Saturday, February 02, 2008

Canada and America are being warned

At National Review Online Mark Steyn tells readers [excerpt]:

…The Canadian Islamic Congress has complained about my "flagrant Islamophobia" under the guise of Section 13 of the Human Rights Code.

In a surprising development from an unlikely quarter, Keith Martin, a Liberal Member of Parliament from British Columbia, has filed a private member's motion in the House of Commons to abolish Section 13 on the grounds that Canada should be a country where we're "allowed to speak our mind".

Dr Martin is no friend of social conservatives or any other type of right-winger, but he is a principled Liberal and a believer in freedom of expression for all. I wish there were more like him.
I commend Dr. Martin for his action. I hope many of us speak out and support what he’s doing.

I grew up being taught Canada was “a good neighbor and a great, free nation.”

I still believe that.

So I find it very hard to accept some of the anti-democratic things happening there just as I find it hard to accept similiar things happening here in the States.

Why is it that in Canada you can say terrible things about people, including even publicizing fatwas calling for their deaths, but you can’t say much critical of the Islamists who issue those death threats?

How did Canada get to where it is today: a country where it’s OK to issue death fatwas and call for the destruction of Israel, but where it’s not OK to condemn the Muslims who enable and/or advocate such things?

And how did America get to the point where Berkeley, CA is telling Marines they’re not welcome there?

Folks in both countries – What’s happening are warnings we ignore at our peril.

God bless Canada and America.

And thank you, Mark Steyn. You're one of the free world’s best pundits.

Talking w. Regulars & Commenters – 2/2/08

( A post in the old web log tradition: “notes at the end of the day” for those who “follow the blog.” Others are welcome to read as well, but don’t look for links and expect some “informality.”)

I always recommend you read the comment threads so I’m doing that again.

I’ll note in particular the thread of A Subprime Mortgage Suggestion. There’s one comment there I can’t agree with and I’ve left a comment there to that effect.

But the rest of the comments ( I think about 7) reflect an awareness of financial and psychological fundamentals which should underpin the housing and home mortgage markets.

But for a variety of reasons America is getting away from the idea that banks and s&ls should look at borrowers credit-worthiness and that mortgage borrowers should have a good hunk of their own money in the house they’re “buying.”

But the commenters make those points and others.

MSM, IMO, has been under-emphasizing those points when MSM has not been ignoring them entirely.

It was a pleasure to read the comments as they came in.

I’ll post tomorrow fisking a column former LA Times Washington bureau chief Ron Brownstein wrote. It’s an example of the kind of liberal/left values and rationales that have made the housing and home mortgage markets less secure than they should be and which are, like so many liberal/leftist efforts, doing much harm to the very people they're supposed to help.

Regarding Durham ADA Tracey Cline and her various and sundry statements about the DA’s office, her upcoming campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for DA ( in heavily Dem. Durham tantamount to election ) and her role in securing the NTO which was so important a part of the attempt to frame innocent Duke students, all of you who’ve commented make clear that what I’m saying fits with what you’re thinking.

It sure is important what Cline and DPD say about the who, how, when and why of that NTO order.

Thanks for your comments re: Cline. They're helping me focus on matters most people are ignoring.

And yes, I plan to stay on the matter. In a few days I'll post a letter to her asking her for some clarifications.

On the matter of N&O pub. ed. Ted Vaden’s email to me Friday ---

I’ve looked at his Apr. 2, 2006 column which is a response to N&O readers criticisms of the paper's biased, racially inflammatory and often false coverage of what we didn’t know then was a frame-up attempt.

Would you believe that in that column Vadem himself referred to liar Mangum as an “anonymous source?”

Many of you are likely saying: “Of course! Were you surprised, John?”

I’ll answer that question tomorrow.

I’ll also offer a “first pass” answer to a question many of you have asked and that I’ve long ignored: “Can’t the players sue the N&O?”

I’ll also post another talking post tomorrow responding to, among other things, your suggestions I contact the N&O publisher and the McClatchy board.

Thank you for your interest in JinC and for your comments.

Thay mean a lot.


Durham ADA Changes NTO Story

The Durham Herald Sun reports today Freda Black's announcement she'll be a candidate for DA in this year’s primary scheduled for May 6. Black was the disgraced Mike Nifong’s major opponent in the 2006 Democratic DA primary race.

A former Durham ADA, Black was dismissed by Nifong when he was appointed DA by the governor to fill the unexpired term of his predecessor who’d been made a judge. Black is now in private practice.

The H-S story also mentions current Durham ADA Tracey Cline who has told friends and supporters she’ll be a candidate in the May primary.

The story includes this:

Cline defended her role in getting a court order for DNA evidence from 46 lacrosse players "as a regular routine that any assistant district attorney or district attorney would give police advice to do everyday."
What the H-S reports today Cline is now saying represents a major change from what on Jan. 9 the H-S reported Cline said:
From the Jan. 9 Durham H-S - - -

[…] At the heart of the matter is material taken from the notes of lacrosse case lead detective Ben Himan, and notes and a deposition from Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

They referred to Cline's role in the creation of a non-testimonial order, or NTO, that allowed police to take photographs of and collect DNA evidence from 46 of the 47 members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Cline denied that she had any role in writing the order.

"The record will indicate that David Saacks did it," she said. Saacks is the interim district attorney but was an assistant DA at that time. "I didn't prepare any paperwork on that case. Nothing at all. I've never even seen or laid hands on a non-testimonial order."

She said, "I remember Gottlieb asked me about a non-testimonial order, and I told him I was not available."

But when asked by The Herald-Sun whether she'd asked police to draft the non-testimonial order, Cline responded, "I don't recall."

Himan's notes and Gottlieb's deposition indicate that police consulted Cline on March 22, 2006, after they learned players, on the advice of attorneys, wouldn't show up that day for a scheduled meeting with investigators.
How about that?

In less than a month Cline has gone from saying she was unable to “recall” whether she’d directed police to prepare the NTO to defending her role in getting the NTO as just “a regular routine that any assistant district attorney or district attorney would give police advice to do everyday."

Quite a change, isn’t it?

Did Cline have “a recovered memory” experience all by herself. Or did someone(s) remind her that she did have a role in securing the NTO?

If someone(s) did, who was that someone(s)? What was said to Cline that improved her memory?

Now that her memory’s improved, does Cline agree with what Gottlieb and Himan have been saying: that she directed them to prepare the NTO?

That question needs to be answered. We shouldn’t have to wait for discovery to get Cline’s answer. She should give it now.

Cline should also tell us on what basis she at least supported and perhaps ordered the preparation of an NTO request which was anything but routine. In fact, it’s been called "mammothly unconstitutional" and a "dragnet fishing expedition."

Readers following the case, especially those with questions concerning the who, why, when and how of the securing of the NTO, may be interested to read:

Who “Owns” that “Toxic” NTO? (1/13/08)

NTO Battle – Durham DA v. Police (1/17/08)

Today's entire H-S story is

MSM hypes bombings in Iraq

Soldier’s Dad at Mudville Gazette has concerns about the contribution MSM is making to the deaths of innocents in Iraq:

[When civilian casualties in Iraq declined in December] ...of course this good news was tempered by a major Suicide Bombing in Baghdad on January 1st.

[When] civilian casualties in Iraq for January continued to decline...of course Al Queda had two major Suicide Bombings in Baghdad today, the 1st of February.

This should pose an ethical dilema for News Editors...innocent people are being deliberately killed in order to influence story placement in their publications.

Major suicide bombings have now occurred two months in a row on the day that the major Iraq story should have been that violence levels continued to drop.

We are all familiar with the maxim, "If it bleeds, it leads"...but what if the inverse is true 'it bleeds, because it leads"

If story placement can be shown to be a causal factor in murder, does that make News Editors an accessory to murder?

A serious ethical and moral dilemma to be sure.
Soldier’s Dad raises an extremely serious point.

It’s an open secret the terrorists engage in bombings because they know the bombings get graphic front-page newspaper coverage and lead the evening TV news programs.

The bombings are legitimate news stories, but they don’t have to be so hyped.

We should also be hearing more about the anger among Iraqis directed at Western journalists they feel are helping make them targets and victims by hyping the terrorists’ attacks.

Most MSM news organizations were quick to assure angry Muslims they wouldn’t publish the Danish cartoons. (“Please don’t hurt us. We’ll do whatever you want.”)

Newspapers like the NY Times and the Raleigh N&O insisted the public had no need to see those Danish cartoons. Besides, showing them would be “offensive.”

But those same newspapers spread their pages wide and make them available to terrorists who use the bombings as a major propaganda tool to influence Americans to support cut and run from Iraq policies.

Soldier’s Dad posses a “serious ethical and moral dilemma.” But I don’t think most MSM will face and react to it with much humanity.

It’s more likely most in MSM will whine about how tough their jobs are and how little the American public appreciates them.

And go on hyping the bombings. If it bleeds, it leads because it sells.

Hat tips: Mike Williams and Mudville Gazette

Al Qaeda Death Benefits

The AP reported:

One of al-Qaida's top figures, Abu Laith al-Libi, has been killed in Pakistan, an Islamist Web site announced Thursday. Pakistani officials and residents said a dozen people, including seven Arabs, died in a missile strike in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. …
The entire story’s here.

Past reports of the “killing” of Al Qaeda “high value targets” have often proved false. But this one looks to be right.

It’s great news anytime Al Qaeda killers are taken out, especially when it’s a leader. And if a leader’s henchmen are “martyred” along with him, that’s a welcome “operational bonus.”

And there are many other benefits that go along with the killing of Al Qaeda leaders. But the AP story doesn’t mention them.

I’ll skip over the more obvious ones – disruption of command structure and operational planning, for example – and focus on an Al Qaeda leader “death benefit” that’s rarely mentioned by MSM news organizations.It has to do with sowing distrust among Al Qaeda leaders.

The top Al Qaeda guys keep their whereabouts and movements as secret as possible. But top guys tend to know when and where the others are.

Somebody knew exactly when and where, in that vast mountainous region, al-Libi would be meeting. And that somebody, and very likely others, got the word to the guys who could arrange for a missile to end the meeting ahead of schedule.

According to intelligence experts familiar with it, Al Qaeda’s top commanders, while united by certain hatreds, are extremely distrustful of each other and split by intense personal and ethnic-based rivalries.

Al-Libi’s killing will only intensify all of that, and make cooperation within Al Qaeda more difficult.

Who knows: some Al Qaeda leaders may even decide they know who it was within the organization who dropped the dime on al-Libi.

And you know what will happen then: another death benefit.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 1, 2008

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

In 1975 a fierce debate raged in Britain over whether it should join the European Common Market.

Opponents of membership supported their arguments with this Churchill quote: "Each time we must choose between Europe and the open sea, we shall always choose the open sea."

Churchill's grandson and namesake, then a Member of Parliament, wrote to The Times of London providing context for his grandfather's words. it tells us about the Churchill-de Gaulle relationship as D-Day approached. The quote, Churchill's grandson wrote:

"is drawn from de Gaulle's version of a wartime row he had with Churchill, as is made clear by the very next sentence: 'And if I have to choose between you [de Gaulle] and Roosevelt, I shall always choose Roosevelt.'

The date was 1944 and the Europe referred to was dominated and occupied by Nazi Germany. It is not surprising that Churchill, on the eve of the Allied invasion, should make clear to de Gaulle that the U. S. alliance was more important to Britain than de Gaulle's forces.

Churchill was not referring to the European Economic Community, as it had not even been thought of at the time.

A more representative idea of his thoughts can be gained from his many speeches in the cause of European unity especially those at Zurich, The Hague, and in the Albert Hall in 1947, when he declared, 'If Europe united is to be a living force, Britain will have to play her full part as a member of the European family.'"
It should be remembered that when Churchill spoke in 1947 of British membership in the "European family," he had in mind a militarily powerful Europe which could protect itself and, when necessary, project force to other parts of the world.

Today's Europe, excepting perhaps Britain, is militarily weak and not the Europe Churchill envisioned in 1947.

Now on a personnal note: The weekend is underway and I hope your's is a very good one.

Letter to The Times, Winston S. Churchill, MP, (Here at Churchill Centre. Scroll to Winter, 1975)

Gore bad news for Obama’s senior editor Josh Green tells his faithful readers:

It feels official: Barack Obama has momentum. He won a resounding victory in South Carolina. He just posted another astonishing fundraising total. Gallup reports that he’s pulled to within four points of Hillary Clinton. And Ted Kennedy’s endorsement Monday had the feel of history about it. Even conservatives swooned.

Only one endorsement could be bigger—and if Al Gore is going to pull the trigger, you have to think he’ll do so in the next 72 hours.

Yes, yes, I know. Gore has said he won’t endorse. …

But Tennessee looks to be a state in which Clinton currently holds a lead—that is, unless a certain favorite son were to endorse her opponent.

Gore has already seen one presidency (his own) slip away over a handful of votes. He must have pondered how it would feel to play kingmaker and shore up someone else’s path to the White House.

A well-connected Tennesseean (sic) told me two things today that got me thinking about this.

The first is that Obama and Gore have been speaking regularly, about every two weeks or so. The second is that, despite this, and despite Tennessee’s primary on Tuesday, Obama has not visited the state since June.

It may be simply that he does not plan on competing there. Or it may be that he’s been waiting for a special occasion.
Gore for Obama?

Why not? So many liberals and leftists are rallying to Obama.

Shouldn’t Gore?

And what about George Soros and Cindy Sheehan?

But if - maybe when - Obama gets Gore's and all the rest's endorsements, will that really help Obama?

Won't those endorsements make him "the liberals' candidate?"

And won't that be bad news for Obama?

Green’s entire article is here.

N&O editor's response re: Nifong as anonymous source

As JinC Regulars know, for many months I’ve posted concerning Raleigh N&O news columnist Ruth Sheehan’s claims Mike Nifong was an anonymous source for her Mar. 27, 2006 column ( “Team’s silence Is sickening” )attacking Duke students who were members of the school's 2006 Men’s lacrosse team.

I’ve also asked whether Nifong was an anonymous source for the N&O’s now discredited Mar. 25, 2006 story headlined: Dancer gives details of ordeal
A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence

Here are some recent posts which deal with one or both matters.

Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1) (7/29/07)

Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 2) (8/1/07)

Nifong discovery: An N&O worry? (12/17/07)

What’s really hurting the Raleigh N&O (1/23/08)

I’ve asked Sheehan via emails and links to posts to say more about her claims but have heard nothing back.

Via emails, comments at their blogs and links to posts, I’ve asked former N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill, current N&O executive editor for news John Drescher and the paper’s public editor Ted Vaden for full and frank public explanations of any use the N&O made of Nifong as an anonymous source beginning in March 2006 and thereafter.

Until today none of the three had even made a pro forma acknowledgement of my contacts and requests.

Today, in response to What’s really hurting the Raleigh N&O, I received the following email from public editor Ted Vaden. (The email was sent as a single paragraph. I’m posting it in sentence-by-sentence form for readers’ ease.)


I don't see here that Ruth said Nifong was an anonymous source for The N&O.

The paper did not quote any anonymous sources in the course of its
coverage of the lacrosse case, with the exception of the early interview with the accuser.

And, of course, she was not anonymous, but unnamed in the article.

In those early days, Nifong was anything but anonymous, which was part of his eventual downfall.

Ted V.
Vaden’s response is disappointing to say the least.

I’ll work this weekend on a response to Vaden and will share it with you.

I haven’t fully outlined a response, but I know it will include at least:

1) Sheehan’s lengthy, quoted statements in It’s Not About the Truth describing how she phoned in to the N&O on Mar. 26 to discuss a column she already had “in the can” to run on Mar. 27; was provided by someone(s) at the N&O with information from Nifong; and therefore scrapped the column she’d plan to run and, using the information passed to her from Nifong, set to work on her “Team’s Silence Is Sickening” column.

2) Make the point again to Vaden that Nifong didn’t begin speaking publicly about the case until sometime on Mar. 27 after Sheehan's column had appeared

3) Note that “anonymous” and “unnamed” are synonyms.

4) Provide examples of Associated Press documents discussing the use of sources in which the AP uses “anonymous” and “unnamed” interchangeably.

5) Note that Vaden hasn’t really spoken to Sheehan’s claims and my questions which I know many of you have asked as well.

What do you think?

The economy & government regulation

The International Herald Tribune (owned by the NY Times Co.) sees a very serious recession coming, feels the Fed has done its best to cushion the downturn's effects, and advocates more government regulation as the proper response to what it calls "the excesses of the bubble years." [excerpt]

...In short, no matter what the Fed does, it will take time - certainly a period of retrenchment, and quite likely of recession - to work off the excesses of the bubble years. That means foreclosures and financial ruin for some, joblessness and belt-tightening for others, and less vibrant and less viable communities for many.

The damage, now becoming apparent, demands that policymakers take stock of how the economy arrived at this place. The bubbles in housing and mortgages would not have been possible were it not for the progressive deterioration in regulation over the past several decades, culminating for all practical purposes in a regulatory collapse during the Bush years. The anti-regulatory ethos, in turn, derived its potency from a pervasive ideology that markets are self-regulating and self-correcting and therefore best handled with incentives and voluntary best practices, rather than rules and boundaries.

The task of reinforcing the regulatory apparatus of the nation's economy is as formidable a challenge as managing the downturn, and ultimately of more lasting importance.
Some rules and boundaries are needed but we must be careful.

Wouldn't it be foolish for America to go in the direction of countries such as Germany and France with their highly government regulated economies just when those countries are realizing their "rules and boundaries" have led to chronically high unemployment and slow or no economic growth?

And isn't part of the current trouble with America's housing and mortgage markets ( which are fundamentally sound, by the way) the result of government pressure and "rules and boundaries?"

I'm thinking, for example, of the pressure in recent years that mortgage lenders came under when they said they didn't make certain loans because the applicants weren't credit-worthy.

That wasn't good enough for many political leaders and news organizations such as the NY Times who were sure racism was playing a big part in the rejection of certain mortgage applicants.

I wish those political leaders and news organizations had started their own mortgage lending companies. They could have loaned to whomever they wished, absorbing the risks, profits and losses.

MSM should be reporting now on those political leaders and news organizations who pressured mortgage lenders to make high-risk loans they didn't want to make.

The entire ITH editorial is here.

Obama’s the “most liberal” senator but don’t tell anyone

National Journal reports:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal's 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the other front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, also shifted to the left last year. She ranked as the 16th-most-liberal senator in the 2007 ratings, a computer-assisted analysis that used 99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale in each of three issue categories. In 2006, Clinton was the 32nd-most-liberal senator. ...
The rest of the NJ story’s here.

You can’t open a newspaper these days without seeing something about whether Sen. McCain “is conservative enough for Republicans.” And there are all those “Gov. Romney needs to excite conservative voters” stories.

There've even been stories comparing the percentages of votes each candidate got in Florida among voters self-ID'ing as “conservative” and “very conservative.”

But how’s Sen. Obama doing compared to his fellow liberal, Sen. Clinton, among voters self-ID'ing as “liberal” and “very liberal?”

I don’t know. I haven’t read anything about that. How about you?

After Sen. Ted Kennedy, “the liberal lion,” roared his endorsement of Obama, there were scads of stories in the Democratic-dominated MSM about the help Kennedy’s endorsement would be to Obama among Hispanic and union member voters.

But I can’t recall any stories about the effect of Kennedy’s endorsement among “liberal” and “very liberal” voters, two groups Ted Kennedy "excites."

I posted the other day concerning the reluctance of most liberal Democrats and their media flacks to call liberals “liberal.” Many of them even cried “smear” during the ’04 presidential campaign when Republicans correctly called Sen. John Kerry "a liberal." ( Who thinks "liberal" is a smear? )

But it’s no more a smear to call a liberal “a liberal” than it is to call a conservative “a conservative.”

The country’s had an awful lot of MSM puff-piece stories about Obama’s “message of change.” It’s time for some solid reporting on his liberal voting record.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 31, 2008

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

It was September 1919. British troops, along with those of other nations, were fighting in Russia. They were attempting to help the Czar armies (The Whites) defeat the Bolshevik armies (The Reds) led by Lenin and Trotsky.

Many in Britain opposed using troops in Russia and demanded they be brought home. They said British troops were fighting the Czar's battle.

Churchill response to those people contained an analysis and prophesy

"It is a delusion to suppose that all this year we have been fighting the battles of the anti-Bolshevik Russians. On the contrary, they have been fighting ours; and this truth will become painfully apparent from the moment that they are exterminated and the Bolshevik armies are supreme over the whole vast territories of the Russian Empire."
Quote cited in Finest Hour's (Summer, 2003) review of David Carlton's "Churchill and the Soviet Union." (Here and scroll down)

N&O still silent on stripper ads, Nifong

Folks, below is a post I published on Jan. 27, Those Raleigh News & Observer's Stripper Ads, followed below the star line by comments Michelle Hillison, who self-IDs as a former N&O staffer, and I subsequently left at the Raleigh N&O's Editors' Blog.


Those Raleigh News & Observer Stripper Ads (posted 1/27/08)

At the Editors’ Blog, Raleigh N&O executive editor for news John Drescher recently posted Headline on target: Both Clintons v. Obama

To date Drescher’s post has drawn one comment. It’s from reader Michelle Hillison who posted on Jan. 23.

Hillison’s comment follows in full, after which I offer a comment and make a request.

To Editor Drescher - - -

This isn't about the post at hand but I was hoping you could address this either here or as a post - or direct me where to ask this.

I've worked in media for many years so I understand ads are necessary. I also understand the generic demographic for sports readers skews male so it sadly is the nature spot for the 'adult' entertainment ads.

While I don't like those ads, I fully understand why you take them and place them in sports.

However what I don't understand is days that you place them directly adjacent to high school sports coverage. I've seen it regularly and today was another example. There was a right side column on 7C with several HS stories that ended with an ad for a stripper.

I find that irresponsible. High school coverage draws young viewers and a photo of a porn star coming to town is not what those kids should have their attention drawn to in the paper.

In issues like this, I normally think this is falls (sic) parents to be the stewards of what their kids see but if the information is right next to it, there doesn't seem to be many options.

I accept you all are going to take the money for those adult ads and place them in the paper but I think the placement of them can be better managed. Is there an official policy in place about this? Or a rule of thumb?

I think the N&O overall should have as a policy that adult ads do not appear on a page with high school or younger sports coverage.
Folks, as of today, Jan. 26, Drescher has made no reply to Hillison.

After reading Hillison’s comment, I decided to offer one myself.

Here it is, followed by a request to you:
Dear Editor Drescher:

Why does the N&O advertise strippers and “Men’s Clubs?”

Yesterday, Jan. 25, the N&O even placed one of its provocative and illustrated stripper ads ( "Casey Parker -- Live & uncensored for 4 nights & 1 incredible lunch show" ) right below stories about women's tennis and figure skating, and right beside an ad for UNC - Chapel Hill women's basketball.


You should answer Michelle Hillison's questions.

And you should answer my questions about the N&O's use of Mike Nifong as an anonymous source for the stories in which you trashed the Duke lacrosse players for hiring strippers and in other ways abetted the frame-up attempt.

Many readers wish the N&O would stop making money by advertising strippers and "Man's Clubs."

But if the N&O is going to solicit money from strippers and “Men’s Clubs," can’t you at least run the ads beside and below the editorials and your column?

That way high-school age and younger readers will be less apt to see them.

Think about it.

Thank you for reading this.


John in Carolina
I encourage readers to leave comments for Drescher on his EB post here. You can also contact the N&O’s publisher Orage Quarles III ---

Those of you who like twofers can leave a comment on Drescher’s post thread and paste the comment into your email to Quarles.


Comment from: michelle hillison [Visitor]

01/29/08 at 22:26

Wow John, finding your comments were a great surprise since I didn't find anything from Mr. Drescher. I don't know you but thanks a bunch.

Personally I'm saddened at this lack of response especially since I'm a former N&O employee. (I worked in new media and with sports from 97-00 and resigned on good terms).

I'm disappointed at no response.

Comment from: John in Carolina [Visitor]

01/31/08 at 17:20
I'd like to comment to both Editor Drescher and Michelle Hillison.

To Editor Drescher:

Nine days have passed and you still haven't explained why the N&O solicits and publishes stripper ads.

Why does the N&O do that?

And why does the N&O often place those ads next to sports stories, including high school sports stories, where young readers are most apt to see them?

In the past, you posted a lengthy explanation of how the ampersand came to be part of the N&O's logo.

So why won't you explain why the N&O solicits and publishes stripper ads?

Also, you still haven't said anything about Ruth Sheehan's disclosures concerning the N&O's use of Mike Nifong as an anonymous news source back when the N&O was telling readers Crystal Mangum was "the victim," trashing the lacrosse players as drunken racists, and in many other ways helping enable Nifong’s and others attempted frame-up of Duke students.

A number of journalists have told me you owe the public an explanation concerning what Sheehan has said.

You should be candid with readers and give us full explanations concerning both the N&O’s stripper ads and any use(s) the N&O made of Nifong as an anonymous source.

Thank you for reading this.

To Michelle Hillision,

I appreciate your nice words but they’re undeserved.

You’re the one who raised a very important issue in a civil and fact-based way.

That Editor Drescher has not replied is no reflection on you.

His silence reflects on him and the N&O.

Let’s hope our second round of comments prompt Drescher to provide full and frank answers to our questions.


John in Carolina

Did Obama say Hillary’s divisive?

An AP report begins:

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said Wednesday a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency would be a step back to the past, turning her husband's image of a bridge to the future against her. ...
Further along the AP says:
In his speech, Obama depicted Clinton as a calculating, poll-tested divisive figure who will only inspire greater partisan divisions as she sides with Republicans on issues such as trade, the role of lobbyists in politics and national security.
The entire AP report is here.

I couldn’t find any place in the story where Sen. Obama is actually quoted as saying Hillary is “divisive.”

How a public figure uses “divisive” when referring to another public figure is very important.

We’ve gone years now listening to Dem leaders and their MSM news flacks calling President Bush “divisive.” They use "divisive" as a pejorative term. .

They count on the public not to remember that every great American president and public leader has been divisive, sometimes very deliberately so.

Lincoln knew many of his policies could help bring on a civil war, but he pursued them in what he felt was the country’s best long-term interest.

FDR knew his request just months before Pearl Harbor for legislation to extend the service time of Army draftees would divide the Congress and country. He was right. The legislation passed the House by one vote after much bitter debate and a national outcry to “let the boys come home.”

Public figures, journalists and news organizations have used “divisive” as a pejorative term to attack President Bush and gain some partisan advantage.

Calling policy proposals and judicial nominations “divisive” has also become a way of sliming them and a cover for not giving them a fair hearing.

I hope Obama, who’s promising us change, is not going to go the route of sliming his opponents as ‘divisive.”

Obama should confront Hillary on the issues. If he does call her “divisive,” it ought to be because he can make the case that she is needlessly divisive.

The Churchill Series - Jan. 30, 2008

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

Churchill's father, Lord Randolph, treated him very harshly. For his part, Churchill did all he could to please his father, the hero of his youth whom he revered all his life.

Below are portions of two letters the father and son exchanged. They illustrate what I'm saying.

At the time Churchill was 19 and a cadet at Sandhurst. Lord Randolph had given him a gold watch; and later learned from the watchmaker, Mr. Dent, that it had twice been damaged while in Churchill's care. That prompted Lord Randolph's letter. The "Jack" Lord Randolph mentions is his son and Winston's younger brother by about five years.

21 April 1894

Dear Winston,
(Mr. Dent) told me (you had) with the utmost carelessness dropped it on a stone pavement & broken it badly.

(After repairs) Dent again received the watch and you told him it had been dropped in the water. He told me the whole of the works were horribly rusty.

I would not believe you would be such a young stupid. It is clear you are not to be trusted with a valuable watch & when I get it back from Mr. Dent I shall not give it back to you. ...

Jack has had the watch I gave him longer that you have had yours; the only expenses I have paid on his watch was 10/s for cleaning before he went back to Harrow.

(In) all qualities of steadiness taking care of his things & never doing stupid things Jack is vastly your superior.

Your very much worried parent,

Randolph S. Churchill
Winston replied the next day. His letter includes lengthy explanations of the circumstances in which the watch was damaged and what he did to set matters right. Here's what he told Lord Randolph about dropping the watch "in the water."
I placed the watch my breast pocket - not having with uniform a waistcoat to put it in - and while walking along the Wish Stream I stooped down to puck up a stick and it fell out of my pocket into the only deep place for miles.

The stream was only about 5 inches deep - but the watch fell into a pool nearly 6 feet deep.

I at once took off my clothes and I dived for it but the bottom was so uneven and the water so cold that I could not stay in longer than 10 minutes and had to give it up.

The next day I had the pool dredged - but without result. On Tuesday therefore I obtained permission from the Governor to do anything I could provided I paid for having it all put straight again.

I then borrowed 23 men from the Infantry Detachment - dug a new course for the stream - obtained the fire engine and pumped the pool dry and so recovered the watch.

I tell you all this to show you that I appreciated fully the value of the watch and that I did not treat the accident in a casual way. The labour of the men cost me over (three pounds). ...

I am sorry to have written you such a long and stupid letter, but I do hope you will take it in some measure as an explanation.

With best love
I remain ever your loving son
Winston S. Churchill
Nothing Churchill did impressed Lord Randolph. To the end of his life he predicted his oldest son would be a failure and an embarrassment to the family name.
Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: Youth. (pgs. 209-213)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No snow in New York but

From the NY Sun today:

This month is set to become the first January in 75 years that New York City has been without any measurable snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Less than one-tenth of an inch has fallen in a month that usually produces more than eight inches of snow in the city, according to the National Weather Service.

So how did that happen?

The Sun continues:

The phenomenon can be traced to the lack of offshore storms, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Joseph Pollina, said.

"We've had a number of systems move up the East Coast in not a favorable track for snow," Mr. Pollina said. "Most of the storms have been inland, west of New York City. We haven't really had too much cold air, but when we do, it hasn't coincided with precipitation."

But what about what Al Gore and some professors keep telling us?

Doesn't global warming explain this lack of snow?

Apparently not as the Sun continues:

A climate scientist with the federal government's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt, said the lack of snowfall this month cannot be attributed to global warming.
For a change of scene, let's go to Jerusalem from where the AP reports:
A rare snowstorm swept the Middle East on Wednesday, blanketing parts of the Holy Land in white, shutting schools and sending excited children into the streets for snowball fights. ..

Snow falls in Jerusalem once or twice each winter, but temperatures rarely drop low enough for it to stick. The Israeli weather service said up to 8 inches of snow fell in the city. ...

I reported. You decide.

Who doubts Nifong was an N&O anonymous source?

Folks, I've just sent the following email to N&O public editor Ted Vaden.

Dear Ted,

On the chance my previous email my have fallen off your computer screen, I'm resending it and again request a response which I'll publish in full at my blog.

I've made multiple requests to former N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill and current executive editor for news John Drescher asking them to confirm or deny columnist Ruth Sheehan's claim that then DA Mike Nifong served as an anonymous source for her May 27, 2006 news column attacking the Duke lacrosse players in terms similar to those Nifong himself would use later that day during his first public press interviews concerning what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape case.”

I've also asked Sill and Drescher about any other use the N&O may have made of Nifong as an anonymous source in its news reports, news columns and editorials which presented Crystal Mangum as "the victim" and framed the Duke lacrosse players as her victimizers.

Neither Sill nor Drescher has said anything about Sheehan's claim in their print columns or at the Editors' Blog. Neither has made even a pro forma acknowledgement of my requests.

Given Sill's and Drescher's silence and Sheehan's claims documented in my previous email, it’s very reasonable to conclude the N&O worked with Nifong as an anonymous source.

But that isn't the same as the N&O providing readers with what it really owes them: a full explanation of what Nifong told the N&O and how it used that information.

As public editor, "the readers' advocate" as you say, isn’t it your responsibility to bring this most important matter to readers' attention; and to request the N&O make a full and frank disclosure if it used Nifong, or refute Sheehan's claims if it didn't.

I look forward to your response.


John in Carolina


Email sent 1/23/08 to Ted Vaden

Dear Ted:

In your most recent column you said:

"small errors can have larger consequences. Not to mention misinforming or confusing the public. And -- drip, drip, drip -- eroding the newspaper's credibility with readers over time."
Small errors don't do much harm to the N&O's credibility. The public understands we all make errors.

I don't think even large errors, if fully acknowledged, explained and corrected, would do much harm to the credibility the N&O currently has.

What's really hurting the N&O's credibility, in my opinion, is its failure to acknowledge, explain and correct its large errors.

Because of the Internet and blogs, more and more readers are becoming aware of the N&O's failure to admit and correct large errors. Their awareness translates into reduced credibility for the N&O.

I hope you agree.

In any case, I want to ask you about a claim by Ruth Sheehan which, so far as I know, the N&O has never disputed.

Sheehan says Mike Nifong was the anonymous source for her May 27, 2006 "Team's Silence Is Sickening" column.

You very likely know what I'm talking about but in case you don't, and for the benefit of JinC readers, I'm providing the following information and asking you to respond on behalf of the N&O:

Author Don Yaeger (with Mike Pressler) in the book It's Not About the Truth (Threshold Editions, 2007) quotes Sheehan:
"I think on Saturday [March 25] we had the interview with the alleged victim. It was on Sunday I called into the office. I already had a column in the can because I run on Mondays.

But I called in about this story and they told me that there was another story with Nifong talking about how there was this wall of silence.

That's when I decided on that Sunday to write my first column about the case. [...]

I have to write a column about what people are talking about. And everybody was talking about it. It was so outrageous, the stuff that was in the paper. Her story, Nifong's recounting of it. Oh, my God. It was just like . . . you couldn't even believe it." (ellipses in Yaeger) (pg. 154)
A little further on Yaeger writes:
As she wrote, Sheehan made clear that in her mind the stories bubbling up from Nifong's office and the Durham Police Department were true. She was not alone. (pg. 155)
Yaeger then tells readers Sheehan added:
"Back during that period, no one was telling us that the players had been cooperative," she said in a January 2007 interview. "I know now that was not true. If I had known that then, I would have never written what I did. I would have thought what is Nifong talking about? That's not a wall of silence then. How is that a wall of silence?"(pg. 155)
The N&O’s March 25 "anonymous interview" story refers to “authorities [who’ve] vowed to crack the team's wall of solidarity.”

In the N&O's recent report of Yaeger’s book, staff writer Jim Nesbitt didn't even mention Sheehan’s account.

I posted on Nesbitt’s story here. I raised questions about why the N&O’s story said nothing about Yaeger's reporting on Sheehan’s column or any other part of the N&O’s framing of the lacrosse players last March.

I emailed Nesbitt and asked why that was the case. I offered to publish his response in full.

I received no reply to my email or to phone messages I left for Nesbitt and other N&O staffers.

Ted, there are at least three reasons why I have no doubt Yaeger quoted Sheehan accurately:

1) - Yaeger, a veteran reporter, must certainly have taped what Sheehan said, retained those tapes and been very careful to quote accurately from them;

2) - It’s now common practice for publishing houses to require that interviews of the sensitivity the one(s) Yaeger conducted with Sheehan are taped so it/they can be reviewed by the publishers’ attorneys for liability issues.

I believe Yaeger and Simon & Schuster would’ve been very careful to quote Sheehan accurately in any case; but they were no doubt particularly careful because, at the time the book was being prepared, Nifong was the subject of State Bar ethics charges, three lacrosse players were still under indictment, and Pressler’s suit against Duke was active.

3) - Sheehan has not disputed anything Yaeger attributes to her nor has the N&O so far as I know.

I think it would be in the best interests of the N&O and its readers for you to explain in your column Nifong's role as an anonymous N&O source in Spring 2006.

I look forward to your response which I'll post in full at my blog.


John in Carolina

Liestoppers Blog and Media Roundup

For any of us following the Duke lacrosse case, events at Duke University and media coverage of those and related matters the go-to place is now Liestoppers daily blog and media roundup.

It’s one of the first pages I check every day.

If you haven’t already, give it a look.

Nifong bankruptcy plea unlikely to shield him

He tried a frame-up, manufactured evidence and repeatedly lied to courts and the public.

Now the disgraced Mike Nifong is trying bankruptcy as a means of avoiding being held to account through civil suits for his odious actions.

I’m not an attorney or knowledgeable about bankruptcy but attorneys I’ve spoken to who are say Nifong’s attempt to claim bankruptcy will not shield him in the civil suit brought by three former Duke students Nifong and others attempted to frame for gang rape and other felonies.

Two items in this post lend support to that conclusion. One is extracts from a Ray Gronberg story in today’s Durham Herald Sun. The other is a very informative post at Liestoppers.

Gronberg begins:

Former District Attorney Mike Nifong on Tuesday won what in all likelihood will be only a temporary respite from a civil-rights lawsuit filed against him in connection with his role in the Duke lacrosse case.

Because of Nifong's recent bankruptcy filing, U.S. District Court Judge James Beaty Jr. ordered court clerks to remove Nifong from the lawsuit filed by exonerated players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

A bankruptcy expert, Duke Law School adjunct professor Jeffrey Coyne, said Beaty's move was a "fairly standard administrative move to allow the rest of the lawsuit" to go on. The players are also seeking damages from the city, Durham police and administrators, and a Burlington DNA lab. …

The next move involving Nifong will occur on Feb. 8 in the Durham Centre. Bankruptcy trustee Sara Conti has scheduled a meeting that morning with the former DA's likely creditors. Nifong must attend and answer under oath questions put to him by Conti and his creditors.
The entire H-S story is here.

Second item: A Liestoppers post by Sceptical, Bankruptcy Dodge Won’t Work, which lays out the reasons why it will very likely not work. The post also links to one by Penn State Dickinson School of Law professor Mary T. Reilly. If you’re closely following Nifong’s bankruptcy claim, sure to read both posts and their threads

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 29, 2008

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

Before the 1906 General Election, Churchill left the Conservative party and joined the Liberals. Mostly it had to do with free trade. He was a staunch free-trader.

The Liberals offered Churchill a chance to run for a Commons seat in Manchester held by a Conservative.

The race was seen as a tough go for him. His Conservative and Labour candidates were strong. And many people did not trust Churchill because of his party switch. Could you believe anything a turncoat said?

The Conservatives sought to take advantage of this distrust. They hit upon the idea of printing a pamphlet filled with quotes Churchill had made while in their ranks.

Let the public challenge him on what he'd once said. That would do him in.

The plan called for a first distribution early on the night Churchill would address a large crowd in a theater he had rented. Put the pamphlet in the hands of the people going in, run a few paid hecklers and some good party men in amongst the crowd, and we'll soon shout and hoot Mr. Churchill off on his own false words.

It was a good plan with everything in place as Churchill walked on stage to a mix of cheers, boos, and a lot of pamphlet waving and cries of "Do you deny this?"

He started his formal remarks but the pamphlet waving and cries of "Did you say it?" threatened to drown him out.

Churchill paused.

Then he drew a copy of the pamphlet from his pocket. “This pamphlet?” he asked.

He’d gotten a copy a few hours ago. He wanted someone to tell him what page he should look at.

Someone shouted out a page number.

Churchill read for a few moments; looked up; and admitted he's said what was on the page.


And what about other pages? He asked for a little quiet while he read them.

It was all true, he admitted. Everything he read was something he had said.

Churchill said he had no quarrel with the people who'd put the pamphlet together. They’d told the truth. He'd said "all those stupid things."

Before a now quiet audience, Churchill appeared to grow angry and started tearing out pages, crumpling some and tossing others over his shoulder all the while repeating, "stupid," "stupid."

Finally, with the pamphlet in shreds, Churchill thundered to the crowd, "Yes, I said all those stupid things because I was then a member of a stupid party but I left that party and joined one that...."

Much cheering, and the night was his.

When the votes were counted, Churchill, as the Brits say, "came first past the post."
Many biographers have recorded the pamphlet episode. See, for example, Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait. (pgs. 100 - 103)

Look who gave the Clintons “a moral reprimand”

No, it wasn't Rev. Al Sharpton or Sen. Ted Kennedy.

It was journalist Joe Klein at who said:

Make no mistake: What happened in South Carolina … was a moral reprimand delivered to Bill and Hillary Clinton by a united Democratic Party--but especially by the African-American segment of that party. …

A mass, unspoken decision had been made that Bill and Hillary Clinton had behaved unjustly toward Barack Obama. ...

Obama struck precisely the right note in his victory speech, skewering the Clintons without naming them. And it seems to me that when he says that the election is a contest between "the past and the future," he is describing a situation that becomes truer every day, as the Clintons' vestigial political virtuosity becomes more creaky and transparent, and just seems out-of-date and distasteful in a party that may want to turn the page on all that. ...
Klein’s “moral reprimand” included his assertion “that the entire country [may be] tired of the pestilence of [the Clintons'] tactical tricks.”

Klein's entire “moral reprimand” is here.

In case you don’t know who Joe Klien is, this from Wikipedia:
In January 1996, Klein anonymously published the novel Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics, based on the 1992 Democratic presidential primary.

The book spent 9 weeks as number one on the New York Times bestseller list, with its author listed as "Anonymous".

Several people, including former Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet and, later, Vassar professor Donald Foster correctly identified Klein as the novel's author, based on a literary analysis of the book and Klein's previous writing.

Klein denied the results and publicly condemned Foster.

Klein misdirected further in Newsweek, speculating that another writer wrote it.

Washington Post Style editor David von Drehle, in an interview, asked Klein if he was willing to stake his journalistic credibility on his denial, to which Klein agreed.
“Misdirected” seriously understates what Klein actually did.

At the time a Newsweek columnist, Klein went for weeks telling his readers, editors and fellow journalists that he wasn’t the author of Primary Colors. They could trust him on that, Klein insisted. He reminded everyone he was "a journalist who told the truth."

When the truth came out, Klein had to resign from Newsweek.

But he’s a liberal/leftist and, things being as they are in the liberal/left MSM world, it wasn’t too long before Klein surfaced as a columnist for the liberal/leftist TIME where he recently delivered his "moral repirmand" of the Clintons.

The Clintons deserve more than one "moral reprimand."

But from Joe Klein?

Comment Moderation Enabled


I've enabled comment moderation.


To The Chronicle re: Indoctrinate U?


I’ve just sent the following email to Sherya Rao, news editor of Duke’s student newspaper The Chronicle.


Dear Editor Rao:

I appreciated the opportunity to speak with you today by phone.

I hope The Chronicle will report on tonight’s showing in Reynolds Auditorium of Indoctrinate U.

The Wall Street Journal called Indoctrinate U “riveting;” the London’s Daily Telegraph said “all of [us] should see” it.

Extracts of the WSJ and DT reviews are here along with extracts of other reviews.

IU’s director, Evan Coyne Maloney, considered by many one of America’s most outstanding filmmakers, will be in Reynolds tonight for a Q&A following the showing.

This link takes you to a site with biographical information on Maloney.

This sample of Maloney at work, “Columbia Quiz," a short, funny and revealing video is not to be missed.

IU’s major themes -- the lack of intellectual diversity at many colleges and universities and the consequences of that lack of diversity, including heinous and arbitrarily enforced speech codes along with procedural violations by school administrators of students rights – are matters of great interest to many Chronicle readers.

I think it would be a shame if The Chronicle failed to report on tonight’s showing. And failing to interview Maloney would certainly be a missed news opportunity.

Thank you for your attention to this request.


John in Carolina

Who thinks “liberal” is a smear?

Reuters won’t call a terrorist “a terrorist.” It says “one man’s ‘terrorist’ is another man’s ‘freedom fighter.’”

So at the left and PC Reuters, Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill, Osama bin Laden and Yassar Arafat are pretty much all the same.

But what about calling someone “a liberal?”

Reuters says that’s “a harsh smear.” At least Reuters says it is “among conservative Republicans.”

After the following snip from Reuters, I offer a few comments.

McCain, Romney lob "liberal" smear in Florida push

By Jason Szep and Tim Gaynor,

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - In a tight battle in Florida, John McCain and Mitt Romney competed to stick each other with the "liberal" tag, a harsh smear among conservative Republicans whose votes could be decisive in Tuesday's voting for presidential contenders. …
The entire Reuters story is here.


Reuters is wrong about “liberal” being “a harsh smear among conservative Republicans.”

When, for instance, conservative Republicans “tag” Sen. John Kerry “a Massachusetts liberal” or Sen. Barack Obama “an Illinois liberal,” they don’t believe they’re smearing either man.

And indeed they’re not.

Both Kerry and Obama favor liberal policies –eg. racial preferences, opposition to meaningful school voucher programs, support for affirmative action. Both men receive very high approval ratings and strong support from liberal interest groups.

Reuters knows conservative Republicans don't think calling someone “a liberal” is “a harsh smear.” It’s liberal Democrats who believe that.

Why do you think they call themselves “centrists” and “progressives?”

And remember how upset the Dems got in ’04 because “Republicans are trying to smear Senator Kerry as a liberal.”

I listened during the ’04 campaign to an NPR program during which the guest “election experts” explained how the Republicans had, as I recall one of the “experts” saying, “used vast amounts of money to distort Kerry’s record and make him appear to be a liberal.”

And speaking of NPR and liberals - - -

But time’s passing. I’ll save that for another post.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 28, 2008

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

One of the best of the one volume studies of Churchill's life is Lord Jenkins', Churchill: A Biography, published in 2002. Historian John G. Plumpton began his review of Jenkins' biography with:

"There are times," wrote the great Cambridge scholar, Sir Geoffrey Elton, "when I incline to judge all historians by their opinion of Winston Churchill - whether they can see that no matter how much better the details, often damaging, of man and career become known, he still remains, quite simply, a great man."

Sir Geoffrey would have likely judged the new Churchill biography by Roy Jenkins favourably. The octogenarian Jenkins, a biographer of Attlee, Asquith, Baldwin and Gladstone, among others, and a political colleague of Labour leaders since World War II, concludes with a startling admission: "When I started writing this book I thought that Gladstone was, by a narrow margin, the greater man...I now put Churchill, with all his idiosyncrasies, his indulgences, his occasional childishness, but also his genius, his tenacity and his persistent ability, right or wrong, successful or unsuccessful, to be larger than life, as the greatest human being ever to occupy 10 Downing Street."
Plumpton's entire review is here. (Scroll down)

Jenkins's biography is in print and available at many book stores, on the net, and in most public libraries.

A subprime mortgage suggestion

We're being told that a lot of people who got involved and hurt in one or another aspect of the subprime mortgage debacle didn't understand what they were getting into.

I don't know how true that is but I have a suggestion that might help us avoid a "next time" or if there is a "next time," hold the people who got involved more responsible for their own actions.

Let's go back to calling subprimes what we used to call them: high risk mortgages.

Investors Challenge N. Y. Times Co.

Beneath the headline "Proxy Fight Planned at New York Times" the AP reports

A pair of investors disclosed plans Monday to name their own slate of four directors at The New York Times Co., saying the current board hasn't acted aggressively enough to meet the demands of the rapidly changing media industry.

The investors, Firebrand Partners and Harbinger Capital Partners, laid out their position in a letter to Times' Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Janet Robinson. The letter, dated Sunday, was disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday.

The Times said Friday that Harbinger had notified the company of its intention to name four directors for election at its next annual meeting on April 22. Firebrand indicated that it was working together with Harbinger and that together the two companies owned 4.9 percent of Times stock.

Investors pushed the Times' shares up $1.24 or 8.5 percent to $15.91 on Monday on optimism about possible changes there. However, Goldman Sachs publishing analyst Peter Appert, in a note to investors, said he was maintaining his longstanding "sell" rating on the stock as advertising moves to the Internet and other media.

"We do not see an easy or quick fix to what ails the company (and industry), other than continued investment to drive a migration of revenues and earnings to Internet-based operations," Appert said. "It is not clear to us what Harbinger and Firebrand bring to the table to address this challenge."

Harbinger had also disclosed on Friday that it intends to name directors at another newspaper company, Richmond, Va.-based Media General Inc. Both companies are controlled by families that hold supervoting stock, but in both cases the investors are seeking to nominate directors that are elected by non-family shareholders.

Firebrand Partners' founder Scott Galloway said in his letter that he and Harbinger had no intention of changing the Times' two-class share structure, which allows the Sulzberger family to maintain control of the company.

But Galloway added that the current board, "while impressive in stature, has not been effective in inspiring the requisite bold action this media environment demands." …
The entire AP story is here.

I recently posted Will the NY Times’ Sulzbergers Sell? which included a link to John Ellis’ column at laying out reasons why the Times may be a takeover target and why the Sulzberger family, which has a controlling interest in the Times, might sell.

A few readers ask why someone would buy the Times given all the trouble the news industry is facing.

I’m no expert on the subject but I asked two people who are.

Both said they thought the NYT stock price was undervalued. They noted that in addition to its many media assets, the Times has extensive real estate holdings. They reasoned a buyer could sell off some of its assests, thereby recouping much of what it had paid out while still retaining the paper, most of its electronic assests and the brand name.

Take that for what it’s worth.

Now an open source question I hope one of you can help with: After I published the “Sulzberger Sell?” post someone sent me a link to a detailed article on the Times financial woes. I skimmed it and meant to return to it but lost the link.

I think the article was at Am. Spectator but I can’t find it.

Can anyone provide a link to it or one like it?

Reader comments: most fine; some otherwise

Most comments at JinC “add to the blog.” Some point out errors I’ve made. Others contribute to informed and civil discussions on the threads. I often urge you to read the threads. I sometimes move comments to the main page and build posts on them.

But there are also comments, a minority to be sure, that add nothing to this blog. In fact, they detract from it.

Recently a handful of such comments have, among other things, used foul language, ridiculed a man with a physical handicap, expressed the wish to do physical harm to others or wished that physical harm, even death, would befall others with whom they disagreed. Some, with no credible evidence, have accused public figures of criminal acts.

I’ve deleted most of those comments. When I finish this post I’m going back through the comments to see if there are any I’ve missed.

I want to ask a few things of the great majority of you who comment here and add to the blog.

But first a few words to those whose comments are deleted and those who comment about how upset the deletions make them.

There is no need for any of you to be upset here. There are millions of blogs out there. Many welcome the kinds of comments you make and I delete. You can also have your own blogs and decide if you want to permit comments and, if you do, what your comment policy will be.

Now to Regulars and all others who comment within the rules here (Be civil, be fact-based and avoid ad hominems are the main ones):

During this election year I plan to post often on the campaign and public issues. I hope you “join the discussion.”

It may be necessary to go to some form of “administrator review” or registration but I’d like to avoid either or both alternatives if I can.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Finally, one more time, a “thank you” to each of you who adds to this blog.


Future showings of Indoctrinate U

Here's a list of upcoming showings of Indoctrinate U which the film's makers have provided:

Tue, Jan 29th -- 07:00PM -- Duke University

Tue, Jan 29th -- 07:00PM -- Louisiana State University (Shreveport)

Wed, Feb 13th -- 07:00PM -- San Diego State University

Mon, Feb 18th -- 07:00PM -- Ottawa, Ontario (non-campus)

Mon, Feb 25th -- 07:00PM -- Indiana University School of Law

I'm told there are a number of additional showings in the works.

The latest and detailed information on showings is available here. The list is periodically updated.

Always confirm a showing with the host site.

Powerline's Mirengoff on McCain

Powerline is one of my favorite blogs. I found this brief, telling post there today.

John McCain's litmus test

posted by Paul Mirengoff - - -

John Fund reports on John McCain's opportunity to make peace with conservatives and wonders whether McCain will take advantage of it. Fund's column includes this tidbit:

Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because "he wore his conservatism on his sleeve."
No one will ever accuse McCain of that "offense.


Comment: Most Republican primary voters will draw the line at voting for Sen. McCain, in part because they know he wouldn't appoint people like Justice Alito.

On the other hand, if the MSM press corp had its way, McCain would be the Republican nominee.

Indoctrinate U is “funny, humane and powerful”

So said Powerline’s Scott Johnson of the documentary London’s Daily Telegraph said “all of you should see.” (Johnson's, DT's and others' review excerpts here. )

Indoctrinate U will be shown Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 PM in Reynolds Auditorium in Duke University’s Bryan Student Center.

The Bryan Student Center is beside Duke Chapel and next to a well-lighted public parking deck. A map is here.

Admission is free for Duke students and faculty, $5 for students of other schools and $10 for the general public.

National Review’s Carol Iannone said Indoctrinate U “is sound, shocking--even to someone who knows a lot about political coercion on today's campuses--and also, amazingly, highly entertaining. It is both amusing and sobering at once. It deserves widespread distribution in theatres across America."

Indoctrinate U’s director, Evan Coyne Maloney, will be at the showing for a Q&A.

Some of you may know Maloney as that gentle fellow who walks onto campuses to ask folks “a few easy questions.” Within minutes, the campus police often arrive.

In the next scene, he’s in the office of a dean or other administrative factotum.

That’s usually when Maloney's told that, of course, the school respects it students’ Constitutional rights and its strict enforcement of speech codes goes along with that.

Sometimes Maloney’s told he needs to leave campus or can only interview if accompanied by a school minder.

There’s a wonderful, funny and revealing example of what I’m talking about here at Columbia Quiz.

It’s a five minute video Maloney originally intended to include in Indoctrinate U.

But as they say, some of a film’s best material is often left on the cutting room floor.

Give Columbia Quiz a look.

Indoctrinate U’s showing at Duke is sponsored by Duke Students for an Ethical Durham.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Indoctrinate U showing at Duke Tuesday, Jan. 29

From a DSED release:

Duke Students for an Ethical Duke is sponsoring a screening of Indoctrinate U, a documentary film evaluating rampant and systematic violations of civil liberties in American institutions of higher learning.

We are also proud to bring to you the director and producer of Indoctrinate U, who will be in attendance for discussion and Q&A. MAP

This from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Human rights activist and campus freedom-fighter Thor Halvorssen is one of the producers of "Indoctrinate U," the freshly released documentary film that uses humor and Michael Moore-like tactics to expose the culture of political correctness and left-wing politics that dominates most American colleges.
The T-R follows that with a very informative interview with Halvorssen you can read here.

Indocrtinate U debuted in Washington last September to a full house at the Kennedy Center.

You can view a trailer here.

To wrap up - - -



Jan. 29 2008

7 pm

Reynolds Auditorium

Duke University

Tickets are available at the

Duke University Box Office

Those Raleigh News & Observer’s stripper ads

At the Editors’ Blog, Raleigh N&O executive editor for news John Drescher recently posted Headline on target: Both Clintons v. Obama

To date Drescher’s post has drawn one comment. It’s from reader Michelle Hillison who posted on Jan. 23.

Hillison’s comment follows in full, after which I offer a comment and make a request.

To Editor Drescher - - -

This isn't about the post at hand but I was hoping you could address this either here or as a post - or direct me where to ask this.

I've worked in media for many years so I understand ads are necessary. I also understand the generic demographic for sports readers skews male so it sadly is the nature spot for the 'adult' entertainment ads.

While I don't like those ads, I fully understand why you take them and place them in sports.

However what I don't understand is days that you place them directly adjacent to high school sports coverage. I've seen it regularly and today was another example. There was a right side column on 7C with several HS stories that ended with an ad for a stripper.

I find that irresponsible. High school coverage draws young viewers and a photo of a porn star coming to town is not what those kids should have their attention drawn to in the paper.

In issues like this, I normally think this is falls (sic) parents to be the stewards of what their kids see but if the information is right next to it, there doesn't seem to be many options.

I accept you all are going to take the money for those adult ads and place them in the paper but I think the placement of them can be better managed. Is there an official policy in place about this? Or a rule of thumb?

I think the N&O overall should have as a policy that adult ads do not appear on a page with high school or younger sports coverage.
Folks, as of today, Jan. 26, Drescher has made no reply to Hillison.

After reading Hillison’s comment, I decided to offer one myself.

Here it is, followed by a request to you:
Dear Editor Drescher:

Why does the N&O advertise strippers and “Men’s Clubs?”

Yesterday, Jan. 25, the N&O even placed one of its provocative and illustrated stripper ads ( "Casey Parker -- Live & uncensored for 4 nights & 1 incredible lunch show" ) right below stories about women's tennis and figure skating, and right beside an ad for UNC - Chapel Hill women's basketball.


You should answer Michelle Hillison's questions.

And you should answer my questions about the N&O's use of Mike Nifong as an anonymous source for the stories in which you trashed the Duke lacrosse players for hiring strippers and in other ways abetted the frame-up attempt.

Many readers wish the N&O would stop making money by advertising strippers and "Man's Clubs."

But if the N&O is going to solicit money from strippers and “Men’s Clubs," can’t you at least run the ads beside and below the editorials and your column?

That way high-school age and younger readers will be less apt to see them.

Think about it.

Thank you for reading this.


John in Carolina
I encourage readers to leave comments for Drescher on his EB post here. You can also contact the N&O’s publisher Orage Quarles III ---

Those of you who like twofers can leave a comment on Drescher’s post thread and paste the comment into your email to Quarles.

Two “must read” posts at Liestoppers

Many of you may have read them already, but in case you haven’t Liestoppers has two "must read" posts for those of you following the suits filed by victims of the attempted frame-up of Duke lacrosse players and the on going cover-up.

The first of the two is Bankruptcy Dodge Won’t Work , which citizen journalist skeptical posted. It begins:

While bankruptcy would normally end a civil suit, this is not the case if the debtor engaged in "malicious and willful" conduct. In a collaborative Blog composed of Penn State Dickinson School of Law members, Professor Marie T. Reilly posted her analysis of this bankruptcy filing.

Professor Marie T. Reilly is a scholar and teacher of bankruptcy, commercial law and contracts. She is an expert on fraudulent transfer law and has published articles on a variety of topics including corporate successor liability, check kiting, sexual harassment and the holder in due course rule.
Sceptical then provides an extensive paste-in of Riley’s post and a link to it.

Sceptical’s post is here.

The other "don’t miss" post is Coach Pressler files lawsuit against Duke University & John Burness.

It contains the sections of Pressler’s filing that are at the heart of his slander claim.

Bill Buckley says Edwards is a phony

At RealClearPolitics. com Bill Buckley begins :

I heard a plainspoken, sophisticated man of affairs, with a background of public service, make a statement not to be confused with a stump speech. It was for that reason all the more arresting. "The thing I regret most about the political scene," he said, "is that, as a Republican, I won't have an opportunity to vote against John Edwards in the primary." I gushed with the pride of tribal fidelity, as if running into a Christian in the middle of a desert.

Is my friend's hostility to Edwards entirely ideological? No. It is also, like mine, personal.

I just don't like his cultivated appeal to the bleachers, combined with the carefully trimmed hairdo. And maybe, most of all, the carefully maintained Southern accent, which you can hear him practicing before his lucrative appearances before the juries who listened to him and believed that they were listening to a brother, a good old Southerner, with all the right instincts for justice. …
Buckley notes the sorts of things John Edwards says to explain why voters should support him and wonders how people stand it:
[According to the “environmentalist” with a 30, 000 sq. ft. house,] "(Bush) comes from a world where wealth is largely inherited, not earned. That is not the world I come from. ... The difference between George Bush and John Edwards is, while he honors and respects only wealth, I honor and respect hard work. I honor and respect responsibility. I believe in opportunity. He's about building barriers and closing doors; I'm about exactly the opposite. I want to knock barriers down. I want to open doors."

I mean, can you stand it? That is political rhetoric of the kind we got a generation ago from the fire-breathing populists, as also from conniving communists and dogmatic socialists. …

John Edwards, who has about 20 percent of the Democratic delegates within his reach, certainly seems to believe that politicians who want to succeed should clothe themselves in populist formulations. But young politicians seeking success might wonder at the dangers of being too obvious about changing one's positions on public policies.

The New York Times, in its seigneurial manner, judges Edwards to have gone a little too far. In its Jan. 25 editorial, the Times appreciates his "fiery oratory," but goes on to regret that "we cannot support his candidacy. The former senator from North Carolina has repudiated so many of his earlier positions, so many of his Senate votes, that we're not sure where he stands."

Where he stands is in the long line of critics of America who believe they can prosper politically by edging the American ethos over to left-welfarism. It's reassuring that Mr. Edwards, for all his pitch and fire against American success, should himself be prepared to join the ranks of the failed political class.
Buckley’s entire column is here.

I can’t think of anything John Edwards won’t stoop to to hustle votes.
Remember when he announced how proud he was that his young son Jack was telling playground friends they shouldn’t wear sneakers their parents bought them at Wal-Mart?

It’s good to hear Buckley believes Edwards will soon “join the ranks of the failed political class,” but the 20% of delegates Edwards may get could very well be a powerful bargaining chip heading toward the Dems national convention in Denver.

John Edwards brokering a Democratic convention won’t be a good thing for the Dems or the country.