Saturday, May 17, 2008

Is Hillary socking the Lib/Dem MSM?

Lots of media and blog people say Sen. Hillary Clinton is now socking it to the Lib/Dem MSM because they're mostly in the tank for Sen. Obama.

As evidence of that, they cite an ad Hillary's running in Oregon . When Talk Left posted the ad, it titled its post: Hillary Takes On The Media.

There's no question most MSM is now AFO - Anything for Obama - and has been since Iowa.

But the ad doesn't sock it to the AFO MSM.

What it really does is show us Hillary' s already begun her approach for landing at Let's All Unite Airport.

That's what I think. But you take a look.

What do you think?

Isn't that ad as soft on Sen. Obama as the NY Times has been on his close friend and pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah ("KKK America") Wright?

This made me smile

Last evening I visited with a friend who'll be living in France the rest of the year.

We've both spent considerable time there, love the country and are fond and admiring of most French people. Over the years, we've had cause to be grateful to many of them for acts of kindness, including some extraordinary ones.

We got to talking about things we think of as "characteristically French."

I recalled this incident:

Some years ago I checked into a large Paris hotel at a very busy time.

As I was making my arrangements, an American next to me was making hers with another staffer.

The woman insisted on some special consideration - I can't recall what - while the check-in specialist kept explaining the hotel could not accommodate her request.

Finally it came to - - -

"Why not?"

"Because it is not possible."

"But I've been in Denmark for a week and they did it there."

"In Denmark, perhaps. In France, no."

Responding to a comment re: judicial activism

The other day I posted McCain's Supreme Wrongheadedness. It included excerpts from a Jeff Jacoby column you is here.

Jacoby's main point:

Judicial deference to the political branches has led to some of the worst judicial decisions in American history. Think of Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case upholding a Louisiana statute that mandated racial segregation in public accommodations. The Supreme Court certainly deferred to the elected lawmakers who wrote that statute. It also helped lock Jim Crow in place for the next 60 years. (emphasis added)
The post drew a number of thoughtful comments.

One of them left me thinking I may not have explained myself clearly and may have provided too little of Jacoby's colum.

I'm no fan of what's commonly called "judicial activism;" neither is Jacoby.

So first some of the comment, then an excerpt from Jacoby's column I left out of the post.

I think the excerpt will clarify what Jacoby meant and why I agreed with him.

The commenter said in part:
I think you and Mr. Jacoby are making a false assumption. The absence of Judicial activism does not equate to rolling over and rubber-stamping any law that is passed. Most believe the absence of Judicial activism equates to a Court which decides cases based upon the Constitution and case law. Nothing more.
Here's the part of Jacoby's column I should have included in the post:
In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the court upheld the government's power to impose quotas for wheat even on a small farmer who used what he grew right on his farm and sold none of it across state lines.

The court should have struck the law down as a blatant violation of the Commerce Clause, which limits Congress to the regulation of interstate commerce - something Farmer Filburn clearly wasn't engaged in. Instead the court allowed it, throwing open the door to a vast expansion of federal control.
Folks, I hope in your collective judgment you rule that clarifies things.

If not, I'll appeal.

Duke Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns? (Post 2)

Thursday I published Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns?

The post linked to a recent NY Times story which included this:

Duke canceled its 2006 season after eight games in the wake of rape and sexual assault accusations against three players. The charges were later dropped. Kennedy, an associate athletic director, wrote about the campus and news media firestorms, detailing the death threats, angry protests and safety concerns that forced the university to cancel the season. (emphasis added)
I questioned whether Kennedy had made such a claim largely because I didn't recall Duke citing safety concerns when President Brodhead announced the season's cancellation on Apr. 5, 2006.

Included in Thursday's post was a detailed response by BN to The Times' report regarding Duke and player safety as a reason for the season's cancellation.

BN is a JinC Regular who's closely followed and often commented on the hoax, the frame-up attempt and its ongoing cover-up. What he's said has stood up.

Regarding Duke possibly cancelling the lax season because of, among other reasons, concern for the players' safety, BN cited a number of sources (including Duke sources)which at the time discussed reasons for the cancellation.

None of them mention the safety of the students on the lacrosse team as a reason why Duke canceled the season.

I told readers I'd do an independent check of what BN said. I should also have said in Thursday's post that I'd check with Kennedy and John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations, asking them if they could direct me to any published statement at the time by a Duke official citing player safety as a reason for the cancellation.

I'll email Kennedy and Burness later today and let you know what they say. As is my usual practice, I'll offer to publish here their responses in full.

Right now I can tell you this concerning my a first-read of news stories and editorials that appeared on Apr. 6 and 7 in the Raleigh N&O, the Durham H-S and Duke's student newspaper, The Chronicle, concerning the cancellation: none of them mention student safety as a reason for Duke's cancellation.

I want to do a second-read before I say I'm certain those newspapers make no mention of player safety on those dates. I also want to take a look at what WRAL reported.

That said, the following is typical of what I found during my first-read:

The N&O's Apr. 6 report, under reporters Jane Stancill's and Anne Blythe's bylines, begins:
Duke University lacrosse coach Mike Pressler resigned Wednesday, the same day a search warrant revealed new information about a lacrosse player's behavior and the rape investigation related to a lacrosse team party last month.

Hours later, university President Richard Brodhead announced the appointment of five groups to investigate campus culture, student behavior and the lacrosse program.

Brodhead also terminated all lacrosse activities immediately and canceled the rest of the season. When asked whether he had fired Pressler, Brodhead said, "Let me just say that when he offered his resignation, I quite agreed that it was an appropriate step."

No matter what happens with the police investigation, Brodhead said, the university must respond to misconduct by lacrosse players, which included underage drinking, hiring exotic dancers and, according to a neighbor and police reports, racial slurs directed at black women.

"There is a body of behavior that's already established, and it's there for us to deal with, and every day we learn more about it," Brodhead said in an interview Wednesday. "It's just time to take action on what's there before our eyes." ...
The remainder of the N&O's report's here.

Nowhere in N&O's report does it state or suggest concern by President Brodhead and Duke for the students' safety was a factor in the university's decision to cancel the season.

Here are excerpts from the N&O's Apr. 7 editorial concerning Brodhead's statements and actions of Apr. 5, including his cancellation announcement:
Wednesday, Duke University began to take more serious steps in response to what had become a worsening crisis of public confidence and a monumental embarrassment to the university. President Richard Brodhead shut down the men's lacrosse program, accepted the coach's resignation and launched the university's own search for the truth about campus culture.

His necessary action was a response to the fallout from allegations of the horrible crime of rape involving Duke lacrosse players and a now-infamous off-campus party. …

Two statements attributed to lacrosse team member Ryan McFadyen, the revealing of which has inflamed an already volatile situation, illustrate why the university's rhetoric alone failed to reassure people.

At a march against sexual violence last week, McFadyen expressed support for the cause in an interview with the campus newspaper, The Chronicle. But in a message from McFadyen's email address shortly after the March 13 incident came an astonishingly vulgar threat against "some strippers."

Brodhead and the community at large learned of the message together this week when a sealed search warrant for McFadyen's dorm room was opened.

Sickening and repulsive, Brodhead called the email, and within a few hours, Duke University was shaking to its foundations.

Not a moment too soon, the president named groups to investigate the values Duke teaches its students, its disciplinary procedures, the lacrosse team's past and his own administration's response to the rape allegations. "It's just time to take action on what's there before our eyes," he said. ...
The entire editorial is here.

Like the N&O's report of the previous day, its editorial neither states nor suggests player safety was a concern influencing Brodhead's and Duke's decision to cancel the lacrosse season.

For that matter, editorial page editor Steve Ford and his staff themselves express no concern for the players' safety. Yet they had good reason to do so.

The players had been subjected to threats from the CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE haters, Wanted and Vigilante posters were circulating at Duke and in Durham, and just the day before a group of Duke faculty took out an ad in The Chronicle which, among other things, thanked the haters for doing what reasonable people knew were actions that were making an already dangerous situation more dangerous.

I plan to post again tomorrow on the question of whether concern for the lacrosse players' safety was a factor in Duke's cancellation of the lax season.

In the meantime, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the comment thread of Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 16, 2006

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

Dominique Enright has brought together a nice collection of anecdotes and commentary in The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill. Here’s a bit of it:

Making speeches, WSC is said to have claimed, is “The art of making deep sounds from the stomach sound like important messages from the brain.” […]

[Churchill’s] friend, [F. E. Smith, later] Lord Birkenhead [once] quipped; “Winston has devoted the best years of his life to preparing his impromptu speeches.” […]

[Churchill worked his secretaries ] hard – to the point of making them stay up all night taking dictation – (“I shall need two women tonight,” he would say to his Private Secretary at busy times, no doubt loudly enough to startle any guest not in the know); and he was kind to them, if sometimes irritable and impatient.

Almost without exception they, and also his male research assistants and Private Secretaries, grew to love him – “His secretaries adored him …We were all in love with him; he was such a lovely man, said Maurice Ashley, one of his research assistants.
Enright’s book is a brief , fun, and sometimes touching read for anyone, especially fans of “Our Man.” In Enright see pages 45-6 and 95-6 for the items mentioned here.

I hope you all have a restful and pleasant weekend.


Global warming talk: Is it mostly “hot air?”

Pajamas Media’s Mike McNally says it is [excerpts] - - -

The past few months have not been good to the still-infant discipline of climate change alarmism — that strange amalgam of pseudo-science, crystal ball gazing, and mass hysteria that was formerly known as global warming alarmism until it became apparent a few years back that the globe had in fact stopped warming, and the alarmists decided that the term “climate change” was a more effective way of describing what the rest of us call “weather.” (emphasis added)

For around a decade now — since around the time, coincidentally, that the warming stopped — the alarmists have had things pretty much their own way, dominating the debate with ever more dramatic predictions of impending doom as man-made CO2 emissions heat up the planet, and managing for the best part to keep a lid on dissent, thanks to an unlikely, and decidedly unholy, alliance of organizations and individuals with a vested interest in upping the fear factor.

This alliance includes politicians who see climate change as a new way of persuading citizens to give them more power; corporations who play on our concern and guilt to sell us anything from eco-friendly washing powder to flex-fuel SUVs; scientists keen to get their hands on a share of the $5 billion handed out by governments and NGOs each year for climate change research; and the legions of bureaucrats employed to draw up regulations and run the globe-trotting climate conference circus.

Then there’s the lavishly funded environmental lobby; socialists who see climate change as their last, best hope of undermining free-market democracies and cutting the United States down to size; and a media which understands that “World Ends Tomorrow” stories get more viewers than “Everything Likely to Be Just Fine” stories, and whose members tend to side with the leftist, anti-American crowd….


Many “eco-friendly” global warming “leaders” have their own interests to advance. They don't understand complex data, but they're sure they understand what they call "science."

McNally makes the case for why we should question, if not outright reject, what on careful inspection appear to be the “hot air” claims of global warming alarmist.

I hope you give his article a read here.

Campaign '08's worst remark so far

I can't think of a worse remark by a political leader during the current campaign than Gov. Huckabee's at the NRA convention today.

Obama's "Bosnia snipper" moment?

Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times' Top of the Ticket blog - - -

Is this another Bosnian sniper incident, where a Democratic candidate for president describes a scene involving some personal courage, but later videotape shows that maybe perhaps it wasn't really quite all like that exactly?

Sen. Barack Obama, the leading Democratic candidate for his party's nomination, is very fond of telling receptive audiences the story about how last May he walked right into the automotive lion's den of Detroit and told those industrialists they were going to have to shape up, change the way they do things and start making more fuel-efficient vehicles to protect our environment.

"And I have to say," the straight-talking Obama tells his chuckling followers, "that when I delivered that speech, the room got really quiet. [Laughter] Nobody clapped."

Well, in honor of Obama's return campaign visit back to Michigan this week, someone -- perhaps Republicans, perhaps someone closer to home politically -- assembled videotape of Obama's oft-told tale and spliced it side by side with videotape of that actual Detroit speech.

You'll never guess what. The room wasn't quiet at all. Obama, in fact, got a loud round of applause. And at the end of his address the camera's view of him at the podium is partially blocked because the audience of local businesspeople and automotive executives was rising to give him a standing ovation. ...

Take a look.

What do you think?

Hat tip: Instapundit

The Mar. ’06 Duke trustees’ conference call

Readers Note: Between the time I began this post and now, access to the Durham Herald Sun’s archives shut down. I feel sure it’s a temporary system problem. Because of it I can’t provide a link to the H-S story I reference in the following post. But I’ll check back later today and if need be Monday with the H-S so I can access the archives and provide you a link.

In the meantime, I want to get this post published.


Near the bottom of The Durham Herald Sun’s Apr. 6, 2006 lengthy report of President Brodhead’s announcement of the cancellation of the Duke Men’s lacrosse season, the resignation of the coach, Mike Pressler, which we now know was forced and related matters, there’s the following:

Brodhead said he has been in "almost daily" contact with Robert Steel, chairman of Duke's board of trustees. The trustees have been "very supportive" and participated in a conference call last week, Brodhead said. (emphasis added)
It’s long been known the Steel was heavily involved in Duke’s response to the lies of Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and others.

In fact, in a civil rights violations suit complaint filed by Durham attorney and Duke Law School lecturer Robert Ekstrand on behalf of three unindicted lacrosse players, Ekstrand asserts Steel was from the beginning the de facto leader of Duke’s “throw them under the bus” strategy which has already forced the University to settle a number of law suits and involved it in others, with still more suits very likely.

But until I read the H-S Apr. 6 story reporting Brodhead’s actions and statements of the previous day, I hadn’t been aware Duke’s trustees participated in a conference call the previous week. Or, if I had been aware of it at one time, it had dropped from my conscious memory. What about you?

The “last week” Brodhead referred to a very critical week in the implementation of the Duke hoax, the frame-up attempt and its cover-up, which continues to this day.

On Sunday, Mar. 26, the Trinity Park potbangers held their CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE hate-fest and threatened Duke students. N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan now says on that Sunday she received information from someone (s) at the N&O who told her the information source was Mike Nifong. Sheehan says, and the N&O has never disputed, that she used that information as the basis for her column that ran the next day. Titled “Team’s silence is sickening,” Sheehan ended with a demand Duke “shut down the team.” (Note: Some months later Sheehan expressed regret for the column. – JinC)

On Monday Nifong began speaking publicly about the case. He excoriated the players and assured the public crimes had been committed, including gang rape. That was just after a meeting at which the two principal Durham police investigators have testified they told Nifong there was no credible evidence of crimes as alleged by Mangum.

The following day Durham Police Cpl. David Addison, acting in his role as CrimeStoppers coordinator released the Wanted poster. DPD, Nifong and very likely others in Durham City government learned the DNA findings by the state lab were negative for all 46 Duke students.

On Wednesday, Mar. 29, Duke’s head of campus security, Aaron Graves and its then police director, Robert Dean, met with Durham’s police chief, its deputy police chief, a Durham police attorney, Durham city manager Patrick Baker and others for what Baker has preposterously claimed was a meeting to check with the two principal Durham Police investigators who attended to make sure they had the resources they needed.

That same day Vigilante posters were circulating on campus, Houston Baker, with support from many faculty, released his letter calling for the immediate expulsion of all the white members of the lacrosse team, and the media was reporting Brodhead had issued on behalf of the University a full, written and unconditional apology to the person then known as “the first caller” and “your friend.”

On Friday Duke Police delivered Duke students' records to Durham Police. In doing so, Duke very likely violated the students’ federal privacy protections. Who at Duke authorized the release of the students' information is, as far as I know, still an unanswered question.

By Saturday Duke’s VP for student affairs Larry Moneta had cautioned Duke students for their safety amidst rumors of planned drive by shootings targeting them while in Raleigh the N&O was preparing to publish the Vigilante poster photo in its Sunday edition after the University had expressed concerns that doing so would add to the danger the players were already facing.

Those of you who’ve followed the case closely know much more related to it happened that week.

The trustees involved in the conference call Brodhead mentioned would have had plenty to listen to and talk about.

It’s no exaggeration to say Mar. 26 to Apr. 1, 2006 is one of the most important weeks in the University’s history.

Does anyone reading this know anything about the call?

Obama Should Speak Out For King

Michael Gerson writes about it in today’s Washington Post. Here are excerpts from his column followed by my comments below the star line.

Gerson says - --

As Barack Obama attempted to extricate himself from his 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, some Obama supporters claimed that Wright's anger is really not so different from King's -- that both preachers represent a distinguished tradition of African-American outrage. King, they said, was a radical in his own way, and his message should not be domesticated or diluted by conservatives. Before Wright was sacrificed to save Obama, King was sacrificed to explain Wright.

But this casual little historical crime -- committed for transient political reasons -- leaves lasting damage.

Like other American heroes -- Jefferson, for example, combined a disturbing tolerance for the violence of the French Revolution with the lifelong ownership of slaves -- King was not a simple figure. He inclined toward democratic socialism as the answer to poverty. In his opposition to the Vietnam War, he called America "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and thundered that God might "break the backbone" of American power.

Toward the end of his short life -- after years of water hoses and attack dogs, wiretaps and bomb threats -- King became increasingly isolated and depressed.

But King's distinctive contribution lies not in the outrage he felt but in the hope he offered -- a hope found in the application of American ideals, not in their denial or replacement. "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence," King said, "they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. ... Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt." . . .

It was the former slave Frederick Douglass who called the Constitution "a glorious liberty document" that could be used as an instrument of emancipation. Douglass was no moderate -- he argued that slaves justly could kill their masters, and financially supported John Brown -- but he affirmed that America's founding documents were the most powerful source of reform. As did Lincoln. As did King.

Under King's leadership, the civil rights movement affirmed several principles: a belief that Providence favors justice and forbids despair; a belief that even the most bigoted whites have a core of humanity that might be touched and redeemed; a belief that American ideals were the ultimate answer to America's sins. ...

Gerson’s entire column is here.


Gerson’s informed and reflective column reminds us why we should honor Dr. King’s life and memory. He believed in America’s ideals. And with courage and wisdom, King led us in the continuing struggle to live out those ideals.

Sen. Obama says he denounced Rev. Wright because he now realizes Wright preaches a hateful perversion of Christianity laced with racism and anti-Americanism.

Amen to that.

I hope the Senator will soon deliver a speech explicitly refuting those among his supporters and those on the religious left who are using King’s life and memory to justify Wright’s hate-filled ravings.

It's what a national leader concerned with preserving America's history and honoring our heroes ought to do.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 15, 2008

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

Fair warning: today’s post is off the top of my head.

You know Churchill paid attention to details. Here are a few examples of that.

One day in the late summer of 1940 he ordered his motorcade stopped as it passed a large, abandoned greenhouse. He'd noticed that while some of the structure's glass panes were broken, many were not. Churchill directed the owner be found and arrangements made to remove the unbroken panes and store them where they could be easily retrieved. Britain's cities would surely soon be bombed. They'd be countless shattered windows. Replacement glass would be a scarce and valuable item.

The code names of important military operations always interested Churchill. When he was being briefed for the first time on a proposed operation, he'd frequently ask why it had received the name it had. If he didn't think the name appropriate, he'd argue for a change. Sometimes he just ordered one.

An operational name Churchill thought very appropriate was Torch, the joint Anglo-American invasion of North Africa in November, 1942. He'd suggested it himself.

Churchill thought Torch was the best word and symbol to convey what the allies were doing: bringing the light of freedom to a Nazi dominated North Africa. He requested a logo for Torch with two arms holding a torch aloft. The arms represented, he said, British and American forces jointly pursuing the same objective.

Selecting Torch as the operation name was an inspired and inspiring choice.

Beyond what we know Churchill said in urging Torch as the operation's name, I feel certain he knew a torch would resonate with Americans whose Lady Liberty held a torch to light the way to freedom, and with the French whose eternal flame serves as a tribute to those who died for France's freedom.

Not much escapes the attention of a man who looks at a broken and abandoned greenhouse, and sees something that will soon be very valuable.

The Dems “liberal wing:” something new

Thomas Edsell at Huffington Post:

…Some black leaders within the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are complaining that under Gerald McEntee, Hillary Clinton's strongest and most outspoken backer in the labor movement, union money is being spent to build white turnout for the New York Senator in what has become a racially polarized competition for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a number of sources.

The conflict is emblematic of the intensifying hostility within Democratic ranks as the nomination fight slowly moves towards closure. The fact that the two leading candidates are a black and a woman has produced internal and external disputes involving civil rights, women's rights and a variety of other groups and leaders in the liberal wing of the party. …
Edsell's entire post is here.

Disputes within the liberal wing of the Democratic party are nothing new.

In 1968 Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Sen. Eugene McCarthy, both long-time liberals, and Sen. Robert Kennedy, by then generally regarded as a member of his party’s liberal wing, were all involved in the battle that year for the Dems’ presidential nomination

Sen. George McCovern was one of a number of liberal Dems who fought for the party's 1972 presidential nomination.

And only a few years ago two of the Dems’ liberal wing’s then rising stars - NY’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and NY's now disgraced and resigned former Governor Eliot Spitzer – were going after each other with a viciousness Sens. Clinton and Obama have yet to approach.

Disputes within the Dem’s liberal wing are not new.

It’s what the current disputes are about that's new.

In a "rush to the bottom" by both Clinton's and Obama's followers, the disputes within the Dems' liberal wing are now almost entirely about race and gender.

That's sad.

I think what we’re witnessing should be called: “The Triumph of PC Values and the Academic Left.”

Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns?

This past Sunday I published NY Times spins Duke Lax eligibility. A Times news story included this:

Duke canceled its 2006 season after eight games in the wake of rape and sexual assault accusations against three players. The charges were later dropped. Kennedy, an associate athletic director, wrote about the campus and news media firestorms, detailing the death threats, angry protests and safety concerns that forced the university to cancel the season.
I followed that Times reporting with some commentary which included this:
...I don’t know whether The Times' saying “safety concerns” were a factor “that forced the university to cancel the season” is spin because I don’t know whether or not Chris Kennedy made that claim to the N.C.A.A.

If you know, please let me know and I’ll follow-up.
I then went on to other parts of the Times' story which were clearly spin.

A few days ago I received a comment from JinC Regular BN who's closely followed the Duke Hoax, frame-up attempt and the ongoing cover-up of it. BN's citations and claims have checked out in the past, and the ones I'm about to post do as well.

So here's BN's comments. I hope you comment. I plan to post further tomorrow on the question of whether concerns for the players safety was a factor which determined Duke's decision to cancel the remainer of the 2006 lacrosse season.

BN begins - - -

I've read/reread the statements, news releases etc. issued by Brodhead and other Duke officials in the Spring of 2006 which included the reasons for canceling the lacrosse season.

Concern for the safety of the players was never mentioned.

In fact, Duke's inaction and silence showed a complete lack of concern for the players' safety and well being when

-- campus protesters carried castrate banners and branded the players rapists. Members of Duke's faculty publicly thanked these protesters.

-- vigilante posters with the players' pictures were distributed around campus

-- players and the coach received threatening e-mails

-- the Black Panthers demonstrated against the players at campus entrances and made death threats to Reade inside and outside the Durham courtroom

-- players were harassed and persecuted in classrooms by certain Duke professors.

The first time that I read anything from Duke that mentioned safety as a reason for canceling the season was in the revisionist history narrative included on Duke's revised website dedicated to the lacrosse incident.

This website was established in May, 2007 after the AG declared the players innocent.


Clinton’s Biggest Mistake

She has made so many. Could you pick the one you think is her biggest?

Tom Bevan co-hosts and he just made his pick:

,,,Most prominent among [those citing Sen. Clinton’s mistakes] at least thus far, is Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine who in last week's issue recounted Clinton's "five big mistakes, each of which compounded the others."

According to Tumulty those mistakes, in order, were: 1. She misjudged the mood, 2. She didn't master the rules, 3. She underestimated the caucus states, 4. She relied on old money, and 5. She never counted on a long haul.

All of these points are no doubt true, but miss the mark. Clinton's first and biggest mistake, which eventually led to her undoing, can be summed up in a single question: how and why did her campaign miss Obama's association with Reverend Wright?

Put simply, had Reverend Wright been introduced to voters a few days before the Iowa caucuses, odds are Barack Obama would not be a hair's breadth away from clinching the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

And even if we assume Obama could have managed to hang on and win Iowa after the appearance of his good reverend, which is debatable, it's a near certainty he would not have won as many primaries and caucuses by as many votes around the country as he did in January and February.

In other words, it would be a totally different ballgame. …
Bevan’s entire column is here.

Bevan asks how Hillary could have made such a big mistake and offers an answer.

He also leaves no doubt, at least as far as I'm concerned, that the Clinton campaign's failure to give Dem primary voters a good look at Rev. Jeremiah (“God damn America’) Wright ‘early and often” was its biggest and fatal mistake.

Bevan’s column is a don’t miss. I’d like to hear if you agree with Bevan.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Churchill Series – May 14, 2008

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

Folks, this is one of my favorite series posts. It first appeared in Dec. 2005. It's making its fourth appearance today. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.


At a critical time during World War II, an American military leader Churchill trusted set in motion plans to thwart something he felt the Prime Minister was planning. It sounds ominous, but if you read on I think you'll say things worked out for the best.

Just before Pearl Harbor, Churchill sacked Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshall Sir John Dill. It was arranged that Dill would finish out the war in a backwater post.

Following Pearl Harbor, Churchill decided to go to Washington to develop a joint American-British war plan. He knew the British would need Dill's knowledge at what would be complicated and contentious planning sessions.

So Dill was brought along with Churchill's party to give what he had, and then be shuffled off.

But it came about that he stayed on in Washington in a new position; one in which he made a vital contribution to the war effort.

How so?

Well, since the American and British chiefs of staff would jointly plan Allied strategy and allocate scarce resources; and since the joint chiefs would meet only occasionally for planning sessions; there was a need for liaison between the two nations' chiefs between meetings.

That difficult task was given to Dill.

It was agreed he could best fulfill it in Washington with direct access by cable to each of the British chiefs and right to attend the American chiefs' meetings.

Dill performed splendidly. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said no one surpassed Dill in explaining to the chiefs of each nation the ideas, needs and temperaments of the chiefs of the other nation.

But during the first months of 1944, with D-Day approaching, Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall feared both countries' chiefs would lose Dill's service because Churchill felt Dill was tipping too much in the Americans favor. Marshall thought Churchill might recall him.

Marshall wanted to convince Churchill that Dill was so well thought of in America that recalling him would harm Allied relations.

So Marshall hatched a scheme.

What if Harvard gave Dill an honorary degree, he asked an aide. Wouldn't that impress Churchill? The PM wouldn't want to pull such a man out of the States, would he?

The aide was dispatched to Harvard whose president said he would like to but there was so much that went into an honorary degree, he didn't see how it could be done.

The aide duly reported back to Marshall.

"Try Yale," Marshall barked.

Yale had some of the same problems with an honorary degree as Harvard. But its President, Charles Seymour, said Yale could award Dill the Charles P. Howland Prize.

And what was that?

It was awarded for outstanding contributions to international understanding.
The award ceremony, the president said, would include mace, academic procession, anthems, etc.

Marshall thought that would all be just fine.

The War Department informed the press that the Chief of Staff would be taking time from his very busy schedule to travel to New Haven to attend this most important award ceremony. What's more, Secretary of War Simpson and Asst. Secretary of War Lovett were also planning to attend.

The press reported on the ceremony with what Simpson later called a big "splash." Marshall stayed long after the ceremony talking informally to the press and posing for pictures, actions not typical of the General.

Soon other colleges and universities, including The College of William and Mary and Columbia University awarded Dill honorary doctorates.

Marshall later told the aide he'd heard Churchill had said, "Dill must be doing quite a job over there."

Of course, there was no more talk of recall.
Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory. (pgs. 336-337)

Edwards' endorsement an easy call. Now what?

Back on Feb. 20 I posted Edwards To Endorse Obama. Here's part of that post, followed by some "now what?" below the star line.

It's an easy call.

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

Obama's coffers fill with checks from Edwards' donors

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

Under Mosi Secret's byline, the Indy begins:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Here's the rest of the Indy story.

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

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

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

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

The Indy story provides some of the answer.

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

The rest of the Feb. 20 post is here.

OK, folks, it's now May 14 and we're seeing today the public playing out of an endorsement I feel sure was confirmed when Sen. Obama and former Sen. Edwards met in Chapel Hill in February.

If Obama had Edwards' endorsement since then, what does Edwards' public endorsement at this time tell us?

The most obvious answer is Obama's campaign staff knows Team MSM-Obama will use it to "change the story" from the results of West Virginia's primary to the "inevitability of Obama's nomination."

We can all understand why they'd want to do that: Obama lost WV by 41%.

We can also all understand why Barack and John embraced at a rally in Michigan tonight at about 6:45 PM ET.

That was so the network news programs could carry it live in the East and script "the story" as "Sen. Obama is cheered by blue-collar workers as former Sen. John Edwards, whose poverty fighting campaign ...."

West Virginia? What West Virginia?

Edwards' endorsement is tonight's story.

Now what about tomorrow? How do you keep West Virginia off the front page then?

Well, the Edwards endorsement story will continue with Team MSM-Obama cluck-clucking about all the help Edwards will give Obama with "blue collar workers Senator Obama has yet to reach."

That, and Edwards as a possible VP running-mate.

We're already hearing some of that tonight.

But I don't buy the notion that Edwards will be a big help to Obama with blue collar workers and I doubt Obama and his team will seriously consider Edwards as a VP choice, although they'll do nothing to discourage talk about it in the days to come.

Those are my thoughts about what's likely to happen next. What are yours?

NY Times reports race as factor in WV & NC

Here are the 3rd and 4th paragraphs of today NY Times’ report of yesterday's West Virginia Democratic primary result:

Mrs. Clinton defeated Senator Obama Tuesday in a primary where racial considerations emerged as an unusually salient factor. She drew strong support from white, working-class voters who have spurned Mr. Obama in recent contests.

The number of white Democratic voters who said that race influenced their choice on Tuesday was among the highest recorded in voter surveys in the Clinton-Obama nomination fight. Two in 10 white West Virginia voters said that race was an important factor in their vote, and more than 8 in 10 of them backed Mrs. Clinton, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls.
Here’s the 19th paragraph of the Times’ May 7 report of the outcome of the North Carolina Democratic primary:
In North Carolina, Mr. Obama’s performance was bolstered by a strong black vote. He captured more than 90 percent of those voters in that state, where blacks accounted for one in three voters. But over all, Mrs. Clinton continued to draw strong support among whites, particularly older women.
The 19th paragraph is the Times’ first mention of how voting in North Carolina broke by race.

The Times doesn't report whether NC voters were asked if “race was an important factor in their vote” and, if it was, which was surely the case, what percentage of blacks and whites who said it was “backed” Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama.

Different reporting for different candidates.

Today's entire Times report is here; its May 7 report is here.

Rezko case goes to jury

The Chicago Tribune reports the latest on the trial of Sen. Barack Obama's friend and political "fixer" Tony Rezko

The federal corruption trial that has sent ripples through the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich has reached its final stage, and the fate of political insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko is now in the hands of the jury.
The rest of the CT story's here.

Hat tip: Instapundit

McCain’s Supreme Wrongheadedness

Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe [excerpts] followed by my comments below the star line

Jacoby begins - - -

IN A SPEECH on the federal judiciary last week, John McCain sounded the familiar conservative call for judges who know their place. "My nominees," he promised, "will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power."

The judiciary's moral authority depends on self-restraint, said McCain, and "this authority quickly vanishes when a court presumes to make law instead of apply it." . . .

But is it really the proper function of the courts to simply rubber-stamp laws passed by Congress and state legislatures? Is a law presumed constitutional merely because elected officials enacted it? ...

Quite the contrary: Judicial deference to the political branches has led to some of the worst judicial decisions in American history. Think of Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case upholding a Louisiana statute that mandated racial segregation in public accommodations.

The Supreme Court certainly deferred to the elected lawmakers who wrote that statute. It also helped lock Jim Crow in place for the next 60 years.

You don't have to go back to 1896 for examples of how liberty suffers when commendable judicial restraint deteriorates into unfortunate judicial passivism.

In a lucid new book - "The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom" - legal scholars Robert Levy and William Mellor offer a mournful litany of high-court blunders in the modern era. …

As often as not, the court failed not by being too activist, but by not being activist enough: by allowing the legislative and executive branches to do as they wished, instead of compelling them to stay within constitutional constraints.

The most notorious of the Dirty Dozen is Korematsu v. United States (1944), in which the court gave its sanction to the Roosevelt administration's World War II internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans, none of whom had been accused of disloyalty or sabotage. ...

Kelo v. New London (2005) allowed private homes to be seized by eminent domain and turned over to other private owners - not for "public use," as the Fifth Amendment requires, but merely because the new owners can be expected to generate more jobs or taxes than the owners who were dispossessed. …

To be sure, liberal judicial activism untethered to constitutional limits has been a serious blight on the legal landscape. But judicial passivism has wrought grave harm too.

If elected, Senator McCain says he will "restore the standards and spirit" the Framers intended for the judiciary. He can begin preparing for that task by reading "The Dirty Dozen."

Jacoby’s entire column’s here.


I came to the end of Jacoby’s column and said a silent “Amen.”

I also said “Thank you.”

When I read about Sen. McCain’s speech last week, I was pleased he’d said if President he’d nominate judges like Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.

But from what I read he’d said McCain, while properly critical of “judicial activism,” didn’t acknowledge the duty courts have under the Constitution to strike down laws which violate it. Both Plessy v. Ferguson and Kelo came to mind.

I wanted to post on that. Now today comes Jacoby saying pretty much what I wanted to say, only he does so with a much better grasp of relevant judicial history than I could've mustered.

So thank you, Jeff Jacoby, for providing a powerful column reminding us of one of the duties of the judicary in our system of government.

I hope someone in the media or on his staff calls Jacoby's column to Sen. McCain's attention so he can respond.

For those of you who may be interested in reading "The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom" it’s available at Amazon for $17.13. You can also encourage your local librarian to purchase a copy.

Hat tip: for the link and post title.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 13, 2008

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

From The Churchill Centre's journal Finest Hour, Third Quarter 1965 - - -

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain saw many posthumous honours bestowed on Sir Winston.

The first Churchill crown was struck at the Royal Mint and the very heavy demand for the coin exceeded that for the Coronation crown of 1953.

On 19 September forty members of the Churchill family attended the Battle of Britain Service in Westminster Abbey. The congregation rose as Lady Spencer-Churchill and Randolph walked down the aisle. A march of homage to Sir Winston composed by Sir Arthur Bliss, a massive, sombre piece of music, was played.

After the service the Queen unveiled a Churchill stone in the middle of the aisle, immediately west of the Unknown Warrior's stone. It is the first memorial one sees on entering the west door. On the wall just above it is the commemorative plaque to President Roosevelt. The Churchill stone is inscribed:

Earlier in the day a Spitfire and Hurricane flew over Churchill's grave.

Houston Baker & "black intellectuals"

Former Duke Professor Houston Baker, now Distinguished University Professor at Vanderbilt University, has a new book out: Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era.

Here’s some of what its publisher, Columbia University Press, says about it:

Houston A. Baker Jr. condemns those black intellectuals who, he believes, have turned their backs on the tradition of racial activism in America. …

As he sees it, the mission of the black intellectual today is not to do great things but to do specific, racially based work that is in the interest of the black majority.
Do you recall Houston Baker’s response to the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong?
The lacrosse team - 15 of whom have faced misdemeanor charges for drunken misbehavior in the past three years - may well feel they can claim innocence and sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness.

But where is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again?

And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys?

Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives.

There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.
I’m sure Baker believes he’s a intellectually equipped to judge other scholars.

But Baker’s a bully, a fool, and a raving racist. In March and April 2006 he was a loud and enthusiastic supporter of Mike Nifong’s outrages. He demanded Duke expel all the white students on the lacrosse team. He gave media interviews in which he hyped slanders being used by those working to frame three obviously innocent Duke students. And he eagerly signed the Faculty Group of 88’s statement thanking those who’d circulated Vigilante posters and rallied under a CASTRATE banner.

I’m glad he left Duke and I'm sorry for Vandy.

I also plan to pass on Baker’s book. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Hat tip: Ex-prosecutor

Seeking a Wrap-up With Editor Graham

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; the thread of his column which includes my first response to him and a Cc. to incoming Chronicle editor Chelsea Allison; and three 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; and also Chronicle editor defends outing;I respond. The posts' threads are extremely interesting. I hope you take a look at them, too.

The post below contains an email this past year's Chronicle editor David Graham sent me and my response to him.

If you're familiar with the posts and column just cited, the email exchange below is easily understood.


Editor Graham emailed - - -


Indeed, e-mail is indisputable, but--as shown by your last e-mail--it allows you a concrete forum to spread falsehoods, or, at best, half-truths. You of all people should have known better than to *rush to the judgment* that your name had been shared by previous Chronicle staffers.

I'll allow Chelsea to respond to your first question. We found those academic
credentials by looking you up in the Duke Alumni Association directory, but if
there's an error, I'm sure we'd be delighted to run a correction in our next


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

Dear Editor Graham:

I’m sorry to be slow getting back to you. As I said in my last email, I had to publish election related posts and fact-check matters relating to your outing me in your Apr. 23 final column as The Chronicle (TC) editor. I also wanted to discuss TC with people on campus, review my posts concerning TC and read at TC’s web site many editorials, columns and news articles and their comment threads.

With those tasks completed, I’ll now respond to your email.

Regarding: “Indeed, e-mail is indisputable, but--as shown by your last e-mail--it allows you a concrete forum to spread falsehoods, or, at best, half-truths. You of all people should have known better than to *rush to the judgment* that your name had been shared by previous Chronicle staffers."

I’ll briefly restate that twice in phone conversations you agreed you’d learned my identity from your predecessor editor Ryan McCartney.

In both conversations, you did express discomfort you were bound by McCartney’s pledge to keep my identity confidential, but I've no doubt you said you were bound and would respect the pledge.

Your statements about McCartney were also consistent with how others self-IDing as TC staffers told me they’d learned my identity. (See here)

I'll allow Chelsea to respond to your first question. We found those academic credentials by looking you up in the Duke Alumni Association directory, but if there's an error, I'm sure we'd be delighted to run a correction in our next edition.

Editor Chelsea Allison did respond to my first question. I thanked her. However, her response left some unanswered questions about which I’ve emailed her. I look forward to her response.

I was initially concerned about your Apr. 23 column claim I’m Trinity ’69. I hold no such degree. I didn’t want people thinking I’d ever said I did.

I consulted with two attorneys who’ve reassured me I bear no responsibility for what I feel sure was an inadvertent error.

Therefore, I now see a correction a matter between you and TC readers; and as something not nearly as important as more serious TC errors which are uncorrected.

For example, those David Horowitz cites here. Or those TC readers cite on the thread of your Apr. 23 column. Or those I cite in this post and called to TC’s attention in an email, a copy of which you’ll find in the post.

I've also been impressed by the number of people on campus and at TC's web site who say TC readers deserve an explanation regarding why, after taking down the message boards last Summer but promising to put them back up what the academic year began, you never did that.

But if you’re going to make a correction concerning me, I ask that you do it as follows:

In his Apr. 23 column Editor David Graham said:

I know there are some readers who will be pleased to see me go, and will no doubt tell me so in the online comments on this article. I especially await the input of the cowardly ones who comment anonymously-John Matthews, Trinity '69 and Grad '76 and '84, who blogs as John in Carolina, and his ilk. Rest assured, I will enjoy reading all your comments even more than you will enjoy writing them.
John Matthews tells us he holds no Trinity degree. The Chronicle regrets the error.

John has also asked that we tell you he and his family wish TC had not outed him under any circumstances, but especially not in a way that harshly referenced other TC readers as “his ilk.”

John posts often about TC, sometimes praising our work, sometimes calling attention to factual errors or important omissions, and frequently criticizing TC editorial positions or lack thereof.

He finds the posts praising our work easiest and most satisfying to write. Those that are critical he says are hardest to write and give him little or no pleasure.

John says he’ll continue posting on TC as he has in the past.

John's asked us to be sure to say he and his family appreciate all the support they’ve received concerning the outing and we are happy to do that.

Finally, Editor Graham, these items:

1) At this time I don’t plan to say anything more about the outing other than seeking answers to the questions I’ve asked Editor Allison.

2) This weekend I plan to put together a wrap-up post with very brief descriptions and links to what each of us has published on the outing matter. If the matter comes up in the future, I expect to refer people to that post.

If you wish me to include something you’ve not yet published, please let me know and I’ll include it.

But unless it introduces something entirely new and significant, I’m comfortable letting what I’ve said on the matter and my total record as a blogger speak for me.

3) In the next few days at JinC I’ll disclose some details about my identity, but will also let readers know I want to go back after that to blogging pseudonymously; and I'll tell them why.

4) If you or other TC staffers have suggestions for how I can improve JinC, I hope you’ll pass them along on the comment thread.


John in Carolina

The mindset of certain academics

George Mason University School of Law Professor David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy posted the following after which I comment below the star line.

Bernstain begins - - -

Guest-blogger Kathy G. at Crooked Timber, protesting Washington University's plan to award an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly, manages to express a certain academic mindset (all emphases added):

Nor do I believe that conservatives should never receive honorary degrees. There are conservative scholars who do work that is respected within academia—many economists, for example—and they would not be inappropriate candidates for such an honor. Nor would I have a problem with conservative pundits, so long as they’re sane and genuinely distinguished (which these days admittedly narrows the field to practically zero), such as the late William F. Buckley.

I’ll even grudgingly accept the reality that conservative Republican elder statesmen are regularly awarded these things. Though even here there are limits—while personally I wouldn’t protest the awarding of a degree to George H.W. Bush, even though I find him pretty hateful, far-right lunatics like Cheney, Dubya, and Jesse Helms should be entirely out of bounds.... as much as conservatives may whine and scream to the contrary, liberalism and conservatism are not moral equivalents. Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.

Not that this mindset is limited to academics, of course, nor, do most academics have such juvenile ideas regarding politics, but it's sufficiently common in academia that it's little wonder that bright young conservatives will think twice before going into the academy and potentially putting their career fates into the hands of those who think that they are presumptively "hateful," "lunatics," who are not "sane" and are attempting to thwart all that is good and just.



I read Cathy G's post from which Bernstein drew the excerpt you've just read. It's quite something.

There were a few times when I wondered whether the post was a hoax meant to ridicule the bigotry and academic sloppiness of so much of America's campus left.

But judging by the approving comments of Cathy G's readers who self-IDed as academics and appear to know her, that's not the case.

Safe assumption: Cathy G views herself as very fair-mined.

Sad thought: There are a lot of academics as "fair-minded" as Cathy G.

The Churchill Series - May 12, 2008

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

On May 14, 1940, four days after Churchill became Prime Minister, John Colville, one of the private secretaries he’d inherited from Neville Chamberlain’s office recorded in his diary his concern that Churchill was:

listening to the alarmist, and, I think untrustworthy opinions of Mr. Kennedy.
Colville needn’t have been concerned.

Churchill "listened" to the American Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy mostly as a matter of diplomatic courtesy. He knew Kennedy had been an appeaser and was now a defeatist who was predicting Britain would be forced to negotiate a peace on German terms.

Since shortly after he'd returned to Government in September, 1939 as First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill had bypassed Kennedy on important matters, including corresponding directly with FDR, a breech of normal diplomatic procedure which Roosevelt himself had helped make possible.

Churchill also met with American officials from Washington. Not only was Kennedy often not included in the meetings, he frequently wasn’t even given summaries of what was discussed.

By late October, 1940, when Kennedy returned to America, he was so angry that there was talk he might in the closing days of the presidential campaign publicly endorse FDR's Republican opponent, Wendell Wilkie.

Like Churchill, Roosevelt distrusted Kennedy. Unlike Churchill, FDR by 1940 had an intense dislike for Kennedy that bordered on hatred.

But politics is politics and Roosevelt knew Kennedy's support would be important as he battled for an unprecedented third term. So Kennedy and his wife, Rose, were invited to dinner at the White House with the Roosevelts and a few others who, FDR told Kennedy, were like him “old and valued friends.”

Roosevelt biographer Conrad Black tells us a little about the evening:
Kennedy complained bitterly of the way he had been treated by the State Department, not informed at all of the destroyers deal, and left out while emissaries like [Asst. Sec. of State Sumner] Welles came through London without any consultation with the ambassador.

Roosevelt took up this theme, blasted the “officious men” responsible, and said Kennedy was being charitable.

Only the war crisis had prevented Roosevelt from taking draconian measures against these insolent people, he said, and after the election there would be a “good housecleaning” to ensure the old and valued friends and the most important members of the administration like Kennedy were not treated in this way.

Roosevelt purported to accept Kennedy’s preposterous claims to absolute loyalty, to early and consistent support of the third term, and the virtual indispensability to Roosevelt and his family.

The whole exchange was an allegorization of self-delusion by Kennedy and of cunning manipulation by Roosevelt.
By the end of dinner Kennedy had agreed to endorse FDR which he did two days later in a national radio address.

I don’t doubt the “dinner conversation” had something to do with that. More important, I think, was Kennedy’s awareness that a bolt to Wilkie would hurt the budding political career of his oldest son and namesake.

Shortly after the election, Kennedy resigned his post.

In August 1944 Joseph P. Kennedy Jr was killed in action while serving as a Navy pilot. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
Conrad Black, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Follow the index for Churchill and Kennedy. The White House dinner is described on pg. 591. The diary entry by one of Churchill's private secretaries is found on pg. 339 of Martin Gilbert's Finest Hour: 1939-1941.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Is that you, Ex-prosecutor?

Folks, back when Mike Nifong was winning elections and Duke’s president Richard H. Brodhead was telling the late Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes that he had no way of knowing because “the facts kept changing,” the Ex-prosecutor would comment at JinC on a variety of investigative and legal matters.

Now just because someone self-IDs as “Ex-prosecutor” doesn’t mean the person is one.

But over many months and in every comment of the Ex-prosecutor’s I read, it turned out Ex-p was “ahead of the curve” and had things right.

You couldn’t read but a few of Ex-p’s comment before you knew Ex-p was very, very informed about investigative and judicial matters.

The “voice of experience” came through.

So did a deep concern for justice and a willingness to take time to inform others less expert, but manifesting in their comments a similar concern.

Today someone self-IDing as Ex-p commented on this post thread.

I hope it’s the same Ex-p.

If it is, the message to Ex-p is: “Please stick around.”

I’ve got some posts backed up, but in a few days I’ll start posting on matters relating to the suits.

It would be great to have the Ex-p I used to read commenting again.

Responding to “Gun nuts” comments (Post 1)

A recent post, “We’re All Gun Nuts Now,” is built on John McCormack’s Weekly Standard article bearing that title and reporting “both contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination [are] evading the gun control issue as if it were sniper fire[.]”

The "Gun Nuts" post has drawn comments from two readers. I want to respond to both of them on the main page because they “extended the discussion” with regard to matters I should have mentioned in my post.

Here I’ll respond to one of the commenters. I’ll respond to the other tomorrow.

One commenter said - - -

You say you favor "some restrictions on who can own...guns and the type of guns involved."

May I ask you to clarify just what those restrictions might be? And do you favor similar restrictions on who can write or speak freely according to his conscience?

I am always wary of any restrictions on constitutionally-guaranteed rights; I accept such limitations as denying the Second Amendment right to convicted felons, mentally unstable persons, and liberals (just kidding); just as I accept that shouting "fire" in a crowded theater is not a right guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Do you accept more rigorous limitations? Please enlighten us.

My response - - -

Re: “I am always wary of any restrictions on constitutionally-guaranteed rights; I accept such limitations as denying the Second Amendment right to convicted felons … & mentally unstable persons[.]

Where do I sign?

Re: "Do you accept more rigorous limitations?"

As I said in the “Gun Nuts” post, there are more than 20,000 gun laws on the books in America.

Isn't that enough? Do we really need still more gun laws?

As for the details of what should go into or be kept out of the next gun law some city council, state legislature or the congress considers, I’ll say this:

In judging any new gun law proposal as a citizen must, I’d pay a lot of attention to what people like John Lott, John Stossel, Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell and John Fund were saying.

If Heather McDonald, John Olin Fellow and City Journal Editor at the Manhattan Institute researched and reported on a proposed bill – well, she's one of our best public policy reporters, so I’d pay very close attention to her reporting/commentary.

I’d also pay a lot of attention to what publications such as WSJ, National Review, The Nation (negative indicator) and Weekly Standard were saying.

Policy institutes?

I’ve a lot of respect for Cato, Heritage and American Enterprise, among many excellent ones.

Here in North Carolina I'd look to see what John Hood, Jon Ham, and The John Locke Foundation were saying.

The Raleigh News & Observer's position, as expressed in both its "news" and editorial columns, would be my negative indicator.

You may be asking how I’d feel about a court decision concerning gun rights.

If Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito all came down on the same side, that would seal it for me.

Even three out of four of them would seal it for this lay person who has come to trust those four justices as guardians of The Constitution as it was first explained to me by people who knew and loved America.

I hope what I've said helps.

Now, what about the liberals?

I know you were just kidding when you spoke of special gun restrictions for them.

And I’m just kidding when I say there should be many huge, new, special taxes levied only on liberals, with some of the revenue generated going to support the giveaway programs liberals want us all to pay for, and some money going to relieve tax burdens on the people who pay for liberal giveaway programs.

As I say, I'm just kidding.

Still, it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?

Thanks for commenting.

Obama, The Times & an inconvenient truth

John Hinderaker at Powerline posts the following [extract] after which I comment below the star line.

Hinderaker begins - - -

This has been noted by conservative sites like Little Green Footballs and Gateway Pundit, but if you haven't already seen it it's worth paying attention to.

It's no surprise that the media are in the tank for Barack Obama, but the willingness of the New York Times to simply misrepresent the facts--while pretending to act as a fact-checker!--is pretty breathtaking.

You may think the Times is an outlier, if not a joke, but I suspect that many more news outlets are prepared to follow the Times's lead in flat-out misreporting the facts, if that's what it takes to get Obama elected.

The Times story is "On McCain, Obama and a Hamas Link." It takes John McCain to task for pointing out that Hamas has endorsed Obama. The Times reporter, Larry Rohter, says that John McCain has "again portrayed the Democratic contender as being the favorite of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group."

Of course, this is not McCain's "portrayal;" it is an indisputable fact that Hamas has endorsed Obama and has said that it hopes he will be elected. But the paper's most egregious error, in its campaign "fact check" column, is yet to come.

Rohter notes that charges and counter-charges have gone back and forth between the McCain and Obama campaigns, but Rohter judges that McCain is mostly at fault:

But important nuances appear to have been lost in the partisan salvos, particularly on Mr. McCain’s side.
McCain, Rohter writes, is guilty because he says that Obama has advocated "unconditional" meetings with Iran's President:
[I]n a fund-raising letter sent out in April, a spokesman for Mr. McCain wrote: “We need change in America, but not the kind of change that wins kind words from Hamas, surrenders in Iraq and will hold unconditional talks with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.”
That, the Times says, is wrong. It quotes Obama adviser Susan Rice denying that Obama has advocated "unconditional" talks with Ahmadinejad:
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state.
That's good enough for the New York Times's "fact checkers." The problem is that, contrary to his campaign's current revisionist effort, Obama plainly has advocated unconditional talks with Iran on several occasions.

He was caught on YouTube doing exactly that during one of the Democratic debates. Not only that, Obama's web site contains this statement:
Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.
Now that it is convenient for Obama to retreat from his conciliatory attitude toward Iran and other bitterly anti-American states, the Times is happy to help him cover his tracks, even though Obama's own web site confirms that, exactly as the McCain campaign said, Obama has advocated talks with Iran "without preconditions."

The rest of Hinderaker's post is here.


I don't think most Obama's supporters are surprised by his "revision" of what's now an inconvenient truth.

On the other hand, I'll bet many of them are upset Team Obama hasn't yet erased the truth from his web site.

But we can expect that to happen very soon.

When it does, how do you think the Times will report it?

Or will the Times decide "airbrushing" the now inconvenient truth isn't news fit to print?

Stay tuned.

Law Prof Sees "A Puzzling Omission" at NYT

George Washington University Law School Professor Orin Kerr posts at the Volokh Conspiracy “A Puzzling Omission.” I make a few comments below the star line.

Kerr begins - - -

I don't think it's a secret that The New York Times tends to be particularly one-sided when reporting on matters of concern to The New York Times. Given that, perhaps everyone expects that a Times story on conservative support for a federal reporter's privilege is going to be as much a work of advocacy as a work of reporting.

Still, isn't it a bit odd that Saturday's story on the reporters' privilege doesn't disclose that both of the credited authors, Eric Lichtblau and Philip Shenon, have been personally involved recently in high-profile DOJ leak investigations? Lichtblau was himself a target after he co-authored the 2005 NSA surveillance story. And Philip Shenon was one of the two reporters who had his phone records subpoened in the Valerie Plame leak investigation (the other was Judith Miller). I don't know the official standards for journalistic ethics, but it seems pretty fishy to me that Lichtblau & Shenon didn't disclose their background in the story.

I'll leave Kerr's post stand without comment except to provide this comment on Kerr's thread by Charlie in Colorado:
I don't think it's an issue of "liberal bias" except to the extent that Lichtblau and Shenon are apparently presumed to be liberal, and have an obvious reason to be less than perfectly objective.

But it would seem unlikely that Mike Nifong would be hired to report on prosecutorial abuse, wouldn't it?

Duke’s Graduation: a few comments

Congratulations to the graduates, the families and all others who helped the grads achieve. I wish the grads long, productive and satisfying careers. And may they always have people with them who’ll cheer them in good times and help sustain them in the tough ones.

I wasn’t at yesterday’s graduation at Wallace Wade Stadium, but I heard: cold and rainy.

And here's part of Duke06's comment...

On an unrelated but interesting note...

(1) Our beloved Professor Karla Holloway made a very public appearance in Sunday's rain-drenched graduation ceremony as she presented one of the honorary degree recipients.

(2) The primary speaker, writer Barbara Kingsolver, proceeded to torture the shivering audience with a lengthy leftist rant in which she railed colorfully against America and capitalism. There was cheering when she finished...because she finished.

I responded - - -

Karla Holloway, Barbara Kingsolver and rain.

Sometimes life can get pretty tough.


The length of Kingsolver’s address has drawn a lot of comment.

The Herald Sun said this morning it lasted about 25 minutes.

But last evening, a friend who’d been there said it was about 40 minutes long.

This morning I was talking by phone with a faculty friend who’d heard Kingsolver’s address.

“I’m hearing 25. I’m hearing 40. How long did it really last?”

“About two weeks.”

There’s also been a lot of chortling about the way Kingsolver began her address.

Folks say she started off with some audience massaging involving how the grads had all learned so much at Duke she didn’t think there was anything much for her to tell them.

But from all accounts she then went on to deliver something that might be titled: A History of the Cosmos as Viewed Through a PC Prism.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NY Times spins Duke Lax eligibility

Folks, this post isn’t about just a sports situation. It also demonstrates how journalists spin stories.

We'll look at the first part of a NY Times report, with a link to the rest of it. Then we’ll look at the spin.

Under reporter Pete Thamel’s byline, The Times’ story begins - - -

When Chris Kennedy sat down last spring to write an appeal to the N.C.A.A. for 33 members of the Duke lacrosse team to be granted an extra season, he had no expectations.

Duke canceled its 2006 season after eight games in the wake of rape and sexual assault accusations against three players. The charges were later dropped. Kennedy, an associate athletic director, wrote about the campus and news media firestorms, detailing the death threats, angry protests and safety concerns that forced the university to cancel the season.

His premise was simple: “An extraordinary request for an extraordinary situation.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the 15-page plea worked. Not surprisingly, the results have loomed large over the collegiate lacrosse world and have changed the tenor of the 2008 season.

“I don’t think the N.C.A.A. put one minute’s thought into how this would affect college men’s lacrosse,” Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said. “That’s my issue. John Danowski and the boys I have no problem with.”

The N.C.A.A. granted Coach John Danowski’s players an extra year, citing “hardship endured by the team from the false allegations.”

Top-ranked Duke (16-1), with five fifth-year seniors taking advantage of the waiver, is the overwhelming favorite in the N.C.A.A. tournament, which starts Saturday. ...

The rest of Thamel’s lengthy story is here.

Now let’s look at the spin.

“The charges were later dropped.”

That’s certainly spin. The players were declared INNOCENT!

The Times knows that.

But that’s not the spin I’m referring to.

And I don’t know whether The Times' saying “safety concerns” were a factor “that forced the university to cancel the season” is spin because I don’t know whether or not Chris Kennedy made that claim to the N.C.A.A.

If you know, please let me know and I’ll follow-up.

Here's the start of the spin I’m talking about:

“I don’t think the N.C.A.A. put one minute’s thought into how this would affect college men’s lacrosse,” Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said. “That’s my issue. John Danowski and the boys I have no problem with.”
The spin begins, as it so often does, with things The Times doesn’t tell you.

For example, that on Apr. 28 Dom Starsia’s Virginia team lost at home to “John Danowski and the boys I have no problem with” 11-9.

As a result, Duke’s seeded first in the 16-team N.C.A.A. lacrosse championship bracket; Staria's Virginia is seeded second and in the opposite bracket.

Here's something else The Times doesn’t mention: If Duke were out of the way, Starsia’s Virginia team would be the favorite to win the N.C.A.A. championship.

Steady mates. There’s still more NYT spin to come.

Every sports reporter who covers lacrosse knows Starsia’s the “go to guy” if you're looking for a knock on Duke lacrosse with a self-serving add-on like: “John Danowski and the boys I have no problem with”

But The Times doesn’t tell you that, the better to spin you.

Just take a look at this May 31, 2007 ESPN story reporting the “NCAA has granted Duke's request for an extra year of eligibility for its men's lacrosse players following rape allegations that led to the cancellation of much of last season.
Virginia coach Dom Starsia, whose Cavaliers won the national championship in 2006, was unhappy with the decision, though he said it was about more than seeing some of Duke's top players possibly stick around a while longer.

"Everybody in the lacrosse world was embarrassed by what happened," he said. "But it almost feels now as if nobody's really paying for this thing. I would've been the first to say that Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty probably deserved another year. But I'm not sure that everybody involved here should be painted with the same broad brush and it just seems that's what the NCAA chose to do.

"Most of these wounds seem to be self-inflicted at Duke. I'm not sure if the institution has kind of held itself accountable for everything that happened," he added.
We can all agree Duke’s administration and trustees have inflicted wounds on the University and not held themselves accountable.

But I doubt that’s what really had Coach Starsia upset.

As for spin and Starsia as a “go to guy” for reporters like Pete Thamel and news organizations like The Times, do I need to say any more?

Hat tip: Skeptical

Finnerty’s return to Duke: more than a game

First, the start of Burlington Times News sports editor Bob Sutton’s report of Collin Finnerty’s return to Duke yesterday as a member of the Loyola lacrosse team which took on the Blue Devils at Koskinen Stadium. Then below the star line, the text of an email I sent Sutton.

Sutton began - - -

Collin Finnerty wanted Loyola to win in its NCAA Tournament assignment Saturday afternoon at Duke, where awkward moments could have superseded anything else.

The top-seeded Blue Devils defeated Loyola as expected in men's lacrosse, then took aside a former teammate and shared a special moment.

Finnerty posed for an impromptu photograph near midfield with his ex-teammates, capping a strange get-together on a splendid, yet windy, Saturday afternoon at nearly full Koskinen Stadium.

Duke players say Finnerty remains part of their group even though he wore the opposing uniform during the Blue Devils' 12-7 victory. He was one of the three falsely accused players in the highly publicized rape case stemming from

His decision to transfer took him to Loyola.

In the tournament game, he scored. And again. And again.

Each time there was the same reaction: Hearty ovation from Duke fans. . . .

The rest of Sutton’s report’s here. I hope you read it.


Dear Editor Sutton:

I blog as John in Carolina and have posted often on the Duke hoax, the frame-up attempt and the ongoing cover-up of it.

I want to express my admiration and deep appreciation for your report of Collin Finnerty’s return to Duke and Koskinen Stadium to participate in the Loyola-Duke lacrosse game.

You conveyed so well that the day was about more than a game, and that one of the players was part of both teams and their fans.

Your selection and ordering of quotes from Finnerty, players on both teams and coaches allowed them “ to tell the story,” while your restrained but sharp text added detail and feeling.

Your report reminded me of Ernie Pyle’s WW II reports in which he’d let the reader know something of the location and circumstances of the fight, but it would be the GIs and what they were saying and doing that was the story.

I feel certain Collin Finnerty and his family already know of your report, but just in case I’m passing it on to a friend of mine who is a good friend of theirs.


John in Carolina

Readers Note: For those of you who may care to contact Bob Sutton his email is:

Hat tip: Archer 05