Friday, April 25, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr.25, 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.
Folks, with the nice weather predicted for many parts of the country this weekend, there's a chance some of you may get out for a picnic.

Picnic or whatever - I hope you all have a nice weekend.


Michelle Obama's Name Removed

from Terrorist Fundraiser's Web Page - Update: Terror Fundraiser's Page Disappears!

That’s Charles Johnson’s lede at Little Green Footballs for this post.

Johnson doesn’t blow smoke. He has the screen shots.

Will Ms. Obama be proud when she learns her name was first removed from the website?

And that now the page has disappeared?

Stay tuned to hear what Bill Moyers and Nancy Pelosi tell us.

And check with the blogs, too. You'll very likely learn more there.

Is there a way Team Obama at Newsweek, the NY Times, PBS and the Raleigh N&O can spin the web page removal as – you know – something having to do with "racist attacks" by the Clintons? Or “typical white people?”

We’ll see.

Meanwhile, some of you who may be asking --- “Charles Johnson? Little Green Footballs? Wasn’t he the blogger who had so much to do with proving Dan Rather’s 60 Minutes’ documents used in the Texas Air National Guard story smearing President Bush were fakes?”

Yes he was. I'll post more about that next week.

Let’s keep our eyes out to see if MSM picks up on any of the latest in the developing saga: “Up close and personal with the Obamas.”

Did humans almost become extinct?

The AP with Fox News hosting reports:

Human beings may have had a brush with extinction about 70,000 years ago, an extensive genetic study suggests.

The human population at that time had been gradually reduced to small isolated groups across eastern and southern Africa, apparently because of massive droughts lasting tens of thousands of years, according to an analysis released Thursday.

The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to rapidly expand again in the period known as the Late Stone Age. …
The rest of the story’s here.


Have Al Gore and Barbra Streisand confirmed such a thing almost happened?

Do they know whether greenhouse gas emissions were involved?

What do the Dixie Chicks say?

Back when the human population “may have shrunk as low as 2,000,” were there candidates like Barack Obama who offered “change we can believe in?”

If there was a crude phone precursor, did someone like Hillary answer it at 3 AM?

And could they solve problems like seating the Florida and Michigan delegations at what passed for the Democrats' convention tens of thousands of years ago?

Over to you, Fred Flintstone.

Durham DA Indy Endorsement: be wary

North Carolina holds its primaries this year on Tuesday, May 6.

In Durham there are four candidates running for District Attorney on the Democratic line. There are no candidates running on the Republican line in heavily Democratic Durham County. (In 2004 the Kerry-Edwards ticket got almost 70% of the vote.)

Today the weekly Independent, which describes itself as "progressive" and supported the now disbarred Mike Nifong in both the 2006 Democratic primary and the general election, announced its endorsement.

The Indy began - - -

A year after N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the false charges against Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, the Duke lacrosse case still shadows the Durham district attorney's office—and this year's Democratic primary.

In 2006, when the Independent endorsed Mike Nifong for district attorney over Freda Black and Keith Bishop, we misjudged Nifong's complicity in a wrongful and ultimately fraudulent prosecution. Nifong did not deserve your vote—but neither did his challengers, Black and Bishop, who are running for the office again this year.

Freda Black is an attorney with the good ol' boy Durham firm Clayton, Myrick, McClanahan & Coulter, handling civil litigation and criminal defense cases. She was an assistant district attorney for 14 years and gained national recognition in 2003 for her successful murder prosecution of novelist and former newspaper columnist Michael Peterson. She also made a name for herself in the high-profile 2006 election, with her constant attacks on Nifong's integrity.

But Black's ethical integrity is questionable, too. She is a capable attorney, but one who has shown that she'll win at all costs, even if it means treading the line between zealous representation of her client and overlooking justice. Last year, the Indy reported about her 2001 prosecution of Erick Daniels, who, evidence suggests, is innocent of armed robbery. Even when Black heard that someone else wanted to confess to the robbery and exonerate Daniels, Black clung to her conviction. Unlike the lacrosse players, Daniels is in prison.

Bottom line: We're not sure Black will properly handle the power Nifong abused. And neither are many assistant prosecutors. If Black wins, expect many defections, which would throw the district attorney's office into a tailspin.

Keith Bishop is simply unqualified. He is a private practice attorney with little criminal trial experience. There's no indication that he can manage the office of more than 30 people

We think voters should support assistant district attorney Tracey Cline. Cline began her legal career as a public defender, representing the poor—valuable experience for a prosecutor. She has served in Durham as an assistant district attorney for 14 years, working her way up to first assistant district attorney and then chief assistant district attorney, when David Saacks was appointed top prosecutor after Nifong resigned. (Saacks is not running to keep his seat.)

Cline is a great attorney who has already shown that she can manage a large caseload. She understands the need to address escalating juvenile crime, and as a black woman, could be an excellent role model for the young African Americans caught in the system.

She is putting to rest questions that she was involved in Nifong's lacrosse prosecution, a concern among some critics. She told the Independent that police officers came to her asking advice about what paperwork to complete, a search warrant or a non-testimonial order, and when they had completed the paperwork, filed it with then Assistant District Attorney David Saacks, who signed it.

"I didn't sign anything," Cline said. "All I did was advise them, which I should do on every single case. Under the same situation, any district attorney would do the same thing. The statute requires you to do that."

Saacks corroborated Cline's account under oath during Nifong's criminal contempt hearing.

Mitchell Garrell has been an assistant district attorney for 13 years. He lacks Cline's leadership experience and has never worked as a defender, but Garrell is a fine trial attorney who has the support of some prosecutors in the office. His stance against the death penalty is admirable, as is his willingness to work with the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, but Cline gets the edge in every other category.

Since no Republicans filed, the winner of the Democratic primary will become the county's next district attorney if he or she wins more than 40 percent of the vote. If no one reaches that threshhold, the second-place candidate can request a second primary.



The editorial provides useful information about dates, what's needed to win, and the names of candidates.

But you need to be wary about much that the Indy says about the candidates.

You should be especially wary concerning what the Indy says about ADA Cline and her involvement in the NTO in particular, and the frame-up attempt overall.

The first three comments after the endorsement make that point. I'll present them here and be back tomorrow to say more about the DA's race.

First comment:

Cline is quoted as saying transparency is what is needed in the DA's office. Yet she first denied ANY involvement or knowledge of the Duke case and denied ANY involvement in the unconstitutional DNA sweep of 46 Duke lacrosse players.

Now Cline says she "advised" Durham PD to write up the order (NTO) for DNA ... One would think, a lead prosecutor would want to know the details of a case to determine if probable cause exists ... before advising the police to go forward with such an order.

One would think.... To obtain a non-testimonial order for DNA, authorities are supposed to have probable cause and a reasonable suspicion that the subject of the NTO could have committed the crime.

Was there probable and reasonable suspicion to obtain DNA from 46 citizens when the alleged crime involved only 3 and police had solid evidence that some of the 46 were out of town and not at the party??

Cline also agreed publicly that attorneys have a duty to report unethical conduct among their colleagues but says she lacked insights into what Nifong was doing. "I didn’t have any personal information about what went on in the lacrosse case, other than what the media reported,” she said. But….

Officer Ben Himan testified, under oath, twice repeating the deposition is available online) that Cline told him she had reviewed the lacrosse case file -- offering her opinion that she believed the police had done a good job (?).

Was Officer Himan lying?

At the DA Forum last night, Mitchell Garrell brought up this lack of transparency on Cline's part. Asking people to read the testimony of Officers Himan & Gottlieb, x-DA Nifong and David Saacks - their testimony does not support Cline's claims.

Someone is, well, not being very transparent.

Someone is mincing words and wiggling around – much like your endorsed candidate (Nifong) did in 2006.

Second comment offered with irony:

She is putting to rest questions that she was involved in Nifong's lacrosse prosecution, a concern among some critics.

Third comment:

Would someone ask Ms. Cline why she attended Duke lacrosse hearings with Nifong? See image at link.

Folks, as you look at the photo Ms. Cline is the woman at the right looking directly at Nifong.

No blessing for St. Moyers

West Virginia's Charleston Daily Mail editorial writer and columnist Don Surber posts St. Moyers which begins - - -

After 30 years of railing for separation of church and state, Bill Moyers comes to the aid of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Wright’s attempt to blame others for his anti-American, racist and hateful words — and I defend his right to spew them — has him hitting the friendly media circuit, beginning with Bill Moyers on PBS.

I saw a clip on Fox News. It is softball. It is meant to protect Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.

“He’s a politician, I’m a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they’re two different worlds,” Wright said.

So why did Wright — 5 days after 9/11 — go into a litany of American political decisions over the years — from Hiroshima forward — to say we earned it?

That’s political speech. He can do it, of course. But he cannot say he’s non-political in his church.

Moyers treats conservative pastors more skeptically. In March, he played T-ball with Mickey Edwards. There was this exchange:

BILL MOYERS: Now, Mickey, take what John Hagee said — take him as serious man — take John McCain standing there, welcoming his endorsement, take what you said about conservatives owing their inspiration to the constitution with a limited government and personal liberties—


BILL MOYERS: Where that, listening to that, does John McCain’s stand in the evolution or in the reclaiming of conservatism, which is your mission in life?

Wait, I thought there was a separation of church and state. Why does Moyers want McCain grilled on matters of theology?

Then there was this: “But what about the emergence of the religious right? Each of us seem to be saying that the religious zeal of fanatical believers, allied to an aggressive, military state, has been a recipe for disaster. But that’s what you’re getting with the Bush-Cheney policy and the third term of the Bush-Cheney policy incarnated in John McCain.”

Small wonder when shoping for a sympathetic interviewer, Wright settled on Moyers….

Surber’s entire post’s here.


Read the rest of Surber’s post. He has a lot more to say about St. Moyers.

I think many of you will wind up saying, “Holy Hypocrisy!”

As for Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he'll do fine with Moyers as long as he doesn't condemn "gay America" or shout "God damn PBS!"

As for "white America" and "God damn America," they're no problem. Moyers "understands" those sentiments.

Hat tip:

Charles Krauthammer & Obama’s " distractions"

Today Charles Krauthammer begins - - -

Real change has never been easy. ... The status quo in Washington will fight. They will fight harder than ever to divide us and distract us with ads and attacks from now until November.
-- Barack Obama, Pennsylvania primary night speech

WASHINGTON -- With that, Obama identified the new public enemy: the "distractions" foisted upon a pliable electorate by the malevolent forces of the status quo, i.e., those who might wish to see someone else become president next January. "It's easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit for tat that consumes our politics" and "trivializes the profound issues" that face our country, he warned sternly. These must be resisted.

Why? Because Obama understands that the real threat to his candidacy is less Hillary Clinton and John McCain than his own character and cultural attitudes.

He came out of nowhere with his autobiography already written, then saw it embellished daily by the hagiographic coverage and kid-gloves questioning of a supine press. (Which is why those "Saturday Night Live" parodies were so devastatingly effective.)

Then came the three amigos: Tony Rezko, the indicted fixer; Jeremiah Wright, the racist reverend; William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist. And then Obama's own anthropological observation that "bitter" working-class whites cling to guns and religion because they misapprehend their real class interests.

In the now-famous Pennsylvania debate, Obama had extreme difficulty answering questions about these associations and attitudes. The difficulty is understandable. Some of the contradictions are inexplicable.

How does one explain campaigning throughout 2007 on a platform of transcending racial divisions, while in that same year contributing $26,000 to a church whose pastor incites race hatred? . . .
How does he do it, indeed?

And why can’t Tom Shales, Chris Matthews, Frank Rich and other Obama flacks realize the question is very important.

Is Obama really being helped by MSM supporters who complain with him about such “distractions?”

They may not care about Wright’s raving racism and Obama’s close friendship with him, but many Americans do and rightly so.

Krauthammer finishes with this:
Would you maintain friendly relations with an unrepentant terrorist? Would you even shake his hand? To ask why Obama does is perfectly legitimate and perfectly relevant to understanding what manner of man he is.

Obamaphiles are even more exercised about the debate question regarding the flag pin. Now, I have never worn one. Whether anyone does is a matter of total indifference to me.

But apparently not to Obama. He's taken three affirmative steps in regard to flag pins. After 9/11, he began wearing one. At a later point, he stopped wearing it. Then last year he explained why: Because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

Apart from the self-congratulatory fatuousness of that statement -- as if in this freest of all countries, political self-expression is somehow scarce or dangerous or a sign of patriotic courage -- to speak of pin-wearing as a sign of inauthentic patriotism is to make an issue of it yourself.

For Obamaphiles to now protest the very asking of the question requires a fine mix of cynicism and self-righteousness. (emphasis added)

But Obama needs to cast out such questions as illegitimate distractions because they are seriously damaging his candidacy. As people begin to learn about this just-arrived pretender, the magic dissipates.

He spent six weeks in Pennsylvania. Outspent Hillary more than two to one. Ran close to 10,000 television ads -- spending more than anyone in any race in the history of the state -- and lost by 10 points.

And not because he insufficiently demagogued NAFTA or the other "issues." It was because of those "distractions" -- i.e., the things that most reveal character and core beliefs.
The entire Krauthammer column is here.

I periodically run through my head a list of my 10 favorite columnists. I try to rank order them.

Krauthammer is always among the top three – George Will and Michael Barone are usually the other two - and he almost always leads the list.

Your turn.

Basra & “the awful truth of success”

Ace of Spades, one of the best military blogs, links to this Times of London report which Ace says forces MSM to face “the awful truth of success” in Basra.

It’s a fine post built on a fine piece of Lon. Times reporting.

If you plan to send a note with links to the NYT, NPR and the rest, please remember to include Maalox.

Ace of Spades entire post is here.

Hat tip:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 24, 2008

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

Today we learn the twenty-two year old Lieutenant Churchill jumped at the chance to take leave from his regiment in India and return to London for “the season.” He visits Italy on the trip home.

From Churchill’s My Early Life:

With the approach of the hot weather season of 1897 it became known that a proportion of officers might have what was called “three months’ accumulated privilege” leave to England. Having so newly arrived hardly anybody wanted to go. I thought it was a pity that such good things should go a–begging, and I therefore volunteered to fill the gap.

I sailed from Bombay towards the end of May in sweltering heat, rough weather and fearful sea-sickness. […]

(Once in the eastern Mediterranean, Churchill left the ship to visit Italy. JinC)

I spent a fortnight in Italy, climbing Vesuvius, “doing” Pompeii and, above all, seeing Rome. I read again the sentences in which Gibbon has described the emotions with which in his later years for the first time he approached the Eternal City, and thought I had none of his credentials of learning it was not without reverence that I followed in his footsteps.

The formed a well-conceived prelude to the gaieties of the London season.
Churchill’s brother officers no doubt passed on the opportunity for home leave for two reasons. For most of them the expenses of the journey would have been a strain. And they were anxious to get on with their duties in their first overseas assignment. They knew if they did well, it would help them in their Army careers.

But travel expanses were not a concern for Churchill, and while he served bravely and with skill, the Army was for him always a means to an end located at 10 Downing Street, London.

MSM working for Obama (Post 1)

(This is the frist in a series highlighting the work of MSM journalists and news organizations helping Sen. Barack Obama.)

Today Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times begins:

The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Sen. Barack Obama's pastor -- is speaking Monday at the National Press Club as part of a divinity conference of black church leaders. Wright's decision to headline an event at the Press Club -- open to all media -- risks giving Obama's critics more fodder, as if they don't have enough already.

Meanwhile, PBS is touting an interview with Wright to be broadcast Friday on "Bill Moyers' Journal." Fresh material from Wright -- no matter how well-intended -- is not what Obama needs.

Wright's Press Club talk is supposed to be about offering perspective on black churches -- theology, history and politics, and the torrent of coverage stemming from Obama's presidential bid.

Wright's relationship with Obama triggered an uproar when video of Wright's inflammatory sermons surfaced. Faced with a crisis, Obama delivered a highly regarded speech in March about race and why he would not "disown" Wright, the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side.

But the speech, good as it was, did not push Wright out of the picture. …
Sweet’s entire story’s here.


“The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright” is also the racist and anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

But Sweet doesn’t remind us of that.

Rule number one when judging a news story, editorial or column about Jeremiah Wright: if the piece doesn’t explicitly label Wright’s virulant racist and anti-American “snippits” as what they are, and instead talks of “controversial” and “inflamatory” remarks, its spinning you and seeking to help Sen. Obama.

Notice that Sweet says public speaking by Wright is “not what Obama needs.”

Who doubts that?

But America’s public needs to hear much more from Rev. Wright.

He needs to tell us, for instance, how he came to believe that HIV/AIDS has been deliberately spead by our government? And whether he ever discussed that with Obama?

Does Wright believe he could be Obama's close friend and pastor for 20 years without Obama knowing about his attitudes toward “white America” and his “KKK America” remarks?

Sweet, instead of feeling as a journalist should, that those questions and many others need to be answered, reacts like an Obama supporter and worries they might be discussed in public.

Now, if you say, “Well, she was just trying to make the point Wright’s answers can make things more difficult for Obama, and that’s a valid point for a journalist to make,” I agree with you.

But Sweet could have said something like this: “ While there’s strong public interest in Wright’s views, many of which he’s never explained, his doing so risks giving Obama's critics more fodder.”

That sentence is fair and balanced. It helps explain why the National Press Club and Moyers/NPR were no doubt salivating to get him as a speaker/interviewee.

In the space of four short paragraphs Sweet works in two approving remarks about Obama’s Mar. 18 speech in Philadelphia.

Plug. Plug.

Craigslist & the death of newspapers

John Podhoretz has a lengthy article at Commentary examining the decline of the newspaper business.

Podhoretz uses the opening in Washington D.C. of the new glass, marble and steel $475 million Newseum - meant by the newspaper industry as both an explanation to the public of what it does and a tribute to itself - as a launch point for a lucid, informed and detailed discussion of factors affecting the decline and impending deaths of American newspapers.

The atricle's titled The News Mausoleum.

I want to share with you the portion of Podhoretz's article that deals with Craigslist. It provides a relatively brief history of how Craigslist came to be what it is and how its impacting the newspaper industry.

Here's that portion of The News Mausoleum, after which I'll make a few comments below the star line and invite your comments.

From Podhoretz - - -

The personal computer was going to be the way to reach these and other new people, if only someone could figure out how. Ironically, the breakthrough in this regard—the development in 1993 of the graphic interface called Mosaic, which gave birth to the creature known as the “website”—turned out to be far cheaper than any of the visionaries could have imagined.

Still, they were more forward-thinking than their counterparts in most other industries when faced with similar challenges. Not only did the news business know what was coming, it even knew where it was going to be hurt most severely.

Katharine Graham, who ran the Washington Post, once told me that the primary reason she was worried about the future of her paper lay with the threat posed by the computer to, of all things, classified advertising.

That conversation took place in 1987—seven years before a man in San Francisco started a local bulletin board to let his friends know about cultural events in town. His name was Craig Newmark, and he, more than any other person, is the Shiva of the newspaper business, the destroyer of worlds.

Newmark began publishing his “list” as a website in 1995, only two years after the invention of the web browser and in the only region in the United States where people had grown truly comfortable using the new medium then known as the World Wide Web.

In short order, his friends told other friends, and became popular.

His readers began posting both job listings and items for sale. These were arranged in a simple and comprehensible manner, were easily searched, and were free. The site soon expanded to other cities.

Craigslist became the first place any urban dweller under the age of thirty would go to find a used couch, a part-time job, or a roommate. In short order, realtors, too, began listing apartments and houses for rent. There arose an entire web-based industry following the Craigslist model: help-wanted sites like,, and

Classifieds have always been the most profitable element in any newspaper. They divide a broadsheet page into as many as 200 ads, each one sold separately and at full price (unlike larger display advertising, which is often sold at a discount).

The rule of thumb is that the more spaces can be sold on any given page, the more money can be made per ad. Thus, two half-page ads can be sold for more than a full page, four quarter-page pages can be sold for more than two half-pages, and so on.

The rise of the Craigslist model has devastated classified advertising in newspapers, once the only place in a city to sell a used car or list a job opening.

True, today’s newspapers have duplicated all their classified ads on their websites, and they have attempted to best Craigslist and its emulators by offering different features, new ways to search, and so forth.

But the result is harder to use, and in any case why should you spend $100 putting something up for sale in the paper when you can post it on Craigslist for free? Why list a job for $200 when you can list it for $10?

There is no answer to these questions. The only solution is for newspapers to lower their prices to Craigslist levels, but at that point someone else will come along and restore the entirely free model, and the end result will be the same.

Last year, classified advertising dropped nationally by more than 16 percent; overall, it is down 34 percent since 2000. Over the next ten years, the cash cow of any newspaper will dry up entirely.(emphasis added)

Feverishly anticipating the demise of their 19th-century industrial product, newspapers are once again renewing their efforts to take advantage, somehow, of the growth of the Internet. But they are uniquely ill-positioned to do so.

When it comes to reporting the news, their greatest competitive asset is the size of their news-gathering and news-writing staffs. But they can afford those staffs only because of advertising revenue. And, on the web, they will generate only a fraction of the advertising revenue they have been able to generate in print as an effective monopoly. Moreover, and unlike the case with every other rival they have faced in the past, the technical cost of competing with them is astonishingly low.

All they will have left is a very powerful brand—the term we now use for what used to be called a name. That brand will be worth a very great deal, but it will not be worth enough on its own to produce the kind of comprehensive news portrait that has been the defining purpose of urban and regional newspapers for a century and a half.

That is why, to many observers, it seems a certainty that these brands will eventually be bought out by Internet monoliths, like Google and Yahoo, which are hungry for “content.”

Podhoretz' entire article is here.


Some of what's hit the newspaper industry in the last 20 years it just couldn't fend off.

Podhoretz does an excellent job explaining why some of the industry's problems are not of its own making.

But some are, most notably the failure of so many newspapers to "protect the brand."

I'm constantly amazed by the number of journalists who, on the one hand, say they realize "the public's confidence in our integrity" is their most valuable asset, but who, on the other hand, don't seem to understand how to protect and strengthen that confidence in their integrity. In fact, they often kick it away.

You all know where I'm going.

Many journalists act as if the editor's Sunday column trumpeting "our resolve to bring you the news fairly and accurately" is all it takes to keep the public's trust.

They're wrong, of course. Just as technology is exposing newspapers to new competition for ad revenue, it's exposing the flaws in their news reporting.

When those flaws are pointed by readers who, thanks to technology have "the hard data," many journalists, rather than correcting, resort to spin, denial, and the like.

Thirty years ago they could get away with that. No longer.

Well, I've said enough. I'd like to hear what you have to say.

Best Hillary remark so far?

Dennnis Miller on O'Reilly last night:

"You can never count Hillary Clinton out of a fight unless it's Iraq."
Is that the best Hillary remark so far?

I'm voting "Yes."

And you?

Duke's hoax-believers & "Sokal's hoax"

Yesterday I posted concerning an article published in Social Text, a Duke University Press journal. ( Duke faculty hoax-believers are rewriting their history )

The article's authors are three Duke professors who were stout supporters of the Nifong/Duke trustee OK'ed trashing of the lacrosse team, the frame-up attempt of three innocent Duke students, and the ongoing cover-up of the frame-up attempt.

The three professors - Robyn Weigman, Wahneema Lubiano, and Michael Hardt - - raised no objection to rogue DA Mike Nifong's conduct which led to his disbarment.

They raised no objection when the CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUEL MEASURE banners were waved by a hate-filled crowd at the wall of East Campus.

And the professors raised no objection when white male Duke students were endangered by crowds on Duke's West Campus distributing Vigilante posters and shouting threats.

Given all of that and much more that could be said about the shockingly disreputable actions and inactions of professors Weigman, Lubiano, and Hardt, you might reasonably think the purposes of their article were to explain and apologize for all they did to enable the Duke Hoax frauds and injustices.

But they did no such thing.

Instead , they did what I reported yesterday:

[The three] faculty hoax-believers are now busy rewriting the history of what they did.

It's all very Orwellian. They present their fictions as facts.

And as you'd guess if you know the Duke faculty hoax-believers, the sorrow they feel is for themselves, whom they view as the real victims of the frame-up attempt they helped launch and sustain for almost a year.
Weigman, Lubiano and Hardt's article should remind anyone who cares about Duke that the University must examine why so many of its faculty not only embraced a wildly improbable hoax and engaged in odious behavior, but why so many of them still endorse that behavior, and are upset by what decent people think was only fair: the exoneration of the three falsely indicted players?

There's something else the publication of Weigman, Lubiano and Hardt's article in Social Text brings to mind: "the Sokal hoax."

When Social Text and Duke were hoaxed in 1996, President Nan Keohane promised procedures would be put in place to assure that something like that would never again happen.

But now we have not only the Duke Hoax set off by Crystall Mangum and Mike Nifong's lies, but Weigman, Lubiano and Hardt's article rewriting the history of those lies to cast themselves in a "kinder, gentler light."


Duke needs truth, especially when "Dick's senior team" and The Chronicle's editorial board tell us to MoveOn.Duke.

For any of you who don't know about the Sokal hoax, here's a start below taken from a Wiki entry. I also plan to send KC Johnson and Liestoppers a link to this post.

I'm sure they'll have much more to tell us about the Duke and Sokal hoaxes.

The Sokal affair (also Sokal's hoax) was a hoax by physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated on the editorial staff and readership of the postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text (published by Duke University).

In 1996, Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, submitted a paper of nonsense camouflaged in jargon for publication in Social Text, as an experiment to see if a journal in that field would, in Sokal's words: "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."[1]

The paper, titled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"[2], was published in the Spring/Summer 1996 "Science Wars" issue of Social Text, which at that time had no peer review process, and so did not submit it for outside review. (My recollection is that Stanley Fish had assurred Duke's administrators that Social Text was peer reviewed. But someone might want to check that with Fish and Duke. -- JinC)

On the day of its publication, Sokal announced in another publication, Lingua Franca, that the article was a hoax, calling his paper "a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense", which was "structured around the silliest quotations I could find about mathematics and physics" made by postmodernist academics.

The entire Wiki entry is here. It includes links to footnotes.

For a lot more from Sokal himself, including papers generated by his self-admitted hoax, look here.

A very big "thank you" to the Anon commenter who reminded me of Sokal's hoax and provided the Wiki link.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 23, 2008

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

Historian Douglas S. Russell tells us how Winston Churchill, a student at Harrow, became Lieutenant Churchill, 4th Queen’s Own Hussers.

Churchill entered Sandhurst on September 1st, 1893 at the age of eighteen years, ten months. He stood 5’ 6" tall.

The Royal Military is located at Camberley, southwest of London. Founded in 1741, it served the purpose of training officers for the infantry and cavalry. Sometimes referred to as Britain’s West Point, it was not in fact a four-year college, and granted no degree.

Churchill took the standard course: three terms of instruction and training over an eighteen-month period. The old school is still there today, looking just as it did in the 1890s.

The subjects were few and practical: tactics, fortification, topography (map making), military law and military administration. He also trained in drill, marksmanship, riding, gymnastics, and fencing.

Sandhurst uniforms were those of the regular army, including the red dress coat and the dress blue spike helmet.

Churchill did well at Sandhurst, graduating twentieth out of a class of 130 in December 1894. As he later wrote, "It shows that I could learn quickly the things that matter."

For the first time in his life his personal interests and his work were the same and he excelled. A distinguished career had begun.

Douglass S. Russell, Lt. Churchill,4th Queen’s Own Hussars.
The Churchill Centre.

Steyn & a free speech fundraiser

Here's a post from Instapundit I hope you'll act on before midnight tonight.

IT'S A FREE SPEECH FUNDRAISER at SteynOnline! Mark Steyn writes: "Until midnight Eastern tonight, for every copy of America Alone sold at the Steyn store, we'll give 50 per cent of the cover price - ie, our entire profit - to the legal defense funds for the five beleaguered bloggers fighting for free speech in Canada. That's 50 per cent of the cover price of the paperback, hardback, audio book (in CD, tape or MP3 format) and our America Alone Anniversary Special. And we'll also put 50 per cent of every other book, T-shirt, mug or anything else we sell today to the Freedom Five."

Plus, he'll autograph 'em. Go for it!

Duke faculty hoax-believers are rewriting their history

In March 2006 it wasn't hard to realize what the then anonymous accuser was saying happened at the Duke lacrosse party was a lie.

In the first place, how could three large male athletes and an exotic dancer all squeeze into a small bathroom in a very modest house whose former owner said he didn't see how more than two people could fit in it and have room left to brush their teeth?

And even if all four did get into the bathroom, how could the three men strangle, beat, rape, and sodomize the woman while she battled them for 30 minutes, at the end of which time all four walked out of the bathroom without any of them having a slight sprain, a simple fracture or a small cut that required even one stitch?

Who would believe such a story?

Certainly not people with enough sense to find their front doors in the morning and their way home at night.

But alas for its reputation, many members of Duke's Faculty of Arts & Sciences were ardent and outspoken hoax-believers.

And some were involved in despicable actions that included attending a rally where CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners waved and physical threats were shouted, after which 88 Duke faculty members took an ad in The Chronicle to, among other things, thank those at the rally and those who'd distributed the Vigilante posters "for not waiting."

But times change.

The NC attorney general declared the players innocent.

Duke's trustees are paying out millions to fend off lawsuits resulting from its shameful "throw the lacrosse team under the bus" strategy.

And some faculty hoax-believers are now busy rewriting the history of what they did.

It's all very Orwellian. They present their fictions as facts. And as you'd guess if you know the Duke faculty hoax-believers, the sorrow they feel is for themselves, whom they view as the real victims of the frame-up attempt they helped launch and sustain for almost a year.

Today at Durham-in-Wonderland, KC Johnson, who contributed so much to the exoneration of the Duke students falsely indicted by a now disbarred DA, tells us:

Wahneema Lubiano, whose last scholarly publication was entitled “Interview with Wahneema Lubiano,” recently took a break from her two “forthcoming” manuscripts, Like Being Mugged by a Metaphor and Messing with the Machine. Both of these manuscripts, it’s worth remembering, have now been “forthcoming”—a designation that normally means completed and under contract—for eleven years. (My goodness, KC, they'll be teenagers before you know it and old enough to go to dances on their own. -- JinC)

Lubiano joined fellow Group member Michael Hardt and “clarifying” professor Robyn Weigman to co-author a scholarly article (published in a Duke University Press journal called Social Text) designed to . . . defend the Group of 88. This piece joined Charlie Piot’s effort as at least the second “scholarly” Group apologia—providing an unintentional commentary on what passes for scholarship among the Group of 88.

Lubiano, Weigman, and Hardt had little difficulty in identifying the true victims of 2006-2007 events in Durham—themselves, and their fellow members of the Group of 88.

The victimizers? Not Mike Nifong, or Sgt. Gottlieb, or Duke administrators who failed to enforce the Faculty Handbook. Not the Duke professors who rushed to judgment or abused their classroom authority. No, the victimizers, according to the Lubiano Trio, were “the blogs.” ...
Ah, yes, "the blogs."

Didn't Mike Nifong also blame "the blogs" for his troubles?

And Duke's President Richard Brodhead has also complained about "the blogs."

Will someone please lend me a pencil? I think I can connect the dots.

I'll post again tomorrow about the latest attempt by certain Duke faculty to rewrite their history.

Be sure to read KC's post here.

NR on Bill Clinton's harsh new world: I smiled

An editorial observation in the May 5 National Review print edition (not available online):

Saved! Barack Obama's "bitter" comment came to light just in time for the old lucky dog Bill Clinton.

Bill's "explanation" of Hillary's Bosnia gaffe had threatened to overwhelm journalistic fact-checkers everywhere.

He packed so many dishonesties into so few sentences that political consultants should study it for decades as an example of economy in lying.

He said Hillary told her Bosnia story once (wrong), late at night (wrong), and immediately (wrong) apologized (wrong).

Commentators speculated that Bill has not been able to adjust to the era of 24/7 media coverage and instant fact-checking.

Actually, the most important change is that now when Bill tells lies, journalists and fellow Democrats - smitten with another liberal hero - call him on it with gusto. How disorienting.
It's a harsh new world for Mr. Clinton.

And it won't get better unless Sen. Clinton's the nominee of the liberal/leftist media's party.

Why its founder left Greenpeace

With a "thank you" to the Anon commenter who called it to my attention, I call to your attention an op-ed which appeared in yesterday's WSJ.

It's author, Patrick Moore, co-founder and former leader of the environmental activist organization Greenpeace used the op-ed to explain why he left Greenpeace.

Even if you're familiar with how often many environmental groups' policies are the result of the triumph of political and organizational considerations over science, you may be shocked by some of what Moore discloses.

Here's part of it:

At first, many of the causes [Greenpeace] championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology.

But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.

The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine.

Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health.

My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure.

Despite science concluding no known health risks – and ample benefits – from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.

Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals.

Rachel Carson's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals.

But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.

Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. ...
Moore's entire op-ed's here.

The op-ed's tag line says Moore's now chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies which at its home page describes itself as working "with leading organizations in forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, plastics and mining, developing sustainability messaging in the areas of natural resources, biodiversity, energy and climate change."

Moore ended his op-ed with this reminder:
We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy.

WSJ: McClatchy "swims in debt," posts 1st quarter loss

The WSJ reports today:

McClatchy Co. [, which owns the Raleigh News & Observer,] reported a loss for the first quarter, weighed down by steep advertising declines, and said it plans to buy back bonds as the company swims in debt.

McClatchy's first-quarter ad revenue skidded 15%, one of the steepest declines in the newspaper industry. Stiff cost-cutting wasn't enough to offset the ad decline, and overall revenue dropped nearly 14% to $488.3 million. ...
There's more here. (reg. required)

According to AOL Financial McClatchy's stock (symbol MNI) at 10:50 AM ET today, 4/23/08 was trading at 8.17, a new 52-week low and down more than 75% from its 52-week high of 34.22.

Recent posts concerning McClatchy's financial condition and job cuts at the N&O include:

McClatchy credit rating falls but CEO does nicely (Apr. 3, 2008)

At Raleigh N&O job cuts loom (Apr. 17, 2008)

McClatchy's still five stars for some. (Apr. 20, 2008)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 22, 2008

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

Churchill in India, the Sudan, and South Africa.

In Parliament, Downing Street, and the Admiralty.

Pacing in his study, working in bed and singing in the bath.

Churchill seems at one time or another to have been everywhere.

Everywhere except the kitchen.

His long-time private secretary Anthony Montague Browne relates this amusing incident involving a brief conversation:

“…at Downing Street during the early 1950s:

Winston: ‘I shall go to Chartwell next weekend.’

Clementine: ‘Winston, you can't. It's closed and there will be no-one to cook for you.’

Winston: ‘I shall cook for myself. I can boil an egg. I've seen it done.’

Churchill's threat was received in dumfounded silence on all sides but it was not carried out. His gastronomic priorities clearly prevailed!”
Folks, I need to run now. The egg timer just rang.

Douglas J.Hall, Man of Kent, Kentish Man: Churchill, Chartwell, and the Garden of England. (The Churchill Centre, Finest Hour, No. 111, Summer 2001)

A warning sign for Obama & the Dems

Liberal pundit E.J. Dionne's column today is meant to cast Sen. Obama in the best possible light. It's title asks: Is Obama JFK or Adlai Stevenson?

But what some Dionne readers will realize is the column inadvertently flashes a warning sign for Sen. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, which is very close to giving him its presidential nomination.

Let's look first at some of the column. Then I'll say why it's an inadvertent warning sign, after which I hope you'll share your thoughts.

Dionne begins - - -

The result of the 2008 election may come down to how voters decide to define Barack Obama. Is he Adlai Stevenson or John F. Kennedy? Is he a detached former law review editor or a passionate agent of change? Is he an upscale reformer focused on process or a populist who will turn Washington and the country around?

One of the central lessons of the Pennsylvania primary campaign is that Obama's personality is now far more important than either Hillary Clinton's or John McCain's. That's true not only because voters have a longer history with Clinton and McCain, but also because so much of the energy and novelty of 2008 is the product of Obama's rapid breakthrough to wide acclaim.

As a result, almost all of the turns in this contest have been driven by how Obama presented himself and how voters perceived him.

When Obama is in control of his own image, his moments of detachment and irony are celebrated as bearing remarkable similarities to those of the cool, shrewd and confident JFK, who won in 1960. When doubts about Obama creep in, those same characteristics are disparaged for resembling the diffidence and distance of Stevenson, who lost in 1952 and 1956.

At its most exciting moments, Obama's campaign has been compared to the great crusades for change in our country's history. His appeal to African-Americans and the young of all races has led enthusiasts to see his effort as the reincarnation of Robert F. Kennedy's brief, glorious and tragic 1968 run for the presidency.

But when Obama falls into the long pauses he is sometimes given to in debate, the wordy answers he periodically offers to questions, or the visible impatience he exhibits toward the less-elevating aspects of politics, he seems far more the law review editor, the professor, the classic good-government guy whose reach to society's hard-pressed is limited.

The entire column's here.



Folks, we can all agree with Dionne that: "The result of the 2008 election may come down to how voters decide to define Barack Obama."

But the voters may not accept the narrow "JFK or Adlai Stevenson" choice Dionne offers.

They may say something like: "Can't we also consider whether we want the most liberal member of the Senate in the White House?"

They may also ask: "Did either JFK or Stevenson have a close friend and pastor like this Rev. Wright we've been watching on You Tube? What's he mean, 'KKK-America?'"

Dionne doesn't mention either Obama's voting record - more liberal than Teddy Kennedy's - or Wright's raving racism and anti-Americanism. And Tony Rezko isn't mentioned either.

Here's the closest Dionne can bring himself to mentioning Obama's extreme liberalism and his close associations with Wright and Rezko - all sure to be problems for him if he's the Dems' nominee:

Without mentioning last week's ABC News debate, much assailed for becoming a staging point for one attack on Obama after another, the candidate was clearly courting a backlash against "a politics that's all about tearing each other down."
It's telling that Dionne avoids matters voters will pay attention to in the Fall, and instead suggests voters will consider Obama in terms of Dionne's over-intellectualized characterizations of two leaders who departed the national scene nearly a half-century ago.

And it's a warning sign that neither Obama nor the Dems have faced up to the very real problems he'll carry into the Fall election if he's the nominee.

That's what I think.

Now it's your turn.

Butler's last Chronicle column: Comments

Kristin Butler today under the lede, Goodbye, farewell and amen, begins: "Today marks my 58th-and final-Chronicle column as a Duke undergrad."

Some excerpts from the column follow. Then below the star line you'll find tribute comments.

This from Kristin - - -

Writing 45,240 words over four semesters (yes, I counted) hasn't always been fun, and it certainly hasn't been easy. I've watched many a post-deadline sunrise, and this week was no exception (sorry Ryan).

But being a columnist has also been a singular honor, and today I write to acknowledge that. For two years now, I have been privileged to work alongside a group of dedicated (and often anonymous) copyeditors, over-editors and correspondents, all of whom have worked long, tedious hours to bring my words to print. I am extraordinarily grateful for their sacrifices. ...

But as I reflect on my last 57 efforts, many of which offered blistering critiques of Duke administrators and Durham officials, I wonder if the real reason I put pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard, I suppose) each week has always come through.

So for my parting words, I thought I'd reiterate what I hope has been obvious all along: I love Duke with all my heart and soul, and every word I've written-from the fiercest denunciation to the mildest critique-represents an honest attempt to better this University.

Believe it or not, blasting Duke and Durham officials week after week has brought me no joy. (OK, there were a few times when it was a little fun.)

But I believe the seriousness of the issues I've dealt with-discriminatory, incompetent police work; racist land restrictions; contaminated water; zoning boondoggles; discriminatory health care practices; and financial and administrative opacity, among others -demanded a strong, aggressive approach, and I regret that I haven't had more success in encouraging reform. ...

The entire column's here.



There are already a good number of tribute comments on the column thread.

Here are three of them:

First, from an Anon;

Thanks Kristin, for your hard work and research and guts and love of Duke. Tuesday's won't be the same without your column to turn to.

This from a commenter ID'ing as "faculty:"

It is rare to have a student columnist who presents largely unknown factual material and accompanies it with direct and thoughtful commentary. You did it. You did so especially well during the tense periods of the lacrosse saga, and then on many other topics thereafter, such as admissions. A strong institution depends on strong independent analysis and direct but thoughtful criticism, and you have provided both. Thank you for you many outstanding columns. Godspeed.


And my comment:

No sensible person could ever doubt your genuine concern for Duke. Or your moral courage. They always came through.

If President Brodhead, "Dick's senior team," and the trustees had paid more attention to what you wrote, Duke would have stood for justice and fair treatment of its students instead of engaging in a "throw them under the bus" strategy that enabled the frame-up attempt, brought shame to the University, and will cost Duke many tens of millions of dollars.

Like Churchill in the 30s, you've been an "outsider" But you were both so because you cared deeply and wisely.

Free people and history now acknowledge our debt to Churchill.

I hope in time the Duke community and the University's officialdom come to appreciate your service to Duke.

When most were silent or foolish or worse, you represented Duke at its best.

There's an Irish blessing that begins: "May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back."

Those words carry my sentiments as I join others in thanking you and wishing you well in all you do.



Folks, I hope many of you will leave your own comments on the thread here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 21, 2008

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

Kathleen Hill, Marian Holmes, Elizabeth Layton and Peter Kinna don’t get much mention in the history books, but we owe them a lot.

During World War II one or another of them was almost always within a few feet of Churchill during the times he worked alone on state matters.

The women would sit with fingers poised over a typewriter keyboard ready to record anything Churchill wished to dictate; Kinna would sit with steno pad and pencil in hand.

Churchill could be working in bed or on a train, ship, or plane. Something in a newspaper story would catch his eye and he’d want to ask a cabinet minister about it. He had only to name the minister and ask the question. It was all recorded and typed.

In a minute or two Churchill could review a nicely typed minute he'd just dictated. (I hope you’ll pardon how I put that. – JinC)

And when he read a lengthy policy paper, say, from the Foreign Office?

Churchill called out questions and made comments as he read. By the time he reached the end of the document, a first draft of his responses to the F.O. paper was ready for his review.

The system, which Churchill devised, of always having someone at the ready to record his thinking, questions and directives; and then to send them in written form to the appropriate parties, had a great deal to do with Churchill’s success in leading the British war effort.

It enabled him and the government to keep to a minimum the bureaucratic confusions and conflicts inherent in verbal communication with all its after the fact "but as I remember it, you said she said he said the PM said."
Martin Gilbert, Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite. (pgs. 10-12); and Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939-1941. (See index for Kathleen Hill, Marion Holmes, Elizabeth Layton, and Peter Kinna)

Michael Moore Speaks Out

Remember docu-fiction writer and producer Michael Moore?

His Fahrenheit 9/11 was produced to help the Democratic Party win the 2004 presidential election.

It’s theme? President Bush was a traitor who secretly abetted people involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Dems, who tell us they're always looking “to unite America,” showered Moore with testimonials, a gala Fahrenheit 9/11 opening in DC, and a seat in the party’s “Honor Box” at its national convention in Boston.

Moore was seated beside former President Jimmy Carter.

The Dems got that right. What a perfect pair Carter and Moore are to represent the party.

Moving on, yesterday Moore released a bombastic and vile letter urging Democrats in Pennsylvania to vote for Sen. Barack Obama. Here’s part of what Moore said:

This sleazy attempt to smear Obama was brilliantly explained the following night by Stephen Colbert. He pointed out that if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!

Yes, Senator Clinton, that's how you sounded. Like you were nuts.
Folks, far be it from me to get in the middle of a Dem "family feud."

I'll just say Moore's letter is typical of the thinking and statements of millions of Democrats. You can read it here.

DNA evidence: the ideologues “enemy”

Bill Anderson has just posted an outstanding column at Lew Rockwell explaining why the DNA evidence that did so much to prove the innocence of the Duke lacrosse players is still important today.

It’s needed to refute the class, race, gender ideologues who still insist “something happened.” Bill’s column includes this:

In the dishonest pursuit of rape charges against innocent people, Nifong, the Durham Police Department, and their supporters, discounted literally all science in this investigation.

It was the classic "Heads, I win, Tails, you lose" proposition, in which any DNA evidence that would have demonstrated their case was acceptable, but any DNA evidence that would be exculpatory was illegitimate and useless.

These people will continue to mouth the same lies, as their pursuit of these young men had to do more with a political agenda than any pursuit of truth. However, I do hope that for those who have had doubts about the outcome of this case, that this article will help change their minds.

Police and prosecutors had every reason to investigate this case and gather as much evidence as they could. The DNA testing itself was some of the most complete of any case anywhere. There literally was no stone left unturned, yet investigators found nothing, nothing. Thus, they turned to lies and lawbreaking in an attempt to keep this case alive, and they found many willing allies who long ago had come to believe that all "truth" is political in nature.

The criminal portion of the Duke case is over. There should have been criminal investigations of many of those on the prosecution and police side, but none have been undertaken for obvious political reasons. What are left are the lawsuits, and I would urge readers to work through the many claims laid out in the court documents. They are powerful, and they tell a story….
It’s too bad the ideologues can’t accept the fact that the “something” that “happened” was an elaborate frame-up attempt which many of them helped enable.

It’s too bad the ideologues can’t accept there’s something terrible happening right now: the cover-up of the frame-up attempt they helped enable.

But, now that I think about it, if the ideologues accepted the truth, they wouldn’t be ideologues, would they?

And if they accepted the truth, there’s no telling what might happen. They could lose tenure and government grants.

And what about their memberships in MoveOn.Duke?

One thing’s sure: Bill Anderson’s outstanding column is here.

Hat tip: Friends of Duke University

Truth for Swift Boat Veterans

That’s what Henry Wickham at American Thinker provides in a post that begins:

If the words "swift" and "boat" must be combined and turned into a verb, then let us insist on its proper use.

The word as a verb originates from the campaign undertaken in 2004 by the Swift Boat Veterans in response to the John Kerry presidential candidacy.

The word means, or should mean, the exposure of a fraudulent autobiography of one seeking political office or public influence. It is the correction of a personal and professional record that has been selectively and dishonestly compiled, as the Swift Vets did so effectively to that of John Kerry.
George Orwell would have loved Wickham’s opening, don’t you think?

Wickham continues:
Although swiftboating may be a neologism, there are other recent examples of this phenomenon. Justus Reid Werner, in a seminal Commentary article, exposed the fraudulent life story created by Edward Said to advance his political agenda. Dan Rather's macho claims to be an "ex-marine", when he did not finish marine basic training, were also revealed to be fraudulent. This is swiftboating in its truest sense.
Now, about this paragraph we've just read: IMO leftists will hate it, don't you think?

And speaking of leftists, Wickham says:
The Left is now redefining and, therefore, misusing the term swiftboating, and this misuse has become one of the many notable aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign. Democratic candidates and their partisans in the blogosphere use this word to mean smearing their candidates for public office with lies and innuendo.

For some blog sites, the word is now synonymous with "screeds," the "politics of smear and fear," and "character assassination of proven effectiveness." Recently, some candidates have angrily declared that they will not be swiftboated.
I’m with Wickham, except I’d have worked in some examples of MSM “redefining.” There’s plenty of it.

Back to Wickham:
To understand better the origins of this term and the actual meaning of swiftboating, one can do no better than to read To Set the Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs, and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler.

In 2004 John Kerry chose to make his service in Vietnam as a supposed war hero the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. In a scene now reminiscent of Groucho Marx's addresses to Fredonians in Duck Soup, who can forget John Kerry's infamous "reporting for duty" speech to the Democratic Convention in 2004?

This strategy adopted by Kerry actually made sense when one examines his time-serving and singularly undistinguished career in the Senate. Here is a man who ran for President for no reason other than he could afford to.

To Set the Record Straight chronicles the actions of the galvanized Swift Vets and their campaign to expose the fabrications of John Kerry. In far more detail than can be mustered in campaign television ads or press releases, this book documents Kerry's scant service record in Vietnam and his disgraceful behavior after he returned to the United States. We see a more thorough account of:

• Kerry's dubious "wounds" and purple hearts,

• his night under attack in Cambodia that could not have happened,

• the "heroic" rescue on the Bay Hap River that had little in common with the account of Kerry's colleagues or the physical evidence,

• Kerry's highly publicized and false claims of wide-spread genocide perpetrated by American soldiers in Vietnam,

• the usefulness of his 1971 Senate testimony to the North Vietnamese as a device to demoralize American POWs.

These accounts and the examination of the facts and circumstances compiled by the Swift Vets set the record straight as well as can now be done. (John Kerry still refuses to release all of his military records, despite promising to do so.)

These corrective accounts of the Swift Vets are compelling and are the very definition of swiftboating.

The term deserves the positive connotation of "whistle-blowing."
There’s more to Wickham’s post and I encourage you to read it all.

Saturday I posted concerning one instance of an MSM reporter’s wide of the mark characterization of the Swift Vets. The post’s here.

Wickham’s done a much, much better job than I did of laying out the truth about the Swift Vets.

I plan to send him an email telling him that.

If you go to his post, you’ll see at its end a link that sets up an addressed email to him.

John Fund: ABC did the debate right

In his WSJ column today, John Fund again demonstrates why he’s one of the best reporters in America. He takes on the liberal/leftist MSMers who’ve been sliming George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson for daring to ask Sen. Obama questions that were more then just restatements of Obama’s talking points.

Fund leaves no doubt as to why the questions that have upset Obama’s media flacks needed to be asked, and why Obama needs to answer them.

Fund begins:

George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson of ABC News weren't just criticized for their tough questioning of Barack Obama during last week's Democratic debate. They were flayed.

Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker called their approach "something akin to a federal crime." Tom Shales, the Washington Post's TV critic, said the ABC duo turned in "shoddy and despicable performances." Walter Shapiro of Salon magazine said the debate had "all the substance of a Beavis and Butt-head marathon."

Most of the media mauling consisted of anger that the ABC moderators brought up a series of issues that had surrounded Mr. Obama since the last Democratic debate, a long seven weeks ago.

They included his remarks that "bitter" Pennsylvania voters "cling" to religion, guns and "antipathy toward people who aren't them" and his relationships with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayres, an unrepentant former member of the bomb-planting Weather Underground group. Mrs. Clinton also came under some fire over her made-up story of coming under sniper fire in Bosnia.

According to liberal journalists, all these topics are irrelevant. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo said they were "frivolous items . . . that presumed the correctness of Republican agenda items." Mr. Obama agreed, dismissing the items brought up by ABC as "manufactured issues." …
Yes, and the NY Times' Frank Rich said bringing up Sen. Obama’s long and close relationship with Rev. Wright was “guilt by association McCarthyism.”

Folks, suppose a candidate for a major party's presidential nomination had a pastor who for years had attacked gays from the pulpit, ranted and condemned “gay-America,” and shouted “God damn gays." And suppose the candidate had developed a close friendship with that pastor, selected him to officiate at his wedding, and brought his children to the pastor’s church for religious instruction.

Do you think Hertzberg, Shales, Rich and the rest would be attacking Stephanopoulos and Gibson for asking the candidate about his relationship with the pastor?

Further along Fund provides some information Hertsberg, Shales and other Obama supporters aren’t telling their readers:
As for the debate focusing on issues Republicans are likely to bring up this fall, I don't recall any major media vitriol directed at the moderators of several GOP primary debates that featured questions skewed towards left-wing presumptions. Whether or not candidates believe in the theory of evolution hasn't been a campaign issue this year, but candidates were asked in one MSNBC debate to raise their hands if they supported it.

Similarly, in the infamous Des Moines Register debate of last December, moderator Carolyn Washburn asked the candidates to raise their hands if they thought global warming was caused by humans.

When Fred Thompson refused to comply with her demand for a show of hands, asking instead for a minute to explain his position, he was turned down. Later, he suggested that the GOP candidates get together for a substantive round-table discussion in which they – and not journalists – would set the agenda. He was roundly criticized in the media for such effrontery. At least Messrs. Gibson and Stephanopoulos didn't treat the Democratic candidates like schoolchildren.

Given that Mrs. Clinton has been subjected to far tougher treatment than Mr. Obama in many debates, the sudden fury directed at ABC is best explained as anger that a prosecutorial tone was suddenly directed at a media darling.

John Harris and Jim VandeHei of conclude that the heat directed at ABC News over its debate "is the clearest evidence yet that the Clintonites are fundamentally correct in their complaint that [their candidate] has been flying throughout this campaign into a headwind of media favoritism for Obama." …
Harris and VandeHei have it right.

Here’s Funds wrap:
But Mr. Obama, who sports the most liberal voting record of any senator according to the nonpartisan National Journal, has avoided much criticism of that record by implying that any conventional critique of his issue positions represent the tired politics of the past. If he had his way, questions about character and questions about issues would be off-limits.

Then there is the matter of race. Every American should be pleased that this year a black candidate has eschewed the demagogic appeals of a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton and knitted together a diverse group of enthusiastic supporters.

But Mr. Obama shouldn't get gentler treatment than other candidates because of his race. So far he has, as too many commentators tiptoe around him as if they were walking on eggshells. Just look at the late-night comedy shows, where jokes about Hillary Clinton's fibbing and John McCain's age have been frequent and memorable. But until perhaps very recently can anyone recall any comparable jape about Barack Obama's foibles?

Mr. Obama has said he wants to be judged and treated as any other candidate would be. The hostile establishment-media reaction to ABC's debate shows that he has not been.

The presidency is too important to allow that kind of blinkered mentality to govern the rest of this year's election coverage. Bravo to ABC for finally asking a lot of questions many Americans have been talking about.
Fund’s entire column’s here.

I’ll sign agreeing with every word of it.

How about you?

Barone on Pa. primary

Michael Barone in today's WSJ concludes his analysis of factors influencing the Democratic presidential primary with this:

Pennsylvania's demography – elderly, downscale, Catholic – clearly favors Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Her full-throated though occasionally overfrank support from Mr. Rendell helps her in his core constituency, the Philadelphia suburbs, which were favorably impressed by his record as Philadelphia mayor from 1991 to 1999 (the city, half black, will presumably vote for Barack Obama).

Western Pennsylvania, much like northeast Ohio but with fewer blacks, and the "T" – the area between the two metro areas plus the whole northern geographic half of the state – should be a piece of cake for her.

Polls tend to show Mrs. Clinton running stronger in Pennsylvania against John McCain than Mr. Obama. And the latter's comments that "bitter" voters in small towns will "cling" to "guns and religion" will probably not help him. It undercuts Mr. Obama's claim that he will be a stronger candidate in the general election.

Mrs. Clinton will claim that her primary victory (if it turns out to be that) in the nation's sixth largest state shows that she is the choice of the people – especially the white working class which has been the bedrock constituency of the Democratic Party since the 1930s. But the white working class is steadily declining as a Democratic constituency.

The demographic composition of the Pennsylvania electorate, which makes it more typical of the America of the 1950s than the America of today, means that its presidential value is limited to its 21 electoral votes (down from its peak of 38 in 1912-1928).

Pennsylvanians have kept quiet during most of our history. But they will make some noise when they vote tomorrow – and may make more difference than they have since the days of James Buchanan and Benjamin Franklin.
Barone’s entire column is here.

It’s a great column filled with interesting social, economic and political information as regards both Pennsylvania’s past and present.

Don’t miss it.

Hat tip:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

McClatchy’s still five stars for some

Last Thursday I posted At the N&O job cuts loom.

McClatchy News, the parent company of the Raleigh News & Observer whose biased, frequently false and racially inflammatory Duke lacrosse "rape scandal” coverage did so much to launch and sustain the Nifong/DPD frame-up attempt, has huge financial problems.

McClatchy’s stock has plummeted, Moody rates its bond “junk,” and top executives are cutting jobs at the N&O and other papers in its chain.

But you may be asking: “What about McClatchy’s senior executives? How are they doing? I hope they’re at least doing well.”

Yes, Virginia, they are.

This year McClatchy’s board of directors voted CEO Gary Pruitt a six figure performance bonus from stockholder funds.

And now we read at Kevin Gregory’s McClatchy Watch:

A McClatchy executive with expensive tastes created a stir when he visited the Raleigh News & Observer last week.

McClatchy employees in Raleigh are a little stressed, and who can blame them. McClatchy's stock price is down 70 percent over the past year, the company has instituted cost-cutting measures, and layoffs and buyouts are in the works at other McClatchy papers.

Last week executives in Raleigh spoke with staff about stiff measures including possible layoffs. It's no big surprise that morale is awful.

So when Howard Weaver, McClatchy's Vice President for News, visited The News and Observer last week, employees were more than a little miffed to learn he was staying at the pricey and luxurious Umstead Hotel and Spa.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa is definitely a luxurious place to stay. Web site here.

At a meeting with local McClatchy employees, Weaver was called out by Joseph Neff, who happens to be an investigative reporter for the News & Observer.

Neff asked why he was staying in a five-star hotel while the company was having financial struggles and low-level employees were being asked to sacrifice.
There’s much more to Gregory’s post, including Weaver’s explanation that his Umstead stay was really a "cost-cutting" move.

Read all about it here and look for more soon.

Meanwhile, a big hat tip to Gregory for an outstanding post filled with news I doubt we’ll read in the N&O.

If Nifong's not involved before Mar. 26, then what?

Readers Note: When I refer in this post to the Durham Police Department, I have in mind only certain police officers and their supervisors up the chain of command to Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge and the Chief during the Duke lacrosse frame-up attempt, Steve Chalmers, now retired.


At the trial that led to his disbarment, Mike Nifong testified he first learned of the Duke lacrosse case late on the afternoon of Mar. 23, 2006 when he discovered the signed NTO on his office copier. He said he told Durham Police on Mar. 24, a Friday, that he’d be handling the case and arranged to meet with the two DPD case investigators the following Monday, Mar. 27.

Nifong testified to no other involvement in the case between his Mar. 24 phone call and the Mar. 27 meeting with the DPD investigators, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Ben Himan.

But Raleigh News & Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan says on Mar. 26 someone(s) at the N&O passed information to her from Nifong which she then used as the basis for her column the next day. ( for more on Nifong serving as an N&O anonymous news source, see posts here and here)

An astute, frequent commenter who’s followed the case closely recently said he agreed Mike Nifong was involved in the case on Mar. 26 but not before.

With all respect to the commenter, while I can’t yet prove Nifong was involved before Mar. 26, I feel certain he was.

But in this post I want to consider some of what it means if, in fact, Nifong had no other involvement in the case before Mar. 26 than what he testified to at his trial.

Again, I don’t believe that, but let’s consider some of what it means if he didn’t.

It means first and most important we have to ask who was running things between Mar. 14 when Crystal Mangum first began telling her wildly improbable and self-contradictory lies and Mar. 25 when the N&O published a story it said was about a night which ended in “sexual violence” and Duke’s President Richard Brodhead issued the first of his public statements in which he withheld the extensive and irrefutable information he had concerning the lacrosse players’ cooperation with police.

On Mar. 14 and perhaps even for a portion of Mar. 15, both the Duke University Police Department and DPD were conducting investigations.

But by Mar. 16 and thereafter through Mar. 25, DPD was running the case.

Now allow that for at least part of the time beginning on Mar. 16 DPD was conducting a legitimate police investigation. Yes, by Mar. 16 the evidence was overwhelming that there were no crimes committed as alleged by Mangum. And the evidence of innocence grew stronger as the days past.

But for the sake of fairness and to remove any grounds for disagreement with what I’ll say in the next paragraph, I’ll concede that for a portion of the time period we’re considering a legitimate police investigation was taking place.

However, by Mar. 24 DPD was working against the real evidence it had, lying in documents it presented to Judge Stephens to support the NTO, and making false statements to the press and public to hide the absence of real evidence, support the manufacturing of bogus evidence, and trash and intimidate the lacrosse player.

There’s only one proper description for what DPD was doing: frame-up attempt.

And that was on Mar. 24.

So if, except for his phone call that day to arrange the Mar. 27 meeting, Nifong had no involvement in the case before Mar. 26, then he didn’t conceive and launch the frame-up attempt. It was already well underway before Nifong “came on board.”

If you haven’t done so recently, take another look here at the N&O’s Mar. 25 story about what the N&O said was a young black mother’s “ordeal” which ended in “sexual violence.”

The major, and almost entirely bogus, elements of the public part of the frame-up attempt which Nifong began shilling on Mar. 27 – the player’s refusal to cooperate, the “authorities” determination to crack their “wall of solidarity,” the players racial animus, their excessive drinking, etc., etc - are all in that story which was put to bed on Mar. 24.

So if Nifong didn’t get involved before Mar. 26, who in DPD gave the OK for the frame-up attempt: both its evidence suppression/manufacturing and lying “investigative” part and its carefully scripted, false and racially inflammatory public part?

One thing's certain: there’s no way Sgt. Gottlieb, even with the support of his immediate supervisors, could have taken the frame-up attempt as far forward and as public as it was on Mar. 24 without the approval of DPD supervisors at the highest level.

That means that then DPD Chief Chalmers, or in Chalmers’ absence (he was often absent; his mother’s illness was given as the reason) Deputy Chief Hodge, or more likely both approved what DPD did.

It’s also very possible Chalmers and/or Hodge “reviewed” what DPD was doing with Durham City Manager Patrick Baker. How much the “review” included of what was really going on is another matter.

The explanation most often given for the frame-up attempt is that Nifong wanted to win a hotly contested primary and used the Duke lacrosse case to stir racial animosity and gain the support of the black community.

But if Nifong didn’t really get involved in the case until Mar. 26, then he didn’t conceive the frame-up or set it in motion. He simply took over from DPD the framing attempt it had conceived and was carrying out.

To wrap up: I’m confident Nifong was involved before Mar. 26, but if he wasn’t, then the most commonly held explanation for the frame-up attempt falls apart; and we must ask ourselves why DPD conceived and carried the framing attempt as far as it did without Nifong ever being involved.

Carter pays respects to a Monster

Almost all of America’s MSM has ignored former President Jimmy Carter’s tribute to “the father of terrorism,” Yasser Arafat.

From Cybercast News Service:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter laid a wreath of red roses at the grave of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat during a visit to the West Bank City of Ramallah on Tuesday.

"He and Mrs. Carter and his son Jeff wanted to pay their respects to President Arafat," Carter's trip director Rick Jasculca told Cybercast News Service. …
The entire CNS story’s here.

Now this from the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby’s Nov. 11, 2004 column:
Yasser Arafat died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves.

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg.

In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster.

In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea!

Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich?

Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity. …
A person with reasonable judgment and a bit of moral fiber wouldn’t lay a wreath at Afafat’s tomb.

I don’t think very much of Jimmy Carter. Still, I was surprised he’d do such a thing.

As for why MSM has mostly ignored the wreath laying as a news story and failed to condemn it editorially, I think the answer’s this: most of MSM doesn’t want to call attention to what Carter did for fear it will further upset many American Jews who are traditionally Democratic voters, but are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the party.

The ending of Jacoby’s column is powerful, touching and to be remembered:
It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children.

On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released.

When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.
Jacoby’s column is here.