Saturday, September 29, 2007

Brodhead’s Latest Failure

This from Duke News:

The Duke lacrosse case highlighted “crucial problems of our culture -- problems of achieving justice in a media-saturated society, problems of fundamental fairness to individuals, and problems in the way the American public is informed and misinformed about the world we live in,” Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead told participants in a legal conference on Saturday.

“As president, I had responsibility for the statements the university made and the actions the university took in a virtually unprecedented situation, and I take responsibility for them now,” Brodhead said in his first public comment about the case since the disbarment and resignation of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

“When a case like this is over, it’s tempting to think that the facts so clearly established at the end of the day must have been equally clear throughout the process. This was not the case,” Brodhead said in his talk during a two-day conference at Duke Law School on the practice and ethics of trying cases in the media. “[S]tarkly opposite versions of the truth created deep uncertainty about what had happened.
The Duke News story continues here and includes the full text of President Brodhead’s statement and a link to a video of it.

My comments:

Are you satisfied if President Brodhead admits a few mistakes were made much as Nixon did in the “damage control” statements he kept making at the time of Watergate?

Remember Nixon's “Yes, mistakes were made?”

Are you satisfied if Brodhead just says he‘s sorry he didn’t meet with the lacrosse parents without bothering to say why he refused to meet with them in the first place and for months thereafter?

Are you excited by Brodhead’s promise that the same Duke administrators who planned and implemented a bungled, even disgraceful response to the falsehoods of Nifong, the Raleigh N&O and some Duke faculty will now go “over all our procedures to see what we can learn from our experience?”

Are you happy when the foxes agree to help you find out why your chickens keep disappearing?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, you must be either John Burness or a Duke trustee.

Moving on, Brodhead said today:
When a case like this is over, it’s tempting to think that the facts so clearly established at the end of the day must have been equally clear throughout the process. This was not the case.

When the accusations were made, our students said emphatically that they were innocent.

On the other hand, the district attorney made a series of public statements expressing absolute confidence that a crime had occurred and that the students were guilty of criminal charges.

These starkly opposite versions of the truth created deep uncertainty about what had happened.
If you know little or nothing about the events of last Spring, what Brodhead said today sounds reasonable enough: One side said this, the other side said that. Who could know then what were the right things to do?

But what Brodhead’s saying now is sly, if not disingenuous.

The issue of guilt or innocence aside, Brodhead and Duke's trustees knew last Spring what all of us knew then: Nifong was savaging Duke students for doing no more than following their parents’ and attorneys’ advice to exercise their constitutional rights.

Brodhead, Duke's trustees and "Dick's senior team" knew the student were doing exactly what Duke Law Professor James Coleman has said they should have done.

But neitherBrodhead, any member of his "senior team," or any trustee said anything critical then of Nifong’s savaging.

Brodhead knew last Spring the N&O, Nifong and the Durham Police were lying when they said the players had formed a “wall of solidarity” and weren’t cooperating.

But Brodhead said nothing then to counter those lies, even when they endangered the players’ safety.

He said nothing today to explain why he didn’t.

Nor did he say anything today about why he told the community that whatever the Duke students did “was bad enough.”

Or why he’s never said anything critical of the hate-filled people who screamed threats at Duke students, rallied beneath a CASTRATE” banner and circulated “Vigilante” posters within sight of his office windows.

If you’ve read Brodhead’s statement, you know he said nothing about his silence and the trustees silence when Reade Seligmann was subjected to first shouts of physical harm and then death threats in Durham last May 18.

There are many at Duke, in the Durham community and elsewhere whose self-interests are served by Brodhead remaining as President and Trustee Chair Robert Steel continuing to control the trustees and Duke.

But other than such self-interested people, who wants Duke to continue to endure much more Steel-Brodhead “leadership?”

Duke Suits & N&O’s “not clear”

The Raleigh News & Observer reports today:

Duke University officials confirmed this week that they have been talking for months with attorneys for current and former lacrosse players -- other than the three who were charged with rape -- to try stave off a lawsuit.

It was not clear what would form the basis of a suit by players who did not face criminal charges. Duke officials would not discuss details of the claims. […]
The entire N&O story is here.

The basis of a suit is “not clear” to the N&O?

If the "not clear" was delivered in a "backgrounder" by someone at Duke "speaking off the record," that's understandable.

But for the N&O to offer readers what purports to be straight news that it's "not clear" what could be a basis for a suit against Duke is laughable at best, disingenuous at worst.

The N&O knows better.

And so does citizen journalist Quasimodo at Liestoppers Forum who on 9/26/07 @ 8:57 a.m. posted many possible bases for suits as follows:
Well, for starters, off the top of my head I can think of, maybe :

Defamation (many remarks by Brodhead implying guilt)

violation of FERPA (not something a private individual can sue for, but still applicable to show culpability)

false light (many remarks and actions by Brodhead and the Admin. implying guilt)

conspiracy to deny civil rights (i.e., access to counsel, selecting Covington, claiming a false 'student-teacher' relationship)

conspiracy (with Nifong, to help cover up FERPA violation)

discriminatory actions in the classroom

discrimination against the team (no other team ever had its coach fired and its season cancelled--and this 'discipline' was ordered BEFORE there were any convictions, merely on the bases of charges--so much for 'waiting for the justice system to act')

DUMC personnel furthering the hoax, and continuing to spread 'anonymous' stories
that there had been injury to the accused

not permitting the accused to take additional courses at other universities (harming their education and costing them a year delay in their schooling) . . .

Willie Gary would be all over this and have a billion dollar claim in a heartbeat.
Duke’s already settled five suits resulting from its mistreatment of Coach Mike Pressler and the Duke lacrosse players.

Message to Raleigh N&O: Did you talk to attorneys who’ve followed the case and litigate in areas where Duke is vulnerable to suits?

While those attorneys will very likely disagree on many things, I’m sure they could all make clear to you many bases for possible suits.

Something else, the N&O has never made clear why it withheld from its March 25, 2006 “anonymous interview” story and for days thereafter news the N&O had of the players’ cooperation with police.

It's time the N&O disclosed on what basis it suppressed that very important news.

Message to Quasimodo: Throughout the Hoax, you’ve served truth and justice. Thank you.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 28, 2007

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

Readers Note: There were three comments in response to yesterday’s series post: One from a frequent commenter and good friend of this series, Corwin, and two from Sir Martin Gilbert. I added a fourth. I encourage you to take a look at them here.

This is the second post of a two-part series focused on the work of a great historian and Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert.

Yesterday’s post included Gilbert’s account of how, as a young researcher, he became involved with the work on Churchill’s biography whose author then was Churchill’s son, Randolph. When Randolph died, having completed just the first two volumes of what became an eight-volume work, Gilbert was selected to complete the biography which he did twenty years later with the publication in 1988 of Never Despair.

I also included in yesterday’s post this link to Gilbert’s net site and a wonderful post in which he wove events in his life into brief descriptions of the 72 works he’d then completed. Gilbert's post links to further information about each of the works.

Gilbert’s post is a great service to me and all of you. It spares me having to summarize his works and it spares your having to read my summaries.

“Thank God for the Internet,” you’re all saying. “And wrap this up, John, so we can get to Gilbert’s net site.”

OK, folks, I’ll just briefly note two aspects of Gilbert’s writing that keep drawing me back to his work.

1) Gilbert lets facts speak for themselves. When writing about the Holocaust, for example, he avoids the long, repetitious paragraphs many Holocaust historians use telling us the Holocaust was horrible.

Instead, Gilbert provides details of how, for example, a particular “researcher” convinced Nazi authorities in his city to turn Jewish children over to him for medical experiments. Gilbert names countless individual Holocaust victims. He describes their lives before they fell under the Nazi evil. He details how most were put to slave labor, tortured and murdered; and how some few of them endured, survived and went on to live lives that testify to the best that’s within humanity.

2) Many historians fall into one of two categories: There are the ones who embrace what’s sometimes called “the great man” approach. They write about kings, courts, congresses and the like. And there are those historians who’ll tell you individuals hardly matter. History’s all about groups, forces, and the like.

Gilbert falls into neither category. He understands why Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, and de Gaulle mattered, just as he understands the importance and power of social, psychological and political forces.

Gilbert can thus tell us how Hitler fused such forces as anti-Semitism, social despair and nationalism into Nazism, and how outstanding leaders and tens of millions of people acted with intelligence and courage to counter Nazism and nurture another force – freedom.

I've said enough. Now visit with Gilbert and have a nice weekend.

I hope you’re all back Monday.


Edwards & “higher moral ground”

On Feb. 6 of this year USA Today reported :

Democrat John Edwards on Monday joined New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in saying he will not use public money for the presidential primary campaign or, if he wins his party's nomination, for the general election. […]

Edwards said in an interview that he expects major candidates in both parties to raise unlimited private dollars rather than participate in the public system. He said he needs to do the same "to have the funds to be competitive."[…]
But today the AP reports:
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards reversed course Thursday by signing onto the public financing system he once rejected with the belief he could raise more money on his own.

The 2004 vice presidential nominee claimed higher moral ground in the debate over money in politics while announcing the change. But it comes after he brought in far fewer dollars than rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"It is worrisome seeing the amount of money that is being raised in this campaign," Edwards said on CNN. "This is about taking a stand, a principled stand, and I believe in public financing."[…]
John Edwards claims the “higher moral ground” as he flip-flops on public campaign financing.

Who’s surprised?

Edwards regularly flip-flops. And he claims the “higher moral ground” about as often and with as much sincerity as Jesse Jackson.

Did the well-intended people who helped put public campaign financing in place ever realize our money would be used to help keep afloat the imploding campaign of a wealthy trial lawyer with a $400.00 haircut who’d just built himself a 28,000 sq. ft. house?

The full USA Today story is here; the full AP story here.

Brodhead’s Failed Duke (Post 2)

In Brodhead’s Failed Duke (Post 1) I republished a December 23, 2006 post in which I said President Richard Brodhead had failed Duke and should resign “the sooner the better.” I also said that since December, the case for Brodhead’s resignation has grown stronger and cited instances of his failure not mentioned in the December post.

This second post in the Brodhead’s Failed Duke series contains an excerpt from a post by Washington attorney and Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff, A Perfect Storm of Disgrace.

Mirengoff delivers a devastating indictment of Brodhead, after which I make some comments.

Now Mirengoff:

Brodhead's villainy . . . arguably exceeds that of Houston Baker and the rest of the gang of 88. While, the faculty members were blinded by hatred and a dopey ideology, Brodhead saw things clearly. His actions, like Nifong's, were the result of cynicism and opportunism.

At the outset of his tenure as president of Duke, Brodhead had given Duke's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski a new multi-million dollar deal. Brodhead thus incurred the ire of many faculty members who were jealous of Coach K's deal and the status of athletics on campus that it represented.

When the rape charges arose, Brodhead's options were to appease Duke's leftist faculty or to grant Duke students the presumption of innocence. The faculty made it clear to Brodhead that he could not do both.

At an emergency meeting of the Academic Council on March 30, 2006, Brodhead urged caution and asked faculty to wait for the facts to come out. But the assembled professors, around 10 percent of the arts and sciences faculty, responded with vitriolic attacks against the team.

Knowing that Harvard president Larry Summers had recently lost a faculty no-confidence vote at Harvard, Brodhead made his choice. Shortly after the March 30 meeting with the faculty "lynch mob," Brodhead cancelled the lacrosse season and appointed a “Campus Culture Initiative” to explore issues raised by the case. Three of the four subcommittees were chaired by gang of 88 members. And one of the four student members had sent a nasty and arguably threatening email to the Duke lacrosse coach, a fact known to Brodhead.

Thus, Brodhead "got out of jail" with his faculty by, in effect, throwing overboard three student athletes who faced the possibility of 30 years in jail, along with the rest of the lacrosse team and its coach.
Folks, I don’t know what Brodhead’s motives were but the actions Mirengoff describes are indisputable; and only some of Brodhead's actions and inactions which mark him as a failed President.

What I find even worse than many of the things Brodhead did, are his refusals to do things any decent university president would have considered it his duty to do.

Even now, more than a year after I first learned of them, I still find Brodhead's refusals shocking and disgraceful. For instance, his refusal to meet with the lacrosse parents even as he was meeting with black community leaders and student groups critical of their sons.

What kind of university president refuses to meet with parents when their sons, his students, are named as suspects in a gang rape investigation and are in physical danger as angry “activists” shout threats, incite the community and hoist a “CASTRATE” banner?

The most shocking Brodhead refusals are his refusal last May to say a single word critical of the black racists who first shouted physical threats and then death threats at Reade Seligmann, and his refusal to say any words of support and comfort to Seligmann and his family.

What sort of university president refuses to speak out in response to the terrible events of May 18, 2006?

Anyone reading this post who remembers President Terry Sanford knows Sanford would never have responded to Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and many Duke faculty members’ malicious falsehoods as the craven Brodhead has with, we're told, the support of the current trustees.

Brodhead needs to go and the sooner the better.

And Duke needs trustees with the care and judgment to bring the University a new president with the character and leadership Terry Sanford brought to the presidency of Duke University.

Mirengoff’s entire post is here.

Hat tip: Mike Williams

An Insufficiently Sensitive Comment

Last evening I posted "Anderson’s Until Proven Innocent review". I mentioned that in his review Professor Bill Anderson, while giving the book very high marks, said he had some disagreements with it. I didn’t go into detail but linked to Bill's review and encouraged JinC readers to read it.

This morning on the post thread there’s a comment from a JinC Regular who uses the blog name Insufficiently Sensitive.

IS said in part: “[Anderson’s] disagreements with the authors contain the most important statement of [his] review - that is, the unresolvable enmity between PC and classic liberalism.”

IS is right. I should have said more about Bill's disagreements in my post. I actually tried to do that but didn’t for reasons I’ll explain in a post I’m planning for this weekend. It’ll have a title something like “Talking about blogging.” I plan to discuss some of the issues, opportunities and problems I’ve encountered blogging. I hope you look for it.

In the meantime, please consider reading Anderson’s review here.

Message to Insufficiently Sensitive: Thank you. You were spot on in your most recent comment, just as you’ve been in most of your other comments.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 27, 2007

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

Today begins a two-part series within the series focused on the work of a great historian and Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert.

In In Search of Churchill: A Historians Journey (John Wiley & Sons, 1994) Gilbert recounts his initial involvement in the research and writing of Churchill’s life. The year was 1962 and Churchill’s only son, Randolph, had been selected by Churchill to write his biography. Gilbert explains:

My employment with Randolph was to begin in October 1962. Merton College, which had just elected me to a Junior Research Fellowship, agreed that I could also spend time working with Randolph at Stour. My friends, and I, assumed that my engagement would be of short duration. I was still there four and a half years later. I started work under the watchful eye of Michael Wolff, who bore the brunt of responsibility for the whole enterprise: the other researchers and the secretaries of what Randolph called the “book office.”

Much has been made of Randolph’s irascibility and worse: in these pages I hope a fair picture will emerge of a man who made many enemies by his often violent conduct, but who could be kind, considerate and generous. On my first working day at Stour, which was a copy of his book Fifteen Famous English Homes, inscribed “Martin Gilbert from Randolph S. Churchill”.

I had no idea until then that he had written half a dozen books. A month later he gave me another of them, The Rise and Fall of Sir Anthony Eden, inscribed “Martin from Randolph”. I had been accepted as part of his team. (p. 13)
Randolph Churchill died almost six years later in June, 1968. With the help of Gilbert and others in the “book office”, he'd completed the first two volumes of his father's official biography.

Gilbert was selected to complete what became an eight-volume biography which he did during the next twenty years until the publication in 1988 of the final volume, Never Despair.

Last year Gilbert put up a net site at which he tells something of his life and provides brief descriptions of all his works which include histories of both world wars and the Holocaust.

I hope you give the site a look. If you read this post on a busy weekday, why not email it to yourself and then find some quiet time over the weekend to go back to it, click on the link to Gilbert’s site and read what is a brief account of the work of one of our greatest historians?

Anderson’s Until Proven Innocent review

Professor and columnist William (Bill) Anderson has been there and done it throughout the Duke Hoax.

Bill was there last Spring calling readers attention to Nifong’s frauds. He’s been with the case since, relentless and elegantly arguing for justice.

Recently, he reviewed Until Proven Innocent by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson.

Bill likes the book. No surprise there. And I like the book. No surprise, either.

So how do I post on Bill’s review without falling into cheerleading, something that’s fine at times and in certain places, but not here and now?

The answer’s easy: Let Bill speak for himself.

Here are some particularly informative and, I think, important excerpts from an outstanding review:

Lest anyone think that this case was pushed by an "overzealous" prosecutor who simply was seeking justice for a poor, black prostitute who was brutalized by some rich white boys, the following incident will put it all into perspective, and Johnson and Taylor do a very good job here.

On March 27, 2006, Police Investigator Ben Himan told Nifong that the case pretty much was at a dead end, with no real evidence existing of a rape. Nifong replied, "We’re f**ked."

However, instead of packing it in right there, Nifong went out that day and began an out-an-out media barrage in which he would tell one news organization after another that there "definitely" was a rape, and that it was racially motivated.

In other words, after he realized that he did not have a case, Nifong at that point began his media offensive.

The timing here is important, as Nifong claimed in his response to charges filed by the North Carolina State Bar (which would take away his law license) that his public statements to the press and to citizens’ groups were done because of a "lack of experience" with his job.

As the authors point out, Nifong’s media offensive was done precisely to create the impression he had a strong case when, in fact, he had no case. This was not an act of inexperience; instead, it was an exercise in legal cynicism.

However cynical Nifong’s actions were, they did work in that he secured two indictments on April 17, 2006, against two people, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, who were not even at the party when the alleged rape took place, and could prove it.

(Nifong secured another indictment in mid-May against David Evans, who told a press conference that day that the case was based upon "fantastic lies." Nifong’s indictment of Seligmann and Finnerty resulted in his winning the early May primary. His indictment of Evans ultimately would lead to the destruction of his career, as Evans’ attorney, Brad Bannon, managed to uncover the DNA information that Nifong illegally withheld from the defense.)

Much of the book deals with the Duke faculty members, the infamous "G88," that gave the green light to Nifong that he could go after the lacrosse players. And it was not just the radical faculty members who joined in the chorus of condemnation.

The "Triangle" area of North Carolina, with its close proximities of universities, is notorious for its political radicalism, and the hard-left protest machinery that is eternally well-oiled kicked into gear.

This was the "perfect case," and just because the facts did not add up – and the DNA tests came back completely negative – did not discourage these radicals from their morally-satisfying protests and accusations. Even if the truth was otherwise, they did not want to hear it.

The Duke campus exploded with protests led by faculty, radical students, and employees like "sustainability coordinator" Sam Hummel, who coordinated much of the attack machinery. Not only did the protesters openly call for the "castration" of the lacrosse players, but they effectively succeeded in driving many of them away from the university altogether, with some athletes having to sleep in their cars, endure death threats, and generally live in fear because police and prosecutors were lying and faculty, administration, and staff at Duke chose to believe the lies, despite the fact that they were obviously outlandish.

Johnson and Taylor are especially disdainful of Duke’s administration and its weak-kneed president, Richard Brodhead. They lay out just how craven the university administration really was, beginning with the "don’t tell your parents" meeting that the administration scheduled with the players and the police – the players supposedly "represented" by a lawyer who had been disciplined more than once by the state bar. (When parents did hear of the meeting to be scheduled, they immediately demanded that their sons have competent legal representation, and the meeting was cancelled.)

There is much more to dislike from the Duke administration, and Johnson and Taylor lay out in detail the dishonest way in which Brodhead and his top administrators carried out their activities.

While giving lip service to "due process," Brodhead made sure that the players would stand condemned, first by firing the coach and cancelling the season, to his infamous "whatever they did was bad enough" remarks to the Durham Chamber of Commerce.
Bill goes on to note some disagreements he has with Taylor and Johnson but he makes clear he thinks the book is a buy, read and re-read.

Bill's review is here.

Jackson, Sharpton & Dumb

Jackson, Sharpton & Dumb isn't a law firm retained by the Democratic Party to help strike down laws requiring a valid photo ID before “a homeless person” can show up on election day and vote and vote and vote at various polling places.

This post’s title has to do with another one I posted yesterday: Jackson & Sharpton, Who’s Dumber?

Yesterday’s post linked to an audio of the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton talking last Spring on separate programs about what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.”

If you’ve heard the audio, you know both Revs embraced and amplified the absurd and false statements of Crystal Mangum, a black, Mike Nifong, a white, and the Raleigh News & Observer, whose Duke lacrosse coverage relied on reporters and editors drawn from a number of racial and ethnic groups.

I asked people to listen to the audio and decide who sounded dumber: Jackson or Sharpton. Jackson got my vote.

Well, if you’ve read the thread of Jackson or Sharpton, Who’s Dumber? , you know some readers took exception to the idea that either man could be dumb. They see the two as smart hustlers.

I’d like to explain why I believe Jackson’s and Sharpton’s comments can be fairly characterized as dumb. defines dumb as “ lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.”

Both Jackson and Sharpton presented themselves as believers of the lies told by Mangum, Nifong and DPD were telling last Spring. That was dumb.

Smart hustlers wouldn’t have done that in circumstances where their statements were being recorded and could quickly wind up on the Net, where literally millions of people could, if they cared to, listen and parse every word the Revs said.

A smart hustler does the sort of thing Jackson first did when Mangum’s lies brought her national media attention: offer “the young mother” a college scholarship whether the accusation was true or not so she’d never have to “perform” again. Jackson added that he was “looking forward” to meeting her when she was “physically and emotionally ready and having prayer with her.” I posted on what he did in Rev. Jesse Jackson steps into the Duke lacrosse spotlight.

Now, what Jackson did was attention seeking and contemptuous of justice because he said the woman would get her college expenses paid even if her accusations were false.

But it was a smart hustle because Jackson allowed that perhaps Mangum might not be telling the truth, and presented himself as a man of God who wanted to help lift a poor woman out of circumstances in which she was “forced” to strip and set her on the road to a college education.

I don’t know whether Jackson and Sharpton really believed much of what they said.

But what they said showed a lack of intelligence or good judgment. And the Revs came off sounding stupid or, if you prefer, dull-witted.

That’s why I called them dumb and asked you to decide which was dumber.

Message to the Revs: It’s no longer like the old days when you could say something stupid or outright dishonest, and then later deny you said it and call the people noting what you’d said “racists.” It’s a new tech world out there.

Message to JinC readers: I’ll post this weekend on how I see the new technologies helping those of us who want to do all we can to expose and counter frauds and hustlers like Jackson, Sharpton, Nifong and Nancy Grace.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 26, 2007

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

First, in the last week or so a number of you have made affirming and appreciate comments about the series, mostly as part of comments on non-series threads and in a few instances on series post threads. I thank each of you. Your kind words mean a lot.

On a very different matter, regular series readers know I often draw material from the works of Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer and one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century. Recently, Gilbert suffered what’s descried as “a mild heart attack,” from which he is now making a steady recovery.

I want to share with you a group email I received yesterday, after which I’ll make a few comments:







I know we all wish Martin Gilbert well and will keep him in our thoughts and prayers.

The next two series posts will concern Gilbert’s work which, in addition to his eight-volume magisterial life of Churchill, includes outstanding works on the Holocaust and both world wars. I also plan to say a few things about his many acts of help and kindness over decades to those – amateur as well as professional – to those who've contacted him with questions or comments regarding Churchill.

Some of you may have seen this past June the kind comment he left here concerning the series. I was not in direct contact with him at the time. It’s very unlikely he’s a series regular. More likely, he found the series by using a search engine and googling “Winston Churchill” or “Martin Gilbert.” Very few in Gilbert’s position, having found posts by an obscure blogger would give them more than a cursory look. Even fewer would take the trouble to write a thoughtful email. But Gilbert did both. That’s typical of him.

I hope you are back for the next two posts.


McClatchy and the N&O

What follows is taken from a news report of President Bush’s address to the U. N. General Assembly. The report begins:

President Bush implored the United Nations on Tuesday to recommit itself to restoring human decency by liberating oppressed people and ending famine and disease.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the president called for renewed efforts to enforce the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a striking point of emphasis for a leader who's widely accused of violating human rights in waging war against terrorism.

Bush didn't mention the U.S. prisons in Afghanistan or at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. practice of holding detainees for years without legal charges or access to lawyers, or the CIA's "rendition" kidnappings of suspects abroad, all issues of concern to human rights activists around the world.

"At first read, it's little more than an exercise in hypocrisy. His words about human rights ring hollow because his credibility is nonexistent," said Curt Goering, the deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA. "The gap between the rhetoric and the actual record is stunning. I can't help but believe many people in the audience were thinking, 'What was this man thinking?' "
The rest of the report is here. The story is from the McClatchy news service.

McClatchy is the parent company of the Raleigh News & Observer, the paper which last March told its readers a deliberately fraudulent story about the “ordeal” of a young, black, Durham mother who was subjected to a night of “sexual violence.”

Three innocent men were subsequently indicted while the N&O withheld for thirteen months critically important news it had that was exculpatory for the men. The N&O only released the news the day after the men were declared innocent by North Carolina’s Attorney General.

McClatchy and the N&O are liberal/leftist news organizations. In my opinion, both engage in Bush-bashing and sliming America; the story cited here being just one more example of that.

However, McClatchy and the N&O both deny doing any of that. The N&O’s executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, says people who think either McClatchy or the N&O do anything other then fair and accurate news reporting are simply wrong.

I reported and commented. Now you decide.

Bollinger Exposed

Columbia’s Lee Bollinger has used just about every line in The PC Moral Equivalency Guidebook for University Presidents Seeking to Curry Favor with the Hard Left and Other Enemies of America to justify his invitation to a Holocaust-denier who regularly calls for the destruction of Israel and currently leads a terror war against Western civilization,

Today, Clint Cowen, a junior at UNC – Chapel Hill, shines the lights of reason and truth on Bollinger.

From The Daily Tar Heel, Carolina’s student newspaper


I found Columbia's decision to host Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outrageous. How can (Columbia) President (Lee) Bollinger, in good conscience, prohibit ROTC presence on his campus while simultaneously hosting a sworn opponent of the U.S. military?

Ahmadinejad's regime is currently fighting a proxy war against us by aiding and arming the Iraqi insurgency, which is daily killing more of our soldiers and undermining stability in Iraq.

Ahmadinejad also persists in his sponsorship of terrorism to achieve Iran's foreign policy goals in the Middle East. Further, he stands in clear defiance of the (United Nations) Security Council and U.S. interests abroad by continuing to pursue a nuclear weapons program.

It is foolish to claim that Ahmadinejad provided an alternative perspective useful for university dialogue. Ahmadinejad's brutally oppressive regime continues in its shameless record of human rights abuses, actions that directly oppose the individual freedoms for which the United States stands.

He is unworthy of the forum and applause he received.

Allowing the Iranian president's speech confers undeserved legitimacy on his views, which runs counter to basic human values and are bent on destroying our way of life.

President Bollinger's criticism of Ahmadinejad during the forum was insufficient; the Iranian president is an enemy of the United States, and he should have been treated as such.

Clint Cowan
Religious Studies
It will be a great day for the university and America when Columbia has a president who shares Cowen’s values and acts on them.

A big hat tip to Clint Cowan.

Jackson or Sharpton, who’s dumber?

I posted yesterday Jena & civil rights , in which I noted among other things that while America has some highly intelligent civil rights leaders such as Thomas Sowell and James Coleman, our country also has some really dumb ones such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Didn't Jackson and Sharpton make fools of themselves during the Duke Hoax?

Last night at Liestoppers Forum I came upon the following post by Tony Soprano, one of the citizen journalists whose made a very significant contribution to the fight for justice in the Duke Hoax case.

Soprano links to an audio in which Jackson and Sharpton, appearing last Spring on separate programs, “discuss” the Duke Hoax.

Listening to the audio, I was reminded of Churchill’s observation that it's better for some people to remain silent and have people think they’re fools, than to open their mouths and remove all doubt. (Subsequent to posting this, a commenter signing as C said Lincoln, not Churchill, made the observation. A quick scan of net sources confirms it's most often attributed to Lincoln and occasionally to others. A hat tip and thanks to C. - JinC )

If you’ve got nine minutes, I hope you give the audio a listen. Then tell me which one you think comes off sounding like the dumber of the two.

Jackson has my vote. Now Tony’s post:

This is good audio of Jesse Jackson attacking the Duke LAX players.

Jackson starts around the 2:40 min mark - you should listen to the Jackson portion!

Interestingly, Sharpton believes that the authorities charges are important and significant in the Duke case- they (the authorities) must have convincing evidence.
He's taking the exact opposite position in JENA.
Thank you, Tony.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 25, 2007

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

From time to time extraordinary events occur which seem to defy logical, natural explanation.

Then there are imperishable words that one need only present to caring readers and then say no more.

With those observations in mind, we read in William Manchester's The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 of close calls Churchill had while serving as a battalion commander at the front during WW I:

On December 28, 1915, The Times [of London] carried an interview with a corporal, an Orangeman, who was quoted as saying of Churchill, “A cooler and braver officer never wore the King’s uniform. . . . His coolness is the subject of much discussion among us, and everybody admires him.”

Repeatedly, when he was elsewhere on the line, his frail sandbagged shelter was demolished by direct hits. Like Douglas MacArthur, who also defied enemy fire [near the same place] two years later, [Churchill] felt shielded by mysterious intervention, believing that “Chance, Fortune, Luck, Destiny, Fate, Providence seem to me only different ways of expressing the same thing, to wit, that a man’s own contribution to his life story is continually dominated by an external superior power.” (p. 581)
A quarter century later, on May 10, 1940, the King asked Churchill to form a government and lead the country in its hour of greatest peril. Churchill immediately began the process of forming a new government, recalling later that “I felt as if I were walking with destiny and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial."

Jena & civil rights

We’ve read a lot recently about Jena from MSM’s favorite civil rights leaders, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. “No justice, no peace” and all that.

Now, let’s read some of what another civil rights leader, Thomas Sowell, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Center, has just written in response to events in Jena:

Racial hype has replaced all rational discussion.

Moreover, the Jena episode has shown that two can play the racial hype game. Neo-Nazis have published the names and home addresses of all the young blacks involved in the school incident.

The slogan "No justice, no peace" has been used to justify settling legal issues in the streets, instead of in courts of law.

Neo-Nazis have now helped demonstrate what a dangerous slogan that is, since different people have opposite ideas of what "justice" is in a given situation.

Long after the imported demonstrators have left, and the national media have lost interest, the families of the black youngsters involved in the school altercation will have to live with the knowledge that their privacy and security have both been lost in a racially polarized community, with vengeful elements.

The last thing the South needs is a return to lynch-mob justice, whatever the color of whoever is promoting it.
Back in the 1950s, when the federal courts began striking down the Jim Crow laws in the South, one of the rising demands across the country was that the discriminators and segregationists obey "the law of the land."

But, somewhere along the way, the idea also arose and spread that not everybody was supposed to obey "the law of the land."

Violations of law by people with approved victim status like minorities, or self-righteous crusaders like environmentalists, were to be met with minimal resistance -- if any resistance at all -- and any punishment of them beyond a wrist-slap was "over-reacting."

College campuses became bastions of the new and sanctified mob rule, provided that the mobs are from the list of groups approved as politically correct. Otherwise, even an injudicious remark could bring swift and certain punishment under "speech codes."

The politics of condoned law-breaking is part of the moral dry rot of our times. So is settling issues in the streets on the basis of race, instead of in courts on the basis of law.
The politics of condoned law-breaking is certainly part of the moral dry rot of out times.

So is the liberal/leftist MSM’s hyping of Jackson, Sharpton and other such race hustlers as “civil rights leaders.”

Why does MSM pay so much attention to the exploitations of the Jacksons and Sharptons while ignoring genuine and outstanding civil rights leaders such as Sowell and Duke Law School Professor James Coleman?

As the Duke Hoax played out last Spring, Jackson and Sharpton paid no attention to violations of its victims' civil rights. They enabled the lies of Mangum, Nifong and the DPD. And they wound up looking like a pair of self-deluded dopes better suited to wearing dunce caps than the mantle of the late Dr. Martin Luther King.

Meanwhile, Coleman and Sowell, tough-minded, fair and disciplined scholars, paid attention to civil rights issues and helped lead us through the Hoax and to the day when the Attorney General of North Carolina declared its greatest victims innocent.

In response to Jena, the network news programs, the cable talk shows and our major newspapers should be featuring what civil rights leaders like Coleman and Sowell are saying. Instead, they feature the likes of Jackson and Sharpton who self-promote at the expense of justice and peace.

Sowell’s column is titled Law Versus Mob Rule.

Hat tip: BN

Commending Kristin Butler

I just left a comment on the thread of Kristin Butler's Chronicle column.
Her column today deals with, among other matters, the possibility of suits against Duke by the 44 members of the lacrosse team who were not indicted, but were subjected to a horrible ordeal during which their physical safety was placed at great risk and some of their rights were very likely violated.

My comment was the second on the thread. Before I wrote anything to Butler, I responded to the previous Anon @ 9:45 commenter who wrote:


I would love to be in the courtroom when Ryan McFadyen comes in to argue that Duke should be forced to pay him millions of dollars in damages. That claim should be good for a few laughs.
To Anon @ 9:45,

I don't know if McFadyen will ask for millions.

On the other hand, wasn't he suspended by Duke for writing a disgusting parody of part of a work that was assigned in at least three courses at Duke?

Did Duke treat McFadyen as it treats all students who do that sort of thing?

Are you sure the DPD obtained McFadyen's email legally?

To Kristin,

Another superb column. I've posted on it and will again later today or tomorrow.

Your columns are an important service to the University. Very few people have the courage to speak truth to power.

Thank you.

John in Carolina

Folks, if you don't already, I urge you to read Butler's columns which appear in The Chronicle every Tuesday.

I plan in a few weeks to go back through her Hoax columns and offer you a post comparing what Butler's been saying with what Board of Trustees Chair Robert Steel, President Richard Brodhead, the faculty Group of 88 and others have been saying in response to the Hoax.

Throughout the Hoax, Butler's been a strong, clear, courageous voice for reason and justice.

Right from the time Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and DPD began telling their lies, Butler knew that facts don't change, and that students don't have to prove their innocence at trial. It's a pity President Brodhead didn't, and that the trustees have been so willing to support him in his ignorance.

Had University leaders paid more attention to Butler, the tragedies and injustices endured by the innocent would have been reduced because Duke would've made many fewer blunders.

Duke Suits and “Chains”

Here’s part of Kristen Butler’s column in today’s Chronicle followed by some JinC commentary. Butler begins:

If you thought the $30-million lawsuit against Durham was the end of the lacrosse litigation, think again.

According to blogger KC Johnson, "Duke, its administrators, and its extremist professors are not out of the legal woods yet.... A high-powered legal team representing most of the other 44 members of the 2006 lacrosse team is exploring a possible lawsuit."

Johnson added that the grounds for such a suit could include "mistreating the entire team, including misleading smears of the players by Duke President Richard Brodhead and dozens of professors." In this scenario, attorneys would likely argue that those "misleading smears" were slanderous and asserting that Duke should be held liable for the actions of its employees.

A more creative rationale could hold that participation on the 2006 team constituted a de facto contract to play for the University. Because Board of Trustees Chair Bob Steel admitted that negative publicity ended the team's season (Steel told The New Yorker he did it "to stop those pictures... it doesn't necessarily mean I think it was right"), attorneys might argue that this justification was not sufficient to legally void that contract.

No matter how attorneys decide to structure their arguments, the bottom line is that the University may not be done cutting super-secret settlement checks yet. And although the remaining players' cases probably aren't as compelling as the ones that have already been settled, they could (in a worst-case scenario) lead to lengthy depositions and eventually a trial.
Important facts could be revealed if proceedings went that far, but that would effectively end Duke's chances of "moving on"-at least within this decade.
The rest of Butler’s column is here. It's superb as are so many of her columns.


I’ll get to the suits in a subsequent post. Here I want to talk about Duke and “moving on.”

Does Duke really expect people who care about how it acted during the witch hunt to “move on” when it’s never given them a chance to be at a place from which they could “move on?”

Until Duke gives people a chance to “be there” when President Brodhead and Trustee Chair Robert Steel fully explain such shocking and deeply offensive behaviors as Brodhead’s refusal to meet with the lacrosse parents and the University’s disgraceful silence when Reade Seligmann was threatened by racists, the only people “moving on” will be those not upset by such behaviors.

If the “move on” people at Duke have their way, the University will have slunk away from one of the most shameful episodes in its history. That’s in some people’s self-interest.

But Duke’s best interests will only be served if it does what great universities do to grow stronger: admit and examine mistakes, determine why the mistakes were made, and then set in place corrective measures and personnel changes to prevent such mistakes in the future.

If Duke does that, it will move on from the Hoax a better university.

If it doesn’t, Duke will, like Marley’s ghost, be forced drag “the chains forged” by its President’s refusal to meet with parents whose sons were in grave legal and physical danger, its silence as racists threatened a Duke student walking to a courthouse in Durham and other equally odious behaviors.

No one who cares about Duke wants that to happen. The trustees must act to make sure it doesn’t.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept.24, 2007

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

What follows is a wonderful story I found in William F. Buckley’s Miles Gone By (Regnery, 2004). It involves Churchill, of course, Henry (Harry) Luce, founder of TIME, Life, Fortune and other magazines, and his wife, Clare Boothe Luce, a journalist, diplomat and, like Churchill, talented amateur painter.

As Buckley recounts the story, his good friend Clare Luce was giving him a painting lesson and:

interwove, with her instructions on how to paint, recollections of her experiences with canvas and oils.

Just after the war she and her husband want to England and spent the weekend as guests of Winston Churchill at Chartwell.

“I tried to be especially ingratiating because Harry wanted U. S. rights to Churchill’s war memoirs for Life magazine. So passing through one gallery I said, “These are wonderful paintings.”

Churchill said, “I’m glad you like them, but only one of them is painted by me.”

Claire flashed her sly, infectious smile, and then a little snort of laughter. “I thought, Oh dear, that makes me sound very sycophantic. I asked which one was his, and he pointed to a pastoral scene, a field of some sort. I thought I’d better do something to establish my critical independence. I said I liked it but I thought it was too - - placid; lacking in movement.”

“Three weeks later in New York that painting arrived, but on it were three sheep bouncing about. His note read, ‘Is that any better?’”(pgs. 263-264)

Did Hillary’s Campaign Kill a Story?

We read at Politico that Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign killed a story:

Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president learned that the men’s magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland.

So Clinton’s aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton.

Despite internal protests, GQ editor Jim Nelson met the Clinton campaign’s demands, which had been delivered by Bill Clinton’s spokesman, Jay Carson, several sources familiar with the conversations said.

GQ writer George Saunders traveled with Clinton to Africa in July, and Clinton is slated to appear on the cover of GQ’s December issue, in which it traditionally names a “Man of the Year,” according magazine industry sources.

And the offending article by Atlantic Monthly staff writer Josh Green got the spike.

“I don’t really get into the inner workings of the magazine, but I can tell you that yes, we did kill a Hillary piece. We kill pieces all the time for a variety of reasons,” Nelson said in an e-mail to Politico.

He did not respond to follow-up questions. A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to comment.
You can read the entire story here.

Folks, can it be true?

Did Hillary Clinton’s vast left-wing campaign kill a story GQ, a smallish magazine, was planning to run?

Why would Hillary’s campaign do such a thing?

What could GQ have been planning to say?

Why no shouts from the "free speech" crowd?

And will the NY Betray Us disclose what the Clinton campaign is keeping from us, just as it discloses America’s national security secrets?

I don’t think so. Party loyalty runs too deep.

Your turn.

"Hip, hip, hypocricy"

Today KC Johnson posted The Hypocrisy of Durham "Activists." Given its subject matter, the post is lengthy. But it's very well done. I hope you give it a look.

KC's post reminded me of one I put up on May 6, 2006: Duke lacrosse and "hip, hip, hypocrisy." It follows, after which I add a few comments.

Barry Jacobs is Chairman of The Orange County Board of Commissioners. Orange borders Durham County and includes the town of Chapel Hill and the campus of the University of North Carolina.

Jacobs regularly writes about women’s sports. Recently he sounded off in response to the Duke lacrosse case and made linkages to things liberal/leftists like to call “the larger truths.” Here's some of what Jacobs says:

Under the best of circumstances, collegiate athletic competition involving women--most often condescendingly called "ladies" or "girls" by the sports media--routinely commands second-class coverage. […]

The off-field excesses of the Duke lacrosse team (men's) [provide] a dark and hurtful reminder of larger truths about sex, race and privilege.

How must female athletes, black and white, look at their male counterparts after such an episode, or rather how must they imagine their male counterparts look at them?

And, if boys-will-be-boys is tolerated by athletic administrators, where does a woman turn for support? […]
Jacobs serves up a lot more just like that and closes with:
But celebration of the ACC [women's basketball's]transcendent season was cut short by tales of racism, alcohol abuse and alleged sexual assault perpetuated (sic) by male Duke athletes. In this, too, the lacrosse team and its excesses served to victimize women.
Jacobs' piece appeared in the Apr. 12 edition of The Independent, a free, weekly newspaper with strong social and political appeal to the region’s “progressive community.”

The Independent survives on advertising revenue. Some of it comes from restaurants, bars advertising happy hours, book stores, and such.

But a lot of The Independent’s revenue comes from what Jacobs could tell you is a special niche market. The Independent pretty much has the market to itself because most other publications avoid it if they can.

I wish Jacobs was here to tell us what he calls the market. We’ll just have to do with a few examples. These ads are from the Mar. 29 Independent:

Introducing five brand new co-ed hotties to your area for the next three weeks only. Check out our pics online. Offering one-of-a –kind two girl shows. In or Out. Call: XXXX (No contact information will be provided in this post - JinC)

XXXX (ad title is also an internet address)

For the best of exotic dance, massage and entertainment try our ladies. Also selectively hiring
There are a lot more ads with titles such as BIG, SEXY & READY and PARTY, PARTY, PARTY. There’s even one that claims it provides “schedules, reviews & profiles” of other ESCORT SITES.

The Indy, as Jacobs calls it, has pages of ads with photos inviting readers to TRY IT and contact LOCAL DATELINE which bills itself as CASUAL, INTIMATE, and JUST FUN.

Speaking of bills, the ads often remind readers to have a Visa or Amex ready.

If you’re in Durham or anywhere else in the Triangle you can pick up a copy of The Indy most anywhere. The Indy must have at least 5 distribution points at Duke, including one in the lobby of the Bryan Student Center. Duke undergrads are a major target group for most Indy advertisers.

The Indy’s very popular at Duke. The other day I must have seen about 10 copies of it on desks and tables at the Divinity School.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn the lacrosse players who hired the exotic dancers found their contact information in The Indy.

I’ll bet it wouldn’t surprise Jacobs, either.

Now a little advice for all of you: If you’re ever speaking before the Orange County Commissioners, for goodness sakes don’t slip up and call a group of women "ladies" or "girls."

You know how mad that makes Commissioner Barry Jacobs.

Now, for Commissioner Jacobs, let’s everybody get up and shout, "Hip, hip, hypocrisy!"

I’m emailing Jacobs a link to this post. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.

If you’d like to contact Jacobs his email is:
URL to full text of Jacobs' article:



I’ll bet many of you remember last May and the vicious trashing the members of Duke’s Women’s lacrosse team were subjected to by some in MSM for doing no more than speaking the truth: “Innocent!”

The Duke women were trashed just weeks after Jacobs complained women athletes are “often condescendingly called "ladies" or "girls" by the sports media” and opined on the “larger truths about sex, race and privilege.”

But I don’t recall Barry Jacobs ever writing anything critical of his fellow journalists who trashed the Duke Women athletes.

I’ll email him tonight and check just to be sure. I’ll let you know if he responds.

He didn’t the last time.

Perhaps that’s because I didn’t send along a big, busty campaign contribution. Friends tell me Jacobs always responds to them. In fact they say he even acknowledges small ones.
Stay tuned.


To NCICU President Williams

Readers Note: Below is the full text of a letter published recently in Duke Alumni Association’s Duke Magazine. The writer, A Hope Williams, is president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and a Duke alumna.

After Williams’ letter is a double star line followed by an email I’m sending her.

I’ll keep you posted if I hear back from Williams.


To the editor:

The most important responsibility of every college and university president is the safety of their students, faculty, and staff. When threats are made against students, as they were during the lacrosse case, those threats must be taken seriously.

Had the lacrosse season continued… and had there been violence against the students, the university would have been in an indefensible position of having placed greater value on athletics than on safety.

During the early stages of the case, President Brodhead was the one individual among those who were quoted often in the media who consistently reminded reporters and the public that under the law the accused students were presumed innocent.

Suspension of students against whom felony charges have been filed is a policy followed by most colleges and universities. The wisdom of this is self-evident. A university could put the safety of its entire community at risk by allowing students who have been charged with crimes of violence to remain in school.

As an alumna in the Triangle, I live in close proximity to the combustible atmosphere of the first months of the case, and safety was clearly an issue. As a Duke parent, I must believe that the administration will keep campus safety as its top priority.

As president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the organization of the thirty-six private colleges and universities in the state, I have viewed President Brodhead's actions in the broader context of all higher education. Based on each of these perspectives, I strongly believe that President Brodhead made the right decisions in accordance with the policies of the university and based on the evolving legal situation. In this instance it is the local justice system through District Attorney Nifong that failed the students, the accuser, the Duke community, and the state.

A. Hope Williams '76
Raleigh, North Carolina

Dear President Williams:

I agree with some of the things you say in your recent Duke Magazine letter. In the circumstances of last Spring, the University’s decision to suspend Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann was proper. And in his public statements at the time, President Brodhead almost always asserted the importance of due process and presumption of innocence.

There’s something else important you could have said in Brodhead’s and the University’s defense: On March 24, 2006 Duke issued a statement in which, among other things, it said the players were cooperating with officals.

In its fraudulent March 25 story which gave credibility to Mangum’s, Nifong’s and DPD’s lies and fueled the witch hunt, the Raleigh News & Observer ignored Duke’s statement and instead promulgated the “wall of silence” lie. The N&O's story of what it said was an "ordeal" which ended in "sexual violence" caught the nation's attention and Duke's statement was overlooked or ignored by almost all the MSM.

There are things you say about which I’d like to ask you questions.
You say:

The most important responsibility of every college and university president is the safety of their students, faculty, and staff. When threats are made against students, as they were during the lacrosse case, those threats must be taken seriously.
Yes, threats against students must be taken very seriously.

Why then, after an angry crowd swarmed in front of a university-owned house and made threatening remarks about the students who lived there;

after the crowd waved a large “CASTRATE” banner while shouting threats;

after copies of a “Vigilante” poster targeting the 43 white Duke students pictured on it were distributed within sight of his office windows by “activists" who’d come on campus;

and after racists threatened a Duke student with physical violence as he walked to a courthouse and then within the courtroom with a death threat;

did President Brodhead say nothing critical of the perpetrators of those terrible actions and nothing supportive of his students who were the perpetrators' targeted victims?

Have you as an alumna and president of NCICU ever reminded President Brodhead of what you correctly say is “[t]he most important responsibility of every college and university?

You say:
Had the lacrosse season continued… and had there been violence against the students, the university would have been in an indefensible position of having placed greater value on athletics than on safety.
Can we agree, President Williams, that the University initially canceled two lacrosse games as a punishment for the party which the University said was a “team event?”

And can we agree that when Brodhead cancelled the rest of the season on April 5, he issued a lengthy statement in which he said nothing about concern for the lacrosse team’s safety?

Do you know when Brodhead first said he was cancelled the season out of concern for the players’ safety?

Lest this letter get unduly long, I’ll move now to a concern I want to share with you and then I’ll invite you to respond to this letter which I’m posting at my blog, John in Carolina.

All of the students targeted during the events I’ve mentioned are white but had they been black I don't think any reasonable person believes President Brodhead and the trustees would have stood by and said nothing.

I assume you agree.

If we can agree on that, then we agree Duke, as represented by its president and trustees, has a double standard when its students come under threat, and that the double standard is based on race.

Now I invite your response which I’ll publish in full at my blog.

I’ve been blogging for more than two years. You can see what it’s like by searching the archives here.

I’m copying this to Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations John Burness for his information and in case he cares to say something in response to what I’ve said concerning President Brodhead and Duke.

I look forward to your response.


John in Carolina

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Holloway's Two Race Standards

We read at Duke News:

The nooses hung from a tree at Jena High School in Louisiana were “unambiguous symbols of a vicious racial threat, linked inextricably to the ways in which white violence has historically followed blacks who sought their constitutional rights,” says a Duke University English professor and author.

The case of the 'Jena 6' has drawn considerable attention recently, and many civil rights and student groups are expected to convene in Jena this week in protest.

Last fall, white students in Jena hung the nooses from a shade tree after a black student asked to sit under it. The incident led to fights between black and white students. In December, six black teens were charged with attempted murder following one of the fights. Many feel the charges are disproportionate to the crime, and supporters have dubbed the teens the “Jena 6.”

“These nooses did not appear accidentally or by happenstance in Jena,” says Karla FC Holloway, the William R. Kenan Professor of English who also holds appointments in the law school and women’s studies department. “The students who hung the nooses worked from their presumptions of how to maintain separate and racially distinct access. They worked from their knowledge of how to signal that authority.

“The nooses are absolute indicators of the racial place of this story,” she says.

Although this seemed an incident that developed from a schoolyard fight, there is more to the story, namely the complicity of the school administrators and the school's perpetuation of a system of unequal treatment, Holloway says.[…]
There’s more to the Duke News report here.

Now you may be asking:

1) Is she the same Professor Holloway who said nothing when an angry crowd waved a “CASTRATE” banner in front of house where three men named as suspects in what turned out to be a false gang rape accusation lived?

2) Isn’t she one of the teachers who thanked “activists” who circulated the “Vigilante” poster targeting students after the school had expressed fears that such an action would add to the danger the students were already facing?

3) Didn’t she say nothing when one of the school’s students was the object of physical threats, including death threats, from a racist group who hounded him as he walked to a courthouse and then within a courtroom?

“Yes” to all three questions.

Why did Professor Holloway say nothing about the “CASTRATE” sign; thank people circulating the “Vigilante” poster; and say nothing when racists threatened the student?

The answer to that question is as easy as telling the difference between black and white.

Does anyone believe Holloway would’ve said nothing if the targeted and endangered students had been black instead of white? Or thanked people for distributing a “Vigilante” poster with face photos of 43 black Duke students on it?

Let's hope Professor Holloway will soon explain her two race standards, and how she thinks they impact her work at Duke, particularly with students under attack by racists.

Who’s Fooled by Sulzberger?

The NY Betray Us finally admits today what most of you have known for nearly two weeks.

From NYT public editor Clark Hoyt:

For nearly two weeks, The New York Times has been defending a political advertisement that critics say was an unfair shot at the American commander in Iraq.

But I think the ad violated The Times’s own written standards, and the paper now says that the advertiser got a price break it was not entitled to.

On Monday, Sept. 10, the day that Gen. David H. Petraeus came before Congress to warn against a rapid withdrawal of troops, The Times carried a full-page ad attacking his truthfulness.

Under the provocative headline “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” the ad, purchased by the liberal activist group, charged that the highly decorated Petraeus was “constantly at war with the facts” in giving upbeat assessments of progress and refusing to acknowledge that Iraq is “mired in an unwinnable religious civil war.”

“Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us,” declared. […]
Further along we read:
[Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times and chairman of its parent company, ] said he wasn’t aware of’s latest ad until it appeared in the paper. [He added:] “If we’re going to err, it’s better to err on the side of more political dialogue. ... Perhaps we did err in this case. If we did, we erred with the intent of giving greater voice to people.”[...]
Does anyone believe the NYT would have given a huge ad discount to a Right to Life group wanting to place an ad opposing abortion or a pro-Bush group that wanted to list false statements made by Democrats attacking the President?

The “family and friends” discount the Times gave is an example of how deeply leftist rot has seeped into what was once a very respected news organization.

Sulzberger’s response is an all too obvious obfuscation. What he’s really telling us is things aren’t going to change at the Times.

Hoyt's entire column is here.

Hat tip: Mike Williams

Why’s the N&O Attacking Newsweek?

This is a 1, 2, 3 post in which you’ll find:

1 - Excerpts from N&O managing editor John Drescher’s angry post attacking Newsweek for, according to Drescher, reading the N&O’s Duke lacrosse coverage, re-writing it and “pass[ing] it off as original reporting” in Newsweek’s June 29, 2006 story, Doubts About Duke.

2) - An email dated June 13 from Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows who, along with Evan Thomas, was bylined on the story the N&O says Newsweek “pass[ed] … off as original reporting.”

3) My comments and questions concerning the N&O’s attack on Newsweek.

Let’s begin with excerpts from Drescher’s post:

In its Sept. 10 [, 2007] issue, Newsweek takes credit for being “the first major publication to pick apart the prosecution’s case, in an article on June 29, 2006.”

That’s a stretch. Newsweek apparently doesn’t consider The N&O a major publication because there was little in that late June package that had not already been in The N&O. […]
Drescher went on to say that by June 29, 2006 the “ N&O had published a half-dozen articles showing problems with the prosecution’s case,” citing publication dates from April 22 through June 24.

Drescher then hurled one of the most serious accusations one news organization can hurl at another:
Newsweek can beat its chest all it wants to and claim it “was the first major publication to pick apart the prosecution’s case.” A more accurate description would be it was the first national publication to read The N&O’s coverage, re-write it and pass it off as original reporting.
Now let’s look at a June 13 email Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows sent to then Durham DA Mike Nifong:
From: Susannah.Meadows[meadows]
To: Michael.b.nifong
Sent: Tuesday, 13 June 2006 2:46pm ET
Subject: Possible cover story

Dear Mike,

I've been going over these documents in the duke rape case. And I have to tell you that they raise questions about was known while you were making certain assertions. Please can we talk about this.
I'm not asking that you comment on anything that isn't public.

We're getting ready to do a big story about this, possibly on the cover, about how certain things were said in public when the facts were known to be different. We won't close the issue until saturday morning.

Please think about commenting. As it appears now, it doesn't look good. But I'm sure that's because we haven't heard your side. I can be reached at ___________ I'll be in durham tomorrow night trough friday.

all the best, susannah meadows
A hat tip to The Johnsville News in whose archives I found Meadows’ email.

Comments and Questions:

Folks, I don’t know which “major publication” deserves the prize for being first “to pick apart the prosecution case.”

I’ll leave the judging on that “race” to the N&O, Newsweek and anyone else who cares to join in.

I feel about that “race” the same way many of you do: major publications were unconscionably slow to start picking apart Nifong’s case. Almost all of them were Nifong enablers for weeks and, in some cases, many months.

Instead of disputing who was first at something they were very late in doing, major publications should examine and report why a few journalists, some bloggers, and many sensible citizens began picking Nifong’s case apart within days of the N&O presenting it on March 25, 2006 in a front-page story headlined without any qualifying quotes suggesting doubt:
Dancer gives details of ordeal
I’ve posted in more detail on both the “me first” major publication claim and individuals and blogs who were shredding Nifong’s case before the end of April. See Newsweek’s Thomas Shouldn’t Cluck (9/2/07) and Take a bow, La Shawn Barber (9/18/07).

Read the N&O stories Drescher links to and cites to support his slime of Meadows, Thomas and Newsweek. See whether you can find anything much in them that wasn’t part of the public record and available at many blogs and news organizations at the time the N&O published them.

Example: The April 22 N&O story Drescher cites, DA on the spot for comments , tells readers:
“Defense lawyers and legal experts say District Attorney Mike Nifong may have crossed ethical lines in public comments about rape allegations involving Duke University lacrosse players, potentially prejudicing jurors and setting off a media maelstrom.”
On April 22 that wasn’t exactly “an N&O exclusive report of breaking news,” was it?

A responsible news organization making the extremely serious charges the N&O is making about Newsweek’s June 29 story would cite to support its charges numerous specific examples of news items Newsweek could only have taken from the N&O. That Drescher and the N&O don’t cite even one such example tells us a great deal about him and the N&O. What a newspaper!

Also telling is Susannah Meadows’ email to Nifong. She didn’t copy that from the N&O. She was trying hard to get an interview with Nifong for the June 29 story Drescher charges Newsweek plagiarized from the N&O.

Meadows didn’t get the interview. Instead, she got back from Nifong what The Johnsville News called a ”rambling, long winded, email rant.” Nifong also issued a press release attacking the Newsweek story. You can read all the documents at this TJN post.

Meadows’ “digging” for that interview was what a good reporter does. I salute her for that.

But that wasn’t the only instance in which Meadows and Newsweek did some “digging.”

On June 12, 2006 I posted Newsweek abandons sinking Nifong. The post was based on a Meadows’ Periscope article that appeared in Newsweek’s June 19 print editon, but was written and available on the net days before; hence my posting of it on June 12.

The post contains a link to Meadows’ Periscope article, Lacrosse Scandal: The Duke Accuser – New Credibility Questions.

Read Meadows’ Periscope article and you’ll see it contains reporting of events which appear again in Meadows’ and Thomas’ June 29 article. You’ll see that Meadows is careful to say in the Periscope article that some of the news she reports is “according to a motion filled by defense attorneys last week.” You’ll read that some of the news provided in the story was obtained during a Newsweek interview with Kim Roberts. And you see that Newsweek says it tried to get Nifong on the record for that story just as Meadows tried to do for its June 29 story.

JinC Regulars know I’m not a Newsweek fan. But fair is fair.

There’s nothing I could find that lends any credibility to the N&O’s attack on Newsweek.

And there’s evidence Newsweek did significant independent work – the Roberts interview, repeated efforts to get Nifong on the record – for its June 29 story.

Message to Drescher and the N&O: You owe Newsweek and your blog readers an apology and explanation.

Message to Meadows, Thomas and Newsweek: I'm sorry you're being punished for your “good deed” June 29 story. You’re owed an apology, but as JinC readers often tell me when I call on the N&O to apologize for something it’s done that would embarrass decent journalists: “Don’t hold your breath.”

Question for readers: Why do you think the N&O decided to attack Newsday at this time and on that particular story?