Saturday, February 23, 2008

“Feel good” & the N&O’s shameless news suppression

Readers note: In the post which follows, I initially misspelled Mr. Lurie's name as "Laurie." My error’s now been corrected thanks to an anon reader calling it to my attention.

I apologize to Mr. Lurie and JinC readers. I've also left an "error correction note" and apology on the post comment thread referenced below.


Last Sunday Raleigh News & Observer executive editor for news John Drescher's column described the visit a long-time reader and critic of the N&O, Mr. Lurie, made to the N&O’s newsroom at Drescher’s invitation.

Drescher pitched Laurie’s visit as what journalists call “a feel good story:” the critical reader is surprised to be invited by the editor to come meet the journalists he’s been criticizing. He goes with some trepidation. But when he meets the journalists, they're kindness itself; and he’s touched.

You get the idea.

Drescher posted on the visit here and I’ve just left the following comment on the post thread.

Dear Editor Drescher:

I enjoyed your story concerning your invitation to Mr. Lurie, a long-time N&O reader and critic, to visit the N&O’s newsroom. Please pass my appreciation to Mr. Laurie for the effort he makes to improve the N&O.

But the criticisms you cited were few. Some would even say they were mild. And your story quickly began reporting on things Mr. Lurie liked about the N&O.

I was half expecting the story to end with everyone gathering at the water cooler to say goodbye to Mr. Laurie and singing Auld Lang Syne as he left the newsroom.

Question: Do Mr. Lurie’s criticisms ever rise to the level of criticism of the N&O’s biases and agendas which lead it to engage in shameful instances of news suppression?

Take, for example, Lt. Gen. Sanchez’s recent speech to military reporters and editors. He spent the entire first half of his speech castigating the media’s coverage of the war in Iraq where he’d been commander of our ground forces.

Sanchez said that most American journalists in Iraq, driven by political agendas and commercial interests, had thrown away even a pretext of objective reporting.

What they are telling the American people, Gen. Sanchez said, is a grossly distorted account of what’s actually happening there.

His speech included this (sorry for the caps but the speech text is in cap form):



But the N&O, in its front-page, above the fold story reporting Sanchez speech made no mention of his extensive and searing criticisms of the media.

Instead you published from the second half of his speech in which he was critical of both Congress and the Administration those portions of the speech which made it appear Sanchez was exclusively blaming the Bush administration for problems in Iraq when he was not.

Your story was not only news suppression; it was deliberately fraudulent reporting you knew would misinform and mislead N&O readers.

Here’s the URL for the post I’ve previously sent you and to which you’ve never responded despite my offer to publich in full you response.

Here are a few other examples of N&O news suppression: You withheld for weeks the news you had concerning Crystal Mangum’s criminal background, even as you knew that news was directly contradictory to what you reported she told you and material to the case.

The N&O withheld news you had of the lacrosse players extensive and willing cooperation with Durham Police and instead deliberately published what you knew was the “wall of solidarity” lie. That led directly to the Wanted and “Vigilante” posters and the endangerment of the Duke students those posters targeted.

Are there any plans at the N&O to retract the Sanchez story and your Mar. 25, 2006“anonymous interview” story in which you told readers the accuser was “the victim” who had endured an “ordeal” which ended finally in “sexual violence?”

Thank you for your attention to this comment.


John in Carolina

Friday, February 22, 2008

Joan Foster’s Back

If you’ve followed the Duke lacrosse case with an eye toward justice, you know about Joan Foster.

In that case, you’ll want to skip the rest of my post and go right to Joan’s at Liestoppers and welcome here back.

If you don’t know what a fine writer and advocate for justice Joan is, please read the following extract from her latest post:

… What’s the emotional and moral make-up of folks like Duke’s BOT chair Robert Steele and its president Dick Brodhead?

I’ll confess I’ve never met either of them. I bet they are charming at cocktail parties and impressive in their insular little world, okay…fine. But everything I ever needed to know about either of them, I learned, if true and accurate, in the written summary of the third lawsuit. (see here)

Let’s start with Steele. [Friends of Duke University spokesperson and law professor] Jason Trumpbour relays a conversation with Steele that just might be the most stunning moral indictment of the current Duke leadership to date.

Now, stay with me here.

Trumpbour tells us Steele felt it would be best FOR DUKE if Collin [Finnerty], Reade [Seligmann], and Dave [Evans]…WENT TO TRIAL.

Best for Duke. Say that again: “BEST FOR DUKE.”

If convicted, he shrugged, “it would all be sorted out on appeal.”

Who thinks like that?

What kind of man thinks like that?

I can’t even type that without stopping to take a deep, outraged breath.

Imagine you are the Finnertys, or the Evans, or the Seligmanns. Your child, your boy, already scourged, and branded, and sullied by an outrageous LIE, would best serve the University’s interest by going TO TRIAL, perhaps being convicted of a felony and imprisoned in some hellhole.

This is the measured, moral opinion of the chairman of the Board of Trustees at his school.

It would be BEST for Duke for your INNOCENT child, your ravaged family to endure a TRIAL. And let’s remember the backdrop of this time: the Black Panthers, well represented , no doubt, in our prison system, shouting at Reade “You’re a dead man walking!!!”

Sure, Chairman Steele, let it all be sorted out on appeal.

Joan’s entire evisceration of Duke’s craven leaders is here.

Message to Joan: Welcome back. I missed your voice, as did so many others.

The Raleigh N&O’s suit story needed correction and

it got one.

Here’s what happened.

This morning the N&O reported [excerpt]:

The 38 members of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team who filed the suit in federal court say their reputations were damaged by their association to an escort service dancer's phony gang-rape allegations.

The players chose not to appear at the news conference [announcing the site filing], said Bob Bork Jr., the group's hired publicist, because they don't want to attract attention. …

The event was at the National Press Building in downtown Washington, a block from the White House.

"This is kind of a media center," said Bork, son of the Supreme Court nominee rejected during the Reagan years. "And Durham isn't. Sorry." … (entire story here)
A few hours later a correction was published in which Bork said, “I was quoted out of context by the Raleigh News and Observer this morning”

The correction continued[excerpt]:
"What I said was that we held it in Washington because the law firm representing the players and their families is located in Washington, D.C., many of the families live there and I chose the National Press Club because of facilities that make it a center for media events.

Several reporters from North Carolina had complained to me about having to come to DC.

So, I apologized by saying, 'Sorry.' I never said 'Durham isn’t.'"
Folks, are you thinking that correction doesn’t sound like something the N&O would do?

You’re right.

Bork himself issued the correction at the Web site

You can read the entire correction, part of a blog post, here.

I’m putting on my “must visit daily” list. I hope you do too.

Message to Mr. Bork: I’m glad you posted the correction. I plan to ask N&O public editor Ted Vaden what he thinks the N&O should do in this circumstance.

I’ll post my email to Vaden tomorrow. It will include an offer to post in full his response. I’ll let you know what, if anything, I hear back.

I’m delighted you’re part of the truth-seeking team. I’m confident most people who visit JinC are too.


Blogging Resumes Tonight


I'm rushed now but I'll have at least 2 posts up tonight on the uglier and Dukier situation.

Also, one concerning the Raleigh N&O.



Chronicle Suit Report Confused, Avoids Duke Questions

I just sent the following email to Chronicle editor David Graham.

Dear Editor Graham:

In your story today - Lax lawsuit targets Duke, Durham – you report, without actually quoting him, that Duke Law professor Thomas Metzloff said “it was also surprising that Nifong was not included because his bankruptcy proceedings do not bar him from being listed as a defendant. Metzloff added that this might be a move to highlight other defendants' involvement.”

But yesterday Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said Nifong was not named because the current bankruptcy proceedings protect him from being named a defendant in a suit in federal court.

Would you please determine whether Metzloff or Cooper is right and report on that?

You quote Metzloff speculating on why he thinks individual faculty were not named as defendants. From The Chronicle’s story:

Law professor Thomas Metzloff said he thought it was significant that individual faculty members were not named.

"With the actions of some faculty and how they were interpreted, I think some people were expecting individual faculty to be named as defendants," he said. "It's kind of the old move to cast a blanket-at this point, it's the usual suspects."
Yesterday Cooper spoke specifically to the matter and explained why individual faculty were not named.

From your story it’s not clear whether Metzloff was aware of Cooper's explanation but rejected it and was therefore speculating as to what Cooper and the plaintiff’s actual reason(s) was. Of course, it could also be the Metzloff speculated because he wasn’t aware of what Cooper had said.

Finally, here’s a portion of KC Johnson's post concerning the Cooper suit filing which raises some extraordinarily important issues and questions The Chronicle’s story today ignored:
Duke, the suit contends, “took two actions directed toward bolstering the credibility of Mangum’s rape allegations. First, Officer Day of the Duke Police added a “continuation page” as an addendum to his police report prepared at Duke Hospital on March 14, in which he had noted the manifest inconsistencies in Mangum’s allegations. Day’s ‘continuation page’ purported to cast doubt on the reliability of his own contemporaneous report, which Duke had not yet disclosed to the lacrosse players or the public, by indicating that it was based on hearsay and imperfectly overheard conversations.

Upon information and belief, Day was coerced to write this continuation page by Duke administration officials, who had previously prevented his exculpatory version of events from becoming public.

“On information and belief, in addition to suppressing the Day report, Duke police officials, at Nifong’s request, also directed Duke police officers who had been present at Duke Hospital on March 14 to write deliberately misleading accounts of what they witnessed that night.

The Duke police officers were directed to prepare statements that suppressed exculpatory facts about Mangum’s lack of credibility, selectively asserted facts suggesting the guilt of the players, and mischaracterized their own conduct that night by casting the Duke police as mere bystanders.

In particular, on information and belief, one Duke officer who prepared such a statement later admitted that, based on his observation at the time, Mangum was ‘faking’ the whole thing; and another Duke officer was directed to suppress the fact that she had overheard a Durham Police sergeant, upon emerging from Mangum’s hospital room, say loudly, ‘I think she is lying!’”

Duke’s response: “If these plaintiffs have a complaint, it is with Mr. Nifong.” This is, to put it mildly, a peculiar argument: it’s not clear to me how Nifong was responsible for Duke’s decision to allow its faculty and students to violate the University’s anti-harassment policy; or for Officer Day to rewrite his report; or for Duke’s failure to supervise Tara Levicy; or for Duke’s decision to supply federally protected student records to the police.
Why has The Chronicle failed to investigate and report in detail on the very serious, possibly criminal, actions cited in the filing and noted by KC?

Did you ask Metzloff about the portions of the filing mentioned here?

If so, what did he say?

If you didn’t ask him, please explain why The Chronicle didn’t.

I hope you’ll respond in The Chronicle to the matters I’ve raised here.

Most of us in the Duke community want to know about them. We believe The Chronicle has a duty to report on them.


John in Carolina

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's suit filing: don't miss this post

Folks, the JinC Regulars know I often say most of the best stuff here is on the comment threads.

A number of outstanding comments have appeared in the past week.

I want to bring the following one to your attention. After it, I add a few thoughts below the star line.

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to take a look at the case summary before reading drew's comment:

drew has left a new comment on your post "Case Summary of Latest Duke Suit":

Jim in SD - like yourself, I noticed that Mr. Steel's name is not one of the defendants. I suspect that this was not an oversight - the LAXers seem to have very competent representation in this matter, and I would think it unlikely that a “target of opportunity” would be overlooked.

Perhaps the plaintiffs are trying to drive a wedge between the named defendants and the other “elephants in the room”. You can probably foresee President Brodhead trying to lay the blame for all the mess in the laps of the Board members, because he’s pretty much run out of other people he could blame this on. Likewise the G88 – they’re probably whistling past the graveyard right now, but they'll see themselves held up to some (justly deserved) ridicule once the fur starts to fly.

Actually, by using the “wedge-driving” methodology, the plaintiffs may be doing the other civil-suit plaintiffs a favor. If the court doesn’t seal any of the discovery in the 38-plaintiff suit, the plaintiffs in the prior civil suit against the civic and University defendants might be able to elicit some discovery that might otherwise not be available directly from a defendant except under direct (and adversarial) examination.

The other interesting parties in this list of defendants is the two (alleged) attorneys that were named; specifically, J. Wesley Covington, Esq. and Kate Hendricks, Esq., both of whom might actually be obliged to identify for whom they were working at the time of their involvement in these matters, and what duties they owed to either the players (as clients?) or their real clients.

Mr. Covington could potentially be the party most exposed to some sort of professional liability issues, since he was at times referenced as a legal representative of both the University, and the players, and nobody at all in this matter. If he was legally representing nobody in this matter, he in fact had a fool for a client.

Something in the back of my mind suggests that Mr. Covington was first brought into this matter by some of the BOT members on some sort of "unofficial" basis. At the time,I would expect that the BOT members thought that they could insulate the University's own legal department as a result; however, this strategy could well backfire, as do most other similar strategies that are cooked up by people who just presume that they're the brightest folks in the room.

Mr. Covington might be the nexus between the case and BOT on a direct basis, as opposed to merely having the BOT provide their occasional (and ill-thought-out) votes of confidence in President Brodhead's actions.

Tighten up the chinstraps, folks, ‘cause its going to be an interesting ride. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and good supply of hand sanitizer always ready, because it only gets messier and Dukier from here on out.

The Raleigh N&O has a story on today's suit filing, Duke's response, and the attorneys for the plaintiffs press conference.

Drew is serving us well.

I was especially glad drew noted the difficult position Wes Covington's in. Who was he serving and why? That's never been made clear, has it?

Don't attorneys bill for their services? So whom did Covington bill?

If he was working pro bono, for whom and why?

Did he ever make it clear to anyone(s) that he and the anyone(s) were entering into an attorney/client relationship?

Why hasn't the N&O, which reported the tax value assessment of the Seligmann's home, asked Wes Covington those questions and others?

Wes is a Durham resident and easy to reach.

I plan to post again tomorrow morning. A lot is running through my head, but I want to check with some folks tonight before I share it.

With so many informed people commenting here, I can't be too careful.

One other thing: I bet most of us agree the MoveOn.Duke campaign's in about the same shape as Sen. Clinton's.

Is Columbia’s “noose” prof a plagiarist?

The AP reports:

A Columbia University professor whose colleagues found a noose hanging from her office doorway will remain on staff despite being sanctioned for plagiarism, school officials said Thursday.

The university's Teachers College announced Wednesday it had imposed "serious sanctions" against Madonna G. Constantine.

The college said a lengthy investigation uncovered numerous instances in which she used others' work without attribution in papers she published in academic journals over the past five years.

Her lawyer said she had been targeted because of her race and hinted the sanctions and noose incident were linked, claims Teachers College spokeswoman Marcia Horowitz denied.

The inquiry into Constantine was launched in 2006, well before the noose—a symbol of lynchings in the Deep South—was discovered this past October, the school said.
Details of the sanctions were not released, but Horowitz said Constantine was not suspended and will remain a tenured professor.

Horowitz said the case was reviewed by an outside law firm as well as a panel of current and former professors at Teachers College.

Constantine, an education and psychology professor who has written extensively about race, said Wednesday that the accusations and the noose incident are part of efforts to intimidate her because she is black. …
The rest of the story is here.

Race – smace. Is Constantine a plagiarist? That’s the first question I’m asking.

And if she is, then race only enters into it because Constantine doesn’t want to seriously address Columbia’s finding she has plagiarized.

I doubt Columbia made its finding without having before it overwhelming evidence she plagiarized.

In any case, I plan to follow this story, in part to learn whether Columbia has released the material that convinced it Constantine did plagiarize.

For her part, Constantine, if she’s really convinced she didn’t plagiarize, should be presenting her evidence she didn’t, instead of crying “race.”

Case Summary of Latest Duke Suit

Posted at is the following case summary of the suit filed today on behalf of 38 members of the 2006 Duke Men's lacrosse team and "certain members of their families. - - -


This action for damages is brought by 38 of the 47 members of the 2006 Duke
University men’s lacrosse team, and by certain members of their families. (Names of the plaintiffs and defendants can be found appending this summary and on the complaint.)

For 13 months in 2006-2007 these students were reviled almost daily in the local andnational media as a depraved gang of privileged, white hooligans who had hired a black exotic dancer to perform at a team party, had brutally gang raped and sodomized her in a crowded bathroom, and had joined together in a “wall of silence” to hide the truth of their heinous crimes. But it was a vile and shameful lie, and it caused the plaintiffs tremendous suffering and grievous, lasting injuries.


As noted above, the plaintiffs are 38 of the 47 members of the 2006 Duke University men’s lacrosse team and certain of their family members. The plaintiffs include: nine (9) members of the Duke class of 2006; nine (9) members of the Duke class of 2007; eleven (11) members of the Duke class of 2008; nine (9) members of the Duke class of 2009.


The individual defendants in this suit are chiefly (1) Durham and Duke officials who corruptly seized upon and exploited Crystal Mangum’s lie about an alleged rape (this deeply mentally disturbed, drug-dependant young woman is not named) to advance their own career ambitions, to further their own ideological agendas, and/or to gratify their own personal prejudices; and (2) Duke officials who possessed convincing evidence 2 of the players’ innocence and who had a responsibility to their students to speak out, but who not only steadfastly remained silent, but also lent Duke’s credibility to the rape allegations by capitulating to an angry mob’s demands to condemn and punish the innocent players and their blameless coach.


There are 31 counts in the complaint alleging violations of state law and
violations of federal law, including the United States Constitution.

A. Duke Defendants

Against the Duke Defendants specifically the complaint, among other claims,

• Intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress based on the false
and misleading information about the medical and physical evidence of
rape provided by Levicy to the Durham Investigators that spurred on the
rape investigation, the active suppression of exculpatory evidence, conduct
and statements that maligned the lacrosse players and active conspiracy
with the Durham Investigators and Supervisors.

• Breach of various duties of care owed the plaintiffs including the duty of
care in conducting and reporting of forensic medical examination and the
duty to warn of the hazards created by the Duke Defendants in providing
false and misleading information to the Durham Investigators and not
disclosing exculpatory information in their exclusive possession.

• Fraud, negligent misrepresentation, abuse of process, and violations of
fourth amendment rights based on Duke University’s disclosure of
confidential key card reports to the Durham Investigators in violation of
FERPA and Duke’s attempt to cover-up that illegal disclosure by
collaborating in the issuance and use of a sham subpoena.

• Fraud through abuse of the confidential relationship between various Duke
Defendants and the lacrosse players during the rape hoax crisis when defendants advised team members not to tell their parents and not to seek or obtain legal representation and by steering the players to Duke’s chosen advisor, Defendant Wes Covington.

• Breach of duty based on Duke’s special relationship with its student athletes. Duke failed in its duty to seek to protect these students from harassment, harm to their reputation, a rogue criminal investigation

• Breach of contract for Duke’s failure to follow and enforce its own
antiharassment policy, cancellation of the lacrosse season, violation of procedural rights.

B. Durham Defendants

Against the Durham Defendants, the complaint alleges, among other claims,
claims for:

• Deprivation of property without due process of law in violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for a malicious investigation that caused reputational injury
and lost educational opportunities

• False public statements in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983

• Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 under Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs.

• Negligence including negligent supervision, hiring and discipline

• Intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress


Plaintiffs have asked for damages in an amount to be established at trial as
compensation for injuries to reputation, emotional suffering, past and future economic losses, invasion of privacy, constitutional deprivations, loss of educational and athletic opportunities, loss of future career prospects, legal and other expenses, and other injuries proximately caused and enhanced by defendants’ wrongful conduct;

and for damages, in an amount to be established at trial, to punish defendants for fraudulent, willful and wanton, and malicious conduct; to punish defendants for outrageous conduct pursued with actual malice that recklessly and callously disregarded plaintiffs’ physical and emotional well-being and constitutional rights; to discourage defendants from engaging in similar conduct in the future; and to deter others similarly situated from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.


1. Edward Carrington
2. Casey J. Carroll
3. Michael P. Catalino
4. Gale Catalino (parent)
5. Thomas V. Clute
6. Kevin Colman
7. Joshua R. Coveleski
8. Edward J. Crotty
9. Edward S. Douglas
10. Kyle Dowd
11. Patricia Dowd
12. Daniel Flannery
13. Richard Gibbs Fogarty
14. Zachary Greer
15. Irene Greer
16. Erik S. Henkelman
17. Steven W. Henkelman (parent)
18. John E. Jennison
19. Ben Koesterer
20. Mark Koesterer (parent)
21. Joyce Koesterer (parent)
22. Fred Krom
23. Peter J. Lamade
24. Adam Langley
25. Christopher Loftus
26. Daniel Loftus
27. Barbara Loftus (parent)
28. Anthony Mcdevitt
29. Glenn Nick
30. Nicholas O’Hara
31. Lynnda O’Hara (parent)
32. Daniel Oppedisano
33. Sam Payton
34. John Bradley Ross
35. Kenneth Sauer, III
36. Steve Schoeffel
37. Robert Schroeder
38. Devon Sherwood
39. Daniel Theodoridis
40. Bret Thompson
41. Christopher Tkac
42. Tracy Tkac (parent)
43. John Walsh, Jr.
44. Michael Ward
45. Robert H. Wellington, IV
46. William Wolcott
47. Michael Young


1. Duke University

2. Duke University Health System, Inc. (“DUHS”)

3. Richard Brodhead, President of Duke University

4. Peter Lange, Provost of Duke University

5. Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs at Duke University

6. John Burness, Senior V.P. for Public Affairs and Government Relations at Duke

7. Tallman Trask, Executive Vice President of Duke University

8. Suzanne Wasiolek, Assistant VP for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Duke

9. Matthew Drummond, Head of Duke University’s Duke Card office

10. Aaron Graves, Associate VP for Campus Safety and Security at Duke

11. Robert Dean, Director and Chief of the Duke Police Department

12. Tara Levicy, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (“SANE”) at Duke University Hospital

13. Theresa Arico, Coordinator of the SANE program at Duke University Hospital

14. J. Wesley Covington, Esq. (Duke advisor to whom Duke directed players for advice)

15. Kate Hendricks, Esq., Deputy General Counsel, Office of the University at Duke

16. Victor Dzau, Chancellor for Health Affairs and President and CEO of DUHS

17. City of Durham

18. Linwood Wilson, Investigator in the Office of the District Attorney

19. Mark Gottlieb, Detective in the Durham Police Department

20. Benjamin Himan, Investigator in the Durham Police Department

21. Patrick Baker, City Manager for the City of Durham

22. Steven Chalmers, Chief of Police for the Durham Police Department

23. Ronald Hodge, Deputy Chief of Police for the Durham Police Department

24. Lee Russ, Executive Officer to the Chief of Police for the Durham Police Department

25. Stephen Mihaich, Commander of Investigative Services for Durham Police Department

26. Beverly Council, Commander of the Uniform Patrol Bureau for Durham Police Dept.

27. Jeff Lamb, Commander of the District Two Uniform Patrol of the Durham Police Dept.

28. Michael Ripberger, Lieutenant in the Durham Police Department

29. David Addison, Corporal in the Durham Police Department

Noted attorney to represent 38 former lacrosse players in suit

The AP reports:

More than three dozen current and former Duke lacrosse players plan to file a federal lawsuit against the university, the city of Durham and others involved in the case.

A spokesman for Washington-based attorney Charles J. Cooper said the civil lawsuit will be filed Thursday on behalf of 38 players who were not charged in the notorious case.

Spokesman Robert Bork Jr. declined Wednesday night to release the specific allegations made in the 30-count, 100-page lawsuit.

"It covers a whole lot of things, including violation of privacy," Bork said. "It's not just emotional distress."

Duke officials declined to comment
The rest of the brief story is here.

I understand from a source the filing will be this morning and there'll be a news conference involving attorneys for the players at 1 PM Eastern.

While we wait for more news, here's some information about the plaintiffs' lead attorney Charles J. Cooper.

From Wikipedia - - -

Charles J. "Chuck" Cooper
is an appellate attorney and litigator in Washington, D.C. and a founding member and chairman of the law firm Cooper & Kirk, PLLC. He was named by The National Law Journal as one of the 10 best civil litigators in Washington, he has over 25 years of legal experience in government and private practice, with numerous cases in trial and appellate court as well as several appearances before the United States Supreme Court.

Cooper graduated in 1977 from the University of Alabama Law School. Shortly after serving as law clerk to Judge Paul Roney of the Fifth (now Eleventh) Circuit Court of Appeals, and to Justice (later Chief Justice) William H. Rehnquist, Mr. Cooper joined the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1981. In 1985 President Ronald Reagan appointed Mr. Cooper to the position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. In that capacity, he worked with Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

And the following from the Web site of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy described as "an independent, nonpartisan, education and research organization that develops and promotes public policy consistent with the Virginia tradition of individual liberty, dynamic entrepreneurial capitalism, private property, the rule of law, and constitutionally limited government." Cooper serves on its board of directors. - - -

Charles J. Cooper has almost two decades of legal experience in government and in private practice. In 1977–78, Mr. Cooper served as law clerk to Judge Paul Roney of the Fifth (now Eleventh) Circuit Court of Appeals, and in 1978–79 he served as law clerk to Justice (now Chief Justice) William H. Rehnquist.

In 1982 Mr. Cooper was appointed deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division in the Reagan Justice Department, where he supervised all of the division’s litigation in the federal courts of appeals and in the Supreme Court. In 1985 President Reagan appointed Mr. Cooper to the position of assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.

During his three years as head of that office, Mr. Cooper worked on virtually all issues concerning constitutional law, particularly on federalism, separation of powers, and First Amendment questions. Mr. Cooper also served as chairman of the President’s Working Group on Federalism and as a member of the National Security Council’s Policy Review and Planning and Coordinating Groups.

Mr. Cooper left the Justice Department in 1988 and reentered private practice as a partner in the Washington office of McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe. From 1990 until he founded Cooper & Carvin, a Washington, D.C. based law firm, he was a partner at Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, where he headed the firm’s Constitutional and Government Litigation Group.

Mr. Cooper has argued several cases before the Supreme Court and has also appeared before all but two of the thirteen federal courts of appeals.

In 1998 Mr. Cooper was appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve as a member of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Mr. Cooper is also a member of the Federalist Society and serves as chairman of its Practice Group on Civil Rights. In addition, he is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and he has spoken and published extensively on a wide variety of constitutional and legal policy topics.

Stay tuned, folks. You know there's lots more to come despite what we've been told by MoveOn.Duke and the editorial board of The Chronicle, Duke's student newspaper.

Reagan Made The Missile Hit Possible

The AP reports:

A Navy missile soaring 130 miles above the Pacific smashed a dying and potentially deadly U.S. spy satellite Wednesday and probably destroyed a tank carrying 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel, officials said.

Officials had expressed cautious optimism that the missile would hit the satellite, which was the size of a school bus. But they were less certain of hitting the smaller, more problematic fuel tank, whose contents posed what Bush administration officials deemed a potential health hazard to humans if it landed intact.

In a statement announcing that the Navy missile struck the satellite, the Pentagon said, "Confirmation that the fuel tank has been fragmented should be available within 24 hours." It made no mention of early indications, but a defense official close to the situation said later that officials monitoring the collision saw what appeared to be an explosion, indicating that the fuel tank was hit.

The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles—not orbiting satellites—launched the attack at 10:26 p.m. EST, according to the Pentagon. It hit the satellite about three minutes later as the spacecraft traveled in polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph. …
We all surely hope the tank was destroyed. I only wish President Reagan could have read the AP report.

This from Wikipedia:
The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a proposal by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983[1] to use ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. …
And this from historian Paul Kengor:
…On March 23, 1983, Reagan announced SDI. “My fellow Americans, tonight we’re launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history,” he declared in a nationally televised address.

He announced his vision for a space-based missile-defense system—his “dream.” “With every ounce of my being,” he said later, “I pray the day will come when nuclear weapons no longer exist anywhere on Earth.” Reagan hoped SDI might one day “render nuclear weapons obsolete.” He also came to see it as an extraordinary weapon to help bankrupt the USSR.

Coming only two weeks after the Evil Empire speech and amid his push to place intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe, Reagan’s remarks left Moscow shell-shocked. SDI terrified the Soviets. It became an obsession to Mikhail Gorbachev, who spent entire summit sessions doing nothing but hysterically protesting SDI, begging Reagan not to go forward.

Leftists, however, had other plans. They dubbed the initiative “Star Wars,” a term popularized by Senator Ted Kennedy, who the morning after Reagan’s speech assailed the president’s “misleading Red-scare tactics and reckless Star Wars schemes.”

Kennedy had started something. “Star Wars” became a vehicle to lampoon SDI.

In the 1980s, the Left caricatured Reagan as a dawdling, nostalgic ex-actor who lazily wasted his time watching movies, losing himself in a world of fantasy.

Surely, suggested the ridiculers, the old fool must have gotten the idea for SDI from the movie “Star Wars,” envisioning himself as a kind of presidential Luke Skywalker combating the forces of darkness. As an amazing New York Times news story put it a week after the speech, SDI was “Mr. Reagan’s answer to the film ‘Star Wars.’”

If Kennedy had hoped to discredit the concept, he was making strides. His “Star Wars” term became extremely damaging, especially once the partisan press ran with it.

The media embrace of the term was evident in an exchange between Reagan and White House correspondent Helen Thomas:

Thomas: Mr. President, if you are flexible, are you willing to trade off research on “Star Wars”…or are you against any negotiations on “Star Wars”?

Reagan: Well, let me say, what has been called “Star Wars”—and, Helen, I wish whoever coined that expression would take it back again—

Thomas: Well, Strategic Defense—

Reagan: —because it gives a false impression of what it is we’re talking about.

Immediately after Reagan’s plea, Thomas continued: “May I ask you, then, if ‘Star Wars’—even if you don’t like the term, it’s quite popular….”

The term was popular because reporters used it. Reagan’s request was reasonable: the program’s name was the Strategic Defense Initiative. Objective reporters ought to be expected to use its proper name, not the name of derision invented by partisan detractors. (Yes, but when most reporters and their editors are Democrats. ... - JinC)

Reagan rightly feared that “Star Wars” suggested that he desired not a defensive system but an offensive war in space. It conjured “an image of destruction,” he said, when, in fact, “I’m talking about a weapon, non-nuclear…[that] only destroys other weapons, doesn’t kill people.”

Always kinder than his critics, Reagan charitably allowed that the media probably did not envision such a deleterious effect, instead using “Star Wars” merely “to denigrate the whole idea.” Privately, he told one friend that he “bristle[d]” each time the media used the label and complained to two others that the term was “never mine” but the media’s, “and now they saddle me with it.” ...

The Kremlin seized the term to further portray Reagan as a nuclear warmonger—an image that another set of dupes in the West, the nuclear freeze movement, reinforced. …
I doubt many MSM reporters will be asking Sen. Kennedy what he thinks of the Navy's missile hit.

I'll keep an eye out just in case my liberal/leftist newspaper, the Raleigh N&O, does.

Closing thoughts:

President Reagan wouldn't be taking any credit tonight.

He'd be congratulating the crew of the USS Lake Erie, the Navy and all others who helped make the missile hit possible.

He'd be reminding us of what we owed those serving in our military and their families.

And he'd express his pride in America.

America and the West could easily have gotten through the last half of the twentieth century without Teddy Kennedy. But we sure needed Ronald Reagan.

Here are: the entire AP story; the Wikipedia SDI entry; and Paul Kengor's article.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 20, 2008

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

On Jan. 5, 1915, with stalemate and trench warfare dominating the Western front, Churchill sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Asquith.

It would be simple, Churchill said, to "fit up a number of steam tractors with small armored shelters, in which men and machine guns could be placed, which would be bullet-proof. [A] caterpillar system would enable trenches to be crossed quite easily, and the weight of the machine would destroy all wire entanglements."

The Army was not interested but Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, got permission for the Navy to press ahead with designs and prototypes of the new contraptions which he called "land ships."

The project was secret lest the Germens learn of it. For the few people working on the project, a cover story was needed.

It was agreed that if questions were asked, the Navy personnel working on the project would say they were designing a new kind of vehicle. It would operate in Russia and bring water to the Czar's troops fighting on the Eastern front.

The water, of course, would be in the tanks.
William Manchester, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory. (p. 510)

Edwards To Endorse Obama

It's an easy call.

Durham, NC's " progressive weekly," The Independent, has just posted:

Obama's coffers fill with checks from Edwards' donors

High-dollar donors, including former adviser and law partner, get behind Barack

Under Mosi Secret's byline, the Indy begins:

John Edwards may have yet to give his official endorsement to either of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, but his prominent local supporters—and their wallets—are lining up behind U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in his bid to secure the nomination.

This week, Triangle supporters who commit to raising at least $10,000 for Obama will meet with Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe at a lunch organized by Tim Toben, Edwards' former environmental adviser and a major Edwards fundraiser. ...

The Feb. 21 event will be hosted by the Raleigh law firm Kirby & Holt, where Edwards' former law partner and close friend from law school, David Kirby, is an attorney.

Employees at the firm have given almost $27,000 to the Edwards campaign in the 2008 election cycle, according to federal campaign finance reports.

Prominent civil rights lawyer Adam Stein, who has supported Edwards since his first run for the U.S. Senate in 1998, is also supporting Obama.

"I was loyal to John. I was happy to be an enthusiastic supporter of his, but since he was gone, I'm freed up from those loyalties," Stein says. "I have been involved in lots of campaigns and [Obama] is the most inspiring candidate I can remember."

Edwards dropped out of the race Jan. 30 after a two-year campaign for the White House. He was unable to match money or votes with his two high-profile opponents, Obama and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

However, Edwards outpaced his competition in North Carolina. Edwards raised $2.2 million in his home state through the end of 2007—about triple the coffers of Clinton or Obama. More than half of that came from Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, according to campaign finance reports.

Those donors seem to be shifting allegiances to Obama en masse, as well as tapping their networks to solicit contributions for him.

"All the people that I called were people in my former life that I called for Edwards and they are saying yes," Stein says.

Obama is also courting Edwards' endorsement. He visited the former senator at his Chapel Hill home Feb. 17. (emphasis added)

The Raleigh lunch has drawn a lot of interest, Toben says. "We have commitments from about 20 people and I think we'll end up without about 50," Toben says. "I think there are a few of us that will raise anywhere between $250,000 to $500,000."

Chapel Hillians Jim Protzman and his wife Jane Brown, also former Edwards supporters and donors, have offered to host an Obama fundraiser. ...

Here's the rest of the Indy story.

Folks, I go with most everything in the story except: "Obama is also courting Edwards' endorsement."

Obama already has that privately, otherwise John Edwards' closest friends and supporters wouldn't be doing what they're doing.

Obama's visit to Edwards' home - just a few miles and a $5 million tax assessment away from my home - wasn't about "courting" an endorsement. It was about "working out the details."

Obama no doubt wanted to know what Edwards and his people were willing to do for him.

The Indy story provides some of the answer.

Edwards no doubt was looking to the future and a chance to do more "povety fighting."

For sure, he wont't get to do it as a VP candidate this year.

Edwards on the ticket would clash with Obama's "Change" theme.

But I'm sure both men agreed Edwards' future should include another "opportunity to serve."

And I'll bet they both understood before their meeting that MSM news organizations needed a little "visitation choregraphy" to spin.

What do you think?

Duke's Tyson: shameless then and now

A letter today in the Durham Herald Sun includes this about Duke University Professor Tim Tyson:

Tyson's atrocious and inciteful behavior -- in word and deed -- during the lacrosse hoax is what many remember too well. He assisted Mike Nifong in stirring up the community with lies and tall tales, and it was clear that he loved it.
The letter writer has Tyson's number.

Tyson was one the first and loudest of the Duke faculty to condemn the lacrosse players, stir racial animosities, and support the now disbarred Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers as they worked to frame three Duke students.

Tyson's never expressed any regret for what he did. In fact, he continues to speak falsely now as he did in 2006. That's made clear in this excerpt from a Jan. 14, 2008 post - Duke's Tyson Is Still Race Hustling - :

Duke Professor Tim Tyson continues to race hustle.

From today’s Durham Herald Sun:
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. should be remembered as "a black revolutionary" dedicated to a democracy for future generations, not as "a black Santa Claus who wanted to be nice to everybody," an author and historian said at a Sunday service at a historically black Oxford church.

"He gave his life so that the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution would not be just worthless scraps of a paper, which is all they were until the black South redeemed them and allowed them to speak to the nations for all time," Tim Tyson said. (emphasis added)

Tyson teaches at both Duke University and UNC.[…]
The rest of the H-S story is here.

Professor Tyson was among the first of Duke’s faculty to enthusiastically endorse and enable Crystal Mangum’s and Mike Nifong’s lies. Few faculty members were more reckless and wrong in their public statements.

Here, for example, are excerpts from Tyson’s Apr. 2, 2006 Raleigh News & Observer op-ed:
[...]Rape is one of the deepest and most vicious ways that human beings deny their common humanity. Racism is another.

These crimes are intertwined deeply in our history, and that history came off its leash once more on Buchanan Boulevard on March 13, as a few Duke students did great harm to our community. …

Young white men of privilege deployed their unearned affluence to hire black women to provide live pornography. This is only partly a free market, where people choose to buy and sell themselves. It is also a slave market, where an enduring racial caste system placed those women in a vulnerable position. …

The spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house on Buchanan Boulevard, regardless of the truth of the most serious charges. The ghastly spectacle takes its place in a history where African- American men were burned at the stake for "reckless eyeballing" -- that is, looking at a white woman -- and white men kept black concubines and mistresses and raped black women at will.[...]
The spirit of the lynch mob didn’t live in that house on Buchanan Boulevard.

In Spring 2006 the spirit of the lynch mob lived in the minds and words of Professor Tyson and people like him. Unfortunately, we have no reason to doubt it's still with them today.



Tyson was shameless in 2006; he's shameless now.

Hat tip: Anon commenter for alert on H-S letter

Pick the Duke Prof

Let’s play another round of Pick the Prof

On March 29, 2006 Duke’s president Richard Brodhead, issued a full, written and unqualified apology to the woman the public then knew only as “the first 911 caller,” but whom Durham Police had known since the night of the lacrosse party was Kim Roberts, the other “exotic dancer” at the party.

That same day “community activists,” in collaboration with some at Duke, circulated the notorious “Vigilante” poster which targeted the white male lacrosse players who rightfully feared for their safety.

Also on March 29 two letters appeared on campus. One was written by the holder of an endowed faculty chair; the other by a Trinity ‘08 undergraduate.

Can you pick which of the two items below was written by the Duke prof?

Item 1 is an excerpt from a letter distributed on campus as an open letter. Item 2 appears here as it was published in The Chronicle.

Item 1 -----

[Where] is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again? And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys?

Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives. There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.
Item 2 ----
I am appalled at the Durham community and the Duke community's response to the rape allegations.

I thought that we lived in a society where suspects are innocent until proven guilty? That is clearly not the case. No one has been convicted of a crime, yet already we are having candlelight vigils and banging pots and pans.

My question to the community is this:

Are you going to go up to each member of the lacrosse team and apologize if it is proven that these allegations are totally unfounded?

I think that everyone needs take a step back and ask him- or herself, if you were the one being accused of rape, would you want to be treated like a criminal-even if you hadn't done anything wrong?

Yesterday I heard one student say to another that "this is an alleged rape." The other replied, "Oh, I know it happened."

This is exactly the type of attitude that perpetuates the idea that it no longer matters what you are convicted of-it matters what you are accused of. Similarly, no one knows all the facts; there are rumors circulating, some of which are surely untrue.

As students, we need to just let the authorities, the criminal justice system and ultimately a jury of our peers decide guilt and innocence.

A black female student today said that if this had been a black male and a white female it would have been "guilty until proven innocent." If you believe that is unfair, why would you sit around and do the exact same thing to the lacrosse players?

I won't sit here and pretend to think that the lacrosse team is entirely a stand-up bunch of guys, but I'm also not ready to burn them at the stake.

And I don't think anyone else should be, either.
You all picked the prof, didn’t you? Item 1.

Sure, it was Houston Baker, who was subsequently recruited away from Duke by Vanderbilt University.

And do you know what?

President Brodhead and the trustees didn’t have the decency to adopt a resolution thanking Vandy.

The Chronicle letter was written by Ned Samuelson.

At a time when many were as hateful and mendacious as Houston Baker, Ned Samuelson kept his head. He remembered the values and principles which should guide Americans in circumstances such as those occurring on March 29, 2006. And he reminded the rest of us.

Thank you, Ned Samuelson.

Obama: Taking a closer look

This morning at The Right Side of the Rainbow we read - - -

This “conversation” is over.

He didn’t just win the state by fifteen points, which qualifies as a landslide. He ate into Hillary’s base.

Even before tonight, the two were in a statistical dead heat in Texas.

Question: How does Mama recover from this? Answer: She doesn’t.


Can we scrutinize Obama’s rhetoric now? Yes, we can:

A favorite Obama line is that he will tell “the American people not just what they want to hear, but what we need to know.” Well, he hasn’t so far.

Consider the retiring baby boomers. A truth-telling Obama might say: “Spending for retirees — mainly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — is already nearly half the federal budget. Unless we curb these rising costs, we will crush our children with higher taxes. Reflecting longer life expectancies, we should gradually raise the eligibility ages for these programs and trim benefits for wealthier retirees. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for inaction. Waiting longer will only worsen the problem.”

Instead, Obama pledges not to raise the retirement age and to “protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries.” This isn’t “change”; it’s sanctification of the status quo. He would also exempt all retirees making less than $50,000 annually from income tax. By his math, that would provide average tax relief of $1,400 to 7 million retirees — shifting more of the tax burden onto younger workers. (Emphasis added.)

Folks, it's never over 'til it's over, so if someone wants to say Hillary still has a chance at the nomination - sure. But her chance is very, very slim.

As I take a closer look at Obama, including reading posts such as the one above, what strikes me is this: When you get past the personal charm and glowing rhetoric, what you find is a Mike Dukakis/Ted Kennedy liberal.

I don't see any "new policy" Obama is offering. On the domestic side, everything "new" so far amounts to more entitlements for more people.

On foreign policy, what's new there? He's promised to pull our troops out of Iraq. He says we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. He'll meet with our enemies.

Sure, but Howard Dean, Al Sharpton and many others promised that four years ago.

I'm not one of those who asks of Obama: "Where's the beef?"

I see plenty of Obama's "beef;" and it's all aged.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 19, 2008

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

On January 30, 1946, Churchill was in Miami where historian Martin Gilbert says:

(Churchill) had a long talk with Emery Reves, who before the war had insured the wide circulation of his articles throughout Europe, about the publishing aspect of his war memoirs.

"I have not forgotten what you have done for me before the war" Churchill told Reves, "and I shall want you to handle it"

Over the next decade, and more, Reves made sure that the memoirs obtained the widest possible circulation, translation and financial benefit.
Shortly after Churchill began work on his memoirs, tension developed between the two as Reves made numerous criticisms of Churchill's drafts.

Churchill, you'll recall, often said that while he liked to learn, he didn't like being taught.

But the two men were able to work through their differences. Reves was even able to persuade Churchill to change the title he'd selected for the first volume of his multi-volume WWII memoirs. Thus, The Downward Path became The Gathering Storm.
Reader's Note: Some will reasonably wonder whether Churchill actually said
"have done for me before the war" instead of "did for me before the war."

The Churchill quote, along with the rest of Martin Gilbert's text quoted here, appears on page 864 of his Churchill: A Life.

Questioning Duke’s “healthy lifestyle” sex show

It promotes a “healthy lifestyle.”

At least that’s what Larry Moneta, Duke University’s Vice President for Student Affairs, claimed after the Brodhead administration gave the green light to Duke’s sponsorship of the Sex Workers’ Art Show.

Moneta didn't say how shoving dollar bills and sparklers through your anus and into your rectum and standing with other Dukies and shouting, “I take it up the butt,” promotes healthy living.

Perhaps Moneta said nothing because he knows President Brodhead is planning to explain everything to us in his next “Dear Duke Alumni, Parents and Friends” letter.

Whatever the case, The Chronicle today published a column by Martha Brucato, a Duke student who helped the Women's Studies Department, the Women's Center and others organize the sex show.

Brucato’s column has already drawn many comments on the thread, including this one:


posted 2/19/08 @ 11:39 AM EST

I might ask what percent of sex workers have communicable diseases, some of which (HIV, Hep B,C) are life-threatening.

What percent of sex workers have drug or alcohol addiction? What percent of sex workers have some form of serious mental illness? What percent of sex workers have a serious criminal record?

I hardly think this segment of society needs my encouragement (and tuition dollars) to pursue its "art".

Rather, screening for communicable disease, substance abuse, and psychiatric disorders among these folks would seem to be a more appropriate and beneficial use of University funds, for all concerned.

Sometimes I wonder if these GLBT/Sex Week events are really recruitment tools for the alternative life style.
As I often point out, how a person self-IDs on the Net is not a sure guide to who or what the person is.

So I have no reason to say heartsurgeon is, in fact, a heart surgeon.

But what we can all be sure of is this: heartsurgeon asks questions and raises concerns any responsible physician would put before us.

Now why didn’t Moneta speak to those questions and concerns?

Why has President Brodhead said nothing in response to those questions and concerns?

Is Brodhead really waiting to discuss them in a letter?

I don’t think so. Brodhead wants to duck them and other important questions and concerns regarding Duke's sponsorship of the sex show.

Brodhead's been able to duck them because The Chronicle's editors have gone along with him by agreeing to ask him nothing about the sex show and saying nothing editorially about his silence concerning it.

Do any of you disagree?

W&M newspaper: Nichol’s removal “was right”

The College of William & Mary’s student newspaper, The Flat Hat, has explained why it supports the Board of Visitors’ decision not to renew Gene Nichol’s contract as president of the college.

If all you’ve heard has been about “Gene’s commitment to free speech” and “an imperious and secrative Board of Visitors,” you’ll be surprised by what you’re about to read [excerpts]:

… Painful as it is, the Board of Visitors was right not to renew College President Gene Nichol’s contract.

Months of discussion, independent research and outside input have proved one thing: Nichol’s executive failures and a pattern of mismanagement clearly indicate that he is no longer qualified for the job. Now comes the time for reconciliation — for moving on.

Two and a half years ago, Nichol swept onto campus with a presence almost too large to be allowed. His eloquence enraptured. His passion inspired. Without him, programs like the Gateway Initiative might still be a pleasant idea in search of funding, but today dozens of students have been granted an incredible opportunity to attend the College.

Just four months ago, we were calling for Nichol’s renewal.

But our opinion on Nichol evolved as we studied his presidency, with recent editorials expressing deep skepticism.

His relationships with donors soured and serious ethical questions arose concerning whether he knowingly misrepresented fundraising figures. Controversy made Nichol himself the issue, and this has impeded his ability to lead effectively.

His decision to remove the Wren cross without prior consultation represented the most high-profile action in what became a pattern of unilateral policy-making. This pattern included decisions such as implementing multi-million dollar, though admittedly worthy, programs like the Gateway Initiative without consulting the governing board or securing consistent funding sources.

While we understand those who overlooked Nichol’s administrative missteps and admired him for his passion and energy, it is in the management of the College, its finances and its image that he was charged to lead, and it is in these areas that he failed.

The BOV resisted the temptation of an indefensible knee-jerk reaction, and instead deliberated for four ponderous months. The BOV reached out, seeking input via e-mail from those wishing to contribute to the debate.

What’s more, the BOV hired an independent consulting firm to assess the situation. That firm reached the same conclusion: As an executive, Nichol had performed poorly. A unanimous consensus from the board sealed his fate.

The investigation was fair and its assessments were accurate. We may never know the extent to which ideological concerns were a factor in the decision not to renew Nichol, but it is clear that his administrative failures alone warrant the BOV’s decision.

We hope those disillusioned with the outcome will, in time, come to agree.

The current vilification of the BOV is disheartening, but anticipated. Many of the attacks on the members’ characters and their decision are unfair. Most BOV members are Democrats, and all were either appointed or reappointed by Democratic governors. Many give considerable sums to liberal candidates’ campaigns.

Despite what protesters have not-so-subtly intimated, the group is in no way a conservative cabal. Ideology, it appears, was not the driving factor. …

The College will move on. We must remember that Nichol’s presidency represents just three out of 315 years of this institution’s history. A university that has survived the Civil War and Great Depression can likely endure this period of turmoil.

We must come together and trust Interim President Taylor Reveley to steady the ship. United support from students, faculty and alumni will help bring the College through this troubled time.
The comments on the editorial’s thread are well worth reading. Here’s one of them:
This is an excellently balanced view of the Nichol tenure. As a former journalism professor (at a place with no fewer controversies (the University of Wisconsin), I would like to say that whoever wrote this editorial is to be greatly commended. This is the best student editorial I have ever read in 40 years of reading such. I hope you (singular or plural) stay in the writing business.

If Gene Nichol had been as judicious in his judgments as you are in yours, he would still be president and the College of William and Mary would be in a much better circumstance than it is today. Keep up your voice of reason, the world needs you.
I posted previously Gene Nichol & the Bias Reporting Incident System. It concerns Nichol’s attempt, with strong support from leftist professors, to force a speech code on W&M.

I also posted Duke's Sex Show: William & Mary just said "No." It includes a link to the Raleigh News & Observer’s "rah-rah Gene" reporting on Nichol’s decision to immediately resign as president when he learned of the BOV’s decision not to renew his contract when it expired this July.

Nichol plans to remain at W&M as a law professor.

I’ll post again in a few days on aspects of this story.

Sowell on leftist academics’ intolerance

Thomas Sowell begins his column today with an appropriate wish for Berkeley:

The Berkeley city council has made national news by telling Marine Corps recruiters that they are unwelcome in that bastion of the academic left.

It is a shame that Berkeley is not on some island in the South Pacific, because then they could be given their independence and left to defend themselves.

As it is, members of our armed forces who put their lives on the line to defend America are also defending people like too many in Berkeley for whom the very word America, and the American flag, bring only sneers. …
Yes, America and the American flag bring sneers to many in Berkeley.

Like Sowell and many of you, I often wish those in Berkeley dissatisfied with America would settle elsewhere.

I deeply resent people in this country who choose to live under the protection of our military and then denigrate it at every opportunity.

We’ve gotten to a point in America where prostitutes and strippers are welcome on many college campuses but our military isn’t.

Sowell reminds us:
All across the country, there are professors who push for keeping military recruiters off campus and for banning ROTC. Apparently if they don't like the military, then other people -- such as students -- should not be allowed to make up their own minds whether they want to join or not.

Liberals in general and academics in particular, like to boast of their open-mindedness and acceptance of non-conformity. But they mean not conforming to the norms of society at large.

They have little or no tolerance to those who do not conform to the norms of academic political correctness. Nowhere else in America is free speech so restricted as on academic campuses with speech codes. …
Sowell’s entire column is here.

Contempt for our military. Contempt for free speech, other than that with which they agree.

For decades the intolerance of America's academic left has been a very serious and growing problem. But it's been made worse in recent years because of the new power given leftists on campuses by the enormous wealth accumulating in many college and univsesity endowments.

Hillary's next to nothing issue tells us something

From the NY Times today:

With the next round of voters set to weigh in on the Democratic presidential race, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign on Monday accused Senator Barack Obama of committing plagiarism in a weekend speech. Mr. Obama dismissed the charge as absurd and desperate.

Mr. Obama told reporters he should have credited Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, a friend, for a passage in a speech he delivered on Saturday in Milwaukee. But Mr. Obama said his rival was “carrying it too far.”

“Let’s see,” Mr. Obama said. “I’ve written two books. I wrote most of my speeches. I would add that I noticed Senator Clinton, on occasion, has used words of mine as well.”

The exchange injected a fresh dose of contention into the bitter fight for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Obama said two of his standard lines — “It’s time to turn the page” and “Fired up and ready to go” — have made their way into Mrs. Clinton’s remarks in recent weeks. ...

The entire Times story is here.

Obama's right on this one. Hillary's raising what at best is a next to nothing issue.

Recall the other day I posted on Stuart Rothenberg's observation that to win the nomination, Clinton had to " change the narrative" of Obama's growing strength and her saging support.

I said Clinton couldn't "change the narrative" before the Texas and Ohio March 4 primaries unless she succeeded at the politics of personal destruction, in which case the Dem nomination wouldn't be worth much because Obama's supporters would be embittered and the party divided.

Obama's liberalism. His far left position of the war. His thin record of public service.

Clinton can't effectively use them to "change the narrative."

Those issues will hurt Obama in the general election, but they're not going to hurt him with Democratic primary voters.

Today's "plagiarism" story tells us Clinton and her team have yet to find a major issue that can "change the narrative" before the Texas and Ohio primaries.

Time's running out. Those primaries are just two weeks away.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 18, 2008

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

In late summer, 1940, with intelligence reports warning of intensified German bombing raids, Churchill examined and advised on every aspect of Britain's preperations for the attacks.

Here's a minute he sent on August 30 to the heads of "all Departments concerned:"

We must expect that many windows will be broken in the bombing raids, and during the winter glass may become scarce, with serious resultant damage to building if not replaced.

The utmost economy is to be practiced in the use of glass. Where windows are broken, they should , if possible, be boarded up, except for one or two panes. We cannot afford the full-sized windows in glass. All glass not needed for hothouses should be stored if the hothouses are empty.

I saw at Manston a large hothouse with a great quantity of glass,; enough was broken to it useless, and I directed that the rest should be carefully stored.

What is the condition of glass supply? It would seem necessary to press the manufacturers.

Government buildings should all be fitted with emergency windows, containing only one or two glass panes, which when the existing framework is blown in, can be substituted. Let me have a full report on the position.
Part of Churchill's genius involved his ability to simultaneously attend to broad strategy and small details such as those unbroken window panes in Manston.
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (p. 664)

NY Times' Latest Bow-down to Terrorists

If you’re both a regular New York Times reader and discerning – there really are such people – you know the Old Grey Lady doesn’t just relentlessly bash America. The Times also does whatever else it can to appease Muslim terrorists.

Christopher Hitchens at Slate has the latest [excerpt]:

In Denmark last week, the authorities detained three people in an alleged plot to murder a 72-year-old Dane named Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard is an illustrator who lives peacefully in a university town. Not very long ago, he joined with other cartoonists in an open society in drawing some caricatures of the alleged "prophet" Mohammed.

The object of the satire was to break the largely self-imposed taboo on the criticism of Islam and its various icons. The satire was wildly successful, in that it resulted in hysterical Muslims making public idols out of images they had proclaimed to be unshowable lest they became idols. Much nasty violence and intimidation accompanied this stupidity.

Anyway, last week, almost every Danish newspaper made a deliberate decision to reprint the offending cartoons. Perhaps, if you live in most of the countries where this column of mine is syndicated or reprinted, you wonder what all the fuss can have been about.

Certainly, if you live in the United States or Britain, you will be wondering still.

This is because your newspapers [,including the NY Times,] have decided for you ... that you must be shielded from the unpalatable truth. Or can it really be that?

We live in the defining age of the image and the picture; how can it be that the whole point of an entirely visual story can be deliberately left out? (To see the original cartoons, by the way, click here.)

I have a feeling that the decision to protect you from the images was determined this time by something as vulgar as fear.

The cowardice of the mainstream American culture was something to see the first time around. The only magazines that bucked the self-censorship trend, or the capitulation to undisguised terror, were the conservative Weekly Standard and the atheist Free Inquiry—two outlets (for both of which I have written) with a rather small combined circulation.

Borders thereupon pulled Free Inquiry from its shelves, with the negligible consequence that I will never do a reading or buy a book at any of its sites ever again. (By the way, I urge you to follow suit.)

I think it's pretty safe to say that most Americans never even saw this sellout going on. But that was because their own newspapers were too shamefaced to report a surrender of which they were themselves a part.

In Canada, only two minority papers reprinted the cartoons. The Western Standard, now online only, and the Jewish Free Press were promptly taken before a sort of scrofulous bureaucratic peoples' court describing itself as the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

If you think that's a funny name, try the title of the complainant: the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. Who knows how long such a stupid "hate speech" case might have dragged on or how much public money and time it might have consumed, but last week the Islamic supremes decided to drop it.

"I understand that most Canadians see this as an issue of freedom of speech," said Syed Soharwardy of the case that he had originated, adding "that principle is sacred and holy in our society." Soharwardy went on to say, rather condescendingly perhaps, that: "I believe Canadian society is mature enough not to absorb the messages that the cartoons sent. Only a very small fraction of Canadian media decided to publish those cartoons."

Without the word not and without the sinister idea that Soharwardy's permission is required for anything, that first sentence would have been a perfectly good if banal statement.

But with the addition of his remark about the "small fraction" and the concomitant satisfaction about the general reticence, we have no choice but to conclude that Soharwardy is satisfied on the whole with the level of frightened deference to be found north of the U.S. border.

I mention this only because the level of frightened deference to be found south of that border is still far in excess of what any censor, or even self-censor, might dare to wish.
Hitchens entire column is here.

I understand why so many MSM news organizations inlcuding the NY Times, Washington Post and my local liberal/leftist paper, the Raleigh News & Observer, bow down to the Muslim terrorists.

What I don't understand is why more Americans aren't saying: "Enough! We must find new sources of news."

N&O Publisher's response to Nifong anon source questions

Many of you know I recently sent Raleigh News & Observer Publisher Orage Quarles III the following email. You'll find his response just below it as well as a few comments of mine.


Dear Mr. Quarles:

This links to a post which includes the following email:

Dear Mr. Quarles:

I’m an N&O subscriber and blog as John in Carolina.

For many months I’ve been posting concerning claims by Ruth Sheehan that then DA Mike Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27, 2006 column “Team’s silence is sickening.” For example, in Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1) 7/29/07 and Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 2) 8/1/08.

I’ve inquired of reporters and editors about that and other uses the N&O may have made of Nifong as an anonymous source for your Duke lacrosse coverage.No reporter or editor would speak about the matter until recently when, in response to the email in this post - What's really hurting the N&O , Ted Vaden he sent me the email you’ll find in this post: N&O editor's response re: Nifong an anonymous source.

You'll see Vaden’s email avoided my questions and contains statements which are prima facie false.

On Feb. 6 I sent Vaden another email and a link to this post: Is the N&O public editor's job about the truth?

I once again laid out all the material relating to the N&O’s use of Nifong as an anonymous source and asked again the questions I’ve been asking for many months.I ended my email, which I also posted for JinC readers, with this:

Given all of the foregoing, Editor Vaden, it's difficult to see how a reasonably responsible public editor would claim Sheehan is saying anything other than Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27 column; or that she is saying anything other than Nifong's source information was passed to her by journalist(s) she reached by phone at the N&O.

I hope you will now give me and all other N&O readers full and frank answers to the questions I've been asking about the N&O's use of Nifong as an anonymous source in March 2006.

Isn't that the kind of service a public editor is supposed to provide readers?

If you can't provide that service, please direct me to someone at the N&O or the McClatchy Company who can?

I'll publish your response in full at my blog.

Thank you for your attention to this document.

Sincerely,John in Carolina
I’ve not heard anything back from Vaden.

I ask that you review the documentation and questions in my post and then direct me to the person at the N&O or in the McClatchy Company who can provide full and frank answers to what Ruth Sheehan has said and the questions I’ve asked.

I’m sorry to impose on you, but I’ve tried every other way to get responses from the N&O which should have been given to readers long ago.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

I’ll publish your response in full at my blog.


John in Carolina


Mr. Quarles has responded as follows:
Dear John in Carolina.

We do not provide anonymous source information.


Orage Quarles III

Folks, that's an interesting answer from a publisher who's been given documentation and citations of extensive statements one of his news columnists made to a book author who put the columnist's statements in quotation marks; the statements having to do with other N&O staffer(s) passing to Sheehan information from Nifong which Sheehan says convinced her to cancel the column she'd already prepared and instead write a column based on Nifong's source material but maintaining his anonymity.

It's also interesting that Quarles said nothing about document copies and citations I provided him which reveal the N&O's public editor made statements to a reader and blogger which are prima facie false.

I plan to respond to Quarles in a day or so.

You thoughts are welcome.

Historian: Carter's "our worst President"

Ari Kaufman is a military historian for the Indiana War Memorials Commission and an Associate Fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research.

At American Thinker this President's Day, Kaufman argues Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) ranks as our worst President:

Few would deny Mr. Carter's place in infamy. I will confine myself to his actual time in office, although Jimmy Carter arguably has actually been as detrimental to freedom, democracy and the American ideal as during his catastrophic tenure.

Many historians rank him around the mid 20s, some liberal publications place him even in the top 20, and some conservatives in the low 30s. But these are 1980s and 90s ratings. It no doubt takes two post-presidential decades for more complete observations, as we saw with President Reagan, and will likely see with President Bush, depending upon the successor.

One absurd decision, considered "controversial" by even his ardent supporters, was the final negotiation and signature of the "Panama Canal Treaties" in September 1977. Those treaties, which essentially would transfer control of the American-built Panama Canal to the nation of Panama, were bitterly opposed by a majority of the American public.

The treaties transferred a great strategic American asset - one that nearly 30,000 men died while constructing it over a decade -- to a corrupt third-world military dictatorship. Mr. Carter could not care less.

America's worst president also terminated the Russian wheat deal, which was intended to establish trade with USSR and lessen Cold War tensions. Even as a former farmer, Carter didn't value the grain exports, which would have been beneficial to many people employed in agriculture. This embargo marked the beginning of terrible hardship for American farmers.

If all that were not tragic enough, the main conflict between human rights and U.S. interests came in Carter's dealings with the Shah of Iran. Though Carter's presidency was marked by several major crises, the final year of his term arguably was his worst. It was dominated by the Iran Hostage Crisis, during which the United States struggled to rescue diplomats and American citizens held hostage in Tehran, paving the way for the rise of Radical Islam now threatening the free world.

The Shah had been a strong ally of America since World War II. He was also friendly to the Jews of Israel, an idea subsequently non-existent in Iran for more than three decades now. Al Qaeda and the Taliban did not exist and Radical Islam lacked a major state sponsor. Shah Reza Pahlavi was one of the "twin pillars" upon which U.S. strategic policy in the Middle East was built.

When the Iranian Revolution broke out, the Shah was overthrown, and the U.S. did not intervene. The Shah, in permanent exile, was refused entry to the United States by the Carter administration, even on grounds of medical emergency. Nearly a year later, Washington relented and admitted the Shah into the U.S. Gaining strength and confidence, Iranian militants seized the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage.

The Shah died a few months later in Egypt, but the hostage crisis continued, dominating the last year of Carter's presidency and putting his misguided policies on display for the world to see, embarrassing America in the process. Carter's response was to do nothing at first. He simply stayed inside the White House.

Then he attempted a rescue he closely managed, which failed. (Contrast this to President Bush after 9-11, though he was still criticized in the press). The redeeming factor in this telling ordeal was Carter's crushing defeat by Ronald Reagan in the presidential election.

The hostages were released on January 20, 1981 moments after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the USA. Carter's greatest achievement was leaving office.
IMO Kaufman goes easy on Carter. Nothing he says is as scathing as Sen. Ted Kennedy's basic stump speech in 1980 when Kennedy fought to wrest the Democratic presidential nomination from Carter.

Kaufman could have mentioned Carter's inability to tackle and reduce the double digit inflation and unemployment which marked his term.

Or that Carter decided one way to help America was to fire all at once about half the cabinet members he'd selected just a few years before.

Do you remember all the talk at the time about how Americans were just going to have to learn to accept a secondary role for our economy behind that of Japan's?

How about barring our athletes from competing in the Olympics? Carter was convinced the people that would hurt were the Soviet rulers.

In 1984 when President Reagan won reelection carrying 49 states, a friend said,"I liked Reagan's victory speech, except he forgot to thank Carter."

Kaufman ranks two other Presidents just above Carter as our worst. One of them will surprise most of you.

Be sure to take a look at Kaufman's article, America's Three Worst Presidents.

Hat tip: Mike Williams