Saturday, March 24, 2007

Re: KC Johnson’s “More CrimeStoppers” (Part 1)

If you’re not familiar with issues surrounding the production and distribution of the Durham CrimeStoppers’ Duke lacrosse “Wanted” poster, please refer to this post which contains a facsimile of the poster and links to posts published by KC Johnson, and others I published.

Also, please search my archives. Using entry term “wanted poster” returned 52 hits; “CrimeStoppers’ 52 “hits:” and “Russ” 28 “hits”

Now some thoughts on KC Johnson’s “More CrimeStoppers” post, with more thoughts to follow tomorrow and perhaps soon thereafter.

First, a “Thank you” to KC for getting more information out there and advancing the story. He’s pulled a lot of ways covering almost every aspect of the Hoax, but I hope he stays on the CrimeStoppers “Wanted” poster part of it.

We’ll learn so much about how the Hoax was developed and “sold” to the public if we, to paraphrase Deep Throat, “follow the posters.”

Regarding Durham Police Major Lee Russ’ recent presentation to the Durham CS board, KC reports board members Sue Wasiolek, Duke’s dean of students and Dan Hill, a Duke alum and Durham business and community leader, reported:

Russ said that to his best recollection, no blogger asked either him or DPD spokesperson Kammie Michael about who served on the CrimeStoppers’ board. (John in Carolina has said he [in] June 2006 did contact Russ about this issue.)
I provide an account of my interview with Russ in this post which KC referenced. I hope you take a look at it.

I sent Russ a link to the post and a few days after that phoned him to make sure he felt I’d fairly represented what he said. He said I had, and he had no problem with anything in the post.

Is it possible Russ forgot I’d asked him about how to contact CS board members? Sure.

In any case I stand by everything I wrote in that post.

KC reports Wasiolek and Hill “reiterated that neither they nor any other member of the CS board ever made any attempt to hide their connection with the organization.”

That being the case, I’m doubly glad I never reported CS board members were attempting to “hide their connection.”

I did report that multiple VMs I left at the CS phone number (the same one for contact with Durham CS Coordinator DPD Corporal David Addison) were never returned and that my net searches failed to turn up a contact address for Durham CS’s board or the posting of any minutes or a CS meeting schedule.

I only learned of CS board members Wasiolek and DUPD director Robert Dean’s CS board membership through information provided by a JinC commenter, Cederford. I followed up immediately with Dean, who was CS board chair at the time the "Wanted" poster was produced. Dean promptly responded to questions I asked him. I reported his response to you here.

I’ve more questions for the CS board as I’m sure you do.

I’ll be putting a call in to the CS phone number again and leaving a contact email address. I’ll also ask DUPD’s director Dean a few other questions.

I’ll keep you posted on all of that.

A couple of other thoughts:

Will the CS board talk to Addison about what he did? I sure wish he’d been at the CS board meeting along with Russ.

When will the minutes of the latest CS board meeting be available to the public as I’m told they are supposed to be? Will CS post them on the net?

On the matter of Addison being described as “overzealous.”

A police officer can be overzealous but still be acting properly within the law. Say, for instance, an officer who reads a brief witness statement 100 times to see if there was any information in it that’s been overlooked.

The problem with what Addison, and now, according to Russ, DPD did with the production and distribution of the CS “Wanted” poster has little or nothing to do with overzealousness.

It has to do with the false claim an “horrific crime” had been committed at the Duke lacrosse March 13 party when the evidence DPD had a the time overwhelmingly indicated it hadn't. It has to do with claims innocent citizens were libeled.

Addison, Durham CS, DPD and Durham City should explain fully, publicly, and in written statements just what happened, why it happened and at whose behst it happened.

It's very disturbing to realize that a year after the CS "Wanted" poster's production and distribution, they've failed to do that.

I’ll post again on KC’s post tomorrow.

The CS “Wanted” poster story is really only in its first stages.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Traveling March 23

Posting resumes tomorrow, Saturday, March 24.

I landed in California a few hours ago after flying from Australia.

I've read KC Johnson's post, More CrimeStoppers.

It's very interesting. I hope you take a look if you haven't already done so.

I'll comment on it tomorrow afternoon after I've reread it and reviewed some of my CrimeStoppers posts.

I also plan to post on the Raleigh N&O's March 25 "anonymous interview" story.

I'm going to sleep now.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

More About Global Warming

The post, “Sowell on 'Global Warming Swindle,'” led to a thoughtful and civil discussion on the thread.

I want to make a few comments about “the global warming” debate and encourage further discussion of the type we’ve had.

So here goes ---

I take global climate change seriously but I’m not a fan of many who are offering “solutions.” The article I link to below suggests why.

We should all live “as green as possible.” I try to do my part. But I’m very weary of those who want to lead the “green revolution” such as John Edwards with a 30,000 sq. ft. house; John Kerry with five large houses; and Al Gore with his huge energy burner.

I won't take “green leadership” from such people or “environmental organizations” that cozy with them.

I strongly object to the “consensus science” claim that “the debate is over.”

"Consensus science" is a very dangerous road to go down.

The great scientists were and are almost always those who go against “the consensus.”

Galileo and Copernicus, for example.

There was a time when some physicians and surgeons were driven out of their professions.

The reason?

They went against the prevailing “scientific consensus” and fought for the acceptance of germ theory and the changes in medical practices it demanded.

Now, here’s part of an article by Seth Borenstein, an AP science writer. After Borenstein's article, it’s your turn.

Borenstein begins:

When climate scientist Andrew Weaver considers the idea of tinkering with Earth's air, water or sunlight to fight global warming, he remembers the lessons of a favorite children's book.

In the book, a cheese-loving king's castle is infested with mice. So the king brings in cats to get rid of the mice. Then the castle's overrun with cats, so he brings in dogs to get rid of them, then lions to get rid of the dogs, elephants to get rid of the lions, and finally, mice to get rid of the elephants.

That scenario in "The King, the Mice and the Cheese," by Nancy and Eric Gurney, should give scientists pause before taking extreme measures to mess with Mother Nature, says Weaver of the University of Victoria.

However, in recent months, several scientists are considering doing just that.

They are exploring global warming solutions that sound wholly far-fetched, including giant artificial "trees" that would filter carbon dioxide out of the air, a bizarre "solar shade" created by a trillion flying saucers that lower Earth's temperature, and a scheme that mimics a volcano by spewing light-reflecting sulfates high in the sky.

These are costly projects of last resort — in case Earth's citizens don't cut back fast enough on greenhouse gas emissions and the worst of the climate predictions appear not too far away. Unfortunately, the solutions could cause problems of their own — beyond their exorbitant costs — including making the arid Middle East even drier and polluting the air enough to increase respiratory illnesses.
The rest of Borenstein’s article is here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Churchill Series – Mar. 21, 2007

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

This and that today ---


Tomorrow my wife and I leave Australia on a direct, fourteen hour flight to Los Angeles. We then will take a three hour car trip to our ultimate destination.

You’re guessing I’m about to say something about no Churchill posts for a few days.

You’re right.

I won’t publish series posts on Mar. 22 or 23. The series will resume Monday, Mar. 26.

Between now and Mar. 26, I’ll be doing posts on the Hoax and other matters.

I think Churchill would understand that with limited blog time and extensive travel, I needed to “cut” somewhere; and that he could take a “cut” so long as I kept going after justice in the Hoax case and accountability by those who framed innocent people and those who enabled the criminals who did the framing.

Now to That:

If you’ll trust my memory, we can end this post with a little Q&A.

Question: In 1915, when he was about age 40, Churchill mentioned in a letter what he called “life’s four daily essentials.” What were they?

Answer: Cold champagne, warm brandy, fresh English peas and enough hot water for a bath.

How did you do?

Well enough to pop the cork and pour yourself a glass of champagne?

Or did you do so badly that all you want to do is quietly sniff and sip a warm brandy?

In either case, Churchill’s with you.

I hope you’re back here on Mar. 26.



Liestoppers simple, powerful service

The other day Liestoppers put a simple post together. It contains facsimiles of the Durham Crimestoppers “Wanted” poster and the so-far anonymous “Vigilante” poster as well as links to posts concerning the posters which KC Johnson has published and others I’ve published.

Those posters were major contributors to the myth that the lacrosse players were not cooperating with police. The posters helped inflame the less stable elements of the Duke and Durham communities. The posters provided “cover” for DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers as they worked to frame three innocent Duke lacrosse players. And the posters added greatly to the physical dangers the players faced as well as those faced by ordinary citizens who might be unintended victims of unstable individuals and hate groups.

The more we learn about the posters’ productions and distributions, the more we’ll know about the “how,” “who” and “whys” of the frame-up and subsequent efforts to cover it up.

Both posters will undoubtedly serve as bases for multiple law suits naming many individuals and organizations.

The “Wanted” poster is already the basis of a request by Durham attorney Alex Charns, acting on behalf of an unindicted Duke lacrosse player, for an official investigation by DPD and Durham City into its production and distribution, and a full, public apology by DPD and Durham City for its distributions which Charns says libeled the members of the lacrosse team. DPD and Durham City have denied responsibility for the poster and declined to agree to Charns’ requests.

The Durham and North Carolina publics have a huge need to know about the posters. It’s too bad the Raleigh N&O, Bob Ashley’s Herald Sun and Duke’s Chronicle aren’t reporting on the issues, people and organizations involved with the posters.

Liestoppers renders a powerful public service with its post: CrimeStoppers and Vigilante Posters.

Thank you, Liestoppers.

DUPD Director Responds to CS poster questions

Readers Note:

Those of you who've followed the Addison Series posts know I recently sent Duke Univeristy Police Director Robert Dean a set of questions concerning Durham Police Corporal David Addison's production and distribution to DPD substations, media and others of the text of the Durham CrimeStoppers Duke lacrosse "Wanted" poster. Addison is assigned by DPD to serve as Durham CS's coordinator. (For additional backgroud, refer to this post which contains, among other items, a facsimile of the CS "Wanted" poster and links to the Addison Series posts.)

Following this note is a copy of my email to Director Dean; and following that is Director Dean's reply in full.

As I often do in this kind of circumstance, I'm posting Dean's reply without comment for a day so it can be read by you free of my commentary.

You're, of course, free to comment on the thread. The overwhelming majority of comments at JinC are civil, informed, and balanced. I look forward to reading those comments as do others who visit here. There may be a few comments that are otherwise. I'll delete them.

Please know I'm not forgetting the "Vigilante" poster. But for now I want to keep my focus on the "Wanted" poster. I'll be posting again on the "Vigilante" poster in a few days.



March 15, 2007

Robert H. Dean, Director
Duke University Police Department
Durham, North Carolina

Dear Director Dean:

I’m a Duke alum who blogs as John in Carolina.

I’ve posted frequently concerning the CrimeStoppers Duke lacrosse “Wanted” poster and the so-far anonymous “Vigilante” poster.

As you know, in late March and April 2006, both posters were widely circulated on campus and elsewhere in the community. False and inflammatory, they defamed and endangered the players most directly, but also put at greater risk others who might be the unintentional victims of unstable individuals and hate groups targeting the lacrosse players.

Since last May I’ve researched and published extensively concerning the production and distribution of both posters. (I link below to five posts concerning the posters. I’ll provide others if you wish.)

As Duke University Police Director you’ve had involvement with both posters. In this letter I want to ask you only about the CS “Wanted” poster and matters related to it.

I recently learned that, in addition to your duties as DU Police Director, you also serve as Chairman of the Board of Durham CrimeStoppers; and you held that position last March and April.

I’d like to ask you five questions, your answers to which I’ll share in full with my readers, who include many Duke alums, family and friends of the Duke students defamed and endangered by the posters, and Durham residents.

1) Were you aware on or before March 28 of the contents of the CS “Wanted” poster Durham Police Cpl. David Addison distributed on March 28? (A description of the poster, including the full text is the third document in this post.)

2) When you became aware of the “Wanted” poster, did you suggest to Cpl. Addison that he amend the poster? I’m thinking in particular of that part of the CS poster which told the Duke and Durham communities:

The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 Buchanan. The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.
3) Did any senior Duke administrator seek you out last March or April and object to the content of the “Wanted” poster? If so, can you provide the name(s) of the person(s)?

4) DPD Major Lee Russ informs me that the position of DPD and Durham City regarding the CS "Wanted” poster is that they bear no responsibility for its production and distribution because Addison was acting under a blanket authority Durham CrimeStoppers’ board gave him to issue posters at his discretion. Is that also the position of Durham CS? If not, what is Durham CS’s position concerning the matter?

5) Have you posted a copy of IRS Form 990 for 2006 on the net or made other arrangements to make it easily available to the public as required?

Thank you in advance for your attention to this letter.

And thank you for your service to Durham CrimeStoppers. The Duke lacrosse “Wanted” poster aside, everything I know about Durham CS suggests it’s an effective organization that does much to protect the public.


John in Carolina

Cc: Robert Steel, chair, board of trustees, D U
Richard Brodhead, president, DU
John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, DU
Aaron Graves, associate vice president for campus safety and security, DU
David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and communications
Lee Russ, major, Office of the Chief, DPD
David Addison, corporal, Durham CrimeStoppers coordinator, DPD


Texts of Duke lacrosse poster documents

"Wanted" and "Vigilante;" Not the same

Addison Series #1 - "This horrific crime"

Addison Series #2 - "CrimeStoppers will pay cash"

Addison Series #5 - "Major Duke Involvement"


Dear John in Carolina,

Here are the answers to your questions in the order that you posed them.

1. I recall seeing the poster (s) sometime during last spring, but I'm not certain of the exact date. My best recollection is that the poster had already been amended at the time I learned of the poster itself.

2. No. See response to No. 1 above.

3. Again, I believe that at the time I learned of the poster, it had already been amended. No senior Duke administrator sought me out to object to the content of the “Wanted” poster, but I suspect that senior administrators may not have been aware that I was then chair of Crimestoppers.

4. Corporal Addison has routinely issued posters related to information leading to the arrest of felony offenders. In my experience, these were not ordinarily cleared with the Crimestoppers board or the Durham Police Department.

5. I stepped down as chairman this past December. Mr. Pat Ellis succeeded me as chairman and could give you that information.

cc: Bob Steel
Dick Brodhead
John Burness
Aaron Graves
David Jarmul
Lee Russ, DPD
David Addison, DPD

Robert H. Dean Jr.
Director, Duke University Police Department

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Churchill Series – Mar. 20, 2007

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

Here is British historian Robert Blake, who served with distinction during WW II in North Africa and Italy, speaking in 1988 about historian Churchill’s six volume WW II history.

The volumes suffer from one major defect which was in no way Churchill's fault. In fact it affects every account of the war-memoirs, official histories,and biographies written before 1976.

It was only in that year that the official ban was lifted on references to Britain's most important secret weapon. This was code-named as "Ultra." The name was given to the decrypted radio intercepts sent by the Germans on a machine called "Enigma," which they believed to be unbreakable.

The effect of Ultra was enormous. Our knowledge of its details and existence transform the interpretation of many of the critical events in the war. Much of the history of the war had to be - and has been - rewritten since 1976.

To take only two examples, the story of the Battle of the Atlantic is
incomprehensible if one does not appreciate the changing success in efforts to decipher German naval signals. A second example is the deception plan which ensured the success of the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

Neither of these major operations could have been conducted in the way that they were without the detailed knowledge of German reactions and decisions afforded by Ultra. There are many other instances. It is doubtful whether the full truth has emerged even now. None of it could be mentioned by Churchill in his own work on the war.

The secret was amazingly well kept. A great many people knew about it. As a very junior Intelligence Officer at the end of the war even I knew something about it. To keep the matter out of the public domain for 30 years was a remarkable achievement.
Blake added:
But that was a generation less "leaky" and - dare I say it? - more patriotic than is always true today. We believed in our national cause. We obeyed orders. And those who signed the Official Secrets Act did not go back on promises or break solemn oaths, even if they had a grievance about their pensions.
I’m grateful Blake dared to say it; and sorry his assessments concerning patriotism and the keeping of official oaths are, if anything, more true now than in 1988.

Thanks go to the Churchill Centre for making the full text of Blake’s remarks available online here.

Duke and Selena Roberts' column: 1, 2, 3

Readers Note: This post contains:

1) information concerning an event at Duke open to the public at which New York Times columnist Selena Roberts will be a panelist;

2) a copy of Roberts’ Mar. 31, 2006 column in which she savaged the Duke Men’s lacrosse players in a manner befitting Mike Nifong and many of Duke’s faculty Group of 88;

and 3) commentary on Roberts’ March 31 column by historian KC Johnson, pundit Stuart Taylor and myself as well as a link to Roberts’ NYT profile.


From Duke News an announcement of an “academic conference” to be held on campus this Friday, March 23:

[…] The event, called “Tiger Woods ©: American Empire, Global Golf and the Making of a Megacelebrity,” will be held from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Room 240 of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Center, 2204 Erwin Road. It is free and open to the public.

Panelists include Selena Roberts, New York Times sports columnist; Edward Wanambwa, editor of African American Golf Digest; Bruce Selcraig, investigative sports journalist; and Anna Grzebien and Jennifer Pandolfi, members of Duke’s NCAA championship golf team.[…]

Also on the panel are Duke faculty members Orin Starn, a cultural anthropologist and a conference organizer; Grant Farred, a literature professor; and Rachael Miyung Joo, a visiting professor of cultural anthropology. […]
PART 2: Roberts’ March 31, 2005 column

Sports of The Times; When Peer Pressure, Not a Conscience, Is Your Guide


ON the front page of Wednesday's USA Today, there was a photo of a man wearing a T-shirt with a traffic sign and a message for rat finks written in graffiti type: ''Stop Snitching.''

As the story detailed, this is the bold new wardrobe of drug dealers and gang members engaged in an anti-snitch campaign that is frustrating authorities.

Imagine a T-shirt as a tool of witness intimidation. Now imagine it as the undershirt of the male athlete in a locker-room culture devoted to its own code of silence, of a male athlete who thrives inside hostile arenas where the Vegas rule of ''what goes on here, stays here'' creates the tacit acceptance of denigrating behavior.

On a team, there are players reared on misplaced war-room jargon, conditioned to equate teammates with soldiers, locker rooms with foxholes and Patton with the coach. In an arena, fans are roped off from the norms of decent behavior, provided anonymity by the cover of a crowd, free to mock their foils without repercussions.

Want to challenge an opponent's manhood? Mock him by turning the serenade of ''Brokeback Mountain'' into a gay slur. Care to test the tolerance of an adversary who has been arrested? Taunt him with the rattle of handcuffs. Go ahead and break any social code necessary for the sake of the team.

At the intersection of entitlement and enablement, there is Duke University, virtuous on the outside, debauched on the inside. This is the home of Coach K's white-glove morality and the Cameron Crazies' celebrated vulgarity.

The season is over, but the paradox lives on in Duke's lacrosse team, a group of privileged players of fine pedigree entangled in a night that threatens to belie their social standing as human beings.

Something happened March 13, when a woman, hired to dance at a private party, alleged that three lacrosse players sexually assaulted her in a bathroom for 30 minutes. According to reported court documents, she was raped, robbed, strangled and was the victim of a hate crime. She was also reportedly treated at a hospital for vaginal and anal injuries consistent with sexual assault and rape.

Players have been forced to give up their DNA, but to the dismay of investigators, none have come forward to reveal an eyewitness account.

Maybe the team captains are right. Maybe the allegations are baseless.

But why is it so hard to gather the facts? Why is any whisper of a detail akin to snitching?

''The idea of breaking ranks within a team is identified as weak,'' said Katie Gentile, an assistant professor and the director of the Women's Center at John Jay College, adding, ''The bottom line is, your self-esteem is more valuable to you than someone else's life.''

There is research Gentile cites to back up the analysis. What do women fear the most? Rape and murder. What do men fear most? Ridicule.

The stigma as a traitor -- and the threat of repercussion and isolation -- is more powerful than the instinct to do what's right, a pattern perpetuated on every level of sports, from prep to pro.

At Long Island's Mepham High School, older members of the football team were accused of sodomizing junior varsity players with broomsticks, golf balls and pine cones at a camp in 2003. It took nearly a month and 12 subpoenas to prompt the team's cooperation with authorities.

On a lake in Minnesota last fall, a group of Vikings were accused of treating their boat cruise hostesses as grab bags. With teammates employing a ''loose lips sink ships'' strategy when questioned on the incident, the most salacious disclosure from the case thus far has been a legal debate over what constitutes a lap dance.

There are more cases all the time, often depicting a group of players against one woman. Some involve male players sexually molesting a handful of rookies in hazing rituals. Is it heterocentrism, homophobia or homoeroticism?

Whatever the root, there is a common thread: a desire for teammates to exploit the vulnerable without heeding a conscience.

At Duke, a day after the team provided DNA samples to the police, players went back to practice as normal. ''All our focus is on trying to beat the Hoyas now,'' the lacrosse coach, Mike Pressler, said.

Public outrage had more traction than Pressler's warped priorities. For now, the season has been suspended while the investigation continues. For days, Durham residents and Duke students have rallied on behalf of sexual-assault victims, banging pots and pans, hoping to stir more action out of Duke's president, Richard H. Brodhead.

The indignation has been heartening, but it may also be hypocritical.

How many of the offended are among the offensive? Have any of them cheered when the Cameron Crazies -- who have been known to deride an opponent accused of a sex crime with a sign that read, ''Did you send her flowers?'' -- cross the boundaries of decency?

Has President Brodhead reveled in the Crazies' witty ability to belittle villains in an environment that only serves to nurture the entitlement of his own athletes?

Does President Brodhead dare to confront the culture behind the lacrosse team's code of silence or would he fear being ridiculed as a snitch?

Correction: April 6, 2006, Thursday The Sports of The Times column on Friday, about the investigation involving a woman who said she had been raped by three players on the Duke University lacrosse team misstated the nature of the players' cooperation with the authorities. The police in Durham, N.C., said that although most team members had not voluntarily submitted to police interviews and DNA tests, the three residents of the house where the accuser said the incident occurred had done so.PART 3: Commentary

Pundit Stuart Taylor was among the first to call attention to Nifong's frame-up and its enablement by many, including those in media who gave the public hateful and error-filled rantings instead of information and reason. Of Roberts' March 31 column Taylor's said:
Selena Roberts helped set the tone [for The Times’ treatment of the case as a fable of evil, rich white men running amok and abusing poor black women] in a March 31 commentary seething with hatred for "a group of privileged players of fine pedigree entangled in a night that threatens to belie their social standing as human beings."

All but presuming guilt, Roberts parroted false prosecution claims that all team members had observed a "code of silence." (A correction ran six days later). She likened them to "drug dealers and gang members engaged in an anti-snitch campaign."
Historian, professor and blogger Robert KC Johnson has done what hundreds of Duke professors and administrators have been unwilling or unable to do: one, give the public facts and reasoned assessment of what happened the night of March 13/14; and two, challenge and expose Duke's home DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers' frame-up of innocent Duke students. Of Roberts' column KC's said:
Writing only a week after the first reports about the incident, sports columnist Selena Roberts indicated that, “According to reported court documents, [the accuser] was raped, robbed, strangled and was the victim of a hate crime. She was also reportedly treated at a hospital for vaginal and anal injuries consistent with sexual assault and rape.” (Roberts oddly deemed an affidavit for a search warrant a “court document” revealing uncontested facts, while her description of the medical evidence proved wildly overstated.)

“To the dismay of investigators,” Roberts asserted, no players “have come forward to reveal an eyewitness account,” all part of the “lacrosse team’s code of silence” in which offering “any whisper of a detail [is] akin to snitching.” (This claim continued Roberts’ pattern of uncritically accepting Nifong’s version of events, and as a result making factual errors: the three captains voluntarily gave authorities lengthy statements and even access to their e-mail accounts.)
Folks, here’s my commentary and questions:

It's good that we can all have a look at Roberts' column. It's especially important we have that look as Roberts comes to Duke.

The conference organizers should have made Roberts' column available on the net because it provides such a good basis for people to know "where she is coming from." Knowing that will help conference attendees to place Roberts' comments within he "belief frame."

I plan to email the principal conference organizer, Orin Starn, and ask him why Roberts's column wasn't made available on the net.

I also plan to ask Starn how he came to select Roberts for the panel. There are thousands of sports writers in America. A look at Roberts' NYT profile doesn't suggest she has any special expertise concerning golf.

Was it her column’s sliming, possibly even libeling, of Duke students and telling Brodhead, in effect, to "Dance, Dick, dance" to Leftist hate-mongering that earned Roberts' an invite to an event hosted at Duke's Franklin Center, where the Group of 88's "listening statement" was made up?

I've got some heavy traveling coming up in the next few days but I'll comment again on Roberts' column because it’s so revealing of the “truth-standards” and social attitudes of so many at Duke who enabled Nifong.

Related JinC post: Duke's Starn's Latest Round

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Churchill Series – Mar. 19, 2007

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

A recent series post concerned the problems Churchill had all his school days with mathematics. He twice failed the entrance exam for Sandhurst largely because of his very poor performance on the math portion of the test. He later said he only passed on his third try because his father hired England’s best math “crammer” who was able to cram just enough math facts into Churchill’s head to get him past the entrance test.

But reading was another matter. In that Churchill excelled from his early school years onward.

While he appears at about age five to have had some more than typical letter and sound recognition difficulties, he quickly overcame them. By age nine he was an avid and able reader who read R.L. Stevenson's Treasure Island for pleasure.

Here are the opening paragraphs of Treasure Island:

SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow--a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white.

I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and
then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"

in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at the capstan bars. Then he rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that he carried, and when my father appeared, called roughly for a glass of rum. This, when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the taste and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at our signboard.
Age nine is about the average age of a Fourth Grade student in America today.

Well, there's the post. I need add nothing except a thanks to the Gutenberg Project where I obtained the Treasure Island paragraphs.

I hope you're back tomorrow. They'll be more about "young Winnie's" reading.

Notes from Australia – Post 3

Readers Note: My father told me a little bit of knowledge wasn’t a dangerous thing so long as I remembered it was only a little bit of knowledge.

With his words in mind, this first-time visitor to Australia offers “Notes from Australia – Post 3.” (Here are Post 1 and Post 2)


Brisbane and its surrounding areas are remarkably clean. Almost no liter on the streets or roadsides.

Yesterday I went out to a general aviation airport. I had to pass through some factory areas and even they were clean as compared to comparable areas in the States.

I’m told most other Australian cities are also clean.

There’s very little graffiti. On a per block basis, there’s not 10% of the amount you see in New York, London, Paris or Rome, for instance.

The city is quiet. There’s very little horn-honking and few police and fire sirens.

We’ve found public transport easy to use and able to take us where we want to go.

You can buy a day pass for zones so you can hope on and off transport as you wish.

That includes ferries that ply across the river at many spots and catamarans that journey up and down the river, stopping on both banks but moving quickly. The cats are heavily used by commuters.

Brisbane is “walker-friendly.’” Much of the central city and tourist areas are level. There are many parks and a fine botanical garden.

And the river walks! They’re beautiful!

There are walking paths all along the Brisbane River which winds through the city. There are many pedestrian bridges so you can walk across the river, go a ways on that side and then cross back a little further up or down the river.

But remember to keep sun-block handy and wear a broad-brimmed hat. Brisbane’s a subtropical city.

If you want to bicycle, there are shops that rent bikes.

I passed one of those bicycle shops the other day. It had a big sign outside: “We provide very professional cycle ogical services”

More soon

Johnsville Names Award “Winners”

The Johnsville News has just announced the “winners” of this year’s North Carolina Media Freedom of the Press Awards.

As expected, the McClatchy Company’s Raleigh News & Observer, which did so much to frame a group of innocent Duke students, garnered the lion’s share of awards but TJN also recognized other deserving journalists, including a student journalist.

Can you guess who won in the “Best Rush to Judgement” category?

How about “Best Cover-Up in support of a hoax?”

You can read about the “winners” here.

Nice work, Johnsville.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

N&O Editor Is Upset

Raleigh News & Observer managing editor John Drescher is upset because many readers commenting at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog don’t identify themselves. Drescher criticizes those readers (whom he calls “bloggers,” the better to obscure the fact his criticism is really directed at N&O readers).

You can read Drescher’s post here.

I left the following comment on the thread:

Dear Editor Drescher:

Why are you telling readers you’re concerned about bloggers’ anonymity?

Last Apr. 2 the N&O had no trouble publishing anonymously the notorious "Vigilante" poster which targeted only white male Duke students who played on the university’s lacrosse team.

You published the poster on your highest circulation day, a Sunday. You made it large (two-columns wide, 7 inches long) and placed it on the most prominent part of the page (top of the page, in the 4th and 5th columns of a six column page).

The N&O’s “Vigilante poster photo was large enough so that anyone with a little tech skill could further enlarge it and still have very good resolution for face identification of the 43 white Duke students targeted by the hateful people who produced the poster you took, published and distributed to what you say are your half-million Sunday readers.

All of that was done anonymously.

The N&O has never disclosed who produced the” Vigilante” poster.

You’ve also kept anonymous the names of the N&O editors who decided to publish the “Vigilante” poster even after Duke had expressed concerns that doing so would endanger the lacrosse players.

Who were those editors? You know you know who they are.

Some journalists tell me you, Managing Editor Drescher, were one of those who “gave the go” for publishing the poster photo?

Is that true?

And what’s the source of your problem with people who comment at the Editors Blog anonymously?

None of those anonymous commenters (who are also N&O readers) has done anything near as terrible as your publication of the “Vigilante” poster.

You had no problem publishing anonymously on March 25 above the fold on page one with five column-wide headlines what many at the N&O had to know was Crystal Mangum’s false witness.

You had no problem anonymously withholding from the rest of media and trusting N&O readers the critical information that, during the interview, Mangum had ID’ed Roberts and made statements about her which Editor Linda Williams admits were so significant she thinks the N&O would have been libelous to publish them.

You had no problem reporting the anonymous interviews you granted Mangum’s family members and friends so they could defame the students.

Given all of that, wouldn’t it be more honest, Editor Drescher, to admit you use anonymity often to sell the N&O and make your living?

And what do you say to this question other journalists have prompted me to ask you: when you find out who your anonymous reader/commenter/blogger critics are, won’t you treat them even worse than you treated 46 innocent white male Duke students?

Please stop attacking your critics and answer their questions. Mine, too.


John in Carolina

"No gun except" v. "gun at my bedside"

Over at Asymmmetrical Information a “no gun except” advocate and “gun at my bedside” blogger Jane Galt make their cases.

“No gun except” commenter said:

“It's all about probabilities. Buying a gun as a strategy for dealing with burglars is a bad bet, especially if you have insurance and a working phone to dial 911. Like I said in my earlier comment, if you have some reason to believe that you're likely to be targeted for some other kind of violent home invasion, it might make sense to keep a gun around--especially if you live far away from the nearest source of help.

But if you live in the city where the cops can be at your door in less time than it takes to open your gun locker, load your gun, and confront the burglar, it just seems silly to bother with all the risk and responsibility and hard work that you'd need to take on in order to use the gun effectively. “

Blogger Jane Galt responded:

“It's been a while, but I could open a gun locker and slide a magazine into a handgun in under a minute, which is about 1/5th the time that the cops could get into their cars and roar down from the nearest police station six blocks away, even if they were willing to put on the lights and sirens for "burglary in progress". Unless you actually live in a police station, this makes no sense.

There's also a little confusion of cause and effect. The reason that burglars in America are generally "not there to start shit" is that Americans have guns; in Britain, "home invasion" robberies, where the burglars beat up the homeowners to find out where the really good stuff is kept, are alarmingly common.

She later relates an anecdote about a black friend who nearly got in trouble with the cops for having a flare gun after Katrina. My feeling is that the problem there is not the gun, it's the cops. I hope we wouldn't suggest that said friend should make himself up in whiteface to appear less threatening.

The ultimate problem, of course, is this: how do you know if the nice young man who has just broken into your home is there to quietly burgle you, or to rape and dismember you?”

I liked Galt's response for a couple of reasons, including her pointing out the “little confusion of cause and effect” and the fact that the "no gun except" friend’s trouble with the flare gun was really a police problem.

And yes, how do you know "the nice young man" only wants to burgle?

You can read Galt's post here.

What do you think?

H/T - Instapundit

Duke’s Starn’s Latest Round

Duke University Professor of Cultural Anthropology Orin Starn made his first appearance on the JinC main page when he misrepresented remarks by Duke’s Men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski concerning the racial aspects of the Duke lacrosse case.

I emailed Starn and asked about to correct his misrepresentation. In a rambling response in which he added defense attorney Joseph Cheshire to his “target list,” Starn denied misrepresenting Coach K.

So I emailed Starn again, this time including an explication of exactly how, by eliminating certain key words and phases and conflating two separate thoughts the coach had expressed, Starn created what I told him it was hard to believe was anything other than a deliberately false statement which he presented to unsuspecting readers as Coach K’s remarks.

I invited Starn to reply to the explication; and promised to publish his reply in full. He never responded. You can read our email exchanges here.

In the past year, Starn has emerged as a loud, angry and irresponsible critic of Duke athletics in general and the lacrosse players in particular.

As evidence of the players’ innocence has accumulated Starn’s become, if anything, louder, angrier and more irresponsible. See, for example, KC Johnson’s post: “The Arrogance of Starn.”

Now for Starn’s latest ---

From Duke News an announcement of an “academic conference”:

[…] The event, called “Tiger Woods ©: American Empire, Global Golf and the Making of a Megacelebrity,” will be held from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Room 240 of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Center, 2204 Erwin Road. It is free and open to the public.

Panelists include Selena Roberts, New York Times sports columnist; Edward Wanambwa, editor of African American Golf Digest; Bruce Selcraig, investigative sports journalist; and Anna Grzebien and Jennifer Pandolfi, members of Duke’s NCAA championship golf team. […]

Also on the panel are Duke faculty members Orin Starn, a cultural anthropologist and a conference organizer; Grant Farred, a literature professor; and Rachael Miyung Joo, a visiting professor of cultural anthropology. […]
Starn, who’s taken a leave of absence from Duke to reinvent himself as a “sports cultural anthropologist” and write a book about golf from a cultural perspective, is listed as the conference contact person.

No doubt Starn had a lot to do with picking the panelists.

What does it tell us when from among all the sports writers in America, Starn and others at Duke invited Selena Roberts to join the panel?

Last Spring Roberts was one of those who most viciously and falsely attacked the lacrosse players.

Pundit Stuart Taylor, among the first to call attention to Nifong's frame-up and the contributions of its enablers, has said:
Selena Roberts helped set the tone [for The Times’ treatment of the case as a fable of evil, rich white men running amok and abusing poor black women] in a March 31 commentary seething with hatred for "a group of privileged players of fine pedigree entangled in a night that threatens to belie their social standing as human beings."

All but presuming guilt, Roberts parroted false prosecution claims that all team members had observed a "code of silence." (A correction ran six days later). She likened them to "drug dealers and gang members engaged in an anti-snitch campaign."
Roberts has never apologized for her slimes.

On March 23 Starn will no doubt tell Roberts and conference participants at Duke’s John Hope Franklin Center how “happy” and “honored” he is to have Roberts with him and on the panel.

About that I think you can believe Starn.