Friday, February 06, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 6, 2009

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

In 1896/97 Churchill, then serving as a cavalry subaltern in India, experienced an intellectual awakening. Hitherto an indifferent student, he began a wide-ranging and intense self-education which he continued throughout his life until its last days.

Historian John Keegan tells us something about the awakening and reaches a conclusion about the young Churchill, who turned 22 on November 30,1896:

(Churchill’s demands for books) were met by his mother, who sent him expensive books by the crate during his Indian years. …

The mainstay was Gibbon, the greatest of all English historians, whom “through the glistening hours of the Indian day, from …stables till the evening shadows proclaimed the hour of Polo, I devoured.”

Even before finishing all eight volumes of Gibbon, however, he had embarked on Plato’s
Republic and then the twelve volumes of Macaulay’s History of England. …

Shortly afterward he launched into Schopenhauer, Malthus, Darwin, Aristotle’s
Politics, Pascal, Saint-Simon, and Adam Smith. …

The young Churchill, in his leap to self-education, must have been the most unusual cavalry subaltern in any European army.
No doubt.

I hope you all have nice weekends that include some time for good reading.


John Keegan,
Winston Churchill. (pgs. 38-39)

Restrained Questioning of Obama’s CIA Pick

Here, from Michael Calderone at Politco, is another example of “Change” in President Obama’s Washington. I add a few comments after Calderone’s story which begins:

Following Leon Panetta’s confirmation hearing Thursday, several reporters approached the CIA director-designate in the hallway outside room G-50 in the Dirksen Building.

There, CongressDaily reporter Chris Strohm — upon asking a question — was physically restrained by a man who accompanied Panetta at hearings both days. (emphasis added)

Strohm, when reached by phone Friday, said he was unsure of the man’s role.
“I felt this hand grab my right arm and push me aside,” Strohm said.

By his account, Strohm told the man, “Please don’t touch me” more than once. Eventually, the man let him go.

Tim Starks, a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, said he witnessed Strohm approach Panetta and ask a question, just before the man began “grabbing him by the arm and moving him away.”

“I said to the guy, ‘That’s not the way you do it,’” recalled Starks.

Starks said that he’s covered the CIA for years and had never seen a reporter strong-armed that way before, adding that the agency is typically respectful of journalists.

Reflecting on the incident, Strohm played it down somewhat, saying that he’s “had worse happen” while reporting.

A staff assistant at The Panetta Institute said they are not addressing any media inquiries before Panetta’s confirmation. The White House declined to comment.

After today’s hearing, there was no similar incident: Panetta briefly answered questions from reporters.



Now isn’t it grand that after today’s hearing “there was no similar incident?”

Who’ll organize the celebration party?

And must we first get clearance from
The One or the one who’s in charge of giving CIA clearance for such parties?

Stimulus: The Dems' Trillion Dollar Viagra

Drs. Reid, Pelosi, Dodd, Daschle, Rangel, Frank, Gore, Franken, & Schumer all prescribe Stimulus.

And President Obama wants us to take it in a trillion dollar dose.

Learn more about Stimulus now.

Hat tip: AC

The Chronicle Deserves a Congeniality Award

A recent Chronicle (TC) story concerning Duke’s growing budget deficit began:

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask spoke at Duke Student Government's weekly meeting Wednesday about the University's strategy to cope with the economic downturn.

The University's spending budget has been reduced by more than $100 million, Trask told The Chronicle Wednesday, and he estimates that the deficit is close to $130 million.

"How to adjust to this without destroying the momentum of the institution and causing more damage than necessary is really important," Trask told senators at the meeting. . . .

It is difficult to adjust to the loss as the entire economy is looking down, Trask said. He added that administrators are considering various models for a smart and effective way to deal with a $100 million deficit over several years, rather than reducing spending all in the next year. …

The entire Chronicle story’s here.

My comments:

Folks, you probably noticed in the second paragraph TC reports VP Trask “estimates that the deficit is close to $130 million,” while a few paragraphs further into the story TC reports Trask is looking at “models for a smart and effective way to deal with a $100 million deficit[.]”

I suppose it’s possible that between the time he addressed the Student Government and the time TC put the story to bed, Trask was able to reduce Duke’s deficit by $30 million.

But it’s more likely TC made an inadvertent error of the type everyone makes.

We can all understand such an error.

But people who care about Duke more than Brodhead & Co. will find something else very hard to understand.

That's TC’s failure to ask Trask anything about the impact on the deficit of the costs of settling some suits and defending itself and many of its leaders, including Trask, against other suits; all the suits having been brought against Duke and those leaders as a result of the university’s disgraceful actions and inactions in response to the lies of Mangum and Nifong, the attempted frame-up of innocent Duke students, and the cover-up which began with the frame-up attempt and continues to this day.

After reading TC’s budget deficit story, a friend who’s quite knowledgeable about Duke’s finances emailed, saying in part:

The deficit would be much lower if Duke had not had to pay tens of millions of dollars in settlements and legal fees in connection with its mishandling of the lacrosse incident -- and these costs will continue as the civil suits move forward.
TC makes no mention of anything my friend pointed out.

If the trustees ever decide to give a Congeniality Award, Trask should "really, really" nominate The Chronicle. TC's earned it.

And don't you agree Trask should have no trouble finding eager seconders in the Allen Building and other places where Duke defendants have offices?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 5, 2009

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

Two Churchill vignettes today, both from William Manchester's biography,

At the time of Neville Chamberlain's death Churchill paid him very generous and eloquent tribute to in the House of Commons; and he treats Chamberlain generously in his WWII memoirs.

But at other times he wasn't so generous when assessing the former Lord Mayor of Birmingham, such as the time he said: "Chamberlain looks at life through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe."

Late one evening Churchill was working in the library at Chartwell. A young scholar and a stenographer/typist who had just joined his employ were with him. The scholar had prepared a research paper which Churchill was to use as background for his
Marlborough biography.

Churchill scanned the paper. He was very dissatisfied with it, and made that clear to the young scholar.

At a pause point, the stenographer/typist sought to break the tension with: "Oh, look outside. It's so dark."

Churchill looked at her for a moment, then said, "It generally is at night."

I was wrong about the White House rope jumper

In posts today I speculated the reason we didn’t know the name of the reporter who jumped a rope line at the White House to get President Obama’s autograph was: the reporter was one of the lib/left members of the WH press corps.

I’m sorry to say I was wrong.

If you go here, you’ll read the reporter is Robert Feuereisen of Jewish World Review, which reports are ID’ing as a Web site featuring “conservative Jewish writers.”

Speaker Pelosi Demands You Pay Your Taxes

unless you're a big-time Dem influence peddler like Tom Daschle or a Dem member of Congress such as Charlie Rangel, one of her favs.

But Rangel's clearly not a fav of Kyle Trygstad who posts at RealClearPolitics:

Already under investigation by the House ethics committee for various tax-related issues, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) could face increased scrutiny from the panel after new reports of discrepancies in his financial disclosure forms. . . .

The new report comes from Sunlight Foundation, which released its finding yesterday that Rangel had "failed to report purchases, sales or his ownership of assets at least 28 times since 1978 on his personal financial disclosure forms."

"Assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 appeared and disappeared with no disclosure of when they were acquired, how long they were held, or when they were sold, as House Rules require," the group reported. Sunlight is a private, nonpartisan watchdog group. . . .

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) has introduced a resolution that would remove Rangel from his post as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, pending completion of the ethics committee investigation.

"If Mr. Rangel is cleared of wrongdoing, I will be the first to congratulate him back to the Chairmanship," Carter said in a press release. "But we must show we are serious about enforcing the ethics rules of this House, instead of using stall tactics to thwart the process."

Trygstad’s entire post is


My comments:

I think even trolls will agree Rangel’s lucky he’s a Democrat.

If he was a Republican, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, the networks, and the rest of the lib/left MSM would've already stoked the “firestorm of public outrage” which would've driven the scoundrel from office.

But Charlie’s a Democrat.

So he stays in office.

That’s good for Rangel and bad for America.

But what Dem cares it's bad for America?

The White House Press Corps Rope Jumper: A “guess”

Check in with JammieWearingFool for information and comments about the news report which includes:

At the end of an East Room signing ceremony for legislation funding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, an unidentified member of the media jumped the rope penning off reporters from invited guests in an apparent attempt to get Obama's autograph, according to a White House aide. (emphasis JWT's)

Secret Service agents swooped in and stopped him.
I posted here regarding why the liberal/leftist dominated MSM hasn’t said yet who jumped the rope. (You know he's got to be a lib/lefty.)

Tonight JinC Regular Tarheel Hawkeye smiles and offers this “guess:”
They say Chris Matthews suffered a torn Achilles tendon jumping the rope, but the little quivers that ran up his leg deadened the pain. Isn't he precious?
I doubt Chris Matthews was the rope jumper.

Whatever the case, there’s nothing from Tarheel Hawkeye or in JammieWearingFool’s report that would cause Matthews’ fans to worry that his vital organs – lungs and tongue – are anything but AOK.

Meanwhile, we can all continue to ask why no one in the MSM has named that reporter.

I’m staying with the safe bet it's because he’s part of the dominant liberal/leftist White House press corps.

Please let me know if you learn who he is before I do and post about him.

Name That Reporter

JammieWearingFool posts on a report:

At the end of an East Room signing ceremony for legislation funding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, an unidentified member of the media jumped the rope penning off reporters from invited guests in an apparent attempt to get Obama's autograph, according to a White House aide. (emphasis JWF)

Secret Service agents swooped in and stopped him.
But the report doesn’t name the reporter.

JWF has more here.

I think it’s a safe bet the reporter is not with Fox News, National Review, The Washington Times or any of the other handful of news orgs the rest of MSM ID as “conservative.”

If that was the case, we’d already know the reporter’s name; and the liberal/leftist news orgs would be playing up the story.

Before too much time has passed, the reporters name will leak.

If you learn it before I post it, please give me a heads up.

You Knew This Was Coming

Headline - - Watchdog: Treasury overpaid for bank stocks

The AP story at begins:

The federal government overpaid for stocks and other assets in attempting to help financial institutions last year, a government watchdog said Thursday, taking further issue with the beleaguered $700 billion rescue program.

Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the bailout funds, told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday that Treasury in 2008 paid $254 billion and received assets worth about $176 billion.

The figures were reached by extrapolating the results of a study of 10 government transactions, comparing the price paid by Treasury and the value of the asset at the time of purchase. Warren did not present details of the transactions the panel analyzed. A full report will be released Friday. . . .

Referring to overpayment on assets, Warren said Treasury has failed to specify its goals and methods in helping more than 300 institutions.

"There may be good policy reasons for overpaying, but without a clearly delineated reason we can't know that," Warren said.

Senate Banking chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said the overpayment was sure to "raise eyebrows."

"I can understand some gap," he said. "No one is expecting perfection between the price you pay and what you think you're getting. But that's a pretty large disparity."

The entire AP story's here.


My comments:

$254 billion minus $176 billion equals $78 billion.

Sen. Dodd’s right: “that's a pretty large disparity."

It works out to about $260.00 for every man, woman and child in America; and more than $1, 000.00 for a family of four.

Why couldn’t the banks have been given $176 billion and the $78 billion gone directly to citizens?

Dodd, btw, still has not kept a promise he made more than 6 months ago to release his mortgage documents in connection with the sweetheart deal he got from Countrywide which he’s supposed to supervise.

President Obama wants the government to go further into debt by letting Dodd and his congressional cronies spend close to a trillion dollars.

Much of that money will be for “special projects (read “pork”)" sought by Dodd and other members of Congress.

Obama says such spending will “restore confidence in the economy.”

Message to President Obama: Convince your former Senate Democratic colleagues to expel Dodd from the Senate Democratic Caucus and strip him of his Banking Committee chairmanship.

Then persuade Dodd to resign now or face a Democratic primary fight in Connecticut next year when he’s up for reelection.

Doing that, Mr. President, will boost public confidence and won’t cost a cent.

McClatchy announces cost cuts; N&O to lose positions

This morning the N&O reported - - -

The corporate parent of The News & Observer announced this morning that it will take further steps to cut costs after reporting weaker fourth-quarter revenue and profit.

The McClatchy Co., which also owns the Charlotte Observer, Miami Herald and other newspapers across the country, will freeze its pension plans and temporarily suspend the company match to its 401(k) retirement plans, effective March 31.

McClatchy also is developing a plan to reduce costs by an additional $100 million to $110 million over the next 12 months. Details are still being finalized.

The plan is likely to include further job cuts, including some at The News & Observer Publishing Co. The Raleigh company eliminated more than 70 positions last year through voluntary buyouts and other steps.

"We had hoped that previous cuts would be sufficient to see us through the sharp revenue declines affecting our industry," N&O publisher Orage Quarles III said in a statement e-mailed to employees this morning.

"Unfortunately, we have seen an unprecedented loss in advertising revenue with many of our retailers and auto dealers either going out of business or leaving the area, and employment advertising dropping to all time lows," he said. "Instead, we must continue to respond to the deepening financial crisis that is threatening not only our industry but all kinds of businesses in almost every sector of the economy."

The company is exploring options that could limit the number of local layoffs, Quarles added.

The moves follow other cost-cutting efforts by McClatchy, including eliminating 1,150 jobs last year, freezing salaries and suspending its dividend.

As with other publishers, McClatchy has been hit hard as the recession erodes ad sales and readers migrate to the Internet. The company also is trying to reduce its $2.04 billion in debt. . . .

The company also warned today that its stock, which closed at 66 cents on Wednesday, faces delisting because it doesn't meet minimum requirements of the New York Stock Exchange. McClatchy has six months to comply with NYSE listing requirements.

In morning trading, the stock rose 4 cents to 70 cents. . . .

The entire N&O story’s here.

My comments:

Today’s news is no surprise. Yesterday I sent publisher Quarles the following email:

Dear Mr. Quarles:

As you no doubt know better than I, rumors of layoffs at the N&O have been constant for months.

Given that, I've not posted on them because I didn't see where I'd be doing anything other than needlessly making a tough situation for many people worse.

But in recent days there's been such a spike in the number and details of what I'm hearing about impending layoffs at the N&O from folks there.

So I plan to post now.

But I don't want to post without first fact-checking with you.

As in the past, I'll publish your response in full.

My questions:

1) Have new layoffs at the N&O been decided on?

2) If so, what details can you make public at this time?

3) N&O newsroom and other staffers I talk to are most concerned about the details of buyout packages. Can you say anything about those matters?

Thank you for your attention to my queries.

Quarles responded:

John, as in the past, I don't respond to rumors. If there is going to be any changes in the operation, I would inform my staff first. Thanks for asking.


Quarles' intention to inform his staff first of any changes is right. I thank him for his response.

The following Anon comment posted yesterday on a McClatchy Watch thread provides details of some of the recent cost cutting that’s been going on at the N&O:

No official announcements in Raleigh yet, but when the managing editor says cuts (expenses, newshole, perhaps jobs) are coming, it seems a bump up from rumor.

Outsourcing the Raleigh truck drivers to Penske is not rumor. I think that was about 70 or so people.

At least some of the Raleigh finance department are now working with Indians prior to apparent outsourcing.

I heard the sale of the Smithfield Herald property was completed. No details.

I’ll continue to follow this story as I have for quite a while.

That said, I want to tell you that of all the blogs I’m familiar with, McClatchy Watch does the best job of covering McClatchy overall; and in the case of the N&O, often beats me on a story.

A lot of you are journos, news hounds, and the like.

I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about McClatchy, the N&O and/or the news industry.

Brodhead, Chronicle Spin Same Take On Duke’s Giving Drop

President Richard Brodhead, Duke trustees and “Dick’s senior team” will all tell you most everything’s fine at Duke.

What's “fine,” they say, includes fundraising “under Dick’s outstanding leadership.”

O sure, there’s been a more than 20% drop in giving this FY, but that's all because of the current recession.

In no way, they'll tell you, is that drop influenced by reduced giving or no giving at all from alums and others disgusted and angered by Duke's Brodhead/Steel “throw the students under the bus” response to Mangum’s and Nifong’s gang rape lies.

That's the Allen Building line which yesterday The Chronicle
endorsed in an editorial which began:

On Tuesday The Chronicle reported that halfway through fiscal year 2009 private donations to the University are down about 20 percent from the same point last year. This is undoubtedly a serious situation, even though in the current context this alarming statistic is probably not as bad as it sounds.

Indeed, the major drop in University donations can likely be attributed to a confluence of two extraordinary factors.

First, the precipitous decline in the state of the economy that began soon after the start of FY 2009. . . .

Second, FY 2008 was a record-breaking year for donations: in all, the University took in $351.6 million. The University is now in the aftermath of the $309 million Financial Aid Initiative, which followed on the heels of the $30 million DukeEngage project, announced in 2007, and a $40 million gift from the Duke Endowment to endow 30 new faculty positions in 2008.

It is not shocking that donations might lag following a major capital campaign. As The Chronicle noted, a similar drop occurred during FY 2004, following the conclusion of the Campaign for Duke.

Interestingly, in the wake of the lacrosse scandal, it was widely predicted that donations to the University would decrease due to dissatisfaction with the administration's handling of the case. In short, this did not happen. (emphasis added) . . .
The entire editorial’s here.

Brodhead, the trustees and “Dick senior team” must have been pleased with TC’s editorial, particularly its unqualified and emphatic conclusion “a decrease [in donations] due to dissatisfaction with the administration’s handling of the case … did not happen.”

But Brodhead and his supporters surely noticed what many of you who read the editorial noticed:TC editors didn’t cite a single fact to support their conclusion “a decrease [in donations] due to dissatisfaction [etc., etc.] did not happen.”

TC editorial ended with this:
In short, this recent drop in donations is disappointing yet unsurprising. And that is about all that can be said.
If the editors bother to read the comment thread that follows their vapid editorial, they’ll see the first commenter, Fact Checker, provides important information, makes serious accusations and asks probing questions the editors are either unaware of or chose to ignore when writing their editorial.

Here’s part of Fact Checker’s comment - - -

[The] Brodhead administration is blaming the world wide financial meltdown for the crumbling of donations [when in fact] this trend was setting in well before the meltdown and has more to do with the way alumni perceive of the leadership of this school than Wall Street.


-- in the last two fiscal years, starting way back on July 1, 2006 and ending June 30 2008 (in other words ALL before the financial meltdown which dates from July 1, 2008) the Annual Fund failed to reach its self-set, low-balled goal for the first and second times in decades. Neither of these totals was disclosed.

-- in the last fiscal year, the Annual Fund failed to raise more money than in the previous year -- this for the first time in its modern history. This still has not been disclosed.

-- the 10 classes holding 5 year reunions last year (Class of 1958, 1963, 1968 etc. ) failed miserably in fund raising. Only 4 of ten classes reached benchmarks which were low-balled. And not one class contributed a record breaking amount. (See Honor Roll of Donors, Duke Reunions, 2008)

-- In the Financial Aid Initiative, Brodhead and Friends blamed the worldwide financial meltdown for a shaky finish. Chase down the figures and you will see that after an initial surge, the effort languished for three years.

Did it occur to the Chronicle which has proclaimed this Initiative a "success," to look at the prediction the editorial board made when the Initiative was announced and refer to that standard?

The editorial at that time said Brodhead would have to move the goalposts several times because he'd be such a magnet for money!

I repeat, the Financial Aid Initiative was NOT a success. Do you hear Brodhead updating the figures he had the provost talk about so much before the initiative -- that a goal was to have endowment move to paying for 50 percent of financial aid vs. the ten percent that we had been seeing. What is your report card on this, Dick?

[All] the Annual Fund and alumni donation figures -- and the Financial Aid Initiative -- are being reported by the Brodhead minions as PLEDGES; the annual total of donations as listed in the Chronicle today is for money actually received. Big difference when you want to stretch your results!

The careful observer will note a line in the university budget that wipes away pledges that were not forked over. Conclusion: the situation is worse than worse.


Folks, you can see why I said Fact Checker “provides important information, makes serious accusations and asks probing questions.”

But can you explain why The Chronicle ignores them? Why doesn’t TC investigate what Fact Checker says and report back to readers?

If it did, TC would have some salient facts to ponder when deciding whether to opine again in support of the Brodhead & Co. claim its "management response" to the Duke/Durham frame-up attempt and its cover-up have had no significant effect on financial giving to Duke.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Churhill Series - Feb. 4, 2009

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

Churchill often delayed leaving for the train station. Early in speaking out against communism and fascism, where trains were concerned, he was a classic "last minute" traveler.

While he was a cabinet minister or PM, and later when out of office but "a great man," Churchill's delays didn't cause him any problems. Staff simply phoned ahead and the train was held. No need to race.

But when out of office, Churchill frequently had to race to catch a train; and often he lost.

Clementine once explained Churchill's "last minute" habit this way: "Winston's a sporting man. He likes to give the train a chance."
Tom Hickman,
Churchill's Bodyguard. (p. 130)

Pelosi's latest

"500,000,000 Americans lose their jobs every month"

Hat tip: Drudge Report

N&O’s Daschle coverage today & McClatchy’s Obama book sales

The N&O’s front page story today on the withdrawal of the Daschle and Killefer nominations is a classic of friendly, damage control “journalism.” Under the AP’s Charles Babington’s byline the story begins:

Two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama proved that even a clearly gifted politician cannot escape the gravitational pull of Washington forces that he has vowed to reform.
That sounds just the way an Obama speech writer would frame the story. A “clearly gifted” new President just “[t]wo weeks into his presidency” is caught in “the gravitational pull" of “forces he had vowed to reform.”

That's nonsense! Obama may not have known Daschle was a tax cheat, but he knew he was a leading Washington influence peddler who’d raked in millions in recent years trading on the contacts he’d made while a Senator. That was no secret inside the Beltway.

After praising Obama’s “I screwed up” as “a frank admission.” Babington goes on to minimize the screw-up by shifting his story’s focus from Daschle’s well-known, egregious abuses over many years to the far less serious mistakes of Killefer :
It was an old story with new actors: A new president's team imperfectly vetted top nominees. The nominees, it turns out, had not paid taxes for household help or other services when they were private citizens. The news media and political adversaries bored in. And rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on.
I guess for those he thinks are dolts who don't get his pitching for Obama, Babington adds:
In other words, Obama isn't perfect. This may be news to his adoring supporters, but like other presidents, Obama is going to make more mistakes over the coming months as he struggles with the economy, health care, military matters and Congress.
There’s more to the N&O and Babington’s story. You can read it all here.

Does anyone know how sales of the adoring Obama book the N&O’s parent McClatchy Company’s published are going?

I’m sure McClatchy and the N&O don’t want sales dropping because of “the gravitational pull” of the growing list of Obama-nomination screw-ups.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 3, 2009

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

On July 18, 1919 Churchill, Secretary of State for War and Air, completed his day’s work at the ministry and then went to Croydon airfield on the edge of London for another flying lesson. He traveled with a WW I air ace, Colonel Jack Scott, his flying instructor. After the lesson Churchill was scheduled to return to Parliament where he would host a dinner in honor of General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force.

Clementine and many friends had been urging Churchill to stop taking flying lessons. Piloting was a risky business in those days; already Churchill had had a number of close calls. But he was determined to earn his license and conquer a fear of flying.

Once at Croydon, Churchill and Scott climbed into a plane with dual controls. Churchill’s biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us what happened next:

Churchill took the machine off the ground himself, but when he had risen to seventy or eight feet the aeroplane began to lose speed, and to fall.

Scott took over the controls but could do nothing. “We were scarcely ninety foot above the ground above the ground,” Churchill later recalled, “just the normal height for the usual side-slip fatal accident, the commonest of all”

The aeroplane fell swiftly downward. “I saw the sunlit aerodrome close beneath me, and the impression flashed through my mind that it was bathed in a baleful yellowish glare. Then in another flash a definite thought formed in my brain, 'this is very likely Death.'"…

The aeroplane struck the ground. Churchill was thrown forward but his safety belt held him: it broke only when the force of the crash was over. Streams of petrol vapour rushed past him from the engine, but in the few seconds before the aeroplane hit the ground, Scott had managed to switch off the engine, preventing an explosion.

Churchill was safe but bruised. Scott, knocked unconscious, soon recovered.
After the near fatal accident, Churchill agreed to give up taking flying lessons. Gilbert adds:
Although [Churchill] would never obtains a pilot’s license, Clementine would have peace of mind.
In time Churchill did conquered his fear of flying, even reaching a point where he would often sleep for hours during long flights.
Martin Gilbert,
Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 412-414)

Duke’s Donations Drop; The Chronicle’s The Same

A story in today’s Chronicle begins:

At the half-way mark in the 2009 fiscal year, private donations to the University were down about 20 percent from the same point the year before, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

Duke netted a record-breaking $351.6 million in contributions last fiscal year, including pledges, according to Fiscal Year 2007/2008 Financial Reports. Private donations-which were made by more than 100,000 individuals-accounted for about 18 percent of Duke's $1.93-billion operating budget for the year, Schoenfeld said. . . .
The rest of TC’s story’s here.


My comments:

Are you one of those who appreciate The Chronicle’s news and editorial support of the Brodhead administration?

If you are, you’ll like today’s story.

V-p Schoenfeld, executive director of alumni and development communications Peter Vaughn, Duke’s Fiscal Year 2007/2008 Financial Reports and TC itself are the only sources TC used to explain Duke’s giving drop.

If TC sought comments from people who’ve been critical of Brodhead’s leadership, their comments didn’t make it into TC’s story.

There's no mention of the many alums and others who’ve publicly stated they won’t give to Duke, at least while Brodhead's president and "Dick's senior team" is in place; or who say they’ve cut the amount of their annual giving in response to what they see as the Brodhead administration’s many failures.

Those failures include Duke’s disgraceful enablement of the lies and frame-up attempt which a Chronicle editorial recently referred to as “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.” ( Does even the disbarred Mike Nifong still refer to the frame-up attempt that way? Who were the editors opining for?)

If you go to the story’s comment thread, you’ll find some comments that are crude, even senseless.

But you’ll also find comments that offer information and raise questions that should have been in TC’s story.

Most people who read here can easily tell the difference between the crude, senseless comments and the other ones.

Tom Daschle 1986 campaign ad

Here's Daschle in 1986 taking South Dakota's voters for a ride.

Like Daschel says, he's not perfect.

Or was that Tony Rezko?

Or am I thinking of Chris Dodd?

Hat tip: AC

Daschle Withdraws

The AP reported minutes ago - - -

Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination on Tuesday to be President Barack Obama's Health and Human Services secretary, dealing potential blows to both speedy health care reform and Obama's hopes for a smoother start as president.

"Now we must move forward," Obama said in a written statement accepting "with sadness and regret" Daschle's surprise request to be removed from consideration.

A day earlier, Obama had said he "absolutely" stood by Daschle in the face of problems over back taxes and potential conflicts of interest.

Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader and a strong backer of Obama's presidential bid, said he would have been unable to operate "with the full faith of Congress and the American people."

"I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction" to Obama's agenda, he said.

Obama had given Daschle two jobs—to be White House health czar on top of the post leading the Health and Human Services Department—and Daschle is relinquishing the czar post too.

Daschle's stunning statement came less than three hours after another Obama nominee also withdrew from consideration, and also over tax problems. Nancy Killefer, nominated by Obama to be the government's first chief performance officer, said she didn't want her bungling of payroll taxes on her household help to be a distraction.

Daschle was the third high-profile Obama nominee to bow out. Obama initially had tapped Bill Richardson to be Commerce secretary, but the New Mexico governor withdrew amid a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors.

The entire AP story’s here.

My first thoughts:

Daschle’s withdrawal was called for and a smart move.

Opposition to Daschle’s nomination was growing and would’ve gotten stronger.

This morning’s NY Times’ editorial advising him to withdraw would surely have been followed by scores, if not hundreds, of newspapers telling him the same thing.

Not all the sleaze/scandal surrounding Daschle has hit the headlines yet. For instance, he claimed a homeowner’s tax break available only to DC residents at the same time he was a Senator from South Dakota and constitutionally required to be a resident of that state.

Daschle has more than tax problems. In the past few years he’s taken maga-bucks from health provider interests. Whatever his friends want to call it, most of the public see it as influence peddling.

Daschle’s problems hurt President Obama on two counts: 1) they make a mockery of the “Change” image Obama wants to project; and 2) Daschle’s nomination has given the public reason to question Obama’s judgment.

By withdrawing, Daschle limits the damage to Obama.

Sen. Chris Dodd must be relieved he won’t have to vote to confirm his pal.

Rep. Charles Rangel has to be happy no reporter can now ask him: “Do you see any reason why Daschle’s tax problems should disqualify him from holding a public office?”

More tonight.

How To Scare Congress & The White House

Jason Mazzone at Concurring Opinions posts: “Audit them all.”

Hat tip: Instapundit

Daschle, Rangel and Dodd bring to mind

the Car Talk "law firm" of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe.

Is Daschle’s Cynicism Obama's "Change?"

In September 2004 as Senator Tom Daschle campaigned for reelection, Jon Lauck, a professor at South Dakota State University, told NRO readers:

Daschle is a far-cry from South Dakota's other famous senator, George McGovern, who was a confessed and proud liberal and took his lumps for maintaining coherent political stances.

Daschle, on the other hand, is a cynic, a practitioner of Clintonian cooptation, triangulation, and obfuscation. In 1991 Daschle told the Washington Post that the "first thing that comes to my mind in a vote is: Can it [the issue] pass the 30-second test, how successful will it be in applying it to a 30-second ad?" The cynicism and being on both sides of every issue is catching up to him.
Lauck was right about Daschle's cynicism catching up to him. While promising South Dakatons all sorts of federal "goodies" Daschle said he could deliver by virtue of his Senate power and spending tens of millions on his campaign, Daschle lost to underdog John Thune.

For any who might doubt Daschle's cynicism, Lauck's article provided many examples that are worth remembering now. Here are a few of them:
While serving as the chief nemesis of President Bush for three years, Daschle is currently running ads in South Dakota depicting him in a warm embrace with Bush.

Despite turning the U.S. Senate into a killing ground for Bush's legislation and his party's disdain for the President, Daschle depicts the two as chums. While Daschle is running in a pro-Bush Red State and finds it necessary to 'embrace' the President, few have missed his hugging hypocrisy.

Daschle's ability to be both nemesis and chum at the same time is well-practiced.

For example, when he first ran for Congress, he constantly made the case for a balanced-budget amendment.

When the amendment was on the brink of passage in the 1990s, he voted no.

Daschle's affinity for constitutional amendments is strong, however. He's co-sponsored 20 such amendments in the last decade to address such weighty issues as indexing Congressional pay increases.

But during the Federal Marriage Amendment debate this summer, during which Daschle said he "opposed gay marriage," he voted against the FMA based on his disdain for amending the "sacred document" because it needed to be "insulated" from change.

During his first election, Daschle sent a letter to voters saying, "I am opposed to abortion. I do not support it. I have never supported it. It is an abhorrent practice. As a citizen and as a lifelong member of the Catholic faith I will do everything in my power to persuade others that abortion is wrong."

To solidify his Catholic bona fides, Daschle enclosed a letter from eight Catholic nuns saying "We know and we tell those with whom we speak of your abhorrence for abortion — and of your commitment to life."

Daschle now sends fundraising letters for NARAL. When the Bishop of Sioux Falls says Daschle should stop calling himself Catholic and that Catholics should not vote for pro-choice pols, Daschle says his relationship to the church is a private matter, despite his earlier invocation of his Catholicism. …

Earlier this year, Daschle supported Senator Feinstein's gun-control amendments to the gun-manufacturer liability bill, which then died.

In his last competitive Senate race, Daschle said "no representative from our state has ever supported restrictive Federal gun control laws written in Washington and there is a very good reason why. What makes sense in New York is crazy in South Dakota." In 1990, Daschle said "I am against gun control, period."

Daschle has filibustered dozens of judges that President Bush has nominated to the federal bench and prevented them from even receiving an up-or-down Senate vote.
During the Clinton years, however, Daschle said, "I find it simply baffling that a Senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination."

Daschle furiously opposed Bush's recess appointments of judges earlier this year, but during the Clinton years Daschle said "that's the only way [the president] can get the nominations through" because the other side was "blocking just about everyone."

Daschle said of Clinton's recess appointments: "I don't blame the president for being frustrated and having lost patience. . . . The president acted, and I'm glad he did." …

In South Dakota this election season, Daschle constantly bashes "outside groups" and 527s for running ads critical of him.

After the passage of campaign-finance reform, however, Daschle's allies immediately set up 527s. In his reelection bid Daschle has raised more money than any candidate in the country and will spend almost $20 million dollars trying to save his seat.

In the 1980s, however, Daschle constantly railed against expensive campaigns and said that "big money [was] going to be the downfall of the American political system."

Daschle now raises his money in Hollywood and the Hamptons, which the New York Times has dubbed "The Democrats' ATM."

While Daschle constantly bashes the "special interests," he is gobbling up triple the PAC money as his opponent, and his wife, son, and daughter-in-law are or have been lobbyists themselves. …
Lauck’s entire article’s here.

It’s well worth a read for what it tells us about Daschle, a cynic who, beneath his cultivated veneer of soft-spoken reasonableness, is a nasty, self-seeking partisan whose grown rich “serving the public.”

I was reminded of Deschle’s cynicism last night when I read in an AP story:
Daschle filed the amended tax returns after Obama announced he intended to nominate him as secretary of health and human services.

"I disclosed this information to the committee voluntarily and paid the taxes and any interest owed promptly," Daschle wrote. "My mistakes were unintentional."
Having finally paid the taxes he owed only after he was nominated, Daschle tells us he did so “voluntarily.”

With Daschle’s nomination President Obama isn’t providing: “Change.”

It’s more like: “Cynicism we can believe in”

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 2, 2009

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

It is 1896, the fifty-ninth year of Victoria’s reign. Twenty-one year old Lieutenant Churchill is serving with his regiment in Bangalore, India. His intellectual curiosity, mostly dormant during his student days, is now suddenly active and intense. He’s seeking to learn all he can about the people and ideas that form our Western heritage.

My Early Life, an autobiography of his first twenty-seven years which Churchill wrote when in his fifties, he looks back to that time in Bangalore; and tells us about something the young lieutenant discovered as he opened his mind to inquiry and reflection:

Then someone had used the phrase “the Socratic method.”

What was that?

It was apparently a way of giving your friend his head in an argument and progging him into a pit by cunning questions.

Who was Socrates, anyhow?

A very argumentative Greek who had a nagging wife and was finally compelled to commit suicide because he was a nuisance!

Still, he was beyond doubt a considerable person. He counted for a lot in the minds of learned people.

I wanted “the Socrates story.” Why had his fame lasted through all the ages? What were the stresses which had led a government to put him to death merely because of the things he said?

Dire stresses they must have been: the life of the Athenian Executive or the life of this talkative professor! Such antagonisms do not spring from petty issues.

Evidently Socrates had called something into being long ago which was very explosive. Intellectual dynamite! A moral bomb!

But there was nothing about it in The Queen’s Regulations.
In February 1901 Churchill for the first time took his seat in the House of Commons. Except for a few years when he was voted out, he remained a member until shortly before his death in January 1965. He called himself “a child of the House of Commons.”

In Commons, after a bill is introduced, when the members rise to debate the bill, they do so in the form of asking "questions" of each other.

We recognize such proceedings as the method of that "very argumentative Greek” the young Churchill first met in Bangalore.

Winston Churchill,
My Early Life. (pgs. 107-111)

Why should Daschle pay his taxes?

He’s a powerful Democrat.

And a favorite of the liberal/leftist MSM.

Isn't he entitled to special consideration just like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel?

We’re expected to go along with Rangel when he says, “I forgot.”

When Pelosi she says she’s “nonpartisan” and Republicans are “unpatriotic,” what major MSM news org challenges her lies?

As for sticking taxpayers with the costs of his "snuggles" with a live-in male prostitute, can you name a single major news org which, having repeatedly reminded the public Dan Quayle misspelled a word, also reminds the public that Barney Frank said: “I did it as a liberal experiment.” (That’s no joke, folks. If you believe otherwise, check the NYT’s archives.)

Chris Dodd today insisted, “I wasn't 'a friend of Angelo.'”

If that's the case, how'd he get his under-the-table mortgage deal?

Was it with help from influence peddlers like Daschle and Tony Rezko?

Don't you think Dodd should tell the public who helped him get his deal?

Or are you one of those who's happy with "Change?"

Do you believe Daschle really thought getting a “free” chauffeured Cadillac is what happens to South Dakota Democrats when they leave the Senate?

Like the limo's a reward for fulfilling the public's trust?

Daschle will get an "OK " from Senate Dems, MSM/Dem news orgs and President Obama. (Some Republicans, too.)

They want to get on with confirming him and planning our health care.

Obama, Daschle and the rest will make health care in America as cost efficient and successful as the Post Office.

As they do, their MSM news orgs whose businesses are now imploding, will tell us why government health care's "a good thing."

It's sad to see what's happening to America, don't you think?

MSM still tanking for Obama

TIME has just posted a story on the Midwest ice storm that includes:

As for [Kentucky] officials, the weekend involved a rapid reassessment of just how dire the situation had become. Speaking out the day after some local municipalities decried a lack of federal or state emergency relief,

Gov. Steve Beshear described the fallout from last week's ice storm as the state's largest-ever natural disaster. He then activated every last member of Kentucky's National Guard, dispatching all 4,600 Guardsman to assist with the statewide crisis.

On Sunday, they were going door to door in some areas, to reach stranded citizens.

But by Monday, there were still a quarter-million people without power, with scores of residents who had first attempted to ride out the storm now giving up and fleeing to shelters. (See pictures of the 2007 midwest ice storm.)
TIME’s only mention of the man it campaigned so hard to elect President is that he was notified about the state of emergency.

A journalist friend commented offline:
John, have you noticed how little attention the MSM are giving to the colossal Midwest ice storm, which has affected millions of people compared to Katrina? This storm occurred on Obama's watch.

Imagine what you would be seeing on the front pages and on the nightly news if Bush were still in the White House?
It’s the old double standard at work, even when natural disasters are involved.

Former Gov. Nails Ward (“The Fraud”) Churchill

JammieWearingFool has a post that includes the following from the Rocky Mountain News ---

Former Gov. Bill Owens on Friday compared one-time University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill to a famous moviemaker - and it wasn't a compliment.

"In retirement, he's starting to look a lot like Michael Moore," Owens said, referring to the frumpy director of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.

Churchill, fired by CU in 2007, is suing to get his job back.

Owens and others, including University of Colorado regents, are being deposed as part of the trial, scheduled to start March 9 in Denver District Court.

Owens declined to discuss in detail what kinds of questions he was asked and what answers he gave, but Owens wasn't shy about expressing his opinion of Churchill.

"Ward Churchill is a plagiarist and a fraud, and, regrettably, we continue to pay for his deception."

Churchill could not be reached for comment.

The rest of RMN story’s here.

Don’t forget to give JammieWearingFool's post a look. There’s some nice skewering of Ward "the fraud" there.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Follow-up to: Plaintiffs will questionNifong press contacts before Mar. 27, 2006

Readers' Note: Yesterday in Plaintiffs will question Nifong's press contacts before Mar. 27, 2006, I promised to provide some additional documentation regarding why attorneys for the greiviously wronged Duke lacrosse players and their families would do that during the discovery part of the suits they've against Nifong and others.

The post that follows - N&O publisher's response to Nifong as anonymous source questions - was published Feb. 18, 2007. It provides a good deal of additional documentation for yesterday's post.

I want to thank people who've commented here and at Liestoppers Meeting.

I'll have more to say by way or response to their comments in a post this evening.


Many of you know I recently sent Raleigh News & Observer Publisher Orage Quarles III the following email. You'll find his response just below it as well as a few comments of mine.


Dear Mr. Quarles:

This links to a post which includes the following email:

Dear Mr. Quarles:

I’m an N&O subscriber and blog as John in Carolina.

For many months I’ve been posting concerning claims by Ruth Sheehan that then DA Mike Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27, 2006 column “Team’s silence is sickening.” For example, in Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1) 7/29/07 and Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 2) 8/1/08.

I’ve inquired of reporters and editors about that and other uses the N&O may have made of Nifong as an anonymous source for your Duke lacrosse coverage.No reporter or editor would speak about the matter until recently when, in response to the email in this post - What's really hurting the N&O , Ted Vaden he sent me the email you’ll find in this post: N&O editor's response re: Nifong an anonymous source.

You'll see Vaden’s email avoided my questions and contains statements which are prima facie false.

On Feb. 6 I sent Vaden another email and a link to this post: Is the N&O public editor's job about the truth?

I once again laid out all the material relating to the N&O’s use of Nifong as an anonymous source and asked again the questions I’ve been asking for many months.I ended my email, which I also posted for JinC readers, with this:

Given all of the foregoing, Editor Vaden, it's difficult to see how a reasonably responsible public editor would claim Sheehan is saying anything other than Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27 column; or that she is saying anything other than Nifong's source information was passed to her by journalist(s) she reached by phone at the N&O.

I hope you will now give me and all other N&O readers full and frank answers to the questions I've been asking about the N&O's use of Nifong as an anonymous source in March 2006.

Isn't that the kind of service a public editor is supposed to provide readers?

If you can't provide that service, please direct me to someone at the N&O or the McClatchy Company who can?

I'll publish your response in full at my blog.

Thank you for your attention to this document.


John in Carolina
I’ve not heard anything back from Vaden.

I ask that you review the documentation and questions in my post and then direct me to the person at the N&O or in the McClatchy Company who can provide full and frank answers to what Ruth Sheehan has said and the questions I’ve asked.

I’m sorry to impose on you, but I’ve tried every other way to get responses from the N&O which should have been given to readers long ago.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

I’ll publish your response in full at my blog.


John in Carolina


Mr. Quarles has responded as follows:
Dear John in Carolina.

We do not provide anonymous source information.


Orage Quarles III

Folks, that's an interesting answer from a publisher who's been given documentation and citations of extensive statements one of his news columnists made to a book author who put the columnist's statements in quotation marks; the statements having to do with other N&O staffer(s) passing to Sheehan information from Nifong which Sheehan says convinced her to cancel the column she'd already prepared and instead write a column based on Nifong's source material but maintaining his anonymity.

It's also interesting that Quarles said nothing about document copies and citations I provided him which reveal the N&O's public editor made statements to a reader and blogger which are prima facie false.

I plan to respond to Quarles in a day or so.

You thoughts are welcome.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

“Greatest Pro Football Game Ever” Story: You’ll Smile

On December 28, 1958, years before there was an AFL or Super Bowl, the Baltimore Colts played the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium for the NFL championship.

It’s been called “the greatest pro football game ever.”

The Colts won 23-17 in sudden death overtime.

In Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas, sportswriter Tom Callahan does a magnificent job of telling us about the man who quarterbacked the Colts that day and his teammates.

Callahan’s book is wonderful for many reasons, one being how often let his subjects speak in their own voices. Here's an example of that:

The "voice" is Artie Donovan, the Colts' great defensive lineman, whose father, Arthur Sr. was an outstanding boxing official who’d referred both Joe Lewis-Max Schmeling fights at Yankee Stadium.

We pick up Donovan, seventy-nine at the time and looking back across the decades, telling a story about his Dad, Colts’ coach Weeb Eubanks, and a few of New York’s Finest.

The story begins on the eve of the game:

“Incidentally,” [Donovan] said, “when Weeb put us up at the Concourse Plaza in the Bronx, he didn’t know that the Concourse was one of my old haunts. As a teenager, I used to swipe beer from them, whenever the American Legion put on a mixer.

After we checked into the hotel, Don Joyce and I took a walk to Yankee Stadium. Everybody was out and about, riding their bikes and pushing their baby carriages. It was a sunny day, not too cold – a typical, beautiful New York Saturday. ‘Hey, Donovan,’ somebody on the street yelled, ‘the Giants are going to kick your fat ass!’ I looked at Joyce and said, ‘These are my people.’“

The apartment house where Donovan grew up sat directly on top of a subway line, four miles north of Yankee Stadium. . . .

[Joe] Brady was Donovan’s New York cop. Every neighborhood kid who managed to stay out of jail seemed to have his own personal cop.

“He was my knight in shining armor,” Artie said, “the one who got me playing football in the school yard. He was in charge of all the cops at Yankee Stadium.”

On December 28, 1958, Captain Joe took Sunday off to attend the National Football League title game with Arthur Sr.

“I put them on our bench,” Artie said. “I didn’t know where else to put them."

He watched as his father take a long look around the stadium.

“Dad could remember when ninety thousand people were there for Louis and Schmeling. This was just a little football game, the NFL championship. I was having a terrible time trying to keep the two of them quiet, and especially trying to keep Joe from sharing his flask with my dad – Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!"

"Brady was already lit by game time, and I could see Weeb wasn’t too thrilled. Just before kickoff, he buttonholed two uniformed cops and, pointing to Joe, said, ‘Get that bum off the bench!’”

“‘Coach’ one of the cops said, ‘you go before he does.’”

Traveling today. Blogging resumes

tonight at 8 PM ET with a post detailing efforts I've made to get the N&O to comment re: its use of Nifong as an anonymous source.

Have a good day.


Plaintiffs will question Nifong's press contact before Mar. 27, 2006

Concerning disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong's claim of absolute immunity for his actions in connection with the attemped frame-up of three transparently innocent Duke students, KC Johnson in "Responding to Nifong" identifies areas which he believes its highly improbable the court will grant Nifong's absolute immunity claim. One is:

[B]etween March 27, 2006, when he began his pre-primary publicity crusade, and mid-April 2006, Nifong served as the de facto public spokesperson for the Durham Police Department, regularly briefing the local, state, and national media on the progress of the “investigation” and the state of the “evidence” that the Police “investigation” he supervised had allegedly developed.
I want to say a few things about each area KC identifies.

But in this post I'll focus only on what KC calls the time "Nifong served as the de facto public spokesperson for the Durham Police Department."

KC says the Nifong's public spokesperson activity began on March 27, 2006.

That's true. But there's credible evidence Nifong served as an anonymous source for the Raleigh News & Observer before March 27 and, according to N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan, made false and inflammatory statements to the N&O regarding the lacrosse players.

Here's some of what I said about that in Nifong as an anonymous N&O source (Post 2) (Aug. 1, 2007):

Some JinC readers have questioned my report that the Raleigh News & Observer used then DA Mike Nifong as an anonymous news source last March when it ran a series of false and racially inflammatory stories trashing and publicly framing 46 white Duke students who played on the school’s Men’s lacrosse team. ( “ Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1)” )

The readers have noted a source for my report, N&O news columnist Ruth Sheehan, has a less than outstanding reputation for reliability.

I won’t dispute that.

But there’s a great deal more than just Sheehan’s statements that supports my report.

I’d like to tell you about it.

I began tracking the story of Nifong as an anonymous N&O news source last March when the N&O first reported Crystal Mangum’s lies and the false claims the players were not cooperating with police.

I heard people say the N&O was using Nifong as an anonymous source but I didn’t feel I had enough credible evidence on which to base a report.

I did repeatedly point out last Spring that although media was saying they were only reporting what Nifong was telling them, in fact what he began telling them publicly on March 27 was exactly what the N&O had been telling readers and the rest of media since the N&O “broke” the lacrosse story on March 24.

But I didn’t say Nifong was an N&O anonymous source for some of the N&O’s March 24 through 27 stories framing the players even when Sheehan said in a June 19, 2006 column he was the source for her March 27 column attacking the players:
“Say all you want about the media's rush to judgment. But the truth is we report on allegations and charges out of district attorneys' offices every single day. And when a DA, especially one with Nifong's reputation for being a quiet, behind-the-scenes guy, comes out not only saying that a rape occurred, but that it was a brutal gang rape, in which the woman was strangled and beaten, you had to figure he had incontrovertible evidence.”
What I did then was just remind readers’ Nifong’s public statements followed Sheehan’s column. So how could she use what he said as an excuse? I didn’t add: “unless Sheehan used Nifong as an anonymous source."

I didn’t add that because I was concerned that when confronted with the obvious implication of what she was saying, Sheehan might back off and say something about being under deadline and a little confused about time sequences. She might have said what she really meant was Nifong’s statements had influenced her when she wrote her April 3rd column about the lacrosse team and called for its coach, Mike Pressler, to be fired.

But my hesitation about using Sheehan as a source confirming Nifong’s anonymous involvement in the N&O’s framing of the players disappeared with the publication of Don Yeager’s book, It’s Not About the Truth, which he wrote in collaboration with Pressler.

Yeager quotes Sheehan repeatedly on the use she and the N&O made of Nifong as an anonymous source at least by March 26, if not before.

Yeager tells us Sheehan said ” …I called in [to the N&O on March 26] and they told me that there was another story with Nifong talking about how there was this wall of silence. That’s when I decided on that Sunday to write my first column about the case.” (p. 154)

Yeager quotes other statements Sheehan made the leave no doubt Nifong was an N&O source. You can read some of them in this post.

Yeager also describes Sheehan on March 26 preparing her next day’s column: “As she wrote, Sheehan made clear that in her mind the stories bubbling up from Nifong’s office and the Durham Police Department were true.” (p.155)

There are at least three reasons why I have no doubt Yeager quoted Sheehan accurately and she can’t disown what he says she told him:

1) - Yeager, a veteran reporter, must certainly have taped what Sheehan said, retained those tapes and been very careful to quote accurately from them;

2) - It’s now common practice for publishing houses to require that interviews of the sensitivity the one(s) Yeager conducted with Sheehan are taped so it/they can be reviewed by the publishers’ attorneys for liability issues.

I believe Yeager, Pressler and their publisher, Simon & Schuster, would’ve been very careful to quote Sheehan accurately in any case; but they were no doubt particularly careful because at the time the book was being prepared for publication Nifong was the subject of State Bar ethics charges; three lacrosse players were still under indictment; and Pressler’s suit against Duke was still active.

3) - Sheehan has not disputed anything Yeager attributes to her.

So as reported in a previous post and now here we have Sheehan on the record and not disputing the record. We have her saying that by March 26 other journalists at the N&O reported to her what Nifong was telling them; that what her journalist colleagues said Nifong told them was of sufficient detail and emotional power to convince her to forgo a column she’d already written and instead write a column based on what she was told Nifong said.

To all of that we can add the fact that in the three months since Yeager’s book's been released, no one at the N&O has disputed anything in his account of what Sheehan says she was told when she phoned the N&O on March 26.

The N&O own May 4 story reporting the book's publication doesn’t dispute anything attributed to Sheehan. It doesn’t even mention her although Yeager not only quotes her as using Nifong as a source but on many other matters related to the paper’s Duke lacrosse coverage and bloggers.

When I emailed the story’s reporter, Jim Nesbitt, asking him specifically about what Yeager said about Sheehan’s March 27 column, Nesbitt never responded nor did he respond to phone messages.

I hope, folks, you all now see why after 16 months I felt I had enough evidence to go with my report and why I’m standing by it.

I don’t have any doubt that no later than March 26, 2006, and perhaps earlier, the Raleigh News & Observer was using Nifong as an anonymous news source.

That no doubt helps explain why so much of its Duke lacrosse coverage was false and racially inflammatory.

Folks, if, as seems very likely, Nifong is deposed , Plaintiffs' attorneys have very strong reasons to ask him about his actions in connection with the slandering of the lacrosse players and other parts of the frame-up attempt which took place between March 24 and 27.

If, as Sheehan maintains, and as the N&O has never denied, Nifong served by at least March 26 as an anonymous source for false statements about the players to the N&O, it is hard for this non-lawyer to see how such conduct could fall under an absolute immunity protection.

On the contrary, I think it will significantly strengthen the players' claims against Nifong and any others from the DA's office or DPD who engaged in such slanderous activities.