Saturday, September 15, 2007

N&O’s 9/15 Suit “recap:” My take

The Raleigh N&O’s Sept. 15 Durham News section contains a story:

Lawsuit threat revives lacrosse questions
The story is described as a “recap” of recent events “on the lacrosse case front.”

I want to “walk” through the story with you. The story text is in italics; my comments are in plain.

About half way through the story, I’ll stop commenting. Tomorrow I’ll comment on the rest of the story. But I’ve included the whole story in this post for your reference.

I think N&O reporter Matt Dees has done a good job reporting a story that includes a lot of material dealing with some very complex issues.

I look forward to your comments. I’m betting some of you will point out things neither Dees nor I mention. We should wind up with a thread that “adds to the story.”

Now let’s begin: ----

Lawyers for the three former Duke lacrosse players once accused of rape have given the city until early next month to either pony up $30 million or face a federal civil lawsuit, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations who requested anonymity.
Anonymous sources. So much for N&O reporter Joe Neff’s claims May 22 at the National Press Club that the N&O has a policy against the use of anonymous sources and never used a single anonymous or unnamed source (Is there a difference?) during all its Duke lacrosse reporting up to that date.
Attorneys Barry Scheck and Brendan Sullivan Jr. told city leaders in a meeting last week that it was a take-it-or-leave-it offer, though many legal experts say few things in civil litigation aren't subject to negotiation.

The settlement also would require the city to create an independent commission to review complaints about police involvement in the case and push state leaders to enact other reforms, such as mandatory videotaping of identification procedures.

The settlement demands were widely reported last Friday, initially attributed to unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations between the city and the players' lawyers. City officials have refused to confirm the reports, but they have not disputed any of the details.

If no settlement is reached, lawyers for former players Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann indicated they would sue under a federal statute claiming that the city violated their clients' constitutional rights by bringing rape charges later deemed unfounded.
Attorneys not involved in the possible suits (I’m not an attorney) say the suits will almost certainly be based not just on what was done to bring the charges, but on what has been done subsequently to cover-up the attempted framing of the players.

The attorneys all stress the city has never officially acknowledged that what’s been done was wrong. It’s thereby, according to the attorneys, continued a “pattern and practice” of “abuse of process” which began in March 2006 and continues at present. That will make it more liable if suits are brought.
The city is regarded as vulnerable to the lawsuit in three key areas:

* The April 4, 2006, photo-identification procedure, conducted in violation of city policies, which led to indictments in the case.

* Discrepancies between hand-written notes taken by police Investigator Benjamin Himan and typewritten notes submitted months later by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb. Gottlieb wrote in July 2006 that accuser Crystal Gail Mangum on March 16 had described three people who fit the characteristics of the three indicted players. Himan's notes, written the day of the March meeting with Mangum, had offered three very different descriptions.

* A CrimeStoppers poster released by police shortly after the initial rape allegations. It said a woman "was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community."
Two important points here:

1) Durham City maintains CrimeStoppers is an independent organization for whose actions it bears no responsibility, and that the police release of the poster was not DPD approved.

Those claims will surely be disputed by the players’ attorneys.

What is indisputable and a key area of the city’s vulnerability are the actions of DPD Cpl. David Addison who, between March 24 and 28, repeatedly told the public about a “horrific crime,” “really, really strong evidence,” and “a wall of silence.” All lies. None were ever disputed by Addison’s DPD supervisors or city manager Patrick Baker. (Durham has a city council –city manager form of government. Therefore, Baker is the city’s highest executive officer.)

2) Attorneys tell me the city is also very vulnerable because of what they say the courts refer to as “the reasonable, trained officer” standard against which the actions and inactions of certain Durham police officers will be judged as well as what, if anything, their supervisors did when they learned of the officers’ actions and inactions.

As it's been explained to me, how a court and possibly a jury will look at what
“ reasonable, trained officers” should be expected to do ought to be a major area of concern for both the individual police involved and for city leaders.

In terms of the city’s vulnerability – really liability – in this area, every attorney I’ve talked to has said Durham Police chief Chalmers’ report saying the police did nothing wrong in the Duke lacrosse “investigation” and Baker’s signoff on it, put the city squarely on record as saying it was satisfied DPD’s officers acted as the city expects “reasonable, trained officers” to act.

“Chalmers’- Baker is a big, big problem for the city if these suits ever go to court,“ one attorney said. “ A federal judge or jury isn’t likely to see what Gottlieb did as what a “reasonable, trained officer” would do. And while Gottlieb may be held to some liability for what he did, a judge or jury is going to look at the city and say, 'You knew about what he did and you never said it wasn't OK. So you’re big-time liable, Durham.'"

Folks, I’ll pick up my commentary tomorrow. It’s your turn now.

N&O story continues: ----

If the city decides to agree to the settlement demand, the $30 million would average out to about $142 per Durham resident. The city's liability insurance covers it up to $5 million.

What we don't know:


City attorneys are weighing the strength of the players' case, but there are indications that the city won't settle for $30 million.

Elected city leaders say they already are feeling pressure from residents not interested in paying a high-dollar settlement.

"They think it's ridiculous," Mayor Bill Bell said.

"People have heard there was a settlement with Duke. [The players] didn't spend any time in jail, didn't go to trial and now they're giving demands that could affect people's pocketbooks as taxpayers."


Individual police officers can be held responsible for misconduct, but a higher legal standard must be met to find an entire city liable.

Under federal law, plaintiffs would have to prove that the city exhibited a "pattern and practice" of violating people's constitutional rights or that top city leaders directly condoned the violation of the players' rights.

Some attorneys have pointed to the report issued by City Manager Patrick Baker and then-Police Chief Steven Chalmers earlier this year, which largely defended the department's handling of the case, as proof that the city signed off on police action.

But the report did not address the discrepancy between Himan's and Gottlieb's notes or the CrimeStoppers poster.

Chalmers contended that the April 4, 2006, photo procedure that led to identifications of suspects wasn't in fact a lineup, but was merely intended for Mangum to tell investigators who were potential witnesses.


The type of civil lawsuit threatened by the players is getting increasingly hard to win, said Luke Largess, a Charlotte attorney who handles many civil rights cases.

If the players sued for $30 million or more and won, it would be one of the largest judgments against a city for police misconduct in U.S. history.

But it's questionable whether a jury would determine their suffering was worth such a high price.

While the national media coverage exposed them to public scorn at the outset of the case, much of that same media coverage has subsequently shifted focus toward their innocence.

And some people have expressed concern that people who spend years of their lives in prison for crimes they didn't commit get much less than the players are seeking.

A Look at Reagan’s 1980 Campaign

There’s an op-ed in today’s New York (Betray Us) Times which analyzes then former Governor Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign strategy. Written by four policy experts, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the op-ed begins:

It is rare for world leaders to be selected on the basis of their foreign policy acumen or experience. Most leaders are chosen over rivals because of skills in domestic politics.

Consequently, those who shape international affairs are best understood first as politicians and only later perhaps as statesmen. Understanding how leaders come to and stay in office is far more important to our grasp of major events in international politics than traditional ideas about the balance of power or polarity.

Ronald Reagan’s successes illustrate this central claim. Mr. Reagan needed to run on a peace plan in 1980: a telephone survey taken by the Gallup Poll during the primaries had found that 46 percent of those questioned thought President Jimmy Carter would be more likely to keep the country out of war, while 31 percent thought Mr. Reagan would.

Despite widespread expectations that he would favor abandonment of nuclear arms control negotiations with the Soviets, Mr. Reagan in fact supported continued talks, although under revised terms.

Mr. Reagan’s proposals in 1980 fundamentally challenged conventional economic and strategic assumptions. Mr. Reagan told voters that American leaders, including President Carter, had for decades completely misunderstood the cold war.

But Mr. Reagan’s masterstroke was to present himself as a man of peace.

Mr. Reagan told voters that they should separate his strategy of rearmament from his objective of mutual cooperation with the Soviet Union. This was the heart of his interpretation of the conservative slogan “peace through strength.”

While Mr. Carter labored to appear strong on defense, Mr. Reagan presented a more muted version of his own foreign policy and defense plans. Speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars gathering in Chicago on Aug. 18, 1980, he expressed in peaceful terms his call for a military buildup.

“Actually, I’ve called for whatever it takes to be so strong that no other nation will dare violate the peace,” Mr. Reagan said. “World peace must be our No. 1 priority. It is the first task of statecraft to preserve peace so that brave men need not die in battle. But it must not be peace at any price. It must not be a peace of humiliation and gradual surrender.”

Speaking to a crowd in Cincinnati two months later, Mr. Reagan unleashed one of his most thorough attempts to portray himself as a man of peace and Mr. Carter as a hapless warmonger.

“The president of the United States seems determined to have me start a nuclear war,” he said. “Well, I’m just as determined not to. As a matter of fact, his foreign policy, his vacillation, his weakness is allowing our allies throughout the world to no longer trust us and our adversaries to no longer respect us.

There’s a far greater danger of an unwanted, inadvertent war with that policy than there is with someone in there who believes that the first thing we should do is rebuild our defensive capability.”
When you're weak, your enemies attack you. Negotiate from strength. Peace through strength.

Those were Reagan's beliefs.

Can you recall Reagan's 1980 campaign speeches?

Do you remember or have you read how Reagan was demonized by most of the media and the academy as a “warmonger” and ridiculed as “an amiable dunce” who didn’t understand that we needed to learn to get along with the Soviet Union?

A few years later when now President Reagan predicted the Soviet Union would wind up on “the ash heap of history,” the Betray Us Times, other Democratic Party news organizations and the usual academic “experts” were positively apoplectic.

How were the American people so foolish as to elect “this grade B Hollywood actor” president, they asked?

Well, thank God, the American people usually have more sense than the liberal/leftist MSMers and their academic soul mates.

Read the whole op-ed here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 14, 2007

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

More responding today to your comments.

Referring to a recent failed terrorist attack in London, an Anon said: “I just spoke to some British friends and they said that the feeling was that this was a pathetic attempt, compared to the IRA.”

The IRA has pulled off many terrorist attacks in London.

Churchill was high on the IRA terrorists' target list. In the early 1920s, the Chief of the Imperial Staff was shot and killed by IRA terrorists as he walked out of his London home.

Churchill, who’d been heavily involved in Anglo-Irish issues, was an obvious “next target.” The government decided to provide him with a bodyguard. That’s how Walter Thompson of Scotland Yard came into his life. Thompson would remain Churchill’s principal bodyguard for most of the years from then through the end of WW II.

Another Anon said: “What a guy - Where is another Churchill when we need him?”

There are many very thoughtful people who say that even if a British child came into the world now with all of Churchill’s natural gifts, the child would not grow up to be another Churchill because he or she would not be educated to believe in the uniqueness and superiority of things like parliamentary government, the English common law, and the enormous contributions Great Britain and the Commonwealth have made to the relative freedoms and economic opportunities now available to billions of people around the world.

I'm inclined to agree with people who say that. How about you?

Another Anon says there’s an interesting discussion going on at the Volokh Conspiracy blog ( If you don’t know VC, it’s the blog of a group of distinguished law professors.).

George Mason Law School Professor Todd Zywicki reviewed Lynne Olson's Troublesome Young Men, her account of a small group of Conservative MPs who stood up to Neville Chamberlain, opposed his appeasement policies, helped bring down Chamberlain’s government and make Churchill PM.

Zywicki's very positive review has drawn some interesting comments. Anon thought you might like to take a look at the review and comments so here’s the link: :

There are a few more comments I want to respond to on Monday.

In the meantime, I hope you have a nice weekend.


NYT’s Until Proven Innocent review.

The NY Times Sunday Book Review chose Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington University, to review Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson’s Until Proven Innocent.

Professor Rosen gives the book the equivalent of at least an “A,” maybe an “A+.”
Rosen begins:

From the Scottsboro Boys to Clarence Gideon, some of the most memorable legal narratives have been tales of the wrongly accused. Now “Until Proven Innocent,” a new book about the false allegations of rape against three Duke lacrosse players, can join these galvanizing cautionary tales.

We know how the story ended: the attorney general of North Carolina dismissed all charges against the lacrosse players, declaring them completely innocent, and he denounced Michael Nifong, the district attorney who brought the case, as a “rogue prosecutor.” Nifong was not only disbarred and disgraced; his name has become a synonym for gross prosecutorial abuse. To be “Nifonged” now means to be railroaded.

In their riveting narrative, Stuart Taylor Jr., one of America’s most insightful legal commentators (and a former reporter at The New York Times), and KC Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York, portray Nifong as “evil or deluded or both.” They call him a “race-baiting demagogue” who tried to fan racial hatred against innocent white students (and lock them up for 30 years) in order to win black votes in his re-election campaign.

Soon after an African-American stripper claimed she had been gang-raped at a Duke lacrosse party, the authors charge, Nifong should have known that the woman he called “my victim” was lying. She made the claim of rape only when threatened with confinement in a mental health center.

She then recanted and re-recanted, offering a series of contradictory claims to having been raped by 20, five, four, three and two players, before finally settling on three, none of whom she could confidently identify. Her fellow stripper at the party called her story a “crock.”

Nifong didn’t know all this, however, because, incredibly, he never interviewed his “victim” about the facts. Instead, he set out systematically to demonize the accused players, violating pretrial publicity rules while suppressing evidence of their innocence.

After the accuser proved unable to identify her assailants during two photo lineups, Nifong told the police to give her a third chance, showing her pictures only of the 46 white lacrosse players without any pictures of “fillers,” or nonsuspects. This violated local, state and federal rules for reliable identification procedures.
I think Nifong knew a lot more than he’s admitted so far, but otherwise I agree with what Rosen says about the case and the book.

There’s a lot more to the review before Rosen concludes:
Taylor and Johnson have made a gripping contribution to the literature of the wrongly accused.

They remind us of the importance of constitutional checks on prosecutorial abuse.

And they emphasize the lesson that Duke callously advised its own students to ignore: if you’re unjustly suspected of any crime, immediately call the best lawyer you can afford.
In terms of its effect on a book's sales, the NYT Sunday Book Review Section's review is one of the most important. Rosen’s review guarantees Until Proven Innocent will jump onto bestseller lists and stay there for months. What’s more, Taylor and Johnson will now have to pick-and-choose among talk show, conference and news organization interview invitations.

Good for Taylor and Johnson. Their success is deserved. They were in the forefront of the fight to expose the injustices of the Duke Hoax. They've written a fine book. And they’ve continuously reminded us of the stake every American has in the Duke Hoax case.

Anyone who thinks the Hoax case is only about a few Duke lacrosse players should consider this: In July last year the Friends of Duke University, a group formed to encourage the university to treat the players more fairly, invited Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, to join with them in that endeavor.

Brodhead dismissed the Friends’ invitation; and told them he was looking forward to the players being put on trial where Brodhead said they’d have a chance to be “proved innocent.”

A few months later on 60 Minutes Brodhead whined to the late Ed Bradley that following the accusations of gang-rape, he faced a very difficult ordeal because “the facts kept changing.”

When the president of one of America’s major universities stands our justice system on its head by declaring a trial is the place where his students will have a chance to be “proved innocent;” and then whines about facts changing; and all the while he’s doing that, his university’s trustees are sending out emails to alums telling them what a great job their president is doing, it’s time for every American to sit up, take notice and ask: “What’s happening to the America our founders bequeathed to us?”

Until Proven Innocent explains why we should all be asking that question. We ignore its lessons at our peril.

Rosen's review is here.

This made me smile

In the comic strip Rhymes with Orange the psychiatrist is giving the patient a diagnosis.

Psychiatrist: You’re a kleptomaniac.

Patient: Do you have something I can take for that?

Blog Hooligan Wit

At Liestoppers Blog Hooligans folks are now talking about the possibility the Feds will come to Durham to have a look at what Nifong, DPD and others did trying to frame innocent people and then cover it up.

One comment led to another and the matter of the impending suits against the city melded into the comments as did the upcoming Durham election.

About that point kbp said:

So the next campaign we'll read about will be
That was quickly followed by Maggief with:
Reads like a campaign bumper sticker...

Re-elect Mayor Bill Bell

An N&O news story or ad?

Newspapers in Europe regularly run ads on their front-pages. I’m told some papers in America are now doing it, while others are considering it.

Today the Raleigh News & Observer has a front-page story:

Lacrosse panel stuck in idle
Mayor still wants an accounting
that reads like an advertisement Durham City leaders purchased in order to present in the best possible light the city’s involvement in the attempted frame-up of three innocent Duke lacrosse players and the ongoing cover-up of same.

The entire N&O story follows, after which below the star line I explain why I think the news story reads more like an ad for Durham City.

The N&O's story:

The city-appointed committee set up to review the police department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case is on hold indefinitely, Mayor Bill Bell said Thursday.

Bell said he hoped the panel would reconvene at some point to get a full accounting of what went wrong in bringing false rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players.

"We really need to know what occurred," Bell said in a meeting Thursday with News & Observer editors and reporters. "I don't think the community's going to be satisfied until we do."

The city's insurance company has advised that further investigation by the panel could turn up information that might hurt Durham in a civil lawsuit.

It was reported last week that the former players have told the city to pay them $10 million each or face a civil lawsuit. Sources with knowledge of the pending lawsuit said the players' attorneys gave the city a month to consider the offer.

Bell and City Manager Patrick Baker were asked Thursday whether they would have done anything differently.

Baker said he thinks the city had its hands tied by then-District Attorney Mike Nifong.

Telltale sign

Baker noted that the police never filed an arrest warrant, a sign they didn't think there was evidence to charge Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Investigators did testify before a grand jury, which wound up indicting the players.

"I don't know that there was any constitutional authority for us to say, 'You know, Mr. District Attorney, we're not going to answer your subpoena to testify in front of the grand jury. We think it's time to shut [the case] down,' " Baker said.

"There's a good bit of frustration in the police department," he said. "At some point in time, they'll say what they need to say."

Bell said he thinks city officials' decision to more or less keep mum about the investigation -- including then-Police Chief Steve Chalmers -- was wise. "On balance, I think we did as best we could have done, given the circumstances we were dealing with."

So it’s all Nifong’s fault and “Baker said he thinks the city had its hands tied by then-District Attorney Mike Nifong.”

Were the city’s hands tied when Durham Police spokesperson Cpl. David Addison told WRAL on March 24, 2006: "You are looking at one victim brutally raped. If that was someone else's daughter, child, I don't think 46 (tests) would be a large enough number to figure out exactly who did it?"

This from the March 25 N&O: "We're asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward," Durham police Cpl. David Addison said. "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime."

Why was Addison saying that?

And why is Bell touting “city officials' decision to more or less keep mum about the investigation?”

Bell knows that isn't true. Last March Addison seemed to be in a race with Nifong to see who could give the most media interviews.

And what about this N&O report on January 13, 2007:
Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge said Nifong's stepping aside won't change the substance of the evidence collected by the department's detectives that a sexual assault occurred.

Hodge said he thinks that the case will still go forward and that the remaining charges will be prosecuted.

"I don't think it changes anything that we've done," Hodge said. "It just means that we'll have to deal with a different attorney."
Did any of the N&O reporters and editors meeting with Bell and Baker ask the questions I’ve just asked? And ones like them?

Or did they just accept what Bell and Baker said the way a newspaper advertising department accepts copy for an ad?

Folks, I wonder if the reason the N&O ran what was more an ad than a news story isn’t this: The N&O reporters and editors knew if they started asking Bell and Baker the questions they should have asked them, Bell and Baker would have responded with something like:
“What about your telling your readers all about your use of Nifong as an anonymous source last March? And why didn’t you report in your March 25 story the information you had about the players’ cooperation with police? And what you knew about Mangum’s background?”
What do you think?

You can read more about Hodge hyping the attempted frame-up here.

The Liestoppers Blog Hooligans are all over today’s N&O “ad.” Take a look here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Churchill Series - Sept. 13, 2007

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

Yesterday I said I'd respond today and tomorrow to some of your recent comments.

The September 10 post included this Churchill quote:

Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world: "We are still masters of our fate. We are still captain of our souls." Speech on the War Situation, House of Commons, September 9, 1941
That drew a comment from an Anon who correctly noted Churchill was quoting the poet William Ernest Henley. Anon said recognizing Henley's words was once the "only thing I got right on an English test."

Well, Anon has gotten a lot smarter since because h/she went on to say, "Am in Awe of Sir Winston," and to suggest Henley "doubtless inspired" Churchill.

Anon's confident speculation that Henley "doubtless inspired" Churchill is something Churchill himself would readily have agreed to.

Churchill said that as a boy there were some things about school he liked. One of them was memorizing “lots of poetry by heart.”

When well into his eighties, Churchill could still recite poems he'd learned as a boy. Henley's Invictus was one of his favorites. The poem had always stirred him, he told people, and given him strength in trying times.

The following version is taken from Louis Untermeyer’s Modern British Poetry.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
I'll respond to some other questions tomorrow.

I want to end this post by taking the first two stanzas of Invictus and following them with an act of "poetic license" to illustrate how I believe the poem stirred Churchill and gave him strength in trying times.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

"And we shall defend out island home, whatever the cost may be."

Until Proven Innocent questions

Readers Note: You all will pick up quickly on the email below, which I've just sent KC Johnson offline.

Many of you may have the same or similar questions to those I asked him. You may also have had the same difficulty commenting at KC's Durham-in-Wonderland blog today that I've had.


Dear KC,

At your Book News post you say:

A reminder that the source notes are available for the book, at the book website. The notes also include corrections to the text. One correction that I wanted to highlight here as well: on pp. 65-66: the discussion of the March 25 N&O story quoted Duke Law professor Paul Haagen’s recollections of his interview for that article. The book stated that Samiha Khanna interviewed Haagen, and Haagen recalled her asking leading questions; in fact, another N&O reporter interviewed Haagen.

I apologize for the error.
I went to your source notes website and found the following:

pp. 65-66:

The discussion of the March 25 N&O story quoted Duke Law professor Paul Haagen’s recollections of his interview for that article. The book stated that Samiha Khanna interviewed Haagen, and Haagen recalled her asking leading questions; in fact, another N&O reporter interviewed Haagen, and said that she asked fair questions of Haagen, who did not subsequently complain to her. We apologize for the error.
I went back to Book Notes to make a comment, but could find no place to do so.

I've checked a number of times today and there's still no place to comment as of 10 p.m.

Have you shut down comments on this post?

I'm sending you this email and posting it for readers who may have encountered the same problem commenting, may have questions similar to mine, or may just want to learn more about the book.


Who is the reporter who actually interviewed Professor Haagen?

What was your basis for telling readers in the first place what you and Taylor reported Professor Paul Haagen said Reporter Samiha Khanna did during the interview?

For the benefit of readers who may not have access to Until Proven Innocent, I'll quote what you and Taylor say in regard to Haagen's statements and the interview: "The article concluded by portraying the chairman of Duke's Academic Council, law professor Paul Haagen, as hinting he thought the players guilty.

The story said that Haagen cited studies showing 'that violence against women is more prevalent among male athletes than among male students in general,' and singling out 'helmet sports,' such as football, hockey and lacrosse, for particular notice. The concluding quote: 'These are sports of violence. This is clearly a concern.'

Yet, as Haagen recalled later, reporter Samiha Khanna took the quotes wildly out of context: he had grave doubts about Mangum's story, and Khanna spent most of her interview with him fishing for negative quotes about the players at a faculty meeting that day."
(p. 65-66)

KC, you say in your correction: "in fact, another N&O reporter interviewed Haagen, and said that she asked fair questions of Haagen, who did not subsequently complain to her."

What does Haagen say about what this other N&O reporter says about the interview?

Do Haagen and the other N&O reporter at least agree he said what the N&O quoted him as saying?

If Haagen and this other N&O reporter are now in substantial agreement, how did you and Taylor wind up reporting the version of the interview that's in Until Proven Innocent?

In any case, I have my fingers crossed that Haagen has in fact substantially disowned what the N&O quoted him as saying in it’s March 25, 2006 story which fair-minded people familiar with the framing of the players agree was a deliberately fraudulent story.

Haagen disowning the quotes will help those of us who are working to get the N&O to retract the story and to apologize for it to the players, their families and the community for what was a deliberately fraudulent story.

Yesterday N&O executive editor Melanie Sill posted at the Editors' Blog telling readers you recently visited with the folks at the N&O. She spoke very favorably of you as you have of her. She likes the way you and the N&O compliment one another.

However, she went on to say the book has errors but didn’t specify any.

I’d ask her what she thinks they are, but she usually doesn’t respond to my questions.

So I ask you: Was the Haagen matter one of the errors the N&O pointed out?

Can you tell us what are the other errors the N&O says are in Until Proven Innocent?

Given the involvement N&O folks have had helping with the book, and how generous you've been in your praise of them, I was frankly surprised the N&O was fussing with you, even a little bit.

Following this email is a copy of the text of Book News I printed off DIW a little after 10 p.m.

Thanks for your attention to the questions.



Book News

Liestoppers has the video of my colleague Stuart Taylor’s book talk at the Cato Institute from earlier this week.

The video of my Duke talk should be available soon; when it is, I will post a link.
Stuart will be speaking tomorrow at William & Mary, in a forum on prosecutorial misconduct and the Duke lacrosse case. He’ll be joined by legal luminaries (and Duke Law professors) Jim Coleman, Erwin Chemerinsky, and Walter Dellinger. The event runs from 2.00pm-3.00pm.

A reminder that the source notes are available for the book, at the book website.

The notes also include corrections to the text. One correction that I wanted to highlight here as well: on pp. 65-66: the discussion of the March 25 N&O story quoted Duke Law professor Paul Haagen’s recollections of his interview for that article. The book stated that Samiha Khanna interviewed Haagen, and Haagen recalled her asking leading questions; in fact, another N&O reporter interviewed Haagen.

I apologize for the error.



NY Times' Betray Us Help

Here’s a news story from the NY Post that should help us all understand what the NY Times is really about:

The New York Times dramatically slashed its normal rates for a full-page advertisement for's ad questioning the integrity of Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Headlined "Cooking the Books for the White House," the ad which ran in Monday's Times says Petraeus is "a military man constantly at war with the facts" and concluded - even before he testified before Congress - that "General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us."

According to Abbe Serphos, director of public relations for the Times, "the open rate for an ad of that size and type is $181,692."

A spokesman for confirmed to The Post that the liberal activist group had paid only $65,000 for the ad - a reduction of more than $116,000 from the stated rate.

A Post reporter who called the Times advertising department yesterday without identifying himself was quoted a price of $167,000 for a full-page black-and-white ad on a Monday.

Serphos declined to confirm the price and refused to offer any inkling for why the paper would give such a discounted price.
Well, of course, the NYT would refuse to disclose the price it charged and why it give a discount. Those are Times’ business secrets.

The Times never discloses its business secrets; it only discloses U.S. security secrets.

The Post story concludes:
Citing the shared liberal bent of the group and the Times, one Republican aide on Capitol Hill speculated that it was the "family discount."

"I'm surprised they had to pay anything at all for the ad," the GOP staffer said. "They could have just asked the editorial page to run it and it wouldn't have cost them a cent."
It’s truly sad and dangerous for our country that so many liberals have fallen in with leftists who work activily against America by engaging in such actions as the Betray Us ad.

Senator John McCain, a Naval Academy graduate who later served as a pilot in Vietnam and endured five years of torture as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese, provides some perspective on the Betray Us ad:
"There is no greater slander to a soldier than an accusation of betrayal to his nation," said Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War hero and Republican presidential contender in his own right. "I do not understand why those seeking to be commander-in-chief have yet to forcefully denounce, in their own words, this McCarthyite attack on our commander."
I’ll post again on the Betray Us ad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 12, 2007

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

Readers Note: A number of you have commented recently with questions, information, etc. I’ll respond to them in the next two posts.


Yesterday’s post concerned a message President Roosevelt sent Churchill on September 22, 1940: the Germans would invade England at 3 p.m. that day. But the message had been garbled: Roosevelt had actually said what was then French Indo-China would be invaded that day by the Japanese, as indeed it was.

In any case, those of you who read yesterday’s post will recall that upon receipt of the message Churchill phoned Anthony Eden, the Secretary of State for War, who was then at his country home on the south coast of England. Eden told Churchill the weather was too wet and windy for an invasion.

A little while later, Eden climbed a hill near his home, looked out at the Channel and got back in touch with Churchill to again say the channel waters were too rough; there would be no invasion that day.

Eden’s actions and assurances to Churchill brought to mind some events Cornelius Ryan recounts in The Longest Day (Simon & Schuster, 1959). On June 4, 1944 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commanding the German defenses on the north coast of France, had gotten up at about 4 a. m. at his headquarters near the northern coast of France.

Rommel began reviewing intelligence and weather reports in order to assure himself there would be no Allied invasion during the next few days. He was planning a brief trip to Germany to see Hitler and also to be with his wife on her birthday, June 6.

Ryan writes:

In the west the weather had been bad for several days, and it promised to be even worse. The 5 a. m. report, prepared by Colonel Professor Walter Stobe, the Luftwafe’s chief meteorologist in Paris, predicted increasing cloudiness, high winds and rain. Even now a twenty-to thirty-mile-an-hour wind was blowing in the Channel. To Rommel, it seemed hardly likely that the Allies would dare launch their attack during the next few days. (p. 21)
At 7 a. m. Rommel left his headquarters for Germany.

At the same time Rommel began his journey, the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, was sleeping at his forward headquarters in England close to the Channel and not far from Eden’s county home.

Ryan continues:
In England it was 8 a.m. In a house trailer in a wood near Portsmouth, [Eisenhower] was sound asleep after having been up nearly all night. For several hours now coded messages had been going out by telephone, by messenger and by radio from his headquarters nearby.

Eisenhower, at about the time Rommel got up, had made a fateful decision: Because of unfavorable weather conditions he had postponed the Allied invasion by twenty-four hours. If conditions were right, D Day would be Tuesday, June 6. (p. 38)
Just as for Rommel, June 6 was a day which held great personal significance for Eisenhower. He knew his only son, John, would graduate West Point that day.

Durham's West Coast Friend


Do you believe a friend is someone who tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear?

I do. That’s why when Jim in San Diego commented in response to the post, Durham Suit Costs (Post 1) , I thought: “Jim’s a friend of Durham.”

His comment follows this note.

Tomorrow I'll say more about it and the other excellent comments on the post thread.


Jim in San Diego said...

It is difficult for ordinary people to understand litigation. It is immensely costly. Judgments sometimes are for big numbers.

Durham, as are other communities, is ultimately responsible for the behavior of its public officials. Whether this is right or wrong, or fair or not, that is the way it is.

In Los Angeles a cottage industry has arisen around suing the L.A. police department for various abuses. As a result, many very unattractive felons and, some would say, their equally unattractive lawyers, have won very large sums of money. Paying such settlements is now a significant budget item in the L.A. annual budget.

Now, is this good, or bad? As a result of the financial pain, there have been positive steps taken by the L.A.P.D. to reduce police abuses. Education and discipline have at least somewhat reduced the beatings and other mistreatment of L.A. citizens.

A cynic might say it has primarily made the P.D. more careful to make sure no one was videotaping the abuse. Nevertheless, the primary beneficiaries of improved police behavior have been minorities.

Fast forward to Durham, N.C. The single most amazing result of the Duke fiasco from here is the absence of any obvious corrective action by those involved (guilty?) in the fiasco. This includes police, City Council, the DA's office, and the local press.

The Federal Civil Rights Act which, ironically, the Duke victims appear to be preparing to use in Durham, was specifically drafted to deal with communities like Durham. That is, communities which consciously and intentionally violate individual civil rights with no apparent expectation that anyone will do anything about it.

The Civil Rights laws have teeth. Some of the teeth include paying for the plaintiff's legal fees, and possible injunctions to force change in Durham, whether residents like it or not.

This is something that residents have brought on themselves.

N&O: Students “may not have a civil case”

The Raleigh News & Observer’s lead editorial today is headed:

Cost of justice

Duke students badly treated by a rape allegation may not have a civil case, but their ideas for improving justice have merit
Excerpts from the editorial follow in italics; my comments are in plain.

The N&O starts off:

Being wrongly accused of rape is no picnic -- let's be honest, it's a nightmare -- but it isn't necessarily worth $10 million. That's what the three former Duke University lacrosse players are seeking from the City of Durham because of the actions of its police department, presumably minus fees to a cadre of lawyers hired to mount a potential civil rights lawsuit.

No picnic indeed! It's especially no picnic when the N&O withholds exculpatory news that you were cooperating with police and instead promulgates the lie that you refused to cooperate and were either a rapists or covering up for those whe were.

And it’s no picnic when the N&O calls the accuser “the victim” and withholds the fact she told the N&O that the second dancer had also been raped.

And it was no picnic when the N&O published the anonymous “Vigilante” poster at a time when the lacrosse players and their families had reasonable cause to fear for the players' safety.

The merits of the reported settlement demand are questionable at best, although reforms that the players' lawyers propose for police and the courts have great merit.

Folks, the sentence you’ve just read is a good example of the arrogance and contempt for simple decency of so many MSM journalists.

For good reasons, there is widespread sympathy for the former Duke students, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans. Their spring-break team party last year was reprehensible -- hired strippers and alcohol for anyone who showed up, including minors.

But no one deserves to be falsely accused of rape, as the three were by one of the strippers, or to be hounded by a district attorney seemingly blind to any evidence that showed the students may have been telling the truth -- that no assault took place -- and obsessed with winning the next election.

Or to be hounded as the N&O hounded the lacrosse players.

Or to have the exculpatory news of Mangum’s claims about the second dancer being raped and why the second dancer didn’t report it being withheld by the N&O for thirteen months, and only disclosed the day after the players had been declared innocent.

Fortunately, the system worked: Although the students were indicted, the charges were dropped and the three were declared innocent by the state attorney general. The district attorney, Mike Nifong, was disgraced, disbarred, thrown out of office and sent to jail for a day.

The system worked? David Evans grandfather died while Evans was still under indictment bacause of an attempted frame-up the N&O helped launch and sustain for thirteen months.

Who set up such a system? And can't the N&O be sued?

Meanwhile, the students settled a lawsuit against Duke, for what no doubt was an award in the eye-popping range, after Duke had suspended them and canceled the lacrosse team's season in the wake of the charges. Duke, of course, is a private institution and can spend its money any way it wants.

A potential suit against the city is different, since a substantial settlement would put a burden on taxpayers rich, middle-income and poor. Sources told The News & Observer that the demand is $30 million over five years. Subtract $5 million in liability insurance coverage, and that amounts to about $119 in city funds for each of Durham's residents to cover the remaining $25 million. And that's despite the fact that Durham detectives were among the first to tell Nifong his case was weak.

It doesn’t sound so bad, the way Editor Steve Ford puts it. The young men are getting rich. And the Durham detectives were among the first to tell Nifong his case was weak.

I wonder whether it crossed Ford's mind to suggest the City Council commend DPD for it's work on the case.

No, I've got some better question for him.

Editor Ford, if the detectives were telling Nifong the case was weak, why was DPD Deputy Chief Hodge telling the public the case was strong? And why did DPD spokesperson Cpl. Addison repeatedly tell us about this “horrific crime?”

If you're right, Editor Ford, about DPD detectives being "among the first to tell Nifong his case was weak," and, at the same time, Hodge and Addison were telling the public the opposite, could what Hodge and Addison did have anythng to do with the impending suits?

And should it, Editor Ford? Your faithful readers look to you for an answer.

Defendants who are unfairly treated may well have a valid claim for compensation, proportionate to the harm they suffered, if they can show a pattern of official misconduct.

Imagine that. The things you learn reading an N&O editorial.

The N&O goes on with more, including some advice for Durham’s City Council:

The City Council should be in no rush to settle the case for a huge sum to forestall the threatened lawsuit. In fact, the council could demonstrate its good faith by following through with the case review it commissioned under the leadership of former Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard.

Of course, the city’s insurance company has said if Durham doesn’t shut down the Whichard Commission until the question of suits is settled, it will “walk” on the policy and pay nothing.

The N&O must have "forgotten" about that.

And we all know how easy it is for the “fair and accurate” journalists at the N&O to "forget" things. Remember last March when they learned who the accuser was?

Everyone at the N&O involved in the story “forgot” to check her criminal background for weeks, and instead reported the “frightened young mother new to stripping” lie.

The N&O only "remembered to check" Mangum's background when other news organizations began reporting on it.

The entire N&O editorial is here.

Durham Suit Costs (Post 1)

The last few days here in Durham people have been talking about how expensive suits can.

In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, there’s a story in today’s Raleigh N&O that does a good job of presenting a few basic facts and issues. Just remember, it’s only a starting point.

There’s a lot we don’t yet know regarding a series of events that played out over many months and very likely involved crimes which the malefactors are trying now to cover-up. And there’s a lot most of us don’t know about what’s involved in bringing a civil suit of the type we’re talking about. I posted here a link to an outline of the basic procedures involved. But it’s only an outline, albeit I’m told a reliable one, of what is a complex area of law. (As I look back on what I just wrote, I’m thinking, “What area of law isn’t complex?”)

Bearing in mind the above cautions, I want to present extracts of some commentary on the suits by others. Later today I’ll post on today’s N&O editorial concerning the suits. Later this evening I’ll post again regarding the suits.

Now some others’ commentary --

Blogger Jon Ham (Right Angles), a Durham resident, made a well-reasoned, concise case for why a suit settlement should be steep. Ham’s post includes this description of a noxious news column the N&O’s Barry Saunders wrote:

Barry Saunders … called the players “little darlings,” referred to their 15 months in hell as an “inconvenience,” threatened physical violence if the city were to pay the players, and played a not-so-subtle race card by suggesting that the players’ travails made them miss the season finale of “Friends,” a TV show that irked some blacks who thought it, like “Seinfeld,” was too white.
Saunders’ column drew a response from blogger Joan Foster (Liestoppers) which included this:
There has been no accountability, no self-correction, no cleaning of the cesspool too many of you locals contentedly swim in. Why was it you never stood up to the sleaze, Barry? Was it inbred apathy, fear of reprisal, or, as Mike Nifong saw it, a golden opportunity for self-advancement? In any event, you just let it be.

But that's about to change. Sorry you didn't have the grit or the gumption to do it on your own.

No, Barry, this is a line in the sand for all those folks... poor, black, brown, and otherwise... who couldn't stand up to the bullies in blue; the wolves in white shirt and council pin; the back-slapping boys in black robes and their favorite, duly-elected district attorney, Mike Nifong. This is FOR THEM. This is to put a stake in the heart of the shameful, sickening abuse of power that dominates the smug and the powerful in your town.

Let them be deposed.

Better yet...let them be EXPOSED.Fully, completely, and finally exposed.
Folks, that’s “writing with fire.” God bless you, Joan.

Blogger Baldo (Liestoppers) writing at the LS Forum offered his fellow Durhamites some reality therapy:
What some in Durham don't want to face is that while Nifong was lying & indicting, when Gottlieb & Himan were "investigating", while Stephens was signing that NTO, while Clayton was arresting Elmo, while Baker was pretending CGM didn't change her stories, while Addison was putting out false & inflammatory information and a press release saying CGM was raped & sodomized, while senior Police management were approving the 4 April line-up, and while Nifong, Gottlieb, and Himan were hiding exculpatory DNA evidence from the Grand Jury they were all representing you, the citizens of Durham!

Did I see anyone protesting on the steps of the Courthouse except the Duke Lacrosse Community while this Travesty was happening? What I saw were local press and pompous leaders cheer-leading Nifong!... And yes I saw Nifong win TWO ELECTIONS

You the citizens of Durham are the ones who will pay.
Nice going, Baldo. You spoke the truth.

Farm subsidies: Good for whom?

Economist and columnist Robert Samuelson says:

The farm legislation proceeding through Congress symbolizes much of what's wrong with Washington. It's government by inertia.

We do today what we did yesterday, because politicians draw their power from distributing benefits and various interest groups feel entitled to receive them -- even if they serve no defensible public purpose.

Our extravagant farm programs capture the absurdity as well as any other.
Since 1970, farm subsidies have totaled $578 billion, according to the historical tables of the U.S. budget. What has the public gotten for this vast outlay?

Not much. Food would be produced without subsidies. Roughly 90 percent of commodity payments go to farmers raising grains (wheat, corn), soybeans, cotton and rice; these products represent about a fifth of farm cash receipts.

Meanwhile, meat, vegetable and fruit producers get no direct subsidies. Does anyone truly think that, without subsidies, Iowa's cornfields and Kansas's wheat fields would go fallow?
Samuelson goes on to answer his question:
If subsidies vanished, some high-cost farms would cut production or switch crops. Some land values would drop because one source of income (federal payments) would disappear. Still, food supplies would be ample.

The proof: the rest of agriculture that manages without federal largess. In 2005, meat output alone (beef, chicken, pork, veal) totaled 86.8 billion pounds.
Well sure, but what politician running for President wants to go to Des Moines and say, “If I become President, I’ll work to gradually eliminate farm subsides?”

No, they don’t do that, do they? Instead they wax poetic about how much they love “the family farm” and how hard they’ll work to preserve it.

If you can tell a plow from a cow you know that’s nothing but a coded message: “I’ll keep those subsidies flowing and growing."

Samuelson notes:
Farm subsidies date to the Great Depression. In 1932, there were 6.7 million farms, and the farm population was 25 percent of the nation's total.

By 2002, the number of farms had dwindled to 2.1 million, and the farm population was about 2 percent of the total. More mechanization, better seeds and cultivation practices have enabled fewer, bigger farms to produce more food.

There is often a life cycle in government programs. They start for good cause or with good intentions, then perpetuate themselves by creating a protective web of interests -- constituents who believe that they have property rights in benefits, politicians whose power derives from renewing or expanding the benefits, and lobbies that exist to influence crucial politicians. Farm programs adhere faithfully to this cycle.
They sure do.

And now that both major parties have farm subsidies firmly in place, they’re looking around for more fertile ground where they can plant new spending programs that will help them reap votes.

Hey, how about more government involvement in health care?

Samuelson’s column is here.

Hat tip:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 11, 2007

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

Readers Note: The series posts often go up late. Therefore, yesterday’s post contained passages from Churchill’s speeches appropriate to a remembrance of September 11, 2001.


In 1940 President Roosevelt sent Churchill a message telling him England was about to be invaded. Roosevelt not only named the day, he told Churchill the exact time the invasion would occur. No kidding.

In Finest Hour (Houghton Mifflin, 1983) historian Martin Gilbert explains what happened:

On the morning of Sunday September 22 Churchill received a message from Roosevelt, stating that the German invasion of Britain would take place that very day, at 3 p.m.

But Churchill was “thoroughly skeptical,” [his Private Secretary John] Colville noted, while Clementine Churchill and their daughter Mary “treated the whole matter as a most entertaining joke.” …

On receiving the news, Churchill telephoned [Secretary of State for War Anthony ] Eden, who was spending the weekend on the south coast. Eden’s comment was that “it was wet and blowing” and that he “felt quite safe.”

Then, after going to the top of a nearby hill and looking towards France, Eden sent Churchill a further message: “it was so rough,” he said, “that any German who attempted to cross the Channel would be very sea-sick.”

It emerged that the message from Roosevelt had been garbled. Not Britian, but French Indo-China, was the country about to be invaded. That afternoon Japanese forces occupied Saigon. The German troops remained at Calais, across the stormy Channel from Dover. (p. 802)
The garbling must have led to a lot of finger-pointing and the chewing out of code clerks and signal officers on both sides of the Atlantic.

I’ll comment further on the incident tomorrow.

Butler’s Column & My Comments

Chronicle columnist and Duke senior Kristin Butler has plenty to say today about the Hoax case and Durham. Here are excerpts with some JinC commentary in italics.

Butler begins:

This was a sensational week for lacrosse case followers. Among other things, Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson's highly anticipated book was released Tuesday, lacrosse players demanded that Durham pay $30 million to cover its misdeeds and former Durham DA Mike Nifong even did his 24-hour stint in the pokey. […]

As expected, Nifong's contempt trial featured a litany of "only-in-Durham" moments. My personal favorite was when [Nifong] suggested (under oath) that Crystal Mangum's young son may have contributed some of the unidentified male DNA found on swabs taken from her panties, vagina and rectum.

Also extraordinary was the testimony of local judges Ron Stephens and Marcia Morey, who both supported the disgraced DA during the sentencing phase of his trial. Stephens, who initially presided over the case in Spring 2006, praised Nifong for (of all things!) "enforc[ing] the rules" and being "a good lawyer, a real good lawyer" whose "word was his bond."

Morey, by contrast, asserted that it was acceptable for prosecutors to willfully lie to the court during a pretrial hearing-a remarkable thing for a judge (who has presumably studied the law at some point in her career) to say. Morey was later seen marching with Nifong as he entered the Durham County Detention Center to serve his sentence, where she was joined by 20 supporters carrying signs that read "We believe in your integrity and goodness." […]
Let’s excuse the 20 supporters as people with very strong beliefs formed in very mushy brains. Such people often wind up supporting the Nifongs of this world.

But what about the judges? They’re not supposed to have mushy brains. And their strong beliefs are supposed to include commitments to justice and a willingness to cleanse the court system of those who trample on innocent citizens.

Do Judges Stephens and Morey have any idea what their “hosannahs” for Nifong told thoughtful citizens about them and what “justice in Durham” must really be like?

Morey’s statements about what’s OK in her courtroom deserve attention from the NC State Bar.

Message to Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson: I hope your next book is about the Durham court system. Suggested title: “Anything Goes.”

Butler continues:
When I hear such things, I wonder how Durham officials expect us to have any confidence in this county's justice system at all.

Over the past 18 months we've seen a succession of judges, assistant district attorneys, police officers, city council members and other high-ranking officials (like City Manager Patrick Baker and Chief of Police Steve Chalmers) lining up to support or cover for Nifong.

Even newly appointed interim DA David Saacks-who is widely described as moderate and relatively untainted by the scandal-appeared on Nifong's behalf at the contempt trial.

For these highly educated, ostensibly well-respected people to defend Nifong after everything he's done-after all, the man was willing to send three young men to prison for 30 years to save his pension-is a disgrace, and one that reaffirms many Duke students' deeply held mistrust of this county's justice system.

That's why I hope settlement talks for Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and Dave Evans will encourage the reforms that city officials have neglected. It was widely reported last week that the three are seeking $30 million from the city, and I hope they get every penny.[…]
Butler’s entire column is here. I hope you read it.

9/11 Remembrance & Resistance

Memory helps keep alive the freedoms and values we cherish and the people – dead and alive – we want to always be with us.

With that in mind, I hope you’ll visit some of the following blogs and other places today.

Michelle Malkin's Remembrance and Resistance post which provided the title for this post and Lorie Byrd’s Six Years Later We Will Not Forget are outstanding starting places.

Both posts are rich in texts, photos, audios and video clips which recall and honor the many who served on September 11, 2001 and the many who died that day, with some of their last acts heroic.

Lorie’s post has many links. It's where I found this link to the text of President Bush’s Sept. 20, 2001 Address to the Congress and Nation.

Also thanks to Lorie I found this link to Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds’ posting on 9/11 right as events were unfolding.

Finally, William Teach at the Raleigh, NC based Pirate’s Cove posts with many “never forget” statements and photos. Here’s one of them from September, 2005:

Al Qaeda traditionally issues a video every year on the anniversary, with the last testament of one of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This year’s video showed hijacker Waleed al-Shehri, addressing the camera and warning the U.S.: "We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left."
Let us honor our heroes, cherish our values and never forget what Waleed al-Shehri and his ilk are telling us and working night and day to do.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Churchill Series - Sept. 10, 2007

The following post was first published on July 7, 2005 following terrorist attacks that day on a London train and buses which killed dozens of people.

The post was meant as an act of solidarity and resolve with our U.K. friends.

I'm reposting it on the eve of the 9/11 Anniversary because Churchill's words have great meaning for us here in the States as well as for people everywhere resisting the awful menaces of Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism.


"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.'' Churchill speaking at his old school, Harrow. October 29, 1941

"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." His first broadcast as Prime Minister to the British people on the BBC. May 19, 1940

Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world: "We are still masters of our fate. We are still captain of our souls." Speech on the War Situation, House of Commons, September 9, 1941

"We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!" Speech after Dunkirk, House of Commons, June 4, 1940

"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour." Speech following the collapse of France, House of Commons, June 18, 1940

Quotes and citations found at the Churchill Centre website.

KC at Duke: A Q&A, DAs & taping.

The distinguished historian Robert KC Johnson's been in the forefront of the fight to stop the injustices of now disbarred Durham DA Mike Nifong and his enablers in the Duke/Durham community.

Tuesday, September 11, KC will be at Page Auditorium on Duke's West Campus.

Directions to the event are here along with other information.

The public's invited. There's no admission charge.

Now an update:

KC's talk will last about 45 minutes. If you've ever heard him speak, you know he's an organized and thoughtful speaker who assumes his listeners' are intelligent and want to know the facts.

Following KC's talk, they'll be a 45 minute Q&A

And what about the DAs, you ask?

Those would be defense attorneys.

A number of the attorneys who defended the falsely accused Duke students will be there tomorrow night.

I'll be sure to speak to at least one of them if by tomorrow afternoon I'm indicted by a Durham grand jury.

Mind you, I'm not expecting that to happen, but it's nice to know the attorneys will be there just in case.

One other item: You can audio or video tape KC's talk and the Q&A.

Now some of you may be saying: "But at the February Shut Up forum at Duke with all those Group of 88 professors and their colleagues talking, we weren't allowed to tape. Why are we being allowed to tape the event with KC?"

That's a fair question.

I hope some of the Group of 88 who read this blog will tell us why the Feburary Shut Up event couldn't be taped.

And I hope many of you will be there tomorrow night.

Dems' "General Betray Us" ad

The Democrats at and the New York Times teamed up today, the eve of the 6th Anniversary of 9/11, to produce the General Betray Us ad. You can get a look at it here at Q and O.

Be careful with your comments. You know how Dems hate it when anyone questions their patriotism.

BTW – You’ll have a chance to vote for a Dem for President next year. The General Betray Us ad is intended to help convince you to vote for Senator Hillary Clinton or whomever else the Dems select in ’08 to be General Petraeus’ and our troops’ next commander-in-chief.

Also BTW – I’m not a Republican but I could never belong to the party that’s fighting to smear Petraeus and defeat what he and our troops are trying to do in Iraq.

What about you?

Hat tip: Mike Williams

Slandering General Petraeus

Today’s lead editorial in the Washington Times begins:

To no one's surprise, the character assassins haven't waited for Gen. David Petraeus to deliver his report on the Iraqi troop "surge" before starting the campaign to trash his honor and reputation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed Gen. Petraeus made statements "over the years that have not proved to be factual," and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin suggested Gen. Petraeus had "manipulated" statistics.

The Democrats' ideological soulmates at have an advertisement scheduled to run in today's New York Times titled: "General Petraeus or Gen. Betray Us?"

The announcement in particular is worth keeping in mind the next time you hear lectures from the Democrats and the far left about how the Bush administration is "questioning our patriotism."
There’s much more to the Washington Times’ editorial, including a very effective refutation of the Dems' slanders, before it ends with:
[The Democrats] should stop slandering the good name of Gen. Petraeus — especially given that favorite talking point about how much they "support the troops.
Decent Americans wish the Democrats would stop slandering General Petraeus.

That said, who can't understand why so many Democrats feel they have to slander Petraeus? Afterall, if he and his troops are successful, it makes it much harder for the Democrats to win the ’08 election war.

If you don’t believe that, just ask any NY Times editorial board member or DNC chair Howard (“The Scream”) Dean.

The entire editorial is here.

Hat Tip:

Johnsville News’ Pics Questions

The Johnsville News has a don’t miss post today which begins:

The Duke lacrosse party pics helped prove that "something 'did not' happen" at the party.

So why did Mike Nifong, many in the mainstream media, and lots of people ignore this important evidence?

Dan Abrams of MSNBC first showed the alibi party photos on April 19th, 2006. He had seen and talked about them on April 14th. The defense attorneys vouched for their authenticity.

The NC Attorney General relied upon them to create a detailed timeline for the incident.

They were key evidence in supporting the players innocence. The photos were the linchpin for The Johnsville News lacrosse party timeline (the first one), which was started on April 21st, 2006.
TJN includes links and photos in its post before concluding:
It is truly amazing that the lacrosse party photos and the March 16th police photo were ignored by so many.

Pupils in the "something happened" school of retardation had to also fake blindness in order to justify their belief.
TJN’s post brought to mind the old expression: There are none so blind as those who won’t see.

In the case of the Duke Hoax, there were many in MSM who were “blind” because they didn’t want to see the players declared innocent and Mangum, Nifong and their “activist” and Duke faculty allies exposed for peddling falsehoods most of MSM had helped hype.

MSM’s “blindness” last Spring included failing to produce pictures and descriptions of the very small bathroom in the lacrosse party house which Mangum claimed was the place where three large athletes beat and raped her for 30 minutes.

People who’ve been in that bathroom tell me if the public had realized how small the bathroom is, they’d have been asking: “How could four people all squeeze in there and do all the things the accuser and Nifong are saying happened?”

But MSM outfits didn’t show the bathroom then and they haven’t shown it since.

It’s fair to ask whether MSM’s failure to show us the bathroom even now isn’t because they don’t want the public to see how shamelessly most of MSM misled us on the Hoax.

Be sure to take a look at TJN’s post here.


If you don’t know who KC Johnson is, ask disbarred and disgraced former Durham DA Mike Nifong. Or, if you’re on Duke’s campus, ask any member of Duke’s justly scorned faculty Group of 88.

But after you ask, be ready to jump out of the way because no one’s done more than KC to expose the injustices of what we used to call “the Duke lacrosse rape case” or more to call attention to those who helped enable those injustices.

KC will be speaking at Duke tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 11 at 7 PM in Page Auditorium on Duke’s West Campus.

Page is located next to Duke Chapel (to the left as you face the Chapel). Here’a a link to for those of you who are visually oriented.

There's a large, well-lit parking deck ( Bryan Center deck) just behind and across from the Chapel off Science Drive.

From the Bryan Center deck to Page is an easy two or three minute walk.

There’s not much chance you can get lost but if you do, there'll be plenty of people to ask because you’ll be in a pedestrian area right by the Bryan Student Center.

Admission is free. The public is welcome.

As many of you know, KC’s just co-authored with Stuart Taylor Until Proven Innocent, a gripping, inside account of the attempted frame-up of three innocent Duke students and how it was exposed. Noted scholar Abigail Thernstrom, in her Wall Street Journal review, called the book “stunning.”

According to Ken Larrey who's handling public information for KC’s talk, the book will be on sale for $17 - $10 off the retail price - and there will
be a book signing by KC following his talk.

The event is co-sponsored by Duke Students for an Ethical Duke and the Program on Values and Ethics in the Marketplace (VEM).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

So how’s a suit made?

The post title is tongue-in-cheek.

What I’m really doing is providing a link to’s definition of litigation which is followed by a very understandable outline of how a plaintiff begins a process which can result in a civil suit going to trial and what may follow that.

The outline’s in understandable English with links to other legal terms which are also explained in understandable English.

I found the outline very helpful. I hope you do, too.

Caution: We're talking an outline only.

Terror War Strategy

With the 9/11 Anniversary two days away Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby says America's war on terror strategy is working:

IF THERE WAS one thing we all knew after Sept. 11, 2001, it was that another massacre was coming. The next terrorist attack on US soil, it was asserted time and again, was not a matter of if, but of when.

Americans weren't the only ones who expected Al Qaeda to commit another slaughter. Al Qaeda did, too.

Earlier this year, terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed that in addition to 9/11, he had been planning to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Empire State Building, and to blow up US embassies and nuclear power plants.[…]
Jacoby’s got it right. Remember all those pundits saying, “It’s only a matter of time?” Most of us listened and nodded.

What happened? Why, thank God, have there been no successful attacks in America these past six years?

Jacoby’s take:
There is no definitive answer to that question. But surely the place to begin is with the belated recognition that we were at war.

The jihad against us didn't begin on 9/11. It had started long before, with the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Years of Islamist bombings, hijackings, and hostage-takings followed, but few Americans recognized that war was being waged against us by a determined enemy that cried "Death to America!" and meant it.

In a New York Times column two months before 9/11, the former deputy director of the State Department's counterterrorism office pooh-poohed as "fantasies" the belief that "the United States is the most popular target of terrorists" and that "extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism."

The attacks of 9/11 ripped away such comfortable misjudgments. President Bush declared at once that we were at war with terrorism, and likened it to the global wars against Nazism and Communism.

The US government overhauled its counterterrorism operations, moving aggressively to disrupt and damage Al Qaeda's maneuvers abroad and to uproot would-be jihadists at home.

After years in which terrorism was regarded as a legal crime to be prosecuted after the fact, the Bush administration made preemption the overriding goal. Instead of waiting for terrorists to strike, the government - armed with expanded powers to seize records, monitor communications, and search homes and businesses - would strike first. […]

Terrorist funding channels were choked off. Reliance on human intelligence was dramatically expanded. American counterterrorism officers worked closely with their counterparts in friendly countries to identify jihadists and - as with last week's arrests in Germany - prevent attacks.

Taking the war to the enemy in Afghanistan deprived Al Qaeda of a secure base and crippled its leaders' ability to travel and communicate. Many Al Qaeda operatives have been killed; others have been seized by US troops and forcefully - sometimes too forcefully - interrogated. In all these ways and more, the United States has indeed been fighting a war on terrorism, a war more intense, more unrelenting, more sophisticated, and - as six years of domestic safety suggest - more successful than anyone could have conceived before 9/11.

But if the terrible events of that day finally concentrated American minds on the deadly threat from radical Islam, the US response to those terrible events may have had a similar effect on the minds of Osama bin Laden and his allies.

It is one thing to launch spectacular attacks against a paper tiger that doesn't have the spine to fight back. It is something very different to attack a superpower that reacts with fury and a terrible swift sword.(emphasis added)[…]
I often worry there isn’t enough appreciation in the West for our civilization and enough willingness to use “ a terrible swift sword” to defend it and destroy our enemies who are bent on killing peaceful people and inflicting the horrors Muslim extremism on those who survive.

We're in a war with enemies every bit as evil as the Nazis.

Something else: While our strike first and hard strategy has had a deterent effect, it’s not a guarentee we won’t be hit in the future. When we're attacked again here in America, they’ll be the usual people talking about what we did to deserve it and how we need to “be nicer.”

Baloney. We need to be much tougher now, and we’ll need to be much tougher then.

Jacoby reminds us of that in his close:
What is in the enemy's mind we cannot know for sure. What we do know - what 9/11 made brutally clear - is that we are at war. The enemy is in this till the finish. We had better be, too.
Jacoby’s entire column is here.

Biden, Kerry attack Petraeus

This today from the AP:

President Bush's war strategy is failing and the top military commander in Iraq is "dead flat wrong" for warning against major changes, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday.

Ahead of two days of crucial testimony by Bush's leading military and political advisers on Iraq, Sen. Joseph Biden indicated that he and other Democrats would persist in efforts to set target dates for bringing troops home.

"The reality is that although there's been some mild security progress, there is in fact no security in Baghdad or Anbar province where I was dealing with the most serious problem, sectarian violence," said Biden, a 2008 presidential candidate who recently returned from Iraq.
A few days in Iraq and decades in the U. S. Senate: that's all Biden needs to be able to tell the military commander in Iraq what's really going on there and call him "dead flat wrong."

The AP continues:
Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were scheduled to testify before four congressional committees, including Biden's, on Monday and Tuesday. Lawmakers will hear how the commander and the diplomat assess progress in Iraq and offer recommendations about the course of war strategy.

Officials familiar with their thinking told The Associated Press over the weekend that the advisers would urge Congress not to make significant changes. Their report will note that while national political progress has been disappointing, security gains in local areas have shown promise, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations.[...]
But why do we have to listen to General Petraeus when Democrat Biden is telling us what's what in Iraq?

If anyone has any doubt about Biden being right, the AP says Senator John Kerry agrees with Biden:
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., agreed. "The problem is, if you don't have a deadline and you don't require something of the Iraqis, they're simply going to use our presence as cover for their willingness to delay, which is what they have done month after month after month," he said.

"I think the general will present the facts with respect to the statistics and the tactical successes or situations as he sees them," Kerry said. "But none of us should be fooled — not the American people, not you in the media, not us in Congress — we should not be fooled into this tactical success debate."
So John Kerry doesn't want us to be fooled by General Petreaus? He wants us to listen to him and Biden and ignore what Petraeus says.

Now, if Petraeus were to say he favored an immediate pullout from Iraq, I'll bet Biden, Kerry and most other Dems would tell us we needed to listen to the General.

Folks, I hope Biden, Kerry, and other Dems aren't fooling any of you. They have an Iraq agenda and they don't want any General or an improving military situation in Iraq getting in the way of "the script" they're preparing for the '08 election campaign.

The entire AP article is here.

Durham Suits & Readers’ Comments

Readers Note:

I’m continuing a trial to see whether responding to your comments in the form below allows me to respond to more comments with the time I have.

I read all your comments. If a comment isn’t specifically noted, it may be because I’ve noted recently the matter your comment deals with, the matter is too complex for a brief answer, it’s some nice words which I appreciate but don’t need to comment on, etc.

Today I'm responding to a least a part of every comment on the Pricing Durham Suits thread as of Noon today.


Anon @ 2:49 noted there may be many other expensive suits in the making in Durham. I agree.

Anon @ 2:49 wants to see Crystal Mangum “measured” for a suit.

In a perfect world, that would happen. But every attorney I talk to says it won’t “because there’s no money to collect from her.”

Anon @ 2:54 said : “The problem for Durham is not just that these events occurred, but that they [released] a report saying nothing was wrong. The Deputy police Commissioner even is on video commenting that "he could not even recall an issue with the DPD in recent years" (the crowd all laughed at him).

Durham embraced the fraud and endorsed it. Now they are on the hook. They could pass a "boy, are we dumb tax" to cover the lawsuits. “

The attorneys I talk to say Anon @ 2:54 has it right about the city making itself libel by virtue of knowing what happened; not taking action to correct it: and, in some instances, saying what was done was OK

Ken @ 2:57 provided the address where you’ll find in pdf form Durham’s annual budget:

Thank you, Ken.

Ken also expresses a hope many of us have that the suits will enable us to learn more about what really went on and who did what with whose approval.

Anon @ 3:08 doesn’t “believe this corruption can be hidden away much longer. …

The curtain is about to rise.”

“The curtain is about to rise.” Gee, I wish I had thought to say that first.

Anon @ 6:39 pointed out that a $5 million liability policy isn’t much in this day and age.

Yes. I wonder why Durham doesn’t have more coverage. I’d also like to know how much, given the $500,000 deductible, Durham pays for the $5 million coverage; and how that compares with what cities of comparable size pay for the same amount of coverage with the same deductible.

Mike in Nevada @ 11:00 says “The facts were clear enough by November to determine Nifong did not have a case.”


Mike goes on to say that therefore anyone who voted for Nifong was either “a moron or a racist.”

Some were certainly either one of the other; and many were both.

There were also, I believe, many decent and intelligent blacks who voted for Nifong because they couldn’t break from the Democratic line on which Nifong ran.

Then there were many white liberals, leftists, academics and others who aren’t morons but voted for Nifong because he was just the kind of DA they wanted.

They saw Nifong using the power of the state to validate their prejudices; and they loved it. Those people were, to use a crude figurative description President Lyndon Johnson once used, “so excited they were peeing all over themselves.”

A more genteel way to say that might be to call such people “Nifong activists with hyperactive urinary tract systems.”

Anon @ 11:07 hopes Councilman Stith will beat Mayor Bell in the November election.

I don’t plan to say anything about that race now. But I’ll come back to it.

Anon @ 12:29 wants the three players considering suits to bring them to trial so the knowledge the public gains can be used to hold the malefactors and their enablers to account.

I’d like to see that happen but I respect people who’ve been victimized deciding to accept a settlement and avoid a trial.

Whether or not the suits go to trial, we are still going to need the state and federal investigations many of us have been asking for for more than a year.

And finally, folks, this comment responding to my saying 4 X $125 = $600 per family of four:

Anonymous said...
4 X $125 = $500 dollars

not $600 per family of four
You’re right, Anon. Thank you for pointing out my error.

And thank you all for commenting.