Saturday, June 09, 2007

INNOCENT: A blogger "shines a light"

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

David Boyd is an independent-minded, articulate blogger. He lives in Burlington, NC, home of DNA Security, whose director, Brian Meehan, conspired with Durham DA Mike Nifong to withhold exculpatory DNA evidence in the Duke lacrosse case.

John Robinson is editor of the Greensboro News & Record, that city’s only daily newspaper. The N&R’s circulation area includes Burlington.

Boyd and Robinson recently had an exchange at Boyd’s eponymous blog. While their exchange touched on the Duke case, I’m really posting on it because Boyd’s reply to a comment Robinson made about one of Boyd’s posts is a superb example of one of the Internet challenges able bloggers pose for MSM news organizations and editors like Robinson.

Some background before we get to Boyd and Robinson’s exchange.

Greensboro is the home of Bennett College, which describes itself as “one of only two historically Black colleges in the U. S. exclusively for women.” The college has struggled recently, but a “revitalization program” is underway.

Bennett has hired a new president: former USA Today columnist and talk show host Julianne Malveaux.

On May 5 Robinson’s N&R ran a story on Malveaux that read like a Bennett College press announcement. But it appeared in the News section under an N&R reporter’s byline. Here are a few samples:

A self-confessed "rebel child" of the '60s, Malveaux says her advocacy was birthed and honed in her native San Francisco, where she joined civic and social organizations such as the NAACP's youth chapter. She even attended Black Panther meetings, though she never joined the group. …

She continued to champion justice as an adult, crafting a career as a columnist, political pundit and commentator, often speaking to national audiences on issues of race, gender and economic impact. …

She's known for her commitment and never forgets a promise….
There’s more, as they say.

And the “more” included this:
Her quick wit and words have won her fans — and detractors. Malveaux caught flak in the early 1990s for comments about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and more recently, for remarks about the Duke lacrosse case. …
Those references to Justice Thomas and the Duke case set Boyd to blogging. He told his readers just what Malveaux’s 1994 “comments” about Thomas were :
"The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person."
Malveaux’s “remarks about the Duke lacrosse case” were made on April 12, a month before the N&R’s “news story” and the day following NC Attorney General Roy Cooper’s finding that the three victim’s of the “Nifong/DPD team’s” attempted frame-up were innocent.

Boyd quoted Malveaux:
"I really, you know, I think something happened here. I think these guys are bad apples. They may not - you may not be able to prove rape. You may not be able to prove anything. But something did happen there, and it was something that was wrong."
Boyd provided links to a video of Malveaux’s Thomas comments and an audio of her Duke lacrosse remarks.

Boyd also had some comments of his own. He chided the N&R for what he called its “interesting decision” to omit what Malveaux had actually said from what, with tongue in check, Boyd termed the N&R’s “hard-hitting, unfluffy journalistic undertaking”

The second comment Boyd’s post drew was from editor Robinson:
"Yes, we should have included more on the Duke issue. But, really, we have covered it in earlier papers. And we did include her other comments that you omitted in which she basically said she needed to learn to keep her tongue., As for the comment 13 years ago, well, it was 13 years ago long before she was the president of a private institution."
Boyd responded to Robinson:
"You're the one who brought it up.
...Malveaux caught flak in the early 1990s for comments about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas...
But then you chose not to include those comments, for which, as far as I know, she has never apologized.

Would it have been too enterprising to ask if she still feels that way or if she'd like the opportunity to say she's sorry?

As for learning to keep her tongue, the Duke comments, which you also failed to include for reference, were made less than a month ago.

It might have been an interesting question to pose to her and report - how she reconciles the quest to keep her tongue with those assumption-laden remarks.

Look, I want Bennett to succeed as much as anybody. But that doesn't mean they should get a pass by the local press when they hire someone with a penchant for making controversial statements.
No, Bennett shouldn’t get a pass from the local press. And neither should other institutions, “heavy advertisers,” certain “leading citizens,” and individuals and organizations whose actions dovetail with a newspaper’s “interests.”

MSM news organizations hand out lots of “press passes” when it serves their interests.

But bloggers like David Boyd are "shining lights" on many MSM “press passes,” thereby making it much harder for news organizations to say, in effect, to certain parties: "We'll give you a pass."

No wonder so many MSM journalists are critical of bloggers, or at least the ones who "shine a light" on their "press passes."

David Boyd’s a fine blogger. I hope you look at his Malveaux post and at his main page today.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 8, 2007

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

I said in yesterday’s post I’d say more today about Churchill and Prince Louis of Battenberg, a descendent of a noble German family who became a naturalized British subject in 1868, when at age 14 he began a career in the Royal Navy that culminated with his appointment as First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Navy.

In 1914, on the eve of World War I, Battenberg worked with the Navy’s political head, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston S. Churchill, to place the fleet at battle stations. On the outbreak of war, their combined efforts were widely praised by the British press and people.

But within a few weeks, Battenberg, despite his competence and loyalty to his adopted country, became a lightning rod for the anti-German feeling that swept England. Within a few months, he was forced to resign.

Today I’d planned to tell you that Battenberg subsequently relinquished all claims to his German titles and Anglicized the family name to Mountbatten. I’d also planned to tell you that his youngest son, who we know as Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, became First Lord of the Admiralty. And what’s more, that Prince Louis was an uncle of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

But a prescient Anon reader, in a comment to yesterday’s post, guessed I was going to say all that.

Sigh! What’s left for me to say?

Well, how about the following:

Prince Phillip’s mother, Princess Alice, was Prince Louis’ younger sister. Their grandmother was Queen Victoria. So Prince Phillip is Queen Victoria’s great-grandson.

Victoria’s eldest son was King Edward VII who was succeeded on the throne by his son, King George V. One of George V’s son’s was King George VII, whose eldest daughter is Queen Elizabeth II. She is, therefore, Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter.

Churchill knew everyone mentioned in this post. He served every monarch from Queen Victoria through Queen Elizabeth. He received his military commission from Victoria and served the other monarchs as a Cabinet Minister. He also held elective office during at least a part of each of their reigns.


There’s something else you may find extraordinary: this Sunday, June 10, 2007 Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, will be 86 years old.

I hope you all have a nice weekend but don’t forget to study for Monday’s British royal family genealogy exam. It will count for half your grade.

I pulled the information for this post from multiple sources. You can easily fact-check the post using Google or another search engine.

Sergeant Slaughter’s Long March

Sergeant John Robert (Bob) Slaughter is an outstanding American who The Roanoke Times recently reported:

…survived the invasion of D-Day, and decades later founded a national memorial foundation to commemorate the famous assault.

Now Bob Slaughter, who served with the 29th Ranger Battalion during World War II, has written his autobiography.

The book, "Omaha Beach and Beyond: The Long March of Sgt. Bob Slaughter," offers, among other details, his account of his induction into federal service in early 1941; his role in the D-Day invasion; the wounds he suffered in Normandy, France; the end of the war; and also the creation of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation [in Bedford, VA].

It's a project that has been in the works since 1987, when Slaughter received a computer as a gift and started trying to put his story together.

Armed with an invaluable perspective for a writer -- "I know what good writing is and I know what bad writing is," he said -- Slaughter, who studied English at Virginia Western Community College, was also aided by positive outside forces. He's quick to credit his editor, Gayle Wurst from Princeton, N.J., and the influence of other historians.

"I was very fond of Stephen Ambrose," he said.

Movies and documentaries about D-Day also fueled his inspiration, but he said "the main thrust came from my memories." He added that "a writer that wasn't there cannot accurately capture the battle.

"Capturing the battle" was a process that, he said, required him to figuratively "crawl back in my uniform and relive the experiences.

"Once I sat on it for a long time, let it percolate ... then something happened."
His best inspirations, he said, came to him at night: "I did my best thinking in bed. Before I went to sleep, I could bring it back."

Even so, Slaughter said that aside from the travails depicted in the book, the writing was the "hardest thing I ever did in my life. The story's been in my brain for years and years. I had to get motivated to get into something like that." ...

"I'm 82 years old. I was pretty desperate to get it finished," he said. "I was doing this for a lot of other people, too. It was satisfying to me that for some of the fellows that couldn't write, or weren't able to ... I was able to do it and recapture their experiences, too."
A prerelease publisher’s description of Slaughter’s book includes this:
Before D-Day, regular army soldiers called the National Guardsmen of Virginia’s 116th Infantry Regiment [, 29th Infantry Division,] “Home Nannies,” “Weekend Warriors,” and worse. On June 6, 1944, on Omaha Beach, however, these proud Virginians who carried the legacy of the famed Stonewall Brigade showed the regular army and the world what true valor really was.
I’ve not yet read Slaughter’s book. But Major Dick Winters, who took command of E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne on D-Day in Normandy, and whose military service was recorded by Steve Ambrose in Band of Brothers has said this about Slaughter’s book: “The long march of Sergeant Bob Slaughter as told in Omaha Beach and Beyond gives the reader the memories that Bob has lived with every day for the past sixty-three years. After reading this, his memories will live with you too, forever!”

I understand Omaha Beach and Beyond: The Long March of Sgt. Bob Slaughter is beginning to appear in bookstores. It can be ordered from Amazon here.

We owe Sgt. Slaughter, military servicemen and women like him, and their families a great debt.

Hat Tip: A reader who a few weeks ago gave me a “heads up” about Slaughter’s book.

INNOCENT: Philly Dukies Net Brodhead

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
For months Duke’s President, Richard (“The facts kept changing”) Brodhead, has been traveling around the country hosting dinner events at which he puts forward Duke’s “best face” in the form of selected faculty and students, and then engages in a brief Q&A.

The last of the currently scheduled dinners was held Tuesday, June 5, in Philadelphia. Citizen journalists Buddy and Lazierthanmost were there and reported on the event at I’m relying on their reporting for the following commentary.

It appears the event was a disaster for Brodhead, “Dick’s team,” and those trustees who’ve worked so hard to cover up the University’s response to Crystal Mangum’s wildly improbable hoax.

Brodhead was ensnared by simple, fact-based questions concerning the witch hunt targeting the Duke lacrosse team, and the attempted frame-up of three of its members.

Asked, for example, why he didn’t meet with the lacrosse parents on campus the weekend of March 25 when the story “broke,” Brodhead said “events were moving fast.”

The report called that “a non-answer.”

Yes, it was “a non-answer,” but it was a very revealing one.

Put in the best light possible, Brodhead was saying he had other, higher priorities than meeting with a group of Duke parents whose sons had just been ordered by a court to submit to police DNA testing and photographing as part of an investigation involving multiple felonies, including gang-rape.

Brodhead’s “non-answer” answer surely didn’t go over very well with those in attendance, since when the question was asked, it was greeted with applause.

There was also applause in response to other questions suggesting skepticism or outright disagreement with Brodhead and Duke’s response to the Hoax. No wonder Brodhead appeared uncomfortable when answering such questions.

I would guess for Brodhead and his supporters the worst part of the evening had to be when a 1970s-era lacrosse alum got up to speak. As reported:

A 1970s-era lacrosse alum noted that every e-mail from [Board of Trustees Chair Robert] Steel says Duke has handled this well and its time to move on. (The Duke theme is “time to move on-nothing to see here, folks.”) This gentleman basically said progress can't be made until the issues of last year are dealt with. He also received applause as well.
Steel, Brodhead & Co. have been working for the last year to convince everyone there’s nothing to see anywhere except way up yonder there in the future out past where the sun sets.

And here at the last of a series of dinners which were planned for Brodhead to “spread a little sunshine” and then send alums and others toddling off contentedly into the night, an alum tells him he doesn’t buy Steel’s email messages.

And what happens then? The audience responds with applause.

When Steel, Brodhead and others planned the dinner series, did they ever imagine it would end that way? And what is that ending telling them?

The citizen journalists said:
Several individuals came over to talk with those of us who rained on Brodhead's parade. The common theme was that Brodhead did not answer the questions. So we maybe made some progress.
You bet you made progress, Buddy and Lazierthanmost. And not just by helping net Brodhead in questions he didn’t want to answer and letting everyone at the event see that.

You did something else that was very, very important. By writing your reports and sending them on to Liestoppers, you made the evening “a net event.”

Look at just a few of the important things that are happening because your reporting is out on the net.

1) Thousands who weren’t at the dinner now know something about it.

2) Bloggers like KC Johnson and myself have added to your impact by posting based on your reporting

3) There are people who will read your reports and send links to others. Those others will likely include some trustees.

I’m glad some trustees will now have your reports to consider along with the reports they’ll receive from Steel, Brodhead and various members of “Dick’s team” who were at the dinner.

I plan to use your report in another post Sunday.

Thanks for covering the event. You performed a very important service for people following the Hoax.

And for Duke as well.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 7, 2007

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

At the outbreak of WW I Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, the same office to which he would again be appointed on September 3, 1939, the day Britain again went to war with Germany.

In August 1914 the man serving as First Sea Lord was Prince Louis of Battenberg. The Prince had emigrated from Germany to England in 1868 when, then age 14, he entered the British navy and became a British subject. In the June 5 post I promised to say something about Churchill’s relationship with the Prince.

The short of it is that they got on very well. But within a few months of the start of the war Churchill was forced to accept the Prince’s resignation. This was primarily because the Prince quickly became the lightening rod for the intense anti-German feeling that swept England with the outbreak of the war.

I find it hard to understand why Prince Louis became such a lightening rod for anti-German sentiment. After all, King George V was the grandson of a German prince, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who married Queen Victoria. The British royal family at that time retained Albert’s surname. The King and the Kaiser were first cousins.

The Royal Navy which Prince Louis had helped develop as he moved up through the ranks holding positions which included Admiral of the Home Fleet and Second Sea Lord was universally considered by Britons to be well prepared for the conflict. In fact, on the eve of war the Prince had worked with Churchill to place the Navy at its battle stations, a move for which he was praised while Churchill was hailed in the press as a hero.

But all of that was short lived. Within a few weeks concerns were raised about the Prince’s loyalty. They were absolutely unfounded, but rumors and falsehoods flew and within a few months Prime Minister Asquith told Churchill he had lost confidence in the Prince. On October 29, 1914, the Prince turned in his forced resignation.

There's more to be said about the Prince and Churchill
Martin Gilbert, The Challenge of War: 1914-1916. (Vol. III of "Winston S. Churchill") Use the index to locate material mentioned in this post.

INNOCENT: Law Prof Wants Students Treated Fairly

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Jason Trumpbour, Duke Trinity '88, Grad '91 and Law '91, teaches law at the University of Maryland School of Law and legal and ethical studies at the University of Baltimore. Many of you know him as spokesperson for the Friends of Duke University.

Today, in a Chronicle column, Trumpbour says:

Now that the injustice of the lacrosse case has been corrected, let us not forgot another less outlandish but no less outrageous violation of the rights of Duke students by local law enforcement agencies that has yet to be resolved: the Durham Police Department's announced policy instructing officers to arrest Duke students for minor quality-of-life offenses in Trinity Park that would otherwise be disposed of through a simple citation.

Traditionally, pretrial detention served one purpose and one purpose only-to ensure that defendants, who are considered innocent until proven guilty, appear at trial. That is why those who are arrested and charged with a crime can obtain their freedom by giving sufficient pledges that they will appear and those accused of minor offenses are simply given a citation to appear. Within the last few decades courts have also recognized the right of the state to detain arrestees without bond if they are deemed a potential threat to the community.

The Durham police policy serves neither purpose. Instead, by its own terms, it is meant to be punitive. It was put in place because police felt that the courts were not doing enough to deter Duke students from making noise in Trinity Park.

The result is a punishment without a criminal conviction and a violation of the 14th Amendment, which forbids deprivation of liberty without due process of law. Indeed, the fact that many of the students arrested end up being acquitted outright at trial further highlights the injustice. . . .

To insist on due process is not to condone unlawful and inconsiderate behavior by students off campus or prevent the proper enforcement of the law by police. Rather, it is to insist that police themselves observe the rule of law as they purport to uphold it and to ensure that justice is actually a goal rather than a pretext.
Trumpbour goes on to discuss why what DPD is currently doing doesn’t serve anyone’s interests and very likely is making things worse. He makes a powerful case for the use of modern policing methods that are fair to all.

Trumpbour says what’s needed in Trinity Park and the rest of Durham:
is modern community policing, which stresses police involvement in the neighborhoods they patrol and an emphasis on deterring crime by fostering respect for the law and cooperation with the police. Crime-free neighborhoods should be something all residents of Durham enjoy, not just those in Trinity Park.

The DPD has many good, well trained police officers who want to make a difference in the community. There should be more of them and they should be the ones who are turned loose on Durham's neighborhoods.

The DPD is currently undergoing reaccreditation. Also, a commission has been established to look at its conduct during the lacrosse case.

Now is the perfect opportunity for Duke to speak up in favor of reform, for the good of its students and for the good of the people of Durham.
The problems Trumpbour is talking about were highlighted in a Raleigh News & Observer story last September. Here’s part of it:
[Sgt. Mark] Gottlieb got the lacrosse case weeks after serving 10 months as a patrol shift supervisor in police District 2, which includes about a quarter of the city. The district has neighborhoods as disparate as the crime-ridden Oxford Manor public housing complex and Trinity Park -- the blocks of historic homes across from a low stone wall rimming Duke's East Campus.

From May 2005 to February 2006, the period during which Gottlieb was a patrol supervisor in the district, court and police records examined by The News & Observer show that Gottlieb arrested 28 people. Twenty were Duke students, including a quarterback of the football team and the sister of a men's lacrosse player. At least 15 of the Duke students were taken to jail.

In comparison, the three other squad supervisors working in District 2 during the same 10 months -- Sgts. Dale Gunter, John Shelton and Paul Daye -- tallied a combined 64 arrests. Two were Duke students. Both were taken to jail.

Gottlieb often treated Duke students and nonstudents differently. For example, Gottlieb in 2004 wrote a young man a citation for illegally carrying a concealed .45-caliber handgun and possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana, but records indicate he wasn't taken to jail. He was not a Duke student.
Be sure to read Trumpbour’s entire column here.

I’ll be posting again on the issues Trumpbour raises.

INNOCENT: Catotti Country (Post 3)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Catotti Country: Where you can try competence and character, but the appeals of race, gender and class are supreme.

In today’s Durham Herald Sun we find this very logical letter:

Regarding Durham City Council member Diane Catotti's insistence on the appointment of a rape crisis counselor to the panel investigating the Durham Police Department's mishandling of the Duke lacrosse case: This is the equivalent of insisting on the appointment to the 9/11 Commission any one of those people who believe that the U.S. government blew up the World Trade Center.

The lacrosse case is not about a rape. It is about a woman who lied about a rape and all the forces that fell in behind her to promote their own agendas and biases. The focus should be on those forces. It should not be on the lie.

Tucker Charns
I’m glad Tucker Charns wrote her letter. It will help reasonable people understand what’s going on. It might even persuade a few people now in Catotti Country to defect and seek asylum among reasonable people.

In the meantime, the rest of us can be grateful Councilwoman Catotti hasn’t gone as far as insisting, “Since the case had a rogue DA, if we can find a rogue DA of the right race and gender willing to serve on our . . .

Another day in Catotti Country

BTW – Tucker Charns and Alex Charns are spouses and law partners

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No Churchill post - June 6, 2007


I'm sorry to miss today. There is a lot going on.

I'll be back tomorrow. I appreciate your understanding.


INNOCENT:Praise for the Herald Sun

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: Today, 6/6/07, the Durham Herald Sun published two stories that will interest all of you who care about justice in Durham. I sent the following email to Bob Ashley, H-S editor.


Dear Editor Ashley:

I’ve criticized the Herald Sun so often you may wonder whether I’m capable of saying anything good about the H-S.

Well, read on.

In the past week or so the H-S’s Duke Hoax coverage has improved markedly. A number of recent stories by Ray Gronberg have been informative and well done. What a welcome relief from John Stevenson’s “Anything for Nifong” stories.

Today, on your front page, Brianne Dopart and Gronberg each provided H-S readers with “don’t miss” articles . From Dopart we got, "Chief hopefuls face the public," and from Gronberg, "Potential lacrosse case panelist has ties to police"

Here, I want to focus on Dopart’s article.

Within Dopart’s article on the public interview forum involving the three finalists picked to replace current DPD Chief Steve Chalmers, the following paragraphs are critically important for all citizens to know:

... Durham Deputy Chief Ron Hodge [speaking about the Duke lacrosse case said,] We've already acknowledged some mistakes were made." He added, "Criminal investigations involve human beings, and human beings make mistakes."

Asked during the public forum what mistakes they had made in their careers, laughter erupted when Hodge said he didn't "recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the past five years."

He explained that the recently released in-house report on police handling of the lacrosse case found "some small" errors, but cautioned against rushing to judgment while the "jury remains out."

"I think in the end we'll be okay," he said.

Asked during the public forum what each would do to rebuild the city's image in the aftermath of the lacrosse case … Hodge said the perception of a fractured Durham was media-generated.

"We've been through crises before as a police department, and we will go through crises again," Hodge said. "I know that our citizens are tired of the Duke lacrosse case and our officers are probably ... getting impatient [with being asked questions about the case] as well ..."

Hodge said he would not tolerate "some very bad reporters" who, he said, ask him questions and then ask his colleagues similar questions. That kind of journalism, he said, can risk the integrity of his department or an investigation.
Those are chilling words – really threats - coming from a man with a history of child abuse who supervised DPD during its “investigation” and attempted frame-up of three innocent citizens for felony crimes that could have sent them to prison for the rest of their lives.

Congratulations to you and Depart for reporting the truth.

As you know, the Raleigh N&O waffled and didn’t mention Hodge’s threats not to tolerate “some very bad reporters.”

Just a few weeks ago N&O public editor Ted Vaden scorned the H-S for your Duke lacrosse coverage. I wonder what he'll say about his paper's reporting in this case.

I'll write and ask him. I'll let you and my readers know what he says.

If you're thinking, "John, don't hold your breath on Vaden," I certainly understand.

But I'll try anyway.


John in Carolina

D - Day Tribute

The story of June 6, 1944 is familiar. And 63 years on, D-Day still interests, awes and inspires.

We hear the date and can immediately say, "Sure, Normandy, and they touched down around 6 or 7 AM, didn't they?" We wonder at the courage it took to get to the waterline and then storm the beaches.

This tribute is in impressionist form: three brief "brush strokes" meant to suggest the whole.

The first tells us a lot about the Allied Supreme Commander; in the second we follow a correspondent who sailed for Normandy not with the troops, but with doctors, nurses and corpsmen; and then a correspondent who walked Omaha Beach after the battle and tells us why we should remember it.

We begin on June 5 when General Eisenhower knew the invasion could fail. He prepared a message to be released in the event he had to order a withdrawal.

Eisenhower's penciled message on plain paper contains errors, including a dating of "July 5." Historians agree the errors suggest fatigue. In the months before D-Day, Eisenhower slept only 3 or 4 hours a night. But the quality of the man shines in his message.

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone. July 5.

The men and women of D-Day had a commander worthy of them.

With June 5 giving way to June 6, correspondent Martha Gellhorn prepared to sail for France on a hospital ship. She described for readers what she saw. Here's some of what she wrote which appeared in Aug.'44 in Collier's. (I couldn't find a net link. - JinC):

There was nothing to do now but wait. The big ship felt empty and strange.

There were 422 beds covered with new blankets; and a bright, clean, well-equipped operation room, never before used; great cans marked “Whole Blood” stood on the decks; plasma bottles and supplies of drugs and bales of bandages were stored in handy places. Everything was ready, and any moment we would be leaving for France.

Our ship was snowy white with a green line running along the sides below the deck rail, and with many bright new red crosses painted on the hull and painted flat on the boat deck.

Pulling out of the harbor that night we passed a Liberty ship, going the same way.

The ship was gray against the gray water and the gray sky, and standing on her decks, packed solidly together, khaki, silent and unmoving, were American troops. No one waved and no one called. The crowded gray ship and the empty white ship sailed slowly out of the harbor toward France.

Now, a few days after D-Day, correspondent Ernie Pyle walks along Omaha Beach. Here's part of what he told Americans back home:

You can still see the foxholes they dug at the very edge of the water, in the sand and the small, jumbled rocks that form part of the beach.

Medical corpsmen attended the wounded as best they could. Men were killed as they stepped out of landing craft. An officer whom I knew got a bullet through the head just as the door of his landing craft was let down. Some men were drowned.

Our men were pinned down for a while, but finally they stood up and want through, and so we took that beach and accomplished our landing. We did it with every advantage on the enemy's side and every disadvantage on ours.

Pyle titled his account "A Pure Miracle" , and explained why he wrote it:

In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.
Know, appreciate, and forever be humbly grateful.

Blackfive has a tribute post today which ends with “go here and here" links. Click on the first "here" and you'll be taken to a number of outstanding D-Day posts that were put up in observance of the 60th Anniversary. They are every bit as informative and inspiring today they were on June 6, 2004.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 5, 2007

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

At a Churchill Centre dinner in 1990 the guest speaker was the Countess of Mountbattan of Burma, daughter of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbattan. During WW II her father served in many capacities including heading Combined Operations in the early years of the war and later serving as Supreme Commander of the China-Burma-India theater. Referring to the relationships of her family members with Churchill she recalled:

The family relationships spanning the generations went back to the years before the Great War early in the century when my grandfather, then Prince Louis of Battenberg, was appointed First Sea Lord. That is the professional head of the Navy; Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, the political head, so they worked in close harmony.

With the onset of the 1914 war there surfaced a curious, irrational, anti-German hysteria throughout the country. For instance to play music by Wagner was unpatriotic; dachshunds were kicked in the streets. You can hardly believe it, especially for English people, but anyone with a German name was reviled.

People started whispering that the head of the Royal Navy must be a spy because he had a German name. My poor grandfather eventually felt that despite his immense popularity, despite the fact that he was known to be the most marvelous First Sea Lord, and everything that he had done for the service, to which he had dedicated his life (since the age of fourteen when came to England and became a naturalized British subject) now he felt he was a possible source of embarrassment.

After much heart searching, he decided that the only course was to resign his post, and this very nearly broke his heart. It also greatly saddened Mr. Churchill who, as First Lord of the Admiralty, tried to dissuade him but was unsuccessful.

Amazingly, when my father in his turn was appointed First Sea Lord some forty years later - the only son to succeed his father in that post - Mr. Churchill was Prime Minister. And Sir Winston was overjoyed that the terrible wrong suffered by his old friend Prince Louis had now, in some measure, been put right.
I’ll say more about Battenberg and Churchill in tomorrow’s post.

President Ronald Reagan (Feb. 6, 1911 – Jun. 5, 2005): A Tribute

Clark Clifford, a Democratic Party Washington insider, often called "a wise man," dismised President Reagan as “an amiable dunce.” The Democratic Party dominated MSM delighted in Clifford’s remark. It did all it could to convince the American people Reagan was a dunce, and a dangerous dunce at that.

Why, Reagan insisted on building up America’s military. He even called the Soviet Union “the evil empire.” Is that any way to treat a powerful nation we all have to learn to live with, the press kept asking?

And then there was Reagan’s plan for ending the Cold War: “It’s simple. We win. They lose.” Jimmy Carter would never think of anything like that. It took a dunce.

Today we mark the third anniversary of the death of a great President, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

You can read a brief Reagan biography here.

And this, from a speech he delivered in October, 1964, explaining why he changed parties:

You should know that I have been a lifelong Democrat until the 1960s. My first vote was cast for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He campaigned on a platform of reducing federal spending, eliminating useless federal bonds and commissions, and returning authority to the states, the communities, and the people, which, he said, had been unjustly seized by the federal government.

The theme of my speeches had been along these lines. But one day I came home from a speaking trip and said to Nancy that it had just dawned on me that I'd been making these speeches on what I thought was wrong with government and then every four years I'd campaign for the people who were doing these things.

So finally I changed parties.
And these excerpts from his inspiring Westminster Hall speech delivered to the Members of Parliament on June 8, 1984:
Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets, but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.

The British people know that, given strong leadership, time and a little bit of hope, the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. Here among you is the cradle of self-government, the Mother of Parliaments. Here is the enduring greatness of the British contribution to mankind, the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God.

I've often wondered about the shyness of some of us in the West about standing for these ideals that have done so much to ease the plight of man and the hardships of our imperfect world.

This reluctance to use those vast resources at our command reminds me of the elderly lady whose home was bombed in the Blitz. As the rescuers moved about, they found a bottle of brandy she'd stored behind the staircase, which was all that was left standing. And since she was barely conscious, one of the workers pulled the cork to give her a taste of it. She came around immediately and said, ``Here now -- there now, put it back. That's for emergencies.'' [Laughter]

Well, the emergency is upon us. Let us be shy no longer. Let us go to our strength. Let us offer hope. Let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but probable.

INNOCENT: Hodge For Police Chief?

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
We read in today’s Raleigh N&O:

The three finalists for Durham police chief will meet with the public at 7 p.m. today.

The finalists are Ronald H. Hodge, Durham's deputy police chief; William D. Green, the deputy police chief in Knoxville, Tenn.; and Jose L. Lopez Sr., the assistant police chief in Hartford, Conn.

City Manager Patrick Baker chose the finalists as he seeks a replacement for Steven Chalmers, who is retiring from the chief's job. The three have been in Durham this week to meet with the City Council and community leaders and to take part in the public forum tonight.

The forum will be held in the City Council chambers on the first floor on City Hall.

City officials have set aside time in advance of the forum for the finalists to take questions from news reporters. . . . (The rest of the N&O story is here.)
I’ve just sent the following email to Mayor Bell and similar ones to City Council members.

Dear Mayor Bell:

Why did DPD spokesperson Cpl. David Addison beginning on March 24, 2006 and for days thereafter make false statements to the public that the Duke lacrosse players had not cooperated with police when he knew the players had been extraordinarily cooperative?

There was the captains' cooperation on March 16 when they voluntarily answered police questions, signed statements, want to Duke Hospital and submitted to suspect kit testing, and helped police locate others who were at the party.

They did all of that without attorneys present.

Any one of the 46 white players subject to the court’s order, including those the police knew by March 23 were not at the party, had the right to appeal the court order to submit to DNA testing and mug shot and torso photographing.

Not one did. Every one of them went straight to the police station and complied with the order.

Have you or any member of the Council asked Deputy Chief Ron Hodge why his department promulgated such a terrible falsehood?

If Hodge has been asked the question, what was his answer?

If he hasn’t been asked it, why not?

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the Durham CrimeStoppers Duke lacrosse wanted poster, the text of which Cpl. Addison sent on March 28 to DPD substations, media and others. A photo copy of the poster with a DPD header can be viewed here at

Has Deputy Chief Hodge disclosed who told Addison to compose what was a false and libelous document?

Or why Addison was told to do it?

Or why it wasn’t corrected immediately?

Or why it was only corrected on April 10, the day the public would learn the first round of DNA testing had come back negative?

Why did Addison’s supervisor, Major Lee Russ, wait until then to tell him to correct the CS Wanted poster?

Has Hodge answered those questions to your satisfaction and the satisfaction of your fellow Council members?

If he has, shouldn’t the public know what he’s told you?

DPD spokesperson Addison’s repeated false and racially inflammatory statements and the false and libelous CS Wanted poster helped bring Durham to the point where you, wisely I believe, decided it was necessary to join with Chancellor Ammons and President Brodhead to take out newspaper ads calling for public calm.

Now City Manager Patrick Baker presents Hodge as one of three finalists to succeed outgoing Chief Steve Chalmers.

Yet Hodge was effectively running the police department during the period when the police repeatedly made false statements and issued the libelous CrimeStoppers Wanted poster.

Why did Baker pick Hodge as a finalist? Especially why did Baker pick Hodge when the public doesn’t have answers to the questions I’ve asked here?


John in Carolina

This Made Me Smile

President Reagan was fond of this joke:

How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin.

And how do you tell an anti-communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 4, 2006

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

Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer, generally draws praise from his fellow historians and literary critics for his six volumes of the eight volume authorized biography of Churchill (The first two volumes were written by Churchill’s son, Randolph. Gilbert carried on the work after Randolph’s death in 1968.) Many have termed Gilbert’s biography “magisterial.”

But you know there have to be some who find fault. A common criticism of Gilbert’s volumes is he simply tells a narrative, albeit lucidly and with an eye for revealing details.

Where are the historian’s opinions, some critics ask?

That question was asked most intensely when the biography’s final volume, Never Despair, was released. The work contains neither an evaluative summary of Churchill’s life nor any assessment of “his impact on our world and the future.”

Gilbert’s answer was then as it is now that his first purpose was to record Churchill’s life. He also pointed out that a biographer can’t include everything a person does, so what’s put in and emphasized in the work as against what’s left out or given brief notice is really a biographer’s exercise of opinion.

But some critics still weren’t satisfied. So Gilbert released a statement headed: "From The Unopinionated Author." Here’s the heart of it:

“Churchill was indeed a noble spirit, sustained in his long life by a faith in the capacity of man to live in peace, to seek prosperity, and to ward off threats and dangers by his own exertions.

His love of country, his sense of fair play, his hopes for the human race, were matched by formidable powers of work and thought, vision and foresight. His path had often been dogged by controversy, disappointment and abuse, but these had never deflected him from his sense of duty and his faith in the British people.

In the last years, when power passed, to be followed by extreme old age with all its infirmity and sadness, Churchill's children expressed to him in private the feelings which many of his fellow countrymen also felt . . .

From his daughter Mary had come words of solace, when at last his life's great impulses were fading. ‘In addition to all the feelings a daughter has for a loving, generous father,’ she wrote, ‘I owe you what every Englishman, woman & child does - Liberty itself.’ ”

Battle of Midway Tribute

Readers Note: With the exception of a few updates, the post which follows is a copy of a tribute I posted on June 4, 2006.

The tribute is not just for those who fought at Midway. It's also for all those Americans and our allies who've served with us in our battles in the Pacific for freedom and a better world.

In June 1942, Japanese and American forces fought an epic battle at Midway, the name of a pair of mid-Pacific islands whose combined size totaled two square miles. But one of the islands was just large enough for an airfield and a small harbor, where submarines could rearm and refuel. Thus, possession of Midway was critically important to both sides.

The battle at Midway was one of World War II’s most decisive battles. America's victory there halted the Japanese offensive that began at Pearl Harbor, and enabled the Allies to begin their advance toward Japan.

Beginning on June 4, the battle lasted for three-days. Its decisive action occurred that first day so we mark June 4 as the battle's anniversary.

Today is the 65th anniversary of the Battle at Midway. Here is how one historian began his account of it:

By any ordinary standard, they were hopelessly outclassed.

They had no battleships, the enemy eleven. They had eight cruisers, the enemy twenty-three. They had three carriers (one of them crippled); the enemy had eight. Their shore defenses included guns from the turn of the century.

They knew little of war. None of the Navy pilots on one of their carriers had ever been in combat. Nor had any of the Army fliers. Of the Marines, 17 of 21 new pilots were just out of flight school – some with less than four hours’ flying time since then. Their enemy was brilliant, experienced and all-conquering.

Further on, he wrote:

They had no right to win. Yet they did, and in doing so they changed the course of a war. More than that, they added a new name – Midway – to that small list that inspires men by shining example. Like Marathon, the Armada, the Marne, a few others, Midway showed that every once in a while “what must be” need not be at all. Even against the greatest of odds, there is something in the human spirit – a magic blend of skill, faith and valor – that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory.

You may recognize historian Walter Lord's words from the foreward of his authoritative and inspiring book, Incredible Victory.

Lord's words are a fitting tribute. They speak in grateful remembrance for all of us.

You may want to visit these Midway websites:

Battle of Midway - Department of the Navy-Naval Historical Center staff prepared this excellent print and photo narrative.

The Battle of Midway, 1942 - A brief outline of the battle and the eyewitness account of Japanese pilot, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who was lead pilot at Pearl Harbor. - This is an extraordinary site. With narrative, photos, and video, it tells how the Navy, National Geographic, and undersea explorer Robert Ballard, who led the scientific team which located RMS Titanic, searched for and finally found on the Pacific's bottom the carrier, USS Yorktown, which was sunk by torpedo fire on June 6 after suffering severe damage earlier in the battle


"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
The “news on the net” is that Duke President Richard H. Brodhead will be massaging Philadelphia area alums, parents and others this Tuesday evening, June 5.

For those who are justice seekers and plan to be at the event, I offer the following for any help it may give you in participating in the brief “Q&A with Dick” that is usually a part of such evenings.

I’ll assume the following: You’ll bring tape recorders. Some of you may even have contacted KC Johnson who often reproduces what Brodhead says, thereby aiding DU VP for Public Affairs and Government Relations John Burness in his task of spreading the word about what Brodhead is saying.

Now advice about questions:

For heavens sake, don’t ask “what if” questions: “If you had it to do over, would you …..?”

Brodhead loves those questions and you’ll learn nothing. You’ll get something like:

“Looking back, sure, I might do some things really, really differently. But you must remember that at the time, the facts kept changing.

We’d meet in the morning and someone would tell me it was 10:30. A few hours later John Burness would call and say it was really 1 o’clock.

Things like that were happening every day. It was such a hard time for me.

But that’s all in the past. I’m now one of Nifong’s biggest critics and we must all look to the future.”
Also, avoid questions which, while very important, will allow Brodhead to avoid taking responsibility.

So while questions about the discredited Group of 88 statement, The Chronicle ad and the comments of some of the 88 members are ones we need to keep asking, at an after dinner Q&A, questions like:
Why haven’t you criticized at least some of what the Group of 88 have done, and why don’t we know who paid for the ad and why some departments were listed on it as supporting it when members of those departments insist they did not?
are questions Brodhead will easily fob off with references to “our cherished traditions of academic freedom” and the “matter’s concerning departmental actions are within the Provost's area of responsibility.”

Keep your questions brief and focused on specific events about which there is no dispute. Highlight in your question Brodhead’s inaction in the face of the events and invite him to explain his inactions.

“President Brodhead, since Reade Seligmann was the victim of threats, including death threats, on May 18 outside and within the Durham Courthouse you’ve made no public comments condemning those who threatened Seligmann or offering your support to him and his family. Why haven’t you done that?”

“The NC State Bar is about to try DA Nifong on charges including scores of things he said and did starting in late March ’06 and continuing through December ’06 that slimed the lacrosse team and attempted to frame three Duke students. During all that time, you refused to say anything critical of Nifong. Why?”

“Many of us were proud last spring when the women’s lacrosse team publicly asserted David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann’s innocence. But for doing that, they were viciously and maliciously attacked by many in media, including columnists at the New York Times and the Boston Globe. You said nothing in the women’s defense. Why not?”

“Why did you refuse to meet with the lacrosse parents last spring?”

“There was recently a full page ad in The Chronicle endorsed by 1,000 student who called on you to, in the words of the ad, ‘finally stand up for students.’ Have you responded to the students?”

“When the Raleigh News & Observer published a photo copy of the notorious “Vigilante” poster and thereby added to the danger the players were facing, you said nothing critical of the N&O. Why not?”

“When the “Vigilante” poster targeting white Duke students circulated on campus within sight of your office windows, you said nothing critical of those distributing the posters and targeting the students. Why not?”

“Many current and prospective parents, alums and others are very concerned by persistent reports that when the false charges were first made, Dean Wasiolek advised the lacrosse players not to tell their parents they were subjects of a police investigation. Did she tell them not to contact their parents?”

Folks, as you know that last question about Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek goes somewhat against the advice I gave above, but I couldn’t help putting it in there.

And I can’t help offering this last question which also doesn’t fit with my advice, but I’d love to hear it asked by someone who was able to deliver it the way a great pitcher delivers a curve that seems to hang out there forever, and then suddenly breaks across the plate:
”President Brodhead, you’ve had three years now as President, and you’ve gotten to know the campus and the students and faculty. You’ve met thousands of alumni at events such as this wonderful one tonight. And you’ve worked with leaders in Durham and lots more.

So I was wondering, suppose for instance, say tomorrow or next week you were to resign. What advice would you give the trustees as to what to look for in your successor?”
Good luck to all the justice seekers who attend the Philly event.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

DPD's Sgt. Shelton & Cpl. Addison

On May 31 Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown released a document: Questions concerning role of Durham Police Department in the Duke Lacrosse Case. The document is posted at It’s a “must read” for every Durham citizen and anyone else who cares about justice in the Duke lacrosse case.

This post concerns two parts of Councilman Brown’s document which appear in separate sections. However, when placed side-by-side and examined, they're extraordinarily revealing as to what two DPD officers did that was right and what certain other DPD officers did that had to be wrong.

What's more, when examined side-by-side, the two sections of Brown's document lead to no other conclusion than that DPD went many days deliberately telling the public things it knew to be false, in the process slandering and libeling innocent citizens.

The first part of Councilman Brown’s document we’ll look at has to do with some of the actions of DPD Sgt. John Shelton in the first hours following the party on the night of March 13/14. Brown asked:

"Why did it take nearly a month for DPD to talk with John Shelton, the officer who first picked up Ms. Mangum at the Kroger's on Hillsboro Rd., and why was Officer Shelton's dubious belief in Ms. Mangum's story given no credence with the investigators?"
Here’s the second part of Brown’s document we’ll look at:
"Before any indictments were issued, the DPD officially and repeatedly told the public that horrific crimes had been committed at the lacrosse party.

In late March 2006, I, and many others, received an email "wanted poster" from Durham CrimeStoppers [It was sent on 3/28/06. – JinC] which stated: 'The Duke Lacrosse Team solicited a local escort service for entertainment. The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 N. 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.'

The message later appeared, I believe, on the Trinity Park list serve and other media outlets as well. [It also appeared in poster form with an official DPD header. See facsimile here at – JinC] Several questions arise from this:

-Who authorized Officer Addison to create and distribute such a false and libelous posting and to personally appear on WRAL (March 24, 2006) and state: "You are looking at one victim brutally raped." Since he was not an investigator on this case, how did he reach this fallacious conclusion? Who finally ordered the poster to be removed from the public arena?"
Now, how do the two sections of Councilman Brown’s document become so revealing when placed side by side?

Because of something Sgt. Shelton, Cpl. Addison and DPD Officer Willie Barfield, who’ll enter this post shortly, all knew on the night of March 13/14.

They also knew it on March 24 when DPD officers working the case were told to report to DA Mike Nifong and Addison began acting as DPD spokesperson. And they knew it on March 28 when Addison sent out the text of the Durham Crimestoppers Duke lacrosse Wanted poster Brown cited.

What those three officer knew is such signifant and irrefutable evidence that a beating and gang-rape DID NOT take place at the party, that neither DA Nifong nor his DPD "helpers" have ever questioned Shelton and Barfield's decisions to take Mangum to Durham Access.

What's more, those in media who enabled the sliming of the white members of the lacrosse team and the attempted frame-up of three innocent members of it, have largely ignored the matter.

The matter is this: as veteran police officers, Shelton, Addison and Barfield know about the kinds and severity of physical injuries a woman suffers when she’s brutally beaten and raped by even one strong young man, to say nothing of being brutally beaten and raped by three strong young men. Like all DPD officers they're trained to administer emergency first aid to victims of such horrific crimes while they await the arrival of the EMS ambulance and emergency medical assistance.

Addison knew Mangum had suffered no such injuries and needed no emergency medical assistance. He knew she hadn’t even suffered slight injuries.

That's because Addison knew Sgt. John Shelton, who responded to a call shortly after midnight on March 14, found Mangum in Roberts’ car at a Kroger parking lot, in Shelton’s words, “just passed out drunk.”

Had Shelton seen any signs of injuries he would have arranged to take Mangum to Duke Hospital, which is less than a mile from the Kroger parking lot.

But Shelton saw no evidence of any physical injuries. So he arranged for another officer, Willie Barfield, to take Mangum to Durham Access, which provides short-term domicile and “support services” for substance abusers.

Barfield also saw no signs of any physical injuries.

Barfield only later took Mangum from Durham Access to Duke Hospital after she said at Access she’d been raped.

Addison understood the significance of his brother officers’ judgments and actions that night.

Addison knew Mangum’s story was false. Yet he went for days telling the public about “horrific crimes” and the players “wall of silence” even though, as we later learned, the players had been extremely cooperative with police.


Some people claim Addison was "free-lancing" and somehow convinced himself that what he was saying was true.

That explanation doesn’t stand scrutiny.

Why didn’t, for example, Addison’s supervisor, DPD Maj. Lee Russ, on March 25 direct Addison to correct his false statements? Russ knew what Shelton and Barfield knew. He also knew what Addison had said in the CS Wanted poster was false.

But Russ did nothing to correct the Wanted poster until April 10, the day the public was to be told the first round of DNA test results were all negative.

On April 10 Russ finally directed Addison to make a number of changes in the libelous Wanted poster.

Emails from Russ to Addison I've reviewed reveal Addison started making the changes within the hour.

The "Addison was 'free-lancing'" explanation is nonsense.

So back to the question of why Addison, as DPD spokesperson and CrimeStoppers coordinator, went for days telling the public what he and DPD knew were lies about “horrific crimes” and the players' “stonewall of silence?”

You know the answer: he was told to.

But who told him to do it? What was he told? And why did certain officials, sworn to uphold justice, want to first slime 46 kids and then seek to send 3 of them to prison for most, if not all, of the rest of their lives?

Message to Councilman Brown: Thank you. Many of us will be looking for ways to help you.