Friday, January 30, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 30, 2009

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

Certain people have a sense of a particular destiny.

From his own letters and those of friends and family, we know that even as a youth Patton believed he was destined to command great Armies.

De Gaulle confirms in his war memoirs that the lodestar of his life was his belief in a mystical union between France and himself; and that a time would come when she would be, as he put it, “dishonored” and he would be called to rescue and restore her.

Churchill too had a sense of destiny. Martin Gilbert tells us something of that in Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite: Churchill’s War Leadership:

At the centre of Churchill’s mental energies as war leader was his belief in himself – in his abilities and in his destiny. While at school, he had gathered a group of boys around him and explained his confidence that one day, far in the future, when London was under attack from an invader, he would be in command of the capital’s defenses. (p. 36)
And we have Churchill's own words describing what he felt the night of May 10, 1940 after the King asked him to form a government and serve as his Prime Minister:
I felt I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.
Those familiar words need no citation. Most of us never read them without being moved.

I hope you all have a nice weekend. Do you have a favorite in the Super Bowl?

I'm pulling for Pittsburgh because it was the home town of Johnny Unites and some of the other old Baltimore Colts.

See you Monday.


Justices Ginsburg & Scalia confirmed for New Years Eve dinners

Today a JinC post -- Justice Scalia at Duke: did the N&O and H-S miss the story? -- included this:

Regarding Scalia’s description of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as “the closest of his colleagues:” ...

I’ve been told the justices and their spouses have dinner together each New Years Eve but I don’t know that for a fact.

Can anyone confirm?
A few hours later an Anon commenter on the post thread said:
Here's something from the Wall Street Journal's 12/27/2007 Law Blog...

This New Year’s Eve, as they have done for more than two decades, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Antonin Scalia will join with their spouses and another couple or two at the Ginsburgs’ large Watergate apartment. After the caviar and wine, they may dine, as they have in the past, on something Scalia has bagged on one of his hunting trips.
Thank you, Anon, for providing the information and its source.

You’ve given us another fine example of JinC “editors at work” and the power of open source information seeking on the Net.

Informed commentary re: likely Duke/Durham discovery

In response to More re: Who should worry about Duke/Durham discovery? three comments were made that belong on the main page.

Even if you’ve read that post, I encourage you to read it again before reading the post that follows. The third comment especially assumes a detailed knowledge of More re: Who should worry about Duke/Durham discovery??

If you haven't read that post at all, you know the rest of what I'd say.

I’m running the three comments without interspersing any responses because together they just make a great post.

So I’ll leave things like that today but I will comment on some of what the three say tomorrow and Sunday.

You’re of course free to comment when you like.

I’ll thank the three commenters now as we begin with the Ex-prosecutor - - -

It will be interesting to see who actually represents the Duke defendants at the depositions. As long as they keep their stories straight, they probably can be represented by the same law firm.

However, once the depositions begin, I'll bet that all defendants, including those from Duke, will try to lay it off on each other.

When conflicts develop among the officers and employees of an insured, the insurance company, because of its duty to provide a defense, must retain separate counsel for those whose defenses conflict.

When the depositions and document productions start, the legal fees will increase by geometric progression.

To make this even more interesting is the fact that Duke is battling on two fronts, the first with the plaintiffs and the second with its insurance company, which, in turn, may soon battle with another insurance company, as to whether either is responsible to fund the defense.

As observed by the immortal bard himself in Henry VI, Act 2, Scene 5: "Ill blows the wind that profits nobody." Here, while Duke must suffer for its well-deserved misfortune, its paid by the hour lawyers will do naught but profit richly.

Drew followed with - - -

Ex-prosecutor has squarely struck the nail on the head - I have had occasion to be deposed in a number of suits, as well as being the respondent in a number of civil suits.

When you are one of many respondents, and when you cannot count on any of your co-respondents to hold up under pressure, your best (and frankly, only sane) move is to insist on separate counsel.

When the insurance company provides counsel to your employer and any number of individual fellow employees, there's never any guarantee that you won't find yourself thrown under the bus, either by "your" counsel (who occasionally has a vested interest in defending the employer just a little bit harder), or by one of your co-respondents, who thinks they can dodge a bullet by re-aiming the gun at someone else.

In many respects, it would be interesting to see what (if any) indemnity that Duke has provided to its employees in the suits - it could be that Duke will be pulling the strategic strings while at the same time retaining the ability to do the bus-tossing of its employees.

We saw how well they (the University administration) acquitted themselves when the LAX players were "the other guy".

If I were an individually-named respondent, I would tell Duke to take their counsel on a long walk off a short pier, and would insist on hiring my own counsel (at University expense) for any depositions or trial appearances.

I don't know much about the courthouse involved, but it's quite conceivable that they might need to move any proceedings to an alternative facility, in order to accommodate the (presumably) scores of attorneys and respondents.

I've seen it happen when a series of depositions needed to be scheduled in a vacant theatre in NYC, in order have sufficient space for nearly 200 lawyers and another 40 respondents.

The "action" took place on the stage, and the questions, objections, and other legal mouthpiecing came from the seats in the audience. A very expensive way to run a case, and in this case, the costs will likely all fall on Duke's tab.

I would suspect that many of the lawyers could view a case like this as a partner-maker, since the billings will be extraordinary.

If I had a few bucks to spare, I'd open an all-night photocopy and printing/binding service in Durham, or else get a catering business put together.

Lawyers always work late, but rarely work without extensive creature comforts. This case could become a little "profit center" in the Durham economy for some time.

Anonymous added - - -

What a wonderful word - "dissemble" - to disguise or conceal behind a false appearance, per an internet dictionary. I have always thought that this allegation, termed by the Cooper [38 players and some family members] suit "a fraud upon the court", if true, constitutes a premeditated, nefarious act of a potential criminal nature - not to mention a really stupid decision.

As they say, the cover-up is often worse than the crime.

The real question is how high up the chain of command did this decision go, or, if discovered later - who knew what, when? It is very hard to imagine what university official would take this decision on his/her own, and would not seek to cover one's ass with written advice of outside counsel - especially if forced by one's duty of employment to sit through such a proceeding in silence.

The fact that such discussions were held by persons is probably privileged for those having the discussion, but the reporting within the organization that counsel should be / had been consulted, is probably not (I am not a lawyer).

Did non-lawyer higher-ups exercise their authority and assume responsibility? Did anyone argue that Duke could not carry on this alleged charade?

That decision process will be interesting to discover.

Justice Scalia at Duke: did the N&O and H-S miss the story?

First, excerpts from The Chronicle’s brief story about Justice Scalia’s address and other activities at Duke Law School yesterday; then my comments.

The Chronicle begins - - -

Justice Antonin Scalia dispelled some media portrayals of the Supreme Court and described his judicial views in an address at Duke Thursday.

Scalia spoke to a group of approximately 200 students and spectators in the School of Law's Star Commons.

"The press likes to paint the court to make it more interesting, as if we're all on each other's throats. Nine scorpions in a bottle," he said. "It's not that at all."

Scalia, an originalist interpreter of the Constitution, believes that freedom of speech and press under the First Amendment protect all forms of communication.

"The two are fairly understood as standing for all expression and communication," he said.

Scalia responded with humor to one question concerning the free speech of exotic dancing.

"I like it," he joked, adding that it does not fall under the protection of the First Amendment. "I draw a line there, I don't think that means communication."

Scalia, who has conservative views, referred to liberal-leaning Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the closest of his colleagues.

Having served under former chief justice William Rehnquist, Scalia said he has not seen much change in the way the Supreme Court operates under Chief Justice John Roberts.

"Not really much, he hasn't run it much differently from Rehnquist," he said.

After Justice Scalia's address, he visited classes, talked to student groups and served in a panel of judges for the final round of Moot Court Board's 2009 Dean's Cup Competition. …

The rest of the story’s here.



I searched the online Raleigh News & Observer and Durham Herald Sun sites and could find nothing on Justice Scalia’s appearance at Duke.

I’m away from Durham now so I couldn’t search their print editions.

Both newspapers say they’ll survive in the changing and increasingly competitive news reporting world because, to a large extent, of the breath, depth and quality of their local news reporting.

A Supreme Court justice’s address at Duke Law School and his subsequent participation in a Q&A, visit to classes and service as a Moot Court competition judge are important, newsworthy local events.

But both newspapers appear to have failed to cover them.

If you see Scalia coverage by either paper, please let me know so it can report it.

Regarding Scalia’s description of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as “the closest of his colleagues:”

I know they are close friends who, among other things, share a love of opera. As part of a fundraising event some years ago, the sang together in the chorus of one of Washington’s major opera companies.

I’ve been told the justices and their spouses have dinner together each New Years Eve, but I don’t know that for a fact.

Can anyone shed light on the matter?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 29, 2009

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

It was on June 26, 1897, a beautiful English summer day, that a twenty-one year old Army subaltern, Winston Churchill, made his first public speech in Bath.

He delivered it in a tent at a holiday fair sponsored by a conservative group, The Primrose League, which Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph, had helped found.

We’re told the speech was well received; and perhaps some day we can talk about what Churchill said.

But right now, let’s give Churchill a chance to tell us something about the setting and introduction he received.

Churchill was in his fifties when he recalled the events with gently mocking humor and a wink to us, who he knew understood that by age twenty-one, he was already familiar with the fluff and foam of politics and eager to swim in its waters:

[When] a bell began to ring, we repaired to our tent and mounted the platform [and] as soon as about a hundred persons had rather reluctantly [gathered] the Chairman rose and in a brief speech introduced me to the audience.

At Sandhurst and in the Army compliments are few and far between, and flattery of subalterns does not exist.

If you won the Victoria Cross or the Grand National Steeplechase or the Army Heavyweight Boxing Championship, you would only expect to receive from your friends warnings against having your head turned by your good luck

In politics it was apparently quite different. Here the butter was laid on with a trowel. …

As [regards] my adventures in Cuba, on the Indian frontier and up the Nile, I could only pray the regiment would never hear of what the Chairman said. When he descanted upon my “bravery with the sword and brilliancy with the pen” I feared that the audience would cry out “Oh, rats!” or something similar.

I was astonished and relieved to find that they lapped it all up as if it were gospel.
I bet we’re all smiling.

BTW - Descanted is new to me. An online dictionary says: 1) An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme. 2) A discussion or discourse on a theme.
Background from Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 71-2,77)
Churchill's "recollection" is found on pg. 203 of My Early Life.

Don’t Blame the Partisanship on House Republicans

So says blogger Betsy Newmark who begins - - -

Of course the Democrats want to portray the zero Republican House votes for the huge spending plan as mere partisanship. That's where the White House spokesman cast the blame.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs cast the administration's inability to pick up any Republican votes as a reflection of the politics Obama campaigned against — not a repudiation of a president who worked the Republican side of the aisle even harder than he did his own party's side.

"Of course we're disappointed that it's going to take longer to change the way Washington works than just a little more than a week, but the president feels good about the efforts that he's made to reach out to people to work with them," Gibbs said in an interview quickly set up after the vote.

First of all, it is not really "working" with the other side if they don't have input into the bill as it is being written and into the basic approach that the bill took place. Otherwise, it is simply being courteous but also deciding that your side won and so you don't have to do more than lip service and make polite moves to "reach out" to the Republicans without actually changing what you were going to do in the first place.
The rest of Betsy’s post is here.


My comments:

Not only is President Obama not really “working” with the House Republicans, he's using them as props for his bipartisan pose.

And the Republicans know it.

Will the American people catch on to what Obama’s doing?

If they do, it won’t be because liberal/leftist news organizations such as the NY Times and NPR point it out to them.

For that you have to go to
Betsy’s Page and other truth-telling sites.

Scalia at Duke today & a favorite Scalia story

Yesterday Naureen Khan at The Chronicle News Blog reported:

With relatively little pomp and fanfare, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be coming to Duke tomorrow to speak about “his life in the law.” He will be appearing at the Law School’s Star Commons at 12:15.

Oddly enough, the Law School has done little advertising for one of the most well-known conservative justices on the Court, appointed under President Ronald Reagan.

It should be a rousing address, nonetheless. When Scalia came to Harvard Law School last October, he defended some of his controversial views in favor of strict interpretation of the Constitution, shouting “I don’t have to prove that originalism is perfect!” to a packed audience. ...

My comments:

I left a comment at Khan's post saying thanks for a concise, informative post.

Khan told readers to check back for updates and to look for a story in Friday's Chronicle.

I plan to post on the story.

In the meantime, from The real reasons Schumer opposes Roberts (Sept.5, 2005) here's one of my favorite Scalia stories as told by a Newsday op-ed writer:

New York's senior senator portrays himself as moderation's great defender. In a 2003 letter Schumer arrogantly advised Bush on how to pick a Supreme Court justice: "I start by encouraging you to use the same principles that guide me in evaluating judicial nominees. I consider three criteria: excellence, diversity and moderation."

Speaking in California last week, according to The Associated Press, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an excellent point: "Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?"

More re:Who should worry about Duke/Durham discovery?

Anon @ 10:05 commented re: Who should worry about Duke/Durham discovery?

Anon’s comments are in italics; my responses are in plain.

Anon began - - -

I look forward to discovery but I have never worried that it wouldn't happen.

While they stressed the court will set limits on what can be asked during discovery, every attorney I’ve talked to – all with no direct involvement in the lawsuits, but all of whom are following the suits – has said Plaintiffs’ attorneys will be able to question in all the major areas in which the Plaintiffs’ are requesting discovery.

I do hope those who should be worrying that discovery will happen are but I'm not sure they realize the gravity of their situation yet.

I think some do have a sense of the gravity of their situation. Duke’s hiring Jamie Gorelick was, IMO, an admission on Duke’s part that its situation is so grave that the best legal counsel money can buy won’t be enough. So it hired a person known for her political influence rather than her knowledge of an extremely complex area of law.

If attorneys in Duke’s Counsel’s office went along with a charade involving dissembling to students, parents and the court regarding the university’s alleged secret and illegal release of protected (FERPA) student personal information, then I’d think those attorneys know they face grave consequences from the court and the State Bar.

Keep in mind that of all the terrible things Nifong did, it was the act of lying to the court that landed him in jail.

I think by virtue of their professional training and experiences the police defendants have, or at least should have, a good understanding of the gravity of the claims made against them in the suits.

It seems to me that some, particularly the miscreants at Duke, have gone merrily about business as usual, as if they didn't have a care in the world.

Yes, but a lot of that is posturing. When you can’t/won’t tell your own insurer what happened, you know your situation is very serious even if you keep telling yourself somehow all your influence, loyal alums and billions will get you out of things with “just a few scrapes.”

Clearly they want everyone to forget about it. They want to silence their critics and MoveOn but even if that happened it wouldn't matter. The lawsuits are what they should be worried about. Discovery should scare the peedoodle out of them.

I get sufficient satisfaction knowing they are worried or they will be at some point. So many and so much will be exposed I should feel sorry for them but I don't.

Of course they want to move on. They did terrible things.

Thanks for your comment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 28, 2009

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

In historian John Keegan’s biography, Winston Churchill, Keegan quotes a passage from Churchill’s autobiography of his first 27 years, My Early Life.

Churchill tells us what happened when he got to the Latin portion of the Harrow entrance exam :

I wrote my name at the top of the page. I wrote down the number of the question, “1.” After much reflection I put a bracket around it, thus, “(1).”

But thereafter I could not think of anything connected with it that was either relevant or true.

Incidentally there arrived from nowhere in particular a blot and several smudges. I gazed for two whole hours at this sad spectacle; and then merciful ushers collected up my piece of foolscap and carried it up to the Headmaster’s table. (pgs. 25-26 in Keegan)
Churchill never learned much Latin at Harrow, to which he was admitted most likely because he was Lord Randolph Churchill’s son.

But he said long afterwards that he did learn there the structure and uses of the English sentence “which is a good thing indeed.” And as later used by Churchill, it became a powerful weapon in the cause of freedom.

Traveling the rest of the day

Blogging will resume late tonight or tomorrow morning.

Good luck until then.


Who should worry about Duke/Durham discovery?

A Jan. 7, 2009 Durham Herald Sun story, “Lacrosse cabbie, Macy's settle suit,” began:

Cabbie Moezeldin Elmostafa and the proprietors of the Macy's department stores have settled the lawsuit he filed against the chain in connection with a 2003 shoplifting incident.
Readers who read down to the ninth paragraph learned. Elmostafa’s attorney, Tom Loflin, said the following:
"We were one of the last on the lacrosse litigation train, the last to be charged and all that, but we're probably the first out of it, except that Mr. Elmostafa is probably going to end up as a witness in some of the players' civil cases," Loflin said. (emphasis added)
Some people worry we won’t have discovery and some people worry we will.

Loflin’s comment reminded me that all the attorneys I’ve talked with who are not directly involved representing parties to the suits, but who’ve been following them agree we’ll have plenty of discovery, most, if not all, of which will be available to the public because of the “in the public’s interest to know” aspects of the suits.

So IMO the people worrying we
won’t have discovery need only be patient while the often slow process of litigation moves along.

On the other hand, the people worried there
will be discovery are right to feel that way.

BTW – Loflin’s comment and those of the attorneys I referred to here were all made
before the announcement of the U. S. Supreme Court’s unanimous Pearson v. Callahan decision which KC Johnson posted on here.

The short of Pearson is the decision makes it more difficult for Nifong to avoid responsibility for his travesties. But read KC’s post if you haven’t already.

The entire H-S story's here.

Professor Robert Reich, quote doctor

Robert Reich, a former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, is currently a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Blogger Michelle Malkin says he should be embarrassed at the shoddy quality of his intellectual engagement.

Yesterday she posted examples of it in "A reply to Robert Reich’s open letter."

Today Malkin posts "Robert Reich, quote doctor." Malkin links to this 1997 Slate article “exposing Reich’s … penchant for quote-doctoring.”

The Slate article, "Robert Reich, quote doctor," is Jonathan Rauch's May 1997 review of Reich’s then recently released book,
Locked in the Cabinet.

Rauch began - - -

Locked in the Cabinet, Robert Reich's new memoir of his years as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, is an engaging policy memoir: insightful, often witty and, what's most unusual for wonk kiss and tells, easy to read, partly because it's told in long stretches of well-written dialogue that add up to scores of novelistic scenes of Washington at work. The book reads like good fiction. Unfortunately, some of it is.

Call me old-fashioned, but I've always believed that there is something special about quotation marks. Whatever is between them, in nonfiction, is supposed to reflect accurately words that some real person actually said.

Now, "accurately" leaves room for quibbling, and a memoir will be understood by most readers to be offered on an "as remembered" basis. Reich says, in his prefatory note, that he jotted notes to himself, "usually late at night," and then consolidated them to make the book. People know that Reich is not a reporter, and will adjust their expectations accordingly. Fair enough. Maybe he has a good memory.

Certainly from a former Cabinet officer, however, one would expect, if not word-for-word accuracy, at least some checking of his memory, especially when public documents are available. Suspicions mount as Reich spins out page after page of crisp conversation, especially when the same remark issues from two different mouths--as happens on pages 122 and 129. . . .

Rauch then provides example after example of Reich’s quote-doctoring and worse. For example - - -

At a 1995 press conference, just after President Clinton and Reich have failed to settle the baseball strike, Reich has reporters asking the following questions: "Mr. President, why did you invite the players and owners to the White House in the first place?" "If you can't even get these parties to agree, what hope do you have in Bosnia?" "Does this mark the nadir of this administration's influence?" "First it was the minimum wage and now it's baseball. Why do you and your labor secretary think Washington should be involved in every employment issue in America?"
Those questions certainly help Reich paint a picture of piranha journalists intent on humiliating the administration.

But none of the questions, nor any like them, was ever asked. (emphasis added)

The reporters' focus was on major-league baseball, not on Reich and Clinton, and their tone was puzzled rather than angry.

Here are all the real questions that the reporters asked: "Mr. President, you've met now with the players and the owners. In your opinion, who is more to blame for this impasse? And why won't they simply accept voluntarily binding arbitration?" "Mr. President, what gave rise to the optimism you felt during the course of the evening that a settlement might be possible?" "How do you compare this, Mr. President, to, say, President Kennedy acting on steel prices and former uses of the office and the Oval Office for labor disputes?" There was a question about legislation. And (most scathingly), "Mr. President, if the season begins with replacement players, would you throw out the first ball?"

Rauch provides other extensive examples of Reich’s quote-doctoring (that’s saying it kindly. Later in the review, after providing irrefutable documentation of an important matter, Rauch says the evidence “leave[s] no doubt. Reich appears to have fabricated much of this episode[.]”

Rauch closes with - - -

I asked Reich what was going on in each of these cases. In reply, he pointed to his Note to the Reader: "I claim no higher truth than my own perceptions. This is how I lived it." He said that his notes accurately reflected how he felt and what he perceived. In the three cases cited above, he felt varying degrees of hostility. "I am not representing the book to be anything other than it is, which is my account of my experiences, my perceptions, what I saw and heard around me," he said. "That's all I can say."

In effect, Reich is saying that he's not writing journalism or history. He's writing ... well, what? He elides the very distinction between history and myth, memoir and novel, reality and perception. The problem is that those are real people he misquotes, real history he rewrites.

Steve Wasserman, a former Random House editor who now edits the Los Angeles Times Book Review, points out an irony: Books are often viewed as better sources for history than newspapers, but newspapers, which are generally much more careful than the average publishing house about such niceties as checking quotes, are often the more reliable source.

Reich's memoir, if that's the proper word for it, is now ensconced between hard covers and will be read for years to come as part of the historical record. That is a shame. Quote me.


I'll be traveling most of today and will wind up at a place with poor connectivity.

But if all goes well, I plan to post again tomorrow concerning Reich, the quote doctor.

The Franken-Coleman Court Battle Yesterday

The AP reports - - -

Minnesota voters testified Tuesday their ballots had been unfairly rejected as Republican Norm Coleman argued thousands of disqualified absentee ballots should be counted in the U.S. Senate race.

"Perhaps my signature is not as good as it once was," Gerald Anderson, of St. Paul, told the three-judge panel hearing Coleman's lawsuit. "It gets cloudy and crooked. I am 75 years old."

But that shouldn't have disqualified his vote, he said: "I want it back. I'm entitled to my vote."

A statewide recount gave Democrat Al Franken a 225-vote edge. The personal stories that Anderson and five other voters told are just one front on Coleman's effort to have more votes counted. …


My comments:

Usually Dems argue “every vote should count.” And never mind the “vote” was cast by a guy who died three years.

The dead coming back to life to "vote" in places like Chicago and Florida is just part of the Dems Hope and Change program.

The rest of the AP’s story’s here; the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s story of the day's events is here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 27, 2009

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

Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, Churchill’s principal bodyguard during WW II, recalled many times Churchill and he narrowly avoided being killed.

One such time occured one night during the Blitz when Churchill was at 10 Downing Street as the air raid warning sounded. Since structural and ground conditions prevented the construction of a satisfactory shelter at Downing Street, Churchill would be going to a reinforced shelter a few blocks away.

The shelter had been constructed to provide offices and quarters for Churchill and other government officials who'd have to carry on with duties during the raids. It was in the basement of the Treasury Annexe.

A car was always available to take Churchill to the shelter. But that night, as usual, Churchill insisted on walking despite Thompson’s urging they use the car.

As Thompson describes it they had just completed their walk and entered the Annexe when they heard a tremendous explosion outside; and Churchill went out to have a look.

The pavement where we had been walking twenty seconds earlier was now a crater. (Thompson later learned a thousand pound bomb had hit. - JinC)

As we went to the edge, the water main burst and we were drenched. I hoped this would teach him a lesson, but it did not. Hardly a month went by when we could not have been wiped of the earth.
The Annexe is now called The Cabinet War Rooms. It is much as it was when Churchill and others used it. You can learn more at Cabinet War Rooms. The Web site contains useful information for those planning a visit. A small Churchill museum has now been added to the part of the shelter open to the public.

If you haven't visited already, I hope you do someday.
Tom Hickman,
Churchill's Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thompson. (pgs. 101-119)

McClatchy suspends quarterly dividend indefinitely

The AP reports - - -

McClatchy Co., the nation's third-largest newspaper publisher, said Tuesday it is suspending its quarterly dividend after paying out its dividend for the first quarter of 2009 so it can save up cash to repay its debts.

The publisher of papers such as The Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee said it declared a quarterly cash dividend of 9 cents payable on April 1 to shareholders of record on March 11.

But the company said in a news release that after that, the dividend would be suspended "for the foreseeable future" so it could conserve its cash.

McClatchy, like others in the newspaper industry, is seeing a decline in advertising revenue which is hurting profit. Advertisers have been pulling back amid the recession, and increasingly shifting their marketing dollars to the Web.

McClatchy said its first-quarter dividend is worth half the per-share dividend paid in the same period last year.

Shares of McClatchy rose 2 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at 85 cents.

My comments:

Advertisers were shifting their dollars to the Web long before this recession started.

They were following readers who were abandoning McClatchy newspapers.

The market understood this even if McClatchy’s top execs have denied it for years.

As recently as five years ago, McClatchy traded in the mid-70s.

In March 2006 when the economy was still growing, McClatchy traded in the mid-40s.

So what did McClatchy do?

CEO Gary Pruitt, ignoring the clear warning his company’s 40%+ stock price decline signaled, went out and bought the Knight-Ridder chain.

McClatchy's taking on more newspapers then was as smart as a captain of a sinking ship taking on more anchors.

In less than five years McClatchy has dropped from the mid-70s to penny stock status with Pruitt and other top execs getting performance bonuses all along the way.

Can you believe that?

All I can say tonight is pity the small shareholders and the many honest, able people who work for McClatchy.

Any wonder they are so angry?

Hat tip: Louisiana Wise Man

Dowd Report's Excellent Fisk

Sunday, Jan. 24, I posted A few very recent Caroline Kennedy articles.

I cited four MSM articles including the column that day by the NY Times’ Maureen Dowd, the only person over 16 who thinks maybe Teddy
really was hurrying with Mary Jo Kopechne to catch the last ferry off the island when he made a wrong turn off a hardtop down a dirt road that led across a narrow bridge to a “lovers lane” parking area.

Regarding Dowd’s column (“Which Governor Is Wackier”) my only points were to call the column to readers' attention and note with one example how the "glow of Camelot" still influenced Dowd; such that she said downright foolish things.

Dowd Report commented and chided me because: "That Dowd article is a lot more vicious than you make it out to be."

I promised Dowd Report I’d say more about the column and link to DR’s post on it.

I’m late doing that, but here goes:

DR provides an excellent fisking of Dowd's column and leaves on doubt about its meanness.


So in Dowd’s rampage she is calling a pox on everybody’s house. The presumed rival to Caroline was Andrew Cuomo, so she now implicitly endorses him over Paterson.
Paterson wasn’t thinking of New York, only of how an upstate ally who was a woman would bolster his own chances for re-election. We can only hope that an avenging Andrew Cuomo takes him out in a primary.
Since her campaigning for Caroline went so well, Dowd also names her preferred choice for taking out Gillibrand in revenge.
Carolyn McCarthy, who ran for Congress on an antigun platform after her husband was killed and her son wounded by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993, said she may challenge the “N.R.A. poster child” in 2010.
There’s a lot more to Dowd Report’s fisk.

You can give it a look here.

And the best of luck to Dowd Report.

Tim Tyson, the Raleigh N&O & Whiteys’ Place

On March 27, 2006 the Raleigh News & Observer ran a story, “Rally calls for action at Duke” (reg. req’d), which began:

A cacophony of clanging pans pierced the crisp morning air Sunday as a group of Duke University students, neighbors and activists spoke out against sexual violence.

Bundled in sweaters and sweatshirts, about 100 people gathered at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where a woman said she was raped this month at a party hosted by Duke men's lacrosse team players. …

"This is a wake-up call to challenge sexual assault and racial violence," Manju Rajendran, 25, a Durham resident and organizer of Sunday's event, said through a bullhorn just after 9 a.m. "We're trying to break the silence. ... Women have a right to dignity and respect." ...

Attendees at the event Sunday criticized Duke for being too lenient on team members.

Some protesters carried signs including one that read, "All rapes deserve outrage." ...
The biggest signs the protesters carried were banners; one reading “CASTRATE” and another “GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE

But the N&O’s story said nothing about those threatening banners; nor were there any N&O editorials, op-ed or “news analysis” stories condemning the threatening crowd and their banners.

Does the N&O’s silence tell you the mob and its banners were targeting Whiteys? If it doesn't, you must still be waiting for Mike Nifong to produce his “smoking gun.”

The same goes for understanding why the N&O used only one sentence to describe a group of racists on May 18, 2006 shouting threats, including death threats, at a man outside and then again inside the Durham County Courthouse.

The man, one of those whose attempted frame-up Tyson enabled, had to be a Whitey and the racists black.

If the frame-up victim and his racist threateners races were reversed, the story would’ve started on the N&O’s front page with banner headlines.

All the above came to mind today when I read on the N&O’s editorial page an opinion piece by Duke professor Tim Tyson and saw the headline the N&O’d given it.

Tyson, one of the most attention seeking of the Duke faculty members who eagerly embraced false accuser Crystal Mangum’s hoax and the frame-up attempt led by a now disbarred Mike Nifong, begins by telling readers:
God probably dozes off during public prayer anyway. But the Rev. Joseph Lowery's mischievous benediction for the Obama inaugural may have made the Creator giggle. It ended with a plea to "help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right. Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen." Loud laughter and a chorus of "amens" followed.
Tyson uses the rest of his op-ed to persuade us Rev. Lowery’s singling out only whites as needing to “embrace what is right” was not in any way inappropriate or racist. It was a just a joke.

You know about "Jew" jokes, "Amos and Andy" jokes and "Whitey" jokes, don't you?

Tyson likes the one he says Lowery told at President Obama's Inauguration. He found it a God-given knee-slapper.

Tyson's upset that others didn't get what he says was Lowery's great joke about Whitey.

Tyson want’s Whiteys to lighten up and understand “God has a sense of humor” The N&O went along headlining the op-ed: “Amen to a spirited blessing.”

Suggestion for the N&O:

Start a new section called Whiteys’ Place for stories like “Rally calls for action at Duke” and op-eds like “Amen to a spirited blessing.”

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 26, 2009

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

Churchill’s an important part of this post today but the last word goes to H.R.H. King George V.

It’s July 1919. The Great War is over; Britain's drastically reducing the size and scope of its military.

The Royal Air Force is a separate service arm, having been made so in an expedient move in the closing months of the war.

But the planned reductions include eliminating the RAF as a separate arm; and reassigning what remains of it back to the Army and Navy as things were before the war.

Churchill, as Secretary of State for War and Air, believes a separate air service offers the best chance of Britain developing an adequate air defense system. So does King George. They carry the day with a decision that will later be seen as essential to victory in the Battle of Britain.

Once the RAF’s future existence was assured, the matter of equivalent ranks among the services arose. The Army had its Field Marshals; the Navy its Sea Lords. What would the RAF’s equivalent be called?

The rank of Marshal of the Air was proposed. Churchill was fine with it, but the Army and Navy didn’t like it at all.

When the ranking RAF officer went to Buckingham Palace to discuss the matter with the King, the King remarked, “Don’t you think Marshal of the Air is poaching a bit on the preserves of the Almighty?”

He had a suggestion: “Why not simply Marshall of the Royal Air Force?”

The matter was settled.
Peter Townsend,
Duel of Eagles. (pgs. 22-41)

Comments re: Wind and Power Blowhards

Comments or parts thereof from the thread of Wind and Power Blowhards are in italics.

My responses are in plain

Cks said . . .

The greenies are all in favor of green technology as long as the accouterments necessary to bring about the green revolution do not impinge on their surroundings - it is ok, however if the lower orders have their views from their windows obscured[.]

Absolutely! There's no point being a high-powered greenie if you have to live near a wind farm.

BTW - Did you know most liberal scholars now agree there were at least 5 species of unicorns but no wind farms in Camelot?

JohnO @ 7:55 - - -

One fact is sure, there will no longer be a "business as usual" approach to energy policy. America's current energy grid can not be sustained.

There is so much graft and political influence in energy politics – green and fossil both. Can we really get at least partially free of our energy-politics-as-usual practices? I hope so.

Anon @ 8:07 - - -

They should probably put all the wind farms in "flyover" country. Who cares if the hicks out in Oklahoma have these things messing up their landscape?

I know your tongue's in your cheek but most of the “stick the wind farms in Kansas, not in Teddy's oceanfront” crowd don’t understand there are costs associated with transporting energy to densely populated areas; those costs including energy loss as it travels from source to user.

drew said.- - -

John, I am perhaps one of those you describe as using "summer" as a verb - I have a place on Nantucket, and try to get there at least a couple of weeks each summer.

It was the WSJ editorialists who described people as using “summer” as a verb.

For the rest of the summer, it's an investment property; in the other three seasons, it's a substantial chore and a significant expense.

In my rather limited perspective, it seems that the people most opposed to Cape Wind are "mainlanders"; i.e., the folks who are concerned about their views of the sound, or the impact on other very local infrastructure. For Nantucketers, the impact would largely be negligible.

Everything on the island (apart from fog and wind) needs to be imported over the water. That includes gasoline, food, drinking water (sometimes), toilet paper and the like. To get to the island, these goods travel by ferry - the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority.

And guess who essentially controls the Steamship Authority? The Kennedy family largely selects the Authority members, and pushes their appointments through the political process.

Travel to the islands is not inexpensive - taking the car to Nantucket is over $400 each season, which is why many people just leave an old car on the island year-round if they have a place to stash it in the off-season and someone to keep the battery charged.

But the economic incentive to the islanders from Cape Wind is diminished somewhat - some years ago, the islands were successful in getting an undersea electrical cable installed, and all electricity is now brought from the Cape to the islands by cable. Previously, it was generated locally on the island using fuel oil.

As a frame of reference, understand that gasoline was over $6 a gallon this past summer on Nantucket (remember, it's based on mainland prices plus the cost of bringing it over the Sound. Imagine what the cost of fuel oil would have been - although the "old" generators used bunker fuel (the type used in ships' boilers), the cost of electricity would have probably been 5-6 times what it cost on the mainland this past summer.

So the "island locals" don't benefit much from Cape Wind, except for any host benefits or other government-rigged emoluments that might ensue.

You should also understand that Nantucket Sound is a very large body of water - putting in windmills (while locally disruptive to views from any direction) would not "plug up" the ability to use the water for recreation or fishing.

In fact, the windmills would likely create an in increase in pleasure boat traffic to Nantucket - the island cannot be seen from the mainland (it's over the horizon visually), and the waters are prone to fog.

With a series of windmill towers as a guide, even smaller craft without serious navigation systems could actually make the 30-mile trip and find Nantucket over the horizon.

What most of this brouhaha boils down to is hubris and politics (like many other things do). The Kennedys want to sound and look like they're environmentalists, but they don't want to actually do anything about it, so they pull their considerable strings to make certain that it doesn't come to pass.

Personally, I'd rather see the Gitmo detainees put on a prison ship anchored right off Hyannisport, so that Ted and the clan can see what he has wrought in the Senate. Perhaps with that as an alternative, the calls to close Gitmo will calm down almost overnight, and the Kennedys will let the "bad people" stay in Cuba.

It could be a win/win for all of us.

Drew, how about this: The Gitmo bad guys and the Kennedys get Nantucket all to themselves with a Navy blockade of the island. You and the other Nantucket people get all the Kennedy properties and Gitmo to divide among yourselves?

Wait! Wait! That’s not all.

The Constitution is amended to add 2 Senate and 4 House seats to the Congress; with clauses stating the 6 seats must always be held by people who vacated Nantucket and their direct descendants who are also the only ones eligible to vote in elections for those seats.

Think about it.

And thank you all four for your comments.


N&O’s Video Story Without a Video Link Follow-up

Saturday I published Raleigh N&O Fl. 1549 video story doesn’t link to video.

The short of it: ran an AP story which began:

”A newly released security camera tape shows the emergency ditching of North Carolina-bound US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in all its stunning drama - from seconds after the jetliner splashed into the frigid water until well after the last of the 155 passengers and crew members were rescued.”
There followed a lengthy text description but the N&O failed to link to the tape or even a segment of it.

I compared the N&O’s failure to link to any portion of the video with the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s posting of the same story which included photos and a link to a video segment.

McClatchy Watch picked up on my post and twice featured it in its own posts. (See here and here)

Today in this post I want to share with you an email I’m sending N&O public editor Ted Vaden and another email I’m sending to McClatchy Watch asking how I can respond to commenters there, particularly some apparently “professional journalists,” who didn’t see any problem with what the N&O did.

Some even suggested because the N&O was running an AP story it had no choice but to run whatever the AP sent it.

The email to the N&O’s Ted Vaden

Dear Ted:

Re: Raleigh N&O Fl. 1549 video story doesn’t link to video.

If you open the post you’ll see it raises questions about why the N&O would run a story of a new Fl. 1549 video “in all its stunning drama” without at least including a link to the video or a segment thereof, as you can see the Minneapolis Star Tribune did. (I link to it in my post)

I think many N&O readers felt as one reader said on the thread:

[K]inda strange to read an article about a tape of this event without the tape being linked or embedded in the article. Sorta like being served t-bone steak with no meat on the bone.

Why did the N&O run the story and fail, as the Strib did, to provide a link to at least a segment of the video?

When I Googled Saturday morning, I immediately found dozens of sites hosting segments.

I’ve a second question: While the Strib story is still up, the N&O’s story appears to be 404’d.

Was it 404’d; and, if so, why?

As always, I will publish your response in full at JinC.

Thank you for your attention to this email.




Email to McClatchy Watch - - -

Thank you for both your on point comments and links to my post: Raleigh N&O Fl. 1549 video story doesn’t link to video.

I’ve read those posts' two lengthy comment threads. Many of the comments are informed; some comments fall in the “children’s bathroom talk” category; and some comments appear to come, in at least some cases, from journalists who assert they’re fine with the N&O treatment of the Fl. 1549 video story.

Indeed some of those “just fine” commenters say there was no other way for the N&O to handle what was an AP story despite my including in the post a link to the Strib’s quite different treatment of the same AP story.

I’ve no desire to get involved with the “children’s bathroom talk” commenters.

But I do want to express appreciation to the informed commenters and question those commenters who think the N&O treatment of the story was “just fine” and had to be that way because it was from the AP.

But I want to be respectful as one blogger who wants to make some fairly extensive comments at another bloggers blog. (btw – an outstanding one)

Any guidance you can offer me is welcome. If you prefer I let the matters go, I can accept that with no problem.

It’s your call.

I’m enclosing a link to a post which contains this email as well as one I sent the N&O public editor Ted Vaden.


John in Carolina

Rangel Ethics Probe: Will Pelosi Set New Deadline?

The New York Post reports - - -

Nobody's home at the House ethics committee that's supposed to be investigating Rep. Charles Rangel.

The panel created on Sept. 24 to probe the Harlem Democrat's alleged ethical lapses has been virtually disbanded, after meeting only twice in four months on the matter, The Post has learned.

Of the four congressmen named to look into the powerful Ways and Means Committee chairman, only one remains - Alabama Republican Jo Bonner. The three others left the Rangel probe last month when they were "rotated" off the 10-member Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

The dormant investigation won't be jump-started until three incoming ethics committee members are assigned to the Rangel probe later this month.

Because the committee conducts its work in secret, it is not clear if any progress has been made on the Rangel investigation.

In the committee's recently released 100-page report on its work in the 110th Congress, only four paragraphs mention the Rangel probe, listing five alleged ethics breaches and noting that the panel had not been able to complete the investigation.

The panel has already missed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Jan. 3 deadline for filing a final report on Rangel.

The rest of the Post’s story’s here.

The Post’s story doesn’t mention reports Speaker Pelosi plans to give the ethics committee a new deadline to complete its Rangel investigation no later then the end of the current century.

Rangel's attorneys have reportedly already agreed to the new deadline.

Hat tip: BN

U. S. Attorney Subpoenas Blago- Obama Sr. Staffers Contact Materials

Readers Alert: This post was originally titled:"U. S. Attorney Subpoenas Obama Sr. Staffers. Where’s MSM?"

Subsequently commenter ttj on the post thread below said:
To be clear, what the original report says is that Blagojevich was served subpoenas requesting information on contacts with these people. The Obama people have not yet been served subpoenas. Not yet...

I checked
at Director Blue where I found the following: Update II: An eagle-eyed commenter points out that Blago's communications with Axelrod, Jarrett, et. al. were the subject of subpoenas, not the parties themselves. So noted and corrected.

I've changed both the title of the post and the text content which I've copied from Director Blue and reflects the correction he made.

My thanks to ttj for pointing out the error and my apologies to those of you who were misinformed.



From Director Blue - - -

On Saturday morning, the list of subpoenas served by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Governor Rod Blagojevich case was made public. The list included one major surprise for the new administration.

A veritable "who's who" of Obama staffers, surrogates and affiliates were among those whose communications with Blago were served with subpoenas. Put simply, within one week of President Barack Obama's administration taking office, it is already under significant legal scrutiny that will -- at a minimum -- take precious time away from dealing with the country's monumental economic and foreign policy challenges.

And, once again, the mainstream media is AWOL, unwilling to report on this very newsworthy story.

Among those whose communications were served:

David Axelrod, Obama's "Karl Rove" and the biggest surprise on the list. Obama's team issued a report in December that said his staff had no "inappropriate contact" with Blago, so the inclusion of Axelrod is a bit of a shock.

Valerie Jarrett
, Blago's "Senate Candidate 1", a real estate management executive and political hack of the first order. Her ties to failed and fraudulent real estate deals in Chicago were the subject of numerous investigations and should have instantly disqualified her for any public office.

Rahm Emanuel was already deeply involved in the case with some reports describing as many as 21 conversations with Blago's office during the period in question.

Tony Rezko, Obama's first advocate, fundraiser and adviser, was convicted last year on numerous charges related to kickbacks, and is now awaiting sentencing. Rezko is "cooperating with authorities, FBI Agent Daniel Cain said in an affidavit." ...

The rest of Director Blue's post is here.

Hat tip: Mike Williams

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Caroline Kennedy’s Senate Bid: Dec. 6 to Now

On Dec. 6 I posted Caroline Kennedy New York’s next Senator? It included the following from a NY Times story that day:

Caroline Kennedy, a daughter of America’s most storied political family who for many years fiercely guarded her privacy, is considering whether to pursue the Senate seat expected to be vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton early next year, a family member said Friday.

“I believe that she is considering it,” said her cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has spoken to Ms. Kennedy about the matter during the past week. “A lot of people the last couple of weeks have urged her to do it.”

Ms. Kennedy called Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday to discuss the position, Mr. Paterson confirmed Friday. The governor will choose a replacement for Mrs. Clinton upon her expected confirmation as secretary of state next month.

“The conversation was informational,” Mr. Paterson said. “She did not express an interest in the Senate, but we talked about the Senate, so I got that she was just trying to get some information to determine whether or not she would like to have an interest in it. And that was it.”

He added, “I haven’t offered the job to anyone.”

Ms. Kennedy, 51, a lawyer who lives in Manhattan, could not be reached on Friday.
Despite Gov. Paterson's caution, it looked to many on Dec. 6 like we were in for another episode of The Camelot Myth, a joint production of Kennedy family pr advisers and fawning media and academic flacks. The Camelot Myth has run continuously since 1961.

But by Dec. 28 I was posting Are Caroline Kennedy’s Chances Weakening? The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart had listed 5 mistakes Kennedy and her supporters had made; and I added 2 more.

Commenter cks has made detailed, incisive comments noting both why Kennedy might secure the nomination (mostly the power of her name, her wealth and her reputed fund raising ability) and her many shortcomings. Here’s part of one cks comment that gets at the shortcomings:
… Thus, given the Kennedy financial resources (and ability to drum up money) one can see the allure for Paterson to elevate Kennedy to the position.

However, having the money is one thing, possessing political ability is quite another - something that Ms. Kennedy has not (so far) shown.

She has effectively used the Camelot myth (though how much of that was massaged by her Uncle Ted is an interesting question) to help Obama win the election. Though she was a member of his V-P vetting team, one has to question just how much she contributed to that effort. …

She has shown that she is quite inarticulate and has been unable or unwilling to state her positions.

Finally, for someone who considers public service and involvement in politics her family's legacy, how can she get around the fact that she has failed to vote in numerous elections? Was she unaware that elections were going on?
Right in line with cks’s comment was a column by the NY Daily News’ Mike Goodwin which began:
[A] strange thing is happening on the way to the coronation. The wheels of the bandwagon are coming off. Fantasy is giving way to inescapable truth.

That truth is that Kennedy is not ready for the job and doesn't deserve it. Somebody who loves her should tell her.

Her quest is becoming a cringe-inducing experience, as painful to watch as it must be to endure. ...
You’ll find a link to Goodwin’s column in my post: If you love Caroline Kennedy.

Given all the anger, contradictory explanations and scurrilous attacks spewing back and forth today between people, mostly anonymous, MSM identifies as members of either the Kennedy and Paterson camps (but not, it should be acknowledged, from Caroline herself) this Anon comment made days ago was prescient:
I wonder how mawkish Ellen Goodman and other Lefty columnists will get over Kennedy's non-anointment as Senator from Camelot.

"Oh, what might have been if some Kennedy magic dust were spread across the Empire State!" …
So why didn’t the magic dust … spread across the Empire State?

Some reasons bordering on slander are being whispered about. I don’t care to touch them.

And a lot of what we're hearing and reading is just political bafflegab from people who don't know acting as if they did.

But reports that NY's Senior Sen. Chuck Schumer’s unhappiness with being “footman” to “Princess Caroline” helped upend Kennedy's chances should be checked out for many reasons.

Tarheel Hawkeye notes some of them:
The real mystery in the Schumer/Gillibrand saga is why Schumer (who obviously thinks anyone okayed by the NRA is the Devil incarnate) is supporting Gillibrand (who is not only approved by the NRA, but actually believes and accepts the entire Bill of Rights).

To say there's something fishy doesn't quite catch the import of this. There is no greater enemy of the Second Amendment than Schumer; his alignment with Gillibrand begs more inquiries.

Will he get her into the Senate, then cut her legs out from under her when she is challenged by another gun-hating Democrat? To what end?
The plot thickens.

Any upstate New Yorkers out there care to comment?
I hope some do; and I hope many of you will, too.

Final word to No MoDo: I promised to comment and link to you’re blog in this post.

I’m sorry I couldn’t work it in without this already long post getting longer.

But I will as promised respond tomorrow.

Wind and Power Blowhards

I can’t recall when I last read an editorial on a serious subject – clean energy – that was both so informative and so filled with sharp, amusing political satire.

Here, in its entirety, from yesterday’s WSJ is

The fabulous debate over wind power on Nantucket Sound.

For all the hype about the Bush Administration's oil-and-gas energy bias, one of its last official acts was to give the go-ahead to what could be America's first offshore wind farm -- thus enraging more than a few self-deputized environmentalists. Such are the ironies of the wilderness of mirrors known as the Cape Wind project.

For the last seven years and counting, the green entrepreneur Jim Gordon has been trying to build a fleet of wind turbines in federal waters near the upscale seascapes of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

The site seemed ideal, given the stiff ocean breezes and the eco-friendly politics in Massachusetts. The company says its 130 towers could meet 75% of the region's electricity needs and reduce carbon emissions by some 734,000 tons every year.

The sort of people who can afford to use "summer" as a verb are in favor of all that. Completely in favor, really. But they did want to raise one quibble.

Unfortunately, the wind farm would create "visual pollution" in Nantucket Sound, particularly the parts within sight of their beachfront vacation homes.

Mr. Gordon went ahead anyway, and the opposition rose to gale force. Supposedly the wind farm will lead to everything from the disruption of seabird habitats to "desecrating ancient American Native burial sites," in the words of Glenn Wattley, the head of an antiwind outfit funded by the likes of Bunny Mellon.

But what really upsets these well-to-do Don Quixotes is the thought of looking at windmills that would appear about as tall on the horizon as the thumbnail at the end of your outstretched arm.

Then there is the political saga, with the Kennedy family as the Hyannis Port Sopranos, supplying the muscle. While Ted Kennedy was castigating President Bush for destroying the environment, the Senator was working furiously behind the Congressional scenes to kill Cape Wind. He even had the inspiration of getting former GOP colleague Ted Stevens of Alaska to slip wording into a spending bill that would have handed a veto to then-Governor Mitt Romney, another aesthetically minded opponent.

Robert Kennedy Jr., a Time magazine "hero of the planet," tried to get the Sound designated as a national marine sanctuary to bar development.

Incredibly enough, this political sabotage has so far failed. And last week the Interior Department issued its long-awaited regulatory study, mostly finding "negligible" environmental impact -- apart from a "moderate" impact on the scenery.

If the Obama Administration signs off, construction could begin next year.

Mr. Kennedy blustered that the report was rushed out: amusing, considering it runs to 2,800 pages.

Bill Delahunt, the windy Cape Democrat, also denounced the action as "a $2 billion project that depends on significant taxpayer subsidies while potentially doubling power costs for the region."

Good to see the Congressman now recognizes the limitations of green tech, such as its tendency to boost consumer electricity prices -- but his makeover as taxpayer champion is a bit belated.

Green energy has been on the subsidy take for years, including in 2005 when Mr. Delahunt was calling for "an Apollo project for alternative energy sources, for hybrid engines, for biodiesel, for wind and solar and everything else." The reality is that all such projects are only commercially viable because of political patronage.

Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf ran the numbers and found that the effective tax rate for wind is minus-163.8%. In other words, every dollar a wind firm spends is subsidized to the tune of 64 cents from the government. The Energy Information Administration estimates that wind receives $23.37 in government benefits per megawatt hour -- compared to, say, 44 cents for coal.

Despite these taxpayer crutches, wind only provides a little under 1% of U.S. net electric generation.

We'd prefer an energy policy that allows markets to shape the sources that predominate -- which would almost certainly put Cape Wind out of business. But President Obama seems determined to unload even more subsidies on green developers as he seeks to boost renewables to 10% of the U.S. electricity mix by the end of his first term and 25% by 2025; their share today is about 9% (5.8% of which is hydropower).

We wouldn't be surprised to see the President's green future wrestled to the ground by the likes of Mr. Delahunt, the Kennedys and other anticarbon Democrats.

Environmentalists love the idea of milking Mother Nature for power, but they hate the hardware needed to make it work: huge windmills, acres of solar panels, high-voltage transmission lines to connect them to the places where people live.

Of course, they still totally, absolutely, wholeheartedly support green energy -- as long as it gets built where someone else goes yachting.

A few very recent Caroline Kennedy articles

There are so many out in MSM-land, it's hard to pick just a few.

But here are links to and brief comments about four very recent articles I found interesting for reasons serious and/or frivolous.

Arthur Sulzberger’s NY Times provides a touching 1958 picture of then Sen. John Kennedy and his baby daughter Caroline in a bassinet looking lovingly at each other. It's followed by the headline and story: “A Fumbled Handoff of the Torch “

As the picture and headline suggest, the story plays on Camelot memories and fails to seriously examine the implosion of Kennedy's bid to be named New York's next U. S. Senator.

The AP's running a number of Kennedy stories offering differing explanations for Kennedy's failed bid including: "Schumer the unseen hand in NY Senate choice"

This is a story political junkies will love. Senator Schumer will too, since: a) he loves media attention focused on his importance; and b) this story makes him seem a “kingmaker.” ( I really should have said “queenmaker,” but all of you except the trolls will forgive me, I think)

Politico offers "Analyzing Caroline"

Politco's Ben Smith links to a New Yorker Kennedy profile he says is outstanding. I’ve not yet read it.

Smith's story includes New Yorker profile quotes from Kennedy supporter Laurence O’Donnell zinging Gov. Paterson.

And then there's the NY Times’ Maureen Dowd’s column: “Which Governor Is Wackier?”

If you know Dowd, you know right away the two Governors she’s talking about are Blago and Paterson.

Blago because even Maureen Dowd's smart enough to know he's wacky.

And Paterson because Dowd worships at the Court of Camelot’s Kings and Queens, Lords and Ladies.

Whatever – you know – the rest of us might think, Dowd really believes if Paterson had just appointed Caroline:

"Then the Democrats would have had another Kennedy in the Senate representing New York — Bobby’s niece and a smart, policy-oriented, civic-minded woman to whom the president feels deeply indebted in an era when every state has its hand out."
Ah, the magic glow Camelot still casts on some.

I’ll post again late Sunday afternoon on the Kennedy story at which time I'll more fully thank than here now those of you who’ve commented
or given me heads ups on the story since it began playing out in mid-December .

Look for the post by 5 PM ET.