Saturday, January 10, 2009

Will Ill’s Sen. Burris Investigate Countrywide’s Sen. Dodd?

Senate Dems have figured out they can’t get away with not seating Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointee to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.

So will Illinois’ new Senator, Roland Burris, investigate that scoundrel from Connecticut, Senator Chris Dodd?

I don’t think so. But Burris and his fellow Senators should.

Yesterday the WSJ explained why - -

With the opening of the 111th Congress yesterday, all of Washington is tingling with the allure of a fresh start. Not so fast. We've got some leftover business from the 110th Congress -- namely, Chris Dodd's July 2008 promise to release the details of his sweetheart loans from Countrywide Financial.

The Connecticut Senator got favored treatment from the subprime mortgage purveyor, even as he was a power broker on the Banking Committee that regulates the industry.

When the news broke, the Senator first denied that he sought or expected preferential treatment.

He later admitted that he knew he was considered a VIP at the firm but claimed he thought it was "more of a courtesy." He also promised the Connecticut press that he'd come clean with the documents and details of the loans. But six months later -- nada, zip, nothing.

The rest of the press corps may have moved on, but we'd still like to know.

All the more so because former Countrywide Financial loan officer Robert Feinberg told us last fall that Mr. Dodd knowingly saved thousands of dollars on his refinancing of two properties in 2003 as part of a special program for the influential.

Mr. Feinberg also reported that he has internal company documents that prove Mr. Dodd knew he was getting preferential treatment as a friend of Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide's then-CEO, and Mr. Feinberg has offered to provide those documents to investigators.

[Mr. Dodd] will now play a lead role in drafting legislation affecting the very business that gave him preferential treatment, yet he still refuses to release the mortgage documents that would illuminate this treatment. (emphasis added) …

We suspect there's at least one habit of the 110th Congress that won't change in the 111th: The Members think they can get away with anything -- and usually do.

The entire WSJ editorial’s here.


My comments:

Most of the press corps has moved on because they hate to cover a story like this when the Senator’s a member of their own party.

If Dodd was a GOPer they’d be swarming like flies after honey.

But Dodd’s a Dem so he’s going to “fix the mess in Washington” he helped create.

The Churchill Series - Jan. 9, 2009

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

On most important issues of the 20th century America and Britain stood together to the great benefit of mankind.

But there were some issues on which they didn’t agree. During much of the 1920s, for instance, Britain told it subjects to enjoy their pints and drams while America scowled: “Prohibition.”

In Britain there was no stronger supporter of his government’s position than Churchill. And not just because he enjoyed champagne, whiskey and brandy on a daily basis.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill was uniquely positioned to appreciate the importance of the tax revenues that flowed from the distilleries to His Majesty’s coffers.

Against that background on April 28, 1925, Churchill presented to the Commons his first budget as Chancellor. The presentation lasted more then two hours, in the middle of which he drew from his pocket a small flask and said to the House:

"It is imperative that I should fortify the revenue and I shall now, with the permission of the Commons, proceed to do so."
There were cheers on all sides as he sipped.

But one member, Lady Nancy Astor, rose to object. She wanted Britons to pay more attention to what the Americans were doing about “liquor legislation.”

Churchill assured the House Britain had nothing to learn from the United States on that matter. Again the House cheered; and the budget was soon passed.

And yes, it was Lady Astor who said that if married to our hero, she’d put poison in his tea, which led him to promise that if married to her, he’d drink her tea.

And that, dear readers, leads to an impertinent question: Do you ever at weddings look at the couple and reflect on the tea vows Astor and Churchill made?

If you're in the North I hope the snow and cold don't hit you too hard.

Everyone have a nice weekend.



William Manchester, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory. (pgs. 788-789)

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's Not Easy Working For Al-Qaeda

First, excerpts from a “good news report” in today’s Washington Post. Then I offer a few comments below the star line.

WaPo begins - - -

A New Year's Day CIA strike in northern Pakistan killed two top al-Qaeda members long sought by the United States, including the man believed to be behind September's deadly suicide bombing at a Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital, U.S. counterterrorism officials confirmed yesterday.

Agency officials ascertained this week that Usama al-Kini, a Kenyan national who was described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan, was killed in the Jan. 1 missile strike, along with his lieutenant, identified as Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, the sources said.

Both men were associated with a string of suicide attacks in Pakistan in recent months and also allegedly helped plan the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Kini, who had been pursued by U.S. law enforcement agencies on two continents for a decade, was the eighth senior al-Qaeda leader killed in clandestine CIA strikes since July, the officials said. …

The CIA declined to comment on the strike, citing the extreme secrecy of its operations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where al-Qaeda is believed to be based. However, a U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed that the two died in a CIA strike on a building that was being used for explosives training. …

Terrorism experts have cautioned that al-Qaeda has shown surprising resilience, quickly replacing leaders who are killed or captured. Still, there have been few occasions since 2001 when the group lost so many top operatives so quickly.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert and Georgetown University professor, said the agency's tactics appear to be cutting dramatically into al-Qaeda's top ranks with strikes deep into a lawless border region that insurgents long regarded as a sanctuary.

"It is a stunning testament of the accuracy of intelligence that the United States is obtaining," Hoffman said. "Either we have built up an impressive network of sources that facilitates such precision targeting, or the Pakistani authorities are cooperating big-time."

The entire WaPo story’s here.



When an attack like the one on Jan. 1 occurs, the major and most immediate problem for al-Qaeda is not replacing the leaders killed. It’s finding out who gave away the information that enabled the CIA to “drop the dime” and why.

Al-Qaeda must first check to make sure no one within its organization deliberately or inadvertently transmitted information.

That’s a very rough, almost always murderous process.

Imagine what it’s like to be surrounded by a group of sociopaths who’ll kill anyone, even innocents; and they’re searching for traitors and they haven’t ruled many of the group out, including you.

There has to be a lot of al-Qaeda killing al-Qaeda going on now in Pakistan.

Some of that could be because there’s actual hard evidence pointing to turncoat(s).

But for sure some of the bad guys are using the “I found the traitor” excuse to eliminate rivals and settle scores.

How do I know that without having “inside” knowledge?

Because at times like this, that’s what always happens within groups like al Qaeda. I had a friend who served in the OSS during WW II. He once said, “We took out some Nazi agents, but not as many as the Nazis did themselves.”

The al Qaeda against al Qaeda “search and destroy missions” are a wonderful kind of “collateral damage” from the attack described in the WaPo story.

Add to that the problems al Qaeda in Pakistan has as it wonders, as terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman does, whether “the Pakistani authorities are cooperating [with the CIA] big-time."

I try never to underestimate al Qaeda. It’s very likely the world hasn’t yet seen its worst.

But today’s WaPo story is a “good news report.” I look forward to many more such stories in 2009.

Hat tip: Drudge Report

Two Missing Guests at DA Cline's Swearing-in

Durham's newly sworn in District Attorney Tracey Cline says she invited "everybody" to her swearing-in ceremony. The now disbarred former DA Mike Nifong, Cline's former supervisor, says his invitation was personal.

Nifong's attendance got me thinking about two people who weren't at the swearing-in: former DPD officers Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Ben Himan, the principal DPD "investigators" in what in Spring 2006 was called the Duke lacrosse case, something we now know was primarily a frame-up attempt and an ongoing cover-up of it.

Both officers resigned from DPD in early 2008, with WTVD reporting Himan resigned on Feb. 19; Gottlieb on Mar. 1.

A few months before they resigned - in fact one year ago today - a story appeared in the Durham Herald Sun which I think goes a long way towards explaining why Gottlieb and Himan weren't sharing in Cline's swearing-in festivities.

I posted on the H-S story. If you read the post -
Who "Owns" That "Toxic" NTO? (1/13/08) - I think you'll agree it helps explain why Gottlieb and Himan weren't there for the swearing-in.

You'll also be left in no doubt as to why our new DA is interested in "healing" rathere than discovery under oath.

Who "Owns" That "Toxic" NTO?
begins -

For almost two years the public’s had the impression the securing in March 2006 of a nontestimonial order (NTO) directing the white members of the Men’s Duke lacrosse team to provide DNA samples and submit to police face and torso photographing was something the DA’s office and DPD agreed upon and secured through their collaborative efforts.

But now, thanks to reporter Ray Gronberg’s Jan. 9 Durham Herald Sun story, we’re learning there are disputes between the DA’s office and DPD and within the DA’s office as to who did what to secure it.

Here are the relevant portions of Gronberg’s story, followed by my comments:

From the Jan. 9 Durham H-S - - -

[…] At the heart of the matter is material taken from the notes of lacrosse case lead detective Ben Himan, and notes and a deposition from Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

They referred to Cline's role in the creation of a non-testimonial order, or NTO,
that allowed police to take photographs of and collect DNA evidence from 46 of the 47 members of the Duke lacrosse team. (all emphasis added)

Cline denied that she had any role in writing the order.

"The record will indicate that David Saacks did it," she said. Saacks is the interim district attorney but was an assistant DA at that time. "I didn't prepare any paperwork on that case. Nothing at all. I've never even seen or laid hands on a non-testimonial order."

She said, "I remember Gottlieb asked me about a non-testimonial order, and I told him I was not available."

But when asked by The Herald-Sun whether she'd asked police to draft the non-testimonial order, Cline responded,
"I don't recall."

Himan's notes and Gottlieb's deposition indicate that police consulted Cline on March 22, 2006, after they learned players, on the advice of attorneys, wouldn't show up that day for a scheduled meeting with investigators.

As soon as that was clear, Himan contacted Cline, who handled most sexual-assault cases for the district attorney's office.

Himan -- who turned over his notes to defense lawyers in May of 2006 -- reported that the conversation took place at about 4:15 p.m.
He said Cline urged police to secure the order.

"I went to Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cline and spoke to her about our case," Himan said, summarizing what happened.
"She stated that we should do the non-testimonial on the players including upper-torso pictures, current mug shots and cheek swabbings."

Gottlieb's notes -- turned over to the defense in July of 2006 -- backed Himan's account.

"I spoke to [Police Attorney] Toni Smith and notified her that Investigator Himan spoke with ADA Tracey Cline. Ms. Cline asked them to draw up the NTO so the DA's office could present it to a judge in the morning.
[Smith] stated follow the directions of the DA's office since they are the ones conducting the possible future prosecution."

The sergeant's deposition -- given to N.C. State Bar investigators as they assembled evidence for then-District Attorney Mike Nifong's eventual disbarment -- echoed his notes.

"I had actually spoke with Ms. Smith and Investigator Himan spoke with the District Attorney's office, Ms. Cline, and they decided to -- the district attorney's office thought it was a good idea [--] to go ahead and do a non-testimonial, and I assisted Investigator Himan in preparing it," Gottlieb told bar investigators.

Himan and Gottlieb worked on the order overnight and had it ready for a judge's signature the morning of March 23, 2006. Cline, however, wasn't available to help the detectives get it signed. Himan said he turned to Saacks, who presented the draft order to Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens.

Asked for comment, Saacks backed up the accounts offered by Himan and Gottlieb, and at least part of Cline's. He said the detectives first went to Cline.

"They just called her and asked her what they should do," Saacks said. "When they came to me, they said they had already talked to Tracey about it. But she wasn't available that morning, so I took it through court."

He said police -- and not anyone in the DA's office -- drafted the order. The only change made to the draft, once it was presented to Saacks, was one that helped authorities bypass a rule that normally gives targets of an NTO three days to challenge it in court.

Saacks said he didn't know whether police suggested the order or whether Cline "brought it up" when she talked to them.

The detectives' use of the order was controversial from the outset because lawyers questioned whether authorities had probable cause to demand DNA samples from 46 players.

One Durham lawyer, Tom Loflin, told The Herald-Sun in March 2006 that the order was "mammothly unconstitutional" and a "dragnet fishing expedition."

In one of two civil-rights lawsuits pending against the city, Durham lawyer Bob Ekstrand alleged that police lied in the affidavit supporting the order because they knew they couldn't establish that all 46 of the players had attended the team party that touched off the case.

The suit also contended that Himan and Gottlieb requested the NTO to retaliate against the players for refusing to show up at the planning meeting to answer questions.

Cline is widely expected to run for district attorney this spring.


Some comments:

Everyone following this case knew that if discovery proceeded in the civil suits, at some point the DA’s office and DPD would clash and offer different versions of key events, big-time denials and relentless blame-shifting.

But it was expected that would begin over disputes between what Himan and Gottlieb were saying versus what Nifong was saying.

We have something different here: Given that the “official story” (which I dispute here) is that Nifong knew nothing about the NTO until after it was signed, what Gronberg reports doesn’t at least for now involve Nifong as far as most of the public is concerned.

What we have right now is DPD (Himan and Gottlieb directly and attorney Toni Smith indirectly by virtue of Gottlieb’s assertions) directly challenging what ADA Cline is saying.

Somebody’s got to be very wrong here in what she/he/they is/are saying about extraordinarily important matters.

The dispute Gronberg describes is basically about NTO “ownership.”

Each agency is denying it “owns” the NTO.

That suggests to me, and I’m sure to many of you, how “toxic” are the events involving the preparation of the NTO.

The DA’s office and DPD have known of the NTO’s “toxicity” for almost two years but the possibility that discovery in the not too distant future will force both agencies to face examination concerning “toxic” matters is no doubt troubling both agencies as well as Cline’s election supporters.

I admire the way Gronberg handled this story. Whether he got a leak or just dug in the existing documents, he presented both agencies speaking to the same matters so their contradictions stand out.

A lot of reporters duck doing that. They’d rather write two successive pieces: one from each side. The pieces are promos for each side and the reporter doesn’t have to worry about the DA’s office or the police getting mad at him or her.

I give Gronberg a big “hat tip” for following up with Cline so that he was able to tell us:

when asked by The Herald-Sun whether she'd asked police to draft the non-testimonial order, Cline responded, "I don't recall."
That’s news reporting!

I’ll say more about this story tomorrow.

Be sure to visit Liestoppers Forum. Bloggers and citizen journalists there are all over this story. [The LS Forum site was subsequently hacked and the material there was lost. - JinC]

Now, how about your thoughts.

End Note: I encourage you to go to
Who "Owns" That "Toxic" NTO? in order to read its outstanding thread.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 8, 2009

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

The following post, first published in Feb. 2006, is very timely today.

Historian David Hurwitz wrote (excerpts):

Appointed Colonial Secretary in February 1921, Churchill had long supported a Jewish state. His early experience came from prominent Jewish leaders in Manchester, one of his early constituencies.


In a letter written in 1908, he expressed "full sympathy...with their aspirations of establishing a Jewish homeland....The restoration to them of a centre of true racial and political integrity would be a tremendous event in the history of the world....Jerusalem must be the only goal."


Churchill played an important part in determining the boundaries of Palestine. A natural Arab-Jewish boundary was the River Jordan, with Jewish settlements permitted west of the river and Arabs to the east.


Militant Arabs argued that Jewish immigration should be stopped and support for a national home for the Jews should be ended.

Churchill flatly refused, stating that it was not within his authority as Colonial Secretary, and that he would not block Jewish settlements in the area even if he could. He insisted that Arabs "...must live on terms of cordiality and fraternity."

Just 12 years from now, in 2021, we’ll mark a century since Churchill tried to settle differences and assure peace in Palestine between Arabs and Jews.


David Hurwitz, "Churchill and Palestine," Judaism, 44(1): 3-32.

How Many Ways To Play The Race Card?

I learned about another one reading Andrew Reilly online at The Pheonix.

Reilly begins - - - -

Yesterday's [Boston] Globe "Names" column included a nugget re: Gwen Ifill's new book, The Breakthrough, on the new generation of black politicians.

After calling the flap over Ifill's role as presidential-debate moderator overblown, "Names" proceeded to pluck one--and only one--detail from Ifill's text:

One tidbit: Recalling the controversy over [Mass. Dem. Gov. Deval] Patrick's decision to replace [outgoing GOP Gov.] Mitt Romney's Ford Crown Vic with a new Cadillac DeVille DTS, the governor's wife, Diane, takes issue with the Boston Herald for calling the car "tricked-out."

The first spouse says the description is "frankly racist. . . . It didn't have boom boxes, speakers on the outside, but they called it tricked-out." Ifill, by the way, once worked for the Herald.

Reilly continues - - -

Now comes a little Herald push-back, in the form of a Hillary Chabot story that quotes Herald editor Kevin Convey on [Diane] Patrick's characterization:

Herald Editor Kevin Convey said the term “tricked out” had no racist implications.

“We’re sorry that the first lady feels the way she does, but the term ‘tricked out’ as a synonym for decorated or adorned is over 100 years old and has no racial connotation whatsoever. Moreover we meant none,” Convey said.

At this point Reilly says - - -

I don't know when "tricked out" first entered the lexicon, but I do think Diane Patrick is reaching here. …

Further along Reilly reminds readers - - -

Remember, it wasn't just the Cadillac. It was the Cadillac, and the drapes, and the furniture, and the $72,000-a-year-aide to Diane Patrick, and Patrick's difficulty grasping why this stuff struck people as problematic

Chabot's account says that the governor's office had no comment on Diane Patrick's accusation or Convey's response.

But let's remember what the governor himself ultimately said--and did--on this particular subject.

As Chabot herself reminds us, Patrick subsequently "admitt[ed] he misstepped" and moved to cover the cost differential between his car and the Ford Crown Victoria used by his predecessor, Mitt Romney.

Reilly’s entire post’s here.

Question: Is someone keeping count of all the ways you can play the race card?

Doesn't it seem like there must be at least 72,000?

McClatchy Watch Has My Vote

for 2008 Weblogs Awards Best Up And Coming Blog.

McClatchy Watch does an outstanding job covering everything McClatchy from insider trading to the liberal/leftist bias that’s the hallmark of McClatchy “reporting.”

For example, yesterday McClatchy Watch posted - "McClatchy puff piece on Obama nominee quotes only Democrats and Obama donors -- not a single Republican."

It begins - - -

In the latest example of Obama boosterism at McClatchy, reporter Greg Gordon's piece on Obama's nomination of Dawn Johnsen quoted several sources who gave glowing praise for the nominee -- but Gordon neglected to inform readers his sources were all partisan Democrats, and in at least 2 cases, Obama donors.

Gordon did not include a single word from any Republican.

About Dawn Johnsen, Gordon noted she is a law professor who worked several years in the Clinton administration. But Gordon left out some information that McClatchy readers should know about.

Gordon forgot to mention Johnsen is on the board of directors at the American Constitution Society, a self-described "progressive organization" co-founded by Laurence Tribe.

She is also a partisan Democrat. According to this site, Johnsen donated to the Obama and Clinton campaigns. (I see nothing wrong with Johnsen's political contributions, by the way -- Obama is a Democrat so most of his appointees will be Democrats. too.)

But when a reporter presents a source as "non-partisan," readers are entitled to full disclosure. So let's take a look at Gordon's sources.

First up to sing the praises of Dawn Johnsen is Laurence Tribe, the activist law professor from Harvard. Here is Tribe's quote: "One of the refreshing things about Dawn Johnsen's appointment is that she's almost a 180-degree shift from John Yoo and David Addington and (Vice President) Dick Cheney."

According to this site, Tribe donated the maximum $4,600 to Barack Obama in 2008.

More: Tribe actually campaigned for Obama during the election. Aren't readers entitled to know Tribe is a partisan? …

The rest of the post’s here.

I hope you vote for McClatchy Watch as 2008 Best Up and Coming Blog.

You can vote here.

AND you can vote once every 24 hours. So please vote often.

You'll be helping bring about more honest journalism

Worst Duke Hoax/Frame-up Prediction So Far?

The following in Washington Post associate editor and columnist Eugene Robinson’s Apr.25, 2006 column gets my vote - - -

The university's president, Richard H. Brodhead, may emerge from this awful mess as a true hero, because he seems to understand the need to deal not only with the specific allegations but with the context and the questions as well. (emphasis added)

In an extraordinary letter to the Duke community, . . . Brodhead wrote of "an attitude of arrogant inconsiderateness that reached its peak in the alleged event but that had long preceded it" -- an attitude that, to many outsiders, "has seemed to be the face of Duke." …

It will be fascinating to watch as Duke attempts some educating that parents should have taken care of long ago. ...

- - -

Folks, can any of you think of a worse hoax/frame prediction so far?

Robinson’s entire Apr. 25, 2006 column’s here. You’ll see its race/class/gender-obsessed and fails to confront the central issues of guilt and innocence

I encourage any reader planning to cite Robinson’s column in support of Brodhead’s and the trustee’s “Who knew?” defense of their shameful actions and inactions in response to Mangum’s and Nifong’s lies to first read Thomas Sowell’s column, "Law or Lynch Law."

It too was published Apr. 25, 2006.

Robinson should have known.

Brodhead and the trustees did know.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 7, 2009

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

Churchill loved baths. Once, he even arranged for a train to stop in the middle of a desert while he got off and took one in a tub set beside the tracks.

Here's how that happened.

In March, 1921, Churchill, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, traveled to the Middle East.

After days of meetings in Cairo, he and his party boarded an overnight train for Jerusalem.

Early the next morning, with the train moving through the desert, Churchill summoned his bodyguard, Inspector Thompson. He wanted Thompson to arrange for his bath.

Thompson, who would become Churchill's longest serving bodyguard, had only recently been assigned to him. He wanted to oblige Churchill but didn't see how he could. He said "everybody on this hot, grubby journey wants a bath (but there is) no bathroom on the train (and) no bath for miles."

Churchill insisted there was at least a tub on board somewhere; and asked Thompson to locate it, which he finally did in the baggage car.

"(It was) a tall-backed, old-fashioned, tin-plate affair," Thompson later said. "The kind used in front of bedroom fireplaces before a bathroom became standard home equipment."

When Thompson told Churchill of his find, he added that there was no hot water on board. So how could Churchill have his bath?

"You're slipping, Thompson," Churchill said. "When you first came to me I thought you were a man of intelligence. Now I doubt it."

With that, he told Thompson to have the engineer stop the train. They would draw hot water from the engine.

Now, let's give the final words to Thompson:

Winston got out of bed. He put on a brightly coloured dressing gown, seized a towel, and led the way along the tracks to the front, where the steaming bathtub lay on the dusty desert.

He smiled up at the engine crew, stripped naked, and fitted himself into the bath.

As Archimedes predicted, most of the water spilled over and was swallowed up by the parched earth.

But (Churchill) got a bath of sorts, dried himself, waved to the crew and sauntered, pink and clean, back to his compartment.
Tom Hickman,
Churchill's Bodyguard. (pgs. 15-16)

“Real Professional Journalists” At Work

I always smile when reading something like - - “and another reason why you should trust us more than bloggers is we have editors.”

With that in mind, I read at this headline:

George W. Bush first president in history not to get lifetime Secret Service security detail

The Secret Service wasn’t even founded until 1865 and it didn’t begin protecting Presidents until the 20th century.

But no one should blame that headline on a Duke University History Department professor.

A “real professional journalist,” most likely a headline editor, wrote it.

Wait! There’s more.

President George W. Bush’s photo
does not accompany the story.

Someone, perhaps a photo editor, selected a photo of W’s father, President George H. W. Bush, to accompany the story.


Still more.

The NY Daily News story begins:
President George W. Bush will be the first president in history not to receive lifetime Secret Service protection, according to McClatchey.
Wrong! And it's not what the McClatchy news company said. See here.

Note to “real professional journalists:”
Editors don’t assure accuracy.

That job's done by informed, critical, truth-committed readers and listens of news and commentary.

Some of those people are “real professional journalists,” some are their editors, and very many are consumers who comment with corrections and added information.

That later group includes bloggers and citizen journalists.

Note to JinC Regulars: You don’t need me to tell you: “Reader/listener be alert.”

Note to people coming by JinC for the first time or who visit only now and then:
I’ve many “editors” who work 24/7/365

They often point out mistakes I make or “add to the story.”

Today's Daily News story reminds me to thank them.

Hat tip: AC

Duke’s Trustee’s “continuing failure”

Duke University’s trustees are facing a series of lawsuits; part of the fallout from their disgraceful actions and inactions in response to events spawned by Crystal Mangum’s and Mike Nifong’s lies.

Their supporters say the trustees can’t be held responsible for what they did and didn’t do because, among other things, they didn’t know what was really going on.

President Richard Brodhead used the “Who knew?” defense in October 2006 during a 60 Minutes interview with the late Ed Bradley.

Remember Brodhead talking about what a confusing time Spring 2006 was because “the facts kept changing?

But by mid-April 2006 fair-minded, intelligent people recognized the lacrosse players were the victims of police and prosecutorial malfeasence. That was the point of Attorney Spilbor Proves Duke's Trustees Knew.

And that was the point of J. Swift’s outstanding comment on the thread of the Spilbor post.

Swift lists almost 30 Raleigh N&O stories that would have led anyone to question what the now disbarred Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers and their supervisors were up to.

Swift says - - -

Credible evidence strongly supports the accusation that Gottlieb and Himan obstructed justice, committed and suborned perjury, intimidated witnesses, and ignored, fabricated and withheld evidence.

The complete failure of their supervisors to [properly] oversee their actions in a highly publicized case belies the explanation that “rogue” investigators led by a “rogue” DA abused their authority. Moreover, the DPD’s failure to discipline any officers for their role in this case can be seen to have validated these actions.

Duke’s continuing failure—long after the case has ended and Duke need no longer be concerned about “interfering” in a criminal case—to criticize either Durham or the DPD and to demand an honest investigation of the DPD’s actions can at best be seen as its acceptance of potentially criminal acts in a deliberate frame of its students.

Even when “the facts [are no longer] changing” and Duke has had a full opportunity to consider its reaction, Duke has taken no action to defend its students’ rights.


Folks, if you haven’t already done so, please take a look at J. Swift’s comment and the rest of the thread here.

Thank you, J. Swift

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 6, 2009

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

The three most powerful WW II allies: America, Britain and Russia.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee: America and Britain.

Why wasn't Russia represented?

In The Grand Alliance Churchill explained it this way:

The Russians were not represented on the Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee (because they) had a far-distant, single, independent front, and there was neither need nor means of Staff integrations.

Of course there was more to it than that, but in this brief post we won't get into whys and wherefores historians have disputed for more than half a century.

We'll move along to something else Churchill said about the Combined Chiefs:

The enjoyment of a common language was of course a supreme advantage in all British and American discussions.

The delays and often partial misunderstandings which occur when interpreters are used were avoided.

There were however differences of expression, which in the early days led to an amusing incident.

The British Staff prepared a paper which they wished to raise as a matter of urgency, and informed their American colleagues that they wished to "table it."

To the American Staff "tabling" a paper meant putting it away in a drawer and forgetting it.

A long and even acrimonious argument ensued before both parties realized that they were agreed on the merits and wanted the same thing.

Whatever the case with Russia, any historian questioning Churchill's "table it" story, need only look up table in The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

table verb [T]

1 UK to suggest something for discussion:

An amendment to the proposal was tabled by Mrs. James.

2 US to delay discussion of a subject:

The suggestion was tabled for discussion at a later date.

With that now cleared up, what do you say to tabling further discussion?


Winston S. Churchill, The Grand Alliance. (pgs. 686-689)

The Democrats’ Franken-fraud

Statistician John Lott & Fox News called it on Nov. 10, 2008, less than a week after the election, when they told readers - - -

When voters woke up on Wednesday morning after the election, Senator Norm Coleman led Al Franken by what seemed like a relatively comfortable 725 votes. By Wednesday night, that lead had shrunk to 477.

By Thursday night, it was down to 336. By Friday, it was 239. Late Sunday night, the difference had gone down to just 221 -- a total change over 4 days of 504 votes.

Amazingly, this all has occurred even though there hasn’t even yet been a recount. Just local election officials correcting claimed typos in how the numbers were reported. …

Correcting these typos was claimed to add 435 votes to Franken and take 69 votes from Coleman. Corrections were posted in other races, but they were only a fraction of those for the Senate. … (If you were thinking Democrats and Franken-fraud, isn’t that just what you’d expect? No wonder NPR, the NYT and other Democratic organizations went along with it. – JinC)

Virtually all of Franken’s new votes came from just three out of 4130 precincts, and almost half the gain (246 votes) occurred in one precinct -- Two Harbors, a small town north of Duluth along Lake Superior -- a heavily Democratic precinct where Obama received 64 percent of the vote.

None of the other races had any changes in their vote totals in that precinct. (Does this surprise or upset any Franken supporter? – JinC)

To put this change in perspective, that single precinct’s corrections accounted for a significantly larger net swing in votes between the parties than occurred for all the precincts in the entire state for the presidential, congressional, or state house races. (Well sure. Isn’t that how you steal elections? - - JinC)

The rest of the story’s here.