's lesson also helped strengthen my belief that what Nifong and Meehan did was so wrong and so serious that they ought to go to prison.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

JinC weather advisory

Temperatures across the northern U.S. are in the mid-teens with wind chill factors well below zero in many places.

The AP reports:

Temperatures in Minneapolis and St. Paul were expected to stay below freezing until sometime Tuesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Karen Trammel….

Harsh winter weather conditions brought whiteout conditions that were blamed for traffic pileups in Michigan and Ohio.

At Lutsen Mountains Ski and Snowboard Area … the temperature was minus 8 degrees....
”Wow! Someone please turn up the gas.”

Sure, here it comes:
[Former Vice President Al] Gore ... says An Inconvenient Truth gives him a stronger platform on the issue of global warming than did his position as vice president or his presidential candidacy.
In the '04 presidential election, Gore endorsed Sen. John Kerry, who has five large houses, three SUVs registered in his name and a 40+ foot motorized yacht.

Advice: If you're wrorried about the severe cold, stick close to those Gore and Kerry gas generators.

Talking to Regulars and Readers - Feb. 4, 2007

Readers’ Caution: The false accuser is named at this blog.

(This is a post in the “old” web log tradition: notes and “thinking out loud” at the end of the day for those in the know with few, if any, links.)

As always, thank you. I read every comment.

I appreciate the comments affirming what I do. They help keep me going.

I also appreciate comments pointing out my errors.

Tomorrow I’ll post on a nice correction the folks at Liestoppers sent me, and my response to them. I think you’ll like it.

Be sure to read those threads. There’s a lot of good information and commentary there. Also, some sharp wit.

There are a couple of threads where I was able to make at least brief responses to most or all your comments. I wish I could do that in every case.

Where I don’t respond individually, I often nevertheless make active use of what you say.

For example, a recent reader noted the NC State Bar opened an ethics file on Nifong on Mar. 30. That put the date in the front of my brain so that when I was posting a response to The Chronicle’s “Just send $$$ alums” editorial, I cited that date when noting to the editors how long President Brodhead had been silent in the face of Nifong’s travesties.

A while back someone mentioned that on May 18 when the racists in the courtroom shouted “Dead man walking!” at Reade Seligmann, a deputy or bailiff went to the man who’d made the death threat, at which point someone who was with the man said he could vouch for him and the court officer left Seligmann’s threatener in the care of the other man.

The JinC reader wondered whether the death threatener would have been left in the other man’s “care,” if the threatener had been a KKK member.

I haven’t forgotten that comment. If I can find the news source where the incident account mentions the reported action of the deputy/bailiff, I plan to use it in a post urging condemnation of the racists and support for Seligmann and his family.

Many of you ask about lawsuits. It sure is a complex area. And I’m not an attorney. So I must be doubly careful what I say.

But starting tomorrow I’ll begin posting more often regarding suits.

Also, I plan to return to those “Wanted” and “Vigilante” posters I first reported on last May.

At lot has happened since.

One of the most important Hoax stories has to do with the Raleigh N&O’s cover-up of what Mangum actually told them including, the N&O has admitted, that fact that she ID’ed Kim Roberts in its now discredited Mar. 25 “anonymous interview” story and made charges about Robert that we’re now told the N&O considered would be libelous for it to publish.

I’ll be back with a talking post tomorrow.


More reports on today’s Walk. Photos, too

Jon Ham at Right Angles has a report with photos.

You can read more reports and comments on the walk at Liestoppers' forum.

Hat/Tip - Liestoppers

Lax Support Walk: First report (updated)

Citizen journalist Locomotive Breath sends this report of today’s Walk in Durham in support of the three former Duke lacrosse players - David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann - framed by DA Nifong and certain DPD police officers.

LB reports:

I was there. The walk went great.

Only local media: H-S, N&O, TVx3.

DPD had the route closed off and was stopping cross traffic. The only untoward incident I witnessed was a woman stopped in a cross street honked and yelled something out her window. (I don't think it was supportive.)

I counted 114 walkers on the turn into Campus Drive. Lots of lax parents and I talked to two of last year's seniors.
Thank you, LB.

Update at 2:45 PM on 2/4 - There was a second walk along a different route from the one NB reported on. His count doesn't include those walking the other route.

If someone can provide that information I'll post on the total count and whatever other news has come in by then.

Not live blogging the walk

I'll not be live blogging the Walk in support of the three former Duke lacrosse players framed by DA Nifong and certain Durham police officers with enablement by many in media ,at Duke and in Durham.

I'll try to get and update on how it want this evening and post a report then.