Friday, January 23, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 23, 2009

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

I’m an admirer of William Manchester’s two volume Churchill biography:
The Last Lion and Alone. I regret a stroke prevented Manchester from completing his planned third and final volume of the biography.

But there are some things Manchester says about Churchill that just aren’t true. Here's one example from
Alone in which Manchester asserts:

As a man who reached his majority in 1895, when Victorian gentlemen never use the words “breast” or “leg” if ladies were present, he assumes that they are innocents who must be shielded from the brutal facts of life and that feminine beauty is unaccompanied by carnal desire.” (p. 17)
Churchill understood from youth the Victorian convention of avoiding references to sex in front of women was just that: a social convention.

And he also knew that many women enjoyed sex. One of them was his mother; another was his wife.

When Churchill was away Clementine would often end her letters to him reminding him to come home at the first opportunity because “your ‘Cat’ needs stroking” and “I so want to purr with you.”

If you haven't yet made its acquaintance, I urge you to read Speaking for Themselves: The Personnel Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill, edited by their daughter, Lady Mary Soames. (Black Swan, 1999)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


SEC Probes Whether Duke BOT Chair Misled Investors

Reuters reports - - -

U.S. regulators are probing former Wachovia Corp Chief Executive Robert Steel over comments he made on television about his bank the day before it started talks about a potential merger, the Wall Street Journal reported late on Friday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper said the Securities and Exchange Commission has been probing whether Steel, a former Treasury Department official, misled investors in an appearance on CNBC's Mad Money show during the height of the financial panic last September.

"In an extremely challenging and volatile time, Mr. Steel always did his best to convey the position of Wachovia accurately. Should any questions arise, he is very comfortable addressing them," the Journal quoted a spokesman for Steel as saying, adding that the SEC declined to comment.

Wachovia shareholders approved the bank's takeover by rival Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) in late December, bringing one of the largest mergers stemming from the financial crisis near to completion.

Well Fargo could not be immediately reached for comment.

The SEC wants to ascertain whether Steel misled investors when he told CNBC's "Mad Money" program on Monday, September 15, that the company had a great future "as an independent company," as panic about the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers roiled markets, the paper reported.


My comments:

If Steel, chair of Duke University’s board of trustees, misled investors that won’t surprise people familiar with the Duke lacrosse hoax, frame-up attempt and their ongoing cover-up.

Since March 2006 when a false accuser told self-contradicting lies about a gang rape and other crimes that never happened, Steel’s been misleading the Duke community and the broader public.

With Duke’s President Richard H. Brodhead, Steel put in place Duke’s disgraceful “throw the students under the bus” strategy which has stained the university’s reputation and embroiled it in multiple lawsuits, including one with one of its insurers.

Hat tip: An Anon commenter

But NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the networks are OK

The NY Post reports - - -

President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts. …

The rest of the Post’s story’s here.

Full disclosure: Nowhere in the story does it say President Obama told Republicans it was OK for them to listen to NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the networks.

But don’t you think it’s safe to say The One’s OK with GOPers listening to any of them?

If he’s not, I’ll issue a retraction provided that’s OK with our historic first president ever to tell members of the opposite party they shouldn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh if they want to “get things done.”

Hat tip: Drudge Report

While You Wait For Obama to Release Them

You can read in the International Herald Tribune:

"Guantánamo detainee resurfaces in terrorist group”
Who’s surprised?

It’s like reading:
"Rangel, Dodd, and Frank resurface in sleaze probe”
Only the Dems don't want to kill us.

They just want our money.

Hat tip: Drudge Report

More re: "Duke’s Chronicle Ignores Insurer's Charges"

Ken in Dallas has followed the Duke/Durham case closely. He commented re: Duke’s Chronicle Ignores Insurer's Charges.

Parts of Ken’s comments are in italics; my responses are in plain.

Ken said - - -

While I agree the Chronicle could have been more forthcoming in its article, there are often claims (and counterclaims) made in court filings. Some are true. Some are without merit. I think we need to be careful here.

You’re right about a need to be careful here and the merit or lack thereof of claims and counter claims made by parties to a lawsuit

That said, The Chronicle should've told readers National Union, in its response, charged Duke, in its suit filing, with making claims against NU which NU said were
“knowingly unfounded, malicious, frivolous, and in bad faith.” (See this JinC post)

NU knows it will have to argue those charges and convince the court.

NU could have said Duke’s claims were “unfounded.” It chose to say they were “
deliberately unfounded.” (emphasis added)

“Malicious,” according to this legal dictionary, means:
An act done maliciously is one that is wrongful and performed willfully or intentionally, and without legal justification.

Duke's Chronicle Ignores Insurer's Charges I should have noted that according to the same legal dictionary referenced above, “in bad faith” means: The fraudulent deception of another person; the intentional or malicious refusal to perform some duty or contractual obligation.

And from the dictionary's discussion:

Bad faith is not the same as prior judgment or Negligence. One can make an honest mistake about one's own rights and duties, but when the rights of someone else are intentionally or maliciously infringed upon, such conduct demonstrates bad faith.

The existence of bad faith can minimize or nullify any claims that a person alleges in a lawsuit. Punitive Damages,
attorney's fees, or both, may be awarded to a party who must defend himself or herself in an action brought in bad faith (emphasis added)
NU made its "bad faith" charge in a section of its response in which it asked that Duke compensate it for attorneys’ fees and other expenses it incurs in connection with the suit.

Having said that, Duke's well documented violation of federal FERPA laws should have been noted. The student body needs to know that its personal information is not being kept private. Now that I think about it, perhaps that should be a separate story in the Chronicle.

Ken, in this paragraph I score you hitting two “over the fence.”

1) Attorney’s tell me if Duke violated FERPA laws and regulation in the first place with the release of confidential student information to Nifong and DPD, that would be extremely serious and some of those at Duke engaged in the release might well be subject to criminal charges.

If having violated FERPA laws and regulations, Duke then joined with Nifong in an elaborate deception which included lying during proceedings in Judge Titus’ court, that would be, as one attorney put it: “arsenic for Duke.”

2) The student body and parents need and deserve to know whether personal information was kept private. I’ll bet you find it very disturbing that neither Duke’s trustees or their president, Dick Brodhead, has denied the allegations and assured the Duke community that nothing like what is alleged ever happened.

Thanks for your most recent thoughtful comment and for the many that have preceded it.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 22, 2009

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

Many historians consider Carlo d’Este’s
Decision in Normandy the finest account of that June through August 1944 campaign.

Here d’Este describes the relationship between Churchill and the commander of Allied ground forces in the Normandy campaign, Britain’s General (later Field Marshal) Bernard Law Montgomery.

In Montgomery, Churchill had at last found a general who won battles, the most professional soldier, in fact, that he had ever encountered: a tough, blunt, no-nonsense commander with tenacious qualities, and a near-obsession with winning the war. It was of little consequence to Churchill that he was often high-handed, arrogant and difficult to handle, perhaps because these same qualities could just as well describe the Prime Minister himself.

For his part, while Montgomery deeply respected Churchill as a great statesman he was never afraid of him; he was respectful and admiring but, as he was to prove on several occasions, he never hesitated to say ‘no’ to his Prime Minister when he believed he was meddling in a general’s business – and managed to escape the wrath which traditionally followed a confrontation with the strong-willed Churchill.
Carlo d'Este,
Decision in Normandy. (p. 46)

Duke’s Chronicle Ignores Insurer’s Charges

Yesterday, Jan. 21, The Chronicle published its first and to date only story reporting the response of National Union Fire Insurance, Co.(NU) to a lawsuit Duke University (along with DU Health System) filed in November.

Duke alleges NU is responsible for certain costs associated with lawsuits resulting from Duke’s actions and inactions in connection with the Duke lacrosse case.

The Chronicle’s story quoted Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations, who said Duke “can't say much … and the legal system will determine what is owed to Duke."

The story also provided some background to Duke’s suit and reported a NU spokesperson had not “immediately” responded to a request for comment.

But TC’s story said nothing about the extraordinarily serious charges NU made in its response. For example, that Duke had, in its suit filing, made claims against NU which were
“knowingly unfounded, malicious, frivolous, and in bad faith.” (See this JinC post)

TC also said nothing about a February 2008 letter concerning which KC Johnson reported:

National Union informed Duke that some of the lacrosse players’ claims—if true—involved actions by University officials beyond topics covered by the insurance policy.

The letter cited items such as allegations of “false and misleading statements made with intent to conceal”; “public statements made with deliberate indifference and callous disregard for the truth”; and “repeated proffer of false testimony.” (On this point, allegations regarding Duke’s violation of FERPA seem especially troublesome for the University.)

The carrier also noted that other alleged actions seemed to involve the defendants’ personal behavior (Pres. Brodhead’s public musings about the lacrosse players’ personal character?) rather than any action in their official capacity. …
NU's allegations are not ones the Allen Building wants bruited about.

But they're an extraordinarily important part of the NU-response-to-Duke’s-suit story.

By deciding to say nothing about them, The Chronicle failed its readers.

TC owes readers a follow-up story that details what NU is saying about Duke’s actions and inactions during one of the most important episodes in the university’s history.

The entire TC story’s here.

Comment re: "Manmade global warming" losing public support

Responding to "Manmade global warming" losing public support,

Anon @ 7:11 said - - -

It is stunning to me that the global warming/climate change cult is largely left wing. These are the same people who ridicule fundamentalist Christians who take issue with the theory of evolution. The lefties can't imagine that anyone would believe that species have not changed over time.

Yet, the global warming cultists insist that variations in climate and temperature are unprecedented -- that things on earth were always the same for eons until the bad humans came along and discovered fossil fuels.

The fundamentalists used to tell me that dinosaur bones and fossils and carbon dating were the tools of Satan, used to sow doubt that the world was a few thousand years old.

I wonder if the marine fossils found far from the NC coast (that prove that the seas were once much higher) or evidence of Greenland once being green are the work of evil "deniers" hired by Exxon Mobil to con us into believing that climate and temperatures have varied over time.

I can think of only two things to add:

1) Amen!

2) Thank you, Anon.

Hat Tipping “the Editors”

If you know a “bloggers have no editors” MSM journalist, please send them this post.

Thanks go to Ken in Dallas who within about 30 minutes of its publication, noted I’d reversed a set of links which I promptly got right.

Thanks to Tarheel Hawkeye who noted a link carried not to a spoof Obama weather report but a promo. I couldn’t find the spoof, so I took down the post.

Thanks to a journalist friend who offline incorrectly referenced the Minneapolis Star Tribune as a “McClatchy paper,” something it once was but hasn’t been since McClatchy sold it a few years ago.

My friend’s reference was incidental to a longer post. His rereading what he wrote and emailing back a few hours later to correct what was really a small mistake is the kind of thing most of us wish more journos would do.

No justice, no peace has commented often at a number of blogs on the Duke/Durham hoax and frame attempt as well as the ongoing cover-up they’ve spawned.

Recently here and at another blog nj,np misidentified two people, each with the other.

Before anyone could point out nj,np’s errors, nj, np was posting at both blogs calling attention to his/her errors and providing readers the proper information.

It was all done promptly, fully and with prominence equal to the original erroneous posts.

Our democracy would be so much better off if most journalists and bloggers did as nj, np did and as some journalists and bloggers do.

Many of you do “the editor’s work” of putting me on to breaking stories. Thank you.

A final “thank you” to all of you who add to JinC with your “editorial” comments and questions.


The Churchill Series - Jan. 21, 2009

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

One day in 1899 twenty-four year old Winston Churchill, by then already a war veteran, published author, and a keen student of politics, visited Conservative Party headquarters in London. A distant relative and minor party functionary, Fitz Roy Stewart, had, at Churchill’s request, arranged for him to meet party leaders.

Now if you’re telling yourself, “I’ll bet the meeting had something to do with Churchill wanting party support for a seat in Parliament,” you’re right.

Party Manager Middleton, nicknamed “The Skipper,” assured Churchill the party would find a suitable opportunity for him.

We know all this because in 1930 Churchill, then age fifty-five, told us about it in
My Early Life, his account of his first twenty-seven years.

And we know something else about his visit to Conservative Party headquarters because, with tongue-in-check and a wink to readers, Churchill told us what happened as he was leaving party headquarters:

On the way out I had another talk with Fitz Roy Stewart. My eye lighted upon a large book on his table on the cover of which was a label bearing the inscription “SPEAKERS WANTED.”

I gazed upon this with wonder. Fancy that! Speakers were wanted and there was a bulky book of applications.

Now I had always wanted to make a speech; but I had never on any occasion great or small been invited or indeed allowed to do so. …

So I said to Fitz Roy Stewart, “Tell me about this. Do you mean to say there are a lot of meetings which want speakers?”

“Yes,” he replied; “the Skipper told me I was not to let you go without getting something out of you. Can’t I book you for one?”

I was deeply agitated. On the one hand I felt immense eagerness; on the other the keenest apprehension. However, in life’s steeplechase one must always jump the fences when they come.

Regaining such composure as I could and assuming an indifference contrary to my feelings, I replied that perhaps if all conditions were suitable and there was a real desire to hear me, I might be willing to accede to his request.

He opened the book.
It's wonderful to know people, especially famous people, who can poke fun at themselves and invite others to share in the fun.
Winston S. Churchill,
My Early Years. Eland, published London, 2002 (pgs. 199-201)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reports: Caroline withdraws; statement to come tonight

NY papers are reporting Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn her name from consideration to fill the Senate seat vacated today when Hillary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State.

A NY Times story begins - - -

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision.

On Wednesday she called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her concerns about Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s deteriorating health (he was hospitalized after suffering a seizure during President Obama’s inaugural lunch on Tuesday ) prompted her decision to withdraw, this person said.

Coping with her uncle’s condition was her most important priority, a situation not conducive to starting a high profile public job.

Ms. Kennedy believed that the job was hers if she would accept it, the person said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Paterson had no immediate comment.

Ms. Kennedy was planning to issue a statement on Wednesday evening.

The rest of the Times' story's here.

I'll await a statement from Kennedy before saying more.

Hat tips: cks & GPrestonian

NY Times’ Franken-Coleman Story Favors Franken

Here’s a story ("Another Round in the Coleman-Franken Stand-Off”) the NY Times just posted. My comments highlighting its bias favoring Franken follow below the star line

The NYT begins - - -

Outside the Capitol on Tuesday, Al Franken sported a thick Russian-style winter hat as he settled in to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama. Inside the Capitol, there is still no office with his name on it.

That didn’t stop Mr. Franken, the Democrat and entertainer, from circulating a statement that hinted at the prospect of “working together” with the newly sworn-in president.

“Like so many others, I have been inspired by our new president to look towards the future with optimism, and with the knowledge that there is nothing we can’t accomplish together,” he said.

Mr. Franken’s own future, however, is in the hands of a three-judge panel in Minnesota that will hear arguments on Wednesday from both sides in the election contest filed by former Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican, who trailed at the conclusion of a statewide recount. Their first order of business will be to consider the Franken campaign’s argument that the contest should be thrown out before a trial begins.

If the judges disagree, the trial phase is expected to begin on Monday and the panel will weigh Mr. Coleman’s contention that the recount process was flawed and the results should be invalidated against Mr. Franken’s claim that the election is over. At the end of the recount Mr. Franken led by 225 votes.

The Democrat’s lawyers have been arguing that his certificate of election should be signed by the governor and secretary of state in Minnesota immediately, a move that would pave the way for seating Mr. Franken in the United States Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, said on Wednesday that he would be monitoring the deliberations of the panel and raised the possibility of provisionally seating Mr. Franken.

“There is no way that Coleman can win this,” Mr. Reid said. “The numbers just aren’t there. He should concede.”

But Mr. Coleman, who relinquished his Senate seat earlier this month, expressed confidence that the panel would eventually rule in his favor.

“I certainly wish that I was ahead in votes rather than behind right now,” he told a local television station on Tuesday. “But I believe in the end we’ll be where we were on Election Night — that I will be ahead.”

And, by the way, Mr. Coleman offered his own words of congratulations for President Barack Obama too.

“Watching Barack Obama be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States will forever be etched into the minds of so many of us as one of those moments for which you remember where you were and what you were doing when it happened,” Mr. Coleman said in a statement yesterday.

My comments:

The story’s most egregious bias involves Sen. Harry Reid, the only person besides the two principals mentioned by name and the only person besides Franken and Coleman who’s quoted.

Reid, never ID’ed as a Dem, is allowed to say there’s “no why that Coleman can win this[.] The numbers just aren’t there.”

Readers are left to wonder whether the Times asked Reid for his evidence the “numbers just aren’t there” or just went along with its fellow Dem.

Coleman, Reid says, “should concede.”

Reid’s certainly entitled to his opinion, just as he was entitled to his opinion the Senate shouldn’t seat Illinois’ new Senator Burris.

But why does the Times quote only Reid on concession?"

There are thousands of informed people who believe Coleman shouldn’t concede.

Since the Times story was allegedly a report focused on a federal court hearing in Minnesota which was scheduled days ago, the Times can’t use “deadline” as an excuse for not including in its story the opinion of an expert who doesn’t agree with the Franken-Times position.

There’s more I could say, but the Times’ bias must be obvious to all fair-minded, intelligent people.

Final word: As is well-known and was reported again today by the Minnesota Star Tribune "[Coleman] contends there were widespread irregularities, including the improper rejection of absentee ballots from Republican-leaning areas and double-counting of ballots in DFL areas."

Is anyone surprised the Times' story left that out?

U. N. affiliated “rights worker” busted for child porn. Says it’s “research.”

Blogger Jammie WearingFool gives us the “stunning” news “not all these U, N. officials are as reputable as they claim to be.”

JWF links to a NY Daily News story which begins - - -

A high-ranking human rights worker with ties to the United Nations was nabbed at Kennedy Airport Tuesday with kiddie porn in his suitcase, officials said.

Clarence Dias, 65, president of the International Center for Law in Development, whose offices are located at the UN, had the smut in his carry-on bag as he passed through security on his way to a flight bound for Bangkok, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Transportation Security Administration officials doing a random bag check around 8:20a.m. allegedly found a DVD whose cover featured an apparently underage nude boy and an adult male in Dias' handbag, prosecutors said.

The video's title - "Winner Pub Pattaya" - apparently refers to a beach resort in Thailand, authorities said. There were also other lewd photographs in the bag, authorities said.

Dias - who holds a doctorate in law from Bombay University and Cornell Law School and has taught at Boston College of Law - claimed the porn was for research, authorities said. …

The rest of JWF's post's here.

My Comments:

Only “for research?”

Now why didn’t President Clinton think of that?

“I know people will find this hard to believe – I actually find it hard to believe myself – but I was only trying to find out what pizza would taste like with an intern under the desk.”

“I needed to know that in order to complete my research report due the following Monday to the U. N. Human Rights Commission.”

Folks, check in often JamieWearingFool. It’s a great blog, and not just because it the 2008 winner of Weblogs best large blog award.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Brokaw Ridiculed Wheelchair-bound Cheney. And What About Clinton?

Democrat and NBC newscaster Tom Brokaw couldn’t resist ridiculing outgoing Vice-president Dick Cheney yesterday. Many of you no doubt heard it.

Here’s how Media Research Center reported it with my comments below the star line -

As Dick Cheney was literally rolled out of office, in a wheelchair due to a packing accident, Tom Brokaw had one final kick out the door for the Vice President as he compared him to "Dr. Strangelove," the mad scientist title character from the film of the same name.

During NBC News' live coverage of Tuesday's inaugural ceremonies Brokaw made the following observation of Cheney as he was being ushered towards Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony at about 11:32am EST:

"It's unfortunate for Vice President Cheney to have had this accident obviously, because there will be those who don't like him, who will be writing tomorrow that he had a Dr. Strangelove appearance as he appeared today in his wheelchair."


My comments:

Brokaw's kick at Cheney got me thinking of what Browkaw would say on air when he saw former President Clinton.

I knew there wasn’t a chance it would be something like:
"It’s unfortunate for former President Clinton that he’ll be attending the official luncheon following the swearing in, because there’ll be those who when they hear about that will think of the times he used to have pizza lunches in the Oval Office with ‘that woman, Ms. Lewinsky,’”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 20, 2009

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

Below is an amusing note Churchill wrote Clementine.

Twenty-eight Hyde Park Gate was at the time their London home. G.H.Q. stands for General Headquarters. The note’s punctuation is as it appears in a published copy.

15 June 1948


You did promise Sept 12 1908 ‘To Love, Honour, & Obey.”

NOW herewith are Orders

5:15 You come up here to rest. E.Y.H. [car registration letters] will bring you & is waiting

7:30 Dinner

8:30 Journey to 28 [Hyde Park Gate]

9:40 Bed & a read

Given at Chartwell G.H.Q.

The Tyrant

Clementine and Churchill had pet names for each other. Hers were Cat and Kit; his were Pug and Pig.

The Tyrant sketched a pig below his Orders.

The note can be found on page 549 of
Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston And Clementine Churchill, which their daughter, Lady Mary Soames, edited.

N&O Public Editor Blames Jews For “Information Blockade”

McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer public editor Ted Vaden, a self-described “readers’ advocate,” recently had this to say about the N&O’s coverage of Israel’s response to years of Hamas’ terrorist rocket attacks on its civilian population:

… But I do think the [N&O’s] coverage did not adequately convey the extent of suffering and pain inflicted on ordinary [Gaza] citizens.

That's in some measure
because the Israelis have banned foreign reporters from entering Gaza. To get the Palestinian side, reporters have had to content themselves with phone interviews from outside Gaza to Palestinian health authorities and other officials. (all emphasis added)

Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy's Jerusalem correspondent, gives a good account of the Israeli information blockade on his blog, at the McClatchy Web site,

"In essence,
Israel has transformed the entire Gaza Strip into a closed military zone," he writes. "Reporters from every major news organization, from the BBC and CNN to The New York Times and The Washington Post to NPR and McClatchy to AP and Fox News, are being barred by Israel from going into Gaza to cover the deadliest military campaign there since Israel seized the area from Egypt in the 1967 war." …
Vaden leaves N&O readers in no doubt as to whose fault it is foreign correspondents aren’t in Gaza.

Vaden blames the Jews.

But take a look at a portion of my Jan. 12
Press access to Gaza questions post which was a response to the liberal/leftist anti-Israel press:
... Gaza has a border with Egypt.

And this Jan. 11 report by IRIN, a self-described “UN humanitarian news and information service,” says the Egyptian controlled border crossing at Rafah is open 3 hours every day.

So why isn’t the foreign press entering Gaza via Egypt?

The lengthy Jan. 6 NYT story I linked to above complains about Israel closing the border. But it says nothing about crossing access from Egypt.

That silence is typical of almost all MSM stories I’ve read reporting on news organizations' difficulties gaining access to Gaza.

However, in the fifth paragraph of a Dec. 30 Guardian story reporting on Israel’s actions I did find one sentence concerning Egypt and press access to Gaza:
Egypt has largely kept its one crossing into Gaza, at Rafah, closed except for in rare medical emergencies, and it too does not allow journalists to cross.

Why do major news organizations like the BBC, Reuters and the NYT say so little about the Egyptians denying them access to Gaza?

Why, in almost all their stories, do they blame only the Jews for restricting foreign press access to Gaza?
And why does McClatchy’s Raleigh N&O public editor Ted Vaden do the same thing?

Vaden's entire column's here.

Congratulations and good wishes to President Obama

Today, in the words of President Kennedy on his Inauguration Day, we observe "not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom."

Congratulations and all good wishes to President Obama on his Inauguration Day.

May God bless and guide him as he leads America in the years to come.

And congratulations to all his supporters.


“Manmade global warming” losing public support

Rasmussen reports - - -

Al Gore’s side may be coming to power in Washington, but they appear to be losing the battle on the idea that humans are to blame for global warming.

Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity.

Seven percent (7%) attribute global warming to some other reason, and nine percent (9%) are unsure in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats. Voters not affiliated with either party by eight points put the blame on planetary trends.

In July 2006, 46% of voters said global warming is caused primarily by human activities, while 35% said it is due to long-term planetary trends.

The rest of Rasmussen’s report is here.

My comments:

These two sentences caught my eye:

Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats.

Voters not affiliated with either party by eight points put the blame on planetary trends.

So Rasmussen finds a majority of “not affiliated” voters agree with "[t]wo-thirds of GOP voters" that “planetary trends” and not humans are responsible for global warming.

MSM often tells us “conservatives” reject manmade global warming claims. But how often do MSM news orgs tell us a majority of unaffiliated or independent voters also reject those claims?

I can't ever recall liberal/leftist news orgs such as NPR and the BBC telling us majorities of Republicans and independents
both reject manmade global warming claims while only a majority of Al Gore’s fellow Dems embrace them.

Can you?

Hat tip: Instapundit

Insurer: Duke’s “allegations … knowingly unfounded, malicious, frivolous, and in bad faith.”

Yesterday KC Johnson posted "Duke's $5M Defense?" which began:

National Union, the insurance company sued by Duke, has filed its response — and the brief makes for interesting reading.
It sure does, as you know if you’ve already read the rest of KC’s post.

If you haven’t, don’t miss it.

After reading National Union’s response (h/t to KC for providing link)I want to add a few comments to what KC says.

First, in the response in which Plaintiffs are Duke University (“Duke”) and Duke University Health System, Inc. (“DUHS”) and National Union is the Defendant, you’ll find on pg. 37:
(Attorneys Fees)

65. The allegations contained in Paragraphs I through 64 of this Counterclaim are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.

Plaintiffs' allegations in the Complaint that Defendant's conduct violated N.C.G.S. § 75-1.1 et seq, and constituted violations of the provisions N.C.G.S. §§ 58-63-10 and 58-63-15, are knowingly unfounded, malicious, frivolous, and in bad faith. (emphasis added)

67. Defendant is entitled to recover its costs and its reasonable attorneys fees expended in this action pursuant to the provisions of N.e.G.S. § 75-16.1.
National Union (NU) could not have used stronger, more damning language to describe Duke and DUHS than calling their actions “knowingly unfounded, malicious, frivolous, and in bad faith.”

Charging Duke and DUHS with making “knowingly unfounded” claims is, to take one instance, the same as saying they lied to NU.

NU would not have used the language it did unless it had a great deal of data to support its charges and was confident it could convince the court Duke and DUHS acted in ways that will confirm its charges.

Second, KC notes:
[In a letter dated March 30, 2006] Duke elected to forward to [National Union] “all that is publicly known about the situation at this time.”

But the University knew that at least some of this “publicly known” information—most notably, the claim that the lacrosse players hadn’t cooperated with police, and instead had erected a “wall of silence”—was false.

It’s not clear why Duke would have chosen to pass along information that University officials knew was false, even if that information had appeared in the local and national press.
I’ll venture an opinion as to “why Duke would’ve chosen to pass along information that University officials knew was false, even if that information had appeared in the local and national press.”

Here’s what NU says in its response (bot. pg. 25, top pg. 26):
7. On March 30, 2006 Duke mailed a letter with attached articles to National Union (“the March 30, 2006 letter”). A true copy of the articles attached by Duke to the March 30, 2006 letter is attached hereto as Exhibit A. The March 30, 2006 letter references the 2006 Policy and states as follows:
Please accept this letter and attached documentation as notification of an incident only as required by the policy conditions under the referenced policy. No claim has been made against Duke at this time. Rather than repeat the alleged circumstances, I have attached a number of newspaper articles that summarize all thas is publicly known about the situation at this time.
What the March 30, 2006 Duke and DUHS letter did was use the dodge of “Rather than repeat the alleged circumstances” to avoid telling NU anything they knew about the case that hadn’t yet been reported publicly.

For example, what Duke learned and very likely agreed to on March 29, 2006, at a meeting Duke VP Aaron Graves and DUPD Director Robert Dean attended with the Durham City Manager, DPD’s Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief, a DPD Attorney, and the two principal DPD investigating officers, Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan.

I’m sure many of you can think of much else Duke knew March 30, 2006 which wasn’t then public knowledge; and which it made sure not to tell NU by using the dodge of sending press clippings and remaining silent about everything else it knew.

No wonder NU is convinced Duke treated it in ways “knowingly unfounded, malicious, frivolous, and in bad faith.”

Liestoppers has posted on the NU response and included links to it.

Both Liestoppers Meeting here and KC’s post thread have interesting comments concerning NU and Duke. I hope you give them a look.

The Durham Herald Sun's Ray Gronberg reports on the NU response here.

I couldn't find anything about the NU response story in either the Raleigh N&O's print edition or online site; nor could I find anything about it at The Chronicle's site.

The Churhill Series - Jan. 19, 2009

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

In 1930, Churchill turned 56. He also published
My Early Life which covered the period from his birth in 1874 to his entry into Parliament in 1902.

Here's most of the first paragraph from
My Early Life, broken into shorter paragraphs for readers' ease :

When does one first begin to remember. When do the waving lights and shadows of dawning consciousness cast their print upon the mind of a child?

My earliest memories are Ireland. I can recall scenes and events in Ireland quite well, and sometimes dimly, even people. Yet I was born on November 30, 1874, and I left Ireland early in the year 1879.

My father has gone to Ireland as secretary to his father, the Duke of Marlborough, appointed Lord-Lieutenant by Mr. Disraeli in 1876.
We lived in a house called "The Little Lodge."
I remember my grandfather, the Viceroy, unveiling the Lord Gough statue in 1878. A great black crowd, scarlet soldiers on horseback, strings pulling away a brown shiny sheet, the old Duke, the formidable grandpapa, talking loudly to the crowd.

I recall even a phrase he used: "and with a withering volley he shattered the enemy's line." I quite understood that he was speaking about war and fighting and that a "volley" meant what the black-coated soldiers (Riflemen) used to do with loud bangs so often in the Phoenix Park where I was taken for my morning walks.

This, I think, is my first coherent memory.
As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
Winston S. Churchill,
My Early Life. (p. 1)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ayers Refused Entry Into Canada

The Toronto Star reports - - -

An American education professor, one of the founders of a radical 1960s group known as the Weather Underground, which was responsible for a number of bombings in the United States in the early 1970s, was turned back at the Canadian border last night.

Dr. William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a leader in educational reform, was scheduled to speak at the Centre for Urban Schooling at University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. But that appearance has now been temporarily cancelled.

"I don't know why I was turned back," Ayers said in an interview this morning from Chicago. "I got off the plane like everyone else and I was asked to come over to the other side. The border guards reviewed some stuff and said I wasn't going to be allowed into Canada. To me it seems quite bureaucratic and not at all interesting ... If it were me I would have let me in. I couldn't possibly be a threat to Canada."

The rest of the TS’s story’s here.


My comments:

Of course, with Ayers in charge, he’d have let himself into Canada.

The man’s always thought himself someone special, as in: “It’s up to me to bomb buildings and kill innocent people.”

One comfort Ayers has: The Toronto Star treated him with such respect. It was as if the NY Times or NPR was reporting the story.

Another comfort: Ayers will soon be allowed into Canada and can use this episode to play the martyr and hype his books.

Hat tip: AC

Dr. King Predicting America Would Elect a "Negro President"

The BBC has found a video of a 1964 interview with Dr. Martin Luther King.

In this one-minute snip, King talks about American's compliance with recent Civil Rights laws and speculates on America electing "a Negro President."

Take a look.

The One "Weather Report"

post has been removed.

I can't get the link to work.

I'll update later.

Thank you, Tarheel Hawkeye, for alerting me.


NY Post: Caroline “Certain” Senate Pick

The NY Post's reporting - - -

DESPITE claims that he's still undecided, Gov. Paterson is "certain" to pick Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US Senate, several unhappy contenders for the job have told friends and associates in recent days.

The contenders based their conclusion on the view that Paterson, after nearly two months of indecision, would "greatly embarrass" and "entirely humiliate" Kennedy, anger her prominent political family and even offend President-elect Barack Obama by picking someone other than President John F. Kennedy's daughter.

As for the governor's claim to be weighing a last-minute finalist, the contenders agree with a close Paterson friend who said, "It's clear David is just trying to play mind games with the press." …

The rest of the Post’s story’s here.

It goes on to report a number of other reasons why political players say Kennedy has a lock of the Senate selection.

But the Post’s story fails to mention one of, if not the most important, indicators Kennedy would get the nod. And
we’ve known about it for weeks.

I posted about it on Jan. 3 in
Write Off Caroline’s Chances? I vote “No.”

The post quoted from this CBS News story:

… The good news for Kennedy is that, as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told CBS 2 HD exclusively on Wednesday, he's changed his mind and is now willing to support her. Silver had been the biggest thorn in Kennedy's side, constantly criticizing her credentials for the Senate position. But now, he's singing a different tune.

"She's obviously very bright and has been around politics her whole life," Silver said….
My comments included this call:
…If I had to bet today, I’d bet Kennedy gets the nod.

When “power hitters" like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver do a 180 turn, it tells you which way the wind’s blowing.

That wasn't a hard call, was it?

NYT’s Current $$ Problems & the Boston Globe

In the conclusion of this article, the WSJ provides an information-filled, thumbnail profile of the NY Times Company’s current financial problems. I follow below the star line with information and commentary regarding the Times’ 1993 purchase of the Boston Globe.

The WSJ concludes - - -

Like all newspaper publishers, the Times Co. has had to slash costs to compensate for steep revenue declines as readers and advertisers have departed print for the Web. Last year the company cut jobs at its flagship paper, merged sections of the Times and Boston Globe to reduce printing costs and consolidated New York area printing plants.

But the global economic crisis has pushed advertising to unforeseen depths, forcing publishers to take even more drastic moves. In November the Times Co. cut its quarterly dividend by three-quarters, ending a tradition of enriching shareholders even as the stock fell.

The dividend is a weighty issue for the Times because it has long been a chief source of income for many members of the Ochs-Sulzberger family, which controls the company through its majority ownership of a special class of super-voting shares.

The dividend cut reduced family members' annual payout to less than $7 million from about $25 million.

While the family said it supported the cut and has no intention of selling the paper, the dwindling return could test its members' commitment to the paper as economic pressures squeeze profits. In the third quarter the Times Co. posted net income of $6.5 million, down 51% from the same period a year earlier.

Ad revenue declines are accelerating. In November, ad revenue fell 21% from a year ago, after a 16.2% drop in October and a 13% decline in September. Times Co. Chief Executive Janet Robinson said in December she expects 2009 will be "among the most challenging years we have faced."

The Times Co. has taken steps to sell properties it previously said were off limits in an effort to fortify its core assets. The Times Co. since November has been pursuing potential buyers of its 17.5% stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Boston Red Sox, the fabled Fenway Park and most of the network that airs the team's games, according to people familiar with the discussions.

One option under discussion is to package the NESV stake with the Globe, which the Times Co. has written down by $980 million after purchasing the paper for $1.1 billion in 1993.

The entire WSJ story’s here.


My comments:

The NYT Co. purchased the Globe in 1993 for $1.1 billion and now values it at $120 million. ($1.1 billion - $980 million = $120 million)

The $120 million valuation is almost certainly on the high side.

But even if it’s “on the money,” it represents almost a 90% drop in value in constant dollars, and about a 95% drop in inflation adjusted dollars.

During most years since 1993, the Boston region has experienced significant population growth and a strong economy.

But for most of those years the Globe’s been losing print readers and, in recent years even before the current recession, its ad revenues have been declining sharply.

The following is part of Seeking Alpha’s Oct. 19, 2006 summary of a WSJ article, “Boston Globe Doesn’t Deliver For the Times.”(sub. req’d)

… NYT's rationale in purchasing the Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993 centered on the affluent Boston population.

This affluence has resulted in Boston's having the third highest broadband penetration in the U.S., and a quick migration from traditional print media.

The Globe's division ad revenues are in a tailspin, falling 7.2% in Q1 and 10.4% in Q2, and falling 11.7% and 15.7% in July and August respectively.

Its Sunday circulation has fallen 25% since the acquisition, compared to industry Sunday circulation declines of 12%. ….
A great book could be written about how the NYT decided to purchase the Globe and how iy's managed the paper in the years since.

I don’t know a great deal about the NYT Company’s history so the following are not rhetorical questions:

1) Was the NYT’s Globe purchase one of the fvie worst decisions in the company’s history?

2) What did the NYT Co. fail to do that it could have done to limit the damage from its Globe purchase?

3) What lessons can be learned from the Times’ Globe purchase and management?

4) What’s the Globe’s future?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

President-elect Obama & Baltimore’s Dem Mayor Dixon

The Baltimore Sun headlines:

Dixon present at Obama's address, but not mentioned

The BS’s story begins -

At the start of Barack Obama's whistle stop tour to Washington today, the president-elect hailed the "outstanding" mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter. In Wilmington, he acknowledged Mayor James M. Baker by name.

Not so in Baltimore.

Mayor Sheila Dixon was one of thousands of Obama supporters braving hours of sub-freezing temperatures to greet him at War Memorial Plaza.

"It's an extremely huge deal for me," she said in an interview before Obama's address. "Words can't describe how ecstatic we are."

But even as he gazed at City Hall, the man who will be the nation's first black president did not acknowledge that Baltimore's first black female mayor was in attendance. …

Officially, the line from both the Obama and Dixon camps was that the 12-count indictment levied by a state prosecutor against the mayor last week had no impact on the ceremony. …

The entire BS story’s here.


My comments:

The BS story said nothing about whether President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue a pardon to Mayor Dixon once he becomes President Obama.

But the possibility of a pardon for Dixon in the next few weeks had to be on many people’s minds.

After all, Obama’s attorney general-designate Eric Holder, as deputy attorney general in the final days of the Clinton administration, worked deviously to help secure a pardon for fugitive Mark Rich, whose wife was a stalwart supporter of President Bill Clinton just as Mayor Dixon has been a stalwart Obama supporter.

So when he becomes President, will Obama pardon Dixon as Clinton pardoned Rich?

I don’t know.

If Dixon flees the country before trial, that may be a sign of what’s to follow.

And if Charlie Rangel, Chris “Dodge” Dodd, and Barney Frank all flee with her, well, you know the rest.

A Slim New York Times?

The NY Post reports - - -

The embattled New York Times Co., trying to wriggle out from under a pile of debt as advertising revenue dries up, is talking to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim about making a sizeable cash investment in the company.

Slim, said to be the world's second-richest person with $60 billion, bought a 6.4 percent common share stake in the Times Co. in September for about $118 million, but is interested in gaining a larger share of the company, according to a report last night in The Wall Street Journal. …

[The current talks involve] preferred shares [which] would carry no voting rights, but pay a dividend, according to the report. His current stake puts Slim among the largest non-Sulzberger owners of the Times.

The Times is under the gun to raise cash as a $400 million credit line expires in May. The recession has squeezed the paper, which reported a 21 percent drop in ad revenue in November.

The newspaper has made some drastic moves recently to increase cash flow and to raise the needed money, including:

* An ongoing attempt to raise $225 million by selling its 58 percent stake in the new 52-story Midtown skyscraper and then leasing the office space.

* Putting its 17.5 percent stake in New England Sports Ventures, the parent of the Boston Red Sox, on the block. That could raise about $150 million.

* Layoffs and buyouts at the flagship New York Times and its Boston Globe property.

* Cutting back its dividend to investors for three years.

* The recent move to reduce the number of standalone sections and to sell advertising for the first time on Page 1 of the Times.

The rest of the Post's story’s here.

My comments:

Five years ago who would’ve believed the Times would be where its at?

It was just over three-and-a-half years ago the Times introduced something called
Times Select.

Remember? It began charging for Internet access to its “premium content.” You know – Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman and Bob Herbert’s columns and the like as well as access to its archives.

Times Select turned out to be just what many bloggers and media critics said it would be: A flop for the Times as most people decided its “premium content” wasn’t worth $7.95 per month or $40.95 per year. The Times Company abandoned the program after about 18 months.

Times Select’s failure was a blow to the paper’s prestige. That failure has no doubt been a contributing factor to the Times’ shrinking ad revenue.

This Reuters story reports an unnamed source says the Times’ board is planning a special meeting sometime this week.

Britain’s failing “in its most basic duty”

For more than 25 years I’ve visited Britain (mostly England) 2 to 4 times each year, with my time spent there each year totaling about 5 or 6 weeks.

The visits have been for both professional reasons and vacation travel.

Obviously, I like the country and its people.

But based on what I observe of daily life there, what I learn from its media, and hear from its people, I agree with what Brit Theodore Dalrymple, a physician, author and social critic recently wrote in
City Journal, where he serves as a contributing editor.

Dalrymple's CJ column follows in full - - -

For millions of its inhabitants, Britain is a failing state. It assumes responsibility for education and health care without regard for results; and it fails in its most basic duty, to ensure that its inhabitants can go about their business with reasonable security.

A recent incident—the assault of a 96-year-old man—has brought home to the British public just how little it can rely on the state for protection. The assailant, 44, was frustrated that the elderly man was in his way as he tried to board a train.

Shouting “You bastard!,” he punched the man in the face, blinding him in one eye. The attack occurred in full view of many other passengers, and a closed-circuit television camera captured it as well.

Police subsequently apprehended the man, who claimed that the 96-year-old had attacked him first. It would be difficult to imagine a more brutally unfeeling and egotistical crime or more cynical self-justification. It is extremely unlikely that the guilty man is a model of kindness in his other human relations.

The judge in the case, however, said that sending the man to jail would “do nothing to protect the public,” and therefore sentenced him to just three years’ probation. How he came to the opinion that requiring the perpetrator to have a brief chat once a week with a probation officer would achieve this objective is a complete mystery.

As the judge himself conceded, “a significant prison sentence would well be justified,” and the charge was such that he had the power to sentence the guilty man to life imprisonment.

The very next day, fittingly enough, the government released figures revealing how probation endangers the public. Over the previous year, serious offenders who had been released from prison early and placed on probation committed at least 83 murders and rapes, a significant portion of the national total.

Given the extremely low arrest rate for reported crimes of violence in Britain—
and bearing in mind that one-half of all crimes are not even reported—the real figures for violence committed by serious offenders placed on probation after early release from prison must be significantly higher.(emphasis added)

The train assault case was also a perfect illustration that, in the absence of proper sentencing, surveillance by CCTV cameras is perfectly useless and merely a form of official voyeurism.

If a man can attack and seriously injure a 96-year-old without excuse in front of many eyewitnesses and a CCTV camera, yet receive what amounts to no punishment at all—he was even seen smirking as he left the court—who can blame the public if it concludes that the British state lacks legitimacy?
Straight line

Dalrymple's most recent book is
In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas.

I haven’t read it. How about you?

I did recently reread his
Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses.

About Dalrymple, Michael Rose in the New Oxford Review said - - -

Dalrymple is without a doubt a cultural critic par excellence: His blunt writing style is engaging and his subject matter riveting and even unique. Refreshingly, he eschews the style manual of political correctness, but without coming across as a hardhearted bigot, something he most certainly is not.

Anyone concerned about the fate of the world will no doubt benefit from his unique insights and analyses of today's most pressing societal problems, and the informed reader won't fail to notice the prophetic messages found in every essay of this impressive collection.

With specific reference to Our Culture, What’s Left of It, Rose said - - -

The examples given throughout this selection of incisive essays diagnose a societal affliction, what Dalrymple calls the "frivolity of evil": the elevation of passing pleasure for oneself over the long-term misery of others to whom one owes a duty.

Dalrymple recounts some of the hundreds of conversations he's had with men who have abandoned their children for the sake of their own convenience, knowing that they are condemning the mother and the children to lives of brutality, poverty, abuse, and hopelessness: "They tell me so themselves. And yet they do it over and over again. The result is a rising tide of neglect, cruelty, sadism, and joyous malignity that staggers and appalls me."

Complicating this social plague is the effect of the government on family life. The state in effect absolves the deadbeat dads of all responsibility for their children. Without financial and familial commitments, the biological fathers behave like spoiled children who become demanding, self-centered, and violent when they don't get their own way. ...


If you’re not familiar with Dalrymple, his
City Journal writings and Our Culture, What’s Left of It are good places to strike up an acquaintance.

Also, one of my goals for JinC in 2009 is to post more often referencing Dalrymple.

Hat tip Commenter on this Althouse thread found via Instapundit.

“Until Proven Innocent” On Law Prof’s Top 5 List

In today’s WSJ Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz praises five books recounting “momentous legal cases.”

Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson’s "Until Proven Innocent" (Thomas Dunne, 2007) is one of them.

Dershowitz says - - -

"Until Proven Innocent," an account of the Duke lacrosse case, should be ranked high among works that disprove the notion that those charged with serious crimes are invariably guilty and that those who are acquitted somehow beat the system.

Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson pillory not only the prosecutor in the supposed sexual-assault case -- he was eventually disbarred after charges against the three players were dropped before going to trial -- but also the president of Duke University and those on his faculty who were willing to sacrifice innocent students as a bizarre form of racial reparation.

The Duke case demonstrates how contemporary political correctness, run amok, can deform the legal system just as dramatically as other prejudices have in the past.

Dershowitz’s entire op-ed is here.

Congratulations to Taylor and Johnson for more well-deserved recognition of their outstanding book.

And a thank you to cks who gave me the heads up on the Dershowitz op-ed.

Fl 1549 crash landing video

The first one I’ve found was posted just after 9 tonight as part of an AP story which linked to the video it attributed to CNN.

It’s brief and was taken by a surveillance camera.

Scroll down in the print story here and you’ll come to a photo with the video activators.

You’ll see most of the landing at about 1:20 into the video.

A building blocks the final second or two of the landing.

What I believe is a second video picks up on the other side of the building and you see the plane floating in the water.

If any of you locate a better and/or more detailed video of the landing or the first minutes following it, please give me a heads up.

BTW – The story with the video builds the case that birds disabled the engines.

What will PETA say?