Saturday, October 06, 2007

Addison/Russ post tomorrow


I've run out of blog time and we have company tonight.

The short of it is that having read the filing twice I can tell you that what's been reported here since last May stands up.

If anything, it looks like I may have understated some things.

More tomorrow.



Duke Prof. Starn’s Reply

Many of you know that two days ago I posted Starn's Distortion & Duke's Standards.

The post contained my second letter to Duke University Professor and Cultural Anthropology Chair Anne Allison calling her attention to what can be nothing other than a deliberate misrepresentation by Professor Orin Starn, a member of the Cultural Anthropology holding an endowed chair, of an important statement Duke’s Coach K made. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read it so you’ll more fully understand what follows.

Now, the following for all of you familiar with my efforts for more that a year to get Professor Starn to retract his distortion of what Coach K actually said, and to apologize to Coach K and Raleigh N&O readers to whom he presented the false statement Starn told them actually coming from Coack K:

As a courtesy, I sent Starn a link to Starn's Distortion & Duke's Standards.

Starn responded. Here it is in full just as Starn wrote it:

Dear John:

You flatter yourself if you think I -- or my good friend Anne Allison -- would care in the least about your opinion. Please don't bother with any reply as I have blocked e-mails from your address.

best, Orin
I’ve not heard anything from Professor Allison.

It might be helpful for everyone, even those of you familiar with Starn’s deliberate distortion of what Coach K said, to take another look at just what he had to do to create his false statement. From an earlier email to Starn reproduced in my letter to Allison:
Coach K said:
“The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”
You presented to N&O readers the following as representing what Coach K had said:
“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”
Let’s look at what you had to do with Coach K’s statement in order to create what you presented to N&O readers.

First, you took Coach K's unambiguous acknowledgement of "The racial aspect of this" and substituted in its place something entirely different: "Those who see a 'racial aspect.'" (bolds mine)

Next, you withheld from readers the fact that Coach K had said the racial aspect was, in some respects, the case's "most sensitive" aspect.

Only by eliminating Coach K’s unambiguous acknowledgement of “The racial aspect;” substituting for his words your words that made it appear he was saying some people were merely perceiving a racial aspect ( “Those who see…” ); and withholding from readers the information that the coach had said the racial aspect was in some ways the case’s “most sensitive” aspect were you then able to present to N&O readers as what Coach K had said:
“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”
You misrepresented what Coach K said and it’s very hard, Professor Starn, to see how your misrepresentation could be anything other than deliberate.

After misrepresenting Coach K, you went on and falsely accused him of “not see[ing] a ‘racial aspect’ here.”

You owe the coach an apology and N&O readers a correction.

Is your treatment of Coach K’s statement typical of how you treat raw data when you prepare lectures, articles and books?
Folks, it’s so obvious what he did, isn't it?

I put this post up tonight because I wanted to get the news to you, share my current thoughts about about my next step, and invite your commentary.

Before doing any of that I want to say this: In the last day or so, some commenters are showing up here making ad hominems.

I’ve deleted a few already today.

If you’re new to this blog, I work to make it appealing to people who stay close to the facts, and don’t, for instance, say a lot of nasty things about Professor James Coleman’s motivations and character when all they have is a letter from him they don’t like.

One good thing about the blogoshpere: There are millions of blogs.

No one should be commenting at a blog where they feel their comments aren't treated as they deserve to be treated.

If your comment is deleted or you get a caution, don’t be angry. You have choices.

Now, about my next step.

I’m thinking to shorten the letter I sent Allison and send something like it to Provost Lange, Duke’s chief academic officer. I plan to invite his reply which I’ll publish in full here.

What do you folks think?

And BTW – I know I may not get a response but I don’t think I’m wasting my time. For one thing, all of you are reading this and can have some influence on events.

For another thing, one never knows who’s reading a blog post.

If you’re a regular reader of The Churchill Series, I’ll bet you were as surprised as I was to learn Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer and a great historian, was a frequent Series reader.

Commenters, Ls v. Cs, & RFK

Readers Note: I'll post later tonight concerning yesterday's filing as it pertains to DPD Cpl. David Addison and his DPD supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ.

I'll also post concerning an email I received from Duke Professor Orin Starn following my posting of a letter to his department chair in which I demontrated how he had taken a very importent statement by Duke's Coach K and distorted it in ways that it is impossible to believe were anything other than deliberate.

Check back in after 8 pm Easten.


Something remarkable has been going on at JinC for about the last three weeks: commenters have been disputing as to who has done more in the pursuit of truth and justice during the Duke Hoax.

Some say Conservatives have; others say Liberals have done as much; others don’t think either Cons or Libs have done enough.

Some have asked, “What’s a C or L anyway?”

And there’s been more.

Now, I know most of you are saying, “John, what’s remarkable about Cs & Ls and others fussing back and forth?”

Just this: The fussing has been, on the whole, civil and informed.

You all know there isn’t a lot of that these days.

Now I want to recount an anecdote I hope interests and amuses you. I also mean it to serve as my lead-in to where I come down on the roles of the Cs & Ls & et al. in the Duke Hoax.

As soon as you read the anecdote, you’ll know where I stand, but I hope you’ll read the post because I’ll say a few things I think are important for us all to remember.

In 1961, following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, President Kennedy formed a committee to determine what went wrong. His brother Robert, then Attorney General, headed the committee.

As happens in Washington, all of the organizations involved in the planning of the disastrous operation – the CIA, the Defense and State Departments, the FBI, a White House planning group and others – were represented on this “fact-finding” committee.

Well, as you would guess, there was a lot of finger pointing and arguing over who was really responsible for the failed operation.

At one point RFK, who’d grown up in a family of nine children and had an ironic sense of humor, said to the group: “Please, there’s no need to fight like this. So much went wrong there’s enough blame for all of us to have a share.”

There are Cs & Ls who deserve praise for their Hoax efforts; and Cs & Ls who don’t. And there are Independents and “whatevers” who belong in one or the other category.

And that still leaves open the matter of just what is a C and an L. Let’s do that one another day.

Does April 15, 2061 work for you? It’s the 100th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Now I promised to say a few other things.

I think we can fairly say it was almost entirely Libs, Leftists and PCers who initially exploited Mangum’s lies and the framing efforts of certain DPD officers and their supervisors teaming with Nifong and others in his office.

Those exploiters, usually called enablers, helped launch the witch hunt and give a seeming credence to Nifong and the others “investigation.” The enablers not only sustained the attempted frame-up, many of them continued to support it long after it was obvious David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann had been framed.

Among those who supported the obvious framing of the three young men were Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, a PCer; the liberals and leftists who control the editorial page at the Raleigh N&O; and the “whatevers” at Bob Ashley’s Durham H-S who help Ashley edit his editorial page.

But it must be remembered that right from the beginning there were liberals who spoke out for due process and began challenging Nifong in late March. UNC-Chapel Hill Law School Professor Ken Broun comes to mind. So does Durham attorney and constitutional law specialist Alex Charns.

I’d mention KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor here but I’m not sure if either self-IDs as a liberal.

On the Conservative side, I’ll be very brief because this post is getting long.

One of the most important Nifong enablers has been Duke’s Board of Trustee Chair Robert Steel, who currently serves as Under Secretary of the Treasury in the Bush administration.

North Carolina’s senior Senator is Elizabeth Dole, a Duke alumna and former member of the University’s Board of Trustees. Our junior Senator is Robert Barr.

Both Dole and Barr self-ID as Cs, at least at election time.

Neither at present has called for a Department of Justice investigation into the Hoax’s injustices.

Yet it’s hard to see how, if our state’s two U. S. Senators called for such an investigation, the DOJ could refuse to begin one.

We shouldn’t fuss C v. L. Enough went wrong and is still going wrong in the Hoax that there’s plenty of blame to go around. And a lot of right was done so there's plenty of that to go around too.

On balance, I think the left hand side of the spectrum has an awful lot to explain following the Hoax, especially why so many organizations and "activists' from that side of the spectum abandoned what they say they’re about, and instead helped enable the Hoax.

I just don’t think we can distribute all the blame to one side of the political spectrum and all the praise to the other.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 5, 2007

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

Two from Churchill that should leave you smiling.

Not for the first time he had dozed off during a wordy members long and rambling speech.

Later, in the Commons Smoking Room, the obviously irritated member approached Churchill.

“Must you always fall asleep when I am speaking?”

“No, it’s entirely voluntary.”

That one’s off the top of my head.

This one is found in Stephen Hayward’s Churchill on Leadership (Forum, 1997). As Hayward tells is:

When the Labour Party’s 1950 housing policy chose the term “accommodation unit” to denote houses and apartments, Churchill, then Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, had a field day: “I don’t know how we are going to sing our old song ‘Home Sweet Home.’

‘Accommodation Unit, Sweet Accommodation Unit, there’s no place like our Accommodation Unit.’

I hope I live long enough to see British democracy spit all this rubbish from their lips.” (p. 101)
Have a nice weekend.


Note to Readers/Commenters


Every one of your comments is being read.

The quality of commenting at JinC remains very high.

A number of them tell me things I didn't know or make me examine things I've posted.

I appreciate all the serious and properly humorous comments; and that's about all of them.

I'll offer a more detailed response to comments tomorrow.



Durham Suit filing “highlight”

If you haven’t read the 155-page filing on behalf of the three men victimized by now disbarred Mike Nifong, certain Durham Police officers, their supervisors, and other conspirators, try to find time this weekend to give it a read. (So far it’s only available in pdf form.)

If you can’t read the whole thing, check in with Durham-in-Wonderland, Liestoppers and The Johnsville News.

All three are providing great coverage.

Liestoppers has already reported the filing states the first detective assigned to the case said there was nothing to Mangum’s charges; and recommended the case be closed.

That’s when Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, the DPD detective with a sordid record of harassing Duke students, was brought into the case. Give the post a look here. (Hat tip: Jim in San Diego)

Then there’s No. 60 on pg. 21 of the filing.

I’ve retyped No. 60 here as it appears in the filing except that in the filing No. 60 is one paragraph.

Here I’ve presented it in separate sentence form, the better for us all to get an idea of just how “far out” false accuser Crystal Mangum was “orbiting” the night of Mar. 13/14, 2006; and just what sort of “evidence” she provided then Durham DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers and their supervisors for their attempted frame-up of three young men they knew were innocent.

No. 60

Mangum at one point told medical personnel at Duke Medical Center that she had been performing at a bachelor’s party, and that one of the alleged rapists was the groom.

She claimed that the groom did not want to have intercourse with her because he as getting married the next day.

Of course, there was no bachelor party at 610 N Buchanan, and there was no groom there either.
Who’s fighting tonight for justice in Durham?

The attorneys who filed the suit today, and those who are supporting them.

The Coleman-Kasibhatla Letter

The Chronicle published a letter today which Duke School of Law Professor James Coleman co-authored with Professor Prasad Kasibhatla of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. The letter follows, after which I offer some commentary.

To the editor:

We are impressed with President Richard Brodhead's continued attempts to reach out to all members of the Duke community to promote healing and reconciliation in the wake of last year's lacrosse incident, as evidenced by his recent remarks at the Duke School of Law. We are disheartened, however, by the continued drumbeat of destructive criticism of the administration and faculty by some within and outside the Duke community.

More importantly, as chairs of two of the five committees that examined various issues brought to light by the lacrosse incident last spring, we take issue with the biased and inaccurate rhetoric espoused by some of these critics.

Firstly, we reject the characterization put forward by critics like Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson that the Lacrosse Committee report, that examined the past behavior of the lacrosse team, is a "stunning vindication" of the team (Washington Post, September 7, 2007).

On the contrary, the report very carefully details a pattern of behavior that the committee characterized as "socially irresponsible" that should "have been a cause for alarm." Dismissing this finding as trivial is a biased and unjustified misrepresentation of the facts.

Secondly, there is a recurring theme advanced by critics like Taylor and Johnson that the faculty at Duke and at other universities are increasingly a bunch of ideologues who care less about the their students and more about promoting their own extremist agendas.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Faculty at Duke, as at other universities and colleges, care deeply about students and are passionately committed to their personal and intellectual growth. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the daily life of a faculty member will quickly appreciate the time, effort and energy that faculty put into teaching, advising and mentoring students. To suggest otherwise, on the basis of isolated and selective incidents that occur over the course of complex events and are taken out of context, is nothing more than a tragic rush to judgment.

James Coleman
Professor of the Practice of Law
Duke School of Law

Prasad Kasibhatla
Associate Professor
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences

Folks, it is very hard for me even now, nine hours after I first read the Coleman-Kasibhatla letter, to provide some reasoned commentary and to express how I feel.

When the Duke students who played on the Men's lacrosse team were subjected to obvious lies, targeted by some with threats and a “CASTRATE” banner, had their faces plastered on an anonymously produced “Vigilante” poster, were harassed on campus by some faculty and students, had reasonable cause to fear for their safety, and very few Duke faculty spoke out against the vilification and endangerment of the students, I was surprised, disappointed and disgusted.

I had the same reactions when almost every Duke faculty member said nothing in response to the threats shouted by racists at Reade Seligmann last May 18.

Ten or so days after that, when the students on the Women’s lacrosse team were viciously slimed by many in media for saying “Innocent,” I was disappointed and disgusted by the failure of just about every member of the Duke faculty to say anything on the women students’ behalf.

But I was no longer surprised. As a body, the Duke faculty by late May 2006 had made it clear that it was at best indifferent to one group of students in grave jeopardy and another that had been viciously slimed.

There were, of course, some honorable exceptions to the indifference. Everyone who’s followed the Duke Hoax knows Professor Coleman is one of them.

And then there were those faculty, many more than the honorable exceptions, who could never be termed indifferent.

Professor Houston Baker comes to mind. He called for the expulsion of the white members of the Men’s lacrosse team right at the time now disbarred Durham DA Nifong was calling them “Hooligans” and ridiculing them for following the advice of their parents and attorneys. Both Baker and Nifong were praised at the time by many faculty members.

Duke’s faculty Group of 88 could never be called indifferent.

Who will forget that just days after Duke students were cautioned by Vice President Moneta to be extra vigilant for their safety in the wake of rumors of possible drive-by shootings, and just days before President Brodhead, NCCU’s Chancellor Ammons and Durham’s Mayor Bell felt compelled to place full-page newspaper ads calling for public calm, the faculty Group of 88 felt strongly enough themselves to place a full-page ad in The Chronicle?

Among other things the 88 did in their ad was to thank the very people who had helped heighten the danger to Duke students. As far as I know, only one of the 88 has ever apologized for the ad which it's now widely agreed made an already dangerous situation more dangerous.

Now today in The Chronicle we have the Coleman-Kasibhatla letter telling us faculty at Duke “care deeply” about students.

And in the same letter the Professors castigate KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, two of the people who have been most diligent and effective in speaking out for Duke students and exposing the investigative and legal travesties of Mike Nifong and others.

Meaning no disrespect by ignoring Professor Kasibhatla about whom I know almost nothing, I was absolutely shocked to see Professor Coleman had signed such a letter.

That’s why it is still hard for me to say much about the letter now. But I’ll say more soon.

Meanwhile ---

If you have not already done so, I urge you to got to the Chronicle site using this link which will take you to the letter and the comment thread.

The thread is lengthy and, like most lengthy threads, it’s a mixed bag. But there are some outstanding comments there.

One of those outstanding comments is from KC Johnson @ 11:02 AM; another is from Stuart Taylor @ 1:04 PM; and a third is from AMac @ 1:14 PM.

I left a brief comment on the thread. I meant it as a “toe in the water” first response. I’ll end this post with it:

I wish Professor Coleman had told us why the Duke faculty he praises so highly was, with very few exceptions, publicly silent when a Duke student, Reade Seligmann, was subjected to threats, including death threats, from racists last May 18.

Some of us believe had Seligmann been black and the threatening racists white, a great many Duke faculty would have spoken out loudly and passionately condemning the racists and offering their support to Seligmann and his family.

I don't agree with those on this thread who have attacked Coleman personally. I think he's a man of great integrity.

Suits: Best reporting so far

This AP account hosted at CNN is the most detailed and balanced news report on the suit filing I've found so far.

Suits Filed

Attorneys acting on behalf of three former Duke students who were victims of an attempted frame-up by former Durham DA Mike Nifong, certain Durham Police officers, their supervisors and others have now filed suit. You can read more at The Johnsville News which, among other case items, has a link to the 155-page filing (pdf)

Named as defendants are, of course, Nifong, and the principal DPD case investigators, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Ben Himan.

Others DPD officers named as defendants include Cpl. David Addison and his supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ.

JinC Regulars know I've posted often since last May (74 posts the last time I searched) concerning what we now know were lies Addison told the public last March when he acted as DPD spokesperson and the libelous Durham CrimeStoppers Wanted poster, the text of which Addison wrote and distributed to Durham Police substations, media and others. I've also interviewed Russ twice.

I'll be reviewing those posts and the interviews with Russ this weekend.

I'll post concerning them Saturday and Sunday.

I haven't read the filing yet but it may be significant that the defendants are not named in alphabetical order but Addison is the first DPD officer named after Gottlieb and Himan. That may suggest that in taking depositions Addison will be one of the first person attorneys for the three young men will want to depose.

A number of Addison's false statements are indisputable since they were made during television interviews. Someone was telling him what to say and approving what he said.

Addison will have to disclose that and a lot more.

I want to get on now to posts concerning Duke Professor Starn's deliberate misrepresentation of a statement by Duke's Coach K and Duke Law School Professor James Coleman's letter today in The Chronicle.

Sorry this does not include more links but it's a very busy day.

Keep checking in.

No Churchill Post Oct. 4

Folks, there’s an awful lot happening with regard to the Duke Hoax.

That’s where I’m spending my blogging time today.

I’ll be back with a Churchill post tomorrow.

I’m sorry I missed today.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Duke’s Friends Speak

“A friend is someone who tells you what you need to hear: not what you want to hear.”

Friends of Duke University (FODU) is a volunteer organization formed last Spring to work with the University to assure that Durham’s political establishment, its DA and its Police Department treat Duke students justly.

Today FODU issued a statement made necessary by the University’s response to the false statements of Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and many Duke faculty.

If you've followed the Hoax case, you know Duke's response has been so mismanaged and disgraceful that Duke's already had to settle five suits out of court, with more suits very likely on the way.

Like a good friend should, FODU's statement today tells the Duke community what it needs to hear.

I’ll say more in support of FODU in a day or so.

Now, first, extracts from FODU’s statement, released by its spokesperson Jason Trumpbour, who holds undergrad and law degrees from Duke. Then, second, comments from people reacting to FODU’s statement.


In an address to a conference at the Law School on Saturday, President Brodhead apologized for several aspects of the administration’s handling of the lacrosse case. [...]

Apologizing to the players was the right thing to do. However, I cannot help but feel that, once again, circumstances forced his hand. After all, the administration had been belligerently insisting that they had gotten things more or less right and have clung to that position up until this speech.

Now, there is the prospect of imminent lawsuits by the unindicted players and a review of President Brodhead’s first three years in office is underway.

Just as the revelation that Mike Nifong was hiding evidence forced him to speak out in December, we see President Brodhead reacting rather than leading.

His apology also is incomplete. It is inevitable that mistakes would be made in trying to deal with such a bizarre and unprecedented situation. No one would have expected different. That mistakes were made is not really the problem.

What President Brodhead really needs to take responsibly for and has yet to do so are the selfish motives that drove the administration’s policies.

The administration wanted the case to go to trial. It believed that, if it were dismissed before trial for whatever reason, people would say that Duke used its influence to have it dismissed. Robert Steel, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees told me that a year ago.

That is also why President Brodhead, despite being savagely maligned for doing so, clung to the concept of Reade, Collin and David “proving themselves innocent.”

That was not just an isolated, unfortunate choice of words. President Brodhead repeated this formulation only a few days ago. […]

The most disturbing outgrowth of this policy was that the administration not only did not want to speak up itself. It did not want anyone else doing so either. […]

In the end, the administration’s policies were never about ignorance of the facts or credulity concerning the motives of public officials. The facts were irrelevant..

President Brodhead, as he did in May, reckons that he has things figured out now.

However, a recent series in the Chronicle detailed how the administration has been modifying the University’s judicial code to eliminate most of students’ procedural rights and how the administration punishes students on the mere accusation of Durham police officers without further proof despite well documented abuses by the Durham Police department.

If the lacrosse case has taught us anything, it is that procedure matters. Unfortunately, it appears that the administration has learned absolutely nothing at all.

Duke needs and deserves strong leadership. In making his apology, we find President Brodhead doing precisely what he has been doing all along: embracing and conforming to whatever the prevailing understanding is regardless of its validity.

It is gratifying that people finally understand what was actually going on. However, nothing has changed at Duke.

Throughout this entire ordeal, we have criticized the administration, but, unlike a number of other critics, we did not call for President Brodhead to be removed. Instead, we tried to support him and give him the courage he needed to be a leader and to do the right thing.

We tried to engage the administration in a respectful dialogue about the issues. We have nothing to show for those efforts. I am glad that FODU could help the public understand the extent of Mike Nifong’s misconduct. However, that satisfaction is tempered by the fact that we spent a year doing someone else’s job for them.

It has long been our position that the administration’s words must be matched with deeds. Unfortunately, the time for action has come and gone. Last May, I wrote President Brodhead asking him to appoint a commission to look at the administration’s response to the lacrosse case. […]

That is what [FODU] wanted and that is what most of the families, despite the wrongs done to them, really wanted.

President Brodhead gave us the brush off. […]

President Brodhead is now undergoing a performance review to determine whether his contract should be renewed. Information on how to participate is here. I know what we will be recommending.

In criticizing President Brodhead, it should be kept in mind that he alone is not responsible for the University’s official policies and conduct. Indeed, those above him and below him bear greater culpability and their status needs to be addressed as well.

Robert Steel, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, bears the greater responsibility for Duke’s official policies regarding the lacrosse case. […]

President Brodhead often simply appeared to be there in the middle. However, that in and of itself is a huge problem.

Reader comments at FODU’s website include:

At 2:54 PM, October 04

Many of us agree wholeheartedly: Brodhead and Steel must go! It is time for new and more competent leadership at Duke, one that does not revolve around self-interest. Thank you FODU, for clarifying where things stand now and where they stood all along.

At 3:12 PM, October 04
Great post, it is pretty clear Brodhead's time at Duke is up.

At 3:41 PM, October 04

Excellent post, FODU. I can only wish you good luck and Godspeed. I hope that there are ears that will hear you.

At 4:00 PM, October 04
Finally, the truth is coming out.

At 4:04 PM, October 04

Thank you for an excellent post and your leadership throughout this Hoax.

At 4:55 PM, October 04

Yours has been a voice of reason and restraint. I have read 4 blogs about this simultaneously. Each has a point of view and a particular voice. But yours has been especially temperate and respectful.

Even the tone of this blog is sober and somewhat sad... that men who were handed numerous opportunities to redeem themselves and the reputation of Duke for fairness and due process could not find the courage to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right time.

Thank you for continuing to speak for those of us whose voices are mostly anonymous, but who care deeply about what happens to Duke.

Folks, Duke doesn’t have to be a place where the President says “the facts kept changing” and “whatever they did was bad enough,” after which everyone nods and says, "My, what a wonderful President we have. Where did we ever find him?"

It doesn’t have to be a place where faculty thank hateful and dangerous people for waving a “CASTRATE” banner and targeting students with “Vigilante” posters.

It doesn’t have to be a place where all the trustees, the President, his “senior team,” the Academic Council, just about every tenured professors, the officers of the alumni association, and the editorial board of the student newspaper all say nothing when a student is threatened by racists shouting death threats.

Duke must change!

The first steps in that change need to be the resignations of Board Chairman Robert Steel and President Richard Brodhead.

Haditha Case Implodes

Last May 18, one of the liberal/leftist MSM’s favorites, Democrat John Murtha, accused U. S. Marines in Iraq of murdering civilians.

From a tape of Chris Matthews show that night:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Let me ask you Mr. Murtha to give us some details about that. Draw us a picture of what happened at Haditha.

REP. JOHN “JACK” MURTHA: Well, I’ll tell you exactly what happened. One Marine was killed and the Marines just said we’re going to take care – they don’t know who the enemy is, the pressure was too much on them, so they went into houses and they actually killed civilians. And, and –

MATTHEWS:—was this My Lai? Was this a case of – when you say cold blood Congressman, a lot of people think you’re basically saying you got some civilians sitting in a room around a field and they’re executed. Just on purpose…

MURTHA: That’s exactly it. This was not an action…this was troops…they were so stressed out…
Month-by-month since last May the charges Murtha and some others recklessly and eagerly made have been disproved.

You can read about what should be the final implosion at this post by Michelle Malkin who started questioning the Haditha story from day one.

Now that Murtha and some other Democrats have been exposed as sliming U. S. Marines, do you think those Senate Democrats who've been going after Rush Limbaugh will say anything critical of Murtha and the others?

I don't.

Hat tips to Malkin and Mike Williams who also started questioning the Haditha lies from day one.

And thank you U. S. Marines. You're great and don't deserve some of the political leaders you risk your lives protecting.

DPD March 29, 2006 Press Release

Yesterday’s Durham Herald Sun story, Police document details lacrosse events , by reporter Ray Gronberg has drawn a lot of attention. I posted concerning it: News From Durham Today.

In this post I want to call your attention to a part of Gronberg's story and provide you with the text of a Durham Police document his story references.

From Gronberg’s story:

[Durham Mayor Bill] Bell said he also relayed a complaint from Duke University administrators about the Durham Police Department's public claims that members of the lacrosse team hadn't cooperated with detectives.
It came from Duke spokesman John Burness, who pointed out that some players had talked to police, Bell said.

In response, "I told [City Manager] Patrick [Baker] I wanted to understand for sure, when did they first speak to the students and, if in fact what [I was] being told by Duke is correct, we [needed] to tell the public," Bell said.

Later that day the Police Department issued a news release acknowledging that three lacrosse captains had answered questions and submitted DNA samples earlier in the month when police searched their home at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.
I have a copy of that police release. It’s on Police Department letterhead and dated March 29, 2006.

If you’re familiar with the case, you’ll note the release contains a number of either unsubstantiated or false statements. For instance, it’s never been substantiated the “female” was “robbed” and she didn’t flee “from the house.” With those cautions in mind, here’s the DPD press release's text:
Durham Police Department
Media Release
March 29, 2006

Durham Police Asking for Information on Sexual Assault

Durham police investigators are asking for information about a sexual assault that occurred last March 13 or early March 14 at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard.

A female told officers that she was a dancer who had been hired to perform with a co-worker for a party at the house during the evening of March 13. While at the party, the victim told officers she was held against her will in a bathroom, where she was raped and sodomized. She was robbed of her cell phone and cash before she fled from the house.

Investigators interviewed the woman and developed probable cause for a search warrant, which was executed at the house on March 16. At that time, the three residents of the house, who were all Duke University lacrosse captains, volunteered to come to Durham Police Substation 2 for interviews. When the interviews were completed, the three men agreed to go to Duke University Medical Center, where they voluntarily agreed to provide suspect test kits.

Durham police investigators later spoke with the Duke lacrosse coach and asked him to set up a meeting with the players and investigators on Wednesday, March 22, at which time the players were going to voluntarily answer questions and possibly submit to identification procedures.

A few hours before the meeting was scheduled to take place, investigators received a call from an attorney who told them that the players would not be attending the meeting and that the players were represented by legal counsel. The District Attorney’s Office then obtained a non-testimonial order from a judge that required 46 members of the lacrosse team to provide DNA samples. The players provided the samples on Thursday, March 23 at the Police Department’s Forensic Services Unit on Broadway Street.

At this time investigators are waiting for the DNA results to come back from the State Bureau of Investigation. The case remains an open, active case. No charges have been filed.
The Police press release has a final paragraph asking anyone with information to contact Inv. Himan, Sgt. Gottlieb, or CrimeStoppers. Phone numbers are provided and the reader is told “CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.”

I’ll post further concerning the press release in a day or two.

Starn's Distortion & Duke's Standards

Readers’ Note: Last year I posted concerning Duke Professor Orin Starn's misrepresentation of a statement by Coach Mike Krzyzewski. I called the misrepresentation to Starn's attention. He denied it was a misrepresentation.

So I took what Coach K had actually said and demonstrated precisely what Starn did in order to create the false statement he attributed to the Coach. I urged Starn to retract the statement and apologize to Coach K.

Will it surprise you to learn I never heard from Starn?

I also sent a letter to his department chair. I heard nothing from her.

I decided to try again when I read a recent statement by Duke's President, Richard H. Brodhead, reminding us how important it is to do things properly.

So I'm just about to send off the following electronic letter. I'll let you know if I hear back.


Anne Allison, Professor and Chair
Cultural Anthropology Department
Duke University

Dear Professor Allison:

This is the second letter I'm sending you on a matter of importance. The first one drew no response. Perhaps it didn't reach you or "fell off the screen" at a busy time.

Last July Sally Dalton Robinson Professor of Cultural Anthropology Orin Starn published an op-ed in The Raleigh News & Observer. It contained a very serious misrepresentation of remarks made by Coach Mike Krzyzewski concerning the racial aspects of the Duke lacrosse case.

I called Professor Starn's misrepresentation to his attention via email and said he should apologize to Coach K and provide a correction for N&O readers.

Professor Starn responded in a lengthy email in which, among other things, he denied misrepresenting Coach K.

I sent Professor Starn a second email in which I demonstrated how, by careful word and phrase omissions, substitutions and rearrangements of what Coach K had actually said, he created what it was hard to see was anything other than a deliberately false statement.

You can read the emails in this post which also contains links to the report of what Coach K actually said and Professor Starn's op-ed. (I’ve just tested all its links. They’re active.)

Here, between the star lines, is the portion of my second email demonstrating what Professor Starn did to create his misrepresentation.

Coach K said:

“The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”
You presented to N&O readers the following as representing what Coach K had said:
“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”
Let’s look at what you had to do with Coach K’s statement in order to create what you presented to N&O readers.

First, you took Coach K's unambiguous acknowledgement of "The racial aspect of this" and substituted in its place something entirely different: "Those who see a 'racial aspect.'" (bolds mine)

Next, you withheld from readers the fact that Coach K had said the racial aspect was, in some respects, the case's "most sensitive" aspect.

Only by eliminating Coach K’s unambiguous acknowledgement of “The racial aspect;” substituting for his words your words that made it appear he was saying some people were merely perceiving a racial aspect ( “Those who see…” ); and withholding from readers the information that the coach had said the racial aspect was in some ways the case’s “most sensitive” aspect were you then able to present to N&O readers as what Coach K had said:
“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”
You misrepresented what Coach K said and it’s very hard, Professor Starn, to see how your misrepresentation could be anything other than deliberate.

After misrepresenting Coach K, you went on and falsely accused him of “not see[ing] a ‘racial aspect’ here.”

You owe the coach an apology and N&O readers a correction.

Is your treatment of Coach K’s statement typical of how you treat raw data when you prepare lectures, articles and books?

Is what you did accepted practice for Duke faculty?

If you can't speak for the broader faculty, than is what you did accepted practice in the Department of Cultural Anthropology?


Professor Allison, I told Professor Starn I'd publish in full his response to my second email as I had his first, but he never responded.

When I was completing masters and doctoral study at Duke (mid-seventies to early eighties) what Professor Starn did - taking what a source said, rendering a judgment on it, distortion what the source said, and then claiming your distortion was what the source said - was unacceptable.

Freshmen and sophomores who did that would get a "sit down" with the professor or GA who’d explain why it wasn't done and request a correction.

Juniors and seniors were more likely to see their misrepresentations circled and points taken off.

If you were in a grad program and you did what Professor Starn did, you pleaded for mercy and promised never to do it again.

I intended last July to bring Professor Starn's misrepresentation to your and Provost Lange's attentions.

However, faculty friends told me I’d be wasting my time.

They said what Professor Starn did is now commonly done by many Duke faculty. “Really, John,” one faculty friend said, “Starn is typical of many of my colleagues.”

I decided to drop the matter.

However, because misrepresentations published by some Duke faculty are now receiving national scrutiny, I’m calling Professor Starn’s very serious and carefully created misrepresentation to your attention as well as to the attention of others in positions of responsibility.

I recognize and am glad that Duke faculty members have freedom of expression.

But when a faculty member says something that’s demonstrably false and deliberately created; and subsequently refuses to correct the misrepresentation when it’s called to his or her attention, don't department chairs and the provost have a responsibility to note the misrepresentation and criticize the faculty member for refusing to correct it?

I will publish your response in full at my blog,

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


John in Carolina


Richard Brodhead, President
Peter Lange, Provost
John Burness, Senior Vice President
Orin Starn, Professor

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Churchill Series - Oct. 3, 2007

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

FDR, Ike, Harry Hopkins, George Marshall, and Bernard Baruch. They're just a few of the many Americans Churchill worked with and admired.

There was another American Churchill didn't get to work with but admired greatly: William ("Buffalo Bill")Cody.

In the summer of 1887, “Buffalo Bill” was bringing his “Wild West Show” to London.

As you would expect the twelve year old Winnie Churchill, considered by some teachers and relatives “wild” himself, was eager to see the show. Churchill's biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us what happened next:

[Cody’s] advertisement in The Times trumpeted its attractions in capital letters.” GRANDSTAND FOR 20000 PEOPLE. BANDS OF SIOUX, ARAPAHOES, SHOSHONES, CHEYENNES, AND OTHER INDIANS, CCOWBOYS, SCOUTS AND MEXICAN VACQUEROS.”

There would be riding, shooting, lassoing and hunting, attacks on a stagecoach and on a settler’s cabin. […]

Churchill, then at boarding school in Brighton, wrote several times to his mother, urging her to write to the two sister who ran the school to let him go up to London.
In the beginning Jennie said no, but Churchill, always a persistent campaigner, kept at it until he got a “Yes.” Needless to say, he enjoyed the show hugely and talked about it into old age.

As mentioned at the outset, Churchill didn't get to work with Buffalo Bill. But don't you agree that if at some point in the show that day Cody had called out for a few kids to come down and help him saddle a horse or something one of the first to his side would been the red-haired school boy up from Brighton.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America.(Free Press, 2005) (pgs. 8-9)

How Senate Dems "Support Our Troops"

We're hearing now full-throated cries from Senate Democrats such as Dick Durbin, Tom Harkin, Teddy Kennedy, and John Kerry. They "Support Our Troops."

And how do these Democratic Party leaders support the men and women risking their lives for America?

Why, by attacking Rush Limbaugh, and counting on their political allies who control most of MSM not to remind people of their disgraceful past conduct.

In Harkin and Kerry's cases, their disgraceful conduct includes faking their war records; in the cases of Kennedy and Durbin, they've viciously and falsely attacked our military.

Yesterday I noted Harkin's repeated faking of his military service.

As for Kerry, is there any Kerry supporter out there ready to prove Kerry spent that Christmas in Cambodia? How about his Navy records? He promised to realease them all. But first he read them. We're still waiting.

And how about Kennedy and Durbin?

On Nov. 6, 2006, election eve, I posted concerning them in On the most important issue, Dems fail.

I re-read that post today. I wouldn't change a word of it. Let me know what you think.

Here it is:

I could give you a long list of things I think President Bush and the Republicans get wrong. But there’s one thing they get right that Democratic Party leaders have been getting very wrong for decades. And now most rank-and-file Democrats seem to get it wrong, too.

That one thing is so important I can’t bring myself to vote for Democrats in elections for national office.

Michael Barone tell us about that one thing :

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Those two sentences, spoken by John Kerry last week, tell a lot about the mindset of many -- not all, but many -- Democrats who supported him for president in 2004 and who, as this is written, are looking forward to Democratic victories this week. One thing they tell us is that Kerry's mindset is still back in the Vietnam era. […]

Kerry's explanation for his bizarre refusal to apologize for two days and then his grudging off-camera apology was that he was trying to make a joke about the stupidity of George W. Bush (even though Kerry's grades at Yale were slightly lower than Bush's).

But his words were not wholly out of line with previous statements by him and other Democrats characterizing American troops as perpetrators rather than heroes.

There was Kerry's 1971 "Genghis Khan" testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as his December 2005 statement that troops were "terrorizing" women and children.

Sen. Dick Durbin likened American service members to Nazi storm troopers and the Khmer Rouge, and Sen. Edward Kennedy suggested that Abu Ghraib under our "new management" was comparable to Saddam Hussein's regime of torture and murder.

Behind all these statements is an unspoken assumption that American service members are incompetent and vicious.(bold added) […]
If other Democratic Party leaders roundly condemned such statements, I’d think something like: “Well, both parties have their clunkers.”

But you didn't hear House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi say Kennedy’s remarks, made on the Senate floor, were an outrage for which he should have immediately apologized. Or DNC Chair Howard Dean demand Durbin immediately apologize for his statements.

It’s not just Democratic Party leaders who fail to speak out against those who slime our military.

Look at Democratic newspapers such as the NY Times, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and, here in North Carolina, the Raleigh N&O. Do they editorialize and take their party leaders to task for sliming our military?

Most rank-and-file Democrats I know applaud when terrorists or their sympathizers are invited to speak at college campuses. Students should be exposed to all points of view, they say.

But allow ROTC recruiters on those same campuses? That’s different. Of course not.

Clinton scandals? Dems won't talk about them.

But Abu Ghraib? They never seem to tire of talking about it; especially describing to one another the “shocking photos” they’ve seen.

If you’re among such people and you point out the magnificent service our military renders, you start to get stares. You’re clearly “off message.” You’re likely to be asked if you’re a Republican or Conservative.

Our military is America and the world’s principal protection from the kind of horrors Muslim fundamentalists would inflict on all peoples throughout the world.

America’s military is the world’s largest, best-equipped, best-trained, most generous and most effective humanitarian service organization.

Its defense and humanitarian service work, often one and the same, is incredibly dangerous. Millions of its members have literally given life and limb in the service of our country and humanity.

As long as Democrats slime our military, they’ll never get my vote.

This Made Me Smile

My reporting and commenting on the attempted frame-up of three innocent Duke students and the ongoing attempts to cover up the frame-up, has, for obvious reasons, led me to also research Watergate.

I recently came upon an exchange between North Carolina’s Sen. Sam Ervin, who chaired the Senate Watergate investigation, and John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s principal aides and a major Watergate conspirator.

Ehrlichman challenging a conclusion Ervin reached after studying some documents: “How do you know that, Mr. Chairman?”

Ervin: "Because I can understand the English language. It's my mother's tongue.”

News Today From Durham

Under Ray Gronberg’s byline, the Durham Herald Sun reports today:

A police document detailing new information about the Duke lacrosse case investigation reveals that investigators talked with the accuser more than they disclosed previously, and that Mayor Bill Bell and other high-ranking city officials convened two days before a stalled case got a jump start with a photo lineup that violated policy.

Bell urged police to expedite a resolution to the case partly because he worried that racial unrest could erupt, he acknowledged Tuesday. That fear was hidden from his public statements at the height of the Duke lacrosse case when he expressed confidence in Durham's racial unity and condemned national media portrayal of black-white tension.

A copy of the police document -- labeled "Timeline of events for council" but kept so tightly under wraps that it may never have reached elected officials -- was obtained by The Herald-Sun.

Among other data entries, the timeline said Ben Himan, Durham's lead detective in the Duke lacrosse case, spoke to the accuser on March 28, 2006. That discussion isn't mentioned in the case notes of either Himan or his supervisor, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

According to the document, Bell met with Himan March 29, 2006, two days before authorities agreed to conduct a photo lineup that violated city policy but prompted indictments of three innocent men.

Documentation shows City Manager Patrick Baker and former Police Chief Steve Chalmers were at the discussion.

It occurred in a regularly scheduled Wednesday morning meeting that allows Bell, Baker and Senior Assistant to the City Manager Reginald Johnson a chance to confer about the city's business.

The five gathered amid the early controversy over what proved to be false rape allegations against members of the Duke lacrosse team.

At the time the investigation was stalled because the players' accuser, a 28-year-old stripper, had offered conflicting accounts and failed to identify her supposed assailants in two initial photo lineups.

But with the case attracting national headlines, Bell urged police to get to the bottom of it rapidly. […]
Today's entire H-S story is here.


Gronberg’s story today briefly references a March 29, 2006 meeting between Durham City and Police officials and two Duke administrators.

While Durham City Manager Patrick Baker has downplayed the March 29 meeting as one at which he merely wanted to check in with DPD Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan to make sure they had all the cooperation and resources they needed to conduct the investigation, the meeting was obviously for some other critically important purpose(s) Baker and other attendees at the meeting are reluctant to disclose.

Let’s take another look at that March 29 meeting with the benefit of what we know from today’s H-S story and some other events.

From a JinC post, INNOCENT: Duke & DPD Contacts: Questions , posted May 30, 2007 in response to a H-S story that day, also with Ray Gronberg's byline [excerpts]:
[The H-S] story also reports on a previously undisclosed meeting involving Duke University’s Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves, its Police Director, Robert Dean, Baker, Chalmers, Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge, “a police attorney,” and the two principal DPD lacrosse case investigators, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Benjamin Himan.

The H-S also reports on a subsequent phone call Gottlieb made to Graves the morning of April 4. […]

In this post I want to discuss the Duke aspect of today’s story. Excerpts from the H-S story:
The media crush also focused high-level administrative attention on the case. The two detectives, [Gottlieb and Himan,] met on March 29 with Baker, Chalmers, Hodge, a police attorney and two Duke University officials -- Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves and Police Director Robert Dean.

Baker on Tuesday said the March 29 meeting allowed him to hear from Gottlieb and Himan first-hand, to make sure they and Duke police were working smoothly together and to make sure the detectives had the resources they needed to finish the investigation. He said the issue of identifications didn't come up.
There are questions raised in my mind by the fact that that particular group of people met on March 29 and by Baker’s preposterous explanation for their meeting.

If Baker just wanted to hear first-hand from Gottlieb and Himan to make sure they were working smoothly with Duke police and had the resources necessary to finish the investigation, what were all those other people doing at the meeting?

Especially, why was “a police attorney” there if the meeting was for the purposes Baker described? And, by the way, who is that police attorney?

Baker didn’t have to involve Graves and Dean if all he wanted to do was hear from Gottlieb and Himan about cooperation between Duke and DPD, did he?

On the other hand, if Baker and DPD wanted to work out something involving Duke and DPD that was very important and/or questionable, that might need a signoff from the “top cops” at Duke.

In that case, Baker would want/need Graves and Dean at the meeting, wouldn’t he? And maybe a police attorney to assure Duke’s “top cops” that ....

Folks, that [March 29, 2006] was a “heavy hitters meeting” involving top law enforcement people at Duke and DPD, with Baker/DPD bringing along an attorney.

Some very important things were surely talked about and perhaps decided there.

A little further along in the H-S article we read:
The detectives met with Nifong on March 29 and again on March 31. In the first meeting, the district attorney asked them to contact members of the lacrosse team to see if they'd talk.

In the second, according to Gottlieb, he suggested assembling the photos taken the week before and showing them to the accuser "to see if she recalled seeing the individuals at the party."

Himan's notes -- which were drafted at the time, while Gottlieb compiled his report a couple of months after the fact -- didn't mention any of the three meetings.

Gottlieb said he reported the Nifong's suggestion to Lamb and Ripberger on March 31, and had Himan and Investigator Shanda Williams start working on the PowerPoint.

Himan finished the job on April 3, the following Monday, after having Clayton and another investigator, Michele Soucie, review the presentation. The next day, Gottlieb had an office assistant, Van Clinton, look over the presentation again, and then had Clayton and two crime-scene technicians, Angela Ashby and Heather Maddry, help him show it to the accuser.

He also placed a morning call to Graves. Duke officials, like Baker, said the ID process wasn't discussed. "It's my understanding that at that stage it was just about the ways the university could assist in the investigation, and there was no discussion of the ID session," Duke spokesman John Burness said Tuesday.
Woah, Nelly!

Why is Burness speaking for Graves? Shouldn’t Graves be telling us about his phone conversation with Gottlieb?

And what is “It’s my understanding that at that stage” telling us?

It’s such a carefully qualified remark that it left me asking myself again: “Why isn’t Graves telling us about his phone conversation with Gottlieb?

And was it just a coincidence that Gottlieb called Graves on the same day DPD ran what Professor James Coleman called the “no wrong choice” photo ID procedure which was so essential a part of the frame-up?

What’s my strongest reaction to [the H-S May 30, 2006 reporting the March 29, 2006 meeting]?

It helps build the case for a thorough investigation by the federal government.

Folks, what are my reactions to today's H-S story? I'll bet many of them are the same as yours.

Today's story adds to the strength of the case for a federal investigation as well as a state investigation.

Concerning the DPD lacrosse investigation scandal, Bell and Baker (under Durham's council-city manager form of government Baker is the city's top full-time executive officer to whom all department heads, including the Police Chief, report directly) have each made discredited statements and withheld information the public had a right to know.

They've obviously been part of the problem and are part of it now.

Under Baker and Bell’s “leadership," Durham, with Duke's cooperation, has for more than eighteen months engaged in a series of investigative and legal travesties that very likely include criminal conspiracies.

Enough from Bell and Baker!

It's time the state and feds stepped in, discovered what really went on and punished the malfactors.

I plan another post tonight on today's H-S story.

The entire H-S May 30, 2007 story is here; its story today is here.

My May 30 post is here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 2, 2007

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

Yesterday’s post contained a diary entry of Harold Nicolson, who served during WW II in Parliament and as a junior member of Churchill’s government. Although Nicolson may be familiar to you because his diary for the years just before the war and during it are so often referred to by historians, he may be better known for something else.

Nicolson and his wife, the writer Vita Sackville-West, purchased and restored Sissinghurst Castle; and created there one of England’s most famous and beautiful gardens. Both the castle and garden are now maintained by The National Trust. You can learn more about Nicolson here and the castle and garden here and here.

The diary entry in yesterday’s post was for November 6, 1940. Nicolson confided his relief and joy that President Roosevelt had been re-elected to an unprecedented third term.

I want to end this post with a very plausible and momentous “might have been” had Roosevelt’s opponent, Wendell Willkie, won the 1940 election.

Willkie’s Vice-presidential running mate was Senator Charles McNary from Oregon. He died February 25, 1944.

Under the Presidential Succession Act then in force, the Vice-presidency would have remained unfilled and the Secretary of State would have been next in line to succeed the President.

Wendell Willkie died October 8, 1944, and would have been succeeded as President by whoever was Secretary of State at that time.

It’s extraordinary to think about, isn’t it?

Blogging Issues (Post 1)

Late last week I promised a post over the weekend in which I’d talk about issues which influence my blogging.

As examples of what I’d talk about, I said I’d reference two recent posts: one concerning Bill Anderson’s review of Until Proven Innocent and another titled, Jackson or Sharpton, who's dumber?

I didn’t publish the “blogging issues” post last weekend because I got “pulled off assignment.”

I needed to “cover” Duke President Brodhead’s statement Saturday afternoon in which for the first time in eighteen months, he said he was “sorry” he hadn’t been more supportive of the Duke students on the Men’s lacrosse team and their parents.

That story took most of my blog time this past weekend.

Now to the promised “blogging issues” post:

My post of Bill Anderson’s UPI review drew a sharp comment from Insufficiently Sensitive who said I hadn’t noted the most important comments in Bill’s review.

IS said [excerpt]: “Bill's disagreements with (Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson) contain the most important statement of the review - that is, the irresolvable enmity between PC and classic liberalism.”

When I read IS’s criticism, I knew IS was right.

I’d worked to reference in my post just what IS was saying.

But I couldn’t do it well, or at least not to my satisfaction.

Explaining to readers how classical liberalism differed from the liberalism of say, Durham’s People’s Alliance or that of the journalists at the Raleigh N&O who helped frame the Duke students, would make the post excessively long.

After all, don't N&O reporters and editors, for instance, claim they embrace the same principles as classical liberals?

So I went with a review that was fact-based, linked readers to Bill’s review, and suggested they read it.

I’ve no apology for doing that.

And that’s my answer to IS, a commenter for whom I have respect, and to all of you who come to JinC with serious and good purposes.

Can some JinC posts be improved? Of course.

All I claim for them is that when I put them up, I believe they’re honest, reasonable and fact-based; and when one of you shows me where one is not, I correct.

That said, comments such as IS’s are welcome for adding to a post and making this blog better.

Thanks, IS, and thanks to every other commenter/editor who helps out at JinC.

Now, about Jackson or Sharpton, who’s dumber?

Can we all agree since it’s after 11 p.m. where I am and Jackson’s and Sharpton’s dumbness aren't going away anytime soon, that you permit me to go to bed now?

We can resume “blogging issues” tomorrow with Post 2 in which I promise to discuss Jackson and Sharpton's dumbness and how the Internet is tripping up the Revs and their MSM flacks.

Thanks, I thought you'd say, “Yes.”

Until tomorrow, every good wish.


Another Note to Commenters

Yesterday I promised a post responding to some commentors.

I didn't do it for which I'm sorry.

I'll get at least the start of that post up later this evening.

There's much happening in areas about which I blog.

I've spent some of my blog time working to inform myself on news aspects of issues and events I've posted on.

And there's work and family.

So the delay.

But I'll do my absolute best to get something up before I put hy head on pillow tonight.

Thanks for your understanding.


The N&O, Newsweek & plagiarism

A few weeks ago I posted N&O Lashers Out at Newsweek. The Raleigh News & Observer’s managing editor, John Drescher had attacked Newsweek for claiming to be “the first major publication to pick apart [Mike Nifong’s] case.”

Drescher went on to level at Newsweek one of the most serious charges one news organization can level at another. He accused it of plagiarism.

Here are Drescher's exact words contained in his post, Newsweek Stretches On Duke Lacrosse , at the N&O's Editors' Blog:

"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."
While nasty, heated arguments are common within and between MSM news organizations, journalists rarely go public with them as Drescher and the N&O have in attacking Newsweek. And rarely with as serious a charge as plagiarism.

I commented and asked questions on the thread of Drescher post.

I’ve heard nothing from Drescher but the N&O’s executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, has responded twice on the thread: once to me and once to another reader.

Drescher's failure to respond to me and other readers and Sill's responses reveal a lot about the N&O, its journalism standards and its treatment of informed readers asking important, fact-based questions.

I hope you to do the following: Below are my comment and questions to Drescher; Sill's two responses; and some reader comments responding to Sill.

Please read them, after which I ask you two questions - one very simple and the other more complex - and invite your responses.

Now let's begin with my comment and questions:

Comment from: John in Carolina [Visitor]
09/20/07 at 15:22

Dear Editor Drescher:

Because you don't have a hyperlink option I'm including this URL which contains hyperlinks for the comment which follows.

You say:

"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.

As I said in a JinC Sept. 2 post, Newsweeks' Thomas Shouldn't Cluck , I didn’t want to get into trying to decide which was the “first major publication to pick apart the prosecution case.”

What I know for sure is that both Newsweek and the N&O were very late in doing that.

You were both well behind journalists such as La Shawn Barber, Thomas Sowell and Stuart Taylor, and blogs and bloggers such as KC Johnson, Lead and Gold, RealClearPolitics, and The Johnsville News, to name just a few of many.

I just looked at a JinC post from April 9, 2006, which included a comment I sent executive editor for news Melanie Sill asking why four weeks after the alleged crimes on the night of March 13/14, there were no suspect descriptions beyond “white male” and why the N&O had not asked Nifong about that and whether the accuser had been able to make a positive ID of any of her alleged attackers.

But, Editor Drescher, you’re right the N&O did have many “firsts” concerning important aspects of what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.”

In your March 24 report which “broke” the “Duke lacrosse story,” you repeatedly referred to Crystal Mangum as “the victim” and thereby cast the Duke students as her victimizers.

That’s an undisputed N&O first and most of MSM rushed along to follow your framing of the players as the victimizers.

On March 25 the N&O was the first newspaper to report Mangum was new to stripping, even though you knew from your own reporting in 2002 of crimes she’d committed that she was strip dancing at least by then. You didn’t report that or her criminal background.

You were the first major news organization to have that information and fail to report it for weeks.

On March 25 you also had the critically important news Mangum told you that the second dancer had also been raped at the party, but hadn’t reported it to police for fear of losing her job, as well as the statement she made to you that she thought the second dancer would “do anything for money.”

You failed to report that news, so extraordinarily exculpatory for the players.

And what is worse by many magnitudes of mendaciousness, you covered it up for thirteen months as you watched the players and their families endure an horrific ordeal while you sold newspapers every day of those thirteen months.

No other major publication, not even the justly reviled NY Times and Durham Herald Sun, did anything as harmful to innocent individuals and our community as the N&O’s withholding of the exculpatory information.

One more “first and only” for the N&O and then I’m done.

On April 2, 2006 the N&O published a photo of the “Vigilante” poster large enough so that anyone, including unstable and dangerous people, could enlarge it and have face photos of the 43 white Duke students pictured on it.

The N&O published the photo after Duke had expressed concerns that doing so would add to the already considerable danger the players were facing. Did Newsweek or any Noth Carolina daily do that?

I think you can credit the N&O with a "first and only" on that. Even the justly reviled NY Times and Durham Herald Sun didn't publish such a photo.

Editor Drescher, instead of getting into an ego-driven snit-fight with Newsweek, the N&O would better serve truth, the community and its own long-term interests if you do the following:

1) Publish a detailed story which holds nothing back in explaining why you withheld for 13 months the exculpatory news Mangum gave you on March 24 and what it was like for N&O staffers to watch the players indicted, threatened, and savaged by most major publications while you were sitting on news that could have changed all that.

2) Retract your March 25 story which you told readers was about an “ordeal” that ended in “sexual violence.” You and the informed public know it was based almost entirely on lies.

3) Publish on your front-page a detailed account of how the fraudulent March 25 story was created, including an explanation of why you left out of it the news you had of the players’ cooperation with police, an explanation of how you came to get the interview with Mangum, and acknowledgment of whatever involvement Nifong and others working the attempted frame-up had to do, as anonymous sources, with the story.

4) Issue a full, unconditional apology to the players, their families, Coach Mike Pressler and his family, who were the people most harmed by your story.

5) Apologize to your readers and the rest of the media whom you deliberately misled.

6) Apologize for publishing the "Vigilante" poster and assure everyone that the people responsible for publishing it no longer work for the N&O or any other McClatchy publication.

Thank you for reading this comment.

I look forward to your response which I’ll copy and post at JinC.


John in Carolina


Comment from: Melanie Sill [Member] •
09/20/07 at 16:52

John, there will be no further N&O response to your accusations, which include greater distortions with each repetition. We have responded repeatedly; see previous posts under category of Duke lacrosse coverage to see accusations and responses.


Comment from: PD Smart via Darby via JinC [Visitor]
09/20/07 at 19:46

Dear Melanie,

I am a south African who has followed the Duke Lacrosse since its inception. I have a question for you:

Why are you seemingly incapable of responding in a reasonable manner to the post above by JinC? It is a well researched, well written and asks questions most reasonable readers would like answers to.

From what I have read of your responses to others who offer a critique (all I have seen seem too well mannered and cogent to be considered a criticism),of articles written by yourself or other N&O staffers you seem only capable of responding that they "border on harassment"!

Why is this? Surely someone as well educated as yourself must be a little more articulate that that. Your readers deserve better!

PD Smart
South Africa


Comment from: Melanie Sill [Member] •
09/20/07 at 21:58

Mr. Smart -- We have responded politely to JinC's accusations numerous times. Please refer to posts under the Duke lacrosse category. Thanks.


Comment from: Walter Abbott [Visitor]
09/21/07 at 06:44


You have done no such thing.

Your "response" merely has been to say that your early reporting "could have been better" and that the reason you withheld exculpatory information from the 3/25/06 story was that "you couldn't confirm it."

For the record, the exculpatory information was that Crystal Mangum told your interviewer that Kim Roberts was also raped.

Had you put that in the story, everyone would have known from the get-go that Mangum's wild tales were flakey. She told everyone she talked to a different story.

And you knew this.

Yet because you and your newspaper chose to print lies, a lynching almost took place, three men's lives were put on hold for a year, and Durham's taxpayers are on the hook for a lot of money.

You and your newspaper have a lot to answer for. And you will, sooner or later.

Folks, at this place on the thread I posted again with what a reader will later referto as an "enumeration of facts that support arguments from JinC." But I'm skipping over it so you can read readers' comments. You can easily access my "enumeration" if you wish to read it. JinC


Comment from: Truthurts001 [Visitor]
09/21/07 at 14:12

Melanie, your insistence that you have already responded to John's questions is akin to Bill Clinton's insistence that he "did not have sex with that woman".

It's transparently false, and it reveals an ugly cowardice to confronting the truth.

These are valid questions that deserve answers.

Character is defined NOT by the fact that one makes mistakes, but HOW one takes responsibility for those mistakes, atones for those mistakes, and readily accepts the consequences of those mistakes.

Your mantra "mistakes were made, now let's move on" is nothing short of pathetic. Your efforts to escape accountability are shameful.

The world is watching, and your character is on display for everyone to see. So far, you're failing the character test.


Comment from: JSwift [Visitor]
09/22/07 at 11:11


I have asked this quesion before, and you have never answered it.

How did Samiha Khanna learn the identity of the accuser in the Duke case? Did she receive a tip from a source you chose not to identify? If so, why do you protect a source that fed you incorrect information?

Why does a source that provides false information deserve protection?


Comment from: D in Washington [Visitor]
09/30/07 at 19:13

From Melanie Sills in response to JinC:

"09/20/07 at 16:52

John, there will be no further N&O response to your accusations, which include greater distortions with each repetition. We have responded repeatedly; see previous posts under category of Duke lacrosse coverage to see accusations and responses."

I see an enumeration of facts that support arguments from JinC.

The response, in contrast, does no such thing and demonstrates some degree of intellectual dishonesty that I find disingenuous.

If N&O is going to complain that attribution as an original source was not given by Newsweek, then the claims that N&O plagarized and was scooped by other sources is valid by the same argument, the definition of "major national publication" notwithstanding.

Please enumerate and explain "greater distortions with each repetition." Facts, if they exist, should support your arguments. I'm pretty sure though, the JinC is factually correct.

The N&O editorial staff continues to pat itself on the back when really the only saving grace was Neff's reporting.


Now the two questions for you, with the easy one first:

1) After reading this post it's not hard to see why MSM journalists are held in such low regard concerning trustworthiness, is it?

2) The more complex question is this: The N&O has decided it's future is on the Internet with more interactive journalism, including the Edirors' Blog drawing readers to N&O sites so it can generate the advertising revenue it needs to survive.

But with the N&O's executive editor for news and its managing editor reporting, commenting and treating readers as you've seen here, how did the N&O and its parent McClatchy Company ever convince themselves they have much of a future on the Internet?

What's your answer?

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 1, 2007

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

By November 1940, Britain and the Commonwealth had “stood alone” for five months while Soviet Russia and America stayed neutral. London was enduring it third month of the Blitz.

On the fifth of November America had just re-elected President Roosevelt for an unprecedented third term, after a tough campaign which some people thought his Republican challenger, Wendell Willkie, would win.

In London, Harold Nicolson, a Member of Parliament and junior member of Churchill’s government, had been keeping a diary for more than a decade. Here’s his entry for November 6:

I pause outside the tube-station and buy a wet copy of the Daily Express. “Roosevelt leading”, it says. I get [home] in time for the 8 am. News and the first words are, “Roosevelt is in”.

Our later news tells us that he is not only in, but in by a huge majority and that he has also got a Congress to back him.

Now this is odd. I try to be absolutely frank with myself and with my diary. Yet my delight at Roosevelt’s victory shows me that underneath I had been anxious about Willkie. I should have said, if asked, that it did not really matter to us if Willkie won, since he was also pledged to our assistance.

True it is that there would have been some confidence caused by the change of administration. On the other hand we should, with Willkie’s help, have had Big Business solid on our side.

Yet my heart leapt like a young salmon when I heard that Roosevelt had won so triumphantly, which showed me that underneath I had been longing for his victory.

In the last week, the Germans, the Italians and occupied France have made it clear that they would regard the defeat of Roosevelt as a triumph for themselves. It would mean the U.S.A. felt our eventual victory to be impossible.

Thus the moral effect of his sweeping the board will be very great.

It is the best thing that has happened to us since the outbreak of the war.

I thank God!
I’ll say more about Nicolson's diary entry tomorrow.

Harold Nicolson, The War Years, 1939-1945: Diaries and Letters, v. II (Atheneum, 1967) (p. 125)

Fake hero but real smear artist

Democrat Tom Harkin, speaking on the floor of the U. S. Senate, attempted to smear talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

But Harkin’s attempt backfired when bloggers reminded him of some things Harkin and the Democrats who control most of MSM news reporting want us all to forget.

Take a look at Michelle Malkin’s post, Fake war hero Tom Harkin smears Rush Limbaugh , and be sure to follow the link to this Instapundit post from August, 2004.

Instapundit posted just a few weeks before Dan Rather and CBS ran their phony Texas Air National Guard story on Sept. 8, 2004 in which they used forged documents from an anonymous source they told us was “unimpeachable.”

But about 10 days after their "unimpeachable" claim, and under relentless pressure from bloggers, Rather and CBS were forced to admit their “unimpeachable source” was in fact long-time Bush-hater and Democratic Party activist Bill Burkett which they knew all along.

Technology has sure made it tough for people like Tom Harkin, Dan Rather, Bill Burkett, and so many in MSM.

And if you look at this link from August 2004 you’ll see why liberals and leftists get so mad at Fox News.

Note to Commenters

I plan to make responses this evening to some outstanding comment threads.

Rushed now.

Thank you all for commenting.


GM Strike An End Of An Era

So says Michael Barone in U. S. News and World Report:

The United Auto Workers' strike against General Motors last week turned out to be brief. The company and union negotiators reached agreement not much more than 48 hours after union members started picketing.

It barely made the front pages of most newspapers and seems to have made few ripples in the stock market. It didn't last long enough for any Democratic presidential candidate to walk the picket line.

What a contrast with the last UAW national strike against GM. In September 1970, 400,000 workers, 0.5 percent of the nation's non-farm employees -- one of every 200 workers -- walked off the job. Last week, only 73,000 workers struck, 0.05 percent of the national total.

The 1970 strike lasted two months, during which the national unemployment rate rose from 5.1 percent to 5.5 percent. It was estimated that the strike cut the growth in gross domestic product for the quarter from 2.5 percent to 1.4 percent.

The 2007 strike lasted two days, and its effect on GDP seems negligible. At the time of the 1970 strike, GM accounted for 50 percent of all U.S. auto sales and foreign manufacturers for only 15 percent. Now, GM accounts for 24 percent of U.S. auto sales and foreign manufacturers 49 percent.[…]
There’s more before Barone closes with:
In the 1980s, foreign companies began building auto plants in the United States, almost none of them organized by the UAW. As The Wall Street Journal concluded, "Toyota, not GM or the UAW, now sets the pattern for auto industry labor costs in the U.S. economy."

It turns out that market competition punishes those firms whose costs are out of line with others. It also produces better value for consumers, as today's cars are far superior in quality to the clunkers of 1970. And it can make things better for workers, as well.

The reason the UAW demanded 30-and-out in 1970 was that workers hated their assembly-line jobs. Newer manufacturing techniques, pioneered by Japanese firms, give workers more autonomy and responsibility -- and more job satisfaction. The business model of 1970 is history. But most of us are better off today.
Isn’t it interesting the many ways in which globalization works?

Barone’s entire column is here.

What Brodhead Meant To Do

A lot of people are offering their opinions of just what Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, was trying to do in his statement Saturday which he read at Duke Law School.

Here’s my take:

Brodhead's statement was carefully crafted to avoid the full and honest explanations and apologies he still owes the players, their families and the Duke and Durham communities.

That's why Brodhead’s statement made no mention of the "Vigilante" poster, the "CASTRATE" banner, Reade Seligmann; and that’s why it offered no explanation of his failure and Duke’s failure to speak out regarding them.

That’s why it contained no assurance that the security of Duke’s IT system was never breached either by Durham Police acting on their own or by DPD acting with assistance from some at Duke.

Brodhead’s statement is meant to let him and Duke avoid full, public and honest explanations of what Duke did that it shouldn’t have done and what it didn’t do that it had a clear duty to do.

Some PR people call a statement like Brodhead's a “slip by” statement. As is usual with “slip by” statements, there was almost no pre-announcement and no questions permitted following Brodhead’s statement.

Will Brodhead and Duke be able to slip by with his “slip by” statement? Will enough people say it was “wonderful” and “I’m satisfied” so that Duke can move on to the great national conference on best practices for Hoax management Brodhead announced in his statement?

I think in the short-term there’ll be some gains for Brodhead and Duke, much as there usually were for President Nixon following the damage control statements he made at the time of Watergate.

But long-term the statement isn’t going to save Brodhead; and the trustees will be forced to give a much more detailed account of events involving Duke and the Hoax.

I’ll say more about why I believe that in a few days.

I’ll wrap up with the following:

Brodhead and Steel appear to believe they can put Duke’s disgusting mismanagement of its Hoax response behind them without holding at least one lengthy Q&A information conference to which students, parents, alums, bloggers and press are invited; and at which audio and video recording are permitted.

In that they’re as wrong Nixon was when he thought he could get past Watergate without releasing the Oval Office tapes.

Is anyone reassured by Brodhead’s promise to have Duke’s senior administrators take a look at procedures to see what they can learn from the debacle they helped create?

Count your chickens, folks. Brodhead’s turned the foxes loose.

About that national conference on “best practices” for managing something like the Hoax in the future: Is there anyone reading this who couldn’t do most of the conference’s “work” right now?

I’ll bet just about every one of you would today sign a report whose recommendations included:

The next time something like that happens to white students, Duke must react the same way it would if the students were black.

Duke should abandon its de facto two race student treatment policy.

It should replace the administrators who implemented the two race policy.

It should replace the administrators who failed to counter the falsehoods Nifong, the Raleigh N&O and some faculty members told about the students.

It should recruit administrators and faculty whose careers demonstrate a commitment to treating black and white students equally.

Yes, folks, there needs to be more to the “report.”

But abandoning its de facto two race policy is the essential and most important step Duke must take to avoid in the future the mistakes, gross injustices and perhaps illegal actions involved in its Hoax response.

I’ll end with some things Brodhead’s supporters and critics can agree on: his statement avoided mentioning the important matters I’ve cited here. And that’s what it was meant to do.

Previous posts on Brodhead's statements:

Brodhead's Latest Failure

Brodhead's Statement: Why Now?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Brodhead’s Statement: Why Now?

In a statement he read yesterday, Duke University’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, failed to explain why he hasn't criticized “activists” who circulated, within sight of his office windows “Vigilante” posters targeting white students.

Brodhead also failed once again to say anything critical of black racists who shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann or to explain to Seligmann, his family and the Duke/Durham community why he hasn't.

But for the first time Brodhead said he was sorry he hadn't met with lacrosse parents eighteen months ago and been more supportive of their sons.

Brodhead’s “I’m sorry” contains a huge element of “Spare me,” but I’ll leave that for another post.

Today I want to offer my answer to a question folks have been asking: Why did Brodhead make his statement now?

In a word: Homecoming

Duke's Homecoming will be held October 11th through the 14th.

Alums will attend the usual "meet and greet" socials and panels on subjects of current interest. There'll be tours of new physical facilities; and parties and dances in the evenings.

Friday, October 12th, at 5 p. m. the Alumni Association is sponsoring a reception which DAA says “celebrates alumni who have been invited to participate in the Volunteer Leadership sessions." ( those are the alums who lead the class fundraising campaigns. – JinC )

There’ll also be at least one event at which alums will have a chance to listen to Brodhead deliver some “State of the University” remarks and then ask a few questions.

Brodhead and the trustees know there’s strong and growing disgust, even anger, among alums over the University's "throw the students under the bus" response to the falsehoods of Nifong, the Raleigh N&O and many Duke faculty.

With Homecoming in mind, let’s look at a portion of Brodhead’s statement yesterday that so far has received very little press attention :

My colleagues in the Duke administration are going over all our procedures to see what we can learn from our experience.

But these are complex questions, and they aren’t ones Duke can or should hope to solve on its own.

To work through these difficulties and see that their lessons are learned not only here but around the country, we will be hosting a national conference of educators, lawyers and student affairs leaders to discuss best practices in this important field.
It’s obvious, isn’t it?

All those embarrassing and probing questions alums might ask can now be finessed.

"He's apologized, you know."

“Yes, that concerns me too. But are we sure the students were told not to tell their parents? In any case, some of Dick’s top people are taking a hard look at that. I’m going to wait to hear what they say. Can I freshen your drink? ”

And Brodhead himself:
“Gee, yes, Reade Seligmann. Of course, of course.

Let me tell you something that just happened before I came over here.

Joe Alleva and I were talking in my office; and Joe said there was so much he really, really wanted to say about Reade Seligmann and everything else.

But he wouldn’t do that right now for fear that anything he said might be seen as trying to influence the outcomes of the national conference on best practices Duke will be hosting.

And I must tell you I think we’d all be wise to follow Joe’s lead. I know I’m going to."
Message to President Brodhead and the trustees: Most of us understand.

Closing comment: A hat tip to citizen journalist KBP for prodding me to write this post. Also, my thanks go to him as well for his incisive commentary throughout the Hoax and the encouragement he’s given others who care about Duke and justice.