Saturday, January 05, 2008

John Edwards and our money

At the Raleigh News & Observer’s Editors’ Blog executive editor for news John Dresher yesterday posted John Edwards carries on.

It begins:

John Edwards invested a huge amount of time and energy in Iowa only to finish a distant second (38 percent to 30 percent) Thursday night to Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses. Peter Francia, a political science professor at East Carolina University, told The N&O’s Rob Christensen that Edwards is in big trouble. Read that story here.
The rest of Drescher’s post is here.

Nowhere in it does Drescher mention that besides spending a huge amount of time and energy on his campaign, Edwards is also spending public money to finance it.

This excerpt from a Sept. 28, 2007 Washington Post story:
…Edwards and his top advisers said they examined at length the question of how public financing would affect their chances in the primaries.

Senior adviser Joe Trippi said yesterday that they concluded they could be in a stronger position with the public money providing a potential infusion of more than $10 million in January that "nobody expected we would have."

Trippi, who said the campaign would report raising about $7 million in the third quarter [of 2007] and having between $8 million and $9 million in cash, discounted concerns about the spending limits.

He said there were so many exemptions to the restrictions that the limits were not a serious concern. …
So the multi-millionaire trial lawyer who’s just built himself a 30,000 sq. ft. house “carries on” his campaign spending taxpayers money to do it.

And Edwards needn’t worry about restrictions resulting from his use of public money; they’re not a serious concern.

If you supported public financing of political campaigns, did you ever think tax dollars would go to support people like John Edwards? Or that campaign advisors would have no serious concerns regarding restrictions on the use of public funds for campaigns?

Trying to find a bright side in all of this, I suppose we can all be grateful the public financing law doesn’t include a provision requiring us to also fund Edwards’ mortgage payments.

Recalling a Bill Buckley story

An Anon commenter noted I’d said in a recent post “my wife and me” where I should have said “my wife and I.”

I made the correction and thanked the Anon.

Subsequently commenter BAW said:

Had to laugh at " wife and ME", not "and I."

My mother was a teacher. French and Spanish but she also taught English (and Math...long story) and there were a few common mistakes she always corrected. May/can, good/well, color/shade but the one that really got her going was me/I.

At one time, most people mistakenly used "you and me" all the time so teachers corrected them until people started using "you and I" all the time. Mother would rail, "Even preacher's now say, He died for you and I!" …

It does seem that we as a society consistently overcompensate for a mistake and swing all the way to the opposite extreme.
BAW’s comment reminded me of one of my favorite Bill Buckley stories.

During the 70s a woman member of congress wanted to do away with the traditional usages of “congressman” and “congresswoman.” She favored the gender-neutral “congressperson.”

Buckley didn’t favor her proposal but said he was willing to consider supporting it once the congresswoman, Elizabeth Holtzman, changed her name to Holtzperson.

Truth About The Terror War

London-based journalist William Shawcross’ writings tell more truth about the Terror War than those of the editorial boards of the NYT, LAT, and Raleigh N&O combined.

Yes, that's damning with faint praise so ignore that and read the following excerpts (British spellings) from Shawcross’ latest in The Spectator, “We are at war with hatred, fanaticism and despair.” I follow them with a few comments.

When will we ever learn? The murder of Benazir Bhutto should finally convince us that we are in the midst of a crucial international war to stop Islamist terrorists destroying all that is best in our imperfect world. …

[Bernard-Henri] Lévy suggests that Benazir’s name should now become another password ‘for those who still believe that the good genius of Enlightenment will win out over the evil genius of fanaticism and crime’.

But the Enlightenment will be lost unless we all realise that we have to fight for it.

First of all we have to give up the luxury of pretending that the war with Islamism is our fault. It is not.

It is a deadly serious attempt by reactionary theocrats, Sunni and Shia, to enslave as much of the world as possible. It is powerful — it has the resources of a rich state, Iran, behind its Shia arm, and oil wealth gushes into the coffers of its Sunni side.

‘The war on terror’ may not be the best of phrases, but it is a reasonable shorthand.

Islamist terrorist murderers don’t kill decent and brave people because of mistakes made by President Bush or Tony Blair or President Musharraf or anyone else.

They do so to destroy the chance of millions of Muslims and ‘infidels’ all over the world to live decent lives.

Secondly, the murder of Bhutto should also demonstrate — yet again — that this war is not the fault of the Israelis.

The Islamists did not kill Benazir Bhutto because of concern about the West Bank.

They killed her because they feared her power to give the Pakistani people more than the Islamists want them to have, and because they seek to push Pakistan into total chaos and unlimited carnage.

Third, Iraq is not the cause of this war — it is part of it. (emphasis mine)

Remember one of the first terrible suicide murders committed in Iraq: in August 2003 al-Qa’eda killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the UN’s most gifted officials, and many of his colleagues. De Mello was Kofi Annan’s special representative in Iraq and, like Annan, was opposed to the US war effort there.

But al-Qa’eda denounced Annan as ‘America’s criminal slave’ and abused de Mello as ‘diseased’. They hated him in particular because he had helped Christian East Timor win independence from Muslim Indonesia — a heinous crime to al-Qa’eda. …

The murder of Bhutto, the murder of UN officials, the countless murders of innocent Iraqis, the murder of Lebanese who fight for their democracy, the murder of commuters in Madrid and London are all part of the same war against people and life.

They are all part of the same deadly global ideology of hatred and despair.

These assaults will not end if we retreat — from Afghanistan, from Iraq or anywhere else.
No, they won’t.

Why can’t people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Barak Obama, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Harry Reid, and former Sen. John Edwards understand that?

Why do we keep hearing from the liberal/leftist MSM that America, Israel and poverty are responsible for what the terrorists are doing?

And why, with few exceptions, can't we read in the editorials of our local newspapers anything as informed and supportive of civilization as William Shawcross' Spectator article?

Near the end of his article Shawcross states a fundamental truth we must never forget:
Weakness will cause the terrorists to redouble their efforts.
His entire column is here.

Hat tip:

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 4, 2008

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

Here's an amusing anecdote found in the introduction to Martin Gilbert's latest book, Churchill and America(Free Press, 2005):

Churchill was proud of his American ancestry. During a discussion at the Truman White House in 1952, to standardize the type of rifle to be used by the two countries' armies, the following exchange took place between Churchill and the senior British officer present:

Field Marshall Slim: "Well, I suppose we could experiment with a bastard rifle, party American, partly British."

Churchill: "Kindly moderate your language, Field Marshall. It may be recalled that I am myself partly British, partly American."
If any of you reading this are yourselves partly British, partly American be assured you’re referred to at JinC respectfully as "series readers."

I wish all series readers a wonderful first weekend of 2008.



N&O Series Notes (Post 2)

Most of you know I'm working on a series of posts to start in mid-January that'll take a fresh look at the Raleigh News & Observer's Duke Hoax coverage.

While researching today I reviewed a post I published on July 16, 2006.

It's title: Duke lacrosse: The Raleigh N&O's cover up has begun.

It concerned a news story the N&O published that day under Jane Stancill's byline which made the false claim that the Duke lacrosse hysteria and attempted frame-up began in April and was in response to public remarks Mike Nifong made to the media. The story began:

Journalists rushed to Durham in April to tell the world about a sordid evening at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where a black exotic dancer reported that she was raped by white lacrosse players from Duke.

An avalanche of media coverage followed, as the confident prosecutor gave dozens of interviews and reporters ferreted out a pattern of drunken misbehavior by jocks at an elite university. […]

Early on, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong gave scores of interviews, calling Duke lacrosse players "hooligans" who were hiding behind a wall of silence. His emphatic statements fueled a national media story.[...]
In truth, the hysteria/national media coverage and public portion of the frame-up attempt began on Mar. 24, 2006 with the Raleigh N&O's publication of a series of stories and a news column which laid out the frame-up script and launched the hysteria/national media coverage before Nifong began speaking publicly on Mar. 27.

By Mar. 27 TV satellite trucks were already parked in front of Duke's Bryan Student Center. Stancill knew that. She reported some of the N&O's March 2006 stories

So I was right to say on July 16, 2006 the N&O was engaged in covering up what it did in March.

But I was flat-out wrong to say the N&O' cover-up had just begun.

We now know it began sometime on Mar. 24, 2006 when the N&O decided to withhold from a story it would publish the next day (anonymous interview/wall of solidarity story) both critical information it had about the accuser which was exculpatory for the players and information it had that the players had cooperated with police. (See posts here and here)

We also now know that by Mar. 26 if not before, the N&O was using Mike Nifong as an anonymous source for coverage framing the Duke lacrosse team as drunken, racist, privileged louts who included three gang-rapists and their teammates who were covering up for them. (See posts here and here)

One of my goals for the series is to demonstrate how essential the N&O's decisions to withhold critically important news in late March was to Nifong's ability to move forward with the frame-up attempt.

Another goal is to examine the myriad ways the N&O has worked to mislead the public about what it did and didn't do last March and thereafter. Reporter Stancill's July 16 story is only one instance of an on-going cover-up that's been surprisingly successful.

Responding to "Call home immediately" comments

Readers Note: What follows are my responses to parts or all of the comments on the Call home immediately thread.

Commenters are in italics; my responses in plain.


Dear Commenters,

To Anon @ 6:10 PM

Thanks for your nice words but my advice was very simple, wasn’t it?

It was also in my best interest.

Why didn’t Duke do the same?

To Anon @ 2:42 PM

You say, “good sense …is not a quality exhibited by more than a handful of ‘adults’ at Duke.”

I agree and continue to wonder why there were so many at Duke who fell for what was obviously an impossible story.

I mean a young woman's brutally beaten, strangled, and gang-raped by three physically big atheletes in a small bathroom and all four emerge from the bathroom after a 30-minute life-and-death struggle with not one of the four having so much as a single broken bone or a cut which required even one stitch.

A woman who's been beaten by a single strong male for 5-minutes is a terrible sight to see.

How did Duke find so many faculty and staff who'd beleive such a crazy story?

Is Duke still hiring such people?

Anon @ 10:17 AM said:

“In fact, Duke officials advised the players not to engage independent counsel nor tell anyone, including their parents. Duke's behavior from the beginning is consistent with the factual allegations in the Ekstrand complaint, i.e. that Duke officials conspired with Durham authorities to railroad the lacrosse players.”

I’d like to believe you’re wrong, but so far Duke hasn’t given any of us any reason(s) to believe you are.

Anon @ 11:26 AM said:

"Uglier and Dukier."

How about “Much uglier and much Dukier?”

Ken in Dallas @ 12:08 PM notes with tongue-in-cheek Bob Steel “gets his information from the newspapers.”

Won’t it be interesting to learn what information President Brodhead and DU Police Director Dean made available to Steel that we don’t know yet.

Once discovery starts, Steel’s surely not going to say, “All I knew was what I read in the newspapers and what Brodhead, Dean and the others were telling me. And as they’ve said during their depositions, they were in the same boat I was in. We all only knew what we read in the newspapers.”

RedMountain @ 12:25 PM said: “I have stated before that Duke went way overboard in terms of it's cooperation with the Durham police.”

Red Mountain then asked: “Was that due to an interest in getting the case resolved quicky or due to a conspiracy by the Duke consortium to frame the players?”

Red Mountain, can we agree that you could also have asked: “ Was that due to an interest in getting the case resolved quickley due to a conspiracy by the Duke consortium to frame the players?”

You didn’t ask that question.

But all it would have taken for you to ask it was to drop “or” out the compound question you actually asked.

Are you leading up to something?

Anon @ 2:37 PM said: "...about my wife and ME...", not "and I."

Thanks for the correction which I’ve now made.

Ken in Dallas @ 2:37 PM queried regarding when “Steel direct Brodhead to finally meet with the players' parents and offer a sincere apology?”

I don’t know that Steel “direct[ed]" Brodhead to meet with the players’ parents. I'm in the dark on that.

Thank you to you all for commenting.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 3, 2007

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

Readers Note: This post was first published on Dec. 3, 2005. It's one of my series' favorites.


On the night of October 14, 1940 Churchill was dining at 10 Downing Street when a German bombing raid began.

A part of the Treasury Building, not fifty yards from Number 10, suffered a direct hit before Churchill and aides could get to a shelter.

Churchill refused to remain for long in the shelter. He soon went to the roof of the building that housed it, and there witnessed the raid. He later wrote:

The night was clear and there was a wide view of London. It seemed the greater part of Pall Mall was in flames. (There were) fierce St. James Street and Piccadilly. Farther back over the river in the opposite direction there were many conflagrations. But Pall Mall was the vivid flame-picture
Pall Mall was then as now the location of many of London's private clubs , including then but not now its most prestigious, The Carleton Club, whose membership has traditionally included the leaders and other important members of Churchill's Conservative Party.

Churchill later received a first-hand account of the Carleton's destruction from one of its members:
He was in the club with about two hundred and fifty members and staff.
The whole of the facade and the massive coping on the Pall Mall side (fell into) the street obliterating his motor-car.
The smoking-room had been full of members, and the whole ceiling had come down upon them.
However, by what seemed a miracle, they had all crawled out of the dust, smoke, and rubble, and thought many were injured not a single life was lost.
While to Churchill the survival of his Conservative Party colleagues "seemed a miracle," Laborites had another explanation, which Churchill duly recorded:
(In) Cabinet, our Labour colleagues facetiously remarked, "The Devil looks after his own."
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (pgs. 346-348)

Some excellent political “updating”

is found today in Mike Williams electronic letter:

In case you missed it, the Iowa caucuses are happening tonight. On Page 1 above-the-fold, the N&O reminds you that John Edwards is, once again, running for President, and that the economy has replaced Iraq as the central issue of Campaign 2008.

Edwards, we learn, has spent the last five years building his Iowa political machine. That’s quite an investment if you think about it. N&O columnist Rick Martinez laments that the “disproportionate power of Iowa caucus-goers and New Hampshire primary voters is no longer a trivial matter.” Even the reliably partisan Jim Jenkins calls the caucuses “the nuttiest step in the process of picking a president of the United States.” What that says about John Edwards spending the last five years there I’m not sure. Anyway, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann tell you all about who needs what from Iowa tonight if you’re interested.

Meanwhile, casualties in Iraq are indeed down. U.S. deaths are currently at their lowest three month totals ever. StrategyPage:

The U.S. always put a premium on keeping American casualties down. This led to tactics, equipment and weapons designed to get the job done, with the fewest American dead and wounded. As a result, the casualty rate in Iraq was less than half what it was in Vietnam.

There was also an emphasis on keeping civilian casualties down. It was difficult for most Americans to realize this, given the media's fixation on real or imagined atrocities. In Iraq, over 90 percent of civilian casualties were inflicted by other Iraqis. The military encouraged the media to not cover the many procedures ("rules of engagement" or ROE) U.S. troops follow to avoid civilian losses. This was because the enemy would exploit those ROEs as much as possible.

In hindsight, U.S. troops will get credit for keeping their own casualties down to historically low levels (compared to any other 20th century conflict). Professional soldiers have already recognized this feat, and are studying American techniques intensively. Less well appreciated are the efforts the Americans made to keep civilian losses down.

But foreign military experts are coming to appreciate that this aspect of the war paid long term benefits. Iraqis saw, day by day, the efforts by American troops to avoid hurting civilians. Initially, Iraqis saw that as an American weakness, but in the long run they recognized it as a sensibility rarely seen in the Middle East. This will have long term consequences for relations between the United States and Iraq.
Of course the Dems and their MSM enablers want Iraq to go away as a campaign issue – they’ve been proven spectacularly wrong on Iraq since they took over Congress, and they don’t want voters remembering that. (Although John Edwards, apparently oblivious to facts on the ground, is still advocating cut-and-run.)

Even most of the Republican candidates aren’t sure how to deal with Iraq. Victor Davis Hanson explains:
There is a sort of Orwellian quality, however, in the Republican candidates’ positions on the war: all seem to support the present Bush course but can’t quite name the President, given his 36% favorable rating in the polls. The result is that we hear of little substantive difference from the present strategy, but frequent protestations about past mistakes — that seem intended as necessary cover for de facto associating oneself with George Bush’s Iraq….
And this:
The final irony? No candidate apparently argues that someone did something right to have prevented another 9/11-like attack for over six years, removed two dictatorships, fostered the continued, stubborn presence of democratic governments in Afghanistan and Iraq, helped change the Middle East dynamic from Lebanon to Libya, and at present won friendship and support from key countries as diverse as France, Germany, and India.
As we kick off Campaign 2008 in Iowa, it’s worth a look back at why we went to war in Iraq to start with. And it’s also worth a look back at how politically partisan our MSM has become, and the terrible havoc its agenda-driven reporting is capable of wreaking. As for those of you who think they’ll report any more objectively on the economy than they’ve done on Iraq….
Thanks Mike for a fine piece of work.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 2, 2008

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

The holidays are over. I hope yours were wonderful and that your 2008 is a safe, healthy and productive year.

Now to work. Here's a pop quiz.

Who was the first American President to write Churchill a letter?

If you answered, "Roosevelt," you're right provided you meant President Theodore Roosevelt.

TR and Churchill met in Dec., 1900 when Roosevelt was New York's Governor and America's Vice President-elect. Churchill was twenty-six and had recently been elected to his first Parliament.

American friends of Churchill's family had arranged for the visit with Roosevelt.

TR hosted Churchill at dinner in the Governor's Mansion in Albany. He later told a friend, "Although (Churchill) is not an attractive fellow, I was interested in some of the things he said."

Nine years later, President Theodore Roosevelt was preparing to pass the duties of that office on to his successor, William Howard Taft. Afterwards, he would embark on a lengthy hunting trip to Africa.

When Churchill learned of TR's plans, he sent him a copy of his latest book, My African Journey, which had been serialized on both sides of the Atlantic. The front cover contained an engraving of Churchill, gun in hand, standing over a rhinoceros he'd shot.

TR responded:

My dear Mr. Churchill:

Thru (Ambassador) Reid, I have just received the beautiful copy of your book, and I wish to thank you for it. I had read all the chapters as they came out, and with a great deal of interest; not only the chapters upon the very difficult and important problems of the Government itself, but also the hunting chapters and especially the one describing how you got that rare and valuable trophy, a white rhinoceros head.

Everyone has been most kind to me about my proposed trip to Africa.

I trust I shall have as good luck as you had.

Again thanking you, believe me,
Sincerely yours,

Theodore Roosevelt

December 13, 1909.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (Free Press, 2005) ( pgs. 36, 50-51)

Is President Bush really

a divider, not a uniter?

Blogger Rand Simberg offers his answer with a twist of irony.

Simberg reminds us such "is the low esteem of George Bush's America in the rest of the world that Britain and France are fighting over which of them is our closest ally."

After decades of Anglo-French rivalry, in which France has vehemently deplored the global influence America and Britain have attained and what every president of France since Charles de Gaulle has described as "Anglo-Saxon culture," Mr. Sarkozy claimed during his visit to Washington last week that France, not Britain, is now America's best friend and partner.

Mr. Brown, who has been portrayed on both sides of the Atlantic as having distanced himself from America to avoid the charge against his predecessor, Tony Blair, that he was Mr. Bush's "poodle," fought back last night, claiming in a speech at a banquet thrown by the lord mayor of the city of London that the French president's bid to usurp Britain's traditional place alongside America would not succeed.

I hear the Democrat candidates bloviate on the campaign trail about how they're going to "repair our relations" with the rest of the world, and wonder on what planet they're living.



Since '04 Dem presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry had five homes (all big ones) and three SUVs and was "the environmentalists' candidate," can anyone blame Simberg for not knowing what planet bloviating Dem candidates live on?

Be honest.

Hat tip:

One disagreement with Victor Davis Hanson

Usually I agree with Victor Davis Hanson.

But he posted something yesterday at NRO’s Corner that in one very important respect is wrong.

Hanson’s post begins:

Watching the debate over whether Huckabee’s withdrawn “attack” ad is over the top, and other assorted Iowa psychodramas makes interesting contrast with the rest of the world’s electioneering outside the Great Satan.

In Kenya they’re burning churches and rioting; in Pakistan riots lead to murder and arson. Hamas and Fatah are at it again in Gaza. At some point, someone might wonder how such a crass hyper-power can rather peacefully conduct voting in a way most abroad apparently cannot.

In the case of Pakistan, however, we are starting to see a disturbing pattern: the rioting and violence continues, the conspiracies mount, and the three general factions square off (the al-Qaeda/Islamists “death to the West” clique; the military/dictatorship “at least we provide order and secure the nukes” bunch; and the “reform” and democracy Bhuttoites [“forget our past corruption”]).

The common denominator is that it is somehow America’s fault for: either “propping” up a dictator,” or not pressing him enough to reform, or naively backing him up against a wall, or demanding he fight terrorists, or giving him a pass not to fight terrorists, or rigging an American-backed Bhutto return, or exposing a brave heroine to the clutches of her enemies without proper security, or this or that or that or this.
I’m with Hanson 100% so far.

And he’s right when he scorns:
[those] endless, and self-contradictory indictments … often voiced by Pakistani elites of two types. They are either opposition figures whose past careers are ample proof of corruption and lost opportunities-or expatriate intellectuals in European capitals and American universities (who sound like they had a little bit more opportunity at the good life than those who grow up in El Paso or Bakersfield), endlessly faulting some aspect of U.S. foreign policy—always forgetting why they are here and not over in Pakistan, and why perhaps they might do more good to match their idealistic and often vituperative rhetoric by returning to the land of their birth to enact real change on the ground, a country that sorely needs those with such international experience and expertise.

The media usually, but unknowingly, provides some exegesis: they have shown now for the nth time the shrieking rioter who serially beats the skeleton of a completely burned out and utterly destroyed bus with a long wooden stick—then cut away to the typical interview with some government grandee, ensconced in a beautiful home of tile and gardens, defending the indefensible of the government in mellifluous English.
But I disagree with one part of what he ends his commentary with:
Meanwhile, we are daily reminded that Pakistan’s 1998 detonation of a nuclear weapon remains the greatest foreign policy lapse of the last quarter-century.
We're daily reminded that Pakistan is a nuclear power. True enough.

Its obtaining nuclear weapons may well be "the greatest foreign policy lapse of the last quarter-century." Sure.

But we're not reminded that happened in 1998; at least not very often.

That's bacause 1998 was on President Bill Clinton's watch and you know the rest of that.

“Call home immediately”

I'm starting 2008 Duke Hoax posting with a simple 1, 2, 3 post containing:

1) A bit of information about my wife and me and some former and current Duke and Carolina students.

2) A small but very important extract from the brief attorney Robert (Bob) Ekstrand recently filed on behalf of three unindicted Duke students who claim the University and others conspired to violate their civil rights.

3) Some simple questions.

Let’s begin:

1) By virtue of living close to Duke and UNC- Chapel Hill and many years involvment with national professional associations and some other things, my wife and I have gotten over the years a good number of calls from friends and acquaintances in other parts of the country that went something like this:

"Our (son/daughter) will be going to (Duke/Carolina) and we want (him/her)to have a contact close by just in case. Would you .....?
You know the rest of that call and we've almost always said yes, being sure to say there would be times we weren't in town and that we always wanted to meet the in-coming student right off.

As "call just in case" people, we gotten to know a good number of Duke and Carolina students who for the most part never needed to make the "just in case call."

But some have. And whenever the reason had to do with some kind of a legal matter, our response was/is always the same: "Call home. Your parents need to know. We'll call them also and see if there's anything they want us to do. We'll try to help you and them as best we can."

We always put the part about also calling the parents out there because there are some students who get in legal scrapes and don't put "call home" on their "to do" lists.

Nothing that I’ve just said about what my wife and I do is anything more than responsible adult behavior, is it?

2) Extract from Ekstrand's brief - - -

XI. THE CONSPIRACY TO ORCHESTRATE THE MASS INTERROGATION OF UNCOUNSELED STUDENTS (JinC Readers Note: the excerpted portions of the brief are found on pages 126 through 128. )

369. Instead of closing the case or following the extant, (though unpromising leads of the non-lacrosse team members who attended the party), Duke Police Defendants.
Duke Officials Defendants, and Durham Police Defendants agreed to keep the case to remain open, and colluded to deliver to Gottlieb to every member of the team for interrogation, en masse.

A. Duke University Defendants’ Acts in Furtherance of the Conspiracy

370. Duke Police and Duke Officials understood and agreed to:

(1) Deliver all 47 team members to Gottlieb and Himan, at a designated
location, to be interrogated by Durham Police;

(2) Create a false sense of security in the team members by minimizing the
seriousness of the investigation and the charges being investigated, and
encourage team members not to seek legal counsel or to reveal the planned
interrogations to anyone;

(3) Provide no information to the Plaintiffs or their teammates about the nature
or scope of the interrogations;

(4) The team members would not be informed that, during the interrogations,
every one of them would be asked to volunteer to give their DNA and a
“mug shot” photograph, or that a team of CSIs from the Durham Forensic
Services Unit (“FSU”) had been mobilized for purpose of taking DNA
swabs, mug shot photographs, and pictures of any scars or marks on the
team members’ arms and torso.

(5) The team members would also not be advised that if they submit DNA
samples and mug shot photographs voluntarily, they waive their right to a
report of the results of all DNA testing and photo identification procedures
as soon as they are available; and, further, that they could have that right
merely by requesting a Nontestimonial (“NTID”) Order be obtained for the
same purposes; and, further that, absent an NTID Order, a right to that
information would not arise again unless the individual is indicted, and then
only pursuant to constitutional and/or statutory discovery; and

(6) Provide a primary location and/or a satellite location(s) for isolated
interrogations of individuals.

B. The Durham Police Defendants’ Acts in Furtherance of Conspiracy

371. Durham Police, for their part, understood and agreed to:

(1) Conduct interrogations of the team members individually. Upon
information and belief, the interrogators would employ all of the
rudimentary interrogation techniques, including, but not limited to, dividing
them, exhausting them, falsely reporting to one individual that a
teammate’s account contradicts theirs in material respects, and the many
other standard tools of interrogation.

(2) Coordinate the overstaffing of the FSU to take DNA swabs and “mug shot”

(3) Provide Duke Police and Duke Officials with information relating to their
charging decisions.

3) Some simple questions - - -

Let's put aside for now questions of whether what's alleged in the portion of the brief cited above is true in part or whole.

Let's allow that there are confidentiality provisions regarding to whom and what university administrators may disclose concerning a student.

Was there anything that prevented Duke administrators when they first learned DUPD and DPD were investigating crimes alleged to have occurred at a party attended by certain Duke students from advising those student to "call home immediately?"

Was there anything that prevented Duke administrators from sending emails to the students concerned urging them to call their parents to let them know what was happening?

Was there anything that prevented Duke administrators from saying to eighteen and nineteen year-old students that the administrators and the students could jointly call parents to make sure that anything the parents thought should be done in the students' interests was being done?

In the more than twenty-one months since the night of March 13/14 has Duke ever claimed it did some or all of what I've asked here?

So How's The Economy?

At Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, says:

The U.S. is ending 2007 with a whine rather than a whimper. It is tough to keep track of what's collapsing faster, home prices or the dollar, and the financial market crisis caused by it has many seers talking recession as we enter 2008.
But Hassett really doesn’t see the economy as in bad shape. He’s just engaging in a little ridicule of the doom-and-gloomers.

He devotes the rest of his column to what he calls “the Top 10 pieces of happy economic news in 2007. “ Excerpts follow after which below the star line I offer a few comments.

Now Hassett - - -

1) Equity markets posted solid gains and price multiples are still low. As of last Friday morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained about 7 percent for the year, while yielding about 2.25 percent, providing investors with a total return of more than 9 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite Index had climbed more than 10 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index had provided a total return in the 5.5 percent range.

There are no signs of irrational exuberance. The price-to- earnings ratio for the S&P 500, for example, finished the year at less than 19, safely nestled in the historical comfort range.

2) Households are wealthier. In part because of rising equity markets, household net worth increased in 2007, according to the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve. At the start of the year, net worth was $56.1 trillion. By the third quarter, this climbed to $58.6 trillion and probably rose again in the fourth quarter.

If changes in wealth affect the economy through consumption, then the affect will be favorable.

3) Congress did nothing. Gridlock has historically been good for the U.S. economy for a simple reason: New laws are invariably worse than the ones they replace. Witness Sarbanes- Oxley.

With the Democrats taking control of Congress, there was a real risk that taxes, in particular, would be increased. With the economy softening already, it is great news that this didn't happen.

4) The Federal Reserve did something. From interest rate reductions to the introduction of a new auction mechanism to get needed reserves to struggling banks, the Fed has responded to the weakening economy with multiple policy moves.

Thus, we have learned that Ben Bernanke's Fed will likely be a competent actor should things get worse. This is good news for nervous markets, though there was no guarantee this would be the case. The Fed did, after all, aggravate -- and may have caused -- the Great Depression.

5) The world economy had another blow-out year. According to the latest Moody's forecast, world gross domestic product grew by 3.9 percent in 2007 after rising 3.6 percent in 2006.

In spite of the gloom in the headlines, the most important news in 2007 was that economic freedom is spreading, and the benefits to the world's citizens of this are skyrocketing.

6) The trade deficit declined. As our trading partners become wealthier, they demand more of our products. At the same time, the weaker dollar has made U.S. exports cheaper. ...

7) Even in the face of the housing-market bust, economic growth was solid...[A]nnual GDP growth, according to the latest estimate, was about 2.5 percent. There are plenty of developed countries that would take that type of growth every year.

8) Job creation was robust. According to the latest jobs report, which covers data through November, the U.S. economy added 1.3 million jobs on net in 2007.

The unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in January, and finished the year a smidgen higher at 4.7 percent. Both levels are very low by historical standards.

9) The federal budget deficit declined. ...

10) Inflation risk is low. Although energy prices surged, core inflation was up only 2.3 percent for the year ended in November, about half a percentage point lower than it was in late 2006.

This is great news, making it relatively riskless for the Fed to cut interest rates next year if there are more signs of trouble.

Hassett's entire column is here.


Folks, we know there are no guarntees of what the future economies of America and the world will be like. But Hassett gives us plenty of cause to be optimistic.

Sure, there will be some downturns; there always are in the business cycle. But the long-term economic trends have been positive - and dramatically so, even as almost all MSM reporting has missed that story.

For example, we're still reminded of October 19, 1987 and "the crash" that day.

Yes, it was pretty scary; and if you were a short-term trader you might have been hurt very badly.

But if you were a long-term investor who diversified and engaged in income averaging, you may remember 1987 began with the Dow Jones Industrial Average just a little under 1900 and ended the year with the DJIA just above 1900.

Now fast forward 20 years and the DJIA ending 2007 above 13,000.

Just for ease of calculating let's round that 1987 DJIA ending up to 2,000 and drop that 2007 ending to 12,000 and look at what we have: a 500% increase in value.

Not too bad, is it?

If the market continues to climb during the next 20 years as it has in the last 20, by 2027 we'll have a DJIA of over 60,000.

I hope you have a wonderful 2008.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First ’08 Post: Thank You, “Editors”

JinC has some of the best “editors” in the blogosphere.

And they work 24/7/365. (This year being a leap year, they’ll work 366.)

Here’s the latest example of their work:

At 1:55 AM this New Year’s Day, an Anon “copy editor” noted on the thread of this post that I’d written “2006” where I should have written “2007.”

I thank that “editor” and all the other’s who point out my errors and “add to the story” with thoughtful, informed and on point comments.

You made JinC a better place in 2007; I know you’ll do the same in 2008.

My first ’08 post is a “thank you” as a way of expressing how much I appreciate the help you give me and what you contribute to JinC.


Monday, December 31, 2007

Churchill: Americans “an amazing people.”

Churchill Series readers will enjoy this post. I think many of the rest of you will, too.

In December 1931 Churchill arrived in America to begin a lecture tour. He held no government office at the time. Nevertheless, the government took the unusual step of providing him a bodyguard because he was considered a likely target for attacks, even assassination, by Irish and Asian Indian extremist groups.

It was on that tour that Churchill was struck and almost killed by a car while crossing New York’s Fifth Avenue.

During his lengthy convalescence, part of which was spent in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Churchill and his bodyguard, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, realized that on entering America they had not disclosed they were carrying pistols and had no police permits for them.

They'd each unintentionally committed criminal acts, both punishable by jail terms.

Churchill directed Thompson to take their pistols down to Police headquarters the next day and try to set matters right.

Thompson spent most of the next day at the NYC Police Headquarters. When he returned to the Waldorf, he explained to the bed-ridden Churchill what had happened.

The police had all been very polite but they’d made it clear people were not supposed to carry guns in the city.

Thompson protested that extremist groups active in the Untied States had repeatedly threatened to kill Churchill. Not only that, Thompson had read in the morning’s paper of five murders just the previous day in New York.

The police said they understood, but there were still those laws.

Thompson continued pressing. Eventually he was told the Police Commissioner himself would speak to him.

The Commissioner had been briefed on the problem. “We can’t give you official permission,” he told Thompson.

Then he added: “But if you have to use weapons, just let us know and we will square it for you.”

Churchill took it all in before telling Thompson “the Americans are an amazing people.”

And indeed we are. Happy New Year.
Tom Hickman, Churchill's Bodyguard. (pgs. 70-71)

N&O Series Notes (Post 1)

Readers Note: As I've told you, I'm planning a series of posts to start in mid-January that will take a fresh look at the Raleigh News & Observer's Duke Hoax coverage.

As part of researching for the series I'm reviewing posts. I came across the following one this morning. I plan to reference it in the series because it helps expose the "N&O got better after a few days and then provided outstanding ocverage" myth.

I thought you might be interested to read it now for that reason andbecause it has a certain timeliness regarding Duke and suits.

The post was published June 20, 2007, two months after NC Attorney General Roy Cooper had declared the players "innocent."

It was titled: INNOCENT: The N&O's "Duke deal" story. The offer I made at the end of the post to lead reporter Anne Blythe to publish a response was never acknowledged.


On the front-page of today’s Raleigh News & Observer we see the headlines:

Duke deal shields faculty
Some spoke out after rape claims
Under reporters Anne Blythe and Eric Ferreri bylines with reporters Benjamin Niolet and Joseph Neff listed as contributors, the story begins:
Duke University's settlement with exonerated lacrosse players gives legal protection to faculty members, some of whom have been under siege for speaking out in the wake of the gang-rape allegations.

Neither side would disclose the terms of the agreement, announced Monday, but Duke's faculty chairman, Paul Haagen, informed professors that one provision is that all faculty members have been released from liability related to the lacrosse case.

That news sparked another round of vitriolic messages from e-mailers and bloggers still exercised over a student newspaper ad signed in the spring of 2006 by 88 Duke professors, who decried a campus culture of racism and sexism.

As Duke shut the door on lawsuits by the players in the lacrosse case, the Durham County sheriff on Tuesday slammed shut District Attorney Mike Nifong's access to the courthouse where he has worked 29 years. Orlando Hudson, the county's chief resident Superior Court judge, entered an order suspending Nifong with pay.
The N&O story is really two stories lumped together: the Duke settlement and matters related to it, and Nifong’s immediate legal and related difficulties.

I’m going to ignore the portions of the story dealing with Nifong and focus only on the N&O’s reporting of the “Duke deal” which reeks of a pro-Group of 88 bias and is, I believe, sloppy with at least one very important fact.

The N&O’s pro Group of 88 bias is obvious in the headlines:
Duke deal shields faculty
Some spoke out after rape claims
But Duke isn’t paying out money to exempt Professors Steve Baldwin, James Coleman and Michael Gustafson and Coaches Kerstin Kimel and Mike Krzyzewski for “speak[ing] out after rape claims.”

Duke’s paying out for statements and actions by certain faculty, including some Group of 88 members, which many legal theorists believe were potentially libelous.

There’s no problem with Duke faculty speaking out about "rape claims." We all know that.

But you can’t libel people, even if they are white male Duke students.

A less biased and more accurate headline would have been:
Duke settlement protects faculty from liability claims
Now let’s look at this paragraph:
That news sparked another round of vitriolic messages from e-mailers and bloggers still exercised over a student newspaper ad signed in the spring of 2006 by 88 Duke professors, who decried a campus culture of racism and sexism
Here we go again, folks.

The messages are “vitriolic?” Blythe, Ferreri, Niolet and Neff don’t say how they determined that. They don’t even say whether they read any or all of the massages.

Mightn’t some of the messages have been informed, fair-minded and properly critical?

And who are these latest e-mailers? Are they anything like the overwhelmingly civil, informed and caring e-mailers (a few haters and trolls mixed in) I’ve been hearing from the last fifteen months?

Does the N&O know whether these latest "e-mailers and bloggers" are the kind of people who were and remain concerned by statements and actions of certain faculty?

Does the N&O know whether the people writing "vitriolic" message are concerned by the same or similar statements and actions I'll bet the University Counsel and Trustees had in mind when they agreed to what was almost certainly a very hefty financial settlement?

Following the subhead - Duke's reasoning - the story continues:
Duke, too, is struggling to restore its image, and that, legal experts say, is one reason the university would settle such a case.
Another reason was to avoid the potential liability that Haagen assures his faculty colleagues they no longer bear.

The N&O, with four reporters working the story, failed to provide readers with even one example of a statement or action by a Duke faculty member that Haagen, a law professor, could tell readers Duke had in mind when it paid out to spare certain faculty from libel suits and itself from the odium of employing such faculty.

And if Haagen had been reluctant to cite examples, it wouldn’t have been hard for one of the four reporters to locate attorneys who have followed the case, and could have cited statements and actions by certain faculty that were potentially libelous.

But that’s not the kind of reporting you’d expect in a strongly pro Group of 88 story, is it?

There are other examples of bias further along in the story, but I’ve made my point.

Now let’s look at the reporters’ sloppy treatment of at least one very important fact.

To do that let’s look again at the story’s first two paragraphs:
Duke University's settlement with exonerated lacrosse players gives legal protection to faculty members, some of whom have been under siege for speaking out in the wake of the gang-rape allegations.

Neither side would disclose the terms of the agreement, announced Monday, but Duke's faculty chairman, Paul Haagen, informed professors that one provision is that all faculty members have been released from liability related to the lacrosse case.
The agreement announced Monday, we’ve previously been told, involved the three members of the Duke lacrosse team who were indicted as part of an attempted frame-up and their families.

There has been no report that Monday’s agreement also involved any of the other forty-four team members or their families.

If they were not involved in Monday’s settlement, what’s to stop one, some or all of the forty-four from bringing a libel action against one or some Duke faculty, and possibly Duke?

If the forty-four were somehow included in Monday’s settlement, the story doesn’t report that.

If the other team members were not involved in Monday’s settlement, than what the N&O should have reported is that faculty members have been released from liability related to the lacrosse case by David Evans, Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and their families, but not by the other forty-four members of the team or their families.

I’ll send lead reporter Anne Blythe a link to this post and request she at least clarify the matter of just who released Duke faculty from liability.

I'll offer to post her response in full.

Here's another link to the N&O story.

Durham H-S Looks at 2007

It’s New Year’s Eve: time for newspapers to look back at 2007.

Editor Bob Ashley’s Durham Herald Sun’s lead editorial today begins:

As the clock ticks toward midnight, we can look back on 2007 with some satisfaction and a few frustrations.

All in all, it was a pretty good year in Durham. Here are some reflections on 2007 as it slips into history:
And what’s the first reflection Ashley offers?
The economy plays a major role in how any city or region feels about itself.
We can all agree with that, can’t we?

The editorial rambles after that about job growth, crime, schools, etc. before getting to something it calls the “Nifong case.”
The lacrosse case turned into the "Nifong case," with former prosecutor Mike Nifong losing his job and his law license over his mishandling of the now-infamous false rape charge. The three charged players were declared innocent by the state's attorney general, Roy Cooper. But while many in Durham would like to see the case finally fade away, lawsuits filed by the players against the Police Department and others will insure that it will continue to make headlines in 2008.. . .
The entire H-S editorial is here.

My, hasn't the H-S come a long way from the days of “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal” when a Duke student sitting with an open beer can was engaged in "criminal" activity?

And Nifong only “mishandle[ed] … the now-infamous false rape charge?”

What nonsense!

Nifong worked for almost a year with certain Durham police officers, their supervisors and very likely certain Durham city officials and members of the DA office to manufacture evidence, lie to the public, and intimidate witnesses – all in an effort to frame three innocent Duke students for gang rape and other felonies.

Those engaged in the series of travesties and almost certainly criminal conspiracies to frame the players were aided by some at Duke University – let's hope unwittingly as to what the real intent of “the investigation “ was.

But Ashley and the H-S can only speak of Nifong and his “mishandling” of the case.

That tells you how Ashley and the current Durham Herald Sun “serve the community.”

How far do you think those who engaged first, in the trashing and endangering of the entire lacrosse team, and then in the attempt to frame three of its members, would have gotten if the Herald Sun had reported the Duke Hoax story with fairness, intelligence and courage?

What would be happening to the ongoing cover-up of the frame-up attempt if the Herald Sun was now reporting it the same way?

What might have happened if Durham had a newspaper whose editorials were vigorous and written “without fear or favor?”

We should ask ourselves those questions today as we look to the past and to Durham’s future.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bill Buckley on Pakistan and MSM

Via Bill Buckley provides background and sage opinions you won’t find in the NY Times:

Lally Weymouth of Newsweek did a brilliant article published just two weeks before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

She was in close quarters with Bhutto and then with President Musharraf. Neither one of them said anything apocalyptic, and certainly there was no indication that poised in those conventional words was the gleam of the assassin, or the fright of a victim bound. In short, from the two principals, there were no big surprises.

But Ms. Weymouth's questions were not banal, and Musharraf rewarded her with a singular frankness. This came early in the interview, when Ms. Weymouth asked him, "Do you feel you stuck your neck out for the United States after September 11 and the United States has not stood by you?"

One yearns to write that the following words were "spat out," but that much can only be inferred: "No, I don't. I stuck out my neck for Pakistan. I didn't stick out my neck for anyone else. It happened to be in the interest of the world and the U.S. ... The problem with the West and your media is your obsession with democracy, civil liberties, human rights.

You think your definition of all these things is (correct). ... Who has built democratic institutions in Pakistan? I have done it in the last eight years. We empowered the people and the women of Pakistan. We allowed freedom of expression."

Musharraf cited as an example of the bias against which he works, the coverage by the Western media of the violence at the Islamabad mosque last summer: "We took action. What did the media do about it? They showed those who took action as villains and brought those madwomen who were there on television and made heroes of them."

Weymouth then asked the sacred question: "Do you feel you could work with Benazir Bhutto?"

Musharraf: "When you talk of working with her, you imply she is going to be the prime minister. Why do you imply that? I keep telling everyone we haven't had the elections."

"Mrs. Bhutto charges that there are going to be ghost polling stations -- that the voting is going to be rigged."

This brought real asperity: "... let her not treat everyone like herself. ... I am not like her. I don't believe in these things. Where's her sense of democracy when 57 percent of the Parliament vote for me, and she says she is not prepared to work with me ...?"

Why, the interviewer asked Ms. Bhutto, are the terrorists so strong in Pakistan? Is it because there is support for them from the government?

Ms. Bhutto: "Yes. I am shocked to see how embedded it (terrorism) is. I knew it was bad from afar. People are scared to talk. They say I am polarizing when I say militancy is a problem."

Two weeks later the lead story in The New York Times spoke of our policy as "left in ruins." Nothing remained of "the delicate diplomatic effort the Bush administration had pursued in the past year to reconcile Pakistan's deeply divided political factions."

Another Times reporter spoke of "the new challenge" the assassination posed to the Bush administration in its effort "to stabilize a front-line state" in the "fight against terrorism."

There are reasons to object to the repository of blame in the Bhutto situation.
To the charge that there was insufficient security in Rawalpindi, nothing more needs to be said than that -- yes, manifestly there was insufficient security, as there was at Ford's Theatre in 1865, Dealey Plaza in 1963, and the hundred other places in America where mayhem has been plotted.

We cannot know with any confidence just what it is that the Pakistanis have to come up with to make safe the niceties of democracy about which Musharraf speaks with understandable scorn.

The scantest knowledge of Pakistani and Muslim history challenges the fatuity that this is a corner of the political world where public life can proceed with no more concern for militant interruption than would be expected in the House of Lords.

The Bush administration should announce to the waiting world that the United States cannot be charged with responsibility for maintaining order in Pakistan, and does not accept responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
I agree with Buckley.

Yes, that does put me at odds with most of MSM, including the NY Times.

But that only makes me feel more confident Buckley's right.

What about you?

Washington’s “Most Important Story?”

”The most important story to come out of Washington recently had nothing to do with the endless presidential campaign. And although the media largely ignored it, the story changes the world.”

That’s what Walter Russell Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said in an LA Times op-ed today.

Mead continued:

The story's unlikely source was the staid World Bank, which published updated statistics on the economic output of 146 countries. China's economy, said the bank, is smaller than it thought.

About 40% smaller.

China, it turns out, isn't a $10-trillion economy on the brink of catching up with the United States. It is a $6-trillion economy, less than half our size.

For the foreseeable future, China will have far less money to spend on its military and will face much deeper social and economic problems at home than experts previously believed.

What happened to $4 trillion in Chinese gross domestic product?


When economists calculate a country's gross domestic product, they add up the prices of the goods and services its economy produces and get a total -- in dollars for the United States, euros for such countries as Germany and France and yuan for China. To compare countries' GDP, they typically convert each country's product into dollars.
Mead explains how tricky comparing countries’ GDPs can be.

For one thing, China artificially manipulates the value of its currency.

For another, Mead notes, “many goods in less developed economies such as China and Mexico are much cheaper than they are in countries such as the United States.”

He explains more about the difficulties of comparing countries’ GDPs and then gets to what’s on many of our minds: what are the political consequences of this “most important story?"
The political consequences will be felt far and wide.

To begin with, the U.S. will remain the world's largest economy well into the future.

Given that fact, fears that China will challenge the U.S. for global political leadership seem overblown. Under the old figures, China was predicted to pass the United States as the world's largest economy in 2012. That isn't going to happen.

Also, the difference in U.S. and Chinese living standards is much larger than previously thought.

Average income per Chinese is less than one-tenth the U.S. level. With its people this poor, China will have a hard time raising enough revenue for the vast military buildup needed to challenge the United States.

The balance of power in Asia looks more secure. Japan's economy was not affected by the World Bank revisions. China's economy has shrunk by 40% compared with Japan too.

And although India's economy was downgraded by 40%, the United States, Japan and India will be more than capable of balancing China's military power in Asia for a very long time to come.

But don't pop the champagne corks.

It is bad news that billions of people are significantly poorer than we thought.

China and India are not the only countries whose GDP has been revised downward. The World Bank figures show sub-Saharan Africa's economy to be 25% smaller.

One consequence is that the ambitious campaign to reduce world poverty by 2015 through the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will surely fail.

We have underestimated the size of the world's poverty problem, and we have overestimated our progress in attacking it. This is not good.

There is more bad news. U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs hoping to crack the Chinese and Indian markets must come to terms with a middle class that is significantly smaller than thought. . . .

China's political stability may be more fragile than thought.

The country faces huge domestic challenges -- an aging population lacking any form of social security, wholesale problems in the financial system that dwarf those revealed in the U.S. sub-prime loan mess and the breakdown of its health system. These problems are as big as ever, but China has fewer resources to meet them than we thought. . . .
There’s more before Mead ends with:
For Americans, the new numbers from the World Bank bring good news and bad.

On the plus side, U.S. leadership in the global system seems more secure and more likely to endure through the next generation.

On the other hand, the world we are called on to lead is poorer and more troubled than we anticipated.

Maybe the old Chinese curse says it best: We seem to be headed for interesting times.
Mead’s entire op-ed is here. I hope you all find time to read it.

And as for our media missing this "most important story," who's surprised?

I mean, if you're chasing a front page story about a strand of toilet paper that seems shaped like a noose discovered in a college bathroom, do you really have time to report and explain World Bank statistics, even ones which challenge existing assuptions about the global economy and international power balances?

C'mon folks, there's only so much Katie Couric, Brian Williams and the others can do.

Duke Suit Story & Citizen Journalism

A story in today’s Durham Herald Sun , "New Duke suit puts focus on police", by reporter Ray Gronberg’s begins:

A lawyer's gambit in a new lawsuit stemming from the Duke lacrosse case promises to focus judicial scrutiny on the rules that govern how Durham and Duke University police work together.

Attorney Bob Ekstrand's federal civil-rights filing contends the investigation of a stripper's bogus rape claim went bad last year when Durham Police Department detectives improperly took over a case the Duke University Police Department should have controlled.

Ekstrand -- who's representing lacrosse players Breck Archer, Ryan McFadyen and Matt Wilson -- anchored the claim to a 2004 cooperation agreement between the city and the university that assigned to Duke police the "primary responsibility" for investigating incidents on Duke property.

The scene of the now-infamous team party, 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., qualified as Duke property because of the university's purchase of the house two weeks before last year's now-infamous lacrosse team party.

Ekstrand also noted that Durham's police chiefs have issued a standing order that city cops should let sworn campus officers "handle all criminal and traffic offenses that occur on campus property."

Ekstrand alleges that Duke officers, following policy, in fact launched an investigation of the stripper's rape charge but dropped it. He believes Durham police were preparing to defer until the city detective who wound up supervising the botched probe, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, lobbied to have it assigned to his unit.

Observers say the statutory and case law that will shape the players' chances of winning the argument isn't clear-cut.

Ekstrand has proposed "an interesting legal idea," said Daniel Carter, vice president of Security on Campus Inc., a Pennsylvania watchdog group that prods universities to focus on safety and comply with federal crime-reporting requirements.

But Carter added that he doesn't "know of a single case that really talks about addressing overlapping jurisdictions" like those involved here and that addresses whether both departments "have an obligation to investigate."

He also voiced some skepticism about the chances of a judge going along.

"You could make the same argument for a sheriff's department" whose jurisdiction overlaps a city or campus, Carter said. "Absent blatant civil-rights violations, typically police do not have specific obligations to act on a crime or take a specific course of action. That's a basic tenet of law." . . .

Mark Kleinschmidt, a lawyer and Chapel Hill town councilman who once termed UNC's cops a "foreign police force," prefers seeing campus officers subordinated to or at least accompanied by town or city police whenever they're handling matters out in the community.

He regards that as a guarantee of ballot-box accountability.

Citizens harmed by a campus force "don't have the power of removing a chancellor or university president" and thus don't have much sway over the actions of such agencies, he said. . . .
Gronberg’s entire story is here.

I’m not informed enough to comment now on many of the issues raised by the suit, including some relating to police jurisdiction.

So just three comments before I move to something else.

1) Ekstrand isn’t quoted in the story and Gronberg doesn’t mention having tried to reach him.

2) Was it really necessary, even in a newspaper edited by Bob Ashley, to refer to the team party as “now-infamous” twice in one sentence?

3) Even to this layman it was apparent that attorney Mark Kleinschmidt was speaking about citizens holding police accountable via the ballot box. Well and good.

But the suit concerns laws, agreements and practices concerning jurisdictions involving Duke University PD and Durham PD.

So while Kleinschmidt’s comments are interesting, they’re off point to issues relating to the suit.

Now for what may be the most important news in this post: the citizen journalism involved with Gronberg’s story. Here’s the first reader comment that follows it:
Why was Sgt. Gottlieb, assigned to the Durham PD Property Crimes division, allowed to take control of a sexual assault case? There were sexaul assault specialists in the DPD at the time, but somehow a rogue cop from the property division was able to "lobby" for, and seize control of the case.

This was not a case of overlapping jurisdictions. This was a case of some parties purposely hijacking control of an investigation to pursue a specific agenda.

Where are our investigative journalists?
There it is. Citizen journalism by one Charles Wolcott.

Right there on the same Net page with Gronberg's story, Wolcott “joins the conversation” and asks somethiing many readers want to know: how was it that Gottlieb “was allowed to take control of a sexual assault case?”

In traditional journalism, that’s the kind of question good reporters and editors talk about in newsrooms and now on their cells. Often readers are not aware of the importance of such a question and that it needs to be answered.

But today a citizen journalist put the question out there at the end of Gronberg’s story and asked about “investigative reporters.”

I’m encouraged every time I see citizen journalists informing us and making it harder for “real professional journalists” like editor Bob Ashley to practice their “lazy-hazy” brand of journalism that winks and nods at the power groups in their circulation areas.