Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama’s making things worse for himself

Here are the remarks that have gotten lots of people thinking “ Maybe Rev. Wright isn’t the only problem” and others asking, “Does Obama really know about folks like us”:

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.”

“And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Now Reuters is reporting Sen. Obama's clarification:
…Obama said he did not use the right language to describe the anger and frustration small-town residents feel about the struggling economy and the failure of government to help them.

"I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter," Obama said in Muncie, Indiana.

"So I said well you know when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community," he said.

"Now, I didn't say it as well as I should have."
I think he's just stepping deeper into it.

What do you think?

Here’s a link to a vdeo at the Huffington Post in which Obama makes his “they get bitter” remarks.

Here's the entire Reuters report.

More N&O Duke Hoax coverup

JinC Regulars know I often post concerning the efforts of the Raleigh News & Observer and its enablers to coverup the N&O’s leading role in launching the Duke witch hunt and sustaining the attempted frame-up of three innocent Duke students for gang-rape and other felonies.

I just found another example of the N&O’s coverup.

It’s in of all places the N&O’s Apr. 12, 2007 story, Duke lacrosse players 'innocent', reporting AG Cooper’s finding there never was any credible evidence for what the N&O told readers on Mar. 25, 2006 was a night which ended in “sexual violence.”

Under reporter Anne Blythe’s byline and with reporters Michael Biesecker, Joseph Neff, Benjamin Niolet, Matthew Eisley, Matt Dees, Samiha Khanna, Jim Wise, Eric Ferreri and Stanley B. Chambers Jr listed as contributors, we come to the story’s sixteenth paragraph which reads:

The case unleashed cascades of anger -- initially at the lacrosse team, then at the accuser and later at Nifong, who sparked protests and marches with his insistence that a racially motivated gang-rape occurred. (emphasis added)
As Blythe and the other reporters and their editors knew full well, the protests and marches began before Nifong ever began speaking publicly about the case on Mar. 27.

The “cascades of anger” were a response principally to the racially inflammatory, deliberately fraudulent N&O story of Mar. 25 which the N&O said was about a night during which a young black mother was a victim of “sexual violence” but also to other grossly biased N&O coverage casting the accuser as the victim of brutish, racist, white Duke lacrosse players.

The first vigil outside the house where the N&O told readers the “sexual violence” had occurred was held the evening of Mar. 25.

The following morning the pot-bangers - including some Duke faculty - held their rally under CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners. The hate-filled crowd shouted threats.

On the morning of Mar. 27, before Nifong had made his first public statements about the case, there was a hate-filled speak-out on Duke’s campus and the Vigilante poster was in preparation.

Folks, don’t let N&O reporters and editors fool you. Nifong, at least publicly, followed where the N&O had led.

Now, if N&O reporters and editors say something like – “Well, you see, it really was all Nifong’s fault because we were using him and some people he was directing as anonymous sources for our Mar. 24, 25, 26 and 27 Hoax coverage; and darn if they didn’t mislead us and we want to tell you all about that.” - I’ll be all ears.

I bet you’ll be, too.

N&O still stonewalls on Mar. 25 frame story

While researching for future posts I read at the Raleigh N&O’s Editors’ Blog a post by now senior editor Linda Williams titled "March 25 interview"

Williams posted on Oct. 5, 2006. She attempted to explain decisions the N&O made concerning its now discredited, deliberately fraudulent March 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
As you’ll see if you go to the post thread, readers immediately challenged Williams. They pointed out facts she’d misstated and inconsistencies between what she claimed were N&O journalistic practices and what the paper actually did.

Williams did not respond.

Instead, the then executive editor for news Melanie Sill began commenting.

While criticizing readers for their anonymity and praising the N&O for its Duke lacrosse coverage, Sill failed to provide data refuting the many reasoned, fact-based commenters who’d challenged Williams.

As an example of what I’m talking about and because it’s very relevant to today, I want to publish here a comment I made on the thread and then below the star line add some further comments.

Comment from: John [Visitor] •
10/16/06 at 16:01

Dear Melanie,

I've 10 questions for you:

At 10/06/06 at 15:40 above you say:

“We got the woman identified as the victim and interviewed her. As Linda notes, it wasn't an extensive or extensively planned interview -- it was boots on the street hustle to track down the key players.”

1) In the Durham community with 250,000 people, “boots on the street” didn’t lead you to the accuser.

Someone who knew who she was and where she was led you to her either directly or with address information. Most likely the person(s) was someone who could reach the accuser quickly and “arrange” for the interview. Who was that person(s)?

2) What was that person’s motive for leading your reporter to the accuser?

3) Was that person a member of either the Durham Police Department (I include as a member of the DPD Cpl. David Addison who, while assigned full-time to CrimeStoppers, is a sworn DPD officer) or the Durham District Attorney’s office, including DA Nifong?

4) Was the interview audio taped, which is common practice with an interview of such critical importance, especially as what was said could be relevant to a then ongoing police investigation and possible subsequent indictments and trials?

5) If the interview was audio taped, what can you tell us about the custody and condition of the tape; and whether there is anything about the technical nature of the tape that would prevent you from releasing it to the public with only the accuser and her family’s IDs removed?

6) If the interview was not audio taped, why not?

7) You say you didn’t publish those parts of the interview that concerned remarks made by the accuser about the second dancer, Kim Roberts, because the remarks were unsubstantiated.

But as many readers on this thread have demonstrated, you published a great number of unsubstantiated statements you say the accuser made about the lacrosse players.

Whose interests are you serving by refusing to inform the public of the parts of the interview you suppressed on Mar. 25?

8) On what day did the N&O first learn of the extensive, voluntary cooperation the three Duke lacrosse captains provided police on Mar. 16, including signed statements, going to DUMC for “rape kit” testing, helping police ID and locate others who were at the party, etc?

9) On what day and in what detail did the N&O report to readers the cooperation the captains provided the police and the fact that the court order for 46 lacrosse players to submit to DNA testing and “mug photos” could have been appealed, but that not a single one of the 46 exercised his right of appeal (not even the ones who weren’t in Durham the night of the party)?

10) What’s your definition of news suppression?

Yes, Melanie, some of the questions are repeats I first asked months ago. It's time you answered them.





Editor Sill never responded.

Eighteen months after I posted that comment and more than two years after I and many others began asking those question, they remain unanswered by anyone speaking for the N&O on the record.

With regard to Question 7 - “Whose interests are you serving by refusing to inform the public of the parts of the interview you suppressed on Mar. 25?” – I want to say the following:

On April 12, 2007, the day after AG Roy Cooper declared the three wrongly indicted young men innocent, the N&O ran a story, Contradictions tore case apart, reporting, among other things, statements it said the accuser made in her Mar. 24, 2006 interview with N&O reporter Samiha Khanna. The Apr. 12 story under Khanna’s byline and with Joe Neff listed as a contributor included this:
…She did not give details but maintained that she had been raped. Mangum said that although she did not witness it, she thought the second dancer was sexually assaulted but didn't come forward because she would lose her job as an escort.

"I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money," Mangum said of the second dancer, Kim Roberts. …
The N&O withheld that critically important news, exculpatory for the players, from its Mar. 25, 2006 framing story about an “ordeal” which ended in “sexual violence.”

In it’s April 12, 2007 finally reporting that news, the N&O offered no reason for why it had withheld it for thirteen months. In fact, the Khanna/Neff story makes no mention that Mangum's statements were withheld from its Mar. 25 story and that N&O readers were reading about them for the first time. (That's slick, yes; disgusting, too)

Why did the N&O withhold for thirteen months such important news? Whose interests did that serve?

Why did the N&O only disclose what Mangum had said the day after the players had been declared innocent? Whose interests did that serve?

Why hasn’t the N&O answered any of the questions I asked Melanie Sill on the March 25 interview post thread? Whose interests does it serve for the N&O to keep silent on those questions.

And, finally, why do some people keep saying the N&O’s Duke Hoax coverage has been wonderful except for a few days in March 2006?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 11, 2006

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

In early September, 1940 Britain’s situation was desperate. The air battle then raging in the skies over southern England had pushed RAF Fighter Command close to a break point. Invasions fears were at their height. Intelligence reports were beginning to warn of an impending German bomber assault on civilian population centers. Food stocks and war supplies were running low in the island nation as Nazi U-boats dominated the Battle of the Atlantic.

On Sept. 13 Churchill dictated a minute to the War Secretary, Anthony Eden. Excerpts:

If, owing to lack of equipment and other facilities, it is necessary to limit the numbers of the active Home Guard, would it not be possible to recruit a Home Guard Reserve, members of which would, for the time being, be provided with no weapons and no uniform other than arm bands?

Their only duties would be to attend such courses of instruction as could be organized locally in the use of simple weapons like the “Molotov cocktail.” And to report for orders in the event of invasion.

Unless some such step is taken, those who are refused enlistment will be bewildered and disappointed, and one of the primary objects of the Home Guard, which was to provide for the people as a whole an opportunity of helping to defend their homes, will be lost.

I am anxious to avoid the disappointment and frustration which the stoppage of recruiting for the Home Guard is likely to cause to many people.

Please let me know what you think of this proposal.
The minute makes clear two things:

1) Churchill had no doubt the British people were determined to fight off an invasion with whatever weapons were at hand, even homemade ones.

2) The people needed a government that would lead them in that effort.

And that Churchill did.

In 1940 the British people and their Prime Minister were a perfect match.
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (pgs. 658-659)

Back when MSM loved the Clintons

Back on Oct. 27, 2007 Rich Noyes at Newsbusters reminded us of the "media’s love affair with Bill and Hillary Clinton."

Noyes bagan - - -

For 15 years, liberal reporters have made themselves looked like the sycophants they are, as they made excuse after excuse for the Clintons’ moral failings even as they applauded the couple’s supposed greatness. But perhaps no one looked sillier than Dan Rather on May 15, 2001, when the then-CBS News anchor was asked on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor if he thought Bill Clinton was honest

Video (0:41): Windows (1.26 MB), plus MP3 audio (163 kB).

BILL O’REILLY: “I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?”

DAN RATHER: “Yes, I think he’s an honest man....I do.”

O’REILLY: “Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?”

RATHER: “Who among us has not lied about something?...I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”

I’ll let you decide whether Rather was more or less adoring than former Time magazine reporter Nina Burleigh, who made this suggestion in July 1998 during the Lewinsky scandal:
“I would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”
Some of the other quotes that show the media’s affection for Bill and Hillary:
“I must say I was struck by the expanse of their chests, though. They may have to put out their stats.”

— Newsweek reporter Eleanor Clift on the new Democratic ticket of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, CNN’s Inside Politics, July 9, 1992.

“If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we’d take it right now and walk away winners....Tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we’re pulling for her.”

— Dan Rather to Bill Clinton at a May 27, 1993 CBS affiliates meeting, talking about anchoring with Connie Chung.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton will define for women that magical spot where the important work of the world and love and children and an inner life all come together. Like Ginger Rogers, she will do everything her partner does, only backward and in high heels, and with what was missing in [Lee] Atwater — a lot of heart.”

— Time correspondent Margaret Carlson, May 10, 1993.

“She’s ecumenical but prefers Italian and Mexican. The President fixes her eggs with jalapeno peppers on the weekends....Valentine’s Day at the Red Sage restaurant. Even at a romantic outing, the President can be the date from hell, talking to everyone but the girl he brung....Finally alone, they have ‘painted soup’ and the lamb baked in herbed bread. They exchange gifts and touch each other more in two hours than the Bushes did in four years.”

— Time reporter Margaret Carlson, June 1993 Vanity Fair.

“His sturdy jaw precedes him. He smiles from sea to shining sea. Is this President a candidate for Mt. Rushmore or what?...A single medley of expressions from Clinton may be worth much more, to much of America, than every ugly accusation Paula Jones can muster.”

— Los Angeles Times television writer Howard Rosenberg reviewing Clinton’s Inaugural Address, January 22, 1997.

“There is a simple alchemy to their relationship: she’s goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with her. ‘They don’t kiss. They devour each other,’ says one aide. He needs her — for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual sustenance....They see themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a mission to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a historical context for what she’s going through. ‘There’s a lot of consolation, guidance and refueling that comes from reading about centuries-old calamities,’ says a friend. Given the storm they’re in, it’s a source of inspiration they’ll need.”

— Matthew Cooper and Karen Breslau writing in the February 9, 1998 Newsweek.

“I’m endlessly fascinated by her [Hillary Clinton]....She’s so smart. Virtually every time I’ve seen her perform, she has knocked my socks off.”

— CBS’s Lesley Stahl, as quoted by Gail Shister in the December 8, 1999 Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rich Noyes and the folks at Media Research Center do great work exposing the liberal bias and let's face it - passion - at our major news organizations.

H-S’s Ashley: “there was no case at all”

On this first anniversary of NC attorney general Roy Cooper’s findings David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were innocent and there never was any credible evidence for their indictments, we read in Editor & Publisher :

Executive Editor Bob Ashley of the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun, which has been criticized by some for its coverage of the Duke University lacrosse case, said the newspaper should have realized sooner the charges were false.

Two reports on Ashley's speech at the University of Kentucky on Wednesday quoted the editor as admitting his paper was late in determining the case had no merit.

"We were, honestly, too slow to recognize that there was no case at all," Ashley said during the speech, according to the Rural Blog, a media-related Web site. "Hindsight is a wonderful thing. In hindsight, should we have come to that conclusion sooner? Yes."

The Web site added that Ashley said the media coverage of the case was "a frenzy unequaled by anything I've seen in 37 years of journalism," and claimed his Paxton Media Group newspaper lacked the resources to compete with larger media outlets.

"Ashley said the Herald-Sun's relations with defense attorneys for the students were not good because the players thought the paper relied too much on now-ousted District Attorney Michael Nifong," Rural Blog stated. "He said the paper was not close to the prosecutor, and he did not know him personally, other than having sat next to him at a banquet. He said other news outlets got exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys 'because of better hustle or better connections.'"

The editor has spoken about coverage before in North Carolina, but "yesterday was Ashley's first time speaking alone in front of a group of people about the lacrosse case," Jill Laster of The Kentucky Kernel, the student newspaper, reported in that outlet's story. "During his speech, he focused on the factors that 'kindled the fire of the Duke lacrosse case,' including race relations and the dynamic between Duke University and the surrounding community of Durham."

"In an interview after his speech, Ashley said the Duke lacrosse case is not the first time he has had to take heat as an editor for his paper's actions," Laster reported, citing an incident when he was at the Owensboro, Ky, Messenger-Inquirer and a staff writer wrote lies about having cancer. "Ashley said criticism of how his newspapers have handled the Duke case and the incident at the Messenger-Inquirer has changed the way he works."
The Rural Blog’s post is here. (E&P’s link to it doesn’t connect.)

Jill Laster’s report in the Kernel is well-organized, clearly written and contains some information not found in the E&P story. I encourage you to take a look at her Kernel report's here.

E&P’s report looks to be an aggregation of the RP and Kernel accounts.

That said, it's notable the RP and Kernel accounts agree Ashley admitted “there was no case at all.”

The admission is, of course, very late but welcome.

Now, should we expect the H-S editorial page to ask some needed and long overdue questioning of Durham mayor Bill Bell, city manager Patrick Baker, deputy police chief Ron Hodge and DPD spokesperson Cpl. David Addison concerning why they talked so much about crimes when they had no evidence of any?

I plan to contact UK Monday to find out whether an audio and/or video are available on the Net or for purchase. I’ve asked before but haven’t heard back. But I’ll keep pressing.

If any of you learn more about this story, please let me know.

Hat tip: Ed in NY

Wright to address NAACP in Detroit

Protein Wisdom posts; I comment below the star line.

PW begins - - -

Just to keep up to date, the noxious Rev. Jeremiah Wright will speak at the Detroit branch of the NAACP 53rd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner. I would have jumped on this one yesterday, but given that NAACP chair Julian Bond has compared the GOP to the Taliban, given an award to someone who called Condoleeza Rice a murderer, and engaged in bizzare conspiracy theories about Hurricane Katrina, it is far more predictable than outrageous (though it is that also).

On a lighter note (because of the honkiness), I learned a little more about the relationship betweeen Wright and Oprah Winfrey. Recently, there had been a report that Oprah had left Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ several years ago, over some of his more militant sermons.

However, in a piece on Oprah’s “spirituality” by Jesse Walker at Reason’s Hit & Run blog, there is a link to a 2002 article from Christianity Today, in which Wright is quoted as saying, “Somebody who makes $100 a week has no problem tithing. But start making $35 million a year, and you’ll want to renegotiate the contract. You don’t want to be a part of ‘organized religion’ at that point.”

Oprah might have more credibility than the guy who thinks the US created the AIDS virus, though one cannot dismiss the possibility that Team Oprah was trying to undo some of the damage she has suffered from hitching her star to the Obamamobile.

Rev. Wright will fit right in at that NAACP function.

It's sad to see what's happened to a once great organization.

The NAACP is no longer a civil rights organization. It proved that when it did nothing but enabled the civil rights violations Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police committed against members of both races.

Hat tip: Instapundit

The Churchill Series - Apr. 10, 2006

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

In June, 1950, the seventy-six year old Winston Churchill was leader of the opposition Conservative Party. He hoped to lead his party back into office at the next general election and become Prime Minister again.

On June 7 a debate began in the Commons that lasted into the early morning of the 8th. It lasted twenty-one hours. Churchill was there for all of them.

Harold Macmillan, Churchill's House colleague, friend and a future Prime Minister, recorded in his diary:

“Conscious that many people feel that he is too old to form a Government and that this will probably be used as a cry against him at the election, he has used these days to give a demonstration of energy and vitality.

He has voted in every division, made a series of brilliant little speeches; shown all his qualities of humour and sarcasm; and crowned all by a remarkable breakfast (at 7.30 a.m.) of eggs, bacon, sausages and coffee, followed by a large whisky and soda and a huge cigar. This latter feat commanded general admiration."
At the next election, Churchill was returned to Downing Street where we can be sure he enjoyed many full English breakfasts, whiskies and cigars.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 894-895)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jackie Mason’s Wright-Obama standup

Comedian Jackie Mason has a fact-based monologue directing questions to the "post-racial" Sen. Barack Obama concerning “the beloved pastor,” Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

“So you listened, but you didn’t hear?”

Most of Mason's questions are tougher than that.

I smiled some, but mostly I wonder why Obama hasn’t already answered Mason’s questions.

If Mason in April can ask questions that leave Obama silent and/or looking disingenuous, can even the anything-for-Obama MSM save him in November?

Take a look at Mason’s tape.

Don’t be put off by the first minute or two of loud advertising.

After that, Mason comes on and you’ll watch and hear comedy that tells the truth.

That’s what I think.

Let me know what you think

John Kennedy’s Houston: nothing like Obama's Philadelphia

On Mar. 18 Sen. Barack Obama’s gave a speech in Philadelphia in response to the growing public awareness of the anti-Americanism and racism of his close friend and pastor of almost twenty years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Before and after the speech, some pundits compared the challenge Obama faced to that Sen. John Kennedy faced during the 1960 presidential campaign when he answered questions before the Greater Houston Ministerial Alliance about his Catholicism and how it would impact his fitness to serve as President.

A few hours after Obama’s speech I posted: Obama’s speech was no Houston. Here are the key grafs:

… John Kennedy knew what he had to do in Houston was answer tough questions.

So he went before a not very friendly audience of mostly Protestant ministers, made a brief speech and then answered their questions about his Catholicism.

Obama had to answer tough and important questions today and he ducked them.

He arranged to deliver a lengthy speech to a very friendly, invited audience and talked around the tough questions. ...
So that you’ll have the clear idea of what I’m talking about and because many of you are history buffs, I want to provide the following:

This link to the text and You Tube video of Obama’s speech.

This link is to the text of Kennedy’s speech, and this one to an audio of it.

This link is to a fairly good quality video of the Q&A which followed Kennedy’s speech.

Kennedy’s speech is about 11 minutes long; the Q&A lasts almost 30 minutes.

At one point in the Q&A (about 12 minutes into it), it seems the video is about to end. Let it play through. It continues.

I found the Q&A riverting.

Kennedy was extraordinarily calm, focused, informed and respectful but firm with his questioners.

Two questions concerned “the four chaplains chapel” and Rev. Poling. He was the father of one of the chaplains, Lt. Clark Poling, who, with the other three, was aboard a troopship, U. S. A. T. Dorchester, torpedoed and sunk off Greenland during WWII.

There were not enough life-jackets for all hands and the chaplains gave theirs to others. The four perished before they could be rescued.

After the war, Rev. Poling, a prominent Philadelphia clergyman, led a campaign to build a chapel as a memorial to the four clerics – two Protestant ministers, one a Rabbi, and one a Catholic priest.

In 1947 Kennedy, serving his first term as a Representative in Congress, was invited to attend a fund-raiser for the chapel. He he first accepted the invitation, but subsequently declined when he learned he would be there as the representative of the Catholic faith.

Rev. Poling always maintained Kennedy declined to attend because the Catholic Cardinal of Philadelphia told him not to attend.

You'll see Kennedy was asked two questions concerning the matter. It could reasonably be thought that the questions were set as an ambush, since the first is a “softball” and the second, later in the Q&A, has a “gotcha” quality.

Watch and listen to how Kennedy responds; and judge for yourselves.

If you scroll below the video screen, you’ll see a transcript of the Q&A.

For more about the four heroic chaplains, visit this site.

I’ll be interested in your responses.

I plan to post again on differences between Kennedy in Houston and Obama in Philadelphia.

What did N&O editor Ford know? When did he know it?

Readers Note: Even those of you with just a “headlines” familiarity with the Duke frame-up attempt will understand the email below to Raleigh News & Observer editorial page editor Steve Ford.


Dear Editor Ford:

I’m a subscriber and blog as John in Carolina.

I read your editorial today regarding General Petraeus’ testimony and the war in Iraq.

How are you able to opine so confidently on such complex matters when you so often bungle simple matters?

Consider your opining on what the N&O said was a young black mother’s “ordeal” which ended in “sexual violence.”

Excerpts from your Mar. 28, 2006 editorial:

DNA testing can help build a case, but it also can clear the innocent. That's a greater good justifying a compromise of the whole group's privacy when lacrosse team members had to report to a crime lab for DNA sampling.

The woman's reporting to the police that she was attacked was an act of courage on her part[.] …

Shutting down the lacrosse program until the cloud of suspicion can be lifted would send the right message.
When the DNA testing came back negative for all 46 Duke students, you said nothing about that “clear[ing] the innocent.”

Instead, you remained one of Mike Nifong’s most important supporters.

The accuser’s story was wildly improbable. That all the white members of the team were ordered to submit to DNA testing 10 days after the alleged “attacks” was an obvious sign she’d not been able to identify any of her alleged “rapists.”

So intelligent, fair-minded people were thinking of a possible false accusation.

How did you determine the accuser reporting “she was attacked was an act of courage?”

Did you know on Mar. 28 the N&O was suppressing news it had reported on June 25, 2002 which contradicted statements the accuser made in an interview with an N&O reporter which the N&O reported on Mar. 25 without noting the contradictions?

Did you know on Mar. 28 the N&O was suppressing statements the accuser made to an N&O reporter on Mar. 24, 2006 that the second dancer had also been sexually assaulted but had failed to report it for fear of losing her job? Also, that the accuser had said the second dancer would do anything for money?

Did you know when you wrote your Mar. 28 editorial that the N&O had used Nifong as an anonymous source before he began speaking publicly about the case on Mar. 27?

After Nifong’s victory in the general election you wrote on Nov. 12:
... Does it amount to some kind of travesty, then, that Nifong is set to continue as D.A.? Not in my book.

That's not to say anybody should be comfortable with Nifong's performance in the case that has drawn scads of unwanted attention to Durham, Duke University and their uneasy co-existence.

But to throw him out of office on the sole basis of that performance would have had the effect of substituting the judgment of voters for the judgment of jurors. That's no way to settle the question of whether a crime occurred and, if so, who was responsible.

We have trials to settle such things, and we insist that matters of guilt or innocence be decided according to very specific rules meant to safeguard the rights of both accusers and defendants. What we don't do in this country is decide the merit of criminal charges at the polls. ...
Yes, we have trials and, of course, we don’t decide the merits of criminal charges at the polls.

That’s why, Editor Ford, even if Nifong had lost, the trial(s) of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann could have gone forward if a successor DA choose to continue the prosecution.

The law also permits a reelected DA Nifong to drop all charges at some point or even to do what Duke Law Professor James Coleman five months earlier recommended he do: step aside and allow a special prosecutor to take over the case.

So the Durham DA election wasn’t about, as you said, “substituting the judgment of voters for the judgment of jurors.”

It was about Durham’s citizens doing what citizens everywhere else in North Carolina can do: vote for the person they think will do the most to give them fairness and justice in the DA’s office.

But you missed the obvious in Nov. ’06 as you had in Mar. ’06 and wound up a principal enabler of a frame-up attempt.

I don’t know of any reason to believe you’ll be a better guide to the extremely complex issues affecting Iraq, when you were so wrong on a hoax and frame-up attempt which was easy to get right.

If you care to respond, I’ll publish your response in full.


John in Carolina

Remember "Pick the prof?"

Readers Note: Yesterday I posted concerning an outstanding Chronicle column by Duke senior Adam Zell. ( What will Duke's trustees do? 4/8/08 )

Commenter Duke Law '72 responded asking rhetorically whether I'd noticed that Duke students are often better writers than the professors.

Well, yes, I had.

The comment also reminded me of an occasional series I used to run: "Pick the prof."

Below the star line is the Oct. 1, 2006 "Pick the prof" post. At the time the now disbarred Nifong was on his way to an election victory the next month. And not until late December would Duke President Richard ("We had no way of knowing") Brodhead finally say his first critical words about Nifong and the frame-up attempt.



Below are portions from essays in two current publications. One is by a Professor of English, who occupies an endowed chair at Duke University. The other is by a Duke undergraduate.

Decide which portion you think is by the professor and which by the student.

Once you’ve made your choices, I’ll ask why you made them. Then I’ll tell you what the reasons for your choices reveal about you.

You may learn things about yourself you’ve never known. There’s no charge for the information. It’s just one of many free benefits you receive for visiting JinC.

Now, let’s begin.

Portion 1

Until we recognize that sports reinforces exactly those behaviors of entitlement which have been and can be so abusive to women and girls and those "othered" by their sports' history of membership, the bodies who will bear evidence and consequence of the field's conduct will remain, after the fact of the matter, laboring to retrieve the lofty goals of education, to elevate the character of the place, to restore a space where they can do the work they came to the university to accomplish.
Portion 2:
All of our coaches have been college students and, in most cases, student-athletes. Although many professors may not have played sports, it is important to understand and respect what kind of impact athletics has on Duke University, its culture and its students, athletes and non-athletes alike.

Duke is unique not only because of its innovation in the laboratories or the lecture halls. Duke gains its sense of community and culture from the fact that it combines a first-rate academic curriculum with an incredibly successful athletic department, and this is what the students rally behind. Without athletics, Duke would still be great, but not complete. The combination of elite academics and athletics creates a strong feeling of community and school spirit. My former teammate called it "Blue Devil magic." To me, this is what sets Duke apart, and what has attracted many, if not most, of its students.
Portion 1 was written by Duke University’s William R. Kenan Professor of English Dr. Karla Holloway.

In addition to her regular departmental duties, Professor Holloway is arguably one of the more gifted and talented members of Duke’s Arts & Science faculty’s “Group of 88,” a kind of “informal think tank” whose members Duke’s President Richard Brodhead and his board of trustee supporters often turn to for guidance.

Did you pick Portion 1 as “by the Prof” because you said, “This is great?”

If you did, JinC profile analysis reveals you may be either a Group of 88 member yourself or a self-identified “strongly committed” Nifong voter. You admire Sen. Ted Kennedy (D- MA) for “his strong stands on women’s rights” and film-maker Michael Moore for “just being out there.” You tell friends: “I don’t understand why everyone keeps saying all those things about Brodhead. He’s wonderful.”

Or did you pick Portion 1 as “by the Prof” because you thought: “This is nonsense. It sounds just like something Karla Holloway or one of Brodhead’s other faculty favorites would write?”

In that case, JinC profile analysis reveals you’re intelligent, caring and very strongly connected to reality. You want what’s best for Duke. You wonder why so many of Duke’s recent endowed AAS professorships have gone to folks who share the Group of 88’s leftist ideology.

And Portion 2?

Portion 2 was written by Ms. Rachel Shack, a junior and member of Duke’s championship Women’s lacrosse team.

If you picked Portion 2 as “by the student” because you said to yourself, “I don’t know any AAS faculty member who writes this well,” then you appreciate fine expository writing. You’re also familiar with the recent writings of such AAS faculty "standouts” as Professors William Chafe, Orin Starn and Peter Wood

Or did you pick Portion 2 as “by the Prof” because you thought, “Portion 1 is the kind of thing a professor hands back to a student for a rewrite. So Portion 2 has to be by the Prof?”

If you did, than you have at least average intelligence but you've not kept up with a lot that's been happening at Duke during the last twenty or thirty years.

Well,that ends “Pick the Prof.”

How did you do?

I thank Professor Holloway, whose essay you can read here, and Student Shack, whose essay you can read here.

Hat Tip: KC Johnson

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 9, 2008

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

On May 19, 1935, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin admitted in the House of Commons that previous government estimates of German air strength seriously underestimated its strength.

In his WWII memoirs, Churchill recalled Baldwin’s announcement. He quoted Baldwin telling the House:

“First of all, with regard to the figure I gave in November of German aeroplanes, nothing has come to my knowledge since that makes me think that figure was wrong. I believed at that time it was right. Where I was wrong was in my estimate of the future. There I was completely wrong. We were completely misled on that subject. [Italics Churchill’s.] …

I think it is only due to say that there has been a great deal of criticism, both in the Press and verbally, about the Air Ministry, as though they were responsible for possibly an inadequate programme, for not having gone ahead faster, and for many other things. I only want to repeat that whatever responsibility there may be—and we are perfectly ready to meet criticism—that responsibility is not that of any single Minister; it is the responsibility of the Government as a whole, and we are all responsible, and we are all to blame.”[Italics Churchill’s.]
Churchill went on to share with readers his thoughts as he listened to Baldwin:
I hoped that this shocking confession would be a decisive event, and that at the least a Parliamentary Committee of all parties would be set up to report upon the facts and upon our safety.

The House of Commons had a different reaction. The Labour and Liberal Oppositions, having nine months earlier moved or supported a Vote of Censure even upon the modest steps the Government had taken, were ineffectual and undecided. They were looking forward to an election against “Tory armaments.”
Five years to the day of Baldwin's speech, the German air force was dominating the skies over the Low Countries and France, while Hitler's Army drove toward Paris and the Channel Coast.

A month later, Britain stood alone.

In his May 1935 speech, Baldwin had assured the Commons :
“I would repeat here that there is no occasion, in my view, in what we are doing, for panic.
Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm. (p.97)

Sen. Kennedy's anger & recklessness

It’s U. of Wisconsin law profssror Ann Althouse’s post at her eponymous blog. I comment below the star line.

Ann’s post:

"A year ago, the president said we couldn't withdraw because there was too much violence."
"Now he says we can't afford to withdraw because violence is down."

Ted Kennedy to General Petraeus.

Me to Ted Kennedy: "A year ago, you wanted to give up because we were losing, and now, you want to give up because we're winning."



At the time of Abu Ghraib, Sen. Ted Kennedy said on the Senate floor:

"On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?'" said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."
Since he was young, Kennedy has had a lot of anger and done many reckless things.

Remember all his drinking, wenching and police runins when he was a student at UVA law school?

Then there was …. well, most of you know a lot of it.

With Kennedy well into his seventies, it’s probably too late to expect him to do anything about his anger and the reckless behavior it’s bred.

But can't Kennedy stop targeting America’s military and our efforts in Iraq?

Why doesn’t Kennedy direct his anger at people like President Joseph Mugabe?

What will Duke’s trustees do?

Duke senior Adam Zell writes today in The Chronicle about the two lawsuits recently brought against the University, many of its leaders and others in connection with what’s widely-acknowledged to be Duke’s bungled and disgraceful response to the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong, and the racially inflammatory and often fraudulent reporting of the Raleigh News & Observer.

Excerpts from Zell’s column follow in italics; my comments are in plain.

Zell begins - - -

How should the student body regard the two ongoing lawsuits by the men's lacrosse team? Given that the vast majority of us have been relatively unaffected, should we care?

In this column, I will attempt to examine the different sides in this case and how the case will impact Duke going forward.

When judging these lawsuits without regard to their moral worth, Duke students must weigh two competing claims: 1) the damage to the University's prestige as a result of airing our dirty laundry, and 2) the benefit of learning how and when decisions were made, and by whom. This enables the Duke community to hold actors accountable for their misdeeds.

Zell has a good opening; he’s asking questions all of us who care about higher education and justice in America should be asking. Duke's actions and inactions during the frame-up attempt and to today as the cover-up of the frame-up continues are matters with national implications.

Just as there are times when the courts and the public should take a hard, close look at private corporations – think Enron – there are times when the same should happen to a major university, even one that says “but we’re private.”

Should this lawsuit go to trial, the threat of our university's damaged reputation should not be taken lightly. Admitting this threat assumes that some administrators acted in a manner embarrassing to the University. …

That some administrators acted in ways that embarrassed decent people who care about Duke is indisputable. What the suits will reveal is how much more was done that was embarrassing and very possibly illegal.

Knowledge gained as a result of the suits will enable those who care about Duke to take necessary corrective actions and acknowledge those who served the University’s best interests.

If we’ve learned anything these past two years it’s that there is much at Duke which needs correcting. Example: At present Duke operates under a two-race policy so that it is possible for some faculty and students without fear of consequences to physically threaten white students, something which would never be tolerated were similar threats made to black students.

Even President Brodhead’s sharpest critics acknowledge he would not have remained silent when the CASTRATE banner waved, when the Vigilante posters circulated within sight of his office windows, and when racists made death threats in a courtroom against a Duke student, if the targeted students had been black instead of white.

I can understand why some trustees would want to avoid suits that will bring to light actions, inactions, conversations, emails, and conspiring the trustees have worked hard for two years to hide.

It's surely in the best individual interests of some trustees to keep all that hidden.

I just hope there are enough trustees and alums with the care for Duke and justice to push to bring what happened out into the light of day.

After proceeding carefully and fairly to further examine the questions he raised, Zell reaches a conclusion as to what’s best for Duke.

I empathize with the argument that Duke should "move on" from this scandal in order to focus attention on more pressing matters. However, these lawsuits are not trapping Duke in the past nor disabling our University from looking towards the future. In fact, these lawsuits could have a profound positive effect on Duke's prospects.

The massive uncovering of evidence that will occur if these cases go to trial can serve as an impetus to fix what are quite possibly fundamentally flawed institutional practices. These trials can help Duke restore its respect for and protection of students' rights.

An open trial justifies the costs of a drawn-out process by providing a simple, yet so far elusive, good: the truth. Administrators can be cross-examined and presented with any contradictory statements in a forum where they are compelled to respond. …

On a moral plane, I also support the lawsuit going to trial. I think it is the height of hypocrisy that an institution of higher learning, whose motto sanctifies the search for knowledge, would so callously hamper students' attempts to discover the truth. I am simply morally appalled at the lengths a university would go to obscure the truth.

After considering the costs and benefits of a trial, I firmly support the lacrosse players in their lawsuits, on one condition: Do not accept any University settlement.

I do not pretend to know the details of the case nor will I accuse any individual of poor judgment or malicious actions. I simply think the Duke community deserves the truth.

I’ll say more about Zell’s column soon.

Today I’ll just end with congratulations and thanks to Adam Zell for a column that’s an outstanding service to Duke University and the pursuit of justice.

Zell’s entire column is here.

Hat tip: BN

Obama’s Wright Problem Remains

An Obama delegate from Illinois to the Democratic National Convention tells some children climbing a tree to get out of it. She calls them “monkeys,” a term she says she uses with her own grandchildren.

But never mind about that.

One child, an African-American, complains and the child’s mother calls the police, who issue the women a citation for calling the kids “monkeys” (it seems doing so was disturbing the peace). The woman can be fined up to $75.00.

At that point the Obama campaign got involved. The Senator feels what the woman did has no place in his campaign or in the post-racial America he’s planning for us. The Senator wanted the woman to resign as an Obama delegate and she agrees to. [There are now reports she may not resign. I'll update as appropriate. JinC]

Now let’s get back to talking about Obama’s close friend and pastor of almost 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis in today’s WSJ. I add a few comments below the star line

Davis begins - - -

I have tried to get over my unease surrounding Barack Obama's response to the sermons and writings of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. But the unanswered questions remain.

I am a strong supporter of and a substantial fundraiser for Hillary Clinton for president (though in this column I speak only for myself). I still believe she should and will be the Democratic nominee.

But if Sen. Obama wins the nomination, he needs to understand that this issue goes well beyond Clinton partisans. Now is the time to address these questions, not later.

Clearly Mr. Obama does not share the extremist views of Rev. Wright. He is a tolerant and honorable person. But that is not the issue.

The questions remain: Why did he stay a member of the congregation? Why didn't he speak up earlier? And why did he reward Rev. Wright with a campaign position even after knowing of his comments?

My concerns were retriggered when I read for the first time three excerpts from Rev. Wright's sermons published several weeks ago in a national news magazine:

- "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
-- Sept. 16, 2001 (the first Sunday after 9/11)

- "The government . . . wants us to sing God Bless America. No, no, no. God damn America; that's in the bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human."
-- 2003

- "The United States of White America."
-- July 22, 2007

As I read and reread these words, I keep thinking: If my rabbi ever uttered such hateful words from the pulpit about America and declared all Palestinians to be terrorists, I have no doubt I would have withdrawn immediately from his congregation.

In his eloquent Philadelphia speech, Mr. Obama likened Rev. Wright to a beloved, but politically extremist, family member with whom one profoundly disagrees but whose rage one understands.

But this comparison just doesn't work for me. I don't get a chance to choose my family members. I do get a chance to choose my spiritual or religious leader and my congregation.

And I do not have to remain silent or, more importantly, expose my children to the spiritual leader of my congregation who spews hate that offends my conscience.

Mr. Obama made a choice to join the church and to ask Rev. Wright to marry him and his bride. He said for the first time a few weeks ago that had Rev. Wright not recently resigned as pastor of the church, he would have withdrawn.

But that only reraised the same questions: Why didn't he act before the resignation?

The rest of Davis’ column is here.


Most of what Davis says has been said before. That’s important to note because it reminds us, as Davis is reminding the Obama people, that the Senator has not put behind him questions raised by his almost two-decade long relationship with Wright.

At least he hasn’t put them behind in the minds of most Independents and what are called Reagan Democrats and soft Republicans whose votes he’ll need in November.

Three weeks after Obama's Mar. 18 speech in Philadelphia the questions are still there.

A few hours after the speech I posted Obama’s speech was no Houston. Here’s part of it:

I though Senator Obama was sincere. As you’d expect, the speech was well delivered. It had moments of grace, candor and poignancy.

But the speech didn’t do what it needed to do: it wasn’t Obama’s Houston.

John Kennedy knew what he had to do in Houston was answer tough questions.

So he went before a not very friendly audience of mostly Protestant ministers, made a brief speech and then answered their questions about his Catholicism.

Obama had to answer tough and important questions today and he ducked them.

He arranged to deliverer a lengthy speech to a very friendly, invited audience and talked around the tough questions.

Nothing Obama said today really explains why he remained in a church whose pastor is so virulently anti-American. There are black churches that offer everything Trinity UCC offers, but without the anti-Americanism.

Obama never explained why he didn’t denounce until just recently his pastor’s Lifetime Achievement Award to the anti-Semite and anti-white Minister Louis Farrakhan. …
The rest of the post’s here.

Near the end of his column Davis says:
When I said on CNN recently that concerns about the Wright-Obama issue were "appropriate" to continue to be discussed, my friend Joe Klein of Time Magazine said, "Lanny, Lanny, you're spreading the poison right now" and that an "honorable person" would "stay away from this stuff." …
I’m hearing in North Carolina the kind of thing Klein was shilling: nice, “honorable” people don’t mention Wright-Obama.

Does that mean in Obama’s post-racial America discussing Wright-Obama falls in the same category as calling a group of kids climbing a tree “monkeys?”

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 8, 2008

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

Reading The Churchill Centre’s Action This Day report for June 10, 1944, we learn a bit about what happened when Churchill and other allied leaders visited the headquarters of the Allied ground commander, General Bernard Montgomery, four days after D-Day.

On June 10th, after Montgomery announced that "we have won the battle of the beaches" Churchill, Smuts, Brooke, General Marshall and Admiral King crossed the Channel where they were met by Montgomery. After a beach welcome they drove through "our limited but fertile domain in Normandy."

[Afterwards] they lunched on the lawn at Montgomery's headquarters, looking towards the front which was only three miles away.

Churchill enquired about the chances of German - armour breaking up their lunch.

Montgomery acknowledged that the chateau had indeed taken a pounding the night before.

The Prime Minister reminded him that "anything can be done once or for a short time, but custom, repetition, prolongation, is always to be avoided when possible in war."

Montgomery moved his headquarters two days later.

A troubling press release re: H-S's Bob Ashley

Readers Note: This post is an email I've sent to a media contact person at University of Kentucky News regarding UK News' press release announcing a talk at UK tomorrow by Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley.

You can view the press release here. KC Johnson has posted on it here.

I thank all of you who sent me the link to the press release.


To: Whitney Hale
Media Contact
University of Kentucky News

Dear Ms. Hale;

I blog as John in Carolina, live in Durham, have posted often on the Duke Hoax, and am a Durham Herald-Sun subscriber.

I have a number of concerns regarding The University of Kentucky’s press release announcing tomorrow’s presentation by Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley in the William T. Young Library Auditorium.

The press release refers to “a talk on the now infamous rape case.”

As North Carolina’s attorney general Roy Cooper stated after an extensive investigation, there never was a rape. From his statement:

We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations. Based on the significant inconsistencies between the evidence and the various accounts given by the accusing witness, we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges.
The attorney general’s entire statement is here.

I don’t understand why your press office didn’t at least use a neutral descriptor such as “Duke lacrosse case” or the more accurate one many people now use: “the frame-up attempt.”

Even the now disbarred former DA Mike Nifong and editor Ashley, for more than a year one of Nifong’s most important enablers, no longer, at least publicly, refer to “the rape case.”

The University’s press release states:
In March 2006, three Duke lacrosse players were charged with rape by district attorney Mike Nifong. Over the next 18 months, as tumultuous events in the case unfolded, the issues of race, gender, class, and the sometimes negative “town gown” relationship that existed in Durham, were exposed in ways that received national media attention.
In fact, no Duke lacrosse player was charged with rape during March 2006.

Instead, during the later part of March and the first weeks of April, the entire team was subjected to public vilification including false public statements by Nifong, Durham Police, and the Herald Sun.

The Duke students were also subjected to physical threats by “community activists” who rallied under CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners and distributed Vigilante posters.

The NC State Bar would later cite Nifong’s March and April public statements as ethics violations and part of the case for his disbarment.

Ashley, however, was very supportive of what Nifong said at the time and remained a supporter until Nifong was at the edge of disbarment.

Even then, his editorial criticisms of Nifong would embarrass most journalists. For example, Ashley said Nifong’s handling of the case had not been “flawless.”

Ashley’s Herald Sun has yet to condemn the “activists” who threatened the players and those, including some Duke faculty, who thanked the “activists.”

Regarding “the issues of race, gender, class, and the sometimes negative ‘town gown’ relationship:” they certainly permeated every aspect of the Duke Hoax, so it was right to mention them.

But the University's press release failed to mention presumption of innocence, due process, the sworn duty of police officers and their supervisors to follow the law and regulations, the sworn duty of a prosecutor to seek justice, and every citizen’s right to justice.

For all the manipulation of race, class, gender and “town gown” by those working the frame-up attempt and those of a PC/ leftist bent supporting them, in the end it was the Constitutional principles and practices America’s founders bequeathed us that were most important in preventing three innocent young men from being railroaded to prison.

That should have been mentioned in the press release.

Something else belonged in the press release: a mention that the charges weren’t merely dropped, but were dropped because as attorney general Cooper took care to say, the three young men were innocent.

Despite the attorney general’s finding of innocence, the three young men will always carry a burden from the slander and libels of Nifong and Durham Police, and the slimes of Ashley and others.

But each time the point is made that they were determined to be innocent following a lengthy investigation, it helps to mitigate their burden.

Can you put me in touch with someone to whom I can make that point, who might then make sure Ashley’s listeners are told tomorrow of the attorney general’s finding and the circumstances in which he made it?

Also, will there be a pod cast of Ashley’s presentation and/or an audio and/or video tape available of it?

Thank you for your attention to this email.

I’ll post your response at my blog.


John in Carolina

Cc. Bob Ashley -


Anonymous said...

And of course, the MSM slant was slavishly followed by Carl Levin, "Chapaquiddick" Kennedy and the rest of the lemmings of the Democrat party when General Petraeus reported to them. To hear them tell it, we've slready lost and staying there simply costs more lives needlessly.
3:43 PM

Anonymous said...


I am sure your questions to Whitney Hale will receive the standard brushoff. The elitists who put out these press releases have no clue.

They are creatures of the night.

4:52 PM

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, John, many of us admire your relentless nature and your persistence in setting the record straight. Thanks.
12:00 AM

mac said...

Good job, John!
6:06 AM

Anonymous said...

Upon reading the information sent by KC, I also fired off an e-mail to UK. Of all people to make a presentation about the case. Ashley, come on!!! Another travesty in the HOAX.

I pray that there is an alumni out there that can go to this 'talk' and record what Ashley says and more importantly, what he does not say.


8:17 AM

High praise for Senator Obama

Those of you concerned about Sen. Barack Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience will be interested to read Mayhill Fowler’s Huffington Post report of the Senator's remarks at a fundraiser in San Francisco.

Asked what he would look for in a running mate, Fowler says Obama began:

"I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I'm not as expert on," he said, and then he was off and running.

"I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more Commander-in-Chief-like. Ironically, this is an area--foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain."

"It's ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags 'I've met leaders from eighty countries'--I know what those trips are like! I've been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There's a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then--you go."

"You do that in eighty countries--you don't know those eighty countries. So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa--knowing the leaders is not important--what I know is the people. ..."

"I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college--I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. . . ."
You remember Pakistan, don’t you? That’s the country Obama said he would bomb.

As quoted in Fowler's post, Obama sounds extremely self-assured and very inexperienced.

Fowler’s entire post is here. It includes a link to an audio of Obama’s quoted remarks.

The N&O’s “emboldened rebel Shiite cleric”

is Muqtada al-Sadr.

In a front-page story today headlined “Al-Maliki’s offensive may put Petraeus in hot seat, the N&O tells readers:

This is not the way that Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, was expected to reappear before Congress.

Violence in Iraq recently had dropped to a nearly three-year low. The once-intransigent Iraqi parliament had passed some key pieces of legislation. Only five U.S. service members had been killed since October in Anbar province, a fraction of the toll a year ago.

But that was before the offensive that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched in the southern port city of Basrah and in Baghdad two weeks ago. Instead of ridding the city of rogue Shiite Muslim militias, the operation exposed the frailty of the U.S.-trained Iraqi military, emboldened rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his fighters, and showcased Iran's powerful influence on Iraq's security and politics.

Today, Petraeus will have to explain to legislators why the United States didn't know about the American-backed Iraqi government's offensive well in advance, as well as whether the drop in violence that followed the dispatch of additional U.S. forces to Iraq may have been temporary. …

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Friday that al-Maliki "has shown himself to be a political leader who is excessively sectarian, who is incompetent, and who runs a corrupt administration."

He added, "The purpose of the surge clearly has not been achieved."
The entire N&O story, datelined Washington and under the byline of Nancy Youssef, a reporter for the N&O’s parent McClatchy News Co. is here.

The Times of London today has a very different account of recent events in Iraq.

Under the headline, “Iraq: Al-Mahdi army offers to lay down its arms,” James Hider reports from Baghdad:
Iraq’s largest and most dangerous militia will voluntarily disband if Shia scholars advise its leader to do so, officials said yesterday — a dramatic move that could quell much of the fighting in the war-torn country.

Aides to Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr said that he would send delegations to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a moderate religious leader in Najaf, and to senior clerics in Iran to consult on whether he should stand down his 60,000-strong al-Mahdi Army.

The sudden announcement — the first time that the rebellious cleric had offered to disband his forces — came as US and Iraqi troops were poised for a key offensive into his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

Yesterday streams of refugees were pouring out of Sadr City as automatic gunfire and mortar bomb blasts ripped through the giant slum that is home to 2.5 million people.

Terrified residents scuttled down side streets as tanks trundled along the main thoroughfares, shooting at guerrillas. A massive American and Iraqi security presence had ringed the area, with police and soldiers guarding every exit with many predicting a final, bloody showdown as popular support drained from al-Mahdi Army. ...
An Iraqi police commander whose forces have sealed the eastern approaches to Sadr City said that raids would resume today when a government deadline for the militia to disarm expires.

“I think this time they’re finished,” said Brigadier Ali Ibrahim Daboun. “In all the previous battles, they were attacking and we were on the defensive. Now it’s the other way round.”
The entire Times of London story is here.

At NRO Rich Lowry had an extensive report which includes this:
On the political front, Sadr now finds himself completely isolated. Key leaders of his own movement are now urging him to accept the Maliki government’s demands to disband the militia entirely.
Lowry’s entire report’s here.

Why didn’t the N&O and McClatchy tells us the “emboldened rebel Shite cleric” and his gangsters were surrounded, under fierce attack, and offering to lay down their arms?

Never underestimate your enemy. We have many tough fights ahead in Iraq. The situation is dangerous; the political progress is fragile.

But progress in Iraq and maintaining support in America for our government's efforts there have been made much more difficult than they otherwise would be because of what military expert Austin Bey calls “the sensationalist, fear-leveraging slant of most media coverage.”

The N&O/McClatchy story today is one more example of what Bey is talking about.

It hurts our country and civilization’s fight against the terrorists when liberal/leftist news organizations like the N&O engage in slanted reporting on Iraq.

I’ll give the last words to Bey:
The quick [media] damnation of PM Maliki and the Iraqi Army’s efforts last week reveals an immense ignorance of warfare, one still rampant despite six-plus years of alleged experience; it displays not simply hasty, herd-mentality judgmentalism, but demonstrates in trump cards the sensationalist, fear-leveraging slant of most media coverage.
Bey's entire post is here.

The Churchill Series - Apr. 7, 2008

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

Reader’s Note: Previous posts dealing with John(Jack) Strange Spencer Churchill (1880-1947) and his relationship with his only brother and sibling, Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965), are here, here, here, here, and here.

Chartwell guest books for the 1920s and 30s reveal Jack Churchill, his wife Goonie, and their children were Winston and Clementine’s most frequent overnight guests.

In 1929 Winston, his son Randolph, Jack and his son John toured Canada and the American West coast together, visiting among other places William Randolph Hearst’s castle home at San Simeon. (Churchill used the occasion to arrange with Hearst to write a series of articles for his papers.)

During the years between the wars Jack worked as a financier. He was a man working “in the City”, a British expression that conveys much the same thing as “ works in Wall Street” conveys in America.

It was no doubt extremely difficult for Jack to be Winston’s brother and not fall to saying at least a few indiscreet things or get drawn into deals in which others were hoping to take advantage of Jack's relationship with his brother who for five years during the 20's was Chancellor of the Exchequer and later influenced as Lord of the Admiralty and Prime Minister the awarding of contracts worth billions. Or worst of all, to actively seek to use his relationship for own gain.

But Jack did none of that while still serving as confidant and sounding board for his powerful brother.

In 1940 Goonie’s health became a concern. She was subsequently diagnosed with cancer, and moved from London to the country, which was thought better for her health. Jack remained to work in the city and come out on weekends to be with Goonie. She died in 1941.

Jack continued to work in the City. His house was bombed and thereafter he moved in with Winston and Clementine at 10 Downing Street and in the Annexe, the nearby bomb shelter Churchill and other government leaders and their principal aides used. He was often the last person Churchill spoke to at night.

In 1945. Jack suffered a heart attack. Thereafter his health deteriorated. He died on Feb 23, 1947, age 67 years. He was buried next to his parents in the Bladon Churchyard a mile from Blenheim Palace. Eighteen years later, his brother Winston was laid to rest beside him.

At the time of Jack’s death, The Times of London noted he'd remained throughout his life “on the closest terms with his elder brother.”
For background I've relied on Speaking for Themselves: The personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Mary Soames, Editor), Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life and Richard Hough’s Winston and Clementine: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Churchills.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Politics vs. Petraeus

Give a listen to Gen. Petraeus and Sens. Clinton and Obama:

In Pa, Obama's latest on guns

It was just a few days ago, Apr. 3 to be exact, that Amanda Carpenter at reported - - -

Barack Obama is embracing anti-gun policies in the run-up to a Democratic presidential debate scheduled on the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.

“I am not in favor of concealed weapons,” Obama told the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.”

These remarks break from Obama’s previous moderate rhetoric on gun control.

While campaigning in Idaho in February, Obama promised, “I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns.”

Obama elaborated later that month in a political forum sponsored by ABC News and the Politico.

He said: “I think it's important for us to recognize that we've got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respects the Second Amendment and people's traditions."

Obama’s tough talk on gun control may be prompted by Philadelphia-based Democratic leaders who are pressuring Clinton and Obama to adopt harder stances on gun control.

This issue is expected to come up in ABC News’ Democratic debate on April 16 in Philadelphia. 32 people were shot to death on the campus of Virginia Tech by Seung-Hui Cho April 16, 2007.

Obama’s new hardline liberal position differs from his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and GOP candidate John McCain, who both are for concealed-carry.(emphasis added)

The rest of Carpenter's report is here.

But wait!

Obama is the CHANGE candidate. Remember?

That no doubt explains why we read today at Politico: - - -

Barack Obama did not hunt or fish as a child. He lives in a big city. And as an Illinois state legislator and a U.S. senator, he consistently backed gun control legislation.

But he is nevertheless making a play for pro-gun voters in rural Pennsylvania.

By highlighting his background in constitutional law and downplaying his voting record, Obama is engaging in a quiet but targeted drive to win over an important constituency that on the surface might seem hostile to his views.

The need to craft a strategy aimed at pro-gun voters underscores the potency of the issue in Pennsylvania, which claims one of the nation’s highest per capita membership rates in the National Rifle Association.

It also could provide clues as to whether Obama, as one of the Senate’s more liberal members, can position himself as an acceptable choice to a conservative-minded demographic in later primary contests and in the general election. ...

Carpenter's entire report is here; Politico's report today is here.

Which Obama position do you prefer?

And did you know he was such a quick CHANGE candidate?

Raleigh N&O Arrogance (Post 5)

Readers Note: This is the fifth and last of a five-post series providing examples of the Raleigh News & Observer’s arrogance during its Duke lacrosse coverage. The examples also reveal some of the disingenuousness that was an essential and pervasive part of the N&O’s grossly biased, racially inflammatory and often false Duke Hoax reporting during Spring 2006 and thereafter.


This past Feb. 23 I emailed N&O public editor Ted Vaden calling to his attention two misquotes which appeared in a Feb. 22 story: "38-player lacrosse suit gets fanfare." Both involved statements made by Mr. Robert Bork, Jr acting in a public information capacity for the plaintiffs and their attorneys. I included the email in a post you can read here.

Bork had noted the misquotes in a post you can read here at

In my email to Vaden, I noted one of the two reporters bylined on the story was Anne Blythe, one of two reporters bylined on the N&O’s deliberately fraudulent Mar. 25, 2006 which the N&O told readers was about a young black mother’s “ordeal” which ended in “sexual violence.” I added:

It must be upsetting for the students and their families to see the N&O again misrepresenting their actions and motives.
I asked for corrections and promised to post in full Vaden’s response.

I did not hear from Vaden, but I did get an email response from another N&O editor, Bob Waters.

Regarding one of the misquotes, Waters said Bork had made the remark - that Durham wasn’t a media center and thus the announcement of the lawsuit was made in DC - during a one-on-one conversation with the other reporter bylined, Barbara Barrett, in a hallway after the announcement. (Bork did not respond to an email request asking whether such a conversation took place.)

Waters said nothing about the second misquote which was an extremely serious distortion of what Bork had actually said.

So I sent Waters the following email:
Dear Editor Waters:

Thank you for a prompt response.

I plan to ask Bork about what he may have said to reporter Barrett after the press conference.

I'll be sure to report at JinC in full what you say happened and what, if anything, Bork says.

You did not say anything about the most important part of my email.

That part is:

The N&O reported:
The players chose not to appear at the news conference, said Bob Bork Jr., the group's hired publicist, because they don't want to attract attention.
But Bork said no such thing.

In this post at Bork provided the text of what he'd actually said as follows:
“None of the 38 players who are filing this lawsuit are here today. They considered participating, but many have jobs and some are still students and lacrosse team members at Duke. One is in Army Ranger school preparing to deploy to Iraq.”

“Know this -- the players are united behind this lawsuit. At the same time that they are understandably concerned about retribution and negative, maybe even slanderous media coverage. Who can blame them after what they endured for 13 months in 2006 and 2007. They are walking a fine line between trying to live normal lives in the wake of an unspeakable trauma and at the same time trying to get answers to questions that remain unaddressed by their university.”

“They need to have peace to heal, but there can be no healing without accountability.”
It will be very easy for you to check what Bork actually said against what the N&O reported because the news conference video with fine audio quality is available and in the first minute or two you'll be able to view and hear exactly what Bork said.

You can access the video here.

People will wonder how the N&O could take what Bork actually said and report what the N&O told readers.
Folks, I ended the email with a pledge to publish in full his response.

Editor Waters did not respond to that email or two subsequent ones. You can read more about that here.

Folks, I don’t know what, if anything Bork may have said to Barrett in a hallway after the conference.

But all of us can check what the N&O published under Barrett and Blythe’s byline regarding why the players weren’t at the announcement, against what Bork actually said on the video tape.

As for Walters, I think his failure to respond to a reader about a serious, documented instance of his papers grossly misrepresenting what someone said is arrogant.

I’m told most MSM journalists are concerned that bloggers are hurting them.

I wonder if many of them ever consider whether journalists like editor Bob Waters and the others who worked on the N&O’s "38-player lacrosse suit gets fanfare" might be the people who are really hurting them.

Iraq News & Commentary via Mike Williams

Blog friend Mike Williams sent on an electronic letter today. I want to share it all with you. But keep it to yourselves. If Speaker Pelosi reads it, her day will be ruined.



Tomorrow General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testify to Congress on Iraq. Speaker Pelosi has already informed them that the Dems aren’t interested in any good news. Saturday the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Biden (D-DE), declared the Surge a failure. The MSM is already spinning away on the Dem party line.

So today Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Graham (R-SC)take them all on in the WSJ Online. Some excerpts:

As late as last September, advocates of retreat insisted that the surge would fail to bring about any meaningful reduction in violence in Iraq. accused Gen. Petraeus of "cooking the books," while others claimed that his testimony, offering evidence of early progress, required "the willing suspension of disbelief."

Gen. Petraeus will be the first to acknowledge that the gains in Iraq have come at a heavy price in blood and treasure. We mourn the loss and pain of the civilians and service members who have been killed and wounded in Iraq, but adamantly believe these losses have served a noble cause.

No one can deny the dramatic improvements in security in Iraq achieved by Gen. Petraeus, the brave troops under his command, and the Iraqi Security Forces. From June 2007 through February 2008, deaths from ethno-sectarian violence in Baghdad have fallen approximately 90%. American casualties have also fallen sharply, down by 70%.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has been swept from its former strongholds in Anbar province and Baghdad….

In the past seven months, the other main argument offered by critics of the Petraeus strategy has also begun to collapse: namely, the alleged lack of Iraqi political progress.

Antiwar forces last September latched onto the Iraqi government's failure to pass "benchmark" legislation, relentlessly hammering Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as hopelessly sectarian and unwilling to confront Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Here as well, however, the critics in Washington have been proven wrong.

In recent months, the Iraqi government, encouraged by our Ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, has passed benchmark legislation on such politically difficult issues as de-Baathification, amnesty, the budget and provincial elections. After boycotting the last round of elections, Sunnis now stand ready to vote by the millions in the provincial elections this autumn. The Iraqi economy is growing at a brisk 7% and inflation is down dramatically.

And, in launching the recent offensive in Basra, Mr. Maliki has demonstrated that he has the political will to take on the Shiite militias and criminal gangs, which he recently condemned as "worse than al Qaeda."

And this:

Unable to make the case that the surge has failed, antiwar forces have adopted a new set of talking points, emphasizing the "costs" of our involvement in Iraq, hoping to exploit Americans' current economic anxieties.

Today's antiwar politicians have effectively turned John F. Kennedy's inaugural address on its head, urging Americans to refuse to pay any price, or bear any burden, to assure the survival of liberty. This is wrong. The fact is that America's prosperity at home and security abroad are bound together. We will not fare well in a world in which al Qaeda and Iran can claim that they have defeated us in Iraq and are ascendant….

Speaking of meeting legislative benchmarks, Randy Ketner at Red State compares Iraq to the 110th Congress:

Iraqi Government: 4 completed, 2 partially completed, 1 not completed.

U.S. Congress: 0 completed, 1 partially completed, 6 not completed.***

You might want to read this one if you have some time. And even better:

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr will consult senior religious leaders and disband his Mehdi Army militia if they instruct him to, a senior aide said on Monday.

The surprise announcement came on the day Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, in a television interview, ordered the Mehdi Army to disband or Sadr's followers would be excluded from Iraqi political life….

Ed Morrissey comments at Hot Air:

Moqtada al-Sadr has found himself increasingly isolated in Iraqi political circles. Once considered a kingmaker when Nouri al-Maliki ascended to the Prime Minister post, he has managed to bring unity to the various sectarian factions in Iraq in a unique manner. He has everyone looking to kick him and his Mahdis out of the next election….

The move against Sadr in Basra clearly had a lot more support from Iraqis than previously thought. Even Shi’ites have had enough of the militia leader and want to see security and control managed from the elected government. The military phase was only the start; the political phase has just begun. And this time, unlike in 2004, the central government has increased the stakes. They now demand that Sadr disband the Mahdi Army entirely, not just stand them down.

Undoubtedly, Sadr’s Iranian support has prompted the isolationist coalition within the Iraqi government. Sadr has flaunted his Iranian backing a little too publicly. Even Maliki, who wants good relations with Iran, cannot abide foreign troops abetting an insurrection in his second-largest city. It has given Shi’ites, Sunnis, and Kurds a common focus and a point on which unity naturally arises.

Now even Sadr’s political supporters have acknowledged that the end of the road may have come….

Via Hugh Hewitt, let’s give John McCain the last word for now:

Today John McCain delivered a speech rebuking --again-- the proponents of defeat in Iraq. The campaign made these excerpts available, and the contrast between McCain's realism and resolve and Obama's eagerness to retreat could not be more stark….

Hugh has the excerpts at the link.


Message to Mike: Great work.