Saturday, January 19, 2008

Duke Student Witnesses Gaza Attack

Blogging at Duke student Ethan Sommer begins:

Some of you may have read a New York Times piece on Wednesday about life along Israel’s Southern border with the Gaza Strip. Over the past seven years this region has experienced thousands of mortar and Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza.

While in Israel over winter break I witnessed one such attack on January, 5.

I had driven to the border-city of Sderot and some nearby Kibbutzim (plural for Kibbutz) in order to see how people endured on a day-to-day basis. While at a Kibbutz called Nir’am I met two Israeli college students who offered to show me a hilltop that overlooks the Strip. Apparently it was one of many popular sites where thrill-seekers and the curious come to watch the daily exchanges between Gaza terrorists and the IDF, as well as the increasingly frequent internecine conflict among Palestinians.

We arrived on the windy hill to find 8 or so spectators, including 1 family who was picnicking alongside a man-sized wind chime that adorns the hill.
The rest of Sommer’s post is here.

Sommer has a good eye for detail and character.

But aren’t Hillary & Obama “lashing out?”

From the Democrat-friendly Associated Press today:

John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Barack Obama's praise of the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan - an anathema for many Democrats, particularly union members considered crucial to winning Nevada's Democratic caucuses Saturday.

Obama responded by suggesting Clinton would be a "president whose plans change with the politics of the moment" as part of one of his most direct critiques of the New York senator yet.
If John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton were Republicans who “criticized” Obama;

and he was also a Republican who responded to Hillary with “one of his most direct critiques of the New York senator yet;”

wouldn’t the AP be telling us about “ their angry attacks” and how they were “lashing out?”

I think so.

The entire Dem AP story is here.

Does anyone care to critique it?

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 18, 2008

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

Readers’ Note: This post is the second in a two-post series. The first is here.


On the morning of December 15, 1943 Churchill remained in bed. His temperature was still 101 and there were no signs his pneumonia had lessened.

During the day, specialist physicians were flown from Cairo and Italy to Tunisia. They administered tests and prescribed medications. They told Churchill to cancel his work schedule. He reduced it somewhat, agreeing to see only one person at a time.

On December 16, Churchill summoned his personal physician, Lord Charles Moran. “I don’t feel well,” he said. “My heart is doing something funny – it feels to be bumping all over the place.”

Churchill was suffering a heart attack, at least his second in less than two years. (The other occurred during the night of December 26/27, 1941 when he was staying with President Roosevelt at the White House. News of that attack was not made public at the time.)

That evening he was “weak but cheerful.” He asked his daughter Sarah to read to him from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.

The following day Clementine arrived from England. They'd not seen each other for almost six weeks. They dined alone that evening.

The next day, Churchill suffered another heart attack.

Let's stop the narrative here to reflect before continuing.

During the course of a single week Churchill, age sixty-nine and with a coronary history, had pneumonia all the week and suffered two heart attacks.

Of course, his physicians feared for his life. In retrospect, it seems extraordinary that he survived at all, to say nothing of his living on for another twenty years.

From what source comes such vitality? We can only wonder.

Then there's the matter of Churchill’s behavior as a patient. In that, as in so many things, he wasn’t at all like most others.

Standard medical treatment at that time called for complete bed rest of six weeks or more following a heart attack. And the time was to be spent very quietly with no work or upset.

Churchill, as we’ve seen, would not accept such a routine. So was he reckless to press on with his extraordinary work schedule with all its enormous strains?

Well, before you answer, consider this: Moran says that Churchill repeatedly asked doctors who prescribed bed rest and quiet whether they had any evidence that such a regimen benefited a patient.

They had to tell him no.

He even asked if any of them knew of a single case where someone had gotten out of bed a day or two after a heart attack and been the worse for it.

Again, the physicians said no.

So Churchill saw no reason for not going on with his schedule as his energy permitted.

He decided to continue meeting with people one at a time. He told his doctors he would get out of bed as soon as he felt strong enough.

Now back to our narrative.

By December 19 Churchill’s temperature was normal and Moran said “the signs of pneumonia are disappearing.”

In the succeeding days his strength returned even as he continued to work beyond the limits the doctors thought wise.

By Christmas Eve Churchill felt strong enough to get out of bed for the first time in two weeks.

On Christmas Day he attended a brief religious service and then hosted a luncheon for military commanders. “His doctors are quite unable to control him,” his Private Secretary John Martin recorded, “and cigars etc have now returned.”

During the rest of December and into January Churchill maintained an active but reduced work schedule while also relaxing with painting and visits from friends.

On January 14, 1944 Churchill left North Africa by plane for Gibraltar where he boarded the battleship HMS King George V for the trip back to England. The ship arrived at Plymouth on the night of January 17. The King had sent his train to meet Churchill and take him on to London.

Of Churchill’s arrival in Plymouth an aide recorded, “There were no political, strategic or diplomatic dramas – the atmosphere was one of immense relief that the PM was back alive and well and truly in control of events.”
For references to Lord Moran, see his Churchill: Stuggle for Survival. (pgs. 17-18 and 161-170)

For other references, see Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (pgs. 762-767)

Addison’s Motion to Dismiss (Post 1)

Before reading this post you should be familiar with this JinC post: Look! It's Sergeant Addison (reposted)

This is the first of two posts concerning the 26-page Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss filed Jan. 15 on behalf of Durham Police Sergeant David Addison.

I’m not an attorney and can’t assess the strengths of legal arguments made on Addison’s behalf for dismissal. Two attorneys who have followed the case and are not connected with it read the motion. They agreed to offer opinions with the qualification they are not expert in the area of civil rights violation claims based on Constitutional and federal statues violations.

I’ll share their opinions with you in this first post; I’ll offer mine in the second post.

In separate conversations both attorneys said essentially many of the same things, including:

The immunity Addison is claiming is a limited privilege granted him by law and by virtue of his serving as a police officer. It protects him as long as his actions are what would be expected of a “reasonable, trained officer.” Both attorneys doubt Addison's actions meet the "reasonable, trained officer" standard.

That's even though the attorneys stressed that where a police officer’s conduct is concerned, the courts tend to come down strongly on the officer’s side in most matters. One attorney spoke of “the great discretion the courts grant police” and said “most courts are very reluctant to look at questions concerning police conduct.” The other echoed that saying at one point, “I’ve seen courts turn ‘a blind eye’ to some pretty heinous police conduct.”

But in this case both attorneys said that while you can never be sure what a court will do, they doubted the court would dismiss Addison as a defendant. They also said the attorneys for the plaintive will get a chance to respond to the motion to dismiss and that they expected the response to be very strong.

The attorneys gave a number of reasons why they thought the court in this case would consider what Addison as well his fellow police officers did.

One reason had to do with the public attention the case has received. Others had to do with the seriousness of the actions alleged to have violated the players’ rights and real harm the players suffered.

Then there was this one I’ll relate in more detail and as one attorney explained it, but both made this point.

According to the one attorney (I’ll paraphrase here) : The things the courts try to avoid and where they give wide latitude to the police have to do with instant decision or the officer was in danger or it’s a property possession matter where the law is complex.

Anytime an officer can claim he was alone, in danger, acting on the spur of the moment – something like that - he’s home free.

What make’s Addison’s situation so tough for him and what I think the courts will want to take a look at is this guy’s actions really took place over two weeks. He wasn’t making a highway stop late at night; he was on national TV just like Nifong.

It’s a pattern of police conduct over time the court will want to consider.

Both attorneys said Addison’s actions raised the question of what his supervisors were doing and why they allowed it which, as one attorney put it, “moves things from a question of ‘should this cop have done that?’ to ‘what kind of department is that?’”

And finally this:

While the motion to dismiss isn’t the place to argue what a defendant actually did, attorneys usually work into the motion something that gives the court an idea there’ll be challenges to the defendant’s conduct alleged. There was none of that in the Addison dismissal motion.

KC Johnson has posted on the motion here.

Your turn.

H-S, Stevenson Get It Wrong. Again!

The Durham Herald Sun and reporter John Stevenson are still having trouble reporting accurately and fairly concerning events which can be traced back to the lies Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and others began telling in March, 2006.

An H-S story today under Stevenson’s byline, "Ex-Duke coach plans slander suit," reports former Duke Men’s lacrosse coach Mike Pressler’s plans to file a slander suit against Duke University because of remarks made by senior vice-president John Burness.

The H-S's story contains significant errors and bias against the lacrosse team that would shame a decent newspaper.

The entire story is here.

I’ve just sent H-S editor Bob Ashley the following electronic letter:

Dear Editor Ashley:

In "Ex-Duke coach plans slander suit" (Jan. 18) you tell readers(emphasis added):

Another comment appeared in a June Associated Press article. In that story, Burness said a coaching change at Duke was essential because of controversy surrounding the now-ended lacrosse sex-offense scandal.

Pressler coached men's lacrosse at Duke from 1990 until ousted in April 2006, a month after the sex scandal began to percolate.

The sex-offense case involved three lacrosse players who were falsely accused by a stripper of molesting them during an off-campus party on North Buchanan Boulevard.
Since there never was a sex offence, we can't have a “sex-offense scandal” even if the H-S’s reported in the past we did.

And since there was no "sex scandal," there was no "sex scandal" which could begin to "percolate."

Surely you know that.

Yet in the space of three short paragraphs you report on "the now-ended lacrosse sex-offense scandal," "the sex scandal," and "The sex-offence case."

There are many people at Duke and in Durham who wanted Mangum's and Nifong's lies to be true. I don't doubt some of those people work at the Herald Sun.

That may well explain the H-S's scandalous reporting nine months after the Attorney General told us there was no sex scandal and the players were innocent.

Do you have another explanation?

While you do not quote Duke senior vice president John Burness' June 2007 statement which is at issue in the pending slander suit, you attributed the following to him: "Burness said a coaching change at Duke was essential because of controversy surrounding the now-ended lacrosse sex-offense scandal.

But in June 2007 Burness didn't use a phrase anything like "lacrosse sex-offense scandal," did he?

To be fair to Burness, the lacrosse team and your readers you could have said this: "Burness said a coaching change at Duke was essential because of controversy surrounding the lacrosse program."

Why didn't you?

You report the players were "accused by a stripper of molesting them during an off-campus party..."

Has Crystal Mangum made a new bizarre claim or is "them" an instance of a reporting and/or editing error?

I look forward to your response which I'll publish in full at my blog.

To close on a positive note: Ray Gronberg's reporting is outstanding.


John in Carolina

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 17, 2008

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

Readers Note: This post is the first of a two-post series published in Dec. 2005.


November 30, 1943 was Churchill's sixty-ninth birthday. He was in Teheran attending a Big Three conference with Roosevelt and Stalin.

Because it was his birthday, Churchill hosted that night’s dinner for the three leaders and their aides. Toasts were drunk to his health, with many remarking on his great good spirits and inspiring energy.

But a few weeks later, Churchill's medical condition was critical and his personal physician, Lord Charles Moran, feared he would die.

This post and tomorrow’s post tell something of the battle for Churchill’s life and his remarkable recovery.

On December 2, Churchill flew from Teheran to Cairo where he immediately launched into a series of troop inspections, Allied strategy conferences, and diplomatic negotiations while in off moments reading correspondence from London and elsewhere, and dictating letters, memos, and planning documents.

By December 9, Churchill was so exhausted he lacked the energy after his bath to dry himself. Instead, he lay on his bed and wrapped a towel around himself. But he pressed on with what he often called "my duty."

On December 10, after another long and active day, Churchill had a private dinner with a young British officer. The officer had just returned to Cairo from months behind German lines in Yugoslav where he'd helped coordinate British support for the partisan Tito, whose hit-and-run attacks were tying down many German divisions Hitler wanted to use against the Russians or to bolster the Atlantic Wall he knew the Allies would soon attack.

With dinner over and Churchill satisfied he had learned all the young officer could tell him, Churchill's day had not yet ended. There was still the matter of a trip to the airport and an eight-and-a- half-hour flight to Tunisia to meet the next day with Eisenhower.

After the kind of day Churchill had put in, an eight-and-a-half-hour flight would be an ordeal for anyone, especially under wartime conditions. But for a sixty-nine year old man with a poor health history?

There were the problems with the flight. The plane landed at the wrong airport. For about an hour, Churchill sat on luggage beside the plane in a cold December dawn.

When matters were finally straightened out, there was another hour-and-a-half flight before he finally meet up with Eisenhower on December 10.

Later that day, Churchill sent Eisenhower a note:
I am afraid I shall have to stay with you longer than I had planned. I am completely at the end of my tether and I cannot go on to the front (for an inspection) until I have recovered my strength.
For most of December 11, he remained in bed while dictating to secretaries and meeting with military planners. He didn’t appear at all well.

On December 12 his temperature was 101. His physicians told him he had pneumonia and must cease work activities.

Churchill ignored them. He continued meeting with military officers and dictating letters and memos to staff.

Churchill’s biographer, Martin Gilbert, says that by the night of December 14:
Churchill’s heart began to show signs of strain. Lord Moran feared that he was going to die.

Churchill himself was philosophical, telling (his daughter) Sarah, “If I die, don’t worry – the war is won.”
Tomorrow we’ll see how Churchill’s life-threatening health crisis worsens before he begins a recovery, and goes on to lead in a war whose outcome was a great blessing to us all.
For references to Lord Moran, see his Churchill: Stuggle for Survival. (pgs. 151-162)

For other references, see Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (pgs. 760-763)

Jon Ham's outstanding blogging

I'll give you two examples of Jon's outstanding blogging.

The first is this post Jon's just published at his Right Angles blog:

This is why people hate the media, especially AP

Check out AP reporter Glen Johnson badgering Mitt Romney in South Carolina. He’s slouching in a chair like Jabba the Hut, pecking at his laptop, and being as obnoxious as he possibly can. Go to the very end where the man tells him to just “be professional,” which he certainly was not.

If you want to read some of Johnson’s “objective” stories on Romney, here’s a good example. Once a reporter uses the verb “rail” when characterizing a politician, you know where he stands.

And here’s an “analysis,” which is newspaper speak for “I get to say any damn thing I want.” Too bad you don’t see this kind of AP coverage of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

And here’s a cute one trying to smear Romney with the polygamy practiced by his great-grandfather. (Sorry, but the link to the original story seems to be bad.)

It must have killed him to have to report Romney’s win in Michigan. Check out his tortured lede (emphasis added):

Mitt Romney scored his first major primary victory Tuesday, a desperately needed win in his native Michigan that gave his weakened presidential candidacy new life. It set the stage for a wide-open Republican showdown in South Carolina in just four days.
The second example is this post: Liberals hate more, survey says.

Give it a look and visit Right Angles often.

And a word to the wise: Even if you're a liberal, if you discuss the "liberals hate more" survey findings with liberals, be careful what you say.

Gutzman at Locke Headliner Luncheon

Kavin Gutzman wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution to show there is very little relationship between the Constitution as ratified by the thirteen original states more than two centuries ago and the “constitutional law” imposed upon us since then.

He’ll be in Raleigh, NC next Tuesday, Jan. 22, as the John Locke Foundation’s Headliner luncheon speaker. You can get details about the luncheon here.

From the JLF site:

Gutzman is associate professor of American history at Western Connecticut State University. He received his Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Gutzman is the author of Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776–1840 and was a featured expert in the documentary film John Marshall: Citizen, Statesman, and Jurist. He has written scores of articles and encyclopedia entries, as well as reviews of books, films, and exhibitions for magazines academic and popular.

Look! It's Sergeant Addison ( reposted)

Readers Note: The following post was first published on Nov. 27, 2007. I'm reposting it now because yesterday Sergeant Addison's attorney filed Addison's response to the suit brought by the three young men who were the victims of a frame-up attempt in which Addison played an important role. KC Johnson posted here with commentary and a link to the text of Addison's response.

After reading Addison's response and that of Durham City, also named as a defendent in the suit along with many others, including the now disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong, I wouldn't change anything in the post below.

I plan to post again tomorrow on Addison and the suit. The bottom line of that post will be that Addison's filing, IMO, didn't make a persusive case for his dismissel as a defendent in the suit.


When citizen journalists Tony Soprano and Baldo saw the news buried in a Durham Herald Sun story today, they immediately got the word out with posts at Liestoppers forum: David Addison, the Durham Police Corporal who as DPD spokesperson repeatedly and falsely stated a “horrific crime” was committed at the Duke lacrosse party, has been promoted to Sergeant.

The H-S story began:

Some of the area's heaviest-hitting civil attorneys this week joined two high-profile national litigators to fight a federal lawsuit arising out of false sex-assault allegations against three young men in the Duke lacrosse case.[...]

All three Duke athletes were declared innocent by the state Attorney General's Office in April.

[James] Maxwell, a past president of the North Carolina Bar Association and the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, is representing newly promoted Durham police Sgt. David Addison in the federal litigation.

Addison is accused of conspiring to wrongfully prosecute Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans.
You can read the entire H-S story here.

My reaction?

I’m sorry it happened, and I don’t doubt that some of you are understandably angry about it. But Addison’s promotion will serve the interests of those seeking truth and justice.


A burden on the attorneys suing Durham City and DPD is to show that what police officers and their supervisors did to David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann was part of accepted practice (attorneys often use the phrase “usual and customary”); and that is was not just the actions of individual rogue cops acting in ways unacceptable to DPD and Durham City.

That being the case, isn’t DPD’s decision to promote Addison something you’d note if you were an attorney for one of the three young men?

By awarding him a promotion, Durham and DPD are saying, “What Addison did was fine by us. As a matter of fact, we promoted him.”

An informed Durham citizen might ask: “Who made the decision to promote Addison? Was it Izzy, Curly or Moe?”

Something else:

A number of Addison’s supervisors had to write commendatory notes, evaluations, etc. as part of his promotion process. All of those have to be reviewed by a committee on promotions.

There was more to the process, but you get the idea: a lot of DPD supervisors endorsed the promotion.

Usual and customary?

Message to Duke President Richard Brodhead and the Chronicle editorial board: The Duke Hoax case hasn’t gone away. And it will get “uglier” and “Dukier” regardless of how many times you tell people it’s all over.

In Closing:

The following five posts were published last February and March. If you are interested in the suits, I think you'll be very interested in the Addison Series posts below. They provide background to the events described in the suit filings and more.

The Addison Series #1 – “This horrific crime” 2/16/07

Addison Series #2 – “CrimeStoppers will pay cash” 2/20/07

Addison Series #3 – “Not my poster” 2/25/07

Addison Series #4 - "They call it 'squeezing'" 3/2/07

Addison Series # 5 – “Major Duke Involvement" 3/11/07

In the "squeezing" post I suggested what things might be like for Addison in the event a Federal inquiry into the Hoax frame occurred. Currently he's a defendant in a civil suit.

However, much of what I said in the "squeezing" post applies to his current situation.

In fact, I think he may be facing a far more difficult situation with the attorneys who'll depose him in the civil suit than he might with federal investigators. Have any of you ever seen Brendan Sullivan in action?

The Addison Series leaves no doubt that as the civil suit progresses we're going to learn a lot more about not only what Nifong and DPD did but about what Duke University did as well.

Excellent H-S Pressler Claims Story

Ray Gronberg has an excellent story in today’s Durham Herald Sun concerning former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler’s recent court-filed claims against Duke University. (“ Former lacrosse coach wants suit changed” )

I’m pasting in the entire story because it contains high quality reporting we rarely see in newspapers today. Even if you’re not interested in Pressler’s claims, Gronberg’s story is worth reading as a model of outstanding news reporting.

After Gronberg’s story, I offer a few more comments below the star line.

Gronberg begins:

Former Duke men's lacrosse coach Mike Pressler wants to back away from a claim that his one-time employers violated the terms of a confidential settlement arising from his forced ouster in 2006.

But that doesn't mean the coach and his lawyers are dropping the lawsuit they filed against Duke University in October.

To the contrary, on Wednesday they asked that a state judge convert it into a straightforward slander case alleging that Duke spokesman John Burness maligned Pressler in comments last year to reporters from a New York newspaper and The Associated Press.

Pressler and his lawyers made the request on the eve of a scheduled hearing on the original lawsuit. Duke's attorneys wanted it thrown out because the coach had previously agreed to submit disputes about employment-contract issues to arbitration.

Clerks in the Durham County Courthouse said the hearing was supposed to go forward as scheduled this morning, despite the coach's motion.

Pressler's complaint targeted comments Burness made last April to Newsday sportswriter Steven Marcus, and in June to AP writer Aaron Beard.

The comments to Marcus appeared in an April 9 column published two days before N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he'd concluded former Duke lacrosse players David Evans, Colin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were innocent men falsely accused of raping a stripper at a team party.

Marcus quoted Burness as saying the controversy sparked by the lacrosse case had taught Duke officials that "the coaches in general in each of our sports are responsible for the behavior of their teams."

The writer followed that with a sentence, unattributed, that said that lesson explained why Pressler was no longer the coach. Wednesday's filing contended that Burness "falsely told [Marcus] that Coach Pressler was terminated because he had not adequately supervised his team."

The suit also faulted Burness for allegedly telling Marcus that there was a day-and-night difference between Pressler and the current coach of the lacrosse team, John Danowski, and for repeating a comment originally made by school President Richard Brodhead characterizing Danowski as a "mensch" who "gets it."

The comment to Beard appeared in a June 7 story reporting that Duke officials and Pressler had negotiated a confidential settlement of potential claims triggered by Pressler's ouster.

Beard quoted Burness as saying, "Coach Pressler is an excellent coach and did a great job building the Duke men's lacrosse program. Unfortunately, last spring it was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward."

Pressler's suit contends that Burness defamed him by saying it was necessary to change coaches.

The suit named only Duke University as a defendant, implicitly contending that the school was responsible for what Burness said in its name. Pressler and his lawyers did not target Burness personally, or assign liability to Marcus, Beard, Newsday or The Associated Press.

A media-law lawyer, Amanda Martin, said Pressler and his lawyers will have to establish that the comments made about him went beyond mere statements of opinion.

"Things that cannot be proven to be true or false cannot give rise to a libel or slander suit," said Martin, a private-practice lawyer and sometime instructor of media law at UNC Chapel Hill. Her client list includes the N.C. Press Association.

A key precedent on the point is a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court case authored by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist that rejected the idea of establishing blanket immunity for statements of opinion. But it said that, among other things, there's no liability for "statements that cannot 'reasonably [be] interpreted as stating actual facts about' an individual."

Rehnquist held that at least in cases involving a media defendant, "a statement on matters of public concern must be provable as false before there can be liability" under state laws. His wording appeared to leave open the possibility of the court's using a different standard for non-media defendants.


Folks, I'm sure most of you see what I mean.

Here are a few things I especially liked about Gronberg’s reporting.

His first three paragraphs lay out concisely and clearly some complicated legal maneuvering.

Pressler wants to back away from a particular claim he made against Duke. (par. 1)

But he’s not dropping the suit. (par. 2)

He wants the suit converted to a slander suit. (par. 3)

Gronberg sentences are information-filled and well organized. Look at the one which makes up the third paragraph:

To the contrary, on Wednesday they asked that a state judge convert it into a straightforward slander case alleging that Duke spokesman John Burness maligned Pressler in comments last year to reporters from a New York newspaper and The Associated Press.
What a finely crafted sentence!

Grondberg’s use of the introductory phrase “On the contrary” alerts the reader to a storyline shift coming.

Gronberg follows that phrase with the explanation of what the shift involves. ( “they asked that a state judge convert it into a straightforward slander case” )

Having done that, Gronberg gets to the who, what, and when of the “slander case.” ( “Duke spokesman John Burness maligned Pressler in comments last year to reporters from a New York newspaper and The Associated Press.” )

Clear, concise and considerate of the reader. Will Strunk would cheer.

I appreciated the detailed information Gronberg provided to establish Amanda Martin’s bona fides.

So often reporters just offer something general like “a media-law expert, Amanda Martin, said ….,”

And their editors don’t bother to press them to do better.

I called Gronberg today and got his VM. I left a message expressing my admiration and appreciation for his reporting.

In the last few months Gronberg’s been far and away the best reporter covering stories relating to events that began with Crystal Mangum’s and Mike Nifong’s lies.

Your turn.

Afghan/Pakistan: Some Bad Signs

Blog friend Mike Williams sends along some worrisome news about Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Here's Mike ----

From StrategyPage:

Over the last few years, NGOs and the media have made a lot of noise about corruption and misbehavior by UN peacekeepers and administrators. As a result, the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (which investigates such matters) has found itself buried in a growing number of cases. Currently, there are 250 investigations going on.

Two thirds involve corruption, the rest are about peacekeepers and UN staff having sex with the people they are supposed to be helping.

The sex was always there, but over the years, some of the soldiers got more creative, and greedy. They either demanded it for free, or in exchange for access to relief supplies and services. Some soldiers went into business, and set up brothels. Some may have been influenced by UN staff, who were notoriously corrupt (at least in some countries). So far, the UN investigators have found stealing going on in about 12 percent of the money handled by peacekeeping officials. ( From what people familiar with UN corruption involving relief aid, the 12 percent figure very likely under-reports the corruption. -- JinC )

This corruption has been an open secret for decades, but has gotten worse of late. Perhaps it was the extent of the payoffs and stealing in the Iraqi "Oil for Food" program that got the heat turned on. The corruption in the Iraqi program was also an open secret. But after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, many records, and Iraqis willing to testify, became available. It was hard to ignore the rumors after that, and suddenly UN corruption in peacekeeping operations became newsworthy.

In the blogs at least.

But moving right along, more trouble for Musharraf:

The Pakistani army suffered a humiliating defeat yesterday when Taliban and al-Qaeda troops overran a fort on the Afghan frontier….

The action took place in an area dominated by one of the suspects in Benazir Bhutto's assassination, Baitullah Mehsud. Meshud also led the attack on the Red Mosque last year and is considered one of the major extremists in Pakistan. A defeat at the hands of this guy is not good for Musharraf. He may now seek an accommodation with Meshud.

That has been his pattern in the past when the Pakistani army has suffered a setback.Such an accommodation will only embolden Meshud to continue his pre-election campaign of bombings and attacks in hopes of destabilizing the regime.

In this, he has been less successful as it appears to have turned the Pakistani people against extremists of all stripes, making them more likely to elect a government that promises to deal harshly with the terrorists.

A month away from elections and President Musharraf may be inclined to pull back in his confrontation with the Taliban to avoid any more embarrassments. At this point, he has few options.

And now, today:
The Taliban have captured a second paramilitary fort in the tribal agency of South Waziristan, but this time the fort was taken without a fight. Pakistani paramilitary troops from the Frontier Corps deserted the Saklatoi outpost on the Afghan border after the Taliban threatened to attack. About 40 paramilitary soldiers fled the post without a fight….
Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Gates reportedly isn’t too happy with the performance of our NATO allies in Afghanistan:
Since his assumption of the Pentagon’s throne a year ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has received unstinting praise as the “anti-Rumsfeld”: mild with his use of language; cooperative with America’s allies, especially the Europeans; and a technocrat, without an ideological agenda.

Thus, Mr. Gates’s many fans must have fallen off their chairs when they read this morning about their man publicly ripping into some NATO allies for demonstrating incompetence, topping even Mr. Rumsfeld for undiplomatic language….

It now seems obvious that the situation in Afghanistan is angering the mild-mannered Mr. Gates. When Europe’s alleged fecklessness caused Donald Rumsfeld to boil over, critics of the former defense secretary were quick to find blame not with the “Old Europe” governments, but with Mr. Rumsfeld’s irascible and undiplomatic personality. These critics were sure that the arrival of the more reasonable Mr. Gates would smooth over all the problems caused by his predecessor.

Now that it is Mr. Gates doing the boiling, perhaps the critics may now have to admit that there really is a problem with NATO….

This is JinC back now - - -

Why are so many of the "pundits," "policy experts," and various Democrats who are quick to find fault with America reluctant to criticize "our European allies?"

And why do they get so upset when others do?

NTO Battle - Durham DA v. Police

Readers Note: You’ll best understand the post below if you’re familiar with these posts: Nifong's Copier "Discovery." Be Careful ,

Nifong's Copier "Discovery" Is a False Story ,

and Who "Owns" That "Toxic" NTO? , especially the portion of the "Toxic" NTO post containing extracts from and links to a Jan. 9 Durham Herald-Sun story.


In response to my post, Who "Owns" That "Toxic" NTO?, citizen journalist Skeptical from Liestoppers Forum asked questions and expressed thoughts concerning the Duke lacrosse cover-up currently enabled by the now disbarred Mike Nifong, certain DPD officers and their supervisors, and others

I’m responding to Skeptical here on the main page and invite your comments.

Skeptical’s is in italics; I’m in plain.

Let’s start with Skeptical ------

There are several issues about the application for the Non-testimonial Investigation Order (NTO):

1) The affidavit presented in the application contained false information


And if we get to discovery in the suit brought on behalf of the three young men indicted in the frame-up attempt, which I think we will, attorneys for the plaintiffs will ask police why they put false information in the affidavit.

Was that only Sgt. Gottlieb’s and Inv. Himan’s decision? Did others know they were putting false statements in the affidavit? Did anyone direct them to do it?

No doubt there’ll be other questions about why certain information, including false information, was presented to Judge Stephens; and why other information, including evidence exculpatory for the players, was withheld from Judge Stephens.

2) Why were all white LAX team-members named when the police knew that some of them were not at the party and some not even in Durham that night?

There’ve been a number of “foggy answers” given having to do with allegations, false it turns out, the players didn’t use their real names the night of the party, used jersey numbers, etc.

I’ll speculate the real reason may have to do with thinking by the authorities which began something like this:

If we start to eliminate players based on their not being at the party or in Durham that night, what do we do when other players start saying they weren’t there when anything happened, so why test them?

Mangum’s been all over the place with her stories and she hasn’t ID’ed any of them from photos.

Everything solid we have points to false accusations and the innocence of the players.

We have no reason to pursue this case other then to frame these kids.

How will we justify ordering any of those kids to be tested?
Remember, folks, the authorities pushing on Mar. 22 and the morning of Mar. 23 for an NTO had no way of knowing then that the players would all comply with it.

What they did know was that every individual team member subject to the NTO could've appealed it.

If even one of them did, the authorities would‘ve been required to state in open court why they’d named him as a suspect and requested the court to order him to submit to DNA testing.

The authorities knew all the evidence they had made clear that, in fact, nothing like what Crystal Mangum claimed happened.

How could they then justify their request for testing from the team member appealing or anyone else they’d requested by tested?

Better, the authorities may have reasoned, to request testing of all the white members of the team and include in the request a “sweetener” about results “immediately eliminate[ing] the innocent.”

Who knows, the authorities may have thought, the “sweetener” might induce everyone to agree to be tested.

And even if it didn’t, it would’ve helped the authorities appear well-intentioned if they had to respond in court and explain their request to test any individual team member.

To repeat: That’s speculation. What we really need is discovery under oath.

3) The police knew there were non-LAX players at the party? Why weren't they named?

I think for reasons that relate to my answer to #2.

4) Who came up with the idea for the NTO?

DPD’s Gottlieb and Himan say they were ordered on Mar. 22 by ADA Tracey Cline to prepare the NTO.

Cline says she “can’t recall” ordering it.

That disagreement is extremely important to keep in mind because DPD’s “basic defense” is that “Nifong made us do anything that was a ‘no-no.’”

But Nifong testified under oath at his NC State Bar trial which led to his disbarment that he knew nothing about the Duke lacrosse case or the NTO until the afternoon of Mar. 23 when he “discovered” the already signed NTO sitting on his office copier. (I’ve posted before that I don’t believe Nifong first learned about the case then. But let’s go along with his version in order to make clear what’s at stake in the matter of who decided on the NTO and prepared it at whose direction.)

The current Durham DA, David Saacks, who at the time the NTO was signed was Nifong’s Chief Assistant DA, says all he did was take a DPD prepared NTO and accompanying supporting documents presented to him by DPD; make one change regarding the time which a subject had to appeal the NTO; sign the request; and then “walk it” through the court for the judge’s review and signature.

Saacks says he only did that because when Gottlieb and Himan brought the NTO and related documents to the DA’s office on the morning of Mar. 23, the ADA the officers were looking for to sign it, Tracey Cline, wasn’t available.

Cline insists she never saw the NTO and told a reporter "it’s David’s NTO.”

As a matter of law, Saacks “owns” the NTO because he signed the NTO request and presented it and the supporting documentation to the court.

But there are all those who, when, what, and why questions concerning the NTO.

Did Cline, as Gottlieb and Himan insist, order them on Mar. 22 to prepare an NTO?

Why would the ADA do that? Was it entirely her decision?

On Mar. 22 did Cline mention the matter to any of the other 20 or so ADA’s then on Nifong’s staff? Or to Chief ADA (“It’s David’s NTO” ) Saacks? Or to her boss, then DA Mike Nifong?

And why are we only hearing now that ADA Tracey Cline "can't recall" whether or not she ordered Gottlieb and Himan to prepare an NTO she's sure she never saw?

What about any of the 25 or so DA staff members, including Linwood Wilson who’s been castigated for witness intimidation in the Duke lacrosse and other cases dealt with by the DA?

What do thay know?

Is there anyone who was in the DA’s office on Mar. 22 and/or 23 who remembers anything which could help ADA Cline, who’s running for DA this year, “recall” whether she ordered Durham Police to prepare the NTO?

If Cline didn’t order the NTO, then are Gottlieb and Himan not telling the truth?

In that case, we'd need to ask why they aren't?

Could it be to cover-up their roles and, very possibly, the roles of higher-ups in DPD who approved the preparation of the NTO and the supporting documents which contained a number of false statements while withholding from the court evidence DPD had which was exculpatory for the players?

We don’t know the answers to these questions. But the public needs to have them.

The public should be able to get them without relying on a federal civil rights suit brought by people who are private parties.

Durham’s elected officials, Duke's leadership and Durham's civic leaders should be demanding answers.

To sum up:

Did Nifong and the DA’s office really have little or nothing to do with ordering and/or preparing the NTO? If that’s the case, then doesn’t DPD bear full or just about full responsibility for deciding to secure a fraudulent NTO?

Who can move on until we have answers?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 16, 2008

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

Today some "this and that" about the Great Man.

Did you know the former cavalry officer who loved polo and fox-hunting rode to his Sept. 12, 1908 wedding to Clementine Hozier in an electric automobile?

During Churchill’s time, the Prime Minister’s official country residence, Chequers, lacked central heating. General Eisenhower, an overnight guest on many a winter's evening, often referred to Chequers as "that damned icebox."

It now has central heating, but it wasn't installed until many years after the war.

Churchill once told Eisenhower: "All I want is compliance with my wishes, after reasonable discussion."

Of Churchill and Eisenhower, historian Carlo D'Este says:

"Although the two men would engage in numerous heated debates during the course of the war, neither ever lost his respect for or friendship with the other."
Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: Young Statesman for photo and description of automobile (after p. 222)

See Carlo D'Este, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life for other references. (pgs. 328-331)

N&O’s Blythe: Biased From the Beginning

This is a 1, 2, 3 post.

1) Posting and linking to citizen journalists at Liestoppers Forum who are properly disgusted hy the latest in a long series of biased news stories Raleigh News & Observer reporter Anne Blythe has written about the lies of Crytal Mangum and Mike Nifong and events they spawned.

Blythe's latest story concerned now disbarred Mike Nifong's bankruptcyfiling yesterday.

You’ll recall Blythe was one of two reporters whose bylines appeared on the N&O’s Mar.25, 2006 delieberately fraudulent and racially inflammatory story the N&O said was about a night of “sexual violence.” The story generated enormous public support for what we now know was really a criminal frame-up attempt.

2) A repost of INNOCENT: N&O STILL CLAIMS “RACIAL SLURS” posted July 27, 2007, two weeks after the NC Attorney General had declared the players innocent. Even then Blythe peddled a part of the frame-up story about racial slurs despite it having been disproved many months before.

3) AP reporter Aaron Beard’s account of disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong’s bankruptcy filing yesterday (Duke Prosecutor Files for Bankruptcy ). Brard’s story is an example of something we don’t see very often in our newspapers: good, honest reporting.

Lets begin - - -

1 - Here from LS Forum is the post quoting the beginning of Blyths's story yesterday:

Mike Nifong, the fallen prosecutor who lost his job and his career over his zealous prosecution of the Duke lacrosse case, filed for bankruptcy protection today in federal court, according to a clerk in the Greensboro bankruptcy court office.

zeal•ous –adjective
full of, characterized by, or due to zeal; ardently active, devoted, or diligent.

Synonyms: enthusiastic, eager, fervid, fervent, intense, passionate, warm.

I don't think so. This is more of the Media Lies.

"Fallen prosecutor?"

How about disgraced prosecutor or rogue prosecutor as the Attorney General of the state alluded?

Message to JinC readers: be sure to scroll down the forum thread which follows this post.


I've just sent the following email to N&O Reporter Anne Blythe, one of two reporters bylined on the Raleigh News & Observer's deliberatly fraudulent March 25, 2006, "anonymous interview" story,
Dancer gives details of ordeal
A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence.
That story reported "the victim's" claims that racial slurs were "barked" at her and the other danser before she was brutally beaten and gang-raped. The N&O also withheld from the story the critically important exculpatory news "the victim" said the second dancer had been sexually assaulted but didn't report it for fear of losing her job.


Dear Reporter Blythe:

Your story today, "Nifong apologizes to lacrosse players," includes this:
Defense lawyers have said the players scattered in the wee hours of the morning after the team party because the second escort service dancer threatened to call police about racial slurs uttered by partygoers.
I'm not aware of the defense attorneys saying any such thing.

Can you show me where they did?

If you can't, will you correct your story?

I'll publish your response in full.

Also, you and the N&O claim you reported in your March 25 story only things "the victim" said that were in "a police report."

You've never ID'ed which police report you used. Your March 25 story reported "the victim" saying things that are in no police report made public so far.

Did you really restrict what you reported Crystal Mangum said to what was in a police report? Or did you not?

If you really did use a police report, make it available. I'll publish that in full. People want to see it.

Thank you for your attention to my queries.


John in Carolina

Folks, I bet it will surprise none of you to learn I never heard back from Blythe. I'm betting I won't hear back from her on this one, either.

Let's go on to #3 and see how a good, honest reporter covered Nifong's bankruptcy filing.

I plan to send Beard a link to this post along with a "well done."

Now here's Beard's story in full. It ends this post.


3) Duke Prosecutor Files for Bankruptcy

The disgraced former prosecutor who led the debunked Duke lacrosse rape case filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, citing more than $180 million in liabilities — the majority from the threat of two pending lawsuits.

Mike Nifong reported $243,898 in assets of real and personal property to U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The filing came the same day he and other defendants were required to respond to a sweeping federal lawsuit filed in October by the three exonerated players whom Nifong had falsely accused of rape.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans accuse Nifong, the city of Durham, police investigators and others of conducting "one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial and scientific misconduct in modern American history."

Nifong accused the players of raping a woman hired to perform as a stripper at a lacrosse team party in March 2006, but the case unraveled in the face of the accuser's constantly changing story and a lack of evidence.

The players were cleared after more than a year by state prosecutors who took special care to call them innocent of the allegations.

No DNA from any Duke lacrosse player was found on the accuser, and exculpatory evidence that genetic material from other unidentified males was found on the woman was withheld from the defense for several months.

Nifong, the former Durham County district attorney, was disbarred for more than two dozen violations of the North Carolina State Bar's rules of professional conduct in the case. He later spent a night in jail for lying to a judge.

In his bankruptcy filing, Nifong lists liabilities of $30 million for each of the cleared players as potential damages in that lawsuit. In addition, it lists a potential of $30 million each for three unindicted players who accused Nifong and dozens of others of inflicting emotional distress in a lawsuit last month.

It also lists roughly $300,000 in other debts, including $8,897.71 owed to the North Carolina State Bar for costs tied to his June disbarment trial.

Prosecutors generally have immunity for what they do inside a courtroom, though legal experts have said some of Nifong's actions — from calling the lacrosse players a bunch of "hooligans" to putting himself in charge of the investigation — might leave him vulnerable to a civil case.

Nifong's chief investigator and the president of the DNA laboratory that conducted key testing in the case both filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit Tuesday.

Investigator Linwood Wilson said he was protected by prosecutorial immunity since he was acting under Nifong's direction. The lab, DNA Security Inc., contends that it was Nifong's responsibility to ensure defense attorneys received test results.

A response to the lawsuit from Nifong wasn't found in a search of online federal court records by the evening.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 15, 2008

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

November 30, 1927 was Churchill's fifty-eighth birthday.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, he spent part of the day reviewing the budget he'd soon submit to Parliament. Among its thousands of details, he was surprised to notice one that taxed people temporarily residing in the United Kingdom.

The tax fell mainly on wealthy Americans who came over for fox hunting. Churchill had previously rejected it in very strong language.

To the bureaucrats charged with budget preparation, Churchill dictated :

Two years ago, I examined the question of the extension of taxation, i.e. Americans temporarily resident in this country.

I expressed very strongly the view that it was to our interest to facilitate the use of this country for the temporary residence of wealthy Americans as it brought very substantial sums of money into the rural areas, especially in the sporting counties.
Churchill reminded the bureaucrats of why he opposed the tax:
a considerable number of wealthy Americans, who used to spend very large sums of money (in fox hunting areas)and elsewhere (will) sell their horses and quit the country, while no doubt others are being deterred from coming.
As a countryman who enjoyed riding to hounds, steeple-chasing and shooting parties, and as a sensible person, Churchill understood how a tax that drove away "wealthy Americans" would also reduce the incomes of the maids, cooks, butlers and stableman who served hunting parties; and the woodcutters, greengrocers and butchers who filled orders from the great houses where the parties stayed; and the incomes of many others in the "sporting counties."
Details of Churchill's actions on Nov. 30, 1927 can be found in Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America.(Free Press, 2005) (p.107)

Churchill's appreciation for how taxes on the wealthy can affect other economic classes is well-documented by many of his biographers as is his understanding and love of country life.


Blomberg has just reported on the filing including:

Nifong, listed debt of $180.3 million and assets of $243,898 in documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Durham, North Carolina.
The brief story’s here.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE @ 4:45 PM Eastern:

From WRAL ---

Former Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong has filed for bankruptcy, listing a debt of $180.3 million, according to documents filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Durham.

The filing comes on the same day the former Duke lacrosse prosecutor and others involved in the case were to submit responses to a federal lawsuit by the three men he sought to prosecute.

Nifong lists David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, as well as three other members of Duke University's 2006 men's lacrosse team — Breck Archer, Ryan McFadyen and Matthew Wilson, who named Nifong in a separate federal lawsuit in December — as unsecured creditors, each owed $30 million.

More 30 other lacrosse players from that team are also listed as creditors, each owed $1, as well as other people involved in the nearly yearlong investigation of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping claims by an exotic dancer.

The entire WRAL story is here.

The bankruptcy filing is here. (pdf)

Hat tip to JinC Regular BN for the alert on the WRAL story

Duke won’t let us “move on”

Chronicle columnist Kristin Butler’s column today does an outstanding job explaining why so many of us can’t “move on” and “heal” despite the urgings of now disbarred Mike Nifong, Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, and The Chronicle’s editorial board.

Butler’s eager to move on but how can she without knowing more about the University’s bungled and disgraceful response to “the lacrosse case” and other important matters?

However, with only one exception, each time a suit’s been brought which could’ve provided some answers, Duke’s given the plaintiffs big checks on condition they drop the suits and say no more.

The one exception is the suit brought by attorney Bob Ekstrand on behalf of three unindicted Duke students and lacrosse players.

About that suit and the upset its caused among MoveOn.Duke supporters, a commenter asked one of the supporters on Butler’s column thread:

Why is it that whenever there is a call for the truth, there is someone like you (most likely, a charter member of G88) who condemns such a call as a "Witch Hunt?” …

If it turns out that Durham police Sgt. Gottlieb had abused Duke students, as alleged in the Ekstrand complaint, wouldn't you want that to come out?

And if it turns out that DUMC employee Tara Levicy conspired with Gottlieb in the fabrication of evidence, as alleged in the Ekstrand complaint, wouldn't you want that to come out? ...
It’s in the broader and long-term interests of Duke for the truth to come out now.

Only those culpable in the University’s bungled and disgraceful response to Crystal Mangum's and Mike Nifong's lies benefit from the current cover- up.

It’s time Duke stopped writing checks to prevent the truth from becoming publicly known.

What Duke must do now is move on to full disclosure.

I don’t doubt full disclosure will confirm much that’s alleged in the Ekstrand complaint filing and require the University to reach compensation agreements with Ekstrand’s clients and a good many others.

Full disclosure will surely make it obvious some major personnel changes are needed along with changes in the University’s governance structure.

Full disclosure will mean Duke will go through a painful and financially costly period.

But is there any other way for Duke to move on from its current cover-up which is damaging the University’s reputation, costing it financially and hurting it in many other ways?

Butler’s column is here.

A Scrappleface Obama-Clinton Parody

Scrappleface, the blog that promises "News Fairly Unbalanced. We Report. You Decipher" offers it’s latest parody which begins:

Democrat Sen. Barack Obama today seemed to indirectly respond to presidential rival Sen. Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Martin Luther King’s dream would have gone unfulfilled if not for President Lyndon B. Johnson who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sen. Clinton’s comment was meant to contrast her vast record of accomplishment and political prowess, with Sen. Obama’s mere rhetorical skills and inspirational persona, but the rookie Senator offered an analogy of his own.

“The 19th Amendment to the Constitution grants women the right to vote,” said Sen. Obama, “and while women, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, marched, and spoke and held inspirational rallies, ultimately it took men in 36 state legislatures to fulfill that dream.”

The rest of it is here.


Monday, January 14, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jan. 14, 2008

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

In 1906 Churchill's two-volume biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was published in both Britain and America to mostly favorable reviews.

In America one of those who read and commented on the biography was President Theodore Roosevelt.

In Churchill and America (Free Press, 2005), Winston's official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert says Roosevelt saw some merit in the work but cared not at all for either Churchill. Gilbert quotes Roosevelt:

"I have been over Winston Churchill's life of his father," President Theodore Roosevelt wrote a friend. "I dislike the father and I dislike the son so I may be prejudiced."

TR said both the biographer and the subject had "real farsightedness." But they both possessed "such levity, lack of sobriety, lack of permanent principle, and an inordinate thirst for that cheap form of admiration which is given to notoriety, as to make them poor public servants." (p.50)
Gilbert then observers: "TR was closer to the mark with Randolph than with Winston."

I agree.

Part of what makes Winston Churchill such an interesting and admirable person is that he wished for public recognition and esteem as means of helping him secure government offices; and yet was willing throughout his political career to go against public opinion and endure "the wilderness" when he believed an important principle or his country's welfare was at stake.

There have been very few like him.

The Truth About Jena & “the 6”

You’ll find it in Charlotte Allen’s "Jena: The case of the amazing disappearing hate crime", published in the Jan. 21 Weekly Standard and available online now.

It’s saying a lot but Allen’s Jena article is every bit as outstanding as her January 2007 article, "Duke's Tenured Vigilantes: The scandalous rush to judgment in the lacrosse 'rape' case", which also appeared in the Weekly Standard.

Here are extreacts from Alen’s Jena article, followed by a few comments.

Allen begins:

In early December the case of the "Jena Six"--the six African-American high school students in Louisiana accused of viciously beating a white classmate in 2006--collapsed dramatically with a felony guilty plea by one of the defendants.

As something that was going to trigger "America's next great civil rights movement" (to quote National Public Radio) and grassroots protests against the "new Jim Crow" and the systematic discrimination against blacks in the criminal justice system, this was quite a letdown.

The Jena Six were supposed to be the new Scottsboro Boys, the nine black youths railroaded to death sentences by all-white juries in 1930s Alabama on charges of raping two white women.

But the best known of the Jena Six, Mychal Bell, appeared with his team of lawyers at the parish courthouse in this tiny Central Louisiana town of 3,000 on December 3 and pled guilty to second-degree battery, to intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury on another person.

In doing so, Bell--who will turn 18 this month and who had repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack--admitted that on December 4, 2006, he hit 17-year-old Justin Barker from behind, slamming Barker's head against a concrete beam outside the gym at Jena High School and knocking him unconscious, and that he then joined a group in stomping and kicking Barker in the head.

Bell agreed to serve 18 months in juvenile custody for the offense and to "testify truthfully" concerning the involvement of the other five members of the Jena Six should their cases come to trial.

Three months before the attack on Barker, on the morning of August 31, teachers and administrators at Jena High School had discovered two crudely constructed hangman's nooses made of nylon rope hanging from an oak tree in the center of the campus.

The nooses were promptly cut down so that few students of any race actually saw them, and the perpetrators, three white male students, were identified and disciplined--fairly severely, school officials later revealed, with nine-day suspensions during which they had to attend classes at an alternative school off-campus and go to extended counseling sessions with their families. […]

No one who subsequently investigated the noose incident--and that included sheriff's deputies for LaSalle Parish and the U.S. attorney for Central Louisiana, -Donald Washington, who is black himself and led a behind-the-scenes FBI probe of the Jena nooses within days of their discovery--found any connection between the nooses and the attack on Barker in December.

Nonetheless, the nooses--and the supposedly unduly lenient punishment meted out to the boys who hung them--became the causal linchpin of the twin demands of the Jena Six cause: that the noose-hangers be criminally prosecuted for hate crimes and that all criminal charges be dismissed against the six defendants in the attack on Barker.

Catrina Wallace, sister of a Jena Six member, summed up the reasoning at a rally in front of the Jena courthouse on July 31: "For them to say it was a prank left those kids to do only one thing: defend themselves." This interpretation gained wide currency among Jena Six sympathizers. […]

So it was that the attack on Barker--which, viewed from any other angle, was simply a brutal and potentially lethal six-against-one pile-on at a high school--became a civil rights cause célèbre.

The Jena Six affair generated more than seven months' worth of national news headlines and scolding op-eds; became a pet cause of the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the rapper Mos Def, the Congressional Black Caucus, and dozens of black bloggers, commentators, and talk-show hosts (one notable exception was the black contrarian sportswriter Jason Whitlock); provoked a September 20 march through Jena by some 20,000 people (setting a record for a post-1960s civil rights demonstration); and inspired a BBC documentary titled Race Hate in Louisiana; and catapulted Jena into the dubious standing of "the most racist town" in America.

Jackson called the charges against the Jena Six a "miscarriage of justice," while Sharpton labeled Bell "a fine young man" and vowed to keep returning to Jena until "the charges are dropped on these young men and until Mychal walks out of that jail."

A strange logical inversion had occurred in which Barker became the aggressor in the December 4 incident and his six alleged assailants the victims. […]

End of Extracts from Allen’s article

There’s a great deal more to Allen’s article including a sensitive assessment of both Jena racial problems and it’s racial progress. She also describes efforts town leaders of both races have made to repair as much as possible the damage done to Jena by race exploiters who once they'd used Jena for their own purposes abandoned it.

Allan’s account is authoritative and balanced. It makes clear the great harm that can be done by race exploiters in the media, while itself being a model of outstanding reporting.

Allen’s article not only informs us about Jena and “the 6,” it reminds us of how necessary fair, informed reporting free of race bias is if progress between the races is to continue in America.

Allen’s entire Jena article is here.

Her Duke’s Tenured Vigilantes article is here.

Duke’s Tyson Is Still Race Hustling

Duke Professor Tim Tyson continues to race hustle.

From today’s Durham Herald Sun:

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. should be remembered as "a black revolutionary" dedicated to a democracy for future generations, not as "a black Santa Claus who wanted to be nice to everybody," an author and historian said at a Sunday service at a historically black Oxford church.

"He gave his life so that the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution would not be just worthless scraps of a paper, which is all they were until the black South redeemed them and allowed them to speak to the nations for all time," Tim Tyson said. (emphasis added)

Tyson teaches at both Duke University and UNC.[…]
The rest of the H-S story is here.

Professor Tyson was among the first of Duke’s faculty to enthusiastically endorse and enable Crystal Mangum’s and Mike Nifong’s lies. Few faculty members were more reckless and wrong in their public statements.

Here, for example, are excerpts from Tyson’s Apr. 2, 2006 Raleigh News & Observer op-ed:
[...]Rape is one of the deepest and most vicious ways that human beings deny their common humanity. Racism is another.

These crimes are intertwined deeply in our history, and that history came off its leash once more on Buchanan Boulevard on March 13, as a few Duke students did great harm to our community. …

Young white men of privilege deployed their unearned affluence to hire black women to provide live pornography. This is only partly a free market, where people choose to buy and sell themselves. It is also a slave market, where an enduring racial caste system placed those women in a vulnerable position. …

The spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house on Buchanan Boulevard, regardless of the truth of the most serious charges. The ghastly spectacle takes its place in a history where African- American men were burned at the stake for "reckless eyeballing" -- that is, looking at a white woman -- and white men kept black concubines and mistresses and raped black women at will.[...]
The spirit of the lynch mob didn’t live in that house on Buchanan Boulevard.

In Spring 2006 the spirit of the lynch mob lived in the minds and words of Professor Tyson and people like him. Unfortunately, we have no reason to doubt it's still with them today.

Tyson’s op-ed appeared in the N&O the same day it published in another part of the paper a photo of the anonymous “Vigilante” poster targeting white member of the Duke lacrosse team.

The N&O published the "Vigilante" poster after Duke had expressed concerns that doing so would add to the physical danger the players were already facing from hate-filled people stirred by the reckless racist agitation of Tyson and others. (The N&O was the only North Carolina daily to publish the photo)

While the N&O should never have published the “Vigilante” poster, as long as it did, the photo belonged side-by-side with Tyson’s op-ed.


Why is Tyson so popular with Duke Divinity School administrators, faculty and students? Is his appeal his frequent use of Christian and biblical imagery?

Why do tens of thousands of Duke alums each year send mega-millions to a university which actively recruits race hustlers like Professor Tyson, Professor Karla Holloway and former Professor Houston Baker?

Tyson's op-ed is here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blogging Resumes Monday, Jan. 14, around 2 Eastern


It's been a long day.

I hope you come back tomorrow afternoon.


Barry Scheck at UNC – Chapel Hill

He’ll be there Thursday, Jan. 17, speaking at an event that’s part of a Criminal/Justice: The Death Penalty Examined series of events presented by Carolina Performing Arts.

The program begins at 7:30 PM and will be held in Memorial Hall.

Scheck is a professor of law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University and a DNA expert.

He also currently represents Reade Seligmann, one of three men indicted for gang rape and other felonies as part of a frame-up attempt in what’s often referred to as “the Duke lacrosse case.”

The North Carolina Attorney General later declared the three men innocent and said there never was any credible evidence of their guilt.

The suit names as defendants the now disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong, Durham City and Police, and others.

More information concerning Scheck’s Jan. 17 UNC-Chapel Hill appearance is here. (Click on “Events” on Criminal/Justice menu at right of page.)

Who Killed Bhutto?

The Times of London reports today:

British officials have revealed that evidence amassed by Scotland Yard detectives points towards Al-Qaeda militants being responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Five experts in video evidence and forensic science have been in Pakistan for 10 days since President Pervez Musharraf took up an offer from Gordon Brown for British help in the investigation of the December 27 killing. Last week they were joined by three specialists in explosives.

Bhutto’s murder as she left a rally she had been addressing in Rawalpindi sparked an international outcry. Her body was flown home to be buried with no postmortem examination. Companions insist the cause of death - a bullet wound in her neck - was obvious.

Claims by the government that she had fractured her skull on the sunroof of her car while escaping the blast from a suicide bomb prompted fury from party supporters who insisted she had been shot before the explosion.

When footage of the incident clearly revealed a man waving a pistol in the crowd, the government was accused of a cover-up.
Further on in the story the Times reports:
“There was no cover-up,” [a government minister] insisted. “It was just unfortunate that in all the shock and confusion at the beginning, people shot their mouths off talking about sunroofs rather than simply saying it would be investigated.”

Scotland Yard has insisted that its task is not to establish who killed her but only how she died.

Even that is not straightforward. They cannot examine the body, and the crime scene and Bhutto’s vehicle were both scrubbed within hours.

Every day another conspiracy theory emerges. […]
I’ll bet a lot of you are asking why the crime scene and Bhutto’s vehicle were scrubbed within hours? Who gave the orders for that?

The Times of London story doesn’t say and it doesn't raise the questions.

In a case like Bhutto’s assassination, it’s usual practice to cordon off the area and spend days looking for evidence, undertaking forensic testing, and the like.

Why didn't that happen?

If you’ve seen published answers to that and the other questions I’ve asked, please give me a heads up.

I’m also emailing the Times and will let you know what I hear back.

Meanwhile, is it any wonder “[e]very day another conspiracy theory emerges?”

The entire Times of London story is here.

Sen. Kerry's Late As Usual

Jack Kelly today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Sen. John Kerry always seems to be a day late and a dollar short.

On Thursday, Sen. Kerry traveled to South Carolina to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president: "Who better to turn a new page in American politics?" Sen. Kerry said at a rally with Sen. Obama at the College of Charleston. "We are electing judgment and character, not years on this earth."

There is nothing wrong with the choice of Sen. Obama to endorse, or (for Democrats) the reasons Sen. Kerry gave for endorsing him, which included Sen. Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq "from the beginning."

But the timing was weird.

Had Sen. Kerry endorsed Sen. Obama on Monday, on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, the endorsement might actually have helped Sen. Obama. Sen. Kerry crushed Howard Dean there in the 2004 primary, 38.4 percent to 26.3 percent, so his endorsement might have swayed some Democrats.

And if Sen. Kerry had endorsed Sen. Obama then, it would have been a major feature of the last news cycle before New Hampshirites went to the polls. Instead, it was dominated by Hillary Clinton's crying, and by her put down of two sexist hecklers, both of which apparently helped her a great deal.

Sen. Kerry got creamed in the South Carolina primary in 2004, and this year Democrats won't vote in South Carolina until Saturday, the 26th. His endorsement has much less value here than it would have had in New Hampshire.

All that it really does is torque off his running mate in 2004, Sen. John Edwards, who is the guy who creamed Kerry in South Carolina. […]
The rest of Kelly’s column is here.


Yes, Kerry's late again

He’s years late on his promise to release to the public all his Navy records.

And remember in 2004 Kerry telling us about those European leaders Kerry said whispered to him they wanted him to be President?

Kerry still hasn't named even one of them.

He said months ago he was finally going to prove that what the Swift Boat Veterans said about him wasn’t true.


I’ll end now. I don’t want any of you to be late for something yourselves.

Hat tip:

Your Right Hand Goes Over Your Heart

Remember that TIME photo in October showing Sen. Barak Obama with his hands cupped in front of his zipper?

Some folks said it was taken during the pledge of alligience. Turns out it was during the playing of our national anthem.

Newsbusters has updated its original post and added links. Workbench also has plenty to say.

And if you haven't seen it already, take a look at this You Tube video of the man who wants to be the next President of the United States.

Who “Owns” That “Toxic” NTO?

For almost two years the public’s had the impression the securing in March 2006 of a nontestimonial order (NTO) directing the white members of the Men’s Duke lacrosse team to provide DNA samples and submit to police face and torso photographing was something the DA’s office and DPD agreed upon and secured through their collaborative efforts.

But now, thanks to reporter Ray Gronberg’s Jan. 9 Durham Herald Sun story, we’re learning there are disputes between the DA’s office and DPD and within the DA’s office as to who did what to secure it.

Here are the relevant portions of Gronberg’s story, followed by my comments:

From the Jan. 9 Durham H-S - - -

[…] At the heart of the matter is material taken from the notes of lacrosse case lead detective Ben Himan, and notes and a deposition from Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

They referred to Cline's role in the creation of a non-testimonial order, or NTO, that allowed police to take photographs of and collect DNA evidence from 46 of the 47 members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Cline denied that she had any role in writing the order.

"The record will indicate that David Saacks did it," she said. Saacks is the interim district attorney but was an assistant DA at that time. "I didn't prepare any paperwork on that case. Nothing at all. I've never even seen or laid hands on a non-testimonial order."

She said, "I remember Gottlieb asked me about a non-testimonial order, and I told him I was not available."

But when asked by The Herald-Sun whether she'd asked police to draft the non-testimonial order, Cline responded, "I don't recall."

Himan's notes and Gottlieb's deposition indicate that police consulted Cline on March 22, 2006, after they learned players, on the advice of attorneys, wouldn't show up that day for a scheduled meeting with investigators.

As soon as that was clear, Himan contacted Cline, who handled most sexual-assault cases for the district attorney's office.

Himan -- who turned over his notes to defense lawyers in May of 2006 -- reported that the conversation took place at about 4:15 p.m. He said Cline urged police to secure the order.

"I went to Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cline and spoke to her about our case," Himan said, summarizing what happened. "She stated that we should do the non-testimonial on the players including upper-torso pictures, current mug shots and cheek swabbings."

Gottlieb's notes -- turned over to the defense in July of 2006 -- backed Himan's account.

"I spoke to [Police Attorney] Toni Smith and notified her that Investigator Himan spoke with ADA Tracey Cline. Ms. Cline asked them to draw up the NTO so the DA's office could present it to a judge in the morning. [Smith] stated follow the directions of the DA's office since they are the ones conducting the possible future prosecution."

The sergeant's deposition -- given to N.C. State Bar investigators as they assembled evidence for then-District Attorney Mike Nifong's eventual disbarment -- echoed his notes.

"I had actually spoke with Ms. Smith and Investigator Himan spoke with the District Attorney's office, Ms. Cline, and they decided to -- the district attorney's office thought it was a good idea [--] to go ahead and do a non-testimonial, and I assisted Investigator Himan in preparing it," Gottlieb told bar investigators.

Himan and Gottlieb worked on the order overnight and had it ready for a judge's signature the morning of March 23, 2006. Cline, however, wasn't available to help the detectives get it signed. Himan said he turned to Saacks, who presented the draft order to Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens.

Asked for comment, Saacks backed up the accounts offered by Himan and Gottlieb, and at least part of Cline's. He said the detectives first went to Cline.

"They just called her and asked her what they should do," Saacks said. "When they came to me, they said they had already talked to Tracey about it. But she wasn't available that morning, so I took it through court."

He said police -- and not anyone in the DA's office -- drafted the order. The only change made to the draft, once it was presented to Saacks, was one that helped authorities bypass a rule that normally gives targets of an NTO three days to challenge it in court.

Saacks said he didn't know whether police suggested the order or whether Cline "brought it up" when she talked to them.

The detectives' use of the order was controversial from the outset because lawyers questioned whether authorities had probable cause to demand DNA samples from 46 players.

One Durham lawyer, Tom Loflin, told The Herald-Sun in March 2006 that the order was "mammothly unconstitutional" and a "dragnet fishing expedition."

In one of two civil-rights lawsuits pending against the city, Durham lawyer Bob Ekstrand alleged that police lied in the affidavit supporting the order because they knew they couldn't establish that all 46 of the players had attended the team party that touched off the case.

The suit also contended that Himan and Gottlieb requested the NTO to retaliate against the players for refusing to show up at the planning meeting to answer questions.

Cline is widely expected to run for district attorney this spring.


Some comments:

Everyone following this case knew that if discovery proceeded in the civil suits, at some point the DA’s office and DPD would clash and offer different versions of key events, big-time denials and relentless blame-shifting.

But it was expected that would begin over disputes between what Himan and Gottlieb were saying versus what Nifong was saying.

We have something different here: Given that the “official story” (which I dispute here) is that Nifong knew nothing about the NTO until after it was signed, what Gronberg reports doesn’t at least for now involve Nifong as far as most of the public is concerned.

What we have right now is DPD (Himan and Gottlieb directly and attorney Toni Smith indirectly by virtue of Gottlieb’s assertions) directly challenging what ADA Cline is saying.

Somebody’s got to be very wrong here in what she/he/they is/are saying about extraordinarily important matters.

The dispute Gronberg describes is basically about NTO “ownership.”

Each agency is denying it “owns” the NTO.

That suggests to me, and I’m sure to many of you, how “toxic” are the events involving the preparation of the NTO.

The DA’s office and DPD have known of the NTO’s “toxicity” for almost two years but the possibility that discovery in the not too distant future will force both agencies to face examination concerning “toxic” matters is no doubt troubling both agencies as well as Cline’s election supporters.

I admire the way Gronberg handled this story. Whether he got a leak or just dug in the existing documents, he presented both agencies speaking to the same matters so their contradictions stand out.

A lot of reporters duck doing that. They’d rather write two successive pieces: one from each side. The pieces are promos for each side and the reporter doesn’t have to worry about the DA’s office or the police getting mad at him or her.

I give Gronberg a big “hat tip” for following up with Cline so that he was able to tell us:

when asked by The Herald-Sun whether she'd asked police to draft the non-testimonial order, Cline responded, "I don't recall."
That’s news reporting!

I’ll say more about this story tomorrow.

Be sure to visit Liestoppers Forum. Bloggers and citizen journalists there are all over this story.

Now, how about your thoughts.