Saturday, June 30, 2007

Australians As Teachers

At Right On The Right we’re reminded of something the Australians did during a recent “match” with the Iranians:

Remember the British soldiers that were temporarily captured by Iran, causing an international bruhaha?

Remember how they ranted for days and weeks about how there was no way they could've avoided capture?

The Australians managed to do it:

It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having none of it".

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be "highly colourful language".

The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters.

They aimed their machine guns at the approaching Islamofascists, and used highly colorful language to make their intentions clear.

Lesson to Britain, that is how it's done.
Lesson to the rest of us: That is how it’s always done if you want to keep your freedom.

Hat tip:

Michael Barone on C-SPAN 2

From C-SPAN 2

Michael Barone will join Book TV for a three-hour conversation about his books July 1 on In Depth.

Michael Barone is the author of the new book "Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers."

His previous books include "The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again," "Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan," and "Hard America Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future."

He is the principal coauthor of the biannual "Almanac of American Politics." Michael

Barone is a senior writer with U.S. News & World Report and a political contributor to Fox News Channel.
C-SPAN 2 will air the program three times:
Sunday, July 1, at 12:00 PM

Monday, July 2, at 12:00 AM

Saturday, July 7, at 9:00 AM
I think Barone is one of America's best informed and most judicious pundits.

I’m looking forward to watching Barone on In Depth.

BTW - Barone also blogs at Barone Blog.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jun. 29, 2007

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

During WW II certain locked boxes arrived for Churchill on almost a daily basis wherever he was. He alone had the keys to those boxes. His closest aides did not know their contents. In his multi-volume History of WW II, Churchill makes no mention of the boxes.

The boxes, of course, contained principally the latest British decodings of German Enigma messages. They sometimes also contained intercepts and decodings of Italian and Japanese messages.

When he wrote his history, Churchill could not reveal the Enigma secret: that early in the war the British had begun to break the German code system which used encoding and decoding machines the Brits dubbed the Enigma machines. That remained a secret until 1974.

At Pico Technology’s website we learn more:

Situated about 50 miles to the north west of London at Bletchley Park is the former WW2 code breaking centre (also known as Station X). It was here that a dedicated team of talented mathematicians (including Alan Turing) worked to break the German Enigma codes and also the more complex codes used by Hitler and his high command.

The number of people working at Bletchley Park grew throughout the war to a point where there were literally thousands of people working around the clock decoding and analysing messages. Despite the number of people involved, the German high command had no idea that their security had been compromised and believed that their codes were unbreakable. . . .

During the war, many ingenious aids and machines were developed at Bletchley Park to aid the breaking of codes, one of these was Colossus — the World’s first electronic computer.

(For many years the honour of being the World’s first electronic computer was given to the American ENIAC. In recent years however, both the UK and US governments have declassified and released papers giving more information about Colossus. In the light of this historians have been forced to reconsider and most now agree that Colossus was in fact the World’s first electronic computer.) . . .
There’s much more at the Pico site which should be extremely interesting to anyone interested in the early development of computers.

I’d be interested to hear what you think of the part of the Pico dealing with Bletchley, especially from those of you with tech backgrounds.

Have a nice weekend, folks.

Senator Kennedy rails & fails

Senator Ted Kennedy uses the recent Supreme Court decision restricting race-based forced busing to rail in an op-ed [excerpt]:

Thursday's decision reminds us why Brown v. Board of Education was so important. The tragedy at the core of Brown was society's abandonment of African American children to second-class schools.

Today, too many students remain stuck in segregated schools that limit their opportunities. The harm to those children is not less just because this new segregation is the result of housing patterns rather than discriminatory laws. A majority of the Supreme Court understood that we cannot afford to ignore that reality by pretending that Brown was concerned only with formal consideration of race, rather than with the harm minority children suffer if they must attend segregated schools. (emphasis added)

In the more than 50 years since Brown declared that "separate but equal has no place" in our society, voluntary efforts by local school boards have benefited all of us.

As explained in a brief to the court in Thursday's cases that was written by more than 500 social scientists, the work of local school boards such as Seattle's to overcome segregation has helped children enjoy the enormous benefits of diversity in education -- including enhanced academic success for African American students, greater parental involvement in public schools and cross-cultural understanding. . . .
What you’ve just read comes from a man who sent his own children to private schools.

For more than 40 years Ted Kennedy has been the most powerful figure in Massachusetts politics.

During those 40 years liberal Democrats have dominated the elective offices in the state.

Boston is home to a number of universities with Education Departments or Schools of Education.

MIT and Harvard with its School of Education are nearby.

Among all those universities and colleges there must be many more than 500 social scientists.

And you know what: The Boston public schools are places where “too many students are stuck in segregated schools that limit their opportunities.”

Most social scientists at Boston area universities and colleges have hit on only one solution to help kids avoid getting stuck in the Boston public schools; and that solution helps only a very small number of the kids needing help avoiding public schools in Kennedy’s Boston fiefdom.

The solution is to send their own kids to private schools if they live in Boston or live in one of Boston’s toney and overwhelmingly white suburbs, where the kids can go to school while their social scientist parents commute to Boston.

Advice for Teddy Kennedy:

1) Stop trying to bus other peoples’ kids when you wouldn’t let your own be bussed.

2) Support voucher programs that will let some of those kids now stuck in Boston’s public schools get out of them.

3) Stop pandering to teachers’ union and that Democratic Party adjunct, the National Education Association, who oppose vouchers.

4) Call a meeting of 500 Boston area social scientists and Boston's elected officials, and say, “Look, we really need to stop blaming Bush for how bad things are in Boston’s public schools. They’ve been bad for decades. And people like us have been the dominate policy makers here. I’m beginning to think we’re the problem and we need to do much better.”

That’s what I think. How about you, folks?

PS – Some of you may be thinking: “Surely those folks in Boston and the surrounding area don’t blame the Boston public schools' problems on Bush.”

Folks, I go up there a few times a year. Many of the people I speak to have in the last 3 or 4 years taken to blaming him for their schools’ failings.

When I point out that the failings go back generations I’m told: “Yes, but they’re so much worse now since Bush came in.”

Kennedy's entire rail is here.

INNOCENT: Anderson’s Yeager/Pressler Review

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

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

Professor and columnist Bill Anderson is one of the few who were out there “early and often” crying “foul” as Mike Nifong’s near-criminal enablers in news organizations, at Duke, and in “rights organizations” helped make possible what the now disgraced and disbarred former DA is being call to account for.

Bill’s just reviewed It’s Not About The Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered, writer Don Yeager and former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler’s compelling and detailed account of how Duke’s current administrative leaders and many faculty members reacted to the wildly improbable and conflicting claims Crystal Mangum began making in the early morning hours of March 14, 2006.

Bill’s review begins:

For more than a year, the infamous Duke Lacrosse Non-Rape, Non-Kidnapping, and Non-Sexual Assault Case has held front-and-center in the news. Readers . . . know about three lacrosse players being falsely charged with rape and other crimes. The name Michael B. Nifong has become synonymous with prosecutorial abuse and outright lying.

Yet, until [recently], when the North Carolina State Bar disbarred the rogue Nifong and a local judge later unceremoniously kicked him out of his office, only one person had lost his job over this affair: Mike Pressler, the former coach of the Duke University lacrosse team.

Pressler had to endure the lies that he let the team run wild, that he coddled a bunch of racists and rapists, and the unfair symbolism of being the enabler of White Jocks Gone Wild. . . .

The title comes from a statement that Duke Athletic Director Joe Alleva said when he told Pressler that he wanted his resignation. When Pressler said, "We must stand for the truth," Alleva replied, "It’s not about the truth anymore." He went on, "It’s about the integrity of the university, it’s about the faculty, the city, the NAACP, the protesters, and the other interest groups."

Indeed, Alleva said what has become the "truth" about higher education in the United States, that being that while university administrators such as Duke President Richard Brodhead speak of "integrity" and the like, in the end, they try to convince the rest of us that "integrity" does not need the "truth" to accompany it. . . .

If you want to know about the events surrounding the affair, I would highly recommend this book. Granted, I doubt it will be as comprehensive as the upcoming book, Until Proven Innocent by K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor, but that book does not come out until September, and while both writers were "insiders" in terms of being fed information from the defense, neither had the ringside seat that Pressler "enjoyed."

The one drawback of the book is that it was hurriedly put together, but given the dates and events and deadlines, that is to be expected. Ironically, the release of the book was June 12, the same day that Nifong’s hearing with the North Carolina State Bar began, so readers of the book already had a sense of the massive crimes that Nifong committed in pursuit of the Great White Lacrosse Players.

In reading this book – which can be done in a day, despite its length – I could not imagine the stress and outright fear that must have been a daily portion of the lives of Mike Pressler and his family. Threatening telephone calls were on the regular menu, as well as signs placed in the yard demanding that the entire team confess to the alleged rape. Finally, in fear for his life and for the lives of his family, his wife and children moved out of the house to a safe place.

But that was not all. Pressler received two threatening emails from Duke student Chauncey Nartey, a black student who had been born in Africa, and was a favorite among the Duke administration. For writing an email that threatened Pressler’s daughter, Brodhead "punished" Nartey by having him attend Duke functions as an example of a "prized" student at the university. (Yes, the administration requested that Nartey "apologize," but he faced no discipline.)

No, one cannot make up this stuff. By the time Brodhead canceled the team’s season on April 5, as well as firing Pressler, the lacrosse players already were on the run.

If they went to class, professors outright accused them of being rapists – in front of other students. Even being on campus meant having to run a gauntlet of cursing and screaming students, as well as wanted posters with their pictures and signs demanding that they be castrated.

To make matters worse, 88 faculty members signed an advertisement in the April 6 Duke Chronicle that all-but-declared the team to be rapists, and that Duke University was little more than a repository for the Ku Klux Klan. It was the madness that seems to infect elite universities in full flower.

About a month before the infamous March 13 lacrosse team party, the leftists on the Harvard University faculty drove out Harvard President Lawrence Summers for some mildly controversial remarks made during a conference presentation. No doubt, Brodhead did not want to anger Duke’s vocal radical faculty members, so he did the convenient thing: he threw the players and their coach under the bus.

The craven attitudes at Duke were not limited to Alleva, Brodhead, and the radical faculty. John Burness, the corpulent Duke vice president, according to the book, regularly slimed the players and Pressler in "off-the-record" remarks to the press.
Thus, reporters were told that the players were "bad actors," with the coach having been warned the year before that his team was a "train wreck waiting to happen."

Unfortunately for Burness, there was no "train wreck" document. The year before, Duke lost in the NCAA championship game by one goal against Johns Hopkins (the same fate that befell the team this year), and the Duke administration awarded Pressler with a big raise and a long-term contract. It was not a team "out of control" by any means.
I hope you read the entire review which you'll find here. Bill offers a lot of telling details from the book and adds his own pungent commentary.

BTW - I’ve just read the Yeager/Pressler book and will be commenting on it starting in a few days.

Here’s purchase information ---

It’s Not About The Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered by Don Yeager with Mike Pressler. New York: Threshold Editions. The book list for $25.

It's widely available in bookstores and can be ordered through Amazon.

INNOCENT: Nifong vs. Nifong

"... 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 following is from the disgraced Mike Nifong’s deposition prior to his recent State Bar trial that led to his disbarment:

Q. When you decided to go ahead and -- I guess, is it fair to say from your answer, that when you talked with Mr. Saacks, you decided to go ahead and handle that case yourself directly and you would be the primary prosecutor on the case?

A. I don't know that I had made that decision specifically then; but, I mean, I was certainly aware that we were in the middle of an election. I expected that this was a case that the media was going to have some interest in, and for that reason, I figured that I was likely going to be asked about the case.(emphasis mine)
Then we have this from the 3/29/06 NY Times:
”The thing that most of us found so abhorrent, and the reason I decided to take it over myself, was the combination gang-like rape activity accompanied by the racial slurs and general racial hostility," Mr. Nifong said Tuesday in a telephone interview. (emphasis mine)
Pick your Nifong! Place your bets!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jun. 28, 2007

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

Historian and former President of the Churchill Center John Plumpton recalled the following anecdote when speaking at a Churchill Society dinner. Plumpton didn’t cite a source. So you may want to keep a few grains of a salt at the ready.

In any case the story is fun and sounds like the impish Churchill talking to trusted aides. According to Plumton:

Churchill was normally quite magnanimous towards political opponents but he had trouble forgiving former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin for leaving Britain unprepared and vulnerable to German aggression.

It may be apocryphal, but it is said that when Churchill heard of Baldwin’s death, during the war, he commented:



Bury at Sea

Take no chances.”
I hope you’re all here tomorrow.

In the meantime, be careful. Take no chances.

INNOCENT: N&O “boots” questions

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

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
While searching archives today I found and read the transcript of MSNBC’s The Abrams Report for 3/28/06. It reminded me of some unanswered questions I have about the Raleigh News & Observer’s role in first, describing all the white members of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team as drunken, brutish racists, and then, second, helping enable the attempted frame-up of three members of the team.

To understand my questions let’s start with a portion of the transcript in which Dan Abrams asks a question of the N&O’s Samiha Khanna, one of two N&O reporters (the other was Anne Blythe) bylined on the N&O’s 3/24/06 story that first identified the Duke lacrosse players as suspects and seven times referred to the accuser as “the victim” or in the possessive form “victim’s,” without ever using “alleged” or some other qualifier.

Khanna and Blythe teamed for the N&O’s story the next day which, in front-page headlines, the N&O said was about “a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence.”

We pick up Abrams as he introduces Khanna

Samiha Khanna from the “News and Observer” down there who interviewed the alleged victim in this case.

ABRAMS: “All right, so what did she tell you?

KHANNA : “Well first, she sort of wondered how I had found her, and I assured her that her identity was not revealed in the newspaper and it was not going to be revealed, as we don’t publish the names of sexual assault victims.
I don’t know whether Crystal Mangum really “sort of wondered” how Khanna found her. In truth she could have been “tipped” that an N&O reporter was coming to interview her much the way the N&O itself was “tipped to be there” when the Duke lacrosse players showed up at the police building to provide DNA samples.

But I sure do wonder how and why the N&O was able to get to Mangum so quickly and secure the cooperation of the young mother who Khanna later in the interview says “was still in shock.”

Khanna doesn’t say what she said when Mangum, allegedly asked how Khanna found her. And Abrams didn’t ask Khanna anything about the matter.

I’ve asked the N&O’s Public Editor, Ted Vaden, how Khanna found Mangum. He won’t say. N&O Investigative Reporter Joe Neff, for all his writing on the witch hunt and frame-up attempt, has never reported how Khanna found Mangum.

And when readers have asked Melanie Sill, the N&O’s exec editor for news she’s usually ignored them.

The only instance I can find when Sill “answered” the question is on the thread of an Editors’ Blog post, "March 25 interview." Commenting at 10/06/06 Sill said [excerpt]:
The first day story was about a DNA roundup involving an unprecedented number of people from a single group. The second day we were working to talk to all the principals. We got the woman identified as the victim and interviewed her. […]

[It] wasn't an extensive or extensively planned interview -- it was boots on the street hustle to track down the key players.
Durham City has a population of more than 210,000 people.

In a city that size, you can do a lot of what Sill calls “street hustle” before you’d come to just the person you were looking for; and even then you wouldn’t know you’d come to “the right person” you were looking for unless you knew something about the person. Like the person’s name and address, for instance.

Sill’s “boots on the street hustle” is an attempt to lead gullible people to think she’s answered their question when, it fact, she’s avoided it. And she succeeds in doing that very often with tens of thousand of faithful N&O readers.

That leaves intelligent people to ask: Who told the N&O the accuser was Crystal Mangum and where to find her?

Sill could easily have answered that with something like: “An anonymous source phoned – we don’t know if it was a neighbor or someone else - and gave us the ID and address.”

That explanation would be plausible. The N&O actively seeks news tips, anonymous and otherwise. And everyday people on their own phone news tips to newspapers, often anonymously.

So why hasn’t the N&O used the plausible “anonymous tip” fob-off instead of the obviously fairy tale “boots on the street?”

“Perhaps, because the ‘anonymous tip fob-off’ is not true,” you say?

Folks, the N&O promulgated the deliberate falsehood that the players hadn’t cooperated with police while suppressing the news they had.

And as much as I deplore most of the NY Times’ Hoax reporting, it wasn’t the NY Times that withheld for thirteen months the exculpatory news the N&O learned in the Mangum/Khanna interview, was it?

“Not true” is not a Stop sign for Sill and the other people who control what “news” the N&O reports; it’s not even a caution light.

I believe the N&O hasn’t given us the “anonymous tip” or any other false explanation for how Khanna got to Mangum because:
1) the N&O was, in the lingo of journalists, “fed a tip;”

2) the tip came from someone very close to the case, such as someone in the DA’s office or on the DPD “investigation team;”

3) that someone undoubtedly assured Mangum she could speak “to the lady from the N&O” without any worry that the “N&O lady” would do anything to upset the case, especially the hopes Mangum had then for a “big settlement” from those rich, white Duke boys;

4) and that the N&O knows the someone who fed it the tip is likely at some time in the not too distant future to testify in a case, criminal or civil, in which the someone will explain how Khanna and the N&O really didn't need to do any "boots on the street hustle."
The complicity involving the N&O and someone(s) on the “Nifong/DPD investigative team” may be much more extensive than what I’ve suggested here.

Would you doubt that, even if Melanie Sill, Ted Vaden, and Joe Neff swore on a stack of tomorrow’s N&O it wasn’t true?

I hope not.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Churchill Series - Jun. 27, 2007

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

Churchill worked hard at being a good father to his only son, Randolph. But the two had a very strained relationship often marked by intense arguments and anger on both sides.

Churchill’s relationship with his grandson and namesake, born to Randolph and his first wife, Pamala Digby in October, 1940, was fun-filled, active, and warm.

The young Winston quickly developed an affection for his grandfather who he recalled in later years played trains with him on the floor and had a small trowel and mortaring kit made so he could lay bricks alongside his grandfather.

The younger Churchill also recalled in his autobirgraphaical Memories and Adventures (Weidenfeld & Nicolson ) a generous act by his grandfather and his response to it. At the time he was 20:

Before returning to Oxford I went to Stour to stay with my father, who told me that Grandpapa had made a settlement in my favour of the foreign rights to [his] History of the English-Speaking Peoples.. . .

I hastened to thank him for his generosity:
14 January 1961

Dear Grandpapa,

I returned from Switzerland today, and I am spending the night at Stour with Father before returning to Oxford tomorrow.

Father has told me of the handsome financial provision which you have made for me. It greatly exceeds any expectations I ever had and I am at a loss to find the right words to thank you.

I am so grateful for the mark of your trust which you have shown in giving me absolute control at the age of twenty-five of the money which you have settled on me, as for the money itself, and I shall endeavour to be worthy of your trust.

More than anything else, I am proud to bear your name and I will do my best to maintain its honour.

Your loving grandson,


This made me smile

The following is going around the net. A dear friend passed it on:

After starting a new diet, I altered my drive to work to avoid passing my favorite bakery.

But I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning, and as I approached, there in the window was a host of goodies.

I felt this was no accident, so I prayed ... "Lord, it's up to you, if you want me to have any of those delicious goodies, create a parking place for me directly in front of the bakery." And sure enough, my eighth time around the block, there it was!

INNOCENT: Walter Abbott, Citizen Journalist

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

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

Yesterday’s Durham Herald Sun carried the following letter under the head: 'Just following orders' is no excuse for police

To the editor:

Your June 20 editorial [City in crosshairs..."] said, "It would have taken great courage for a rank-and-file officer or investigator to stand up and oppose the sitting DA."

That thinking is reminiscent of the Nuremberg defense used by Hitler's followers after WWII. It didn't work then and it won't now.

Sworn law officers don't have to "just follow orders" when it involves breaking the law. If they can't figure it out, they've no business with a badge and gun.

The Herald-Sun has a poor record concerning this case -- it was one of Mike Nifong's biggest boosters. It remains to be seen if The Herald-Sun can partially redeem itself by insisting that Durham's leaders get to the bottom of what happened with the police department no matter where it leads.

Mike Nifong didn't frame those three young men by himself. He had help and the public needs to know who it was and why it was done.

Ruston, La.
That letter is typical of Abbott’s direct, reasoned and fact-based approach to MSM editors. He’s a “tell me no lies, give me no alibis” person.

After NC Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the three young men innocent, Raleigh News & Observer executive editor for news Melanie Sill posted at the Editors’ Blog pouting she was sure that in the wake of Cooper’s declaration the N&O would receive “the usual barrage from people who hate [us and engage in] smearing The N&O.”

Abbott ignored Sill’s pout and told her just what he thought the N&O had done to enable the witch hunt and frame-up (thread @ 04/19/07 at 07:54)

Last year, Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe wrote this about Crystal Mangum, the false accuser in the Duke case:

"The accuser had worked for an escort company for two months, doing one-on-one dates about three times a week.

"It wasn't the greatest job," she said, her voice trailing off. But with two children, and a full class load at N.C. Central University, it paid well and fit her schedule.

This was the first time she had been hired to dance provocatively for a group, she said. There was no security to protect her, and as the men became aggressive, the two women started to leave. After some of the men apologized for the behavior, the women went back inside, according to police. That's when the woman was pulled into a bathroom and raped and sodomized, police said."

Last night, Reade Seligmann's attorney Jim Cooney had this to say on Liestoppers Board:

"We were provided with "sign-in" logs from the "Champagne Room" of the Platinum Club. A "dancer" and her customer are required to sign the sheet pledging that they will not engage in any sex or touching in the room. (I swear that I am not making this up). We have sheets from the latter part of March (and just 2 or 3 days after the "attack") showing that someone named "Precious" signed in.

This is consistent with what Yolanda Hayes said about Precious in her affidavits (and appears to corroborate the approximate time of the videotape showing her dancing until Yolanda throws her off the stage).

Significantly, we were able to trace Precious' footsteps the weekend before the party. Recall that she told Durham PD that after dancing at the Platinum Club on Friday night, she did her nails, went to a movie, and did her nails some more.

Hardly. We found that after dancing at the Platinum Club she had at least 4 private hotel room engagements with various escort customers. She made approximately 20 to 25 calls to at least 8 escort services that weekend for jobs. We were able to track down at least one of those customers. We were comfortable with what his testimony would have been."

It is my contention that the Raleigh News and Observer is as culpable as Mike Nifong in precipitating this tragedy.

The 3/25/06 article by Khanna and Blythe provided the spark. It gave Nifong political cover, incited the potbangers, stampeded Brodhead and Steele, and signaled the TV networks to send in the satellite trucks.

The fuel of the accusations was there as was the oxygen of racial tension. You all struck the match.

In 1898, William Randolph Hearst, one of the most famous yellow journalists of all, precipitated the Spanish American War in a fashion similar to this case. Frederick Remington, the famous artist, telegraphed Hearst to tell him all was quiet in Cuba and "There will be no war."

Hearst responded "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."

I suppose congratulations are in order, Melanie. You've made the big time.

Walter Abbott
Ruston, LA
Just the other day at the Editors’ Blog, managing editor John Drescher asked readers how the N&O should have reported testimony at the disgraced Mike Nifong’s State Bar trial that included the use of the “f” word.

Abbott blew right by Drescher's after the fact "question." He told Drescher some things he hadn’t asked for but which I think we’d all agree Drescher needed to hear and should follow-up on. (Abbott's is the first comment on the thread)

I understand and share your chagrin at what DA Mike Nifong said to DPD invesigators last April. Compared to the big picture, though, it really isn't important.

What's important is that you and your newspaper find out how the Durham Police Department and the Durham DA framed 3 innocent citizens for a crime that never was.

Find out how for an entire year, they managed to carry it off.

Find out who knew about the frame, but kept silent for whatever reason.

Find out who in the command structure of the DPD approved of the frame.

Find out which ADA's knew what Nifong was up to and said nothing.

Find out why the US Attorney is missing in action on this case.

Yes, you poeple have a lot to do. Finding out who uses foul language and whether it should be printed in the paper is way down on the list, in my opinion.

Walter Abbott
Ruston, LA
Walter Abbott and citizen journalists like him are doing just what the founders of this country wanted citizens to do.

May their tribe increase

INNOCENT: To Prof. Haagen re: Seligmann threats

"... 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: I've just sent the following email to Professor Paul Haagen, whose term as Chair of Duke's Academic Council ends on June 30.

I'll let you know what I hear back.


Paul H. Haagen, J.D.
Professor of Law
Duke University School of Law

Dear Professor Haagen:

Some weeks back I contacted Faculty of Arts & Sciences Dean George McLendon. I requested he ask the Academic Council to make a statement condemning those who on May 18, 2006 shouted physical threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann and expressing concern for him and his family for the ordeal they endured.

In addition to links to news reports of the threats, I provided Dean McLendon with a links to an account of the cross burning in Durham the previous May and the Academic Council’s formal condemnation a few days later of that odious event.

Dean McLendon responded as follows:

I have forwarded your email to Paul Haagen, chair of the academic council.(A [JinC] commentator astutely notes that I have no special standing with [the academic council] ).

I personally deplore and condemn any threats directed at Mr Seligmann,or at any other member of the Duke community,as a result of this tragically misguided prosecution and the events which surrounded it.
I’ve heard nothing from you in the weeks since Dean McLendon forwarded my request to you.

I know how easily things can fall off the radar screen, so I’ve included below a copy of the letter I sent Dean McLendon.

I look forward to your response, which I'll post in full at my


John in Carolina

George L. McLendon, Ph.D.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Duke University

Dear Dean McLendon:

I hold two degrees from the University and blog as John in Carolina.

I’m writing as both an alum and a Durham resident.

You no doubt recall that last May 18, then sophomore Reade Seligmann was subjected to shouted physical threats, including death threats. They were made first as he walked to the Durham County Courthouse with his parents and attorney, the late Kirk Osborn, and then again within the courtroom.

The threats were widely reported in media. Britan’s The Guardian's account said:
Reade Seligmann, 20, sat in a suit at a court hearing. From the gallery one onlooker shouted: 'Justice will be served, rapist!' Seligmann largely ignored the taunts, but as he left came the call 'Dead man walking!' and he blanched.
Among those threatening Seligmann were members of the racist New Black Panther Party.

I know of no member of the Arts & Sciences faculty who spoke out publicly to condemn those threatening Seligmann or to offer their compassion to Seligmann and his parents after what was a terrible ordeal.

The A & S faculty’s silence reflects very poorly on it and Duke University.

That’s especially so when we recall the faculty’s prompt, clear and strong response almost exactly a year earlier to the anonymous and still unsolved cross burnings in Durham.

Here in full for your reference and JinC readers information is the Academic Council’s June 1, 2005, statement as posted for media distribution at Duke News:
As representatives of the Duke University faculty, the Executive Committee of the Academic Council wishes to add our collective voice to the recent events in Durham.

Cross-burning in the United States is a history we all hoped had ended. Such acts have been an extreme symbol of racial violence and of one group's desire to deny civil and human rights to another group. Cross-burning has re-emerged as a practice of intimidation in the present, still carrying the taint of white supremacist, segregationist, and other demeaning policies associated with a not-so-distant time in the life of Duke, Durham, and the surrounding region.

Intimidation and threats of violence against any group are anathema in both university contexts and in society at large. We condemn the cross-burnings that have disgraced our community -- and we renew our commitment to liberty and justice for all.
In June 2005 I was very glad the Academic Council made its cross burning statement as were fair-minded alums and Durhamites who learned of it.

Since May 18, 2006 I’ve been very troubled by the faculty’s silence regarding the threats made to Seligmann.

Why has there been no faculty statement that intimidation and threats of violence against Reade Seligmann or any other peaceful citizen are anathema in both university contexts and in society at large?

I don’t believe the intimidation and threats Seligmann, his parents and Kirk Osborn were subjected to last May 18 by two small groups of hate-filled people disgraced either Duke or Durham. But the wall of silence the University and the City have collectively thrown up since May 18 certainly has.

That wall of silence needs to fall.

I’m told that as Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences you are the proper administrator to place the matter of a faculty response to the events of May 18 before the A&S faculty for consideration of a request to the Academic Council.

That request would, I hope, ask the Academic Council to issue on behalf of the Duke faculty a statement as clear and strong in its condemnation of the threats made to Seligmann as was its June 2005 condemnation of the cross burnings.

I look forward to your response, which I’ll publish in full at my blog.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


John in Carolina

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jun. 26, 2007

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

In September, 1941 Lord Beaverbrook, then serving as Minister of Supply in Churchill’s National Unity Government, headed a mission to Moscow to discuss British aid to the Russians.

In Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939-1941 historian Sir Martin Gilbert tells us:

On the evening of September 29 a telegram reached Downing Street from Moscow. It was clear that Stalin was going to drive a hard bargain. As Beaverbrook explained: “Moscow is asking for aircraft with cannon and I represent to you urgently that a good measure of Hispano [aircraft] production is desirable. Spitfires must be supplied before long in any circumstances.”

Stalin, added Beaverbrook, “is dissatisfied with Tomahawks and critical of the performance, declaring that the aircraft is unsuited to the Germans on this front. He says that ammunition supply is not adequate, particularly no tracer. I recommend that this situation should be cleared up at the earliest possible moment.”

On reaching the Moscow “outer [defense] ring”, Beaverbrook added, the Mission’s aeroplane had been fired on by Soviet anti-aircraft at 600 feet, and was forced to dive "to tree-tops, fleeing at full speed brushing the autumn leaves away.”

Beaverbrook added: “We do not recommend any more anti-aircraft guns for Russia.” (pgs. 1206-1207)
A sense of humor never hurts, especially when the tough “missions” come our way in life.

INNOCENT: Hodge's Club Fan

"... 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 Raleigh News & Observer recently reported:

Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge, one of three finalists for Durham police chief, faced a misdemeanor charge of child abuse 10 years ago that was dismissed in court but threatened to cost him his job.

City Manager Patrick Baker, who will make the final call in hiring a new police chief, said he's satisfied that Hodge and his family dealt with the problems that drew sheriff's deputies to his home May 4, 1997.

Hodge was accused of spanking his son, then 13, with a police-issued nightstick because he got into trouble at school, according to court documents and news reports from the time.

Hodge's daughter called 911, and sheriff's deputies arrived to find Hodge had locked himself in a room, according to news reports.

He was allowed to stay at the home that evening and was charged five days later with misdemeanor child abuse. The boy was not seriously injured.

The case was dismissed by a judge in early 1998, court records show.

Baker said Hodge, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, took anger management classes and the entire family underwent counseling. . . .

[Baker also said,]"There's nothing that causes me concern from that incident that affects Mr. Hodge's capacity to be the next Durham police chief."

But officials in the state Attorney General's Office thought the matter left Hodge unfit to be a police officer. They sought to have Hodge stripped of his law enforcement certification, Baker said.

Baker, who was an assistant Durham city attorney, said he is "intimately familiar" with the case because he defended Hodge against the state charges.

He said Hodge went before an administrative law judge, who found that Hodge wasn't guilty in large part because his son did not suffer substantial injuries.

The state appealed, but Hodge prevailed again.

"There never was a conviction or finding of guilt against Deputy Chief Hodge," Baker said.
With that background, we turn to the N&O’s Barry Saunders’ column published today:
There are two likely responses upon hearing that one of the dudes being considered for the top cop job in Durham was accused of hitting his son with a billy club 10 years ago.

The first -- "Oh, how horrible. How could he?" -- is usually said by someone who has never raised a teenager and who thinks they're all like Theo Huxtable.

The other is, "Say, homes (sic). Where can I get me one of those clubs?"

If they're anything like me, most Durham residents couldn't care less who replaces Steve Chalmers as chief, as long as the winner locks up the bad guys and makes the streets safer.

One of the three candidates, Ron Hodge, is probably a long shot for two reasons. He is the No. 2 man in a department beset by image problems tied to, among other things, the Duke lacrosse case. And 10 years ago, he was accused of hitting his son with his department-issue billy club after the kid messed up.
Saunders is right that most of us who live in Durham want a police chief who’ll lock up the bad guys and make our streets safer.

But an awful lot of us don’t want the man who was in day-to-day charge of DPD when it arrested three innocent man following an investigation some say involved criminal conduct to be Durham’s “top cop.”

But the N&O’s Saunders doesn’t see it that way. He doesn’t seem to have any problems with what DPD did to those white boys.

And as for that billy club matter, Saunders says:
Instead of lessening his chances of leading the department, the fact that he disciplined his son -- even in a manner unprescribed by the "time out" crowd -- catapults him to the top of my list. . . .

The decade-old incident at the Hodge homestead was bloodless and, by every account, a one-time thing.

Of course, if you do it right, it only takes one time.
Saunders doesn’t say how a police officer does “it right” when he swings his billy club at his son or anyone else. Maybe he's saving that for his next column

In order to “do it right” just where does a police officer strike his child with his club? Saunders needs to tell us.

Saunders doesn’t say what could happen if striking of the child with the club wasn’t done “right.” Did he consider that?

Anyone aiming to strike one part of a child’s body could miss that part and hit another part of the body. The child’s head, for instance. That could do permanent and severe damage.

It would, in Saunders words, only take one time.

Folks, Durham has a lot of problems. They could get worse.

That said, I hope you won’t object when I say of Saunders' column: “Only in Raleigh; and there only at the N&O”

INNOCENT: Nifong’s “f” & Sgt. Shelton

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

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

During the NC State Bar trial that resulted in Mike Nifong’s disbarment, Durham Police Investigator Benjamin Himan, a lead investigator of a case involving the attempted framing of three Duke students, testified he told Nifong on March 27, 2006 that he was concerned about the lack of evidence supporting claims by Crystal Mangum that she’d been beaten and gang-raped by three members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Himan said Nifong responded with: “You know we’re f …ed.”

Nifong’s testimony concerning the “f” part of the March 27 meeting directly contradicts Himan’s testimony.

Let’s look at the contradiction, after which I’ll offer some comments and invite yours.

What follows is an excerpt from the State Bar Deposition posted at Nifong is being questioned about the March 27 meeting by State Bar attorney Doug Brocker. I’ve inserted a few italicized parentheticals for clarity.

Q. Do you remember making any comments ( at the March 27 meeting )about the case or the investigation or anything else?

A. No, sir, not at that time.

Q. I'm going to have to use his language because it's exact. But in -- do you remember making a comment in that meeting to the effect in talking about this case and what had happened up to this point, I think the exact quote was, "We're f.. ked"?

A. No, sir. I actually am aware -- well, let me say this I don't recall ever making that statement, but on the other -- at the same time, would say that it's not a statement that I can have tell you that I wouldn't have made. I mean, it certainly is possible that I said something.

But my -- my recollection is that that statement would have been made at a later time and in reference to some things that had been written by - had been put in a report by another officer. Some things had been stated by another officer, specifically, Officer Shelton, who was the first officer who arrived on the scene at the Kroger ( the night of March 13/14 ), did not believe that anything had occurred other than it was a drunk victim, and she ( Crystal Mangum ) did not -- I believe -- as my recollection is, that she didn't make any statements about having been sexually assaulted at the time she spoke with him. That subject came up at the Durham Access Center.

So he thought he was dealing with someone who was impaired and uncooperative, and that that was all he was dealing with. And he made some statements publicly later on to other members of the police department, and some of those statements at some point got into -- was asked about them by sources outside, and, you know, I might very well have said, and this is the kind of stuff that, you now, really screws up or f..ks up an investigation. And, you know, this is -- this is not something that he should be saying.

Q. So if you made a comment or a similar comment, it would have been about what was in Shelton's report and comments that he made?

A. I think it would have probably been before I even saw his report, but just based on what heard that he was saying, that he was making comments publicly within the department that there was nothing to this. So he was, to my knowledge, the only officer who had reached that conclusion.

Q. Do you recall any general time frame for when he was making those comments or when you were asked about them?

A. No, sir. I mean, it would have been fairly early on, but probably not even the first week. [. . .]

How did you like Nifong’s answer when Brocker asked him if he’d made the “f” statement?

No, sir. I actually am aware -- well, let me say this I don't recall ever making that statement, but on the other -- at the same time, would say that it's not a statement that I can have tell you that I wouldn't have made. I mean, it certainly is possible that I said something.
No, he didn’t say it. Well, he doesn’t recall it. But he can’t tell Brocker that he “wouldn’t have made” it. It’s certainly possible he said something.

I bet I know what most of you are thinking: Nifong’s trying to give himself all kinds of “wiggle room” in case other testimony and evidence confirms what Himan testified he said to Nifong and what Nifong said in response on March 27, 2006.

That’s my take on it, too.

The “Officer Shelton” Nifong scapegoats for his “f” comment is Sergeant John Shelton, a veteran and well-respected DPD officer.

Nifong says of Shelton: “So he thought he was dealing with someone who was impaired and uncooperative, and that that was all he was dealing with.”

Yes, that’s just what Shelton thought; and he was right.

And BTW - Nifong’s suggestion that Shelton was the one DPD officer last March expressing disbelief in the hoax is “a crock.” I didn’t talk to an officer then and haven’t since who off the record hasn’t said it was “a crock,” often in language much stronger than that.

That shouldn’t surprise anyone. What police officer would believe three strong, young male athletes and one “petite, soft-spoken” woman could all fit in a tiny bathroom; then engage in a brutal, thirty minute battle during which the woman fought for her life as she was strangled and repeatedly raped; and at the end of all that everyone would walk out of the bathroom with no severe fractures or bruising, etc.?

It’s a mark of Nifong’s current desperation that he would attack Shelton for expressing last March what was no more than the simple truth.

It’s also very disingenuous because Nifong knows the most important “statements” Shelton made which hurt Nifong’s “investigation” were not Shelton’s expressions of disbelief in the hoax, but Shelton’s actions in the early morning hours of March 14 and the actions of Shelton’s backup, DPD Officer Willie Barfield.

As veteran police officers, Shelton 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.

Shelton and Barfield knew Mangum had suffered no such injuries and needed no emergency medical assistance. She hadn’t even suffered slight injuries.

Had Shelton seen any signs of injuries when he first came upon Mangum “passed out drunk,” he would have arranged for her to be taken immediately to Duke Hospital, which is less than a mile from the Kroger parking lot.

But Shelton saw no evidence of any physical injuries. That’s why he arranged for Officer Barfield to take Mangum to Durham Access, which provides short-term domicile and “support services” for substance abusers.

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

From the moment he heard what Shelton and Barfield had done, Nifong understood their actions provided extremely significant and irrefutable evidence that a brutal beating and gang-rape DID NOT take place at the party.

I’m looking forward to the time an attorney, hopefully a prosecutor, has Nifong under oath and asks: “Mr. Nifong, why do you criticize Sgt. Shelton for what he said? Wasn’t it really his actions that night that made clear Mangum’s claims were gross frauds? And yours, too?”

Your turn, folks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 25, 2007

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

To many of the documents Churchill sent to his Private Secretaries and close advisors during WW II he added “KBO” along with his signature.

KBO? A Russian secret police organization? A knowledge-based organization?

No, it stood for “keep buggering on,” an expression Churchill often used to remind himself and others not to get discouraged in the face of difficulties but to KBO.

A British dictionary of slang says “bug” can mean bother, persist, annoy.

Churchill had to do a lot of that, often in trying and dangerous circumstances that would quickly break the spirit of most people.

Have a good day and KBO


This Made Me Smile

At the London Theatre Guide site there are the following snips from reviews of The Lord of the Rings, now playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane:

" I enjoyed the whole spectacle " (

"The show has charm, wit, and jaw-dropping theatrical brio" (The Times)

"Tiresome grandiosity with mind-rotting mediocrity" (Daily Telegraph)

"Tedious and vulgar" (Evening Standard)

"I had a perfectly good time." (Guardian)
Well, that's settled.

INNOCENT: Brodhead Wins Sheldon Award

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

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

JinC News has just learned Duke University’s President, Richard (“Whatever they did was bad enough”) Brodhead, is this year's Sheldon Award winner. The Sheldon is awarded annually to the university or college president selected as America’s worst.

In The New York Sun we read

“[t]he award is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except the Oscar features a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way.
Many other feckless, left-leaning and whinny higher ed presidents provided tough competition.

But according to Sheldon Award chair and sole selection committee member John Leo, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, the ultimate selection was an easy one: Brodhead was clearly the worst of this year’s nominees.

Leo explained in his NY Sun column:
[Here] is what Mr. Brodhead did: On hearing the first reports, he abruptly canceled the lacrosse season, suspended the two players named in the case, and fired the lacrosse coach of 16 years, giving him less than a day to get out.

This helped create the impression that the players were guilty.

His long letter to the campus on April 20 did the same thing. He didn't say the boys were guilty, but he talked passionately about the coercion and assault of women, the legacy of racism, and privilege and inequality — all of which fed the anger aimed at the lacrosse team.

Mr. Brodhead did nothing to deter the tsunami whipped up against the players by some students and the Group of 88, an alliance of mostly radical race and gender professors.

One of the looniest of the 88, Houston Baker, answered a polite and worried letter from one of the lacrosse moms by calling her "the mother of a farm animal."

Without any comment from Mr. Brodhead, the protesters issued death threats, carried banners that said "castrate," featured photos of lacrosse players on "Wanted" fliers, and banged pots outside the boys' residences in the early morning hours to disturb their sleep.

A word from the president about leaving the boys alone and guaranteeing them a fair trial would have been nice.

Like Mr. Brodhead, the Group of 88 did not quite call the players guilty, but praised the campus protestors for "shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman."

No comment about that from Mr. Brodhead and no comment from him on Mr. Nifong for nine months.

An engineering professor at Duke said, "There never was a clear sense that the students were innocent until proven guilty."

Congratulations Richard Brodhead, Sheldon laureate 2007. And you should resign.
I’ll be saying more about Brodhead’s well-deserved Sheldon recognition but right now I want to get the news out to you because John Burness and his people at Duke News haven’t yet issued a statement concerning this latest recognition of the kind of leadership Brodhead’s providing Duke.

You can read John Leo’s NY Sun Sheldon column here. I think you’ll agree that while the other Sheldon nominees deserved consideration, Brodhead was clearly the worst of the lot.

INNOCENT: Remove Nifong Now

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

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
______________________________________________ has just reported:

A Durham judge has set a hearing for Thursday on the possible removal of Mike Nifong as Durham district attorney.
Nifong already has been suspended with pay, and he has said he will resign effective July 13.

But Orlando Hudson, Durham's senior resident Superior Court judge, has the power to remove Nifong from office sooner than that.

On Thursday, Hudson will consider a petition filed by Durham resident Beth Brewer asking for Nifong's removal. Hudson has appointed Raleigh lawyer Robert Zaytoun to prosecute the case against Nifong. The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. […]
I hope Judge Hudson will order Nifong’s immediate removal from office.

In a Durham Herald Sun op-ed last week, Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown laid out some of the reasons we should all want Nifong’s immediate removal as DA. While Brown was writing in support of Hudson’s order to suspend Nifong pending the removal hearing, his words apply equally well to Nifong’s removal as DA [excerpts]:
The harsh reality is that our former district attorney has disgraced himself and his office. He has disgraced our community, and he has disgraced his profession.

For him to have [hang] around the courthouse for another month would have been like rubbing salt into a 15-month open, community wound. Such a wound can only be healed with his departure. . . .

Our former district attorney is facing additional civil and perhaps criminal charges. Indeed, [it’s been] announced that the three lacrosse players and their families [will] file a suit against him.

In addition, Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith has stated that he is not through with Nifong yet.

But in spite of the possibility of pending [actions] against him, [Nifong in office might still have] access to all the files on this case.

I can't say for sure that [presents] a problem. But after watching the [State Bar] hearings . . . and seeing Mike Nifong trying to defend the indefensible, I didn't feel comfortable with this situation. Files can be erased, information can be altered, papers can be shredded.

Regardless, our former district attorney needs to go quickly and quietly into the night.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

INNOCENT: N&O asks about "f" word.

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

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

During the recent State Bar trial of the disgraced Mike Nifong, DPD Investigator Benjamin Himan testified he told Nifong on March 27, 2006 that he was concerned by the lack of evidence supporting the claims of hoaxer Crystal Mangum. Himan said Nifong responded: “You know we're f—ed.”

At the Raleigh News & Observer’s Editors’ Blog, Managing Editor John Drescher posted on the issues Himan’s quote of the “f” word presented the N&O when reporting the story. He explained how the N&O decided to go with the quote you’ve just read in the first paragraph.

Than Drescher said to blog readers: “How would you have handled this? Post your comments below.”

I just left the following comment on the post thread here.

Dear Editor Drescher,

I’m not sure how I would have handled Himan’s report of what Nifong said on March 27, 2006.

When I heard Himan’s testimony, I wondered what he and Nifong would have been saying if the N&O had published in its March 25, 2006 account of its interview with Crystal Mangum the exculpatory news the N&O withheld from that story and only published on April 12, 2007, the day AFTER Attorney General Roy Cooper had declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann innocent.

Here, quoting from your 4/12/07 story, is some of the exculpatory news the N&O hid from the public for thirteen months, five months longer than the disgraced Mike Nifong was able to hide the exculpatory DNA evidence:

"Mangum … said she thought the other woman hired to dance with her also had been assaulted." […]

"When asked why she made the report, she said, 'Most guys don't think it's a big deal' to force a woman to have sex." […]

"Moments later, she added, 'Maybe they think they can get away with it because they have more money than me.'" […]

"Mangum said that although she did not witness it, she thought the second dancer was sexually assaulted but didn't come forward because she would lose her job as an escort.

'I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money,' Mangum said of the second dancer, Kim Roberts." […]

Editor Drescher, if the N&O hadn’t withheld that exculpatory news, what do you think Nifong and Himan would have been talking about last March 27?

And what would they have talked about if the N&O, instead of promulgating in your March 25 story the vicious lie that the lacrosse players had refused to cooperate with police, had instead reported the truth the N&O knew at the time: that the players were very cooperative with the police?

Suppose on March 27 when Nifong and Himan had their “f” conversation, the N&O’s report that day of the previous day’s Trinity Park potbangers’ rally outside the lacrosse captains’ house had reported the people you approvingly described were really so angry and hate-filled they rallied around a large “CASTRATE” banner?

That's a shocking sight we haven’t seen in North Carolina since the days when the N&O’s Josephus Daniels was stirring up lynch mobs. (You can view a picture of the banner and potbangers at

If the N&O had done what an honest newspaper should do, could Nifong and certain DPD officers have gone as far as they did with their lies and attempted frame-up?

When I heard Himan’s account of Nifong’s “f” comment, I thought of another word that begins with “f.”

It’s “fraudulent” as in the N&O’s fraudulent stories that enabled Nifong to first trash and endanger all the lacrosse team with the “wall of solidarity” lie, and then pick three of them, and attempt to frame them and send them to jail, perhaps for the rest of their lives.

Editor Drescher, fraudulent is the “f” word the N&O needs to be concerned about.


John in Carolina

INNOCENT: Another Opportunity From DPD

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

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Two weeks ago today, the Durham Herald Sun published a letter from Durham Police Corporal David Addison. He complained about what he said were “slander and vicious attacks” by Durham City leaders directed at the DPD.

What actually upset Addison is that many Durham City leaders and a shocked public have demanded an independent investigation into how and why certain DPD officers, working with a rogue DA, arrested and charged with felony crimes three young men who the NC Attorney General later said were innocent. Addison is one of those DPD officers.

Although blatantly self-serving and misleading, Addison’s letter provided an opportunity for people to write response letters. The H-S published four of them. (You can read them here and here)

People asked questions DPD hasn’t answered for 15 months. They pointed out why an independent investigation is essential to uncovering what went wrong. And the point was made more than once that it’s not the actions of all DPD officers which need to be scrutinized: only the actions of those who were part of the “Nifong/DPD investigative team.” Most DPD officers do fine work under tough and dangerous conditions. They deserve our thanks.

Those letters had an impact. In Durham, as in many cities, the biggest draw to the editorial page is the letters. People read them, including our pols and opinion leaders.

Today’s H-S contains another opportunity for people to write letters regarding what the “Nifong/DPD investigative team” did.

The opportunity comes in the form of a guest column from DPD Lieutenant Maurice Hayes who begins:

I am a lieutenant with the Durham Police Department, where I have served for 23½ years. I worked for Deputy Chief Ron Hodge for several years when he was the commander in District 1 in eastern Durham and I think he is the right choice for Durham's next police chief. He is fair, honest, straightforward, responsive to problems and an innovative thinker.

His results in District 1 prove that he is a strong commander who can develop solutions to crime problems. In his two years as commander of District 1 (2000-2002), violent crime dropped 20 percent and property crime decreased by 26 percent. These are results that would make any police commander proud.
Hayes goes on to fulsomely praise other work Deputy Chief Ron Hodge has done over the years.

But Hayes says nothing about Hodge’s leadership of DPD during the time the “Nifong/DPD investigative team” attempted to frame the three young men. Hodge was in day-to-day charge of DPD during most the attempted frame-up because, the public was told, Chief Steve Chalmers was “on leave taking care of his sick mother.”

Hayes says nothing about what Hodge has done to uncover and publicly explain what the DPD part of the “Nifong/DPD investigative team” did wrong.

It’s no doubt an unintentional irony that Hayes’ guest column appears exactly 15 months to the day Cpl. Addison, acting as DPD spokesperson, told the public: "You are looking at one victim brutally raped.”

Why, during those 15 months, has Hodge never explained why his department’s spokesperson told Durham’s public that falsehood on March 24, 2006 and so many more falsehoods in the days that followed? Hayes doesn’t tell us.

In fact, Hayes never mentions what’s called “the Duke lacrosse case.” Yet it’s undoubtedly one of the most important cases in Hodge’s career and the subject of an impending investigation by a panel appointed by the Mayor and City Council.

I hope many of you will use the opportunity Hayes’ guest column provides to write response letters. You can send them via email to:

The H-S typically limits letters to 250 words. The H-S publishes letters from out-of-towners.

Police and prosecutors all over America are watching Durham. They’ll be influenced by what happens here. For that reason if no other, every American has a stake in how things work out here.

I hope many of you will write fact-based letters asking questions and raising concerns regarding Hodge’s candidacy for Durham Police Chief.

Here's another link to Lieutenant Hayes' guest column.