Saturday, May 03, 2008

Obama, Wright & polls: unanswered questions

Since I started blogging three years ago, I’ve said Michael Barone is one of the best election analysts out there. Here he is today at

Is the bottom falling out for Barack Obama? It's too early to say that, but there are some disturbing signs.

On the positive side, superdelegates still are breaking his way. Rep. Baron Hill, whose southern Indiana district almost certainly will vote for Hillary Clinton, came out for Obama. So did fellow Hoosier Joe Andrew, who previously endorsed Clinton and who was named Democratic national chairman by Bill Clinton in the 1990s. (James Carville may have another name for him.)

Obama is still well ahead among delegates chosen in primaries and caucuses, and he is not very far behind in superdelegates, either.

But what about the voters?

Here there are some ominous signs. The latest Fox News poll, conducted after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's appearance at the National Press Club, showed Obama's favorable/unfavorables at 63 to 27 percent among Democrats, compared to Hillary Clinton's 73 to 22 percent. Suddenly she's not the only one with high negatives.

And 36 percent of Democrats say they would be disinclined to vote for Obama because of his longtime relationship with his former pastor.

There's more bad news in The Pew Research Center poll of Democrats. Obama's national lead among Democrats is down from 49 to 39 percent to a statistically insignificant 47 to 45 percent.

These results are not outliers.

The Rasmussen tracking poll showed Obama leading Clinton 49 to 41 percent before Wright spoke to the National Press Club. Afterward the numbers were 46 to 44 percent in favor of Clinton.

The Gallup Poll had Obama leading Clinton 50 to 41 percent the night before the Pennsylvania primary. The results reported May 1 were Clinton 49 percent, Obama 45 percent.

Obama's standing as a general election candidate also seems to have taken a hit. …
The rest of Barone’s analysis is here.


Folks, when I looked at these polls results, I thought about three questions pollsters may be asking and may even have reported on, but which I’ve not seen reported on anywhere. Yet I think they're on people’s mind and are very important.

1) - - - Has Sen. Obama explained to your satisfaction how he could be a member of Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years, develop a close friendship with him, ask him to officiate at his wedding, and bring his children to Wright’s church for religious instruction, and not know Wright's been saying for years what he said at the National Press Club, including that America’s government deliberately spread the HIV/AIDs virus?

2) - - - Do you think asking Question #1 above is a sign the person asking it is racist, or at least influenced by racist considerations?

3) - - - Do you believe Sen. Obama is a “post-racial” candidate?

NC’s Dems’ Pres primary: what’s happening?

Let’s look at excerpts for today’s NY Times's report of the NC Democratic presidential primary to be held May 6. I'll intersperse some reporting and comments.

NYT’ excerpts are in italics; my reporting and commentary are in plain.

The NYT begins - - -

Not long ago, Mr. Obama was perceived to hold such an advantage that some Democrats here wondered whether Mrs. Clinton would bother to compete vigorously. But the candidates intensified their efforts in the final weekend — both appeared here on Friday evening — and Mr. Obama was eyeing a return on the eve of the election.

“This primary election on Tuesday is a game changer,” Mrs. Clinton told a crowd in Kinston. “This is going to make a huge difference in what happens going forward. The entire country — probably even a lot of the world — is looking to see what North Carolina decides.”

One of the surest signs a candidate thinks she/he can improve her/his standing in a state in the closing days of a campaign is how much time they spend there. With a must win race in Indiana Sen. Clinton is spending time here today and will be here tomorrow. I’m also hearing she may be here again on Monday.

Her commitment of time her is a sure sign her internal polling is telling not only that she’s closing the gap but that a lot of undecidedes are learning her way and with some high-energy, high-visibilty campaigning in the Old North State she can cut into Obama’s lead.

While a more vigorous fight is under way in Indiana, which also holds its primary election on Tuesday, supporters of both candidates agreed that the race here had taken on new urgency. Mr. Obama held a single-digit lead in several polls, which have narrowed in the last two weeks.

I did something with the polls results I’ve not seen anyone else do.

I want to and its page for NC Dem pres. primary poll results.

I calculated the average all 10 polls RCP lists in which all voter preferences were calculated based on results obtained beginning Apr. 1 and ending 4/28, the day before Sen. Obama forcefully denounced Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club comments.

The “oldest” of the 10 polls in terms of data gathering is a Rasmussen poll reporting data collected 4/3. Obama had a 23-point lead.

The most recent of the 10 is Survey USA’s which reported dated collected from 4/26 to 28 and a 9-point lead for Obama.

The average of all 10 polls is a 17-point lead for Obama over Clinton.

I then average the 7 polls RCP lists as of today at 2 PM ET which have collected data beginning on 4/29, the day Obama denounced Wright’s remarks, up through yesterday, 5/2.

The average of those 7 polls is a 7.3-point lead for Obama.

Before arriving in North Carolina on Friday evening, Mr. Obama told reporters: “We’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I won’t deny that.”

We can all agree with the Senator about that.

But at the state Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner here, the cavernous room exploded with energy when Mr. Obama walked onto the stage after Mrs. Clinton, who received a rousing, yet far more tepid, reception. …

Folks, since lapel pins have been an issue in this campaign I’ll tell you as a NC-based blogger that if you’d showed up at the dinner with a Confederate flag lapel pin there would have been comments at least.

On the other hand, I doubt too many objected that the Dems’ dinner honored two of their iconic figures – Presidents Jefferson and Jackson – slaveholders both.

It’s an interesting world.

Many voters in the state were just beginning to turn their attention to the Democratic primary at the very moment Mr. Obama’s glow was dimming. Tuning in to their televisions, they saw a candidate who bristled his way through a debate last month in Pennsylvania and, more recently, an incessant repetition of incendiary statements by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., with whom Mr. Obama has now broken. …

About what the Times calls “incendiary statements.” An awful lot of us in North Carolina are calling them racist and anti-American.

And weren’t those “statements” what the Times was telling us just days ago were “snippets taken out of context?”

Advisers to Mr. Obama concede he lost support among some white voters in the wake of the storm surrounding Mr. Wright. Since then, the campaign has sought to increase its appeal to white voters. At Mr. Obama’s first stop in the state on Friday, a rally in Charlotte, most seats in the Cricket Arena were filled with black supporters. Yet many of the seats directly behind Mr. Obama — in the view of news cameras — were filled by white supporters. ...

So that’s how the staff of the “post-racial” candidate arranged the seating.

But who’s really surprised? The only thing that surprises me is the Times reported it. For that I give the NYT a hat tip.

The entire Times story's here.

Folks, there more I want to comment on in the Times story which you can read in full here.

I’ll be back this evening.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 2, 2008

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

Churchill had his critics. One was Field Marshal Alan Brooke (later Lord Alanbrooke), Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of WW II.

Brooke kept a diary during the war. Here are some of historian Christopher Harmon's comments on aspects of it concerning the Churchill-Alanbrooke relationship.

Another reason for (his) criticism of Churchill is high-minded and strategic, if not necessarily correct. Alanbrooke felt that this admittedly-great man had no strategy; as late as December 1941, when Alanbrooke became C.I.G.S., he remained "appalled" by the "lack of a definite policy....Planned strategy was not Winston's strong card. He preferred to work by intuition and impulse."

Proving he does possess a sense of humor, Alanbrooke twice formulates the problem as antithesis: "God knows where we would be without him, but God knows where we shall go with him," says an entry for 1941. Three years hence he writes: "Without him England was lost for a certainty, with him England has been on the verge of disaster time and again." […]

What Alanbrooke never adds to such accounts of conference room combat is that Churchill would never overrule the Chiefs of Staff when they agreed among themselves. Arguing, testing and debating were part of proper civilian oversight. Alanbrooke missed the point. He thought he was saving Britain from wild variants of hare-brained strategies.

Alanbrooke's diaries are remarkably silent about most of the many things these two war horses agreed about. Both believed Germany must be defeated before Japan. Both emphasized Mediterranean operations, where British and Allied troops retook North Africa, Sicily, and southern Italy.

Both felt in 1943 and 1944 that Alexander's army in Italy was neglected and condemned to fighting without real offensive power by various Pacific ventures and the unnecessary plan to invade southern France (Dragoon). Both believed in what is today called "joint warfare," and pushed air power.[…]
Alanbrooke, by the way, was an avid birder and photographer. Shortly after he returned to England from the Casablanca Conference he called a staff officer into his office. The officer was expecting to hear of war plans; instead he was shown photo of a bird which Alanbrooke said was "quite rare really. I was very lucky."

Folks, as for you, I hope you're very lucky and have a nice weekend.


Christopher Harmon, "Churchill and Alanbrooke." Finest Hour (No. 112)

The latest economic news: questions

This form the Washington Post today, with my questions below the star line.

WaPo reports - - -

The U.S. economy shed jobs in April for the fourth consecutive month, but at a slower-than-expected pace that helped improve the unemployment rate, the federal government reported today.

At the same time, a jump in factory orders and new action by the Federal Reserve helped buoy U.S. stock markets, which appeared headed for a second day of gains.

Employers eliminated 240,000 jobs over the first three months of the year, and analysts had expected a comparable drop of perhaps 80,000 positions for April.

But new data from the Labor Department showed that total employment was down just 20,000 for the month, as health- and education-related businesses and others in the service sector continued their steady expansion of payrolls. The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent, from 5.1 percent the month before.

The data was reported on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Whether today's spate of data represents a positive turn for the economy or a pause in the downward trend, Wall Street took heart from the news -- at least initially. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 100 points after the first hour of trading, before falling back.

The Dow yesterday closed above 13,000 for the first time since the start of the year, after a 190-point rally driven by a slight drop in oil prices, recent corporate profit reports, and a sense that the worst has passed in the credit and mortgage crisis. ...

The rest of WaPo's story is here.

I'm sorry whenever hard working people lose their jobs. I hope the unemployment numbers continue to drop.

Now questions:

Where's the recession Dems and so many in MSM have been telling us about?

Don't recent polls show most Americans believe the country's already in a recession, with millions of them believing it's a deep one?

How did they come to believe that?

And will we see any headlines reporting the Dow closed at a high for the year, followed by stories about what that may be telling us about the economy?

And how do the Dems feel about this latest good economic news?


Just asking.

Jesse Jackson steps in

Under the lede "Jackson call for Obama-Wright 'cease fire'" Ben Smith at says:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson just now expressed his hope for a "cease-fire" between Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"It was a painful break he had to make — a break between pastor and politician, parishioner, who have different agendas," he said after a press conference in New York.

"There’s so much pain in this whole process," he said. "It may be premature to get a reconciliation — at least we can have a cease-fire and get back on the agenda items that matter to the American people."

Jackson was in New York's City Hall to call for increased U.S. aid for Haiti to meet the mounting food crisis there.

What’s a break between pastor and politician-parishioner “who have different agendas?”

Is Jackson saying Sen. Obama only broke with his close friend and pastor of 20 years, the racist and anti-American Jeremiah Wright because Obama is a politician?

Lots of people believe that’s the case. Does Jackson?

Or does Jackson believe, as Obama's recently said, that Obama really and truly doesn’t agree with Wright?

Does Jackson agree with Obama when the Senator says that, absolutely, his break with Wright has nothing to do with his political self-interest, but is instead a manifestation of his love for America and his values?

Chronicle’s “Boobs Allison;” false credentials – Update

Readers Note: It will help you understand the post below if you're familiar with the following: Chronicle editor David Graham’s Apr. 23 column here in which he outed me after The Chronicle (TC) had promised me anonymity; the thread of his column which includes my first response to him and a Cc. to incoming Chronicle editor Chelsea Allison; and two JinC posts Duke's Chronicle outs JinC and A Chronicle editor responds to outing in which last year’s TC editor Ryan McCartney comments and I respond. The posts' threads are extremely interesting. I hope you take a look at them, too.


In an email last Friday to outgoing Chronicle (TC) editor David Graham with a Cc. to incoming TC editor Chelsea Allison I asked, among other things, whether the “Boobs Allison” bylined on an Apr. 1 TC front-page story outing me was, in fact, Chelsea Allison or whether others at TC had used her surname without her knowledge or consent.

I also posted the email on the thread of Graham’s Apr. 23 column in which he also outed me.

Graham’s column is here; its thread is here.

If you scan the thread, you’ll see the “Boobs Allison” matter is much commented upon.

Some commenters discuss serious issues relating to how TC treats the identify of people to whom it pledges anonymity. For other commenters, “Boobs Allison” is simply an opportunity for them to exercise what they seem to think is wit. I'm sorry Allison has been the object of such "wit."

I’ve sent follow-up emails to both Graham and Allison asking them to explain and resolve the matter.

I’ve heard nothing from either of them.

I’ve also noted in posts and in an email to Graham that the academic credentials he listed for me in his column are not mine. I’ve asked him where he got them and to correct them.

I’ve heard nothing back from Graham.

My current plans, subject to change as events dictate, are as follows:

1) -- I won’t make any further effort to get Graham and Allison to explain the “Boobs Allison” matter. A week and multiple requests are enough. Instead, I’ll publish in the next day or two a stand-alone post describing only the "Boobs Allison" matter and noting how it hurts TC, something I, and I’m sure many of you, regret.

2) -- I’ll make one final set of attempts to get an explanation and correction from TC regarding its twice publishing as mine a set of academic credentials which aren't. I’ll email on the credentials matter Graham, Allison and Ryan McCartney, the 2006/07 editor and this year’s editorial page editor. I'll post tomorrow letting you know more about the emails.

3) -- Early next week I’ll publish a stand-alone post dealing only with the matter of TC's publication of what it led readers to believe were my academic credentials.

Most of you, particularly those of you who are academics or whose employment is based on the possession of certain academic credentials, will understand how important it is that I make clear to everyone the falsity of TC’s claim and that I’ve made no such claim as TC published.

I’ll end this post with a comment in full AMac made on a JinC post thread.

Amac does a splendid job of concisely and logically summarizing a good deal of what Graham, McCartney and others at TC have been doing and some of my responses to it.

Here’s AMac - - -

Thanks for sharing this tale in all its detail. It is not an encouraging snapshot of the state of ethics at The Chronicle.

Readers shouldn't even have to click on a link to read the email that Chronicle editor David Graham decreed was off the record.

Here is that [email]letter [from Graham], in its entirety, from your 8/9/07 blog post:

Readers Note: To avoid any chance of misunderstanding, the [Off the record]which begins Graham's email letter was, of course, Graham's. - - - JinC


[Off the record] I guess I'm curious as to what sort of response you were seeking. I believe the coverage that we provide throughout the school year will speak for itself and would caution against any reading of the column that would suggest that we won't aggressively report on issues related to the case.

I hope you enjoy and are enlightened by it and imagine I'll be hearing from you about it as we go along.


David Graham
Editor, The Chronicle
President, Duke Student Publishing Company
Plainly, Graham's letter is content-free, unless he believed that the act of corresponding with you was itself damning. This is a strange variant of what we could call Seinfeld Confidentiality: an off-the-record demand that is imposed, not agreed to, and that is about... Nothing.

So, Graham seems to accede to this account:

-- Previous editor Ryan McCartney granted you confidentiality;

-- Graham learned of McCartney's undertaking and pledged to honor it;

-- In August, you wrote to Graham;

-- In August, he emailed a boilerplate paragraph to you, demanding off-the-record treatment without prior discussion;

-- You did not adhere to this nonexistent agreement;

-- Graham stewed about your disobedience for eight months;

-- In a call to The Chronicle subsequent to the pledge of confidentiality given to you, Graham read your phone number off Caller ID and did a reverse lookup;

-- Unknown persons at The Chronicle outed you in the guise of an April Fool's story;

-- David Graham outed you again in his April 23 Chronicle column.

This narrative doesn't make sense on its own terms. How could Graham's use of Caller ID explain his decision to out you, in light of his prior agreement to respect your desire to remain pseudonymous?

By any reasonable standard, this is despicable and unethical behavior by Editor Graham and his colleagues at The Chronicle.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Churchill Series – May 1, 2008

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

Readers Note: May 1 was and remains a holiday observed in Europe by decent people in many countries there. They wish no more than a day of rest and relaxation; a "workers' holiday."

But May 1 was also the official holiday of the Bolsheviks and Soviets; the day they celebrated their destructive ideology and displayed their military might. There are still millions of unrepentant communists in Europe (they now call themselves "socialists") who long for the old Red May Day parades and the return of the Soviets.

The Churchill Series today “observes” Red May Day with a repost that appeared in January 2006.


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

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

Churchill response to those people contained both analysis and prophesy

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

A little campaign humor

If you're one of those who believes we shouldn't laugh at our political leaders, especially if they're Dems, and most especially if Sen. Hillary Clinton is the object of the humor, you don't want to go to Ed Morrissey's post at Hot Air.

But if you do go, be sure to read the first comment following the "pharmaceutical" ad for people "suffering from ED."

It's all here.

Hat tip: Mike Williams

Kristin Butler Wins National Award

From Editor & Publisher:

Kristin Butler, a senior English major at Duke University, has won the $1,000 first-place prize in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' annual student-scholarship contest.

NSNC Education Chair Russell Frank said the second-place winner is Julia Boriss, a junior psychology major at Indiana University who receives $500; and the third-place winner is Matias Ramos, a senior political science major at UCLA who receives $250.

The winners were selected by Boston Globe/Washington Post Writers Group columnist Ellen Goodman, who'll receive the NSNC Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's June 21-24 conference in New Orleans. Butler will be the guest of the NSNC at that meeting.

A preliminary judge in the contest was columnist Suzette Martinez Standring, the immediate past president of the NSNC.
Butler richly deserves the honor as those of you who’ve read her columns know.

Following publication of her final Chronicle column (see here), I published a tribute post. ( see here)

It included these comments taken from her final column's thread:

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.



Be sure to take a look at the comment thread of the tribute post where others expressed their appreciation and admiration for Kristin’s outstanding work.

Earlier this year Kristin received the prestigious Melcher Award. You can read more about that here.

This post contains a column Kristin wrote about the now disbarred Mike Nifong four days before he won the Nov. 2006 election for Durham DA. It’s a “Butler classic.”

During these past two years when most were supine, Kristin Butler stood up for Duke.

Troubling poll numbers for Obama

Jennifer Rubin at Contentions posts concerning them. I comment below the star line.

Here's Rubin - - -

New NBC/Wall Street Journal and NY Times/CBS polls have plenty of data to worry Obamaphiles. In the head-to-head national averages Barack Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton is shrinking fast. (And many of these polls surveyed voters in significant part before the latest Wright eruption.)

A few tidbits from the NBC/WSJ poll: Obama has dropped 5 points in the “has background/set of values I identify with” and 48% find Obama’s associations with Wright and Bill Ayers a major or moderate concern.

From the NY Times/CBS poll: Obama now is tied with John McCain while Clinton beats him in the head-to-head match ups. And things are heading in the wrong direction on other counts as the Times explains:

Fifty-one percent of Democratic voters say they expect Mr. Obama to win their party’s nomination, down from 69 percent a month ago. Forty-eight percent of Democrats say Mr. Obama is the candidate with the best chance of beating Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, down from 56 percent a month ago.
Obama still leads Clinton in both of these polls. But what will the polls say after the public has digested the latest epsiode in the Wright-Obama debacle?

The real news is now Clinton has more than Harold Ickes’ hunches to discuss with the superdelegates. The Times lets on that “some party leaders and superdelegates said the Wright controversy has given them pause, raising questions about Mr. Obama’s electability in the general election next fall.”

Imagine that. Superdelegates are precisely the type of people (elected official, professional poll watchers, scared of their constituents) who are the most likely to “pause” ( which may be Times-speak for “break out in a cold sweat”) when they see a political firestorm and don’t know if all the shoes have dropped. ...

There rest of Rubin's post is here.


I listened to pollster Scott Rasmussen last evening. He said his latest polling report for North Carolina does not yet reflect voter reaction to Wright's National Press Club remarks and Obama's condemnation of them. Rasmussen polls reports are based on a mulit-day average of voter response.

Some people I've talked to since Monday say they weren't planning to vote in next Tuesday's primary but now are as a result of Wright's remarks.

Interesting times.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 30, 2008

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

Horse racing is a popular sport in both Britain and America. But it has a social status and acceptance over there that’s it’s never acquired here.

Queen Elizabeth breeds and races horses as did the late Queen Mother. Race week at Ascot is a time when politics is put aside and government leaders spend days at the track and the social events surrounding race week.

Now what does all this have to do with Churchill?

Historian Piers Brandon tells us:

In the summer of 1949, Churchill embarked on a new venture - he bought a racehorse. On the advice of Christopher Soames [his son-in-law who’d married his youngest daughter Mary in 1947], he purchased a grey three-year-old colt, Colonist II. It was to be the first of several thoroughbreds in his small stud.

They were registered in Lord Randolph's colours - pink with chocolate sleeves and cap. (These have been adopted as the colours of Churchill College.) Churchill was made a member of the Jockey Club in 1950, and greatly relished the distinction.
Colonist was a small, gutsy horse who surprised the experts by winning many important stakes races. He became a great favorite with the British public.

Churchill College, a part of Cambridge University, was founded as Britain’s national memorial to Churchill and houses his papers.

I think Churchill, with his puckish sense of humor, would have relished the idea of the great and ancient Cambridge University giving the nod to its newest college bearing his and his father's racing colors.

McClatchy reports Hillary’s latest: It’s a “clip and save”

The McClatchy News Co. whose Raleigh News & Observer’s grossly biased, racially inflammatory and often false reporting led the media pack supporting now disbarred Durham DA Mike Nifong’s obvious frame-up attempt reported yesterday:

Hillary Clinton loves to tell the story about how the Chinese government bought a good American company in Indiana, laid off all its workers and moved its critical defense technology work to China.

It’s a story with a dramatic, political ending. Republican President George W. Bush could have stopped it, but he didn’t.

If she were president, Clinton says, she’d fight to protect those jobs. It’s just the kind of talk that’s helping her win support from working-class Democrats worried about their jobs and paychecks, not to mention their country’s security.

What Clinton never includes in the oft-repeated tale is the role that prominent Democrats played in selling the company and its technology to the Chinese. She never mentions that big-time Democratic contributor George Soros helped put together the deal to sell the company or that the sale was approved by her husband's administration.

In response, the Clinton campaign said that Bill Clinton's administration had gotten assurances at the time it approved the deal that production would remain inside the United States, and that the shift of jobs to China didn't occur until under the Bush administration. …
The entire McClatchy story’s here.


Although McClatchy’s working hard for Sen. Obama, and yesterday's story reflects that, if Sen. Clinton wins the Dems' presidential nomination, McClatchy will do what it can to help elect her.

So McClatchy’s not likely to run this story again in October when it would make a good reference for a letter to the editor.

So if your planning to vote against Clinton in November should she be the Dems nominee, my advice is “clip and save” this story in print form or to your computer files.

JinC Commenters, Obama & "the Wright stuff" list

Earlier today I posted Obama explanation, HRC closing in NC & more.

I want to post here two comments from its thread and then offer some comments of my own.

Comment from Red Mountain - - -

Yes, a few people have been able to convince many of the undecided voters that Obama is a bad man. Of course, these people happen to support Clinton or McCain or just don't want to see a black man as our president.

The race now is not about the issues, it is not about who is the best for our country, what it is really about is guilt by association, guilt by ancestry, and guilt by a choice of pastor. Obama is a good man and he is being persecuted. Clinton has lost what little chance she had to win against McCain even if she manages to steal the nomination.

This nation is poorer for this primary, rooted in attacks, inuendo, and accusations. For months the media has called for Obama to do more about condeming the statements of his former pastor, now that he has done so, these same people are using that against him as well.

Now this comment from Tarheel Hawkeye

When people say they don't like what you say or how you act, it's very easy to say they just don't like your religion or your skin color or your ethnicity. That way you don't have to justify your wrongheadedness or your antisocial behavior.

We're seeing this tactic employed by Redmountain who has decided that anyone who disagrees with Mr. Obama is doing so because Mr. Obama is half caucasian or because they're Clinton or McCain partisans. I can readily accept the latter, but I'm fed up with the anti-Black bias whining.

Mr. Obama has been accepted at face value and has run a good campaign even though he wears half-Black skin. It's only recently, when people have been exposed to his hypocrisy and his lack of honesty that they are beginning to migrate away from his candidacy.

I'll grant there are some Whites who wouldn't vote for a Black candidate under any circumstances.

Will Redmountain explain how that differs from the monolithic Black support for Mr. Obama?

It's clear there are also Black folks who wouldn't vote for any White candidate.

Let's cease the race-baiting. There are several Black people in public life for whom I would vote in a heartbeat, but Mr. Obama ain't one of them.

My comments:

Many of you who comment here have for the last month or so been very critical of Rev. Jeremiah Wright for making remarks which until yesterday many in MSM have been referring to as “snippets.”

You’ve also asked repeatedly how Sen. Barack Obama could choose someone like Wright for a close friend, bring his children to Wright for religious education, and last year contribute $26 thousand to the church where Wright preached hatred and anti-Americanism.

For doing what you've done, you’ve been called racists here. Elsewhere, many Obama supporters and many in MSM have also called people like you racists.

Now, Sen. Obama is saying about Wright’s “snippets” the very things you’ve said about them, only Obama and his supporters no longer call them “snippets.”

In fact, since yesterday Obama’s been condemning Wright’s remarks in far stronger language than most of you’ve used.

Questions: Will anyone now still call you racists? Will anyone who has apologize for doing so?

It was ridiculous and worse that anyone would call you racists for condemning remarks that were themselves among the vilest racist remarks I’ve heard in a long time, and no less vile for being cheered by Wright’s listeners and excused, even justified, by Obama’s supporters and those in MSM who flack for him and the Dems.

I admire what you did. It’s what all Americans should've been doing. It’s what more Americans will do now that Obama has spoken out as he did yesterday.

Folks like you who refused to accept the “just snippets” nonsense and spoke up for America’s values helped bring us to yesterday.

Yes, I know Wright played the key role in bring us to yesterday, but Obama’s response yesterday likely wouldn’t have happened if he and his campaign didn’t realize there are millions who feel as you do.

By speaking up at blogs, in letters to the editor, to pollsters and in other venues you and others like you reminded Team Obama you were out there and you cared.

I was glad to hear Obama say what he said yesterday. I'm not sure right now how what Obama said yesterday will affect the race for the Dems' presidential nomination, but I’ve no doubt it was good for America.

Most Americans will view what Obama said yesterday as taking care of only one item on a long list he might label “the Wright stuff.”

Other items on the list must include Obama's explaining how he could “choose someone like Wright for a close friend, bring his children to Wright for religious education, and contribute $26 thousand to the church where he preached hatred and anti-Americanism.”

Item # 1, of course, must be a credible explanation of how he didn’t know what Wright is and was preaching all these years. However, that might prove to be Mission Impossible.

I’ll bet many of you have items you’ll urge the Senator to add to “the Wright stuff” list.

Editor Graham & JinC: two comments

From the thread of Chronicle editor David Graham’s Apr. 25 column in which he outed me, here are two comments in there entirety and without further comment other than you'll see I left the question mark off my last question. Sorry about that.


John in Carolina is a one-note creep.

Tell it like it is Graham!
John in Carolina

"Tell it like it is Graham!"

Many people, myself included, wish he'd do that.

Do you think there's any chance he'll explain whether the "Boobs Allison" bylined on the Apr. 1 front-page story is next year's Chronicle editor Chelsea Allison or whether others at TC used her surname without her knowledge?

I first asked Graham that question in an email last Friday. I sent a Cc. to Allison. I sent Graham a follow-up email yesterday.

I haven't heard back from either of them.

"Tell it like it is Graham!"

Do you think he'll tell us why TC has never asked President Brodhead and the trustees to explain their silence when racists threatened Reade Seligmann at the Durham County Courthouse?

Do you think Graham will tell the Duke and Durham communities why TC has itself never spoken out editorially to condemn the racists and express support to Seligmann and his family?

Many of us wish Graham would tell it like it is.

Do you think there's a chance he will.

John in Carolina

Simon on Obama's opportunism and race baiters

Roger L. Simon is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, novelist and blogger, and the CEO of Pajamas Media. Today he posts a brief, wise, and eloquent essay "Sharpton and Obama: There’s No Business Like Race Business"

Simon's essay is something for which Americans seeking to make this a better country should give thanks.

Simon begins - - -

Al Sharpton criticizing Barack Obama for urging non-violence in the Sean Bell verdict protest puts into dramatic relief the major racial conflict of our time – and it is inside the African-American community, not outside.

Outdated racial profiteers like Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and now the formerly obscure Reverend Jeremiah Wright are clinging for dear life to their reactionary views that have impeded progress in their own community for years. (emphasis added)

Unfortunately for all of us, Obama — whose instincts should have been better on this matter — has found himself trapped between appeasing these race baiters (and their constituencies) and taking what is truly a progressive (note the use of the word) stand against them because of his twenty year association with Reverend Wright.

The candidate’s speech on racism, so lauded in the press, actually worsened the situation by implying an equivalency between the reverend’s excrescences and his own grandmother’s fear of being mugged. That Obama could even think this way makes us wonder about his ability to lead us out of these particular woods.

And woods they are indeed. The situation is close to tragic and this election year shows a real chance of running off the rails in a way few of us would have predicted. It has a potential for pushing race relations seriously backwards in a society that was already relatively open handed.

People do not like being accused of racism when it is not there. The original attraction of the Obama campaign is that it was post-racial and now it is anything but.

This is not the fault of America or of the American people. It has been caused by the race baiters and the spinelessness and opportunism of Barack Obama. He made his compact with the race-baiting devil twenty years ago and now, in the immortal words of Reverend Wright, “it has come home to roost.” ...

The rest of "Sharpton and Obama: There’s No Business Like Race Business" is here.

Thank you, Roger Simon.

About "long primaries"

I want to call to your attention in its entirety an Anon comment just made on the thread of Obama explanation, HRC closing in NC & more.

Thank God for long primaries!!

Obama explanation, HRC closing in NC & more

Folks, I need a default sentence:

Blog friend Mike Williams has sent another outstanding electronic letter which I want to share with you.
Here's most of the one he sent today.

You’ll know by now that last night in NC, Obama threw the Rev. Jeremiah Wright under the bus. Why did Obama wait so long? Byron York, writing at the NRO:

The most damaging thing Rev. Jeremiah Wright said at the National Press Club on Monday had nothing to do with God damning America, or AIDS, or chickens coming home to roost. It had to do with whether Barack Obama is telling the American people the truth about himself.

“Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls,” Wright told the Press Club. “Preachers say what they say because they’re pastors. . . . I do what pastors do. [Obama] does what politicians do.” A few days earlier, in an interview with PBS’s Bill Moyers, Wright said Obama, in his Philadelphia speech attempting to calm the controversy created by Wright’s sermons, had said “what he has to say as a politician.”

That, not Wright’s wide-ranging social theories, is what forced Obama to denounce Wright at a hastily arranged news conference Tuesday. By questioning Obama’s honesty, Wright was striking at the heart of the Obama campaign. The most damaging thing Wright could ever say is that he knows, based on his long personal relationship with Obama, that Obama agrees with him but can’t say so publicly for political reasons....

Richard Baehr at American Thinker adds:

So why did this particular performance by Wright finally create the need for Obama to speak up more forcefully? That answer is simple: falling poll numbers in Indiana, North Carolina and nationally, and to that, we can safely conclude, Barack Obama takes great offense….

NC’s governor recently endorsed Clinton, and some polls now have her within five percentage points of Obama. Not long ago NC was forecast as an Obama blowout.

Let’s end it for today with President Bush, who finally takes a reporter calling him a liar to his face to the woodshed. Go here. Sure wish he’d been doing this since day one.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 29, 2008

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

Churchill loved his bath. It was a rare day when he didn't take at least one.

Then came the day in post-war Britain when Churchill, leading the opposition in the House of Commons, heard the Government's Minister of Fuel and Power, Hugh Gaitskell, suggest to the House that the Government encourage people to take fewer baths as an energy saving measure. Gaitskell told the House:

"Personally, I have never had a great many baths myself, and I can assure those who are in the habit of having a great many that it does not make a great difference to their health if they have less."
Well, you can guess how Churchill took that. Here's his response to Gaitskell
"When Ministers of the Crown speak like this on behalf of HM Government, the Prime Minister and his friends have no need to wonder why they are getting increasingly into bad odour.

"I have even asked myself, when meditating upon these points, whether you, Mr. Speaker, would admit the word 'lousy' as a Parliamentary expression in referring to the Administration, provided, of course, it was not intended in a contemptuous sense but purely as one of factual narration."
If you'll forgive a pun, the House showered Gaitskell with laughter.
The quotes and background are found at The Churchill Centre's Speeches and Quotes page.

Obama now “outraged” by Wright’s comments

The AP reported a few hours ago:

Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he was outraged and appalled by the latest comments from his former pastor, who asserted that criticism of his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and the U.S. government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus.

The presidential candidate is seeking to tamp down the growing fury over Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his incendiary remarks that threaten to undermine his campaign.

"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday," Obama told reporters at a news conference.

After weeks of staying out of the public eye while critics lambasted his sermons, Wright made three public appearances in four days to defend himself. The former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been combative, providing colorful commentary and feeding the story Obama had hoped was dying down. …
The rest of the AP story is here.


I’ll bet many of you are old enough to remember when those comments that have “outraged “ Sen. Obama were just little “snippets.”

Now they’re all grown up and threatening “to undermine his campaign.”

So Obama has switched from saying he could never “disown” Wright to throwing him under the bus.

Obama’s not called “the change candidate” for nothing.

Since Obama made his remarks in Winston-Salem which is just down the road from Durham, I wonder if Obama used the same bus Duke used to throw its lacrosse team under when Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong began telling lies?

More soon.

Voter ID, Campaign '08 & Iraq

Here's a great post but I can't take any credit for it. Blog friend Mike Williams put it together. Someday I may convince Mike to start blogging himself. He'd be a great one. Now Mike:

Many of you will remember allegations that, with the help of voter fraud in Illinois and Texas, John Kennedy stole the 1960 presidential election from Richard Nixon. Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter identification law, which requires voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls. The ruling was 6-3, with Justices Ginsburg, Souter and Breyer dissenting. (They argued that the law “threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting rights of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens.”)

Most pundits were surprised that Justice Stevens voted with the majority. John Fund, opining in the WSJ Online:

But this case…also revealed a fundamental philosophical conflict between two perspectives rooted in the machine politics of Chicago. Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the [majority] decision, grew up in Hyde Park, the city neighborhood where Sen. Barack Obama – the most vociferous Congressional critic of such laws – lives now. Both men have seen how the Daley machine has governed the city for so many years, with a mix of patronage, contract favoritism and, where necessary, voter fraud.

That fraud became nationally famous in 1960, when the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's extraordinary efforts swung Illinois into John F. Kennedy's column. In 1982, inspectors estimated as many as one in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during that year's race for governor to be fraudulent for various reasons, including votes by the dead.

Mr. Stevens witnessed all of this as a lawyer, special counsel to a commission rooting out corruption in state government, and as a judge. On the Supreme Court, this experience has made him very mindful of these abuses. In 1987, the high court vacated the conviction of a Chicago judge who'd used the mails to extort money. He wrote a stinging dissent, taking the rare step of reading it from the bench. The majority opinion, he noted, could rule out prosecutions of elected officials and their workers for using the mails to commit voter fraud….

Jonathan Adler, at the Volokh Conspiracy:

With this experience Justice Stevens was quite ready to accept that the state had sufficient interests in election integrity and voter confidence to justify the Voter ID rule. Thus, Stevens was unwilling to void the Indiana law on the basis of speculative claims about the law's potential impact. As Stevens' opinion stressed, "on the basis of the record that has been made in this litigation, we cannot conclude that the statute imposes 'excessively burdensome requirements' on any class of voters." (Slip. Op. at 18, emphasis added).

Further, Stevens had little patience for his colleagues who were more willing to rely upon speculative claims or evidence that was not before the Court, writing in a Footnote (that responded to Justice Souter's dissent): "Supposition based on extensive Internet research is not an adequate substitute for admissible evidence subject to cross-examination in constitutional adjudication." (Slip Op. at 19, FN 20).

To some it may be obvious that requiring photo identification to vote is an undue burden on the right to vote. To Justice Stevens, that is a claim that has to supported with record evidence, and such burdens need to be weighed against the state's interests….

And Michelle Malkin adds this little gem: “You may recall that the woman who challenged the voter ID law in Indiana was, um, fraudulently registered to vote in two states.

As Hot Air’s Allahpundit notes, “Republicans on one side, Democrats — forever vigilant about the integrity of the electoral process except when it’s inconvenient — on the other.” At Big Lizards, Dafydd has an interesting theory on why the Dems are so opposed to this law. As Fund mentions above, Obama certainly is.

Speaking of Obama, remember this gaffe from last August?

Asked whether he would move U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism elsewhere, he brought up Afghanistan and said, "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Earlier this month, Obama drew criticism when he said he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission, if warranted.

Now, courtesy of The Boston Globe [H/T Instapundit], we have – drum roll please – “Hillary Strangelove”:

AMERICANS have learned to take with a grain of salt much of the rhetoric in a campaign like the current Democratic donnybrook between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Still, there are some red lines that should never be crossed. Clinton did so Tuesday morning, the day of the Pennsylvania primary, when she told ABC's "Good Morning America" that, if she were president, she would "totally obliterate" Iran if Iran attacked Israel.

This foolish and dangerous threat was muted in domestic media coverage. But it reverberated in headlines around the world….

The editorial concludes:

While Clinton has hammered Obama for supporting military strikes in Pakistan, her comments on Iran are much more far-reaching. She seems not to realize that she undermined Iranian reformists and pragmatists. The Iranian people have been more favorable to America than any other in the Gulf region or the Middle East.

A presidential candidate who lightly commits to obliterating Iran - and, presumably, all the children, parents, and grandparents in Iran - should not be answering the White House phone at any time of day or night.

Wow! Moving right along, if you’re wondering how the MSM is going to “protect” Obama from his self-destructing spiritual mentor, Ed Morrissey has your answer:

It appears that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright may have officially crossed over from partisan target to widespread embarrassment between the hours of 6 pm ET Sunday and noon ET yesterday. In response to the new media offensive (in every sense of the word) launched by Wright, the nation’s pundits on the Left have blown a big raspberry back in his direction. Finally, it appears, the audacity of lunacy has come to their attention….

Here Ed cites some examples from the likes of Bob Herbert , Eugene Robinson, and E.J. Dionne. He continues:

Amazing how this Road to Damascus moment all came at the same time, although to differing degrees. All of these commentators came to see Wright as a narcissist, egotist, provocateur, and a shameless self-promoter in the last 48 hours. Why? In reading the pieces, their ire and scorn come exclusively because of the damage he does to Barack Obama, and with the exception of the Post editorial, not because what he says is ridiculous….

Not one of these columnists mentions his defense of Louis Farrakhan as misunderstood and his anti-Semitism as misreported. Not one of them mentions his strange views on neurology and the supposed synaptic differences between white and black brains. None of them offer even a questioning sentence on Wright’s theories on “tonality” or on the purportedly racial differences between marching bands, let alone his silly and offensive demonstrations of them on stage. Only the Post mentions his repeated assertion that the American government created AIDS as a means for genocide against people of color.

Why not? Because to point these out would be to confirm Wright’s status as a racial demagogue and borderline lunatic, which would really damage Obama….

Ya think? And finally, yes, Virginia, Iran is killing Americans in Iraq. From Hugh Hewitt, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division:

You see, what we’re trying to do, Hugh, is to trace the rat line back where it came from. See, I’ve lost 147 soldiers under my command since I’ve been here in the last fourteen months. Many of those soldiers were killed by explosive foreign penetrators that are all traced back to Iran, or by Iranian rockets. So what we do, in everything that we do, for example, we found so many weapons caches over the course of the last month, and in those weapons caches we found Iranian rockets and Iranian mines. So we’ve got detailed biometrics. We check for fingerprints, and we traced those back to where they started. We’re following the money back to Iran, we’re following the munitions back to Iran, and then looking for those people that are trained in Iran as well. So it’s a major piece of our operations, to block that Iranian influence.

Maybe Clinton’s not so far off the mark, after all.


Editor Graham's first column; my response

Readers Note: With the academic year about to end and given Chronicle editor David Graham's outing of me in his last column, I thought some of you would be interested to read the first column Graham wrote as editor.

It was published in the July 25, 2007 Chronicle under the title "Living up to the billing." It follows in full, after which below the star line you find the response I sent Graham which I published in the post To The Chronicle's new editor on Aug.5, 2007


Here's Graham - - -

Dear readers,

Sitting in a cramped Raleigh hearing room in June with reporters from The Associated Press, New York Times and Washington Post, I listened as a North Carolina State Bar commission announced the disbarment of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

I don't think anyone would question that it was a watershed moment for the University. All of us dealt with the repercussions of the lacrosse case, whether we were students being harangued by television cameras on the way to classes, faculty members coming under fire for their response to the accusations or incoming classes deciding whether it was worth it to attend a school dogged by scandal.

For those of us who write for The Chronicle, it was also a very exciting time, as we competed and rubbed elbows with top-notch reporters and got to follow a story of national interest. At the same time, it became almost a single focus for us, consuming much of our time and the pages of this paper.

But with Nifong out of office, charges dismissed and most of the loose ends of the case tied up, both Duke and The Chronicle are ready to move on.

As the community looks to regain some sense of normalcy, the staff of The Chronicle's 103rd volume is excited to continue the excellent standard set by our predecessors in the last two years in providing news to the entire University community.

I am extremely proud to be part of the strong tradition of one of America's best college newspapers, but as we get back to the bread-and-butter of standard daily news, we know there are also areas where we can improve.

My last anecdote, I swear: While I was working on this column, I was at a party where someone, unaware that I even worked for the paper, stormed mightily to me about The Chronicle's shortcomings and its (he thought) disturbingly central role in student life. "People think all the news that happens is in The Chronicle," he complained. "There's so much they don't get."

And it's true. Although I'm delighted every time I see anyone pick up a copy, he was right. We've missed important events and trends, and we have not always represented the voice of faculty, of staff and of graduate and professional students as extensively as that of undergraduate students. And sometimes we make straight-up errors.

Although undergrads will always be our main focus, I am eager to hear from members of all parts of Duke-whether it's suggestions for things we should be covering or complaints about our failings. I take seriously the responsibility to correct any shortcomings, but I can only do that if I am aware of them.

We also hope to provide, in addition to high-quality hard news stories, in-depth looks at issues affecting the University-whether academic or social, local or national.

In the spirit of looking forward, we've worked to assemble a newspaper that focuses on some of the trends that will shape campus life during the next 12 months.

It's a year of fresh faces in the Allen Building, as the University adds news administrative positions and replaces the holders of others; learn a little about them in our news pages, along with analyses of how some recommendations of the Campus Culture Initiative might shape the face of campus over the next few years. Also, take a look at where Duke fits in the current national debate over college rankings.

Dig into Sportswrap for updates on what new women's basketball head coach Joanne P. McCallie has been up to for the summer and clues on six athletes to watch in the next year.

Pull out recess, The Chronicle's weekly arts and entertainment section, which kicks off its 10th anniversary volume with an eclectic mix for advice on what to wear, what to listen to and the hottest new eateries in the Bull City-plus an interview with the man who brought us, well, his junk in a box.

The Chronicle's news perspectives magazine, Towerview, returns with an even sleeker look and its annual look at 10 people and things to watch for the new year, from a team of Dukies trying to foment Internet commerce revolution to the DukeEngage program.

We've mailed this issue to all undergraduates, but you can also read it on our award-winning website, Surf over for exclusive content, breaking news as it breaks and blogs from staff members.

One final thing. In this space last year, Ryan McCartney, editor of volume 102, reminisced about a phrase that used to run on The Chronicle's flag in the '60s. This year, we've put it back: "The Tower of Campus Thought and Action."

We hope we live up to the billing.

Dear Editor Graham:

I read with interest your July 25 article, Living up to the billing.

I wish you well as you begin your editorship. The goals and Chronicle services you highlight are impressive and important for Duke. I support them with just a few exceptions.

I’ll share one of those exceptions with you now.

You say:

For those of us who write for The Chronicle, it was also a very exciting time, as we competed and rubbed elbows with top-notch reporters and got to follow a story of national interest. At the same time, it became almost a single focus for us, consuming much of our time and the pages of this paper.

But with Nifong out of office, charges dismissed and most of the loose ends of the case tied up, both Duke and The Chronicle are ready to move on.
Ready to move on?

The Chronicle? OK, you're the editor.

The Allen Building? For sure.

But Duke?

As the last academic year was ending, Duke students took ads in The Chronicle calling on the Group of 88 to explain why they did what they did and to apologize. About 1,000 students endorsed a full-page ad that asked President Brodhead to finally stand up for them.

I wonder whether many of those students weren’t thinking of things like Brodhead’s silence on May 18, 2006 when racists, including members of the New Black Panther’s Party who openly boast of carrying guns, shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann.

Brodhead has never explained why he didn’t speak out then and hasn’t since.

Has The Chronicle ever reported on Brodhead’s silence? Or the silence of all but a few faculty then and since? What about the silence of every trustee then and since? And then there's The Chronicle's own editorial silence.

We can agree, Editor Graham, there was a time many American universities abandoned their students when they were threatened by racists. But that stopped during the Civil Rights marches in the 60s.

Is there even one university which in the last 40 years has abandoned a student as Duke under Dick Brodhead abandoned Reade Seligmann on May 18, 2006?

If there is, how did that university "move on?"

Beginning on March 24, 2006 and for many days thereafter, the Durham Police repeatedly told the public about horrific crimes they said were committed at a party hosted by Duke students.

We don’t know why the police did that? We haven’t even identified and held accountable the police supervisors who approved the false statements the police spokesman was making.

We do know DPD’s repeated and shocking lies about Duke students stirred tensions and angers in the community, thus making Duke/Durham a more dangerous place. While that was true for all of us living here, it was and remains especially true for Duke students.

Shouldn't President Brodhead and "Dick's senior team" get some answers from DPD before they and The Chronicle decide "There's nothing to see here. Move on. Go back to your classrooms. If anything turns up, Sgt. Gottlieb will send us all an email?"

Editor Graham, I don't want this to get too long, so I'll move on now myself.

I look forward to your response, which I’ll publish in full at my blog. It's read by a good many members of the Duke community as well as some journalists and authors.

I’ll also be in touch in a week or so with other concerns generated by your column.

Again, good wishes.


John in Carolina

Commenter supports Chronicle’s outing; I respond

Yesterday I posted Chronicle editor defends outing; I respond.

At the end of the post was a comment from a reader on the thread of Chronicle editor David Graham’s column in which he outed “the cowardly” John Matthews and said he looked forward to comments from him and “his ilk.”

There are now 56 comments on the thread, the great majority of them critical of Graham for his column and The Chronicle (TC), for what many commenters see as on the whole a very weak year for TC. You can read Graham's column and its thread here.

I picked from the thread a comment I thought was one of the most favorable supporting Graham and TC.

I want to present it here without any intro or inter comments so you can read it for yourselves first.

But after that I’ll present it again in italics with my comments in plain.

Now the supporting comment (It's a paste-in except for the sics)

posted 4/28/08 @ 12:30 PM EST

"People have a right to remain anonymous, especially if The Chronicle has promised them that."

Graham never promised you your anonymity John Matthews. From a journalistic perspective YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO YOUR ANONYMITY. Nor do you have a moral right to remain anonymous because you are attacking people publicly without any recourse for them to criticze (sic) you in the same manner. That is cowardly. You don't seem to have a problem not respecting people's wishes for things to be discussed off the record. I don't see why Graham needs to respect a promise that he did not make to you about information he learned on his own. You are a bitter old man complaining to a few thousand zealots about some conspiracy tht (sic) did not exist in the Allen Building. Guess what John? They screwed up, but not as badly as you are in treating this two years out as if it's a scandal that is of grave importance to the future of mankind. You are an absolute disgrace to this University.

Now my response:

"Graham never promised you your anonymity John Matthews."

How do you know that?

"From a journalistic perspective YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO YOUR ANONYMITY."

If sources are promised anonymity, they have a right to expect journalists and publications will respect the promise so long as the sources have not lied to the journalists or publications.

"Nor do you have a moral right to remain anonymous because you are attacking people publicly without any recourse for them to criticze (sic) you in the same manner."

Putting aside for now the matter of whether I have what you call "a moral right to remain anonymous," your statement about people "without any recourse to criticize [me] in the same manner" is nonsense.

The Chronicle is a newspaper. It has a Web site. Anyone I "attack" can respond on blogs.

Many people at Duke have loudly and often criticized me and others who've challenged the Hoax, the witch hunt, including the media franzy, the frame-up attempt, and the ongoing cover-up of them.

The criticisms have been made in all manner of public forums, professional publications and general circulation newspapers. I have no doubt I’ll be criticized in forthcoming books.

There have also been threats.

TC itself editorialized last year attacking bloggers it said "slander[ed]" President Brodhead. It didn't give any examples of the “slander” it alleged, but I was one of two bloggers TC mentioned.

Have you noticed yet that in all their criticisms of me Graham, McCartney and others have failed to cite a specific instance of any criticism of TC they thought was unfair?

All they cite is the fact that I refused to get into unilateral "off the record" relationships with Graham and McCartney, and that after letting each repeatedly know that I did what ethical journalists do as their protection from being victims of unilateral "off the record."

"That is cowardly."

You do know, don't you, that I knew TC knew who I was and could out me at any time?

"You don't seem to have a problem not respecting people's wishes for things to be discussed off the record."

I can’t recall ever having a problem as a blogger respecting off the record agreements with sources with whom I’d mutually entered into an off the record agreement.

On the other hand, when someone like Ryan McCartney, with whom I’d had many discussions and email exchanges on why ethical journalists don’t allow themselves to be manipulated into unilateral off the record agreements;

and who’d agreed that was right (remember "technically ... yes");

and one of whose previous communications he’d labeled unilaterally “off the record” I’d published as a means of letting him know I would not any longer stand for being manipulated into unilateral “off the record” situations;

and then months later sends me an email in which he states I’d gotten an important matter wrong and questions my honesty and my motives but wants that all "off the record;"

with all of that I hope you can understand why in this day of instant cyber-communication, access to the Net and Googling, I’d be a fool not to publish and refute what he sent.

"I don't see why Graham needs to respect a promise that he did not make to you about information he learned on his own."

As President Reagan once said, "There you go again." How do you know that?

"You are a bitter old man complaining to a few thousand zealots about some conspiracy tht (sic) did not exist in the Allen Building."

I’m surprised you didn’t say something like: “You’re a bitter old man who clings to a few thousand zealots who out of frustration at their circumstances believe a conspiracy theory.”

"Guess what John? They screwed up, but not as badly as you are in treating this two years out as if it's a scandal that is of grave importance to the future of mankind."

I’m glad we agree the Allen Building didn’t respond well – to say the least – to the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong. I think how the University responded has great importance for the present and future of Duke, Durham and America.

Now, below is your closing sentence. I’ll let you have the last word and say nothing in response to it.

"You are an absolute disgrace to this University."

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Churchill Series - Apr. 28, 2008

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

Readers Note: This post was first published in May, 2006. I'm republishing it today as a tribute to the wonderful blog hooligans at Liestoppers Forum who make effective use of the freedoms Churchill did so much to help preserve.

The hooligans have come through some tough nights and days since their site was hacked. But they've prevailed. Their spirit and determination brought this post to mind.


In June, 1950, the seventy-six year old Winston Churchill was leader of the opposition Conservative Party.

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

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 he enjoyed many full English breakfasts, whiskies and cigars.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 894-895)

Chronicle editor defends outing; I respond

Readers Note: It will help you understand the post below if you're familiar with the following: Chronicle editor David Graham’s Apr. 23 column here in which he outed me after The Chronicle (TC) had promised me anonymity; the thread of his column which includes my first response to him and a Cc. to incoming Chronicle editor Chelsea Allison; and two JinC posts Duke's Chronicle outs JinC and A Chronicle editor responds to outing in which last year’s TC editor Ryan McCartney comments and I respond. The posts' threads are extremely interesting. I hope you take a look at them, too.


What follows are: 1) a copy of an email I sent TC editor Graham last Friday with a Cc. to incoming editor Chelsea Allison; 2) Graham’s response in full and free of any inter comments by me; and 3) most of Graham’s email but this time with inter paragraph and closing comments by me and a commenter on Graham’s column thread.

Let’s begin:

1 - - My Email to Graham, Cc. to Allison:

Dear Editor Graham:

I wish you'd kept your promise and not disclosed my identity.

You were emphatic when you said you'd never disclose my identity "under any circumstances."

I could trust you and The Chronicle, remember?

We even had a nice chat about the difference between pseudonimity and anonymity, something Maryland School of Law professor Jason Trumpbour explains further up this thread along with some of the reasons why I publish pseudonimously as have many others including Mark Twain and some of our founders.

But in any case, The Chronicle outed me.


The first time was Apr. 1 in a front-page article under the byline of someone The Chronicle identified as "Boobs Allison."

Since Chelsea Allison is the editor for the 2008/09 academic year, reasonable people will ask whether she was part of the Apr. 1 outing, or whether she was just "fooled" and had her surname used without her knowledge.

What happened?

If Allison was "fooled," who did that and why?

Why did Chronicle editors publish "Boobs Allison's " story outing me?

Did they know you'd promised not to disclose my identity?

If Chelsea Allison agreed to the outing, why'd she do that?

Now to your outing me in you final column.

You owe Chronicle readers an explanation for why you did it.

Surely you knew by outing me you were hurting The Chronicle.

Sources will be less trusting of a pledge of confidentiality coming from a Chronicle reporter or editor.

That's already a big problem for The Chronicle.

As you know, Editor Graham, many sources won't speak to The Chronicle under a pledge of confidentiality because they say it's worthless.

Your outing has made things worse for serious, honest Chronicle reporters and editors who want to dig on stories and bring readers the truth.

You knew all that before Apr. 1 and your latest column.

So please tell readers why you and very likely others at The Chronicle decided to out me.

When you do, tell readers I was warned in advance not to trust a pledge of confidentiality from the Chronicle; and that I accept full responsibility for disclosing my identity to The Chronicle. That was my mistake.

And one other thing: please tell readers I plan to work as hard as I can to inform people about the witch hunt, the frame-up attempt, and the ongoing cover-up as well as the predictable recent problems involving student and campus safety that have included the murder of one of our own.


John in Carolina

Cc: Chelsea Allison

2 - - Editor David Graham’s response:

Dear John,

Although I've had my differences with you over the time we've been in contact,
the one thing I've always respected about you was your integrity.

So it's disappointing to me that you decided to lie in this, what I can only
hope will be our last interaction.

Most importantly, I hope you'll explain to your readers that you were being
untruthful when you claim that I promised not to "out" you.

I explained to you that at the time of our conversation immediately after I
found out who you were that I did not see any immediate reasons why I would
have wanted to do so; but I very carefully avoided making any sweeping
promises, as you will recall.

I would have liked to have talked to you about this matter before it was
published, but you will also recall that you insisted on my agreeing to a
number of points, many of which I could not possibly in good conscience agree
to, before we had any phone conversation.

Then, as now, I'm disappointed you have sought so hard to cut off communication
between us.

Now, to the matter of how The Chronicle obtained your identity:

Although I know you've corresponded with Chronicle staffers in the past, I figured out who you were the old-fashioned way: By reporting. When you made one of your phone calls to the office, we noted your number and then linked that number up with a name. It would indeed be deplorable if a staff member who had promised you
anonymity had gone back on that.

You will also recall that none of our interactions were those of reporter and
source, but were rather conversations following your initial betrayal of trust.

I hope you'll make clear to your readers that this is the case.

Philosophically, I find your link to Mark Twain and others spurious; Twain did
not use his anonymity as a forum for betraying trust, as you have done, or for
malicious ad hominem attacks, as you have also done. I will also say that
although I consulted with some members of the staff on this matter, the
decision was in fact mine alone.

I hope this closes our interactions. Now, I'll be getting back to investigating the witch hunt, the frame-up attempt, and the ongoing cover-up as well as the predicable recent problems involving student and campus safety that have
included the murder of one of our own.


David Graham
Editor, The Chronicle
President, Duke Student Publishing Company

3 - - Editor Graham’s email excerpts follow in italics with my inter and closing comments and that of a commenter on the thread of Graham's column in plain.

Dear John,

Although I've had my differences with you over the time we've been in contact,
the one thing I've always respected about you was your integrity.

So it's disappointing to me that you decided to lie in this, what I can only
hope will be our last interaction.

Graham's "the one thing I've always respected about you was your integrity" is a transparently disingenuous opening given that later in his email he speaks of what he says was my "initial betrayal of trust," an event which happened last August.

I've posted and documented in detail concerning what Graham calls my "betrayal" in these three posts: ( See To The Chronicle’s New Editor (8/5/07), The Chronicle & “off the record” (8/9/07), and The Chronicle & “off the record” (Post 2) 8/12/07)

Who'll be fooled by Graham's speaking of my “initial betrayal of trust” last August and then claiming when he wrote his Apr. 23 column outing me and referring to those he sees as like me as “his ilk,” that he "respected [my] integrity?”

All that Graham's opening does is set the tone for the rest of his email.

Most importantly, I hope you'll explain to your readers that you were being untruthful when you claim that I promised not to "out" you.

Graham did promise not to out me as recently as this past February, but he wasn't happy about it. He'd called upset about something I'd published and said he didn't see why I should be able to do that "anonymously" as he put it.

I reminded Graham that he’d learned of my identity after I’d given it last year to his predecessor as TC editor Ryan McCartney on the basis of a pledge of confidentiality. Graham agreed and seemed to accept that he and others at TC were bound by that pledge. He emphasized that at TC a pledge of confidentiality of "sacred." (For more about all of that see A Chronicle editor responds to outing.

I offered to send Graham three posts I’d previously sent him in Aug. 2007 which directly concerned both what he calls in his most recent email my "betrayal" and the ethical treatment of sources promised anonymity by TC. ( See To The Chronicle’s New Editor (8/5/07), The Chronicle & “off the record” (8/9/07), and The Chronicle & “off the record” (Post 2) 8/12/07.

I wanted to send him the posts because it was clear from the conversation he'd forgotten them and they spoke directly to the matters at hand.

Graham agreed to read the posts and get back to me.

The conversation ended on what I thought was a constructive note.

I explained to you that at the time of our conversation immediately after I
found out who you were that I did not see any immediate reasons why I would have wanted to do so; but I very carefully avoided making any sweeping promises, as you will recall.

I don't know what Graham means by "sweeping promises," but that he said he'd learned my identity from McCartney, knew I'd been pledged confidentiality and agreed he would observe it, I have no doubt.

If Graham wants to say he made it clear to me he wasn't happy about the situation, I would agree that's fair. But what he said left no doubt he recognized his responsibility and TC's responsibility.

I would have liked to have talked to you about this matter before it was published, but you will also recall that you insisted on my agreeing to a number of points, many of which I could not possibly in good conscience agree to, before we had any phone conversation.

Then, as now, I'm disappointed you have sought so hard to cut off communication between us.

Here Graham tries to convince readers he really would've liked to talk to me before he outed the "cowardly" John Matthews who'd "betray[ed his] trust," but I'd "cut off communication between us."

The poor Chronicle editor; what could he do but just go ahead and out me.

Folks, as I'm sure most of you realize I didn’t seek “to cut off communication between us”

See, for example, this email I sent Graham in mid-March as a follow-up when I didn't get any response from him after sending links to the three posts I mentioned above.

> Dear David,
> Some weeks have past since I sent you links to the JinC posts we discussed.
> I'd hope to hear back from you before this.
> I'm now very doubtful I'll hear from you.
> Those posts from last August confirmed what I'd told you I thought
> was the case: I'd treated you fairly and under no circumstances did I
> publish your comment to me without first giving you a chance to
> clarify or, as I emailed you twice at the time, make a comment which
> I would publish in full.
> I can't see how I could have treated you more fairly.
> What I did was in keeping with journalism ethics which, if you recall
> my third post, i documented with extensive references to journalists,
> including one who paid tribute in a eulogy to David Halberstam for
> observing the "off the record" ethics with which you took issue.
> Sincerely,
> John

Graham emailed promptly:


Feel free to give me a call if you'd like; I'll be around (occasionally
running out but mostly available) all evening and again probably Tuesday.


I emailed Graham saying I wanted our ‘discussion” to by via email so we could both have a written record of it just as there was a written record of what I'd posted last August. I made no other condition to our continuing to communicate.

Graham emailed back on Mar. 23:


It is my belief that mutual respect includes not setting preconditions for


David Graham
Editor, The Chronicle
President, Duke Student Publishing Company

Graham and I had no contact of any kind after that until he outed me on Apr. 23.

Now, to the matter of how The Chronicle obtained your identity:

Although I know you've corresponded with Chronicle staffers in the past, I figured out who you were the old-fashioned way: By reporting.

What Graham is doing here with his “I know you’ve corresponded with Chronicle staffers in the past, etc.” is trying to skate by the fact he learned my identity from last year’s TC editor Ryan McCartney who’d given it with a pledge of confidentiality.

As I said, Graham's acknowledged to me he’d learned my identity from McCartney.

BTW – Where have we heard someone else talk about doing things “the old fashioned way?”

What follows is Graham’s attempt to get himself off the hook for outing me by putting TC on the hook.

When you made one of your phone calls to the office, we noted your number and then linked that number up with a name. It would indeed be deplorable if a staff member who had promised you anonymity had gone back on that.

If you accept Graham's false explanation for how he learned my ID, consider what he's saying: A reader calls The Chronicle. Graham and others at TC know the caller wishes anonymity. The caller has been promised anonymity by Graham’s predecessor. The caller last year and this has served as a source for TC staffers, something Graham knows as he’s been one of those I’ve provided with background information.

For example, the TC had provided a quote as to Mike Nifong’s status in a source and pointed Graham to where he could confirm the quoted information was in error.

Given all of that, Graham explains how he "learned" the identity of a caller to TC: “we noted your number and then linked that number up with a name. “

My, my. Have nominations closed for this year’s Sgt. Gottlieb Award?

There’s much more I could say in response to Graham’s transparently disingenuous email, but I think just about all of you see what he’s doing.

I do need to contact Graham and McCartney to find out where they got what they published as my higher ed credentials (they're not mine) and to determine why there’s been no response from anyone at TC regarding the “Boobs Allison” question which is of interest to me and very important to TC's reputation.

I want to stress again that we shouldn’t forget there are honest, able journalism practitioners at TC who do fine, sometimes even outstanding, work.

I want to thank each of you who've been helpful and supportive. That’s always important, especially at a time like this.

Finally, I want to give the last word to a commenter on Graham’s column thread who said what I, and I think many of you, believe:

Graham's petty stunt only succeeded in outing himself as immature and unprofessional. To his defenders, especially the one WRITING IN ALL CAPS (not very effective, by the way; it only detracts from the content of your message) don't embarrass yourself by defending the indefensible.

Graham knew the situation, and he chose to break a very old rule that all professional journalists who wish to maintain credibility and respect have adhered to in the past. Graham did not publish John's name because the public needs to know his identity.

Graham put JIC's name in his column to create a diversion from his poor work on TC this year. Dick and his cohorts soon enough will have to answer for the words and actions that will define their careers. Graham should have learned the lesson that actions have consequences, but chose to ignore it in favor of a momentary gotcha that, again, tells us more about Graham than about JIC.
Your turn, folks.

And more later tonight and tomorrow.