Saturday, August 18, 2007

Word ’03 says he’s Mike Knifing

Folks, when you spell check Mike Nifong using Microsoft Office Word 2003, are you told he’s really Mike Knifing?

That’s what I’m told.

Try these:

Mike Nifong assaulted America’s system of justice by trying to frame innocent people.
For their attacks on our justice system, Mike Nifong and Brian Meehan deserve jail.
Word says he’s Mike Knifing, doesn’t it?

How did Word know that 2003?

Jesse Jackson hurt America

Readers Note: This is a 1, 2 post.

1) A repost of Rev. Jesse Jackson steps into the Duke lacrosse spotlight. It was first posted on April 16, 2006, the day before a Durham grand jury indicted two innocent Duke students, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

2) Comments concerning statements by Jesse Jackson mentioned in the post and the failure of many at the time to speak out and counter them.


1) Rev. Jesse Jackson steps into the Duke lacrosse spotlight - April 16, 2006

The Associated Press reports:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday his Rainbow/Push Coalition will pay the college tuition of a woman who told police she was raped by members of Duke University's men's lacrosse team while working as a stripper -- no matter the outcome of the case.

"I can't wait ... to talk with her and have prayer with her, because our organization is committed, when she's physically and emotionally able ... to provide for her the scholarship money to finish school so she will never ... again have to stoop that low to survive," he said from Chicago in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

When asked, the civil rights leader also said his group will pay for the woman's tuition even if her report proves false. …
So, you want a college scholarship? You got it. And you don’t even need to study hard and get good grades so long as you can make a false rape accusation.

All you parents, teachers, and guidance counselors: be sure to let high school students know how they can become eligible for a Rev. Jackson scholarship.

Jackson's really helping change America, isn't he?

The AP says nothing about what Jackson, regarded by some as a civil rights leader, plans to provide victims falsely accused by his scholarship winners.

Hat tip and trackback: Signifying Nothing.
Trackback: Gateway Pundit. Sister Toldjah.


2) JinC Comments:

Mike Nifong assaulted America’s system of justice by trying to frame innocent people. DNA expert Brian Meehan assaulted our justice system by agreeing to withhold evidence. Jesse Jackson assaulted it by announcing a false accusation of rape will get you a scholarship.

Nifong and Meehan meant to attack the justice system. With Jackson it was a case of indifference to the justice system. He’s a self-promoter who made the scholarship offer to get publicity.

He couldn’t make his offer conditional on Mangum’s telling the truth. If he did, Jackson knew the “victims’ rights” people would have screamed about “Reverend Jackson adding to the woman’s pain by suggesting that she’s not telling the truth.”

Jackson didn’t want that kind of publicity. He wanted the kind he got.

So the Reverend said he was willing to pay for false witness.

And who's surprised by that? After all, Jesse Jackson is Jesse Jackson.

For their attacks on our justice system, Nifong and Meehan deserve jail.

What about Jackson? What does he deserve for attacking the justice system by promising to hefty reward to a woman making a charge of rape, even a false one?

Just speaking for myself, I don’t think we can put a leader of the religious left and our country’s best known civil rights activist in jail for self-promotion, even if it does involve an odious act all Americans should condemn.

Condemn! That’s what should have happened when Jackson made his despicable “scholarship offer.”

It should have been condemned by law professors, bar associations, MSM editorialists, civil rights organization, activist clergy, his fellow Democrats and all Americans who care about justice.

It would have been especially fitting for African-Americans to remind Jackson that in the past terrible things happened to innocent black men as a result of encouraging white women to, regardless of the truth, cry “rape.”

But that didn’t happen, did it?

By and large, most blacks and whites in positions of leadership and influence said nothing publicly critical of Jackson’s “it’s not about the truth” offer.

That was a missed opportunity. He should have been called out for what he was doing.

Tomorrow I’ll post concerning how we can still take some actions to counter what Jackson did and perhaps discourage, or at least more fully expose, him the next time.

Highlighting H-S Editor Ashley (Post 1)

(This is the first of an occasional series highlighting Durham Herald Sun Editor Bob Ashley’s work.)

Bob ("Paxton Owner Man") Ashley edits the H-S on both the news and editorial sides.

The other day an Ashley editorial began:

The lesson of Karl Rove, who resigned his White House job this week, is that the qualities of an effective political strategist don't necessarily translate into effective governance.
The editorial went on to slam President Bush as well as Rove.

If you're a "hot, hot" Leftist, you had to love the editorial.

But if you're an American who puts country before party, you'll recognize Ashley's editorial is one more example of why under his editorship the H-S has declined in quality, circulation and ad revenue.

Below in italics are “highlights” of the editorial followed by my comments in plain.

In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, Rove ran Bush as "a uniter not a divider," but sadly, it turned out to be an empty slogan. In the waning months of the Bush administration, the country is more divided than ever.

America “more divided than ever?”

Quick! Someone tell Ashley about the Civil War.

Then let him know about the bitterness of the Reconstruction era.

Remind him he lived through the 60s when there were riots in many American cities, including Chicago during the ’68 Democratic National Convention.

Someone who really was a uniter would have taken advantage of the post 9/11 spirit of unity, both domestic and international.

President Bush did seek to build on the post 9/11 spirit of unity.

But then look at some of what happened.

Senator Hillary Clinton rushed to the Senate floor waving a tabloid headlined: BUSH KNEW.

Then she held the tabloid up and steady while press photographers got their shots.

Mind you, Senator Clinton assured us, she wasn’t doing any of that because she thought Bush knew in advance about 9/11. She was only asking because her constituents wanted to know.

Michael Moore didn’t have any doubts BUSH KNEW. He made "Fahrenheit 9/11" to prove it.

Moore's "Bush knew" claim has as much substance as the claim of extremists of an earlier generation that President Roosevel knew of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor and failed to act.

So what did the Democratic Party do in response to Moore and his docu-slime?

Well, first there was a high profile Fahrenheit 9/11 showing in Washington which many of the party's Congressional leades attended. They cheered and hugged Moore. Then they complained Bush was dividing America.

No kidding.

The Dems were so taken with Fahrenheit 9/11 they invited Moore to sit in their Honor Box at the 2004 Democratic National Convention with former President Jimmy Carter.

I’m sure many of you saw the scene on TV.

But with their misplaced focus on Iraq and their disdain for contrary opinions, Bush, Rove, Cheney and the rest missed the chance to create an FDR-like international coalition against Islamic extremism.

What "FDR-like international coalition" is Ashley talking about?

Our WW II allies?

FDR didn’t put that coalition together. The Axis did. It was Hitler who made Stalin and Churchill war allies. What's more, almost all of our WW II allies were in the fight before we joined it.

The post-war U. N.? Is that the "FDR-like international coalition" Ashley's talking about? FDR was a major contributor to its creation.

But the UN's failed to live up to its promise. It's riddled with corruption as the Oil for Food Program demonstrated. The people it benefits most are the relatives and friends of third world dictators who come to New York and live as millionaires.

This administration made other mistakes, but the war in Iraq is the raging elephant in the room.

At the time of the Korean War, President Truman’s decision to use military force was considered by most Americans to be a major mistake. Now it's considered one of his wisest and gutsiest actions.

We’ll see with Bush and Iraq. In the meantime, Ashley’s already made his judgement.

Who’s surprised?

You can't pin the missteps in Iraq solely on Rove, although Michael Isikoff, writing in Newsweek, said that Rove's "behind-the-scenes role in the selling and spinning of the war was far more significant than is commonly known."

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff?

Isn’t he the one who reported the bogus “Quran down the toilet” story that was followed by riots, arsons and murders by mobs in many Muslim countries?

Yes, Isikoff’s the one.

Well, folks, that's enough for now.

I’ll be back again highlighting Editor Bob Ashley’s work.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Churchill Series – Aug. 17, 2007

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

Even if you didn’t know what I’m about to say, as soon as you read it you’ll likely say something like, “Of course.”

Churchill loved to sing.

Many of his contemporaries recorded in diaries and letters times they came upon the Great Man unaware and singing. The staffs at Chartwell, Downing Street and Hyde Park Gate all knew “those sounds” meant “he’s in the tub now.”

He was a poor singer as far as melody went but his knowledge of lyrics was phenomenal.

Many historians describe his musical tastes as low-brow but I don’t agree. That’s likely because I have some of the same tastes. He loved music hall ballads, military marches and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. So do I.

In H. M. S. Pinafore, G&S ridicule the process by which Britain selected it’s First Lords of the Admiralty. G&S's “First Lord,” Sir Joseph Porter, explained it all to the audience in “I Am The Monarch Of The Sea.”

Churchill, twice First Lord, loved the song.

I’ll end this post with Sir Joseph’s “explanation” of how he rose to “the top of the tree” to become “Ruler of the Queen’s Navee.”


When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
I served the writs with a smile so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand--
I copied all the letters in a hand so free,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that junior partnership, I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen.
But that kind of ship so suited me,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule--
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee!

Folks, I hope you don’t have to spend too much time this weekend close to your desks.


Duke & Student Safety Questions

Readers Note: On May 17, as follow-up to a phone conversation, I sent Duke University’s Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations John Burness a link to the post, Duke Silent on Student Safety Questions.

The post included a letter to Burness which began:

I’m having trouble obtaining information concerning actions Duke may have taken in the interest of student safety last spring when the “Vigilante” poster containing face photos of 43 white male students on the lacrosse team was produced and circulated on campus.

I want to report that information to my readers who include Duke students, parents, faculty, alums, and a few trustees as well as others. I also want to place it on the net where journalists and others can access it.

More than six weeks ago I sent electronic letters to Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta and Duke Police Director Robert Dean. The letters contained questions regarding specific actions each administrator and his staffs may or may not have taken last March and April in regard to the “Vigilante” poster.

I told both Vice President Moneta and Director Dean I would publish their answers in full on the main page of JinC.

I’ve never heard word one from either administrator, despite sending second copies of links to my letters and leaving phone messages for them.

The questions are important. They are ones members of the Duke community want answers to as soon as they become aware of the “Vigilante” poster, and its contribution to the targeting and endangerment of Duke students and others.[...]
I asked Burness to help obtain Moneta’s and Dean’s answers to the questions.

When I did not hear back from Burness, I sent him follow-up emails.

This week Burness sent an email containing answers to some but not all of my questions to Moneta and no answers to any of the questions I asked Dean.

The incompleteness of Burness' response should not be viewed as necessarily a reflection on him. He may just be having trouble getting answers.

Consider all the trouble many of us have had getting an answer to a question as simple as why Predident Brodhead said nothing when racists shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann, an outstanding Duke student, athlete and person who subsequently transferred to Brown University.

What follows is first, the post & “Vigilante” Questions , which contains my letter to Moneta. After that comes Burness’ email to me.

I don’t make any subsequent comment because I want you have a look at the documents without my jumping right in.

In a day or two I’ll comment.

I also plan to continue to pursue answers to the unanswered questions and ask others that are arising as we learn more about Duke’s actions and inactions following Crystal Mangum’s lies.

You, of course, are free to comment anytime you wish.
_________________________________________________________ & "Vigilante" Questions April 3, 2007

CORRECTION: In my letter below to Duke University's Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta, I identify him has the highest ranking Duke administrator present at a March 25, 2006 meeting with the lacrosse parents. In fact, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III was the senior administrator present.

I apologize for my error and thank John Burness, Vice President for Student Affairs and Government Relations, for calling it to my attention.


Readers Note: For background to the letter below, see these posts and other posts to which they link:

"Duke's Silence on 'Vigilante' and 'Wanted' posters"

"Letter to DUPD Director Dean"

"To DUPD Director Dean - 3/28/07"

DUPD and "Vigilante" Questions


Larry Moneta, Ed.D.
Vice President for Students Affairs
Duke University

Dear Dr. Moneta:

I’m a Duke alum who blogs as John in Carolina. I’ve published often on aspects of the Hoax and frame-up, including the “Vigilante” poster.

Those who created and distributed the “Vigilante” poster perniciously targeted students who were members of Duke’s 2006 Men’s lacrosse team, as evidenced by the poster’s prominent display of the 43 face photos of lacrosse players which were pulled from

The “Vigilante” poster also placed at risk the safety of every other Duke student who might be an unintended victim of unstable individuals and hate groups incited by the poster and the praise its “activist” creator(s) and distributors received from many, including some in leadership positions at Duke.

I want to ask you questions relating to the poster. I’ll publish your answers in full at JinC and leave your answers there free of my commentary for at least a day so the alums, parents and students, Duke staffers, journalists, and others reading the blog can read your response free of my commentary.

It’s my understanding you were the senior Duke administrator present at the lax parents’ meeting on Saturday, March 25, 2006; and that a parent request was made that the University remove from the face photos of all the lacrosse players.

Was such a parent request made? If it was, what did the University do in response?

If you or another administrator responded positively to the parent request, when were the photos removed from

As you know, it’s been reported that Duke only began to remove the students’ photos when it realized they were actually being pulled from A USA Today report puts the date as Monday, March 27.

Some months back sports information director Jon Jackson confirmed in a phone interview that, out of concern for the students’ safety, Duke did pull all the lacrosse players’ photos from before the poster creator(s) got the last 4 players photos, but obviously not before the creator(s) had already gotten 43 photos.

Do you know when Duke removed the students’ photos? Or should I direct that question to someone in IT?

If the question should be asked of someone in IT, please direct me to that person.

Have you or anyone in student affairs or elsewhere at Duke sought to identify the individual(s) who pulled the students’ photos that wound up on the “Vigilante” poster?

If yes, what have you learned?

If not, why not?

There are other questions I want to ask concerning student affairs' response to the “Vigilante” poster’s circulation on campus but this letter is getting long.

I’ll hold those questions for another day.

The post title containing this letter is: & “Vigilante” Questions.

I’m cc’ing to other University officers because I plan to contact them concerning aspects of the “Vigilante” poster.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


John in Carolina

Cc: Robert Steel, chair, board of trustees, DU
Richard Brodhead, president, DU
John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, DU
Aaron Graves, associate vice president for campus safety and security, DU
David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and communications
Robert Dean, director, DUPD


VP John Burness' email to JinC Aug. 13, 2007

Hi John...sorry to be slow in getting back to you. I was able to get pretty easily the info you had requested of Larry Moneta and then once I got it, proceeded to forget about it til I saw your follow up note, so thanks for reminding me.Here's what I have learned from the folks in Athletics:

First, you should know that you are incorrect in your statement/assumption that Moneta was the highest ranking university administrator at the meeting with the parents on 25 March. That was Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III.

The next morning, 26 March,responding to the concerns expressed by parents at the meeting, Athletic Director Joe Alleva instructed that personal information of the lacrosse players be taken down from the website and all photos and bio information were deactivated that morning.

The following morning, 27 March, just to play safe, any links to the former page also were deleted.

I hope this info is helpful.

John F. Burness
Senior Vice President for Public Affairs
and Government Relations
Duke University

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Churchill Series - Aug. 16, 2007

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

In the late 1980s Richard M. Langworth, historian and Executive Director of the U. S. branch of the International Churchill Societies, introduced Alistair Cooke at an ICS gathering.

Langworth's carefully researched, warm and admiring introduction highlighted Cooke’s more than fifty year career as a journalist, author, and erudite host of both Omnibus and Masterpiece Theater.

Langworth said that of all Cooke’s books, the one he most enjoyed is Six Men which profiles Charlie Chaplin, H. L. Mencken, Humphrey Bogart, Adlai Stevenson, Bertrand Russell and Edward VIII, each of whom Cooke knew well. Langworth then offered his listeners what he called his “last Cooke-ism:”

It is about King Edward that I offer my last Cooke- ism: the closing sentence of a portrait I think is unmatched, despite many excellent biographies, Edward VIII's own apologia and that of his wife. It is also the line invariably quoted to me: by anyone who has read Six Men.

"The most damning epitaph you can compose about Edward VIII," Mr. Cooke wrote, "as a Prince, as a King, as a man, is one that all comfortable people should cower from deserving: He was at his best only when the going was good." (Rather the opposite of a definition of Winston Churchill, which is perhaps why Churchillophiles remember it.)
You can access Langworth’s introduction here. Cooke’s speech, “Churchill At The Time: A Retrospective,” is here.

Rickards’ Letter: Duke’s Silent So Far

In response to a Durham Herald Sun story on fundraising at UNC –Chapel Hill and Duke for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, Ed Rickards (Duke ’60, Duke Law ’63) wrote a letter the H-S published last Friday.

The H-S story reported:

Officials at Duke reported Thursday that giving to their school was up about 11 percent, pushing the overall total for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to $380.1 million.

Campus fundraisers credit the figure to the popularity of Duke's efforts to endow scholarships. […]
Rickards' letter reminded readers Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, and his administration have a pressing need “to proclaim good news in order to survive their handling of the lacrosse debacle.”

Rickards went on to say some other very important things including:
• Exactly half of the increase over the previous year came from an installment payment by The Duke Endowment toward its one-time pledge of $75 million for scholarships. With this surge omitted, the increase did little more than cover inflation.

• The claim that more than 75 percent has been pledged is distorted by over-subscription in areas like athletic scholarships. The undisclosed secret: only half of the money for need-based undergraduate aid is in sight, which puts the big goal of the initiative in jeopardy.

• [Identifying] the $380 million as "philanthropic gifts" is seriously misleading; for example a large portion is for sponsored medical research, which is to say payment for work to be done.
I posted on Rickards’ letter here.

I’m a Duke alum who’s lived in and around Durham for 33 years. I read the letters section of the H-S. Typically, Duke responds promptly and fully to a H-S letter such as Rickards'.

But despite Rickards’ asking specific and reasonable questions which Duke has the information to answer, the University hasn't responded.

Why hasn’t Duke responded to Rickards’ questions?

The answer may be as simple as Duke needing a bit more time.

I’ll continue to watch the H-S letters section. I’ll post as soon as Duke responds to Rickards.

Meanwhile, the thread to my first post concerning Rickards’ letter is very informative. People obviously knowledgeable concerning fundraising, including Rickards, have been commenting.

It’s a great thread but it’s now very lengthy.

A long thread will often discourage or confound people just “joining the conversation.”

So I’m going to leave the following comment on the thread:
The commenters here are providing a very important service.

But with the thread now lengthy I want to invite you all to continue the conversation at this post:

You’re free to remain here but if you move to the new post, please consider including in your first comment a summary of what you said here.

Thank you all for commenting.

I’ll post again Sunday concerning Duke’s annual giving.

Below is the full text of Rickards’ letter. The H-S story is here.

To the editor:

In a recent story, The Herald-Sun relied on a Duke University press release touting a record $380 million in gifts.

This total must be examined carefully in light of the pressing need of President Richard Brodhead and his administration to proclaim good news in order to survive their handling of the lacrosse debacle.

Exactly half of the increase over the previous year came from an installment payment by The Duke Endowment toward its one-time pledge of $75 million for scholarships. With this surge omitted, the increase did little more than cover inflation.

When measured against the university's budget growth, far exceeding inflation, the impact of the gifts actually diminished. The news release boasted about Brodhead's Financial Aid Initiative.

The claim that more than 75 percent has been pledged is distorted by over-subscription in areas like athletic scholarships. The undisclosed secret: only half of the money for need-based undergraduate aid is in sight, which puts the big goal of the initiative in jeopardy.

Finally there's clever, concealing wording about the Alumni Annual Fund. For 31 consecutive years news releases said the fund "exceeded its goal." This year, the Annual Fund merely "exceeded its previous year's total" with parts like the Law School ominously short of objective.

Overarching these details, to identify the $380 million as "philanthropic gifts" is seriously misleading; for example a large portion is for sponsored medical research, which is to say payment for work to be done.

Significantly, the university made no announcement of total contributions for perpetual endowment -- the heart of Duke's enduring strength.

Ed Rickards

Duke '63,
Duke Law School '66

Yes, the NYT & H-S. The N&O, too

Readers Note: I left the following comment on the thread of a KC Johnson's post, The Lacrosse Case, Law and the Media.

I'll be interested in your comments.



Regarding the sacrificing of "the players on the altar of 'victims’ rights' agenda," you mention the NY Times and the Durham H-S approached the case that way. I agree.

But the Raleigh N&O deserves to be listed with them and, IMHO, at the top of the list.

When the N&O "broke" the story on 3/24/06 it referred to Mangum seven times as the victim or in the possessive form without once using a qualifier such as "alleged."

The N&O's 3/25/06 "anonymous interview" set the metanarrative of the young black mother brutally beaten and gang-raped by privileged white males whose hard drinking, wild partying, white racist teammates were stonewalling police investigators.

The N&O knew that wasn’t true but it became “the Duke lacrosse rape” story that was jumped on by most of the rest of the media, including the NYT and H-S.

It was also “the case” that Nifong described when he began speaking publicly two days later.

The N&O’s deliberately fraudulent 3/25 story was the single most important Duke Hoax story last Spring. I believe it still is.

No news story did more to give a seeming legitimacy to Mangum’s lies, to fuel the witch hunt and to enable the massive injustices inflicted on so many innocent individuals and our community.

The N&O withheld from the 3/25 story news of the players’ cooperation with police and instead promulgated the “wall of silence” lie.

Do you know when and in what detail the N&O finally reported news of the players’ cooperation with police?

I've asked the N&O that question many times but I've never gotten a straight answer.

How does when and in what detail the N&O reported compare with when and in what detail the NYT reported on the players' cooperation?

Thanks in part to the Yeager/Pressler book, we know the N&O’s Ruth Sheehan relied on Nifong as an anonymous source for her 3/27 “Team’s Silence Is Sickening” column.

That column was very important for framing the players in the public’s mind. It helped Nifong and others move forward with their frame-up “investigation.”

For weeks the N&O worked very hard to slime the players while presenting what it knew was a false picture of Mangum.

So, for example, on 3/28 the N&O published on page one the names and misdemeanors charges involving the players while suppressing news it had from day one of Mangum’s far more serious criminal record.

Publishing Mangum's criminal record would also have revealed to readers that Mangum’s claim she was new to dancing before men, something the N&O just passed on to readers in the 3/25 story, was a lie.

And, of course, any reader who could "connect the dots" would have realized the N&O knew that when it published her "new to dancing before men" claim.

The N&O has never explained why it was, on the one hand, so eager to publish “the criminal records” of the lacrosse players while, on the other hand, it suppressed for two weeks news it had of Mangum’s far more serious and relevant criminal record; and then buried the news at the bottom of an unrelated story the ran inside the "A" section.

For thirteen months the N&O misled the public and sustained the Hoax by withholding the crucially important news, exculpatory for the players, that Mangum had said during the “anonymous interview” that Roberts was also sexually assaulted; that she didn’t report it for fear of losing her job; and that Roberts “would do anything for money.”

I can’t see how you could not list the N&O along with the NYT and H-S.

Thank you for all the great work you’ve done on this case.

John in Carolina

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No Churchill Series today - Aug. 15, 2007


I'm sorry but my work load is very heavy right now.

I plan a Series post for tomorrow.

Thank you for your understanding.


Dutch Bishop Says “Allah”

At World Net Daily:

Catholic churches in the Netherlands should use the name Allah for God to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians, says a Dutch bishop.

Tiny Muskens, the bishop of Breda, told the Dutch TV program "Network" Monday night he believes God doesn't mind what he is called, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.

The Almighty is above such "discussion and bickering," he insisted.

Muskens points to Indonesia, where he served 30 years ago, as an example for Dutch churches. Christians in the Middle East also use the term Allah for God.

"Someone like me has prayed to Allah yang maha kuasa (Almighty God) for eight years in Indonesia and other priests for 20 or 30 years," Muskens said. "In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can't we start doing that together?"
OK, Bishop, now that you’ve brought the subject up, do you think Muslims should call Allah Christ?

About those Danish cartoonists: should Christians agree with Muslims who want to kill the cartoonists for publishing caricatures of Allah just as the cartoonists publish caricatures of Christ?

When a Muslim terrorist blows himself/herself up in an attempt to kill innocent people including infants, are you cool with calling those terrorists Christians?

What would you call Christian Dutch citizens who opposed, often at the cost of their lives, the Nazis’ treatment of Jews?

Not Muslims, I hope.

World Net continues:
Muskens thinks it could take another 100 years, but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches, promoting rapprochement between the two religions, he said, according to Radio Netherlands.
If you’re rooting for Muslim world domination, Bishop Muskens is one of your “beacons of hope.”

And isn’t that just what a Christian spiritual leader is supposed to be?

Opps! Sorry about that. Muskens no doubt wanted me to say “Muslim spiritual leader.”

You can read the entire report here.

Anti-American propaganda from AFP

Like al-Jazeera, the NY Times, and the AP, Agence French- Presse (AFP) bills itself as an unbiased news organization.

So like al-Jazeera and the rest, AFP claims it doesn’t engage in propaganda. What’s more, AFP will tell you it verifies what it reports.

With that in mind, follow this link and see if anything other than an anti-American propaganda can explain how Wissam al-Okaili’s photo made it past a series of AFP editors and was published for international distribution.

And read the whole post. It's all informative.

Hat Tip: Walter Abbott

DPD’s Hodge & “evidence collected”

Monday I posted “ What Did DPD's Hodge Say?” It concerned an MSNBC report of the forum held at NC Central University last April at which then DA Mike Nifong said would continue to seek to indicte Duke lacrosse players despite DNA evidence from the state crime lab which the public had just learned was negative for all the lacrosse players tested.

MSNBC’s report included this:

"I don't think we would be here if it wasn't (a strong case)," Maj. Ron Hodge, the assistant (sic) chief of the Durham Police Department, said after the forum. (Hodge is deputy chief. The parenthetical "a strong case" is in the MSNBC story. – JinC ).
Responding to the post, two Anons provided links to a Raleigh News & Observer Jan. 13, 2007 story reporting reactions to Nifong’s decision to recuse himself and turn the case over to the NC Attorney General’s office.

In that N&O story we find a subhead,
A police view,
followed by this:
Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge said Nifong's stepping aside won't change the substance of the evidence collected by the department's detectives that a sexual assault occurred.

Hodge said he thinks that the case will still go forward and that the remaining charges will be prosecuted.

"I don't think it changes anything that we've done," Hodge said. "It just means that we'll have to deal with a different attorney."
My reactions?

Wow! And thank you, Anons. I’d either missed or forgot the Jan. 13 N&O story.

But look at how significant it now is.

Three months after that story appeared NC Attorney General Roy Cooper announced to the world there never was any actual evidence collected by DPD or Nifong. And just a few weeks ago Nifong himself admitted during a court hearing there was no evidence.

So why was Hodge last April talking to MSNBC about a strong case?

Why was Hodge telling the N&O in January about “evidence collected by the department's detectives that a sexual assault occurred?”

Didn’t Hodge know DPD never had any credible evidence? He was in day-to-day charge of DPD during much of “the investigation, wasn’t he?

Why did Hodge say DPD had a strong case to arrest and help indict and prosecute for multiply felonies three men when there was no evidence of their guilt?

Aren’t police department administrators supposed to prevent that kind of thing from happening?

Is it possible Hodge didn’t know his department had no evidence of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann’s guilt?

Was Hodge lied to about “this horrific crime” the way the public was?

Is it possible Hodge sincerely believed what he was saying because Nifong, DPD Cpl. David Addison, the department spokesperson who kept proclaiming crimes had been committed, and other DPD officers misled him?

The Durham City Council has asked the Whichard Committee to find out why DPD arrested and charged three men without any evidence of their guilt.

Surely the committee members will ask Hodge about the MSNBC and N&O reports.

The City Council and the public need to hear his answers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Churchill Series – Aug. 14, 2007

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

A story today that I hope makes you smile. While I can’t cite a source confirming that Churchill heard it, I feel sure he did. It’s an old story that’s floated around London for a very long time. And it’s just the sort of story Churchill loved.

In his lifetime the Carlton Club was one of London’s most exclusive and expensive private clubs as it is today. It has a strong Conservative Party connection going back to the 19th century. At the club’s website we read:

Today the Club continues to support the Party in many ways but the hub of the Party is now based in Victoria Street. The Carlton Club remains, however, the Conservative Club. (emphasis Carlton’s)
Well the story goes that during one session of Parliament a Labour MP from the Midlands took rooms a few miles from Westminster Palace. In nice weather, he’d walk there.

One day as he was passing the Carlton Club he had an urgent need to use the bathroom. So in he went.

Afterwards he freshened up using the clubs soaps and towels; and then was on his way.

He took to doing this just about every day and soon members noticed. They complained to the club’s governors.

The governors instructed the doorman to tell the Labour member he wasn't welcome to use the club’s bathroom.

So the next day as the MP was about to enter the club the doorman did as instructed. “I’m sorry, Sir, but the governors of this private club say they don’t want you coming in here.”

“Really? This is also a club?”

I hope you’re smiling.

Brodhead Opposes Proposed Boycott

A few hours ago I posted concerning American college and university heads’ opposition to a proposed boycott by Britain’s University and College Union of Israeli universities and scholars.

The post contained an excerpt from an NRO post stating Duke University President Richard Brodhead had refused to join in the opposition to the boycott.

That report is wrong. I apologize to President Brodhead and to you for posting the report.

When I finish this post, I’ll place an error alert, correction and apology at the head of the other post.

I want to thank the reader who called the error to my attention

I plan to let NRO know what I’ve learned. I also plan to send Brodhead an email commending him for his statement.

Here, from Duke News and dated July 27, 2007 is Brodhead’s statement :

I view the proposed academic boycott of Israeli universities by Great Britain’s University and College Union as a threat to all institutions of higher education, and I condemn it as such.

All ideas are not equal, but it is a foundational principle of American life that all ideas should have an equal opportunity to be expressed. The protection of free speech is the protection of the notion that people can teach each other and learn from each other through the free airing of differences and the mutual engagement of opposing points of view.

To disbelieve that is in some fundamental way to disbelieve in education itself. Duke University has a proud tradition of upholding the free exchange of ideas, including discussions that involve the bitter, unresolved conflicts in the Middle East.

The idea of forbidding partnerships and exchanges with Israeli universities and scholars contradicts the high value we place in the pursuit of knowledge on our own campus and in the importance of robust intellectual integrity more broadly. I oppose efforts to suppress the free exchange of ideas at Duke and in university communities around the world.

Brodhead Silent on Boycott Proposal (Error Alert)

ERROR ALERT: The NRO post cited below is wrong as regards Duke President Richard Brodhead's position on the proposed boycott. Brodhead opposses the boycott. See this JinC post for his statement made on July 27.

I apologize to President Brodhead and to any of you who were misled by the post below.


In the August 9 Chronicle of Higher Education we read:

More than 300 presidents of American colleges and universities have signed a statement assailing a proposal by Britain’s leading faculty union to consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The statement ( full text below – JinC), which was written by Columbia University’s president, Lee C. Bollinger and ran as an advertisment in Wednesday’s New York Times, follows widespread criticism since the University and College Union passed a resolution ($ req.) in May calling for the group to debate whether to refuse to work with Israeli academics over the country’s Palestinian policies.

Last week a group called Scholars for Peace in the Middle East said it had gathered 10,000 signatures on an online petition opposing the faculty union’s proposal.
Those signing the statement include the presidents of Cornell, Dartmouth, M.I.T., Penn and Princeton as well as U. N. C. – Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser.

Harvard President Drew Gilpin condemned the boycott proposal in a separate statement.

And what about Duke’s President, Richard ( “The facts kept changing.”) Brodhead?

This today from NRO [excerpt]:
Brodhead's refusal to sign is curious given how outspoken he was on public issues surrounding the Duke lacrosse case and, before that, how staunch his defense was of Duke's willingness to host the 2004 national convention of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, whose members had endorsed suicide bombing.
I recall at the time of the PSM convention Brodhead saying how important it was that Duke host it as a demonstration of the University’s commitment to the free expression of ideas.

I regularly check Duke News. If I see anything regarding Brodhead and the boycott effort, I’ll post on it. If you see something first, please comment on the thread of a recent post.


Now here’s President Bollinger’s statement:

As a citizen, I am profoundly disturbed by the recent vote by Britain’s new University and College Union to advance a boycott against Israeli academic institutions.

As a university professor and president, I find this idea utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy, where we will not hold intellectual exchange hostage to the political disagreements of the moment. In seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.

At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate -- as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their governments' policies.

Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish.

Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.

Hat Tip: Mike Williams

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Churchill Series – Aug. 13, 2007

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

I want to do something different today.

Instead of a post about Churchill, I'm offering a post about someone Churchill knew and admired. Let's call what I'm doing a “guest appearance” post.

Today’s “guest” is General of the Army and later both Secretary of State and Defense, George C. Marshall.

During WW II Churchill and Marshall had their rounds over strategy and resource allocations, but each had great respect for the other. As the war was drawing to a close, Churchill saluted Marshall as “the organizer of victory.”

In 1929 Marshall was a Colonel stationed at Fort Benning, just outside Columbus, Georgia. He was forty-eight and a very lonely man. His first wife, Lily, had died the previous year from complications related to a coronary condition.

Marshall was invited to a dinner party in Columbus at which another guest was Katherine Tupper Brown, a widow with three children. She was in Columbus to visit friends. She’d later record her first sight of Marshall: “I will never forget. George had a way of looking right straight through you. He had such keen blue eyes and he was straight and very military.”

The two chatted throughout dinner. Afterwards Marshall offered to “drive Mrs. Brown home.” He said he’d have no trouble finding Mrs. William Blanchard’s house, where she was staying.

Marshall biographer Ed Cray tells us what happened next:

Having assured her he knew the Blanchard residence where Mrs. Brown was staying, Marshall spent an hour driving the streets of the small town of Columbus while the two of them chatted.

Finally Mrs. Brown asked, “How long have you been at Fort Benning?”

“Two years,” the colonel answered.

“Well, after two years, haven’t you learned your way around Columbus?”

“Extremely well, or I could not have stayed off the block where Mrs. Blanchard lives.”
Ed Cray, General of the Army George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman. (W. W. Norton & Co., 1990) (pgs. 107-108)

Julia Childs: Wise Words

Julia Childs was once asked how you pick out a “nice company roast.”

“First, make friends with your butcher.”

Adding sugar to tomato-based sauces to enhance the flavor: should you do it?

Childs said, “Yes, but only so much that when your dinner guests leave they're thinking: ‘That sauce had such a good tomato flavor. I wonder whether she didn’t add just a bit of sugar.’”

A magazine once asked her to give cooking advice in 20 words or less: “Use the best and freshest ingredients. Season a little at a time, tasting often as you go along.”

I love her cookbooks.

And everything I've learned about her as a person makes me wish I'd known her.

What Did DPD’s Hodge Say?

While researching the Duke Hoax case I looked at an MSNBC report of the April 11, 2006 forum held at NC Central University during which Mike Nifong announced he would continue to prosecute the case despite DNA evidence from the state crime lab which the public had just learned was negative for all the lacrosse players tested.

Here’s the story’s ninth paragraph:

"I don't think we would be here if it wasn't (a strong case)," Maj. Ron Hodge, the assistant (sic) chief of the Durham Police Department, said after the forum. (Hodge is deputy chief. The parenthetical "a strong case" is in the MSNBC story. – JinC ).
I wasn’t aware Hodge had spoken to a news organization at that time, much less that he said publicly something MSNBC reported amounted to asserting the police had “a strong case” as of April 11, 2006.

That’s just the opposite of what NC Attorney General Roy Cooper told the public exactly one year to the day later when he said there never was any credible evidence of the crimes alleged. That’s also what Mike Nifong said a few weeks ago in court as part of his apology to the players ( Text of Nifong’s statement here.)

We know that at least between the period March 24 and 27, 2006 DPD spokesperson and sworn officer Cpl. David Addison repeatedly made false statements about “crimes;” and that he distributed to police substations, news organizations and others on March 28 the text of the Durham CrimeStoppers’ Wanted poster falsely stating crimes had been committed at the lacrosse party.

But the MSNBC report is the first I’ve seen indicating Hodge, the DPD’s second highest ranking officer and at the time in day-to-day charge of the department because of the absence of Chief Chalmers, may have directly helped propagate what we now know was a deliberate falsehood.

The MSNBC report is certainly something the Whichard Committee should look at and consider questioning Hodge about.

It's surely of interest to attorneys working with players and their parents who are considering civil actions against DPD and Durham City.

The Raleigh N&O and the Durham H-S should followup on the MSNBC report, ask Hodge what he said and find out what record MSNBC has of his remarks.

I searched the archives of both papers for the period April 10 to 20, 2006 and found nothing for Hodge.

Responding to Comments – 8/13/07


I’m continuing a trial to see whether responding to your comments in the form below allows me to respond to more comments with the time I have.

I read all comments. If your comment isn’t specifically noted, it may be because I’ve noted recently the matter your comment deals with, the matter is too complex for a brief answer, it’s some nice words which I appreciate but don’t need to comment on, etc.

Today I’m responding to comments or parts thereof on the threads of posts from 7/24 to 7/31.

Now let’s begin. Comments are in italics; my responses are in plain ----

AJR & N&O's "No Anons" Hoax 7/27

An Anon said: “FYI, Smolkin is leaving the AJR, headed for USA Today”

I always appreciate readers who pass on information. Thanks, Anon.

American Journalism Review managing editor Rachel Smolkin should still respond to her very serious omissions and errors no matter where she goes.

You are the only one who recognizes the damage done to the Lax case by Ruthie and the N&O.

Many individuals recognize it but very few bloggers or journalists comment on it. In time scholars and authors who look at how the Hoax was shaped and fueled will recognize the essential role the N&O played in scripting a fraud and then sustaining it as developed into a witch hunt, the frame-up and now an on-going cover-up.

Folks, I answer the next comment by breaking it into parts and answering each. You’ll know we’re at the end of the comment when you see the star line.

Don't know if you'd have time to do a book, John, on the North Carolina newspapers' role in fostering the frame, but someone should.

Someone should indeed. I doubt it will be me.

Would Mr. Ham or Mr. Wilson (ex of the H-S) be willing to work with you?

They’re top-notch journalists. I’ve admired their work for years. And I appreciate the thought they’d work with me. But a book authored by us is not "on the table." I appreciate the compliment implied in what you say.

I’m counting on the Taylor/ Johnson book to expose what the N&O did. . .

I’m looking forward to the book. Laying out all the N&O did to shape and fuel the trashing of the lacrosse team and the framing of three of its members is very important. So is explaining why the N&O withheld for thirteen months crucial information, exculpatory for the players, Crystal Mangum gave the N&O on March 24, 2006.

The Khanna-Blythe story in late March 2006 was deadly to the lacrosse players and their families and helped create the atmosphere for Gottlieb and Nifong to spread their lies and smears.

I think you’re referring to the N&O’s March 26 “anonymous interview” story about what the N&O told readers was a night that ended in “sexual violence.”

If you are, my response: Absolutely!

I do not know why folk continue to blame anyone but that lying scoundrel Nifong, the N$O and its reporters and the talking heads. What a waste of time.

DNA expert Brian Meehan belongs on the blame list. So do many enablers. Also keep in mind we don’t yet have near the full story of what was done by whom.

My advice: Leave some space on your blame list sheet so you can add some names. There's a lot we still don't know.

ALL the perpetrators of the LAX/ DUKE hoax were self-serving, attention-grabbing greedy liars.

Be careful. If someone says something that’s false but they don’t know it’s false, what they’re saying is not a lie. A lie must be deliberate.

The case was high drama. That sells papers. If the truth were out in the beginning, there would have been no case, no hype, no media feeding frenzy, and no attention. So-called journalism in America, whether print or TV/ radio, is no longer about truth. It is about attention and money.

Attention and money have always been considerations in news reporting and news distorting.

That said, in the Hoax case, the extent of the media frenzy, its maliciousness and a seeming deliberate looking away by so many from so much that was obviously exculpatory for the players are shocking.

If you had asked me on March 12, 2006 whether a few wildly improbable, self-contradictory lies in the absence of any credible evidence could lead in Durham, North Carolina to the witch hunt and massive injustices we’ve seen these last seventeen months, I’d have said, “definitely not.”

The liberal schools are fueling the liberal agenda, which is NOT truth (after all the public is not competent to think for themselves) but about creating a bogus problem and offering themselves as the solution.

You’ve got that right.

There are many victims in the LAX hoax. The biggest is the American public.

The Hoax should be a wake-up call for America

The question is, do we have what it take to persevere?

Perseverance is a key. We are in a war for American values. The Constitution says our criminal courts are places where the state has the burden of proving the accused guilty but Duke’s president said three Duke students would have a chance to prove their innocence in court. Justice is supposed to be blind to race. Others don’t want that. And on it goes.

Newspapers are on their way to extinction, like the Do Do bird. I think this case has only hurt them. How many people who blog have stopped buying the NYT or the WP due to their bias and unfair coverage. I know I have and I worked for the WP part time for thirty years.

I hear many people say newspapers are heading that way. A number of them are journalists. Did you see the latest Pew Research results on the drop in the last 20 years in the percentage of Americans saying they have a lot/some trust in the press?

I’ll be posting on some of what Pew reported later today.

These people who do the reporting for these newspapers: are they from the same planet?

I think so, but I'm not placing a bet.

The N&O & "Bullies"

Has Sill ever apologized for the late March 2006 stories?

No. She often says she’s proud of the N&O’s Duke lacrosse coverage.

Who would buy this paper? Or the HS? Who cares about the N$O?

A lot of people pay for the N&O. What is even worse, many of them “buy” everything that’s in its news columns.

By the way, both the H-S and the N&O are having serious circulation problems.

You have succinctly exposed what I believe is a huge "smoking gun." [The commenter’s talking about the N&O’s withholding of the exculpatory information Mangum provided on March 24, 2206 which the N&O only disclosed on April 12, 2007, the day after the AG declared the players innocent. - JinC] I will try to give you my answers to some of your excellent questions:

1. I was pursuing capitalism at the time the N&O came out with that bombshell. Thus, I did not know about it until I got back up to speed on the case. I believe it was as significant as you suggest - possibly an early death-blow to the fantastic lies.

Additionally, as you noted in your piece, most everyone interested in the Duke case were mesmerized by the AG's report, and that is what everyone wanted to talk about at the time.

2. I believe the N&O has not been as attacked (as it deserved) for such a "smoking gun" omission only because of the subsequent work of Joe Neff, and to a lesser extent, Niolet and Blythe. Also, the Herald-Sun's prejudicial coverage somewhat overshadowed the less venomous coverage of the N&O. These are lame arguments, but they are the best I can do. You are right to point out the "smoking gun" nature of that omission.

This also raises another issue I have found deeply troubling. The N&O gave the false accuser an anonymous interview during which she was allowed to:

1. Attack the players;

2. Stir sympathy for herself; and

3. Create a prejudicial atmosphere against the Duke Three.

The N&O should answer for providing this safe haven for Mangum's anonymous attacks and for, as you suggest, hiding explosive exculpatory evidence from the defense and their reading public.

You have a very good understanding of what I’m saying and what the N&O did with the “anonymous interview” story.

The difference in coverage of the lacrosse frame-up and the later actual black-on-white RAPE is very telling.

Yes. I plan to return to that in a future post.

Melanie is simply another airhead leftist (she is in no wise a liberal--a very much misunderstood and abused term) who is in a position to filter facts as she sees fit and then becomes hideously vindictive when someone questions her. N&O will never change despite a few good reporters like Neff.

Melanie and other journalists do a lot of filtering of facts. They filtered out of the N&O coverage in March and early April 2006 news of the players’ repeated and extensive cooperation with the police. The N&O filtered out any mention of Mangum’s criminal background which it knew from the beginning.

BTW - Melanie spins readers, engages in agenda-journalism, suppresses news, makes false statements and brags a lot. But I don't see her as an airhead.

Sorry, but print media isn't dead. Look at the damage done to the lacrosse players by the N&O in March of 2006, by Duff Wilson and the New York Times throughout 2006 and Paxton Media's H-S from beginning to end.

Excellent point.

The reason the N&O did such a terrible thing was to sell newspapers and make money no matter what the truth was.

I’m not sure what the N&O’s underlying motive (s) was/were for what it did.

I think this thought has been posted elsewhere, but it bears repetition:
Melanie, we know. We know you know.

Yes, it does bear repetition. You all know that. You know you know that. And Melanie knows you know that but most N&O readers don’t. So the N&O goes on and on.

Good thing for them the local competition is even worse. That's something for them to be proud of, isn't it?

Would you be surprised to know many at the N&O do take pride in being better than the H-S. That's a little like the kid who got a 20 on his spelling test and boasted he did twice as well as his friend who got a 10.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...there must be something in the water down there that prevents North Carolinians from saying, "We made a mistake, we regret it and we will try to do better next time."

That more people haven’t stepped forward is terrible. Part of the reason is a failure of leadership.

I’ll be posting soon on this matter.

I see [apologizing] as the greatest strength one can exhibit.

It is a great strength.

Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1)

This is excellent work, John. Keep the heat turned up.

Thanks for the nice words. I will.

Ruthie is a poor writer. She knew exactly what she was doing and why. I don't believe she needed any help from Nifong to roast these guys. She should be out of a job.

My point is that since the Yeager/Pressler book was vetted by attorneys for the publisher and since the N&O has passed on numerous opportunities to deny what the book quotes Sheehan as saying about Nifong being an anonymous source for her column, etc., that we can therefore treat what Sheehan said as credible.

Sheehan has an article today on the Lacrosse house. She reveals that she and Burness had a media/source relationship active in March 2006. Another anonymous source for Sheehan?

You’re pointing at something very important that, IMO, has not received the attention it deserves.

I just read Sheehan article. I cant help to wonder, if Burness and the university had supported the 3 young men and if Sheehan had been a better reporter than the lacrosse case may have never happened.

Sheehan’s column was extraordinarily important for fueling the witch hunt and frame-up. I agree with you a good reporter would never have written the “Teams’ Silence is Sickening” column. Burness’ role around that time – March 24 through March 27 – is less clear to me.

It's amazing the way the press, the DA's office, and the University worked together to smear the lacrosse team.

I’d put it this way: It’s amazing the way much of the press, the DA’s office, certain Durham police officers, their supervisors, the DPD spokesperson and many at Duke together created a situation in which Duke students were slandered, libeled, physically endangered and in three cases falsely indicted for felony crimes.

That all took a lot of work by a lot of people.

IIRC, Sheehan promised that her "I'm Sorry" column would be her last on the Hoax/Frame. Her unfortunate renege-on-that-pledge piece in the 7/30/07 N&O alluded to by anon is here.

Poor John Burness... if only Duke had taken his wise counsel sooner! Poor Ruth Sheehan... if only folks had paid closer attention to her wisdom!

"We both sighed again."

John "apologize-for-what?" Burness and Ruth "wall-of-silence" Sheehan, the real victims of the case.

At least to those who haven't paid close attention.


I can only figure:

1. Sill was intentionally lying;

2. Sill was too lazy to ask every reporter or those who contributed to a report, then covered up; or

3. A bunch of reporters lied to Sill.

Why would anyone try to cover up something like that? Would it be because of potential civil liability? Can you ask Melanie if the N&O has received any letters threatening civil litigation?

You’re making reasonable surmises and asking important questions. The Taylor/Johnson book should speak to a lot of what your noting.

I used to put an N&O on the bottom of my parrot's cage until he started lying and omitting important details. Then, he tried to bait the dog against me.

Sorry about that. Get your parrot reading some honest blogs and I bet things will get better for all three of you.

Responding to Comments – 7/29/07

Folks, I had to shut down because of storms and that drew this comment:

My daughter was working at her Dell when a storm arose in DC. She did not shut down. Lightening hit a transformer nearby and destroyed her hard drive.

Thanks, Anon. It’s a good reminder for all of us.

Sheehan & Burness Sighed 7/30

In response to a Ruth Sheehan column in which Duke’s John Burness suggested if Duke had purchase the lacrosse party house years ago the Hoax might never have happened, a commenter picked up on my tongue-in-cheek thought that Nifong could therefore sue Duke because all his troubles flowed from the party:

"So I’m really a victim of Duke’s failure to purchase quickly enough. That’s why I’m suing Duke.”"

Oh, what a sweet ending that would be....the rats cannibalizing each other.

There would be a certain poetic justice to it.

Someone needs to get into that house, take a picture of the famous bathroom and post it where everyone can view it.

Or how about finding some floor plans of the house. They have to be somewhere close by.

Absolutely. I plan to keep pushing the matter. I sure wish MSM would, too.

A friend of mine was raised in that house. Bathroom in question can barely fit two people in it at the same time. N&O called him a long time ago for a quote and when he gave them a description of what the bathroom really looks like, the N&O didn't publish his quote. It didn't fit their purpose at that particular time in the HOAX.

The N&O has a history of picking out and reporting only what fits its storyline.

So, for example, it was presenting the potbangers as compassionate citizens concerned that a young woman had been brutally beaten and gang-rape. Therefore, the N&O didn’t tell readers the potbangers were screaming and waving a large CASTRATE banner.

Duke Hoax Questions for the N&O 7/30

And don't forget the N&O's libel of many of the lacrosse players in publishing the scurrilous poster.

I’ve heard attorneys say it is very, very hard to successfully sue a newspaper for libel, but that the N&O’s publication of the “Vigilante” poster seems to them to have the makings of a strong case.

The problem is about accountability. Left-wingers think they are above being accountable to anybody on any subject because in their own ego-centric minds, they know best for and about everybody. They want to "manage" the news around their own agenda, which they believe to be more intelligent and more relevant than that of their opponents. They cannot meet you on level playing field, because their tactics are not reason, logic, and intellectual integrity. They use ridicule and deceit to maintain their lofty positions. And when they are found out, rather than acknowledging the error of their ways, they change the subject, or attempt to discredit their opponents.

I agree with what you say as regards the left. Since people often use liberal and left interchangeably, I want to say the following: liberals in my book are as open to reason as conservatives; and they seek to work within the American system of values and procedures. The left doesn’t. It abhors America. That’s why the left embraces a Che, Castro and Chavez.

Dept. of Utter Nonsense

The latest idiocy from the UK says that Churchill will be left entirely out of public school curricula so that they may focus more on diversity, multiculturism and other such nonsense. What a stupendous fall for a once-great nation. They don't deserve Winston Churchill.

I’ve heard historians say Britain couldn’t produce a person like Churchill today.

You might enjoy this documentary on the British left during the late seventies. They have about an hour on the lefties attempt to start a newspaper. It goes about like you would expect.

Commenter, can you give a link to the program?

Actually, I love the commentary on BBC4 radio.

A Duke Alum/ lax supporter living in London

I enjoy BBC4 Radio when I’m in the UK and occasionally listen to it on the net. But it’s a sliver of the total BBC.

BTW – It’s very nice to hear from a Duke alum/lax supporter living in London.

John: Also note that your tax dollars pay for BBC overseas reports on National Public Radio.

You’re right on.

Folks, I plan to respond to another set of comments tomorrow.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Collins & the Dems’ Girl

What I’m about to say may qualify me for membership in The Last To Know club, but I’ve just discovered Richard (Dick) Collins, pundit and founder of, a website dedicated to educating the public about Hillary Clinton’s liberal record.

No kidding. I didn't know about Collins or the site.

I just “met” Collins at where his latest column, You Go Girl , begins:

Hillary Clinton's strategy for winning the Democratic Presidential primary seems pretty clear at this point. In a time when Democrats are desperate to win the White House, and in the most favorable climate in a decade, she is promising them what they want: a candidate who can fight and win.

But at Tuesday's AFL-CIO debate Senator Clinton chose an odd way to express it:

"For 15 years, I have stood up against the right-wing machine and I've come out stronger. So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl."

Your "girl?"

First of all, that had to sting Senator Edwards. Hasn't his entire campaign been about being the Democrat's girl? Doesn't the candidate with the best hair win?

More seriously, this interesting phrase seems to hint at the continuing struggle Mrs. Clinton has in controlling her image. Much of the controversy that has followed her quest to become the first female president has been played out in an awkward tension.

On the one hand our politically correct culture insists that a woman running for president has important social and political implications. And feminists of almost all stripes would see a Clinton victory as a step forward for women.

And yet the actual substance of much of the news coverage is not serious.

Remember the silly debate about whether using her first name was actually a not so subtle sign of disrespect because nobody called her male counterparts by their first names? Leaving unsolved the question of how to refer to both the candidate and her rather politically significant husband without confusion. And the stories about her ever-changing hairstyles or the "cleavage" question haven't been particularly flattering.
And then there’s the continuing struggle Hillary Clinton and her staff have had trying to explain how her Arkansas-based Rose Law Firm billing records for much of the Whitewater period "disappeared" for two years only to mysteriously reappear on a table in - of all places - The White House.

Lucky for Clinton the same press corps that wanted to know about President Bush’s National Guard service records from thirty years ago isn’t much interested in asking about her billing records.
But let’s get back to Collins and the girl Hillary/woman Hillary conundrum.
This focus puts Hillary in an awkward position. Clearly she needs the support of women and the attraction of being the first female president in order to win.

Yet, "vote for me because I am a woman" seems shallow and demeaning.

There is also the challenge that few people think of Hillary as particularly feminine in her demeanor or style. She isn't known for her sweetness and charm.

But like it or not, charm does matter in elections. So she has attempted to soften her image and dampen her reputation as a cold calculating, and often vicious, politician.

The anger and bitterness of the far left, however, is often pulling in the other direction. They don't want charming or graceful, they want confrontational and insistent. They want red meat and a candidate who won't back down.

Add to this the necessity of appearing to have enough "gravitas" to be commander in chief, and it gets to be a tricky juggling act.

All of this led to Hillary's odd comment on Tuesday. The first part insisted that she is the fighter the party needs - the only candidate that can defeat the "right-wing machine." While the last phrase attempts to communicate that she isn't uptight about her femininity.

The mini-furor over this comment reveals yet another straddle for Hillary to pull off.

One between older feminists who insist on eliminating any differences between men and women – "gender is a social construct" – and those younger women who view anything freely chosen as empowering for women – "You go, girl."
There’s more to Collins’ column here.

I’m going to start following Collins and visiting

I’ll keep you posted on what I think.

I’m interested to hear what you think of Collins' column. I also hope some of you visit and share your impressions.

The Chronicle & “off the record.”(Post 2)

Readers Note: What follows this note is based on the post, The Chronicle & "off the record," and its comment thread.

If you’re not very familiar with them, I encourage you to read them before reading what follows.




On the comment thread of The Chronicle & "off the record," someone self-IDing as JeffM offered this comment:


People respond to reporters off the record all the time, and it is honored. I know; I have done it.

I think it is simple courtesy to honor a request that a response not be quoted. I also think that it is fair in that case to say that you got no response when what you clearly asked for was a publishable response. Quite honestly, if I responded to a query of yours with the request that you not publish it and you did publish it, I would never respond to any query from you again.

Tell me: if someone says that he is telling you something in confidence, do you always feel yourself free to violate that confidence?
None of us, excepting JeffM, can be sure whether JeffM is a journalist, a troll trying to make journalists look bad, a sincere but befuddled non-journalist, or what.

That said, JeffM’s comment is a useful stimulus to consideration of important practical and ethical matters journalists face, whether they be student journalists at the high-school level or professionals well into their careers.

I want to use JeffM's comment to share some thoughts on those matters.

JeffM’s sentences are in italics; mine are in plain.

Let’s begin:

People respond to reporters off the record all the time, and it is honored. I know; I have done it.
I’ve no problem with that statement as long as “off the record” has been agreed to in advance by both parties who’ve talked about the parameters of what’ll be “off the record;” and as long as the person seeking to go “off the record” has given the journalist a clear idea why it’s in the interests of the journalist's news reporting to do so.

I think it is simple courtesy to honor a request that a response not be quoted.
Whoa, Nellie! What does “honor a request” mean?

If someone without any prior discussion begins his responses to a set of questions with “off the record” as Chronicle Editor Graham did with the questions I asked him, do you “honor” the “request,” which really didn’t come as a request but as a declaratory statement?

Ah, look! JeffM’s already given us his answer

I also think that it is fair in that case to say that you got no response when what you clearly asked for was a publishable response.
So JeffM believes “it is fair .. to say you got no response” when you clearly do get a response.

Can you see, folks, why I say JeffM may be a journalist but may also be a troll trying to make journalists look bad?

Some journalists do operate the way JeffM advocates. But as I said in my earlier post, “people concerned with news reporting, be they advisors to high school newspapers or editors at major newspapers, fight it.”

This link is to The Committee of Concerned Journalists' site and former Washington Post reporter William Prochnau’s memorial tribute to David Halberstam, who earned a Pulitzer for his reporting from Vietnam which exposed falsehoods the Kennedy and Johnson administrations were telling Americans.

Prochnau speaks in detail about Halberstam’s contempt for reporters who failed to maintain their independence, eagerly went “off the record,” and thoroughly enjoyed the Kennedy hosted parties they were invited to.
Quite honestly, if I responded to a query of yours with the request that you not publish it and you did publish it, I would never respond to any query from you again.
JeffM here helps us understand one reason some reporters and editors get “frozen out” by some sources: the journalists won’t treat as “off the record” statements by government leaders, university administrator or faculty members, business executives, etc. just because they say “off the record.”

A journalist once told me of a presidential nomination candidate’s campaign staff: “If you write one kind of story, they freeze you out; if you write another kind, they ask how much ice you want in your glass.”

A lot of that goes on. I think more than the public realizes.

Tell me: if someone says that he is telling you something in confidence, do you always feel yourself free to violate that confidence?
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

People have told me things about other people that were slanderous. They’ve said it was all in confidence.

But I’ve sometimes repeated what I was told to the person being slandered when I’ve thought doing so would put the person being slandered in a better position to counter the slander.

On the other hand, I remember a time my wife told me she thought I’d talked too much at a dinner party.

I kept that confidence for more than thirty years until just now.

And I’m disclosing it “off the record.” So now you can't report it.

Moving on - - -


In the near future I’ll post again about “off the record” and the problems and challenges it poses for bloggers and journalists.

I'll relate a lot of what I write to the Duke Hoax case.

Those of you who wish to read what Prochnau says about Halberstam in regard to “off the record” kinds of matters, scroll about half way down until you come to the single sentence graf: “Halberstam’s relationships with both Washington officialdom and the Washington press corps were ballistic.”

Since this post grew out of the exchange I had with Chronicle Editor Graham and comments extensively and critically on the exact use Graham made of “off the record,” I plan to send him a link for his information.

I’ll also encourage him to respond here or in The Chronicle.

I’ll send the link in an email I’ll post later today.