Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb.27, 2009

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

The following repost from 2007 is meant to help start your weekend with a smile.

In August 1941 Churchill sailed on HMS Prince of Wales to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland where met with President Roosevelt. On his way, Churchill had a chance to do some recreational reading.

In Chasing Churchill: The Travels of Winston Churchill (Carroll & Graf, 2003), his granddaughter, Celia Sandys, says:

For relaxing reading, he had a copy of C. S. Forester’s naval adventure Captain Hornblower which had been given to him by Oliver Lyttelton, the Minister of State in Cairo.

When radio restrictions were briefly lifted he sent Lyttelton the message: “Hornblower admirable.”

This caused consternation among the staff at Middle East Headquarters, who vainly searched their files for an operation code-named “Hornblower,” on which they thought they were being complimented. (p. 141)
I hope you all have an admirable weekend and are back on Monday.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Posting Resumes Tomorrow

I'm sorry I didn't post tonight as promised reader comments in response to AG Holder's "a nation of cowards" speech.

That post will go up tomorrow.

Right now I'm just tired and need to get a good night's sleep.

I hope to be back up in the morning.


Look How The Dow’s Following Obama

At midday today JinC Regular BN emailed - -

I took a look at several notable events since Obama was elected Nov. 4 and the Dow’s reaction.

Here we go:

Nov.5 - - The day after Obama’s elected -- Dow falls 486 points

Jan.20 - - President Obama delivers his inauguration address --- Dow falls 332 points

Feb.10 - - Treasury Secretary Geithner unveils Team Obama’s " plan " ( or lack of ) for solving the financial crisis -- Dow falls 383 points

Feb.17 - - Obama signs Stimulus Bill and makes related remarks --- Dow falls 298 points

Feb. 25 - - Obama addressed Congress and the nation the previous night --- Dow falls 80 points

Feb.26 - - Obama unveils his budget -- Dow falls 89 points (actually the Dow was up about 120 points before Obama spoke. So it fell off 200 points after he unveiled his budget he says will save us all from “catastrophe.”)

We all know the Dow has fallen about 25 % or about 2,500 points since Obama was elected. That’s both telling and frightening.

I can't recall another President, except maybe Carter, who seems to have had such a direct and negative impact on the financial markets.

Later today BN emailed - -

John , after sending my previous e-mail, I did a quick check and the markets have reacted much more negatively to Obama and his plans than they did to Jimmy Carter.

The current recession appears very likely to be relatively severe by post WW !! standards and that is certainly influencing the Dow and other major financial markets.

But it looks like Obama’s economic plans are having no positive effect on the markets and a case can be made the markets are giving Obama’s “stimulas” plans a resounding “no confidence” vote.”


IMO BN is bang on.

But of course Speaker Pelosi, Reps. Rangel and Frank, and Sen. Chris (“Countrywide”) Dodd are all giving President Obama high marks.

Pundit’s “Don’t Miss” Letter To AG Holder

National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor has written an outstanding letter to AG Eric Holder who recently said America was “a nation of cowards [who’ve] not come to grips with our racial past. (This post links to Holder’s Feb. 18 speech.)

Here’s some of what Taylor told Holder:
Please use your bully pulpit in the future to cut through the usual cant and state some politically incorrect truths about race in America that would carry special weight if they came from you.
That would require mustering the courage to take on the Democratic Party's powerful racial-grievance lobby. But it would do the country a lot of good.

The one point that you developed in a bit of detail in the February 18 speech was especially silly: "Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment.... Until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so-called 'real' American history."

Bosh. The reality is that our high schools and universities are quite clearly focusing disproportionate attention on black history.

The proof includes a poll published last year in which 2,000 high school juniors and seniors in all 50 states were asked to name the 10 most famous Americans, other than presidents and first ladies.

The top three finishers were black: Martin Luther King Jr. (67 percent), Rosa Parks (60 percent), and Harriet Tubman (44 percent). So is the only living finisher, Oprah Winfrey (22 percent).

As for the universities, "the almost obsessive emphasis on race, class, and gender in the humanities and social sciences means that, if anything, black history is overrepresented in college history curricula," in the words of professor KC Johnson, a distinguished scholar of American history based at Brooklyn College. (We co-authored a 2007 book on the Duke lacrosse rape fraud.)

It's true that college black-studies courses are often "separate." But the reason is hardly to slight black history. It is to satisfy demands for hiring more black professors, who tend to specialize in black studies.

Some of them also use their platforms to spread the lie that America is still pervaded by white racism.

Your unelaborated assertion that "this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past" is also way off base, Mr. Attorney General.

To the contrary, this nation has adopted numerous civil-rights laws. It has replaced the once-pervasive regime of discrimination against blacks with a benignly motivated but nonetheless wide-reaching regime of discrimination against whites, euphemistically known as "affirmative action." It sometimes seems more interested in teaching children about slavery and segregation than about math and science. It has elected a black president. . . .

Taylor’s “don’t miss” letter’s here.

If you haven’t read them already, you many want to take a look at Holder’s A Nation of Cowards” Speech: A First Take and Holder’s “Cowards” Speech: Overseas Commenters Respond.

Tonight I’ll post some more reader comments from adadfa adfda along with my responses to them.

Hat tips to cks for the heads up on Taylor’s column and to for hosting it.

NBC’s Abrams On Presuming Innocence & Duke Lax Case

NBC News’ chief legal analyst Don Abrams’ opinion piece in today’s WJS is titled “Presumed Innocent? Bernie Madoff?”

Abrams, one of the first in media to question the Duke lacrosse hoax and frame-up attempt, argues that presumption of innocence doesn’t require citizens to presume, outside of a jury box, that an accused is innocent.

Abrams says there are cases where the facts weigh so strongly against the accused that its not realistic to expect citizens to presume innocence or necessary for the administration of justice provided cases are determined within the legal system by those who do presume innocence:

Essentially [with presumption of innocence] we stack the legal deck in favor of the defendant. After all, the potential consequence (in most cases prison time) is so grave that we say we would rather let "10 guilty men go free than convict an innocent one."

But unless I am sitting in the jury box armed with that power I, and any other nonjuror for that matter, have no obligation, moral or legal, to embrace that legal fiction.
I disagree with much that Abrams says.

One reason I disagree is that presumption of innocence enables citizens to maintain as skeptical an attitude as possible about the defendant’s quilt until at least after a trial outcome. (In many plea bargains, innocent people declare their guilt because the plea deal allows them to go free based on time already spent in jail awaiting trial.)

I’m sure the WSJ will publish letters from attorneys who can explain better than I why presumption of innocence is something citizens should strive to maintain at least through trial outcome.

Regarding the Duke lacrosse case Abrams says:
Early in the investigation of the Duke University lacrosse players accused of rape in 2006, some of the very same people who suggest that the presumption of innocence be applied in all aspects of society demanded that action be taken immediately against the students. The case is now regularly cited as an example of how important it is to presume all defendants innocent in the media as well.

But that misses the point. Those of us who examined the evidence, even superficially, quickly realized the case was flimsy at best. The lesson there was not about presumptions but about the need to critically evaluate facts.

Demanding that all of us presume every defendant innocent outside of a courtroom is to demand that we stop evaluating facts, thereby suffocating independent thought and opinion. There is nothing "reasonable" about that.
Abrams should've been more specific about what he meant by “people who suggest that the presumption of innocence be applied in all aspects of society [.]” (italics added)

I wonder if he didn’t mean something like “in all cases involving people accused of lawbreaking.”

There’s a huge difference between the two phrases.

The “evidence” presented in Spring 2006 to support the frame-up attempt was certainly “flimsy.”

However, Abrams overstates when he claims that “[t] hose of us who examined the evidence, even superficially, quickly realized the case was flimsy at best.”

Many in media and many who accessed the media (some Duke faculty and Durham “activists,” for instance) looked at the “flimsy” evidence and pronounced the players guilty.

The Duke lacrosse case reminds us how hard it can be for people in certain circumstances to look past their presumptions to evidence challenging or outright contradicting their presumptions.

We’ll do best in our pursuit of justice by encouraging all citizens to value the presumption of innocence at least to the point that they maintain the kind of skepticism that in the face of “open and shut” cases helps prevent people from “rushing to judgment” and joining witch hunts.

Thanks to cks for the heads up on the Abrams piece.

I hope she and others will keep their eyes out for the attorneys letters I’m sure will appear in the WSJ. I’d like to post on them.

Here's another link to Abrams' piece.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 26, 2009

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

Below, in three paragraphs for reader’s ease, are words that appear as a single paragraph in Churchill’s
Their Finest Hour. They are extraordinarily wise and speak of the best that is in us. That said, they need no further commentary from me.

The efficiency of a war administration depends mainly upon whether decisions emanating from the highest approved authority are in fact strictly, faithfully, and punctually obeyed. This we achieved in Britain in this time of crisis owing to the intense fidelity , comprehension, and whole-hearted resolve of the War Cabinet upon the essential purpose to which we had devoted ourselves . According to the directions given ship , troops, and aeroplanes moved, and the wheels of factories spun.

By all these processes, and by the confidence, indulgence, and loyalty by which I was upborne, I was soon able to give an integral direction to almost every aspect of the war. This was really necessary because times were so very bad.

The method was accepted because everyone realized how near were death and ruin. Not only individual death, which is the universal experience, stood near, but , incomparably more commending the life of Britain, her message, and her glory.
Winston S. Churchill,
Their Finest Hour. (pgs. 21-22)

Holder’s “Cowards” Speech: Overseas Commenters Respond

On Feb. 18 Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder, who secretly helped craft Dem mega-contributor and fugitive Marc Rich’s pardon granted by then President Bill Clinton, delivered his “nation of cowards” speech at the Department of Justice’s African American History Month Program.

Holder's speech is here with all its platitudinous, race-preference rhetoric included.

I posted in response Holder's "A Nation of Cowards" Speech: First Take.

On the thread of that post, JinC readers responded with an extremely thoughtful series of comments.

Most of what they’ve said needs to be in the editorial columns of our leading newspapers but won't appear in them.

Instead, most MSM newspaper editorials have replayed and amplified Holder’s “nation of cowards” theme while backing away from noting and commenting on the attorney general’s unspoken but glaringly obvious “I have a race preference” theme.

But in one way or another every JinC commenter has picked up on Holder’s race-preference theme.

Beginning tonight and continuing for the next few days I’ll be posting on the main page part or all of readers' comments on the thread as of 9 PM ET tonight.

Following the “guests go first” custom, I’ll start with comments from Danvers in South Africa and Scott in Australia.

Switching the usual JinC format, Danvers’ and Scott’s comments are in plain; my comments are in italics.

Danvers commented - - -

As a non-American, I am constantly amazed at how AA's seem to have a stranglehold on the greater American population.

The most recent example is the NY Post's 'chimpanzee cartoon' and the pseudo-outrage of the usual suspects.

It is hilarious or amusing, depending on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican when GWB is likened to a chimpanzee or monkey on countless occasions, in print or on screen.

It is a matter of the utmost seriousness when the drafter(s) of the "Stimulus Bill" (Pelosi/Franks) are compared to a chimp - an instant case of racism directed against Obama.

The double standards are breathtaking!

Slavery in the US, however much a crime against humanity it was, is, or will be in the future, died in 1863. Civil rights for AAs were guaranteed by the US congress in 1964 and 1965, by my calculation about 45 years ago.

Yet 45 years later, the greater US population still allows itself to be held to ransom by a rabid 10%.


AAs have to know by now that they are the masters of their own destiny and have to quit using the serious, but historic, wrong of slavery and discrimination as an excuse for a breakdown in their culture and society, and the lack of individual advancement.

Compare the whinings of an Al Sharpton or a Jesse Jackson, with the real constructive achievements of Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu.

Compare the seditious ravings of Louis Farrakhan with the dogged determination of Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe.

Even here in South Africa, the country with arguably the most serious case of systematic racial abuse since the Second World War, Black South Africans, by their own volition, have either lost or are rapidly losing their status as "Victims".

The vast majority of Americans I have spoken to over the years, quite rightly feel no guilt over the wrongs of their forefathers.

Why therefore, does it seem that any AA with an axe to grind can do the 'race hustle' and get instant and cringing attention from the White American population?

There is a programme on British TV called "Who Do You Think You Are" that traces the lineage of British celebrities as far back as records allow.

One episode featured Ainsley Herriot, a popular TV chef of Jamaican descent.
In the first half of the programme his Mother's ancestors were traced back through to the early slaves in Jamaica. There was much anguish as a distraught Herriot bemoaned his fate as the descendent of the slaves in this line of his family.

In the second half of the programme the lineage of his Father was also traced... to prominent slave owners in Jamaica

Dead Silence!!

The lesson I suppose, is that no one is responsible for the actions of their ancestors.

Scott in Australia responded - - -

Danvers. Well said.

As another non-American I too am amazed at race relations in the US.

But more and more I understand it, seeing where Australia is going with its own issues with the whole 'stolen generation' of Aboriginals. The dollars upon dollars spent which usually go no where, all from some guilt for something horrible (and the extent of that is highly debatable) that I had no part in.

The past is the past, live in the present. Be honest and look to yourself before pointing your fingers at someone else.

Folks, you may have noticed Danvers commented again on the thread but not in specific response to Scott. So I’m not including Danvers’ second comment here.

It’s a pity we won’t find in most MSM editorial columns what Danvers and Scott have said.

I'll leave it at that tonight and be back posting and commenting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, your civil, thoughtful comments are always welcome.

NY Times Fell For Put-On “Support Group” Blog

When I learned about the following, I couldn’t help laughing.

Let’s start with NPR blogger Linda Holmes on Jan. 29 - - -

Isn't it totally obvious that [the blog Dating a Banker Anonymous] is a put-on?

Isn't it totally obvious that the "support group" reported on in the Times doesn't exist, that these are three women -- two writers and an attorney -- who figured out how to tap our deep societal hatred of the recession and hatred of privileged women who get away with everything, and to combine it into a big giant phenomenon that would produce so much instant vitriol that they would absolutely, definitely get a book deal?

Yes, Linda, it's obvious to most people. But the blog played so perfectly to the dominant social conceits and prejudices of the Old Grey Lady that she just couldn't see the obvious.

So on Jan. 25 under the trite, condescending headline – “It’s the Economy, Girlfriend” – the Times’ story began:

The economic crisis came home to 27-year-old Megan Petrus early last year when her boyfriend of eight months, a derivatives trader for a major bank, proved to be more concerned about helping a laid-off colleague than comforting Ms. Petrus after her father had a heart attack.

For Christine Cameron, the recession became real when the financial analyst she had been dating for about a year would get drunk and disappear while they were out together, then accuse her the next day of being the one who had absconded.

Dawn Spinner Davis, 26, a beauty writer, said the downward-trending graphs began to make sense when the man she married on Nov. 1, a 28-year-old private wealth manager, stopped playing golf, once his passion. “One of his best friends told me that my job is now to keep him calm and keep him from dying at the age of 35,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s not what I signed up for.”

They shared their sad stories the other night at an informal gathering of Dating a Banker Anonymous, a support group founded in November to help women cope with the inevitable relationship fallout from, say, the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the Dow’s shedding 777 points in a single day, as it did on Sept. 29. . . .

The Times’ story went on that way paragraph after paragraph until it finally ended with:

Despite the seemingly endless stream of disparaging remarks and shaking heads, some of the appeal of dating a banker remains.

“It’s not even about a $200 dinner,” Ms. Petrus said. “It’s that he’s an alpha male, he’s aggressive, he’s a go-getter, he doesn’t take no for an answer, he’s confident, people respect him and that creates the whole mystique of who he is.”

You can read the entire Times story here where you’ll also find the following editors’ note the Times published yesterday:

An article on Jan. 28 about women who commiserated over dating Wall Street bankers caught in the financial crisis described a group they had formed, Dating a Banker Anonymous, as a support group. That is the name of their blog.

Its creators originally told The Times that about 30 women had participated, but since publication, they have said that all involved were friends. Laney Crowell, one of the women who started the blog, said in the article that it was “very tongue in cheek;” she has since described it as a satire that embellishes true experiences for effect.

Had the nature of the blog been made clear at the outset, the article would have described it accordingly, not as a support group.

Folks, can you believe the Times tries to make it appear it’s falling for the put-on is really the fault of Laney Crowell who the Times says didn’t make clear “at the outset” “the nature of the blog?”

Talk about failing to accept responsibility!

I was reminded of Sen. Chris Dodd’s ludicrous claim that if Countrywide had made clear to him that he was getting a sweetheart “Friends of Angelo” mortgage deal, he would never have accepted it.

Hat tip: Jim Romenesko

Butler & Rickards Are Back For Duke

There’s great news for people who love Duke and don't confuse its best interests with the interests of President Brodhead, BOT Chair Steel and the other Duke defendants in the civil suits brought by former Duke students and family members victimized by the hoax, attempted frame-up and ongoing cover-up.

Former Chronicle columnist Kristin Butler (T '08) and Ed Rickards (T’63 & Law ’66), the 1963 Chronicle editor-in-chief, have just started a blog True Blue.

Here in full is True Blue’s "Introduction" post:

Welcome to our blog! We hope to provide information and analysis that will empower students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni to participate more fully in the governance of Duke.

Some of our posts will be long because our material is very detailed. We will often post original documents. We will tell our readers when we seek information and cannot get it.

When we wrote a joint column in The Chronicle in the fall semester, President Brodhead and Executive Vice President Trask refused our requests for interviews. Vice President for PR Michael Schoenfeld said we were entitled to public reports -- and no help in understanding them.

In this antagonistic atmosphere which some administrators created and continue, we do our best to carefully source all information.

You are encouraged to post comments: click on the title above our post, in this case the word "Introduction." Or click on the word "Comments" at the end. We welcome your thoughts indeed.

Our URL is and our e-mail for additional feedback and tips is

After their "Introduction" Butler and Rickards get right at it with a post report:
"Duke has now lost $3 BILLION in financial crisis."

Give that post a read, including the note appended at the end which begins:

"the preparation of the above report was made more difficult by the Brodhead Administration's failure -- unprecedented in Trinity College and Duke University history -- to produce an annual report for the 2007-2008 school year[.]"
To Kristin and Ed - - Welcome to the neighborhood.

Summary of State-of-the-Handouts Speech

AC sent along this very short summery.

here is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children. And that is the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay.

– President Barack Obama, during the State of the Union Address, after promising a litany of February-Christmas goodies that would have embarrassed Clinton, Carter, LBJ and maybe even FDR.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 25, 2009

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

On May 10,1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. The news of his appointment by the King was broadcast to the nation by his predecessor, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

On May 13, Churchill spoke in the House of Commons and delivered his now immortal "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech. But the nation only read about the speech.

In the 1940s there was no live broadcasts of parliament’s proceedings. Churchill's May 13 speech, like a number of other speeches he delivered in Commons, was recorded later for rebroadcast and posterity.

Churchill's first speech to the nation as Prime Minister did not occur until Sunday evening, May 19.

On that night Britain's situation was even more desperate than it had been on May 10. The battle in France was not going well. The Germans were simultaneously driving toward the Marne and Paris and pushing the Allies back toward the Channel Coast. It looked very possible that the Germans would cut the Allies defensive line in two, effectively trapping the Allies left flank against the coast.

I speak to you for the first time as Prime Minister in a solemn hour for the life of our country, of our empire, of our allies, and, above all, of the cause of Freedom.

A tremendous battle is raging in France and Flanders. The Germans, by a remarkable combination of air bombing and heavily armored tanks, have broken through the French defenses north of the Maginot Line, and strong columns of their armored vehicles are ravaging the open country, which for the first day or two was without defenders.

They have penetrated deeply and spread alarm and confusion in their track. Behind them there are now appearing infantry in lorries, and behind them, again, the large masses are moving forward. [...]

Our task is not only to win the battle - but to win the war. After this battle in France abates its force, there will come the battle for our Island -- for all that Britain is, and all the Britain means. That will be the struggle.

In that supreme emergency we shall not hesitate to take every step, even the most drastic, to call forth from our people the last ounce and the last inch of effort of which they are capable. The interests of property, the hours of labor, are nothing compared with the struggle of life and honor, for right and freedom, to which we have vowed ourselves. [...]

Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: "Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be."
Churchill's biographer, Martin Gilbert, later wrote:
Churchill's first broadcast as Prime Minister caught the imagination of the millions. It was his first attempt as Prime Minister to point the way through setbacks and disasters to the ultimate, essential victory.

Duke Chronicle’s Tolerance For A Double Standard

Yesterday’s Chronicle carried a story headlined: “Giles bench vandalized, community responds”

TC’s story began - -

Residents of Giles Residence Hall said Monday that an unknown individual or group spray-painted the letters F and A before their bench's phrase, "G-Spot," late Saturday night, forming a homophobic epithet.

"The staff of the Center for [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Life is saddened and outraged by such a public display of disrespect and negatively targeted at many members of the campus community," LGBT Director Janie Long wrote in an e-mail to the LGBT community Monday evening.

As of Monday evening, the bench was also plastered with fliers countering the vandalism, highlighting the phrase "We Don't Tolerate Hate," surrounded by point words such as "bigotry," "ignorance" and "offensive."

A staff member on East Campus reported the vandalism to the administration Monday, at which point a police report was filed, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said.

"Expressions of intolerance outrage me," he said. "If on a college campus we can't expect civility, respect and acknowledgement(sic) of differences, then where can we?" …

The rest of TC’s story’s here.

Today’s TC editorial is headed: "Giles vandalism intolerable"

I want to share some of TC’s editorial with you here, after which I’ve pasted in a comment I left on the editorial’s thread.

TC’s editorial began - - -

On Tuesday The Chronicle reported a disturbing case of vandalism on East Campus that was directed against the LGBT community. A phrase that can be considered nothing less than hate speech was reportedly scrawled on the Giles Dormitory bench late Saturday night and has now been on display for several days. . . .

Our collective indifference to this act shows something severely jaded about the Duke community. ...

The entire editorial's here.

Folks, I’m not sure what TC means by Duke’s “collective indifference.” Duke administrators have spoken out including Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta who called it a "crime"; students have been told there’s counseling available to them; DUPD says its actively investigating the incident; and, of course, TC has spoken out expressing its outrage at what it said was "nothing less than hate speech.” .

Now my comment from the thread:

I regret that, as reported in The Chronicle yesterday, some unknown person or persons painted the letters “F” and “A” before the "G-spot" Giles has painted on its dorm bench.

TC notes: "What's more, the vandalism has remained intact and undisturbed for days, aside from some fliers taped to the bench beside it."

Why is that? It would take only a little time to paint over the offending letters or repaint entirely the G-spot sign.

TC should tell readers why that hasn't been done.

I hope TC will also tell readers why it's never editorialized criticizing those who three years ago and just a short walk from Giles waved CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners and in other heinous ways threatened a group of Duke students.

The actions of that hate-filled crowd deserve condemnation from every decent member of the Duke community.

It's especially important we do that given that so many in the crowd were members of the Duke community; and that other Duke community members not at the threatening hate-fest later engaged in equally reprehensible actions.

Why has TC never condemned those actions and the actions of those on campus who shouted "rapist" at innocent Duke students?

Those students had been falsely accused in what was a literally unbelievable hoax which gave rise to a witch hunt and a frame-up attempt to send three innocent Duke lacrosse player to prison for gang rape.

Why has TC never spoken out condemning the unconscionable treatment those students received from so many at Duke?

Why didn't TC speak out against those who circulated VIGILANTE posters on campus and the black hate-group members who shouted threats, including death threats, at then Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann at the Durham Courthouse on May 18, 2006?

In terms of its editorial silence on all those matters, TC has been hand-in-hand with President Brodhead, the trustees and almost all senior faculty.

What considerations have led successive TC editorial boards to avoid asking Brodhead, the trustees, and faculty members to explain their silence?

I strongly agree with this from today's editorial: " is always important to call a wrong a wrong, and the Duke community should recognize that this offensive act is inappropriate and intolerable on a college campus."

And I wonder, as the editorial board members agreed to publish those words, whether they gave any thought or discussion to TC's silences in response to the offensive acts, some including immediate physical endangerment, directed at Duke students on the 2006 Men's lacrosse team?

Perhaps someday the board members will tell us.

It’s a reasonable question.

John in Carolina

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 24, 2009

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

Horse racing is a popular sport in both Britain and America. But it has a social status and acceptance over there that’s it’s never acquired here.

Queen Elizabeth breeds and races horses as did the late Queen Mother. Race week at Ascot is a time when politics is put aside and government leaders spend days at the track and the social events surrounding race week. They often have their own horses in some of the races.

We wouldn’t expect President Bush to spend a week at Churchill Downs looking after his best known horse, Tax Cut III, a heavy Derby favorite. And we would think it very strange to read in a Bob Novak column that in the paddock just before the Derby, Senator Bill Frist suddenly grabbed Representative Nancy Pelosi’s arm and said, “Careful, Nancy. That will be so hard to get off your shoe.”

Now what does all this have to do with Churchill?

Well, historian Piers Brandon tells us:

In the summer of 1949, Churchill embarked on a new venture - he bought a racehorse. On the advice of Christopher Soames [his son-in-law who’d married his youngest daughter Mary in 1947], he purchased a grey three-year-old colt, Colonist II. It was to be the first of several thoroughbreds in his small stud.

They were registered in Lord Randolph's colours - pink with chocolate sleeves and cap. (These have been adopted as the colours of Churchill College.) Churchill was made a member of the Jockey Club in 1950, and greatly relished the distinction.
Colonist was a small, gutsy horse who surprised the experts by winning many important stakes races. He became a great favorite with the British public.

Churchill College, a part of Cambridge University, was founded as Britain’s national memorial to Churchill. It houses his papers.

Don’t you think Churchill, with his puckish sense of humor, would relished the idea of the great and ancient Cambridge University having to give the nod to its newest college bearing his racing colors?

House Dems’ Latest Porkulus Bill

The AP reports ---

House Democrats unveiled a $410 billion spending bill on Monday to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year, setting up the second political struggle over federal funds in less than a month with Republicans.

The measure includes thousands of earmarks, the pet projects favored by lawmakers but often criticized by the public in opinion polls. There was no official total of the bill's earmarks, which accounted for at least $3.8 billion. (
It’s a safe bet the pork in the bill amounts to many times that. But hey, it’s not the House Dems or their voter base that will be stuck with the bill. - - JinC)

The legislation, which includes an increase of roughly 8 percent over spending in the last fiscal year, is expected to clear the House later in the week. (
Did the AP include in its reported spending increase percent the $787 billion the House Dems voted for the Obama administration to spend? I’m betting “No.” What about you? )

Democrats defended the spending increases, saying they were needed to make up for cuts enacted in recent years or proposed a year ago by then-President George W. Bush in health, education, energy and other programs.

Republicans countered that the spending in the bill far outpaced inflation, and amounted to much higher increases when combined with spending in the stimulus legislation that President Barack Obama signed last week.

In a letter to top Democratic leaders, the GOP leadership called for a spending freeze, a step they said would point toward a "new standard of fiscal discipline."

Either way, the bill advanced less than one week after Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill that all Republicans in Congress opposed except for three moderate GOP senators. . . .

The entire AP story’s here.

Question: Why does the AP call the only three GOP senators and only three GOP members of the Congress who voted for the Dems’ $787 bil deficit spending porkulus bill “moderate?"

Aren’t the three at the extreme of the GOP?

Sure, but if you’re aligned, as the AP is, with the liberal/leftist Dems, you’ll spin and tell readers the three – Specter, Collins and Snowe - are “moderate.”

The AP's spinning the news to fit its views.

2 MN. Papers Get Government $$$

I’m very sorry to say this is probably the start of a trend.

The AP reports - - -

Two Minnesota newspapers will receive a share of state grants normally given to retrain workers in manufacturing and other industries in transition.

The Duluth News Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press will work with the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication to help staff adapt to an increasingly Internet-based industry.

Minnesota Job Skills Partnership is awarding $238,000 in state funds, while the newspapers and the university will contribute about $469,000 combined, mostly by devoting staff time to training. (
Do we agree the $469,000 of “staff time” is just a con to fool the public into thinking this isn’t what it is: a taxpayer money handout to the newspapers? - - JinC)

Paul Moe, the state program's director, said newspapers around the country are looking closely at the project as a potential model. (
Of course!)

Kathleen Hansen, director of the university's Minnesota Journalism Center, said the grant idea came from the Pioneer Press. She said the application was unusual for a state agency more accustomed to businesses that deal in plastics or crop machinery.
"This is a very different kind of workforce group," she said. . . .

Rob Karwath, executive editor of the News Tribune, said he hopes the grant will help his newspaper come up with new products that deliver news and advertising to readers and methods to get more feedback from customers.

The entire AP story’s here.

Hat tip: Drudge Report

Editor Drescher’s “Rah-rahs" Don't Help The N&O

McClatchy Watch recently posted: "Sacramento Bee editor says she 'feels an obligation' to report on McClatchy's woes -- but doesn't follow through."

The short of it: Sacbee executive editor for news Melanie Sill told readers: “Newspaper editors, including me, have felt obliged to report news of our companies' financial ups and downs, especially lately.” But McC Watch cites important recent McClatchy $$$ stories Sacbee’s failed to report.

Give the post a look and read down the interesting comment thread which includes a number of comments referencing the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer. Here in full is one from an Anon who ID’s as a N&O journo. I follow Anon with a few of my comments:

Interesting. This must be SOP around the chain.

During a news meeting almost two weeks ago when the bad news (more job cuts, salary cuts and furloughs ahead) was given to the staff N&O exed John Drescher was asked when we were going to report to our readers just how bad things are and why the paper is getting so thin.

He said he thought "we were letting people know" and he was also going to write a Saturday column about it.

Well, for one thing we haven't really admitted to the public we might go belly up. We have skirted the issue.

There has been no in-depth story like there would be if a local television station or other high profile business was in this much trouble.

And there is yet to be a column from fact his last column about the paper was on Jan.24 entitled "Things looking up for the N&O".

I would hate to see what it takes for things to be looking grim if he thinks things are looking up.

But what do you expect; he and Melly were peas in a pod.
My comments:

As many of you know, before Melanie Sill moved to the same position at Sacbee, she was executive editor for news at the N&O at the same time that Drescher, who succeeded her as N&O exec editor was managing editor.

Both editors have repeatedly and at length declared their confidence in their papers' current strengths and bright futures.

Here’s Drescher’s "Things looking up for the N&O" column which ran Jan. 24, 2009.

The “rah-rah” claims Drescher made in that column for the N&O’s current financial condition and its future might be excused as excessive cheerleading brought on by anticipation of the upcoming Super Bowl except for one thing: Drescher’s cheerleading is nothing new.

Here are a few excerpts from Drescher's Mar. 30, 2008 column,"The N&O is winning new readers," which begins:
More people are reading The N&O than ever.

In fact, depending on how you slice the numbers, our growth in readership is faster than the growth in population in the Triangle -- one of the fastest-growing areas in the country.


How can that be?

Aren't newspapers dying?

It's true that revenue is down for most of us.

But for many newspapers, including this one, readership is up.

When you add our paid print circulation to our online readership, more people than ever are reading The N&O. By far. (
As Drescher knows but doesn't tell readers, advertisers won't pay for "online readership" anything close to what they've been willing to pay for print readers.)

Our future depends on our ability to sustain this growth -- and for advertisers to recognize that more people than ever are turning to The N&O for news, sports, business, features and commentary. . . .

But any way you look at it, our readership is growing. More people will read The N&O today than read us yesterday. And even more people will read us tomorrow. . . .
Drescher's columns and N&O news stories have failed to tell readers the N&O's parent McClatchy's stock has, in the last 5 yeers, fallen from a price in the mid-70s to penny stock status.

Or that as the company's revenues have shrunk, so have its chances of servicing its more then $2 billion in debt.

Or that McClatchy's bonds are rated "junk" and that many financial analysts are predicting bankruptcy for the company.

There's something else extremely important to newspaper advertisers that I've never seen Drescher or Sill mention.

It's this: In recent years it's not just circulations that have dropped; the average amount of time readers report they spend looking through a newspaper has dropped from just over 40 minutes to 18.

Drescher's "rah-rahs" aren't believed by advertisers, his staff or informed readers.

It may be McClatchy policy that forces Drescher to pump out "rah-rahs." If that's so, it's one more example of McClatchy's top management's disregard for the truth and readers.

Whatever the reason for them, Drescher's "rah-rahs" aren't helping the N&O.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 23, 2009

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

Churchill loved his bath. It was a rare day when he didn't take at least one.

Then came the day in post-war Britain when Churchill, leading the opposition in the House of Commons heard the government's Minister of Fuel and Power, Hugh Gaitskell, later Attlee's successor as leader of the Labour Party, suggest to the House that the government encourage people to take fewer baths as an energy saving measure. Gaitskell told the House:

"Personally, I have never had a great many baths myself, and I can assure those who are in the habit of having a great many that it does not make a great difference to their health if they have less."
Well, you can guess how Churchill took that. Here's his response to Gaitskell
"When Ministers of the Crown speak like this on behalf of HM Government, the Prime Minister and his friends have no need to wonder why they are getting increasingly into bad odour.

"I have even asked myself, when meditating upon these points, whether you, Mr. Speaker, would admit the word 'lousy' as a Parliamentary expression in referring to the Administration, provided, of course, it was not intended in a contemptuous sense but purely as one of factual narration."
If you'll forgive a pun, the House showered Gaitskell with laughter.
The quotes and background are found at The Churchill Centre's Speeches and Quotes

Obama’s Ted Kennedy-Dick Durbin Foreign Policy

At the time of Abu Ghraib Sen. Ted Kennedy standing on the Senate floor declaring Saddam’s prison system was open again, this time under American management.

Not long after that Sen. Dick Durbin declared our military at Gitmo treated the prisoners there the way the Nazis, Stalin’s brutes and Pol Pot’s gang treated their victims.

Both Senators are part of the “America’s brought it on itself” and “we’re bullying when we should be understanding them" crowd.

President Barack Obama was part of that crowd when he was a Senator; now he’s its leader and America's leader.

So what have his foreign policy actions been like? Just what you’d expect.

Here’s some of what physician Charles Krauthammer reports in his latest column:

. . . Preliminary X-rays are not very encouraging.

Consider the long list of brazen Russian provocations:

(a) Pressuring Kyrgyzstan to shut down the U.S. air base in Manas, an absolutely crucial NATO conduit into Afghanistan.

(b) Announcing the formation of a "rapid reaction force" with six former Soviet republics, a regional Russian-led strike force meant to reassert Russian hegemony in the Muslim belt north of Afghanistan.

(c) Planning to establish a Black Sea naval base in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia, conquered by Moscow last summer.

(d) Declaring Russia's intention to deploy offensive Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if Poland and the Czech Republic go ahead with plans to station an American (anti-Iranian) missile defense system.

President Bush's response to the Kaliningrad deployment -- the threat was issued the day after Obama's election -- was firm. He refused to back down because giving in to Russian threats would leave Poles and Czechs exposed and show the world that, contrary to post-Cold War assumptions, the U.S. could not be trusted to protect Eastern Europe from Russian bullying.

The Obama response? "Biden Signals U.S. Is Open to Russia Missile Deal," as The New York Times headlined Biden's Feb. 7 Munich speech to a major international gathering.

This followed strong messages from the Obama transition team even before the inauguration that Obama was not committed to the missile shield.

And just to make sure everyone understood that the Bush policy no longer held, Biden in Munich said the U.S. wanted to "press the reset button" on NATO-Russian relations. …

Iran has been similarly charmed by Obama's overtures. A week after the new president went about sending sweet peace signals via al-Arabiya, Iran launched its first homemade Earth satellite.

The message is clear. If you can put a satellite into orbit, you can hit any continent with a missile, North America included.

And for emphasis, after the roundhouse hook, came the poke in the eye. A U.S. women's badminton team had been invited to Iran. Here was a chance for "ping-pong diplomacy" with the accommodating new president, a sporting venture meant to suggest the possibility of warmer relations.

On Feb. 4, Tehran denied the team entry into Iran.

Then, just in case Obama failed to get the message, Iran's parliament speaker rose in Munich to offer his response to Obama's olive branch. Executive summary: Thank you very much. After you acknowledge 60 years of crimes against us, change not just your tone but your policies, and abandon the Zionist criminal entity, we might deign to talk to you.

With a grinning Goliath staggering about sporting a "kick me" sign on his back, even reputed allies joined the fun. Pakistan freed from house arrest A.Q. Khan, the notorious proliferator who sold nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran.

Ten days later, Islamabad capitulated to the Taliban, turning over to its tender mercies the Swat Valley, 100 miles from the capital. Not only will sharia law now reign there, but the democratically elected secular party will be hunted down as the Pakistani army stands down. . . .

Krauthammer’s entire column’s here. Like all his columns it's fact-based, realistic and wise.

It’s too bad President Obama isn’t more like Krauthammer.

What Obama is providing America and the world is a Ted Kennedy-Dick Durbin kind of foreign policy: apologize for America, "understand" them, and cave to their demands.

There’s nothing new in that approach. It’s been tried before. Munich.

Hat tip: BN

Raleigh N&O Takes A Cheap Shot At U.S.

McClatchy reporter Tim Johnson’s story today in the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer's print edition begins - - -

She has talked about love. She has recycled advice. She has ripped into conservatives on the Supreme Court. And she has held chatty town hall sessions.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is bringing a new style to the post of America's chief diplomat. In her first overseas trip, a weeklong tour through Asia, Clinton rewrote the rulebook, using gravitas with foreign leaders but leading a free-wheeling, campaignlike (sic) effort to mend what she says is a tattered U.S. image, prod people into saving energy and serve as empowerment coach for women around the globe. …

The rest of Johnson’s story’s here.

My comments:

Calling reporter Johnson’s story gushy is an understatement. By the end of it, I was wondering if he doesn’t daydream of secretary Clinton looking at him and saying, “Well sure, Tim, you can carry my bags.”

Maybe it’s that “gravitas” Johnson says wafts from Clinton.


But there was at least one thing in the story that Johnson handled the way a fair and experienced reporter would: He made the proper and very important qualification when he wrote of Clinton’s “effort to mend what she says is a tattered U.S. image[.]” (emphasis added)

But editors at McClatchy’s N&O couldn’t pass up what they saw as an opportunity to take a shot at the U.S. So the N&O gave Johnson’s story the headline:

Clinton chatty, trying to repair U.S. image

What's This About The GOP Senatorial Committee?

A story in yesterday's Louisville Courier Journal included the following:

...[Kentucky's junior senator, Republican Jim]Bunning also reiterated that he would run for re-election in 2010. But he said he doesn't have the ability to raise money like U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spent more than $20 million in last year's election.

Bunning, who only has about $150,000 in his campaign account, has been criticized because of his inability to raise money.

"I'm not only asking for your support, but if you have a $25 check somewhere, or whatever, you can send it, I'll cash it," he told the group.

He also made a veiled attack on National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn of Texas, criticizing him for not using Senatorial committee funds to help him and conservative Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and David Vitter of Louisiana.

Meanwhile, Bunning noted that the committee is helping moderate senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Olympia Snowe of Maine.

The entire story's here.

Can anyone shed light on what Sen. Bunning said about Sen. Cornyn and the National Republican Senatorial Committee?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Holder’s “A Nation of Cowards” Speech: A First Take

I traveled most of last week so it was only today that I read and reread attorney general Eric Holder’s Feb. 18 speech delivered at the Department of Justice’s African American History Month Program.

Here’s my first take:

Ten and twenty years from now Holder’s speech will be remembered for his deliberately provocative phrases: “a nation of cowards.”

Provocation can sometimes be good and necessary. But how was it either in this case?

Holder knew calling America “a nation of cowards” would catch the attention of media, the public, and America’s critics and enemies around the world.

“Cowards” is one of Al Qaeda’s most frequently used epithets for Americans.

I can understand why terrorists use it. I can understand why the hate-America crowd revels in it.

But why did the attorney general use it?

Holder suggests “we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races.”

I’m all for that. We need to “dialogue among the races” concerning, for example, what President Obama meant last year when he said his grandmother was “a typical white person.” And what did Ms. Obama mean when she said America was a “downright mean country.”

I hope Holder speaks out and gives us his take on what the Obama's meant. I hope they do, too.

Then others can join in and we'll have some badly needed dialogue on those important questions the Obama's have yet to answer.

I agree with Holder that:

There can, for instance, be very legitimate debate about the question of affirmative action. This debate can, and should, be nuanced, principled and spirited. But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest.
But I wish Holder had provided some specificity with those remarks.

Who, for example, are those “on the extremes” who do not hesitate to use affirmative action for their “self-interests?” How does Holder characterize people who say affirmative action is, in most instances where the term is used, nothing more than racial preference and quota practices?

As he drew to a close Holder said:
The names of too many . . . people, these heroes and heroines [who have advanced justice and opportunity for blacks], are lost to us. But the names of others of these people should strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Vivian Malone, Rosa Parks, Marion Anderson, Emmit Till.

These are just some of the people who should be generally recognized and are just some of the people to whom all of us, black and white, owe such a debt of gratitude.
Two things struck me about Holder’s list of people who should “strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation.”

First, Justice Thurgood Marshall was not on Holder’s list.

Granted Holder couldn’t name everyone who merited specific mention on his list. But how could the attorney general of the United States fail to mention our nation’s greatest civil rights lawyer and first African-American Supreme Court justice?

Second, everyone on Holder’s list is a black.

Nowhere in his speech does Holder mention a single white contributor to the advancement of blacks in America and to understanding between the races.

That's a telling omission in a speech the attorney general told us was about dialogue, social amity and full inclusion involving all Americans.

Holder’s omission, while less noticeable, is as telling and troubling as his calling Americans “a nation of cowards.”

More in a few days on Holder's speech.

Thanks to those of you who sent comments and links to others’ reactions to Holder’s speech. I appreciate them.

And thanks to RealClearPolitics for hosting the speech here.

Outing LBJ’s & PBS’s Bill Moyers

Here’s Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine’s Contentions blog - -

… [PBS’s Bill] Moyers is among the most sanctimonious individuals on television (quite a feat, given the competition). He presents himself as a champion of good government, an intrepid voice for integrity and honesty, ever on the lookout for people who would degrade our public discourse or act in a dishonorable manner.

That’s why this [Washington Post] revelation — Moyers seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members — is particularly notable. …

Wehner refers to a WaPo story Thursday, Feb. 19, which told readers - -

Previously confidential FBI files show that Hoover's deputies set out to determine [in 1964 during the Johnson-Goldwater presidential campaign] whether [top White House aide Jack] Valenti, who had married two years earlier, maintained a relationship with a male commercial photographer.

Republican Party operatives reportedly were pursuing a parallel investigation with the help of a retired FBI agent, bureau files show.

No proof was ever found, but the files, obtained by The Washington Post under the federal Freedom of Information Act, provide further insight into the conduct of the FBI under Hoover, for whom damaging personal information on the powerful was a useful tool in his interactions with presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard M. Nixon. [
WaPo should have made clear here that while FDR, JFK, LBJ and Nixon were involved in such activities with Hoover, there's no evidence Truman or Eisenhower ever were so involved. – JinC]

In the Washington of the early 1960s, allegations or proof of homosexuality could end a career. In October 1964, Walter Jenkins, another senior aide in the Johnson administration, was arrested for allegedly having sex in the men's room of the Washington YMCA.

The news leaked just before the election, and Johnson, rushing to stem the political damage, quickly secured the resignation of Jenkins, then his longest-serving aide.

Even Bill Moyers, a White House aide now best known as a liberal television commentator, is described in the records as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members.

Moyers said by e-mail yesterday that his memory is unclear after so many years but that he may have been simply looking for details of allegations first brought to the president by Hoover. …

An opinion column with the apt title - J. Edgar Moyers - appeared Saturday, Feb, 21, in the WSJ. It adds to the story of Moyers’ flagrant abuse of his White House office - - -

…But as the Post reports in passing, the dossier also reveals that Mr. Moyers -- then a special assistant to LBJ -- requested in 1964 that Hoover's G-men "investigate two other administration figures who were 'suspected as having homosexual tendencies.'"

This isn't the first time Mr. Moyers's name has come up in connection with Hoover's abuse of office. When Laurence Silberman, now a federal appeals judge, was acting Attorney General in 1975, he was obliged to read Hoover's secret files in their entirety in preparation for testimony before Congress --
and as far as we know remains one of the only living officials to have done so.(emphasis added)

"It was the single worst experience of my long governmental service," he wrote in these pages in 2005. ...

The following is from Judge Silverman’s WSJ op-ed of July 20, 2005 which was adapted from a speech he’d recently delivered to the First Circuit Judicial Conference.

… Only a few weeks before the 1964 election, a powerful presidential assistant, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in a men's room in Washington. Evidently, the president was concerned that Barry Goldwater would use that against him in the election.
Another assistant, Bill Moyers, was tasked to direct Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater's staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files.

When the press reported this [in 1975], I received a call in my office from Mr. Moyers. Several of my assistants were with me. He was outraged; he claimed that this was another example of the Bureau salting its files with phony CIA memos.

I was taken aback. I offered to conduct an investigation, which if his contention was correct, would lead me to publicly exonerate him. There was a pause on the line and then he said, "I was very young. How will I explain this to my children?" And then he rang off.

I thought to myself that a number of the Watergate figures, some of whom the department was prosecuting, were very young, too. . .

My comments:

The four pieces linked here are all worth reading. If you only have time to read one, I suggest Silverman’s. He tells us some very important things about our recent political past.

Plenty of people have fooled me but never Moyers.

Moyers – a man of equal parts hypocrisy, sanctimony, and sleaze – is as easy to peg for what he really is as a department store Santa. Yet he fools millions of PBS's viewers, many of whom think of themselves as smart people. Wonder of wonders.

Moyers is lucky to be a liberal Dem making his millions hustling on PBS.

If he were even a true centrist and on Fox, the “firestorm of outrage from gay activists, civil rights leaders and congressional Democrats now calling for an investigation into Moyers’ conduct while a White House aide” would've very likely brought him by now to the point of resigning from PBS.

Moyers is one of the reasons I don’t contribute to PBS.

Harvard’s Faust Takes Students’ Questions. Where’s Duke’s Brodhead?

Under the headline – Faust Addresses UC Meeting – The Harvard Crimson recently reported - - -

University President Drew G. Faust addressed a crowd of inquisitive students at last night’s Undergraduate Council meeting, fielding questions on subjects ranging from the University’s response to the current financial crisis to the Reserve Officer Training Corps’ absence from campus.

“I thought she was really open with the students,” said Andrea R. Flores ’10, who officially assumed the position of UC president at yesterday’s meeting. . . .

The rest of The Crimson’s story’s here.

What The Crimson reports Faust said is stated in general terms and amounts to “weak tea.”

I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to the actual substance and qualifiers in Faust's answers.

Also, The Crimson doesn’t report whether the meeting was for UC members only or open to any undergraduate student.

Still, I finished the article asking myself: When was the last time Duke’s President Richard Brodhead submitted to questions from undergrads in an open forum with the press covering it?

Do you know?

By the way: What’s Brodhead been doing recently besides meeting in secret with “top” trustees and his attorney’s?

Why hasn't Duke’s Chronicle’s editorial board urged Brodhead to make himself available to all undergrads and their questions in an open and press-reported forum?

Comments re: Juan Williams & NPR's Intolerant Liberals

What follows are parts or all of comments on the thread of Juan Williams & NPR's Intolerant Liberals.

Readers' comments are in italics; my responses are in plain.

Anon @ 4:19 - - -

When Williams or Liasson were on Brit Hume's Fox News program as part of the “All-stars,” I would suffer through their typical liberal spin so I could hear what Hume or Krauthammer had to say.

Over the years, there have been a few times Williams surprised me by making a little sense but not enough to change by view of him as a typical NPR lib.

If he is actually going to separate himself from the liberal mantra (ie start thinking for himself, start making sense) he should leave NPR for his own sake. He loses credibility with many of us just by the association.

While I often disagree with them, I’m glad Williams and Liasson are frequent members of the All-Stars panel. I like to hear civil people side-by-side express differing political views.

You’re right that among many of us who are – independents, conservatives, center-right – the NPR tag is a downer and with good reason.

Tarheel Hawkeye - - -

. . . I have an acquaintance who claims to be a hard-core Kansas Republican, but he just delights in listening to NPR and the BBC overseas broadcasts--he's an education snob and thinks anything aired by a university is above reproach . . .

I meet many just like you’re describing. I wonder if any of them ever consider what the reaction of many at Duke to a wildly improbable hoax tale about a gang rape and then a transparent frame-up attempt that played out for almost a year suggests about the dross which emanates frequently from many campuses.

Does anyone recall a few years ago when several Northeastern NPR broadcasters were furnishing their donor lists to the Democrat party? I haven't forgotten.

I'd forgotten until you mentioned it. If a reader digs that story out and sends me links, I’ll post on it.

Anon @ 8:24 - - -

If we get a new fairness doctrine, can we please start with NPR. There is no balance there at all. How about a federally mandated limit on liberal speech on NATIONAL PUBLIC Radio, broadcast over the people's airwaves.

Do you realize if NPR couldn’t broadcast liberal speech, there’d be very little sound coming from its 850 or so affiliates?

Ken @ 2:37 - - -

The left will never be satisfied until everyone who disagrees with the party line is silenced. Williams, like Lieberman is very irritating in the echo chamber because he doesn't say the same thing as every other lefty.

A defining characteristic of the Left today in America is its intolerance for opposing opinions and free speech. The speech codes which infest so many campuses are one example of the Left’s intolerance. The Harvard CAS faculty's treatment of Larry Summers is another.

NPR is seen as a propaganda outlet that cannot be sullied by less than true believers. It is the "Vatican Radio" of the church of JFK. . . .

It’s more like the church of Sen. Ted Kennedy and Revs. Al Sharpton and Bill Moyers.

Williams' analysis of Michelle Obama is the equivalent of questioning the saints. It is just not done.


Anon @ 9:51 - -

Juan Williams' real crime is probably writing the book "Enough." In this book, he takes some African-American leaders to task for trying to overplay the victim card. . . .

Do Williams' detractors really, really want the "Fairness Doctrine" to return? He is one of the few commentators or NPR who seems to have an open mind.

I expect most of “Williams' detractors really, really want the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ to return.” I’d guess though that they wouldn’t want it to apply to NPR which so many libs and leftists consider “centrist.”

cks - - -

Long before Williams was a radio and television pundit, he was a reporter for the Washington Post (early eighties). While many of his articles were infused with leftist-liberal political thinking, he occasionally produced articles and columns which ran contrary to the leftist mantra - the letters that would appear in the Post criticizing him when that happened were often quite vitriolic.

It was only gradually that he began to appear on radio (and then later television). If memory serves correctly, he first appeared as part of the weekly panel on NPR’s Diane Rehm show (where he was in many instances the voice of the right - which tell you about how “unbiased” that particular program was and still is).

Although I find that the times that I agree with Juan Williams are few and far between, I do enjoy listening to the give and take that he provides on the Fox All Stars section of Fox’s nightly news.

Thank you, cks, for the background information.

And thanks to all of you who commented in response to the post.

Subsequently, a few readers have commented concerning Williams and/or NPR on other post threads.

I plan to respond to those comments here on the main page tomorrow.