Saturday, October 13, 2007

The "demigod" v. the scientist

You’d expect the Democrats at the NY Times to be gushing over Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize selection and you're right. The Times headlines its story:

With Prize, Gore Is Vindicated Without Having to Add President to Résumé
It follows with "reporting" such as this:
“Why would he run for president when he can be a demigod?” said Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, who was a top aide in the Clinton White House. “He now towers over all of us because he’s pure.”
Meanwhile, those of you who like your news to be less gushy and more grounded in facts will appreciate Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg’s Boston Globe op-ed which begins:
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize justly rewards the thousands of scientists of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These scientists are engaged in excellent, painstaking work that establishes exactly what the world should expect from climate change.

The other award winner, former US vice president Al Gore, has spent much more time telling us what to fear. While the IPCC's estimates and conclusions are grounded in careful study, Gore doesn't seem to be similarly restrained.

Gore told the world in his Academy Award-winning movie to expect 20-foot sea-level rises over this century. He ignores the findings of his Nobel co-winners, who conclude that sea levels will rise between only a half-foot and two feet over this century, with their best expectation being about one foot. That's similar to what the world experienced over the past 150 years.

Likewise, Gore agonizes over the accelerated melting of ice in Greenland and what it means for the planet, but overlooks the IPCC's conclusion that, if sustained, the current rate of melting would add just 3 inches to the sea-level rise by the end of the century.

Gore also takes no notice of research showing that Greenland's temperatures were higher in 1941 than they are today. (emphasis added)

The politician-turned-moviemaker loses sleep over a predicted rise in heat-related deaths. There's another side of the story that's inconvenient to mention: rising temperatures will reduce the number of cold spells, which are a much bigger killer than heat. The best study shows that by 2050, heat will claim 400,000 more lives, but 1.8 million fewer will die because of cold. Indeed, according to the first complete survey of the economic effects of climate change for the world, global warming will actually save lives.

Gore has helped the world to worry. Unfortunately, our attention is diverted from where it matters. Climate change is not the only problem facing the globe.

Gore concentrates on his call for world leaders to cut CO2 emissions, yet there are other policies that would do much more for the planet. Over the coming century, developing nations will be increasingly dependent on food imports from developed countries.

This is not primarily a result of global warming, but a consequence of more people and less arable land in the developing world.

The number of hungry people depends much less on climate than on demographics and income. Extremely expensive cuts in carbon emissions could mean more malnourished people. If our goal is to fight malnutrition, policies like getting nutrients to those who need them are 5,000 times more effective at saving lives than spending billions of dollars cutting carbon emissions.

Likewise, global warming will probably slightly increase malaria, but CO2 reductions will be far less effective at fighting this disease than mosquito nets and medication, which can cheaply save 850,000 lives every year. By contrast, the expensive Kyoto Protocol will prevent just 1,400 deaths from malaria each year.
The entire Times story is here; Lomborg’s entire op-ed is here.

I highlighted and linked. Now you decide: the “demigod” Gore or the scientist Lomborg.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 12, 2007

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

Even if Churchill had not owned race horses and been a member of The Jockey Club, he would have known about the Cheltenham Festival and Racecourse. Every Briton does. The annual races at Cheltenham are attended by hundreds of thousands, including members of the royal family.

I offer the Cheltenham background as a lead in to the following from on pg. 111 of Martin Gilbert’s In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey (John Wiley & Sons) :

As well as being a house, Chartwell was also a farm: over the years Churchill had bought several farmhouses and fields to add to it.

In the 1950s his son-in-law Christopher Soames took charge of that aspect of Chartwell’s activities. Churchill was delighted: although never a farmer he loved the rural aspects of Chartwell, the animals and the woodlands, and was proud of its productivity and produce.

In Lord Beaverbrook’s papers . . . I found a letter from sir Archibald Sinclair to Beaverbrook, describing a visit to Chartwell in 1949:
’He took me round the farms, showed me short-horns, and Jerseys and then a huge brick hen-house he had built himself – “Chickenham Palace.”

Alongside was a noisome & messy little piece of bare ground – “Chichenham Palace Gardens.”

“What kind of hens?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t bother with the details,” growled Winston.’
And getting back to Cheltenham, it was Christopher Soames who convinced Churchill to begin buying race horses.

I hope the weather is as nice where you are as it is here.

Have a good weekend.


Standing up for Duke & KC and Taylor

This morning a clear-thinking, articualate Duke undergrad stood up for Duke & KC Johnson and Stuar Taylor.

The student is Ken Larry, who heads Duke Students for an Ethical Duke. Read Ken's letter published in The Chronicle today; then keep reading down this post to learn about two letter which followed Ken's.

Now Ken's letter:

Brodhead needs to apologize for more

By: Ken Larrey

President Richard Brodhead's Sept. 29 apology has been widely mischaracterized, so let's set the record straight. For example, a Chronicle staff editorial recently commended "his apology for a rush to judgment by the administration." Not only did Brodhead not apologize for this, he didn't admit a rush to judgment either.

Read the speech. Brodhead apologized for one thing only, and that was not "getting the communication right" with the lacrosse families, which is euphemistic for "I never allowed them or their lawyers to talk to me or demonstrate their innocence, ever." If you want to be generous, you could count his "regret" that "we may have helped create the impression that we did not care about our students" as an apology. Eighteen months go by, and that's the only apology that he, Orin Starn and Ole Holsti think is necessary?

THAT'S the extent of his administration's wrongdoing that recently cost the University a $10 million-plus settlement? President Brodhead not only sidestepped every major issue for which his administration is under criticism (and soon to be involved in more lawsuits), but he once again closed doors on other issues that require explanation or apology.

First of all, if Brodhead is going to have any chance to remain president, we need answers and explanations, not simply apologies, and this man is one of many who have a great deal to answer for. When one considers the body of performance from this administration, it is one ugly picture.

If we are going to move forward in all of this, we must speak with accuracy and precision. We must be courageous in challenging untruths, but we must be prepared to substantiate our claims and accusations. Similarly, when we are shown to be wrong, we must readily admit that we are wrong. Such is the ethic of a lover of truth.

As much as I respect professors James Coleman and Prasad Kasibhatla, I'm still going to call them exactly like I see them. When one considers the timing and wording of their recent letter as well as their utter refusal to substantiate their accusations, it is tough to view the letter as anything other than an academic drive-by.

Ken Larrey

Trinity '08

Founder, Duke Students for an Ethical Duke

Ken's letter drew a number of comments including this one from Professor Prasad Kasibhatla, who recently co-authored a Chronicle letter with Professor James Coleman in which they were very critical of KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor. You can read the Coleman-Kasibhatla letter as well as initial responses to it by Johnson and Taylor in this post.

Now Kasibhatla's letter:

Prasad Kasibhatla
posted 10/12/07 @ 9:28 AM EST

Ken Larrey's letter is a distilled version of
several emails he has sent me over the last few days,
the tone of some of which I have found to be quite confrontational.

From an intellectual perspective, his arguments are based on one fundamental premise - that the narrative put forward by critics like Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson is accurate. I do not agree with this premise.

As a direct response to Ken Larrey's statement regarding my 'utter refusal to substantiate [my] accusations', I refer him and interested readers to a recent paper, by Prof. Charles Piot in the journal Transforming Anthropology, deconstructing the Taylor and Johnson narrative -



Further down on the thread I responded to both letters. As always, I'll be interested in your comments.

John in Carolina
posted 10/12/07 @ 1:03 PM EST
Dear Ken,

I agree with the first two commenters. You've written an excellent letter which I hope will cause the trustees, President Brodhead, "Dick's senior team," and the faculty to move from denial to a recognition that an awful lot went wrong last Spring; and that it can't be blamed on KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor.

They didn't enable Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers and their supervisors. They helped expose the frame-up.

It wasn't the actions and inactions of Johnson and Taylor which have forced the University to settle five lawsuits, with more lawsuits very likely on the way.

Duke's leadership should stop blaming "outsiders" and take a hard, honest look at itself.

Dear Professor Kasibhatla:

Thank you for coming on the thread.

I followed your advice and read Professor Piat's journal article. As you may know, it's based on a paper he read on campus this past February.

However, the ad hominem portions of Piot's current article, while odious, are not nearly as harsh as the ad hominems I recall from February and which my contemporaneous notes confirm. (Audience members who wanted to tape, me included, were forbidden from doing so. Piot didn't pass out print copies. )

This is not the place for an extensive review of Piot's article. So I'll limit myself to three brief, important observations:

1) Piot notes some people at KC Johnson's Durham-in-Wonderland blog make racists remarks. True enough. But Piot sees that as somehow KC's fault.

KC's not responsible for racist comments. He doesn't even know whether the commenter is expressing a genuinely held feeling or simply posting something to make him look bad in the eyes of people who don't understand how a blog which allows comments works.

Most bloggers are in the position KC's in. Having visited his blog at least a few times a day since it opened, I can assure you and everyone else reading this that with an incredibly heavy comment load to review, KC does a first-rate job keeping his threads largely free of racist comment.

That brings me to the second point I want to make.

2) When Piot mentions instances of KC removing racist commentary of the sort bloggers, like almost all people holding public office or editing a newspaper receive, Piot does so only to ridicule KC and disparage his motivation.

On the matter of racist comments which appear at KC's blog, Piot sees them as confirming that KC stirs "file racism," and when KC removes them Piot sees that as also confirming KC stirs "file racism."

3) I hope we agree, Professor Kasibhatia and others, on the most important aspect of Piot's article: He notes a few instances where KC incorrectly stated a few facts concerning the hiring of a few faculty (which errors KC promptly acknowledged and corrected). But other than that small effort, I couldn't find any place where Piot attempted to refute any of KC's many citations of questionable and/or unsubstantiated professional activities and publication claims by Duke faculty, most of them members of the Arts & Sciences faculty. Could you?

Why do you think Piot didn't address those citations? They're very serious.

Would you support Provost Lange, as Duke's chief academic officer, appointing a group to examine them and report its findings to the entire Duke community?

This comment has already gotten long, so I'll end here. But I'll come back to the thread tomorrow to read commentary and perhaps comment again.

I thank The Chronicle for the opportunity to comment.

John in Carolina

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 11, 2007

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

From a brief excerpt from Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and America (Free Press. 2005)we can learn something that ought to give us who are American’s reason to question our Congress and ourselves:

In early April 1942 [Army Chief of Staff]General [George C.] Marshall and [Roosevelt’s most trusted Presidential Aide] Harry Hopkins traveled to Britain to present to Churchill the plan, favored by Roosevelt, for an Angle-American amphibious landing in Europe as soon as practicable.

Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff spent many hours with the two Americans discussing the logistics and timing. In a speech to a Secret Session of the House of Commons on April 23, Churchill told the House that the war would not be ended by defeating Japan, but “only through the defeat in Europe of the German armies or a German internal collapse, which could not be counted on.

“We have, therefore, to prepare for the liberation of the captive countries of western and southern Europe by the landing at suitable points, successively or simultaneously, of British and American armies strong enough to enable the conquered populations to revolt.”(pgs. 257-258)
You can see in these few sentence the heart of the difference between the British and American plans for attacking the European continent. Britain wanted to “nip at the edges,” as Americans sometimes put it. That's why Churchill is talking about “successively or simultaneously” landing at many places in Europe. Such a plan went directly counter to the American plan, strongly favored by General Marshall, of a single, powerful “knife-strike” into the heart of Germany.

For nearly two years the British and Americans argued intensely over the best strategy. But it’s not a question about strategy I want to ask you.

It’s about the Commons meeting in secret. That happened many times during the war. And what Churchill would report and what the Members would ask usually had substance; and if known by the Germans would have been helpful to them.

But as far as I know the Commons was on the whole worthy of its trust of secrecy.

And now my question which most of you have guessed: We’re in a time of war: could our Congress meet in secret to hear a report, the findings of which would be kept from a group every bet as odious as the Nazis?

I don’t think so and that tells us something about a great weakness we have in fighting the Terror War.

Your turn. What do you think?

Comments re: Duke Prof Starn's Reply

I’m going to respond to all but two of the comments on the thread of Duke Prof Starn's Reply as of 9 P. M. Eastern tonight. One of the two comments I’ve now just deleted because it was from a troll. The other comment I won’t respond to here. I’ll treat it in a separate post: “Troll or What?”

Look for it tomorrow.

Since in the weeks to come I’ll be returning to the Starn matter often, your comments on the thread are very worthwhile as regards their current content and for what they allow me to say that “lays pipe” for future posts.

Let’s begin with reader comments in italics and my responses in plain.

DukeEgr93 said...

I have discovered in all this that Provost Lange and Dean Thompson were two people who would always respond fully to e-mails I sent them, even when I went non-linear, and they were both willing to disagree without being disagreeable. I also felt pretty good about my conversation with Anne Allison, despite how the Chronicle of Higher Ed may have characterized it.

My guess, though, is that your moderate, but probing, e-mail is in the midst of dozens/hundreds or more vitriolic communications and may not find a response from her. Perhaps especially when one of her full faculty members tells her not to care...

Your right so far regarding Allison not responding.

Ken in Dallas said:


"You flatter yourself if you think...."

The man appears to be high strung.

I bow to your comment.

Anonymous @ 11:24 PM

Actually, this man is probably being STRUNG out... by colleagues and critics.

I think we should let them Duke it out on their own for awhile; they're gonna end up shooting each other. It will save us the bullets and the trouble, and quit feeding their blogomania.

When I was at Duke I didn't know any professors who did what Starn did and refused to correct it and apologize. I’m not saying it didn’t happen. But I didn't see it.

Faculty friends tell me what Starn did is now common. His reply certainly indicates Starn believes his friend, the department chair, … folks, you know the rest of what I'm going to say.

AC @ 12:21 AM,

I think many times in our society we have to look to our children to interpret confusing situations.

My six year old says this means: Neener neeer I can't hear you.

Wonder if this guy fell for Fish's paper too?

Starn is certainly not trying to disprove my demonstration of how he went about creating a deliberate misrepresention of what Coach K said.

Anon @ 12: 33 AM,

A. C.

?? interpret please??

I hope AC explains the Fish reference. He may be referring to a Hoax that then Duke Professor Stanley Fish and others fell for. It was a satire of PC baloney submitted as a journal article which Fish & Co. didn’t catch. They published it in an academic journal hosted by Duke.

Jim in San Diego @ 1: 46 AM

Prof Starn seems secure in the knowledge he is untouchable. This subsitutes, apparently, for intellectual honesty in his world.

No JinC comment necessary.

Jim in San Diego @1:51 AM

What does Coach K think? Has he ever said anything about the mischaracterization of his statement? I bet if Coach K complained to Provost Lange, for example, someone would pay attention.

Starn at the time he made the false statement was re-inventing himself as a “sports anthropologist,” and taking a year’s leave to finish a book related to sports.

What good would a back-and-forth with Starn have done Coach K?

On the other hand, what sort of attention might it have brought Starn? (“Our guest tonight, Duke Professor Orin Starn, recently challenged Coach K over his remarks about ……”)

What would be Prof Starn's reaction to a serious misquotation of his own views by a prominent member of the Duke faculty, I wonder? Would Prof Allison then care about the issue? Just asking rhetorical questions, I guess.

Yup, and you can guess my responses.

Anonymous @2:13 AM

I continue to be impressed by your efforts. How challenging Starn is compared to beating a dead horse I do not know. (Folks, Anon @ 2:13 AM is referring to something the commenter I’ll respond to tomorrow said.) His email response is further evidence of who and what he is.

Even if exposing the faculty at Duke has no effect, documentation is still invaluable. As with your work with Churchill.

Thanks on all your points, especially noting that documentation is important. Without it we deprive ourselves of reliable recall and any chance to learn from the past.

Anonymous @ 6:48 AM

It seems that being put on a Duke faculty member's spam filter list is their way of "punishing" different bloggers. I view it as the new way of "being tapped for Bones." Sadly, I've never qualified!

I’m sure they tell themselves their spam filters are to keep out the unworthy but most of them just don’t want to face reasoned, fact-based commentary.

As for “tapped for Bones,” some reading this may not know it’s a secret society at Yale into which only a relatively few undergrads are “tapped” for membership.

It’s so secret, folks, that I’ve just told you everything I know about it. So don’t ask me for more information about it, or I’ll turn on my spam filter.

JeffM @ 6:16 PM

Starn believes that HIS words are worth putting out in front of the public, but he hides behind his friends and his contempt for any who dare to disagree when someone else's words rebut his.

Yes, and in the process reveals to intelligent and reflective people more of himself than he realizes.

Enoch 8:30 PM

Of interest is Dr. Starn's implication that Allison will not be interested in his attacks on a fellow member of the Duke community because of her personal friendship with Dr. Starn.

At one level, Dr. Starn's letter reads like a tween dweeb suggesting that "we are friends" and therefore you are on the outside. Dr. Starn's emotional maturity is not really at issue here. What is at issue is his belief that his corrupt actions in attacking coach K will not be examined because of his friendships. It's a classic cover-up.
I wonder if Broadhead is ok with this kind of clubby corruption. Or if Allison is quite so sanguine about her "friendship" and the resulting get out of jail free card for Starn.

I’m glad your comment came last on the thread. I’m tired now and your comment is well-stated and says things with which I agree.

So it’s easy to say, “Right enough,” and sign off.

I’ll add one last thing though, for you and all the rest of us: Regarding Allison, have you ever heard the expression “Silence speaks?”

KC Johnson & “exploding myths”

Historian and blogger Robert KC Johnson is this year’s winner of the prestigious D. B. Hardeman Prize, awarded annually by the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for “the best book that focuses on the U. S. Congress, from the fields of biography, history, journalism, and political science.”

The foundation selected Johnson’s Congress and the Cold War ( Cambridge University Press, 2006) for the prize which carries a $2,500 award.

A reviewer in The Journal of American History recently called Johnson “a leading historical expert on the role of Congress in modern American foreign policy.”

Historian Julian Zelizer, himself a previous Hardeman Prize recipient, had this to say about Congress and the Cold War:

"For decades, historians and political scientists have ignored the pivotal role of Congress in shaping the politics of the Cold War. They will no longer be able to do so. By redefining congressional power, and revealing the numerous ways through which legislators pushed and pulled national defense policies, Johnson offers an exciting, well-researched, and first-rate piece of political history.

This outstanding work should be on the bookshelves of everyone who is interested in the story of American politics since WWII."
Former United States Senate Historian Donald A. Ritchie said the book contained “an astute analysis of our system of checks and balances" and praised KC for “explod[ing] the myth that Congress took a backseat to the presidency during the Cold War.”

I know KC is an outstanding scholar but I don’t know whether he deserves praise for “explod[ing] the myth” about Congress taking “a backseat to the presidency during the Cold War.”

I haven’t read the book and before I comment I want to hear what Mike Nifong, Sgt. Gottlieb, Melanie Sill and Duke’s faculty Group of 88 say about it.

But I can say this right now: There’s no blog hooligan anywhere tonight who doubts KC’s ability to explode myths. He’s been exploding Duke Hoax myths for eighteen months.

There are some people at Duke and in Durham who still don't appreciate KC's myth-busting ability. But they will once they get past their shock and awe.

Congratulations, KC. We're cheering!

One Reason I Respect Thomas Sowell

is that he so often writes things like the following:

Much was made of the fact that these Duke students came from affluent families. Lucky for them - and for us. Not everyone has an extra million dollars lying around to fight off false accusations. Their fight is our fight.
That was the last paragraph of his column following NC Attorney General Roy Cooper’s finding that David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were “innocent.”

Folks, can you imagine N&O editorial page editor Steve Ford, H-S editor Bob Ashley, Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and Duke Professors Wahneema Lubiano and Orin Starn writing anything like that as their closing paragraph?

They’re too self-seeking and filled with envy. None of them have the generosity of spirit, fairness and wisdom to have ever gotten to: “Their fight is our fight.”

Sowell's entire column is here.

Hat tip: The Johnsville News

An Invitation to Think

Do any of the following four questions interest you:

What is the proper balance in hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions between the need for transparency and accountability and the need for confidentiality?

What institutional arrangements give university trustees adequate independence from the administrators they review?

Is it consistent with their mission for university presses to publish books whose facts and footnotes they do not check?

In accordance with what principles may a university bar ROTC from campus because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell policy" concerning homosexuals, while inviting to campus a foreign leader whose country not only punishes private consensual homosexual sex but is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and who himself denies the Holocaust and threatens to obliterate the sovereign state of Israel?
If you answered, “yes,” I think you’ll want to visit Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, where you’ll find an op-ed by Stanford’s Peter Berkowitz. It includes the questions you’ve just read and a lot more.

Give it a look. Berkowitz gave DSED permission to reproduce his op-ed from the WSJ. It's in the center of DSED's main page: Ethics 101

Did The N&O Fake a Police Report?

READERS' ALERT: In the letter to Public Editor Ted Vaden portion of this post I say the N&O's March 25, 2006 story described "40 or so men 'barking racial slurs.'" That'a an error. The N&O siad: "men in the house started barking racial slurs."

I regret my error which does not change the indisputable conclusion of this post.


This is such a simple 1,2,3 post I’m dispensing with the usual intro and outline for such posts.

So here goes:

1) On March 25, 2006 the Raleigh News & Observer published the story containing the deliberately fraudulent script for the Duke lacrosse case frame-up which Nifong two days later used when he began speaking publicly about the Duke lacrosse students.

The N&O’s story was about a young black mother and college student who had suffered a horrific “ordeal” which finally ended in “sexual violence” at the hands of white boys from Duke.

Here’s the start of the N&O’s Mar. 25 story:

The woman who says she was raped last week by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team thought she would be dancing for five men at a bachelor party, she said Friday. But when she arrived that night, she found herself surrounded by more than 40.

Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."[…]
From the moment they read the N&O’s story, many readers sensed it was a fraud.

That brings us to #2.

2) N&O editors have assured readers any statements of the accuser concerning events that night had to match what was in police reports.

Here’s N&O Executive Editor for News Melanie Sill at the Editors’ Blog on Apr. 3, 2006 [excerpt]:
We took care in editing the story not to introduce new accusations -- the basics were the same as in police reports, which had already been made public
And here's Deputy Managing Editor Linda Williams at the Editors' Blog on Oct 5, 2006[excerpts]
Our March 25 article that included an interview with the woman who accused Duke lacrosse players of rape has been the subject of questions and speculation on blog posts. […]

The decision made prior to the March interview to limit it to the information in the police report was the correct decision and I stand by it. Our purpose was to hear from the woman in her own words the accusation she made to the police.

We also wanted to know if she would say anything that contradict (sic) the police report. In the brief interview, she repeated the information we knew to be the gist of the police report that we had access to at that time.
Now to # 3)

Ted Vaden
Public Editor
Raleigh News & Observer

Dear Ted:

Here a link to a JinC post:

The post documents the N&O’s 3/25/06 report in which the then anonymous false accuser had said she and the second dancer had been surrounded by about 40 men “barking racial slurs.”

You’ll see also the post documents statements by Editors Sill and Williams in which they tell readers the N&O only published statements of the accuser’s which were already in police report(s) available at the time.

However, in the more than a year and a half since you published what is now universally agreed to be a grossly fraudulent story, the N&O has refused to identify the police report(s) against which you checked Crystal Mangum’s charges.

The N&O's been asked to identify the police report(s) by hundreds of readers and some fellow journalists. You’ve not done so.

After an exhaustive review of all data and evidence related to the case that was handed over by then Durham DA Mike Nifong, Attorney General Roy Cooper found no evidence for the incident the N&O described of the 40 or so men “barking racial slurs.”

Given the N&O’s refusal to ever identify the police report(s) it claims it used; and given the Attorney General’s finding that there is no evidence for an incident of 40 or so men “barking racial slurs” at Crystal Mangum and Kim Roberts; what can a reasonable person conclude but that the N&O never had a police report describing 40 or so men “barking racial slurs?" That was faked.

If you disagree with that conclusion, I’ll be happy to do what I always do in such circumstance: publish your response in full at JinC.

Ideally, I hope you will use this post and the comments of hundreds of N&O readers to address a myriad of problems related to the N&O’s March 25, 2006 story. That's long overdue.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


John in Carolina

The Churchill Series - Oct. 10, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

Are the twentieth century's two world wars separate wars? Or is the second really a continuation of the first which began in 1914, had an interruption in fighting between 1918 and 1938, after which military conquest and fighting resumed until the war finally ended in 1945.

Historians still argue those question.

Churchill had no doubt about his answer. He gave it in the first paragraph of the preface to the first of his multi-volume history, The Second World War:

I must regard these volumes of The Second World War as a continuation of the story of the First World War which I set out in the The World Crisis, The Eastern Front, and The Aftermath. Together, if the present work is completed, they will cover an account of another Thirty Years' War.
Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm (p. iii) (vol.I) of The Second World War.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Chronicle’s Poll Results

Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, polled at its website on the question:

Do you agree with the ex-lacrosse players' decision to file a federal civil rights lawsuit?
Respondents were given a “Yes” or “No” choice.

The poll, of course, is unscientific.

That acknowledged, as of 10 P.M. Eastern tonight, 91% percent of respondents said, “Yes.”

That left 9% of respondents saying, “No.”

A friend and member of the Medical School faculty offered this interpretation of poll results so far:
“It’s hard to say anything about the 91%.

The rest? The 9%?

I’ll guess they’re trustees, administrators and A&S faculty.

Who else would say those kids shouldn’t sue?”

A Suggestion For The N&O

In a recent Sunday column, Raleigh News & Observer Executive Editor for News Melanie Sill asked readers to suggest how the N&O could better serve them. Here’s part of what Sill said:

Suggestions help serve our community in all kinds of ways, from major coverage themes to useful information. Keep 'em coming.
Sill's question isn't really a tough one, is it?

I’ve just left the following comment on the thread of Sill’s column posted at the Editors' Blog.


Dear Melanie,

I suggest N&O editors at the Editors’ Blog answer readers’ questions.

Here’s a copy of a comment with questions I asked Deputy Managing Editor Linda Williams which she’s never answered. Following my comment and questions to Editor Williams, I say a few more things to you.


Dear Editor Williams:

Historian and blogger KC Johnson, co-author of Until Proven Innocent has said this about Columnist Barry Saunders:

"The reaction from some quarters [to impending civil suits against Durham] was predictable.

The N&O’s Barry Saunders penned a race-baiting column falsely asserting that Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty had “hired themselves a stripper.” This false claim, and Saunders’ other taunts, only bolstered the falsely accused students’ case against Durham, by showing the continuing harm to their reputations—something Saunders might have wanted to consider before he wrote.

And Saunders, hyper-sensitive to the slightest of perceived slights against African-Americans, appeared to be unconcerned with his own perceived slight against the religion of the falsely accused players.

But, of course, this is the same Barry Saunders who previously eviscerated media coverage of a gang-rape allegation—when the defendants were black NCCU students. Their accuser (whom Saunders mocked) didn’t show up for a probable cause hearing, prompting dismissal of charges.

But the mere filing of charges, according to Saunders, caused long-term damage to the students’ reputation: ‘I saw the two dudes’ pictures in the paper. I’m not saying they looked guilty, but let’s face it. It’s hard to look innocent when your mug shot is splashed on television or in the paper in connection with some horrific story.’ (To remind Saunders, the mugshots of Seligmann and Finnerty were “splashed”—over and over and over again—on national television and on the cover of Newsweek.)”

(end of Johnson blog quote)

I'm sure you know, Editor Williams, that Executive Editor for News Melanie Sill says Saunders meets N&O standards.

And I don't know anyone who disputes that he does.

But what many people are asking is why a race-baiter like Saunders “meets N&O standards?”

Just a few years ago the N&O made what it said was a sincere apology for its long history of race-baiting. The N&O promised readers it would no longer race-bait.

But soon after that, the N&O launched its deliberately false, racially-inflammatory Duke lacrosse coverage.

By withholding relevant news and promoting the lie that white lacrosse players hadn’t cooperated with police, the N&O helped bring about the indictments of three innocent white men.

But the N&O knew the white men had cooperated with police.

I don’t believe you would have promoted the falsehood that the players hadn’t cooperated with police if they’d been black men instead of white men.

I’m not wrong about that, am I?

The N&O withheld for over a year the exculpatory news that Mangum told you on March 24, 2006 that Kim Roberts had also been raped at the party, but didn’t report it for fear of losing her job. You also withheld the news that Mangum said Roberts would do anything for money.

You wouldn’t have withheld such critically important news for over a year if Mangum had been a white woman and David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann had been black men indicted by a white DA like Mike Nifong using grand jury testimony by two white cops like Benjamin Himan and Mark Gottlieb, would you?

After Duke University expressed concerns that publishing the “Vigilante” poster with face photos of 43 white Duke students on it would add to the danger those students were already facing, the N&O published the poster anyway. The N&O didn’t even tell readers what Duke had said.

If, in similar circumstances, NC Central University expressed concerns that publishing an anonymous “Vigilante” poster with face photos of 43 of its black students the DA and cops were saying were involved in the brutal beating and gang rape of a young white mother who was a student at Duke, would you have gone ahead and published the poster anyway?

I think the answer is obvious. Of course not. The N&O would never do something like that to a group of black males. Even your worst critics don’t believe you’d do such a thing to a group of black men.

But suppose you had.

And suppose people like Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Community Activist Victoria Peterson, Professors Houston Baker, William Chafe, Karla Holloway, Irving Joyner and Tim Tyson. Mayor Bill Bell, Journalist Cash Michaels and NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber reacted to what you did.

Imagine they issued a statement denouncing the N&O for doing something which “reeked of racism every bit as ugly and dangerous as the racism often found in Southern newspapers in the last century.”

What would you have said in response?

What if those people – all of whom often proclaimed their commitment to civil rights – demanded the N&O apologize to the players, their families and the community and fire the people responsible for publishing the racist “Vigilante” poster?

What would you have told your fellow N&O editors they should do?

Who were the N&O journalists who decided to publish the “Vigilante” poster? Do any of them still work for the paper? If any do, what does that tell the community about the N&O?

I know what my answer is but I’d like to hear yours first.

Editor Williams, I hope you don’t have any problem agreeing with this: At the N&O, race still matters.

I also hope you agree with this: Whites have been too passive in accepting “back of the bus” treatment from the N&O. We should demand the N&O once-and-for-all stop playing one race against another and treat people of all races fairly.

Thank you for your attention to my comment. I look forward to your response.


John in Carolina


A veteran MSM news editor like yourself, Melanie, knows I’ve asked Williams very important questions which are on the minds of many N&O readers.

For more than 18 months, readers have been asking when did the N&O learn of the extraordinary cooperation the players provided police; why was there no mention of the players’ cooperation in your March 25 story; and when and in what detail did the N&O finally report the players’ cooperation?

More recently, informed readers have asked why the N&O withheld for thirteen months critically important news exculpatory for the indicted players? I'm talking about what Crystal Mangum told you on March 24, 2006: that Kim Roberts had also been raped at the party but hadn't reported it for fear of losing her job.

Whose interests were served by the withholding of that news?

And then there are all the questions growing out of Ruth Sheehan’s admission that Nifong served as an anonymous source for her March 27 column, “Teams Silence Is Sickening.”

I hope you and the other editors will accept my suggestion and start answering questions. Even Public Editor Ted Vaden thinks you ought to answer them.

I look forward to an honest and substantive response instead of either the usual name-calling or silence.

Thank you for your attention to this comment.


John in Carolina

PS – Did Joe Neff ever retract the false statements he made May 22, 2007 at the National Press Club?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 9, 2007

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

On Sept. 12, 1940, with the London Blitz underway, Churchill thought to move the times of Cabinet and Ministerial meetings forward, so that when the nightly raids began, ministers and others would more likely be in shelters at their homes or offices than at 10 Downing Street, which lacked a satisfactory shelter because it sits on soft ground.

What follows is from a memorandum Churchill sent that September day to Sir Edward Bridges, Secretary to the Cabinet.

As you read it, think of what Churchill’s principal bodyguard during the war, Scotland Yard Detective-Inspector Walter Thompson, often said of Churchill: “Nothing escapes Winston’s attention.”

You’ll also see in the memorandum a wonderful example of the impish sense of humor which helped sustain Churchill in those dark hours.

Prime Minister to Sir Edward Bridges:

Will you kindly convey to the Cabinet and Ministers the suggestion which I make that our hours should be somewhat advanced. Luncheon should be at one o’clock, and Cabinet times moved forward by half an hour. In principle, it will be convenient if we aim at an earlier dinner-hour, say, 7:15 P.M.

Darkness falls earlier, and for the next few weeks severe bombing may be expected once the protection of the fighter aircraft is withdrawn.

It would be a good thing if staffs and servants could be under shelter as early as possible, and Ministers are requested to arrange to work in places of reasonable security during the night raids, and especially to find places for sleeping where they will not be disturbed by anything but a direct hit.

The full text of the memorandum can be found on pgs. 355-356 of Their Finest Hour, vol. II Churchill’s The Second World War. (Houghton Mifflin, 1949)

A Kristin Butler "Classic"

With Duke on break, The Chronicle didn’t publish today. As a result, there’ll be no Kristin Butler column this week.

We can all do without those “sugar-coated” emails BOT Chair Bob Steel sends periodically telling us we should “look to the future.”

And that uninformed and mean-spirited letter Professor Ole Holsti sent to The Chronicle recently? We’ve seen a good many such letters and emails from Duke faculty, haven’t we?

But Butler’s columns are special. They’re organized, fact-based, literate and to the point. They speak truth to the powerful at Duke. Not many on campus do.

Thanks to a prompt from JinC Regular Insufficiently Sensitive, I went to The Chronicle archives to find a Butler “Classic” to post and tide you all over to next Tuesday.

It was tough selecting one. Just about all her columns are “Classics.” I finally settled on her Nov. 3, 2006 column (Her columns were then published on Friday’s).

After Butler’s column, I offer a few comments.


In 239 days, Mike Nifong has sullied his 27-year career with the Durham District Attorney's office. During that time, Nifong has been roundly criticized for procedural and ethical violations.

So will Durham County voters consider his misconduct at the polls?

According to a Raleigh News & Observer poll, the answer is no.

That Oct. 16-19 survey of 600 "likely voters" indicates Nifong is strongly favored to win, attracting 46 percent of those surveyed. By contrast, 28 percent pledged support for Lewis Cheek, 24 percent remained undecided, and 2 percent preferred write-in candidate Steve Monks.

Now for once, I'm speechless: What could 46 percent of Durham's likely voters possibly be thinking?

If the past seven months have taught us anything at all, it's this: Mike Nifong is not fit to be our district attorney.

His highly unethical and unprofessional conduct is as serious as it is systematic; prominent among Nifong's most egregious acts is his refusal to consider exculpatory evidence, even as he misrepresented the facts of the case to media outlets.

Of course, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans may not have ever been indicted if Nifong had not orchestrated a tainted photo lineup, whose conditions violated not only Durham police standards, but also those of the Actual Innocence Commission, an organization that advocates for the rights of the accused.

And as we all found out last week, Nifong has never spoken-not once!-to the alleged victim about the events of that night; still, he had no reservations about telling Bill O'Reilly that "there is not a doubt in my mind that [the alleged victim] was raped and assaulted at this location" and announcing to Dan Abrams that "I am convinced that there was a rape, yes sir."

This brings us to an important point: It was Mike Nifong's mouth-at least as much as Durham's racial or socioeconomic tensions-that blew this case out of proportion.

While giving more than 50 interviews in the first days of the investigation, Nifong called the players "hooligans," wondered aloud "why one would need an attorney if one had not done anything and was not charged," and denounced their "blue wall of silence" to the press.

Despite the fact that such grandstanding is clearly in violation of prosecutors' ethical code, Nifong continued to claim that the students' "daddies could buy them expensive lawyers" and that they knew the right people, while even questioning their "manhood."

This arrogant, self-serving commentary is chief among the reasons why I will be voting against Mike Nifong on Tuesday.

Nifong did, indeed, have a responsibility to carefully and dispassionately investigate the alleged rape when it was reported. In that regard, he has done more than just fail; he has use this investigation as a bully pulpit to inflame racial and socioeconomic tensions in our community.

Now, some among his supporters-notably the Independent Weekly, which is widely distributed on campus-have noted that although Nifong "may have mishandled the case," we should ask, "How could anyone know whether or not the person the governor would appoint [if Nifong loses] would do any better than Nifong?"

Well, the answer is that we certainly couldn't do much worse. As we've seen, Nifong has violated every ethical rule in the book, all the while attempting to leverage his role as prosecutor for his reelection campaign.

And never forget that we're talking about a profoundly stubborn, unstable man here, one who colleagues say will "curse you, scream at you, call you names over nothing." Others report seeing Nifong "lose his temper and berate attorneys in an unprofessional manner."

In his defense, some Nifong supporters have rationalized that "we don't have a school to tell you how to handle crisis situations" and "he was very new to the situation at the time." Yet given the district attorney's mercurial personality, these defenses seem irrelevant.

Nifong has no one to blame but his own antagonism for his electoral woes.

And woes they are-especially on the Duke campus.

Whether or not it was true that "there's been a feeling in the past that Duke students are treated differently by the court system," Nifong has made sure that we are today.

Does the man who vowed to "not allow Durham's view in the minds of the world to be a bunch of lacrosse players at Duke raping a black girl from Durham" really think his behavior has done anything to "address the underlying divisions that have been revealed?"

Of course not; he is the one who has "revealed" them.

Butler’s column appeared four days before Nifong was elected to a full term as Durham DA with the public support of many Duke faculty.

Seven weeks later Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, finally abandoned his support for Nifong’s plan to put three obviously innocent young men – two of them Duke students; the other a recent Duke grad – on trial at which time Brodhead said they’d have their chance to be “proved innocent.”

A question for all of you who regularly read Kristin Butler's columns: If President Brodhead, the trustees, “Dick’s senior team,” and most faculty had shown the judgment, fairness, integrity and courage we’ve seen week after week in Butler’s column, how far would Nifong and the others have gotten with their criminal plans?

Thank you, Ralph Phelan

Ralph Phelan comments here often including from time-to-time telling me to improve the quality of my posts.

I always appreciate RP's comments. He's one of many of you who help makes this blog much better than it would be if everything was left to me.

Anyway, RP commented in response to Sunday's post, Suit Filing & Cpl. Addison (Post 1).

RP began his comment quoting from another commenter. After RP's comment I make a few of my own. Now RP:

"Aside, I suppose a witness in a civil case can invoke the 5th and get away with it."

Yes. But under rules of civil trails, the jury is then to assume the worst about what he would have said.

I don't think he will, because
doing so would be bad for his personal liability, and good for Durham's. And multi-defendant suits are all about blame-shifting.

It's in Durham's interest to make it look like he was acting on his own against city policy and therefore not covered by "qualified immunity." That would let the city off the hook for some portion of his bad acts.

It's in Addison's interest to claim that he was following orders and policy and what he was doing was legal, thus sticking the city with liability for his acts.

Given that the city released a report saying that the police did nothing wrong, that should be pretty easy for Addison to claim.

If the city wants to claim they're not responsible for his acts, they're reduced to arguing that any reasonable person would have recognized that their orders and policies were illegal and refused to follow them.
I offer no comments on any part of RP's comment except the sentence beginning: "Given that the city released a report......"

Two things to bear in mind here. First, as a sworn officer, Cpl. Addison has certain duties he can't waive off on the basis of someone else telling him to violate duties he'd sworn to fulfill.

Just how sworn duties will play out in the suit I don't yet know, but I'm working to try to learn.

Second, at the time of the report RB refers to as "the city released ..." (Chalmers-Baker) some people commented that since it made no mention of Addison and what he'd done, that meant his actions weren't all that important and/or relevent to the type of suit we are seeing now.

Such assertions were far from reality. Addison's conduct stands for what it is regardless of whether a city review of police conduct ignores it.

Something else: By failing to even mention Addison's actions, Chalmers-Baker actually put the city in the position of effectively saying, "we don't think what Addison did is even worth mentioning."

The city was effectively saying that what Addison did were not the actions of a rogue cop for which the city shouldn't be held responsible, but were instead so usual and customary that they didn't even rate a mention in the report.

Whatever you and I may think of Chalmers-Baker, the attorneys for the three young men must love it.

Message to Ralph Phelan: Thank you.

Highlighting H-S Editor Ashley (Post 3)

(Another in a post series highlighting Durham Herald Sun Editor Bob Ashley’s work. The series seeks to help you answer the question: Is Ashley the worst newspaper editor in America or does he just seem that way?)

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

What's more, Ashley's one of those editors who thinks it's not enough for him to give you his opinions seven days a week in editorials, and let's admit it, often in the news columns.

Every Sunday Ashley publishes - yup - a Bob Ashley column complete with a picture of himself.

It's the kind of picture the leads readers who meet Ashley to later say to friends: "He's a much older man than I thought, and he needed his hair trimmed."

Anyway, last Friday, a massive civil rights suit was filed by attorneys for the three former Duke students who now even Duke's President, Richard ("Whatever they did was bad enough.") Brodhead, agrees were framed by some Durham officials and certain Durham Police officers and their superviisors.

Since Friday the suit filing has been "front-page" national news.

So what was Bob Ashley's column about this Sunday?

The suit? No, the comics!

I'm not kidding.

Ashley's Sunday Oct. 7 column began:

You may have noticed some unusual developments on the comics pages lately.

Two popular, long-time strips have been blazing new trails.
Now, folks, we all know how important comics are to many newspaper readers. The comics and the crossword puzzle are the first newspaper places my wife turns to.

But for the editor of Durham's only daily newspaper to use his Sunday column to discuss the comics just two days after his city, the former DA and top police officials were hit with a lawsuit that many legal experts say will uncover criminal activity is ... well, it's the sort of thing Bob Ashley does.

That's why many people believe he the worst newspaper editor in America.

Ashely ended his comic column with:
Let me know what you think of these long-running strips' new focus and direction.
You bet, Bob.

Ashley's entire comic column is here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Churchill Series – Oct. 8, 2007

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

During WW II Churchill arranged with his Private Secretaries that documents he was expected to read would be presented to him in boxes, with the documents stacked in an order Churchill developed knowing he could not always read everything his aides passed to him.

The documents were stacked as follows:

Most important or urgent matters at the top.

Than in descending order:

Foreign Office telegrams

Military Service telegrams

Reports he had requested

Parliamentary questions

Documents requiring his signature

Documents his aides decided he should see

Reports from General Ismay, his chief military aide

Documents called “Answers Others” from cabinet members and the like seeking answers to specific questions


Week-end (significant but low-priority documents the staff thought could wait to be read on the week-end.).

A few JinC comments:

You may be wondering why, in time of war, reports from General Hastings “Pug” Ismay were so far down in the box.

I can’t say for certain, but I’d bet it was because Churchill saw Ismay almost every day, they were close friends and often traveled together during the day. So it would be easy for Churchill to say, “Pug, I didn’t get to your documents today. What should I know?”

Why, in time of war, were Foreign Office documents placed ahead of the Military Services documents?

Again, I can’t be sure, but I’d bet it reflected the great importance of diplomatic events and policies in allied and neutral nations.

Why was Ecclesiastical on the list?

The King was head of the Church of England, so his First Minister would be expected ……

The order in which papers were presented to Churchill is found in Steven F. Hayward’s Churchill on Leadership (Forum, 19970 (pg. 77)

The West's Challenge

The case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch-Somali politician and writer, poses a very serious, immediate challenge to the Dutch people. And all of us in the West who value freedom have a stake in how the Dutch respond to the challenge. Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum explains:

Hirsi Ali has been under Dutch police protection since 2002, when her public comments about mistreatment of women in the Dutch Muslim community and references to herself as "secular" led to death threats in Holland.

Though encouraged to remain in the country -- and promised security protection -- by the government then in power, the mood in Holland changed in 2004.

That year, a fanatic named Mohammed Bouyeri infamously murdered Theo Van Gogh, the director of a film about the oppression of Muslim women -- and then thrust a knife bearing a note threatening Hirsi Ali, who wrote the film's script, into the victim's chest.

Dutch society became, and remains, bitterly divided in the wake of the Van Gogh murder.

Some of Hirsi Ali's compatriots decided it was time to address the issues of women, Islam and integration head on.

The Dutch writer Leon de Winter, a defender of Hirsi Ali, talks openly about his country's failure to integrate Muslim immigrants, attributing the problem to the Dutch "guilt complex": "As soon as we let people from the Third World come here to work in our rich country, we . . . somehow saw them as sacred victims."

Others simply want Hirsi Ali and her ilk to go away forever, thereby keeping Holland out of the headlines and Amsterdam off terrorists' hit lists. Unlike the British, who have gotten used to the idea that faraway events can affect them, the Dutch, at least in this century, are more insular.

That helps explain why, in 2006, the Dutch government tried to revoke Hirsi Ali's citizenship over an old immigration controversy, and why her neighbors went to court that year to have her evicted from her home (they claimed the security threat posed by her presence impinged upon their human rights).

But although she did finally move to the United States, the argument continued in her absence. Last week, the Dutch government abruptly cut off her security funding, forcing her to return briefly to Holland.

The reasons given were financial, but there was clearly more to it. To put it bluntly, many in Holland find her too loud, too public in her condemnation of radical Islam. She doesn't sound conciliatory, in the modern continental fashion.

Compare her description of Islam as "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women" with the German judge who, citing the Koran, in January told a Muslim woman trying to obtain a divorce from her violent husband that she should have "expected" her husband to deploy the corporal punishment his religion approves.

Hirsi Ali herself says she is often told, in so many words, that she's "brought her problems on herself." Now the Dutch prime minister openly says he wants her to deal with them alone.

Fortunately, Hirsi Ali is already back in the United States, under professional, full-time, well-resourced and for the moment privately organized protection. But this week, the Dutch parliament is due to debate her status once again.

And once again, the Dutch will be confronted with the facts that Hirsi Ali remains a Dutch citizen; that the threat to her life comes at least in part from groups based in Holland; that she lives abroad because the Dutch political situation forced her to; and that when she speaks out, she does so in defense of what she believes to be Dutch values.

Whether or not the Dutch like it -- and I'm sure most of them don't -- revoking her police protection will send a clear message to the world: that the Dutch are no longer willing to protect their own traditions of free speech. Resources will be found, and she will recover. But will Holland?
Do you remember the book Winning By Intimidation?

That title is a good description of the strategy many Muslims are using to destroy Western civilization and replace it with a fundamentalist form of their religion in which it’s OK, even good, for a husband to beat his wife.

Threats, assassinations, riots and bombings are all part of the intimidation strategy which works hand-in-hand with “the false promises” strategy.

The “false promises” strategy comes into play when “Muslim spokesmen” assure Western governments if they’ll just give in now, there won’t be any more intimidation acts.

Many Western governments, already intimidated, go the Munich route and “buy” the false promises.

So the Muslim extremists and their moderate Muslim enablers “win” with “the false promises” and then start another round of intimidation.

It’s been going on in the West for decades. Hirsi is a recent and notable victim of those Muslims who would destroy what the West stands for. So are the Dutch and the rest of us in the West who value our freedoms.

Hirsi knows she’s in a desperate fight. Too many in the West, including America, don’t.

Anne Applebaum’s entire column is here. I hope you read it.

Applebaum is someone with whom I often disagree, but I respect her as a thoughtful writer and genuine human rights advocate.

Hat tip:

But if Addsion …?

We know it's good to ask sensible questions.

I thought about that a while ago when I read Scott’s comment which came in on the thread of "Suit filing & DPD Cpl. Addison (Post 1)"

To best understand what follows, you should be familiar with that post and the five Addison Series posts which I link to in it.

Now with Scott's comment in italics and my responses in plain; and allowing that during a busy work day I won’t provide links, but will post soon on everything I say here and at that time provide links, let’s begin.

From Scott:

What is confusing to me goes back to your earlier posts concerning [statements by DPD Cpl. David Addison’s supervisor, DPD Maj. Lee Russ, and Durham City Manager Patrick Baker ] that DPD and the City of Durham bear no responsibility for the Wanted Poster issued by Addison. They both claimed the Wanted Poster was a Crime Stoppers operation and Crime Stoppers is totally independent of the DPD, even though Addison is a DPD officer and draws a City of Durham (DPD) pay check.

Scott is referring to posts I published beginning last May. He’s done a nice job of highlighting some of what I was told and reported.

And there’s much more Scott could have said about claims made by Russ, Baker and others such as Duke’s Police Director, Robert Dean, who at the time the CS Wanted poster was produced was not only Duke’s Police Director but the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Durham CrimeStoppers.

Be sure to read those Addison Series posts and keep checking in here for more about Addison, Russ, Dean, Duke and many others, including Durham’s new top-flight justice fighters, Brendan Sullivan and Barry Schenk, the lead attorneys representing David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

If that is the case, how come Russ ordered Addison on April 10, 2006, to change some wording in the poster, not once but twice within the space of less than an hour, and Addison complied?

Russ directed Addison to make changes three times and over the course of some hours.

That aside, Scott’s question is a smart one. By directing Addison to change the CS Wanted poster and by Addison’s prompt change each time, didn’t all that indicate that Addison was answerable to DPD for what he was doing with the CS Wanted poster? And wasn’t DPD Maj. Russ “supervising” Addison?

Attorneys Schenk and Sullivan will surely ask those questions and others like them.

The DPD/Durham City defense will likely be that Addison was acting in his capacity as CS Coordinator and Russ was merely suggesting changes, much the way police officers often make suggestions to citizens who are working to help them.

I plan to post further on this line of defense once I've had a chance to update material I have and hopefully interview some of those involved.

Where I work, if I issue a memo and someone who has "no responsibility" for it (from a supervisory point of view) tells me to change some wording, I would tell him or her to go pound sand (politely, of course).

That’s right, Scott. And won’t it be interesting to hear what the DPD Supervisors, Baker and [Durham Mayor Bill] Bell have to say about all that and more.

A police officer can do a lot of plausible denying about what h/she knew or didn’t know about, say, a DNA report or what the officer talked about with the DA and the other officer during the 40 to 50 minute car trip from Durham to DNA Security’s lab in Burlington, (“Well, the one thing I remember for sure about that trip is as we passed a Bojangles, Investigator Himan said he really liked their fried chicken. Mr. Nifong disagreed. He said KFC extra-crispy was the best; and we all agreed, meaning no offense to Bojangles, you understand.”)

But it's hard to deny something there's a video tape of you saying; and it's hard to deny you didn't know someone you were responsible for supervising was making false statements that were being reported in every major newspaper and on every news program in your state.

Addison and Russ are right in the center of the "hard to deny" place.

Russ has stated that he is Addison's supervisor (or at least one of them -- it is possible that there are others in the chain of command between Russ, a major, and Addison, a corporal.

It’s very reasonable to think there would be others in a police chain of command between a Cpl. and a Maj. But Russ is Addison’s direct supervisor. Russ told me that during both my interviews with him. He also said he directly supervises a civilian DPD employee, Kammie Michael, who is DPD’s full-time spokesperson.

That a DPD Major, listed as third on the DPD’s organizational chart just below the Chief and Deputy Chief, directly supervises Addison and Michael is an indicator of the importance DPD, like all police departments, places on public statements made in its name.

Where I work, my supervisor definitely has the responsibility to "supervise" my work and if the "fit hits the shan", my supervisor is going to be held accountable, either because he was ignorant of what I was doing so he is negligent or knew what I was doing and did nothing to correct it or was in on a cover-up and enlisted me as part of that cover-up.

Scott, are you trying to tell us you don't work for Durham City?

Seriously, what Scott just said is a nice summary of what Russ will have to explain. And he can’t claim he and Addison were talking about KFC extra crispy. The statements Addison spoke and wrote are matters of public record. Russ surely knew about many of them. He surely knew they were false. What did he do?

Let's establish that I don't work for a police department nor do I work anywhere near Durham, so my experience may be totally unrelated to how things work in that organization and / or in that city.

But someone needs to tell me how Russ gets Addison to make corrections on a document when Russ / DPD doesn't have any responsibility (he claims) for that document and how Crime Stoppers is completely independent of the DPD when its representative (Addison) draws a DPD paycheck and reports to a DPD senior officer.

I’ll tell you that, Scott, if you'll tell me either how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or where Nifong keeps that smoking gun he never produced.

As a result of the civil litigation that is now underway, I hope Addison and Russ lose their jobs. They're both poor excuses for police officers.

Durham just has to do a better job of getting quality people in public service positions. But that's kinda the point of all this civil litigation, isn't it?

A lot of the civil litigation is intended to lead to outcomes that will make Durham less corrupt and safer. That’s going to be the hardest part of the suit.

The easiest part of it will be proving the young men’s civil rights were violated; that Durham City employees, officials and others inflicted grave harm on them; and that in inflicting harm on the innocent citizens the then DA and others may very likely have committed crimes.

Message to Scott: Thanks for a thoughtful comment.

A University or College Near You?

One of America’s greatest pundits, Michael Barone, says:

I am old enough to remember when America's colleges and universities seemed to be the most open-minded and intellectually rigorous institutions in our society.

Today, something very much like the opposite is true: America's colleges and universities have become, and have been for some decades, the most closed-minded and intellectually dishonest institutions in our society.

Colleges and universities today almost universally have speech codes, which prohibit speech deemed hurtful by others, particularly those who are deemed to be minorities (including women, who are a majority on most campuses these days).

They are enforced unequally, so that no one gets punished when students take copies of conservative alternative campus newspapers left for free distribution and dump them in the trash. But should a conservative student call some female students "water buffaloes," he is sentenced to take sensitivity training -- the campus version of communist re-education camps. The message comes through loud and clear. Some kinds of speech are protected, while others are punished.
The “water buffaloes” persecution occurred at the University of Pennsylvania. The Penn administrator who served as Grand Inquisitor and Re-education Director, Larry Moneta, was soon hired away by Duke University.

Duke’s trustees thought Moneta was the right person to serve as the school’s Vice President for Student Affairs.

In that capacity, Moneta helped develop and implement Duke’s disgraceful abandonment of its students as then Durham DA Mike Nifong and the Durham Police attempted to frame the students for gang rape as part of what MSM then called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.”

Moneta wasn’t alone in “throwing the students under the bus.” For many months Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, its trustees and almost all Duke’s faculty either did nothing to help the students or actually acted to encourage an obvious attempt to railroad three innocent students into the penitentiary.

Barone continues:
Where did speech codes come from? There certainly weren't many when I was in college or law school. So far as I can tell, they originated after college and university administrators began using racial quotas and preferences to admit students -- starting with blacks, now including Hispanics and perhaps others -- who did not meet ordinary standards.

They were instituted, it seems, to prevent those students from feeling insulted and to free administrators from criticism for preferential treatment -- treatment that arguably violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (although Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the swing vote in the 2003 Supreme Court case on the subject, said they could continue another 25 years).

Racial quotas and preferences continue to be employed, as a recent article on UCLA makes clear, in spite of state laws forbidding them, and university administrators seem to derive much of their psychic income from their supposed generosity in employing them.

This, even though evidence compiled by UCLA Professor Richard Sander suggests they produce worse educational outcomes for their intended beneficiaries and even though Justice Clarence Thomas makes a persuasive case in his book "My Grandfather's Son" that they cast a stigma of inferiority on them.[…]
Stigma of inferiority?

I’ll pass on that and just say this: I’m a Duke alum who’s lived close to Duke’s campus for more than 30 years. I don’t know one sensible adult familiar with Duke’s trustees, administration and faculty who believes they would’ve reacted the same way they did to the Duke Hoax had the false accuser been white and the students black, instead of the other way around.

Barone goes on to say:
The students who were exempted from serving their country during the Vietnam War condemned not themselves but their country, and many sought tenured positions in academe to undermine what they considered a militaristic, imperialist, racist, exploitative, sexist, homophobic -- the list of complaints grew as the years went on -- country.

English departments have been packed by deconstructionists who insist that Shakespeare is no better than rap music, and history departments with multiculturalists who insist that all societies are morally equal except our own, which is morally inferior.

Economics departments and the hard sciences have mostly resisted such deterioration. But when Lawrence Summers, first-class economist and president of Harvard, suggested that more men than women may have the capacity to be first-rate scientists -- which is what the hard data showed -- then, off with his head.

This regnant campus culture helps to explain why Columbia University, which bars ROTC from campus on the ground that the military bars open homosexuals from service, welcomed Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government publicly executes homosexuals.

It explains why Hofstra's law school invites to speak on legal ethics Lynn Stewart, a lawyer convicted of aiding and abetting a terrorist client and sentenced to 28 months in jail.

What it doesn't explain is why the rest of society is willing to support such institutions by paying huge tuitions, providing tax exemptions and making generous gifts. Suppression of campus speech has been admirably documented by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The promotion of bogus scholarship and idea-free propagandizing has been admirably documented by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. It's too bad the rest of America is not paying more attention.
It sure is.

Barone’s entire column is here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

About the Dieppe Raid

I usually don’t "advertise" at JinC but a dear friend, the same person who “flipped” from pdf. to Word the 155-page suit filing on behalf of the three young men most victimized during the Duke Hoax, has asked me a favor.

Well, one good turn deserves another.

My friend wants a recommendation as to the best one or two books dealing with planning for the Dieppe raid and assessment of why the raid went so wrong?

Thank you.

Suit filing & DPD Cpl. Addison (Post 1)

Readers Note: I promised to post today concerning the suit filed October 5 on behalf of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann and two of the persons named as defendents in the suit: Durham Police Cpl. David Addison and his DPD supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ. But I'll post today with my focus primarily on Addison and leave Russ for another day.

Three of the reasons for that are: 1) There's so much about Addison in the filing and in my archives. An archive search this morning using the entry word "Addison" produced 84 "hits," many to major posts dealing primarily with Addison;

2)While Addison and Russ are linked by virtue of a supervisor-supervisee relationship, I can fairer to each of the officers and better serve you if I focus in a post primarily on one or the other officer. By doing that, I'll be able to more carefully manage data I'm presenting that may very well involve criminal conduct. Being very careful with such data is something I owe Cpl Addison and Maj. Russ most of all but you as well.

Now lets begin with Addison.

In the 155-page filing, Addison is mentioned very often. If you're a JinC Regaular whose been following my Addison posting since last May and you've read the filing, I'll be interested to know how you think what I've posted looks when placed beside the filing.

My view is that what I've posted stands up very well. I've read it once through and most sections dealing with Addison a second time. I haven't found anything in my posts that is contradicted by the filing.

However, the filing does suggest Addison had a bigger role in the attempted frame-up and subsequent cover-up than I've suggested.

That said, here's what I'll do in the rest of this post. Present the text of The Durham Police Statements portion of the filing; link to and say a few words about The Addison Series posts I published this past February and March; and then make a few comments to end this post.

The Durham Police Statements were taken from the full text of the filing as a Word document which you can find here.

The Durham Police Statements

156. The Nifong Statements were entirely consistent with similarly false and
inflammatory statements made by other members of the Durham Police.

157. Upon information and belief, at all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Ronald Hodge was the Deputy Chief of Police and the second-highest-ranking official in the Durham Police Department.

158. Upon information and belief, at all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant David Addison was assigned by the Supervisory Defendants to serve as an official Durham Police spokesperson.

159. Beginning on March 24, 2006, Addison and Hodge made a series of public statements in which they, like Nifong, stated falsely that Mangum had been
brutally assaulted by members of the Duke lacrosse team and that the members of the lacrosse team were obstructing justice (the “Durham Police Statements”). At the times they made these statements, Addison and Hodge knew or should have known that they were false.

160. Examples of Addison’s and Hodge’s false and malicious statements include the following

a. On or about March 24, 2006, Addison told a reporter for WRAL TV:
“You are looking at one victim brutally raped. If that was someone
else’s daughter, child, I don’t think 46 would be a large enough number
to figure out exactly who did it.”

Case 1:07-cv-00739 Document 1 Filed 10/05/2007 Page 50 of 155

Page 51

b. On or about March 25, 2006, Addison told reporters from CBS and
ABC News that a “brutal rape” occurred at 610 N. Buchanan.

c. On or about March 25, 2006, Addison told the Durham Herald-Sun that
when Durham Police served the search warrant at 610 N. Buchanan on
March 16, 2006, the Duke lacrosse players who lived there had refused
to cooperate.

d. On or about March 25, 2006, Addison told the Durham Herald-Sun that
there was “really, really strong physical evidence” of a crime.

e. On or about March 25, 2006, Addison told the Raleigh News &
Observer that an attack had occurred, that some or all of the Duke
lacrosse players knew about it, and that the players should stop
obstructing the investigation and come forward to provide evidence.
Addison repeated these statements to the Durham Herald-Sun, ABC
News, and WRAL TV on or about March 25, 26, and 28, 2006.

f. On or about March 28, 2006, Addison colluded with Himan and
Durham Crimestoppers to produce a “Wanted” poster, which he caused
to be disseminated in and around the campus of Duke University. The
flier stated that:

On Monday, March 13, 2006 about 11:00pm, the Duke University
Lacrosse Team solicited a local escort service for entertainment. The
victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 Buchanan.

Case 1:07-cv-00739 Document 1 Filed 10/05/2007 Page 51 of 155

Page 52

The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The
victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific
crime sent shock waves throughout our community. Durham Police
needs your assistance in solving this case. We are asking anyone
who has any information related to this case, please contact Inv.
Himan at 560-4582 x229.

Information can also be provided anonymously through Durham Crimestoppers at 683-1200 or by email to
(Please use an anonymous email account). Durham Crimestoppers will pay cash for any information which leads to an arrest in this case.

g. In subsequent days, Addison, acting with the approval of senior
command officers in the Durham Police Department, and pursuant to
existing Department policy and custom, colluded with Himan and
Durham Crimestoppers to produce different versions of this same
“Wanted” poster.

h. On or about April 11, 2006, Hodge was interviewed by MSNBC while
attending the public forum at North Carolina Central University with
Nifong. When asked if Durham Police had a strong case against Duke
lacrosse players, Hodge told MSNBC, “I don't think we would be here if
it wasn’t.”

161. The Durham Police Statements also had direct and foreseeable consequences for the criminal process instituted against David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann.

Case 1:07-cv-00739 Document 1 Filed 10/05/2007 Page 52 of 155

Page 53

162. The Durham Police Statements foreclosed any objective search for truth and committed Durham Police to arrest three Duke lacrosse players. The Durham Police Statements also inflamed the public, including those who would eventually serve on the grand juries that indicted Plaintiffs, by marking the Plaintiffs as violent sex offenders whose guilt was already established beyond doubt.

163. Upon information and belief, Addison made each of these statements while under the supervision and with the approval of the Supervisory Defendants, and he was acting pursuant to existing Department policy and custom. Upon information and belief, the Supervisory Defendants were aware of Addison’s statements and did not retract them, remove Addison from his position, or reprimand him.


The following five posts were published last February and March. If you were interested in the filing portion above, I think you'll be very interested the Addison Series posts below. The provide background to the events described in the filing and more.

The Addison Series #1 – “This horrific crime” 2/16/06

Addison Series #2 – “CrimeStoppers will pay cash” 2/20/07

Addison Series #3 – “Not my poster” 2/25/07

Addison Series #4 - "They call it 'squeezing'" 3/2/07

Addison Series # 5 – “Major Duke Involvement" 3/11/07

Now a few closing comments: If you haven't yet, I hope you find time to read the Addison Series posts. I'll be referring to them in future posts.

In the "squeezing" post I suggested what things might be like for Addison in the event a Federal inquiry into the Hoax frame occurred. Currently he's a defendant in a civil suit. But much of what I said in the "squeezing" post applies to his current situation. In fact, I think he may be facing a far more difficult situation with the attorneys who'll depose him in the civil suit than he might with federal investigators. Have any of you ever seen Brendan Sullivan in action?

The Addison Series leaves no doubt that as the civil suit progresses we're going to learn a lot more about not only what Nifong and DPD did but what Duke University did as well.

More tomorrow. It's your turn now. I'm sorry this got so long.

Suit filing as Word.doc

Folks, the following my be of interest and help to you. It’s the intro to a post to which I link at the end of the intro. Read the intro and you’ll understand what I’m doing.

Readers Note:

This post was produced on 10/7/07 when an important court filing was available only in pdf form. Read on and you'll learn why it's posted with another date.

I'm a tech dummy but a friend "flipped" the 10/5/07 Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann suit filing from pdf. into Word.doc form.

Some of the indenting, spacing and italicizing were "lost" in the "flip" but spot checking a number of places in the Word.doc form indicated the text content is all there.

Double spacing was also lost in the "flip," but most of you should be able to easily create a double spaced Word doc. by copying this post or parts thereof off the screen, pasting it into Word and going from there.

While the filing occurred on 10/5/07 I'm posting the Word.doc form with a much earlier date stamp, so this extremely lengthy post doesn't "crowd" current posts. You can bookmark this post or copy it yourself.

Those of you who have been truth and justice seekers throughout the Duke Hoax and are reading this in October 2007 or latter will appreciate the date stamp I've chosen.

It's March 25, 2006, the day the Raleigh News & Observer published it's deliberately fraudulent "anonymous interview" story about what it said was a young, black mother's "ordeal" which ended finally in "sexual violence."

I hope the filing in Word.doc form is helpful to many of you.

Here’s the link

Seligmann Attorney: "Conspiracies"

Liestoppers provides a brief introduction and link to the audio of a WRAL interview with Richard Emery, one of the attorneys for Reade Seligmann. It's a "don't miss."

Also, don't miss Joan Foster's letter, Dear Mr Sharpton.