Saturday, November 10, 2007

NBC’s Green Fraud

Jonah Goldberg writes about it in the NY Post (via RealClearPolitics)

”We have turned out the lights in the studio," NBC's Bob Costas told viewers of Sunday's Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game, "to kick off a week that will include more than 150 hours of programming designed to raise awareness about environmental issues."

Discerning viewers with eyes keen enough to pierce the sanctimonious glare of Costas' candlelit silhouette may have noticed that the stadium's klieg lights still shone brightly.

On a typical game day, a large football stadium burns about 65,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 35,000 cubic feet of natural gas.

The cars driving to the game spew about 200 metric tons of CO2 (and that assumes nobody's driving SUVs or RVs, which is like assuming tailgaters are eating only sushi).

There's also the electricity used to broadcast the game and to watch it. But thank goodness Costas turned off the studio lights for a minute or two.
What would we do without NBC helping Al Gore lead the “Green fight?”

Reading on we learn NBC had much more in store for us:
NBC's "Green Week" continued apace: Morbidly obese contestants on "The Biggest Loser" lugged piles of recyclable cans up ramps and into enormous collection bins.

Of course, the cans were delivered to the stunt by diesel truck. So a lot of energy - and sweat! - that could have been used toward fermenting homebrew tofu (or whatever energy is supposed to be used for) was wasted on viewer schadenfreude.

The winners of the challenge each received a hybrid SUV. Alas, one of the winners didn't own a car to begin with, so the net result was one more car on the road and a little more CO2 in the air.

On "Days of Our Lives," a fictional couple had a fictionally "green" wedding. And the cast of the "Today" show burned massive amounts of jet fuel sending its hosts to the corners of the globe - leaving a "carbon footprint" larger than those left near the recycle bin on "The Biggest Loser."

I could go on, but you've seen the tyranny of Green even if you've never turned on NBC.

Green is everywhere. Every magazine feels compelled to do a special "green issue," but they feel so guilty about it, they ditch their glossy paper for pulp that gives it the feel of a hemp-commune newsletter that doubles as toilet paper. Food magazines have replaced "delicious" with "sustainable" as the highest praise.[...]

Now, the predictable response to my caterwauling is that I just don't get it. Of course, Bob Costas' Dickensian studio lighting is just so much symbolism. But, they respond, NBC is "raising consciousness" and promoting "awareness."

We've heard this tone before, perhaps starting in high school, when we were told, "If we all work together, we can make this the best yearbook ever!"

And that's why, on top of all the other reasons, Green Week - and the Green Millennium it hopes to usher in - is so annoying. It plays us all for suckers.[…]
The entire column’s here.

We sure do get played for suckers. In the last presidential election Senator John Kerry offered himself as “the environmental candidate.”

Kerry with five houses, three SUVs and 40-plus foot motorized yacht “the environmental candidate?”

Seems like some kind of joke, doesn’t it?

But millions of people believed it, just as millions no doubt didn’t understand NBC’s Green Week was not really about the environment, unless you mean it’s own financial environment.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Churchill Series – Nov. 9, 2007

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

In series posts this past Tuesday and yesterday, I provided excerpts from diaries kept during WW II by Field Marshal Alan Brooke (later Lord Alanbrooke), Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of the war. Alan Brooke had many sharp, even vicious, things to say about statesmen and soldiers, including Churchill. Please read the posts if you haven’t already.

Here’s one more example of Alan Brooke on Churchill:

"He knows no details, has only got half the picture in his mind, talks absurdities... And the wonderful thing is that 3/4 of the population of the world imagine that Winston Churchill is one of the great Strategists of History...Without him England was lost for certainty, with him England has been on the verge of disaster time and time again."
Now I want to give the rest of this post to Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert. I’ll add a few comments below the star line.

From Gilbert’s Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945-1965 (Houghton Mifflin, 1988) (pgs, 1332-1333):
[In February 1957] Lord Alanbrooke’s diaries were published with a copious and critical commentary by Arthur Bryant. No sing book gave a more distorted picture of Churchill’s war leadership, or would provide for many years to come so much material for critical, hostile and ill-informed portrayals of Churchill in the war years.

Alanbrooke sent Churchill a copy of the book, The Turn of the Tide, with a fulsome, and at the same time embarrassed and apologetic dedication:
To Winston from Brookie

With unbounded admiration, profound respect, and deep affection built up in our 5 years close association during the war.

Some of the extracts from my diaries in this book may contain criticisms, and references to differences between us. I hope you will remember that they were written at the end of long and exhausting days, often in the small hours of the morning, and refer to momentary daily impressions.

These casual day to day impressions bear no relation to the true feelings of deep-rooted friendship and admiration which bound me so closely to you throughout the war.

I look upon the privilege of having served you in the war as the greatest hounour destiny had bestowed on me.
”My dear Brookie,” Churchill wrote, generously as usual, to Alanbrooke [from France]. “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book,” and he added: “On the whole I think that I am against publishing day to day diaries written under the stress of events so soon afterwards. However, I read it with great interest, and I am very much obliged to you for what you say in your inscription.”
Folks, if “He knows no details, has only got half the picture in his mind, talks absurdities...” are “momentary impressions” “written at the end of long and exhausting days,” why place them, years after the war, between the covers of a book?

If they must be put there “for History’s sake,” then why not make clear they’re nothing but “momentary impressions” that occurred to you “at the end of long and exhausting days.”

People would then understand that what Alanbrooke was saying was really more revealing of him under stress than Churchill as a war leader.

But Alanbrooke didn’t do that.

I’ll say more about Alanbrooke and Churchill Monday.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think even if they are only "momentary impressions."

I hope you have a nice weekend.


Bob Harris didn't fail Duke

Lately, whenever someone's mentioned important, unanswered questions about Duke's shameful response to the Hoax, The Chronicle's editorial board has trumpeted the Allen Building's "MOVE ON" call.

By doing that, the students on the editorial board are, for whatever reason(s), failing Duke.

The Chronicle's editorial board members owe a duty to Duke to do what Bob Harris did this time last year: Speak truth to power.

No one who loves Duke and remembers the incident will ever forget what Bob did.

One year ago yesterday I posted on it in Go, Bob Harris, Go. That post follows, after which I hope many of you will comment.

I'll make sure Bob gets your comments this year just as he did last year, to which comments he responded and expressed thanks.

I'll also pass your comments on to The Chronicle's editorial board for the good it might do them

Now here's last year's post: Go, Bob Harris, Go.

For thirty years sportscaster Bob Harris has been the familiar “Voice of the Duke Blue Devils.” He broadcasts both football and basketball games. Last year Bob broadcast his 1000th Duke basketball game. He was recently inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Bob’s also a good neighbor and friend to many in Durham. I couldn’t tell you the number of times Bob has helped sports youth groups find speakers for their awards dinners or agreed to serve as MC at a function at a retirement home.

Bob’s Hall of Fame citation includes this:

”[He’s] been extremely involved in community service, with countless celebrity appearances as well as behind-the-scenes work for a host of charitable causes.”
So yesterday morning, Election Day, DA Mike Nifong knew exactly what he was doing when, with TV camera’s rolling, he approached Bob "for a handshake."

"The handshake" was sure to be on the local Noon Hour and Five and Six O’clock news programs.

Nifong no doubt was inwardly salivating at the thought of viewers who hadn’t yet voted watching and hearing about “a smiling DA Mke Nifong shaking hands this morning outside a polling station with Bob Harris, the very popular ‘Voice of the Duke Blue Devils.’”

But Harris knew what Nifong’s game was and he called it (from WTVD):
Eyewitness News cameras were rolling when Nifong tried to shake hands and say hello to Bob Harris, the voice of Duke sports. Harris was in his car as Nifong walked up.

"You've got to be nicer than that," Nifong said.

"Get out of here," Harris said. "Don't pull this crap."

"This isn't about Duke," Nifong said. "This isn't about Duke at all."

"No," Harris said. "It's about honesty. You're not honest."
Wasn't that wonderful, what Harris did?

I’m sending him the email below.

KC Johnson and Johnsville News also posted on Harris’ truth telling.

You can read more about Bob here.

Dear Bob:

Thirty great years as the “Voice of the Blue Devils!”

And then yesterday morning, with “Don’t pull that crap” and “It’s all about honesty. You’re not honest,” you were “the voice” of all of us who want a Durham DA who’s fair and seeks justice for all.

Yesterday was one of your most memorable and important “broadcasts.” It’s heartened those of us in the Durham and Duke communities and elsewhere who are pressing on in the fight to right wrongs.

And as we all know, your words will be special to those who've suffered most because of Nifong's travesties: the players and their families.

I posted on your remarks at my blog. Here’s the link.



Your Marginalization Challenge

Tim Blair is one of Australia’s best bloggers. Yesterday he issued a marginalization challenge which I’m passing on to you.

Blair posted:

Oxford Research Group researchnik Chris Abbott’s new book repeats the usual nonsense:

Abbott says terrorism is clearly not the greatest threat to world security. A far bigger danger will come from climate change, with the large-scale displacement of people, and food and water shortages; the competition for increasingly scarce resources like oil; the marginalisation of most of the world’s population, a key factor in the growth of terrorism ...
If most of the world’s population is marginalised, wouldn’t they be ... majoritised?

Yet Abbott has some heavyweight support:

The book is backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, centre-left former British Labour MP Clare Short and musician Brian Eno.

Your challenge: identify three figures in the fields of religio-activism, leftoid politics and 70s crap rock who are even more marginal than Tutu, Short, and Eno.

Bonus points for naming the hypothetical book backed by your loser trio.


Folks are rising to Blair's challenge. There are already over 160 comments on the thread. Take a look here.

If you comment at Blair’s blog, please copy here.

My response to Blair’s challenge?

Religio-activism - any Anglican cleric in England who during the last 40 years has abandoned traditional church beliefs and practices in order to make “religion more relevant to our times” and watched church attendance plummet

Leftoid politics – Cindy Sheehan

70s crap rock – I guess all of it.

Book title - Wonderful Us

Your turn

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Churchill Series – Nov. 8, 2007

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

Two days ago I promised to post concerning Churchill and the man who for much of WW II was Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Alan Brooke.

Here’s that post. It comes with a “Reader Beware” label because the two men’s relationship was complex and often extremely contentious; and I'm not equipped to give you anything like a reliable assessment of its complexities other than to say I know each had an strong influence on the other to the immense benefit of the Allied war effort.

Here are extracts from Robert Messenger’s review of Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke War Diaries, 1939–1945. (University of California Press, 2001) which I found in The New Criterion’s archives. At the time of publication, Messenger was an editor at TNC; he’s now an Atlantic Monthly editor. I offer a few comments below the star line.

[…] Alanbrooke (Brookie, as all his friends knew him, was created Viscount Alanbrooke in 1946) was an artilleryman from an old military family—the Brookes of Ulster sent twenty-six men to fight in the First World War and twenty-seven in the Second.

He served with distinction on the Western Front—arriving as a captain in September 1914 and rising to GSO1 Royal Artillery. Between the wars, he continued his quick advancement showing an immense competence at staff work and at training soldiers. In 1939, he took command of one of the two corps that comprised the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and molded it over eight months into a formidable fighting force.

Alanbrooke was a true savior during the disastrous retreats in June 1940. He calmly maintained an organized front that—it still seems miraculous—kept the Germans in front and the beaches (and possible evacuation) behind. He was made commander-in-chief of the short-lived second BEF and then after the capitulation of France was given the impossible task of C-in-C Home Forces when every day brought the prospect of a German invasion that probably could not have been repelled. [Many historians, including Churchill, believe a German attack could have been repelled. I’m of the same opinion. – JinC]

This threat passed with Germany’s attack on Russia in June 1941, but when Alanbrooke became Chief of the Imperial General Staff—the operational commander of the whole British Army—in December, Britain seemed without hope.

This changed days later with America’s entry into the war and led to a plan for German encirclement now called the “Mediterranean Strategy.” The original vision seems to have been Churchill’s, but Alanbrooke was the first to grasp its implications. Winning the campaign in North Africa would take the Germans off the offensive, return control of the Mediterranean, and free up a million tons of shipping per year. Then invade and knock out Italy, forcing Germany to commit divisions to southern Europe and the Balkans. […]

Alanbrooke was instrumental in convincing the United States to adopt this strategy. While the American admirals were only interested in fighting the Japanese and the Army chiefs were desperate to get to fighting the Nazis on the European continent, Alanbrooke insisted on North Africa.

When Marshall said that the quickest way to end the war was to invade France in 1942, Alanbrooke’s reply—not diplomatic but militarily correct—was “Yes, probably, but not the way we hope to finish it!”

Alanbrooke began his diary when he left England to take up command of II Corps of the BEF in September 1939. It was essentially a love letter to his wife and a reflection on his work, not events. From 1939 to December 1941, its keynote is the training of men and the general unpreparedness for war.

Later, it is Alanbrooke’s struggles with Churchill.

Alanbrooke was a tough man whose characteristic response to statements he found objectionable was “I flatly disagree.” Churchill wanted to micromanage the war, and he and Alanbrooke fought continually. In 1943, after a long day arguing with Churchill about his obsession with invading Sumatra, Alanbrooke got an invitation to dine:

I thought it was to tell me that he couldn’t stick my disagreements any longer and proposed to sack me! On the contrary we had a tête-à-tête dinner at which he was quite charming, as if he meant to make up for some of the rough passages of the day.
Earlier Alanbrooke had wistfully noted Marshall’s reaction to Churchill:
I remember being rather amused at Marshall’s reactions to Winston’s late hours, he was evidently not used to being kept out of his bed till the small hours of the morning and not enjoying it much! He certainly had a much easier time of it working with Roosevelt, he informed me that he frequently did not see him for a month or six weeks. I was fortunate if I did not see Winston for 6 hours.
Churchill and Alanbrooke nonetheless constituted a partnership of genius. Each had a method for dealing with the other: Churchill’s was repetitive argument, Alanbrooke’s is best summed up in the diary of his Director of Military Operations Major-General Sir John Kennedy:
Later I realized the wisdom of the technique which Brooke acquired after many stormy passages with the Prime Minister. Brooke found it an invaluable rule never to tell Churchill more than was absolutely necessary. I remember him once scoring out nine-tenths of the draft of a minute to the Prime Minister, remarking as he did so, “The more you tell that man about the war, the more you hinder the winning of it.”
Alanbrooke’s diaries are full of good lines. Explaining his task to F. E. Morgan, who was planning what became the D-Day invasion, Alanbrooke summed up with “Well, there it is. It won’t work, but you must bloody well make it.”

“Lunched with de Gaulle a most unattractive specimen. We made a horrid mistake when we decided to make use of him.”

On Anthony Eden: "As a late S of S [secretary of state] for war he must know well what the army’s situation is, and yet the proposals and suggestions he put forward might have been based on gross ignorance of the weakness of our defence of this country. If this is the best democracy can do it is high time we moved forward to some other form of government."

The diaries also give a very accurate picture of what it is actually like to be in strategic command of a modern war.[…]


Messenger's entire review is here. I think his review gives Alanbrooke his due.

That said, I plan to post tomorrow on an unusual letter Alanbrooke wrote Churchill at the time of publication of his diaries. I think the letter casts Alanbrooke in a poor light.

I often ask myself why Alanbrooke, so unapologetically outspoken, would publish diaries including statements he knew would be very hurtful to Churchill and then would write Churchill a letter in which he, IMO, says, in effect, "I didn't mean any of that, Winston."

I hope you're back tomorrow.


NC Survey USA Poll Results

The results are here.

Most notable result?

It’s on the Dem side with Clinton polling 43%; Edwards 25%; and Obama 19%.

I expected Clinton to be out front. It’s the Edwards-Obama results that caught my eye.

It’s possible that Obama in the next month or two could overtake Edwards with neither of them catching Clinton.

You’d then have a situation where in his home state Edwards would be trailing the other two leading candidates for the Dem’s presidential nomination.

I wonder how Edwards would explain it.

Blame his staff?

Or do you think he's about to announce that Iowa or New Hampshire is now his home state.

The poll results are here.

Chronicle Editorial “Untenable”

Tuesday's Chronicle opined on the question of whether Richard (“The facts kept changing”) Brodhead should remain Duke’s President.

The editors told readers Brodhead was someone with “academic not managerial” skills who was “cautious not imposing and passive not active.”

It seemed The Chronicle was about to say something like:

"Whether he chooses to drive or fly, we wish Brodhead a safe trip and the best of luck in his new job.”
But, no, what The Chronicle really did was thunder:
"We believe that Brodhead should and must stay."
When I first read that I thought The Chronicle editorial board must be parodying Brodhead in the way someone might say:
”His hands are shaky not steady and his judgment poor not good”
and then follow that with:
"We believe he should and must stay as surgeon.”
Surely, I thought, after explaining so clearly why Brodhead isn’t fit to be President, The Chronicle editorial board wouldn’t then seriously argue he should remain in office.

Wouldn't they know doing that would only increase the ridicule and questioning of the judgment of this year’s editorial board that’s already been dubbed by some “the Allen Building interns?”

But I was on campus yesterday and most everyone I spoke to said The Chronicle was serious, even as they acknowledged the editorial board had made themselves and The Chronicle look foolish.

Or as Duke Students for an Ethical Duke puts it more kindly, that they'd made themselves look "untenable."

Excerpts from Duke Students for an Ethical Duke's statement at its blog:
[We'll] focus more on the argument of the Chronicle Editorial itself, which should seem untenable to even the most modestly knowledgeable reader.

A peculiarity of the editorial is that while it strongly and repeatedly asserts that "Brodhead should and must stay," the arguments made almost seem to argue the opposite.

As one of our members joked, it seems The Chronicle decided to let each editor write a line in an editorial Mad Lib.

First of all The Chronicle describes Brodhead as "a president who is academic not managerial."

Is there really such a thing as a presidential position that is not managerial in nature? Or do there exist presidential positions that might prefer or even tolerate someone who is "passive not active?" [...]

[What, according to The Chronicle, are Brodhead's] strengths?

The case revealed his "academic prudence, appreciation for complexity, willingness to explore deeper issues involved in the case, and capacity for self-criticism."

We aren't sure what is meant by "academic prudence," how the case revealed it, or how it was an attribute in the affair, and a "capacity for self-criticism" or self-reflection is something that has been conspicuously absent throughout.

Our sources indicate that Brodhead continues to believe he has done nothing wrong, and up to his apology, has asserted that he would have done almost everything the same if he were to start from the beginning again.

As we have noted, Brodhead's apology was far more decorative than substantive. As for the other two strengths, it is probably no accident that the Chronicle avoids explaining how those attributes played out in a positive way.

In short, the Chronicle asserted that among Brodhead's weaknesses as a leader and a president are an inability to lead and an inability to manage. On the plus side though, he is an academic. If that doesn't put the writing on the wall...
Be sure to read the entire statement here.

And don't forget to visit DSED's blog often.

Failing and Serving Duke

On Tuesday the Raleigh News & Observer reported Duke University “was pushed to take … action by an alumnus, Ed Rickards, and … student Kristin Butler.”

Here’s the N&O’s story followed by my comments below the star line:

Duke University has waived any rights it had to enforce restrictions on the deeds of 232 properties in Duke Forest that decades ago prohibited their purchase by African-Americans.

Duke officials say the symbolic waiver, filed recently with Durham County, is an important statement by the university. The properties, which Duke sold as early as 1931 and as late as 1969 to its faculty members, have deeds with racial covenants that have not been legally enforceable since the Supreme Court ruled them illegal in 1948.

Duke had previously repudiated these covenants and announced its intention never to enforce them. In its current action, Duke has taken the further step of amending each of the deeds to eliminate the possibility that the exclusionary provisions could ever be revived.

The deeds said the properties could not be sold to persons of "Negro blood." In 1989, the director of Duke's real estate office sent a letter to affected homeowners saying, "Duke University regrets the presence of this ugly specter from the nation's and the University's past. Just as Duke must bear responsibility for its prior actions in creating these covenants, we now wish to do what we can to eliminate their vestiges."

The university was pushed to take the formal action by an alumnus, Ed Rickards, and has been the subject of several columns by student Kristin Butler in the campus newspaper, The Chronicle.

Often individuals and institutions duck responsibility for shameful events in their pasts. They say we shouldn’t look back at what they did. Instead, they want us to “move on.”

Some months ago the now disbarred Mike Nifong urged us to “move on.” He even offered to help lead what he called “the healing.”

Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, his “senior team” of administrators and the editorial board of The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper, all use the “move on” meme when people ask important, unanswered questions about Duke’s bungled and shameful “throw them under the bus” response to Nifong’s and Crystal Mangum’s lies.

But that’s not what Duke’s doing in regard to the racially restrictive deeds. It’s doing just the opposite. To its credit Duke is, in this instance, affirming values and practices which ought to govern any decent organization, particularly a university.

By again facing up to what was an odious practice and taking another step to leave no doubt Duke today repudiates its past practice of issuing racially restrictive deeds, the University reminds us of how important it is to look back in order to acknowledge and correct, in so far as is possible, past wrongs and injustices.

The same values and practices which guided Duke in taking another step to repudiate the restrictive deeds must also guide it in addressing concerns and questions regarding its Hoax response.

I think it's unreasonable to expect President Brodhead and his “senior team,” complicit in so much that went wrong, to lead without favor a full and open inquiry and evaluation of what went wrong following the Hoax lies.

But it shouldn’t be too much to expect The Chronicle to strongly support such an inquiry and evaluation.

The Chronicle’s editorial board fails Duke when it memes Mike Nifong’s and President Brodhead’s “move on.”

Message to Kristin Butler and Ed Rickards: Thank you for your service to Duke.

Message to JinC Regulars: From prior posts you know of some of the other services Butler and Rickards have rendered Duke.

I’m traveling now so blogging is a bit harder to do. But when I have time this weekend, I’ll pull together a post linking to other instances of their service to Duke.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No Churchill Series post on Nov. 7, 2007


I'm sorry to miss today but I'm traveling and my work load is heavy.

I'll be bakc tomorrow.

Thank you for your understanding.


What about John In Carolina?

I want to report that John in Carolina has recently been the subject of both praise and criticism.

A few days ago said [excerpts]:

One of the Bloggers that we read everyday is John In Carolina. His investigative reporting on the Duke Lacrosse Hoax case has been excellent.

His articles on CrimeStoppers Cpl David Addison are of the quality that should be in the Washington Post. […]

LieStoppers wants to commend John. He is someone who should be read daily. When he isn't commenting on the Duke Lacrosse Hoax you will still get a mighty fine education on Winston Churchill!
Ol’ JinC is very appreciative of Liestoppers generous words, especially as they come from an outstanding blog.

Still, honesty compels me to point out that the folks at LS, while smart and reliable, are not what MSM news organizations refer to as “real professional journalists you can trust.”

To make this post fair and balanced, I think it’s only right I include a much less positive assessment of JinC from one of those “real professional journalists you can trust.”

She’s Melanie Sill, until a few days ago executive editor for news at the Raleigh News & Observer. Sill recently announced at the N&O’s Editors’ Blog :
"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."
Sill’s announcement came in response to questions and suggestions I'd directed to John Drescher, who was promoted from managing editor to fill Sill’s position when she moved to the Sacramento Bee, where she’ll be executive editor for news.

Here’s part of what I said to Drescher after he, without citing any supporting data, accused Newsweek of plagiarizing from the N&O:
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 an 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
The only “response” was Melanie’s announcement. Drescher said nothing.

Well, there you have it, folks. Praise and criticism of JinC.

I reported. You decide.

Duke Now Quiz # 4

(This is one of a series of quizes testing your knowledge of Duke now.)

On June 15, 2006 the Raleigh N&O published a story examining statements then DA Mike Nifong had made. Here’s the story’s money graf :

A comparison of his words with documents that Nifong gave defense lawyers show that Nifong made what appear to be misstatements about condom use, a purported struggle and a 911 call made by a second dancer, among other things.
A blogger posted in response to the story. The post included the following:
It's good to see the News and Observer pointing these things out.

I'm still waiting for them to reveal what they have been keeping secret from the public since the beginning of the story. I blogged about this earlier, but it still fries me. The newspaper interviewed the alleged victim on March 25 [ the interview was on Mar. 24; the N&O published on it Mar. 25 - JinC] and published a story told all from her point of view, while, of course, allowing her to remain anonymous. However, as the public editor of the News and Observer has admitted in print, there were things that she said in that interview that were at odds with the public record.
But let's talk more about the anonymous interview. Williams said editors and the reporter discussed the fairness issue at length before interviewing the woman and publishing the story.

The governing decision, she said, was to print only information from the interview that conformed with the police reports. "We limited for publication the statements from the woman that were in line with what she said in the police report," Williams said. Other information from the interview has not been published.
What was that "other information?"

Now that there has been so much suspicion cast on the woman's story, doesn't the N & O owe it to the readers it purposely kept in the dark to reveal things that she might have said that were not in line with the police report?

She apparently contradicted herself several times talking to the police about whether she was raped, molested, or not raped at all; how much alcohol she had drunk; how much sexual activity she'd engaged in prior to the Duke party; and how many guys might have been involved.

If she also contradicted herself in talking to the newspaper, then why should the paper keep that from readers? As long as we're talking about legal ethics for the prosecutor, let's talk about media ethics for the News and Observer.
Quiz Question:

The extract you just read is from a post, More evidence of the District Attorney's prevarication in the Duke lacrosse case , published June 15, 2006. The blogger who posted is also:

1) a distinguished Duke professor who’s areas of specialty include abusive practices by law enforcement officials and media ethics

2) a Chronicle editor

3) a Raleigh high school teacher

Once you’ve made you choice, read on.

If you chose either 1 or 2, you may be a nice person but you don’t understand what Duke was like in June 2006 and is like now.

With the exception of Professor James Coleman, I can’t name a single Duke professor specializing in the study of either abuses by law enforcement officials or media ethics or both who spoke out by June 2006 as the blogger quoted here did.

In fact, I can’t think of any Duke professor who did, again Coleman excepted.

If there is one or more professors who did, please let me know.

I also can’t name a single Chronicle editor who spoke out as the blogger did.

If you know of one, please let me know.

The blogger and Raleigh high school teacher who did speak out is Betsy Newmark, a Duke Mom with one daughter an alum and another currently a Junior.

Betsy’s been nominated for a blog award for which readers vote. You can learn more about it all here.

I hope you give Betsy's Page a look and consider voting for it.

Now about Betsy’s June 2006 question: What was that "other information?"

For thirteen months beginning on March 25, 2006 the N&O by turns refused to provide any answer to it or provided false answers to the many thousands of people asking it.

Finally, on April 12, 2007, the day after North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann innocent, the N&O disclosed the “other information.”

It was that Crystal Mangum told the N&O on March 24, 2006 that the second dancer at the party had also been raped but didn’t report it for fear of losing her job. Mangum also, according to the N&O, said the second dancer would do anything for money.

You can read the N&O's April 12 story here.

Duke Mom in Tight Race

Betsy Newmark is a Duke Mom twice over: her older daughter’s an alum now on the staff at The American Enterprise Institute; her younger daughter’s a Junior.

Betsy blogs at Betsy’s Page. Her blog's a finalist in the Weblog Award Best of the 501-1000 poll currently taking place and in which you're eligable to vote.

Betsy’s a smart, principled blogger. She spotted the Hoax early. She's been a strong voice for reason and justice.

Betsy was one of the first two bloggers with national reach (La Shawn Barber the other) to link to any of my early posts talking sense about what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.”

Here’s one of her posts from June 15, 2006: More evidence of the District Attorney's prevarication in the Duke lacrosse case .

Now you’re saying, “John hopes we’ll vote for Betsy in the Weblog Award poll.”

Yes, if you take a look at her blog and feel you can, I hope you do.

Betsy’s Page has a link to “the voting booth.” Voting's a very easy process.

Many people pick up on the other Award categories (Best Liberal, Conservative, Military, Humor, etc, etc) and also vote in them.

Here’s Betsy’s latest update on the Award poll:

Thanks again for all who are supporting me. The lead has been see-sawing back and forth.

Remember that you can vote once every 24 hours. I was down by over 200 votes at this time yesterday and then you guys helped me pull into the lead and now I'm down again.

The voting stops at 5 pm EST on Thursday, so I need your votes for the next two days. Thanks so much for all your votes.
Please vote for Betsy’s Page. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

War News & Messages – Nov. 6, 2007

This just crossing the AP wire:

A Europe-wide sweep disrupted an Islamic cell that was recruiting potential suicide bombers for attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, Italian police said Tuesday, announcing the arrests of 20 terror suspects.

Police said the suspects, mostly Tunisians, were arrested across Europe as part of the sweep against a cell based in the northern Italian region of Lombardy.

Executing the arrest warrants, police said they found al-Qaida manuals for making explosives, detonation devices and poisons, and instructions on guerrilla techniques.

"The investigation has revealed recruitment, training and passage to aspiring terrorists to Iraq and Afghanistan," lead investigator Gen. Giampaolo Ganzer, of Italy's paramilitary Carabinieri police, told a news conference.

The suspects were wanted on charges ranging from association with the aim of committing international terrorism to falsifying documents to aid illegal immigrants.

"Once more, the central role of Milan and Lombardy in the panorama of Islamic militants has been confirmed," the Carabinieri said in a statement.

The group's members had been indoctrinated in militancy in mosques since at least 1998, according to police transcripts, and appeared to take serious precautions.

In one intercepted call, a suspected cell member said that "things are being done with extreme calm, haste does not bring the desired results."

Eleven were arrested in the northern Italian cities of Milan, Reggio Emilia, Imperia and Bergamo. Nine others were arrested on warrants issued in France, Britain and Portugal, Italian news agencies reported.

Authorities in Britain, France and Portugal confirmed arrests.

The Lombardy cell had ties with a group in neighboring Emilia Romagna whose aim is to establish an Islamic state extending from Morocco to China, Italian investigators said. Intercepted phone calls made clear the aim of sending jihadist fighters to Iraq via Syria, including specific instructions on shaving off beards before departure to give the impression of making a "peaceful trip."
The rest of the story is here.

Message to Democrats: What you’ve just read is all about what most of your party leaders call “George Bush’s war on terror.”

But those of you who read the AP’s report with an intelligent mind free of fervid partisanship will, I think, agree that what you read concerns the Muslim terrorists’ global war on civilization, with America the target the terrorists most want to destroy because it's the most powerful defender of civilization.

I hope you’ll also consider whether President Bush isn't in fact right when he says many of those fighting our troops in Iraq have been recruited by and are loyal to al-Qaeda.

Yes, I know most of your fellow Democrats in Congress and at party media organizations such as NPR, the New York Betray US and the McClatchy Company ridicule the President for claiming there’s al-Qaeda involvement in Iraq. Some of them even accuse the President of being an outright liar for saying al-Qaeda has sent and continues to send terrorists to Iraq.

But I think those Dems in Congress and the media are letting their partisanship trump the facts. The AP story is one more instance confirming the President and our military in Iraq are right when they say there’s an al-Qaeda presence there.

Message to voters: Today’s AP story is one more reminder of why the “’war on terror’ is a bumper sticker” and “waterboarding is torture” crowd is not to be trusted with America’s national security.

Duke Ignores Its Brave Defenders

Today’s Chronicle includes an important and beautifully written column by Duke senior Kristin Butler.

She begins:

When the rest of the country pauses to honor America's military personnel (both living and dead) next Monday, Duke University won't join in. There will be no on-campus remembrances a la 9/11 or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Classes will proceed as normal. Even our University calendar-which advertises activities like an open house tour for the Home Depot Smart Home Nov. 12-makes no mention of the occasion.

Considering how much we have to honor, that sort of neglect is a University-wide disgrace. Veterans Day at Duke should be a time to acknowledge the service of thousands of former soldiers receiving treatment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, to remember our brave classmates serving overseas and, most important of all, to pay tribute to the thousands of selfless alumni who fought and died for our country in times of war.

Excuses abound for Duke's current policies, among them the difficulty of fitting federal holidays into a jam-packed academic year. But the thought that this University-with its thriving ROTC programs and relatively large numbers of alumni in uniform-does so little to recognize former students' courage and sacrifice is all but inconceivable. As we edge toward national Veterans Day festivities, there is still time to end a larger cycle of broken promises at Duke.

Let's start with the sorry state of our physical tributes to the fallen. At present, Duke has only one war memorial, a low wall dedicated to alumni killed in World War II. When it was built many decades ago, this humble remembrance stood against a grassy hill along the right side of the Chapel (recall that there was no Bryan Center, no engineering campus and no research labs behind West Campus back then).

Today, with the encroachment of the Westbrook Building and Goodson Chapel, the fixture stands as little more than an airshaft between large buildings. It appears on no campus map, is absent from guided tours and remains unnoticed by longtime students, faculty and employees alike. Over the past three years, I walked by that wall more than 500 times before noticing its purpose, largely assuming that it prevented soil erosion or honored Divinity School donors.
Butler goes on to cite other instances of Duke’s failure to recognize and honor servicemen and women connected to the University, including those who gave what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion.”

Butler concludes:
A proper memorial will not make these untimely deaths any less tragic, just as on-campus observances will never repay the debt we all owe living veterans.

But such efforts do show our collective gratitude for the sacrifices made by our classmates in uniform, along with our respect for the contributions they've made to the University.

This Veterans Day, let's channel our admiration for Duke's current and former soldiers into a tradition that is finally worthy of their service.
I’ll say more about Butler’s column in a day to two.

Right now I just want to call it to your attention, urge you to read the entire column here, and invite your comments.

Well done, Kristin.

Chronicle Editorial: Parody or Bloviation?

The Chronicle today offers an editorial on the Brodhead presidency and the University’s future in which it declares:

[…]Any discussion of [President Brodhead’s] performance must begin-but not end-with his response to the lacrosse case and its aftermath.

For in times of extraordinary trial, a person's character is magnified as it is not during tranquility, and the lacrosse case is no exception.
If any of you didn’t already know that “in times of extraordinary trial, a person's character is magnified as it is not during tranquility,” by all means immediately copy and paste it into your “Very Important Things To Remember” folder, and then come back to this post.

The Chronicle goes on to say:
The case first exposed Brodhead as a president who has yet to realize his initial promise to be a students' president. The lacrosse case-frantic, sensitive and uncertain-demanded a forceful and assertive type of leadership that Brodhead could not provide.

His approach-from his press releases to his apology at the School of Law-was always substantive but often poorly communicated, detached and awkward. Although he entered the University with a bullhorn imploring Coach K to stay at Duke, since then he has been less accessible to and less identified with students than he had aimed to be.

Secondly, the case brought to painful light the weaknesses of a president who is academic not managerial, cautious not imposing and passive not active.

Brodhead's failure to make necessary personnel changes upon arrival is a symptom of his inability to impose his own trajectory on the University. Not only did he retain but he reappointed two administrators who continue to frustrate the progress of the University-Director of Athletics Joe Alleva and Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta.
Reading all that you’d think The Chronicle was about to urge the trustees to help President Brodhead put the Duke presidency behind him, “look to the future,” and find a new job.

The Chronicle even tells the trustees and the rest of us exactly the sort of job it thinks Brodhead’s suitable for.

It’s a job calling for someone with “academic not managerial” skills. Also, someone who’s “cautious not imposing and passive not active.”

I was thinking to help with the job search even though I haven't seen any such job advertised lately.

In fact, I can't recall ever reading a "Help Wanted" ad calling for someone “cautious not imposing and passive not active.”

What about you?

In any case, when you read further in the editorial it seems The Chronicle doesn’t really want Brodhead to find a new job.

The Chronicle says it wants Brodhead to remain as President. It feels Duke’s lucky to have had Brodhead who it says “guided the University through a time of peril”

No kidding. I’m not making that up.

See for yourself The Chronicle declaring :
We believe that Brodhead should and must stay.
The Chronicle then announces the lacrosse case “is over” and gushes:
“[T]he case revealed crucial strengths in Brodhead's character.

His academic prudence, appreciation of complexity, willingness to explore deeper issues involved in the case, and capacity for self-criticism guided the University through a time of peril.
Question: Is it possible that what editorial page editor Ryan McCartney and his fellow board members are doing today is engaging in some self-parody? Is today’s editorial a kind of mirthful prank the undergrads all caught but this aging alum missed?

Or is The Chronicle really serious about what it says today?

I’d email McCartney and ask him, but he doesn’t respond to my emails.

I hope one of you asks him. Here’s his email:

Final thought: Assuming The Chronicle was serious today, it should have titled the editorial “Bloviating for Brodhead.”

The entire editorial is here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Churchill Series – Nov. 6, 2007

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

You know it was tough being Winston S. Churchill during WW II.

And you learn one reason why when you read the diaries of the man who was Britain’s Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of the war, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke (later Lord Alanbrooke).

Indented below is an extract from a review of Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, War Diaries, 1939-1945, eds. Alex Danchev and Daniel Todman ( Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001). The extract includes diary quotes which reveal some of what Alanbrooke was thinking as he worked with Churchill to assure the success of the Allied war effort.

The reviewer is Christopher C. Harmon, who at the time of his 2001 review was academic advisor to the Churchill Centre.

[General] George Marshall may be America's senior military man, but in these pages it is "almost impossible to make him grasp the true concepts of a strategic situation." Instead he will "hedge and defer decisions until such time as he had to consult his assistants. Unfortunately, his assistants were not of the required caliber...."

The assistants included Dwight Eisenhower, a charming, adept and "hopeless" general. "He literally knows nothing of the requirements of a commander in action," wrote Alanbrooke, "...a very, very limited brain from a strategic point of view."

More upsetting, at least to the British, battle-hardened UK officers are equally inept at strategy.

John S. V. Gort, commander of the British Expeditionary Force rushed to France in 1939, is charming and good, but his "brain has lately been compared to that of a glorified boy scout!....[H]e just fails to be able to see the big picture."

General Sir Harold Alexander, who was admired by Churchill, has "Many fine qualities but no very great strategic vision....It was very doubtful whether he was fit to command his Army" in North Africa.

What about a secondary theater like India? No -- he "has not got the brains."

Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, is "quite irresponsible, suffers from the most desperate illogical brain, always producing red herrings."
The entire review is here.

More tomorrow about Alanbrooke and Churchill.

The Churchill Series – Nov. 5, 2006

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

Today we’re going “visual.”

I invite you to look at two photos which tell about Churchill and President Roosevelt as smokers; and suggest how they felt about being photographed smoking.

Take a close look at both statesmen in each photo as well as the table in the first photo.

The photos are here. Take all the time you like looking. I’ll be waiting when you get back.


Then welcome back.

Based on these two photos and thousands of others, Churchill had no problem being photographed smoking or holding a cigar, did he?

He loved smoking cigars. He also knew what the public thought: Churchill wasn’t quite Churchill without cigar in hand or mouth.

And what about President Roosevelt?

It was no secret he was a cigarette chain-smoker but he was a bit “bashful” about being photographed smoking if he knew the photos were for public distribution.

So we have in that first photo Roosevelt sitting with an open pack of cigarettes, at least three books of matches and a cigarette butt filled ashtray all on the table right in front of him. His right hand's in plain view but his left hand is at his side and out of sight.

In the second photo, Churchill again has his cigar in hand and Roosevelt again has his left hand out of sight.

“Now, my dear Watson, …..”

Mind you, folks, I’m not suggesting anything of too much significance can be deduced from the photos or from how each leader felt about being photographed smoking; although it’s worth noting that when those photos were taken in 1943, FDR knew talk about “the strain the war is taking on the President’s health” was common in many quarters in America.

Whatever you decide the photos tell us, I felt sure you’d find them interesting.

Again, here are the photos

What's Really Behind Brodhead

Today's Chronicle carries a news report under University Editor Chelsea Allison’s byline: Prez's Yale tenure may offer glimpse into Duke's future.

Allison begins:

A long-time champion of undergraduate education, with the lacrosse scandal nearly behind him and the retirements of three top administrators in front of him, President Richard Brodhead now has an opportunity to shift his focus toward his own initiatives. And after spending 40 years in New Haven, Conn., he may begin by modeling it on what he knows.

Brodhead's third term as dean of Yale College began July 1, 2003, barely five months before he was appointed the ninth president of Duke.

He graduated from Yale in 1968 and received his doctorate in English in 1972 before joining the faculty of the Ivy League institution. He was named dean of Yale College in 1993, a post that combines aspects of Duke's provost and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences positions.

The deanship surveys all of Yale's 5,200 undergraduate students and acts as the head of faculty, reporting to both the provost and the president, Brodhead said.

"The interest of the job was that it drew everything together," he said. "I was generally regarded by faculty as the leader of the faculty. And [to] students... I spoke on behalf of their education."

Many said he was considered wildly popular by both students and administrators, in part because he knew the college so well.

"He inspired students and faculty alike with his sensitive, perceptive and brilliant speeches," Richard Levin, president of Yale University, wrote in an e-mail. "He was beloved for his easy and friendly rapport with students. And he was deeply respected by the faculty for his wisdom and good judgment."[…]
Allison’s entire article is here.


Allison’s article reads more like an uncritical tribute than a serious news story.

She fails to mention Brodhead’s now an extremely divisive figure. Or that his divisiveness will impact his leadership in all areas of University life, including undergraduate education.

While providing kudos from Yale, Allison says nothing about Brodhead’s refusal to explain his treatment of undergraduates during the Hoax crisis.

Brodhead’s treatment of many undergraduates and others in response to pressures from Nifong, DPD and many faculty was such that the University’s already been forced to settle five law suits.

Duke conditioned the settlements on the parties receiving them agreeing not to disclose anything about Brodhead’s actions which were considerations in the settlements.

There’s more I could say, but you get the idea.

You can also read the following which is a slightly tweaked version of a comment I left here on the thread of Allison’s article.

No doubt President Brodhead and "Dick's senior team" appreciate University Editor Allison's tribute, especially her claim that what she calls "the lacrosse scandal" is now "almost behind him."

But Brodhead and his "team," including the trustees, know what's more properly called the Duke Hoax is not "almost behind" him or the University.

Having already settled five suits resulting from its bungled and disgusting response to Crystal Mangum's and Mike Nifong's lies, Duke's leadership is now bracing for still more suits.

I’m told they won’t have to stay braced much longer.

There’s more.

The three former Duke students most victimized by the attempted frame-up and cover-up that continues to this day have brought suit against Nifong and others, including certain DPD officers and their supervisors.

Many of those named as defendants in the suits worked very closely with top Duke administrators on many matters that some law professors and other legal experts say likely involved criminal actions by some of the participants.

Regardless of what they say publicly or in “off the record” backgrounders with Chronicle staff, the trustees, Brodhead and others with offices in the Allen Building know this: What's really behind Brodhead is a great deal of critical information he and his "team" have withheld from the Duke community and the general public.

But it won't be easy for Brodhead and others to withhold that information when deposed during the discovery phase of the civil suits.

And it will be next to impossible for them to withhold the information if, as some think likely, the U. S. Justice Department launches an investigation into possible criminal violations of the rights of Duke students and others during the Hoax.

"Until Proven Innocent" co-author Stuart Taylor, one of the most respected legal journalists in America, recently said he expects the Hoax case to get “uglier” as we learn more about it.

He’s right. And it will also get “Dukier.”

The surest sign it will get “Dukier” is the University’s more than year-long silence in response to questions it could easily answer if it didn’t fear the consequences of doing so.

Questions for Editor Allison: Has The Chronicle ever reported why neither President Brodhead, nor any trustee, nor any member of “Dick’s senior team,” and no senior faculty member spoke out when racists threatened Reade Seligmann outside and within the Durham County Courthouse on May 18, 2006?

Why were they silent? Why have they said nothing about their silence since?

Has The Chronicle ever asked President Brodhead on the record why he refused to meet with the lacrosse parents last Spring? If you did, what was his answer? If not, why not?

Has The Chronicle ever asked Brodhead on the record why he said nothing when “activists” circulated within sight of his office windows “Vigilante” posters targeting 43 white Duke students?

If you have, what was his answer? If you haven’t, why not?

Has The Chronicle ever told readers who care about fair treatment of students and transparency how to "move on" when so many critical questions are unanswered and so many troubling actions unexplained?

Thank you for reading this.

John in Carolina

Torturing Judge Mukasey

Michael Goodwin at [excerpts]

Though late last week, key Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein announced their support for Mukasey, his confirmation is still uncertain — because he won't say clearly that waterboarding is both torture and illegal under American and international law.

He should stick to his guns because his reasons are sound — he doesn't know exactly what techniques the classified interrogation programs use, and there may be legal jeopardy questions involved.
What’s more, Mukasey has said repeatedly and unequivocally he opposes torture. His supporters point out the Senate last year refused to classify waterboarding as torture.

Back to Goodwin:
But there's an even better reason he shouldn't give the answer much of the Senate wants. The demand is nonsense of the highest order; one that can only undermine the national effort in a time of war.[…]

The seriousness of the attack on Mukasey reveals an utter lack of seriousness about the reality of the war.

And it comes from the same place as the earlier attempts to set arbitrary deadlines for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to de-fund the military. All are borne out of a childlike frustration at the inability to muster the votes to get Bush to change course.

But with the surge working, levels of violence in Baghdad falling and our casualties declining, a new Democratic punching bag had to be found.

With Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales gone, it's Mukasey's turn. And so we have the threats to scuttle a perfectly fine candidate to replace Gonzales and put the Justice Department back on track.

Bush met his critics more than halfway by naming someone Schumer suggested. For his efforts, he gets only obstruction. And for his efforts to serve his country in a time of need, Mukasey gets humiliated, his impeccable credentials trashed in another proxy fight over the war. […]

The ultimate issue for America is not whether we should use waterboarding on terror suspects. The issue is whether we should be publicly debating and explaining every jot and title of our interrogation tactics when the results could be the difference between life and death for thousands of Americans.

Osama Bin Laden must be laughing in his cave at us as we try to draw bright red lines in the shifting sands of clandestine operations. His theory that people always gravitate toward the strong horse perfectly fits this foolish fixation. […]

By all means, let's not descend into barbarism or become like the beasts we're fighting. But above all, let's not torture ourselves in ways that undercut our efforts in this life-and-death struggle.
We hear a lot of talk about American “barbarism” from al-Qaeda and its admitted allies. We expect that.

Now most Americans are coming to expect the same kind of talk from many leading Democrats.

Goodwin says such Dems are acting out of "childlike frustration." I'm sure Senator Hillary Clinton, one of those planning to vote against Judge Mukasey, would disagree with the characterization: "childlike."

No doubt she also believes she's the right person to lead out national security efforts.

Goodwin’s entire column is here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Is Duke Partnering With Repression?

Ed Rickards, an attorney with undergrad and law degrees from Duke, say it is after examining an agreement Duke’s entered into with the government of Singapore.

The agreement’s financially lucrative for Duke and, some say, will boost the University as it seeks to fend off national criticism for its “throw them under the bus” response to the attempted frame-up for gang-rape of Duke students by then DA Mike Nifong and Durham Police.

But Rickards, in a letter today in the Durham Herald Sun, disagrees:

In his annual address to the faculty, President Richard Brodhead again chanted "great international university" as if repeating this mantra would do the trick.

He got more mileage out of his trip to China two years ago, and then he employed a new word: Duke's growing international intertwining involves "trade-offs."

I wonder what he means by that.

Consider Duke's richest international deal, the seven-year franchise for the government of Singapore to award Duke medical degrees.

I assume the "trade-off" is $310 million for getting in bed with a government ranked by human rights activists as the most repressive in the developed world.

Warwick University, a top ten school in England, refused this very deal, fearing "the government will interfere if academic reports cast a negative light on their policies."

Can you imagine what would happen if Duke sent a female doctor to Singapore, and she wanted to research and publish on reproductive freedom, a topic the government bans? And if the female doctor arrived with her lesbian partner? And if one was white, the other black?

Is the "trade-off" leaving core values like academic freedom and equality behind?

Duke should be a beacon for the pursuit of truth, freedom of speech and thought, and for fulfilling its Statement of Equal Opportunity, which "prohibits discrimination and harassment, and provides equal ... opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, or age."

Brodhead may find succor in the word "trade-off." I think sell-out might be more honest.
For a much more positive, “don’t look there” take on the Singapore deal, see this in Duke Magazine, an Alumni Association publication which parrots administration positions.

Chronicle columnist Kristin Butler published a column sometime back which wasn’t nearly as “rah-rah” on the agreement as Duke Magazine. In fact, if I remember correctly, Butler was at least as critical of it, if not more so, than Rickards.

But using The Chronicle’s search tools tonight, I couldn’t call up Butler’s column.

I’ll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope one of you will provide a URL to Butler’s column.

Like all her columns, it was well worth a reader’s time.

Buckley Story Made Me Smile

In Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography (Regnery, 2005) Bill Buckley tells a story he heard from a prof while a Yale undergrad more than a half-century ago.

I paraphrase:

It seems the pastor of a small parish labored many years to help his church retire its mortgage.

Finally, the month with the last payment due was approaching.

The priest thought to call the bishop to invite him to speak at the Sunday Mass at which the parish would celebrate the mortgage burning.

The bishop listened and tried to be kind.

But he had to tell the priest he shouldn’t be asking a distinguished person to help celebrate what was really not an important event in a large diocese such as the one the bishop headed.

Couldn’t the priest find someone – maybe an officer at the bank holding the mortgage – to speak at the Mass?

The priest agreed to try to find such a person but some weeks later he called the bishop and confessed he’d failed.

Wouldn’t the bishop please come?

With a sigh, the bishop agreed.

When the Sunday came, the priest entered the pulpit and began explaining his many failed attempts to find a speaker.

He said he didn’t doubt he should have gone about things “in a smarter way.”

The priest concluded with:

”So, my dear souls, having tried my best and found no one less distinguished, I present to you our bishop.”

Clinton on Mukasey: Now and Then

From her Senate website here’s Senator Hillary Clinton’s Oct. 30 statement on her opposition to the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey to be Attorney General of the United States followed by my comments below the star line:

We need an Attorney General who has the strength to challenge this Administration when it is wrong, who is committed to reestablishing the independence of the Department of Justice and to restoring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. I am deeply troubled by Judge Mukasey’s continued unwillingness to clearly state his views on torture and unchecked Executive power.

The Attorney General is the chief defender of the rule of law in our country. After Alberto Gonzales's troubled tenure, we cannot send a signal that the next Attorney General in any way condones torture or believes that the President is unconstrained by law.

When we leave any doubt about our nation’s policy on torture, we send a terrible message to the rest of the world. Judge Mukasey has been given ample opportunity – both at his confirmation hearings and in his subsequent submission to the Judiciary Committee – to clarify his answers and categorically oppose the unacceptable interrogation techniques employed by this Administration. His failure to do so leaves me no choice but to oppose his nomination.

We need to restore the nation’s confidence in the Department of Justice. The Department must once again defend our Constitution and the rule of law without regard to ideology and partisanship. And we need to protect the country from terrorism while also respecting Americans’ civil liberties.



If you’re a supporter of Senator Clinton who knows how she operates, you’re not surprised she's justifying her opposition to Mukasey by saying,

“we cannot send a signal that the next Attorney General in any way condones torture or believes that the President is unconstrained by law,”
even though Clinton knows Mukasey has consistently and empathically said he doesn’t condone torture and believes the President is constrained by the law.

You’re also not surprised Clinton a second time in her brief statement explains her decision to oppose Mukasey by claiming falsely his nomination would "send a signal that the next Attorney General . . . condones torture [and] believes that the President is unconstrained by law.”

Clinton supporters expect her to echo the statements of most Senate Democrats about “torture” and a vote for Mukasey sending “a terrible message to the rest of the world.”

I hope, Clinton supporters, you agree with what I’ve just said about you. I'm only trying to be factual.

Hillary’s statement is best understood in terms of now and then.

Now, Clinton’s statement is meant to appeal to “the Democratic base,” people with Bush=Hitler bumper stickers, and folks who worry that American success in Iraq could hurt the Dems' chances next November.

It’s part of her “kiss and make up” with Dems angry with her because she voted for the war with Iraq, something they call "Bush's war in Iraq" so nobody will ask them why they're not doing all they can to assure the success of American troops there.

And what about “then?”

Then is Fall ’08 when Clinton hopes she’ll be persuading voters to trust her to protect them and our allies from terrorists.

That's why her statement now never mentions the word "waterboarding."

In Fall '08 she wants to be able to say she won’t rule out the use of waterboarding in certain cases, and that she doesn’t think it’s use constitutes torture.

I’m not expecting Clinton to say during a presidential debate:
”As President I would never authorize the use of waterboarding no matter the threat to Americans or our allies because I don’t condone the use of torture or believe the President is unconstrained by law.

That’s why last year I voted along with Senator Ted Kennedy and many of my fellow Democarts against Judge Mukasey’s nomination for Attorney General.”
Are there any Clinton supporters who believe she’ll say something like that next Fall?

What abut the rest of you?

Navy & Notre Dame: More Than a Game

At Annapolis’ under Bill Wagner’s byline:

Notre Dame tailback Travis Thomas took the handoff, cut right and lunged for the goal line.

As Thomas reached the line of scrimmage, he was met head on by Navy linebacker Matt Wimsatt and half a dozen of his closest friends. Thomas was swallowed up by the swarm of Midshipmen and hit the turf well short of the end zone.

In that instant, the longest losing streak to one opponent in college football history was over.

Navy's players and coaches stormed the field in wild celebration while 80,795 fans at Notre Dame Stadium looked on in stunned disbelief as the scoreboard told the story.

Final score: Navy 46, Notre Dame 44 in three overtimes.

That dramatic defensive stop of Notre Dame's game-tying, two-point conversion attempt will forever be preserved in Navy football lore.

When Wimsatt drove Thomas to the ground, it put a sudden end to Notre Dame's epic 43-game winning streak over Navy, which began way back in 1964.
The rest of Wagner’s excellent game account is here.

Notre Dame is known for scheduling tough opponents. Navy hates losing. So why do the two schools, who first met on the football field in 1927 and have played each other every year since, continue the rivalry?

In Nov. 2005 ND alum John Carey, writing in The Spectator , answered the question:
It's more than just a football game.

By now we all know that Notre Dame has beaten Navy the past 41 years. We all know that none other than Roger Staubach was the last Midshipmen quarterback to beat the Irish.

But what we sometimes forget is that the Navy-Notre Dame game is always about more than football. It's about pride. It's about passion. Most of all, it's about respect - a respect for what each school has done for the other.

On the heels of [ND coach] Frank Leahy's 1943 national championship season, World War II had escalated, and Leahy left to serve in the Navy.

The war took many young men from then-all-male Notre Dame, presenting financial problems for the University as its enrollment dropped dramatically. But with the war came a need for more trained officers than the Naval Academy could provide. So [the Navy] instituted a program in which Universities across the nation became [places] for young men to receive a college education as well as officer training. Notre Dame was one of these sites.

And so Notre Dame's enrollment increased, and the school survived through the war. As a result of Navy's gesture to keep Notre Dame afloat during the war, the Irish agreed to play the Midshipmen on the football field annually for as long as Navy wanted. The two teams had first met in 1927.

Even when Irish coach Charlie Weis, a 1978 Notre Dame graduate, was at Notre Dame, he sensed a respect for the Naval Academy:
"I know one thing, the academies were something that we always revered in a different light than any other opponent," Weis said. "They were like their own separate entity. And I think that you get a Catch 22 here because you have an opponent on the one hand that you want to beat badly."

"On the other hand, the respect factor for the young men that you're going against is higher than anyone else you're going against because you know that they've chosen a path that when their college careers are over, they're not going to go play in the NFL, they're not going to go take some cush job, they're going to go represent our country. It's a different mentality altogether."
Long before the 1963 game, even before World War II, people recognized the unique relationship between Notre Dame and the service academies.

In the 1927 Navy/Notre Dame game program, Rev. Mathew Walsh, President of the University of Notre Dame wrote:
"Notre Dame, Army, and Navy make an ideal group for a football triangle. Their students live on campus, they draw their student body from all parts of the country. The outcome of our games with the Navy and with the Army is not so important as that the best feeling of sport and good-fellowship always prevail. We are indeed happy to have Navy on our schedule: we trust it will continue so long and so amiably as to become a part of our best loved traditions."
One might add to Father Walsh's comparison a few other things.

Notre Dame and Navy football teams are known to pray together. Both teams are known for never giving up. They always fight hard, even when considered underdogs.

This team reputation is a reflection of the spirit and culture evidenced every day on the campus of Notre Dame and at the Naval Academy. At these institutions, ethics, moral courage and character still matter. People have a way of conducting themselves with honor and distinction at the Naval Academy and at Notre Dame. At these schools, people learn how to conduct themselves in life - in a way some just call "classy."

At Notre Dame, above one door of Sacred Heart, one can find the words "God, Country, Notre Dame. "At West Point and at the Naval Academy, one frequently hears words like "Duty, Honor, Country." The message is the same.

At both the Naval Academy and Notre Dame one finds deep commitment to our nation and to service. The culture of Notre Dame and Navy sets these places apart, making this football game worth playing and worth watching every year.
Allowing that both schools have had students and alums who’ve fallen short of the schools’ ideals and purposes, the Naval Academy and Notre Dame are outstanding schools whose graduates have made inestimable contributions to our country and mankind. Long may they flourish.

An AP report the two schools had signed a contract scheduling games through 2016 included this:
"Whether we visit South Bend, or the game is played on the East Coast, it is of great interest to our collective national audience of Irish fans, Naval Academy alumni and the Navy family at large," Naval Academy director of athletics Chet Gladchuk said. "Two institutions with similar values rekindling a lengthy and well-respected relationship makes this game special."
While researching for this post, I learned at Thomas Crosbie Media:
It has been confirmed that Navy are to play Notre Dame at the Dublin 3 stadium on September 1, 2012, in what is the longest running college football rivalry in history. It will be a "home" game for the Maryland-based Navy.
That's not so long from now. What a wonderful experience it would be to visit Ireland and see the game.

Ed Morrisey posts on yesterday’s game here and Brendon Loy posts on it here. Give them both a look.

Be sure you follow Loy’s link to a game photo he says illustrates how hard Navy played. It’s a classic of the kind coaches post in locker rooms.

Congratulations Navy.