Updated — today's items:
Spineless pink things the live under rocks:
Patrick Starfish is a simple-minded pink surfer dude who is SpongeBob's best buddy. He lives under a rock. SpongeBob's best friend and neighbor. Jobless and not known for his smarts.
Bob Ashley is a simple-minded publishing dude who is Mike Nifong's best buddy. He lives under a rock. Mike Nifong's best friend and enabler. Soon to be jobless and not know for his smarts.
Richard Brodhead is a simple-minded academic dude who is the Gang of 88's best buddy. He lives under a rock. The Gang of 88's best friend and protector. Soon to be jobless and best known for his smirks.
John in Carolina:
Duke Hoax Questions for the N&O -- ... As you no doubt know when reporter Joe Neff spoke on May 22 at the National Press Club he made false claims that the N&O had a policy against the use of anonymous sources and had not used a single anonymous source up to that date in what he said were 541 stories on the Duke lacrosse case.
In her American Journalism Review article, "Justice Delayed," Rachel Smolkin made a similarly false claim about your use of anonymous sources at the end of a paragraph in which you are quoted extensively.
Now we come to find out in Don Yeager’s book "It’s Not About the Truth" that Ruth Sheehan told him she based her notorious “Teams Silence is Sickening” May 27, 2006 column on information she got from people at the N&O who’d gotten their information from a source the N&O has never identified: Mike Nifong...
NAACP: Stop "Piling On" Vick -- R.L. White, president of the Atlanta NAACP, has issued a statement denouncing the rush to judgment regarding Michael Vick.
If Mr. Vick is guilty, he should pay for his crime, but to treat him as he is being treated now is also a crime. Be restrained in your premature judgment until the legal process is completed.The caution against a rush to judgment and the public defense of due process are both consistent with the NAACP's longstanding principles on criminal justice issues.
But the action only highlights the hypocrisy of the organization's approach to the lacrosse case...
Devil's Advocate: What the Duke Lacrosse Case Means for Michael Vick -- ... Apparently the Duke case taught us nothing, because here we are again: An athlete faces ALLEGATIONS of wrongdoing, and the public reacts as if the conviction were already on the books...
Gregory Rodriguez, LA Times:
Academia's hidden crackpots -- What kind of discipline would nurture a hate-filled academic such as fired professor Ward Churchill? -- [...]
For years now, conservatives have been railing against what they consider the leftist takeover of elite U.S. universities. And many of their complaints are not without merit. But I buy the self-selection argument -- those who pursue a career in academics tend to be more liberal to begin with -- so I don't think surveys showing that a majority of professors are Democrats proves there's discrimination against talented GOP PhDs. Efforts to create ideological -- or at least partisan -- balance on campus would only lead to the creation of a new form of affirmative action. Furthermore, despite arguments to the contrary, Democrats are at least members of a mainstream political party.
What should concern us all, however, is academia's nurturance of loons like the hate-filled Churchill. No, they are not many, but they shout louder than their numbers would suggest. And though their influence is minor in American higher education overall, they can be very influential in particular fields, such as comparative literature and gender and ethnic studies. That's because the problem on campuses isn't rigorous Marxist materialists, as conservative stereotypes would have you believe, but craven emotional warriors in the arena of identity politics.
Ethnic studies departments, such as Churchill's, may be the worst offenders. Created in the wake of the ethnic pride movement in the early 1970s, many simply never had the same kind of academic oversight as more established and prestigious fields. Those professors generally toiled with little funding in isolated intellectual ghettos. Their scholarship wasn't tested in the high-stakes, high-profile competition that hones other academics and other fields. They earned their "psychic income" -- a phrase coined by former Gov. Jerry Brown -- trying to turn minority undergraduates into activists. (Meanwhile, the quality work on ethnicity was being done in more traditional disciplines.) ...
KC Johnson, Minding the Campus:
Ward Churchill And The Diversity Agenda
HIGH PROFILE CRIME EVALUATION --
“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.” A. Conan Doyle[...] There is a new term that I like and that is “Nifonged”. It’s too bad that Nifong apparently did what he did to himself to become known and re-elected. Before an allegation is made through media it would be prudent to make sure that the right suspect is identified. Wrongful allegations can have a life of their own. In a number of cases once a ‘suspicion’ is made public in the minds of many that suspicion becomes fact forever even after a “person of interest” is cleared.
When I read about Nifong I was wondering if he had sent any of the factually innocent to jail...
Free Frank Warner blog: The Nifonging of Alberto Gonzales
After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.
— Albert Camus (1913 - 1960)
Until Proven Innocent by Stuart Taylor, Jr. and KC Johnson:
publisher Thomas Dunne Books (September 4, 2007)
Reviews in praise of:Book Description
“Brutally honest, unflinching, exhaustively researched, and compulsively readable, Until Proven Innocent excoriates those who led the stampede—the prosecutor, the cops, the media—but it also exposes the cowardice of Duke’s administration and faculty. Until Proven Innocent smothers any lingering doubts that in this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.”
— John Grisham
“This compelling narrative dramatizes the fearsome power of unscrupulous police and prosecutors to wreck the lives of innocent people, especially when the media and many in the community rush to presume guilt. The inspiring story of how the defense lawyers turned the tables on a dishonest DA points to the crying need for reforms to give defendants of modest means a fighting chance when law enforcement goes bad.”
— Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union and professor of law at the New York Law School
“In what surely is this year’s most revealing, scalding and disturbing book on America’s civic culture, the authors demonstrate that the Duke case was symptomatic of the dangerous decay of important institutions—legal, academic, and journalistic. . . . With this meticulous report, the guilty have at last been indicted and convicted.”
— George F. Will
“A gripping, meticulous, blow-by-blow account of the whole grotesque affair. It is beautifully written, dramatic, and full of insights, exposing how vulnerable the prosecutorial system is to abuse and how ready the liberal media and PC academics are to serve as leaders of the lynch mob. A must read for anyone who cares about individual rights and justice.”
— William P. Barr, former attorney general of the United States
“A chilling, gripping account of how our judicial system can go terribly wrong. This is an important book that brings the Duke story to life and exposes troubling facts about our justice system and our citadels of higher learning. You may think you know the Duke story—but you don’t until you read this book.”
— Jan Crawford Greenberg, ABC News legal correspondent and author of Supreme Conflict
“The analysis of the notorious Duke rape case in this book is hard to accept. According to Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, this episode was not just a terrible injustice to three young men. It exposed a fever of political correctness that is more virulent than ever on American campuses and throughout society. . . . Unfortunately for doubts, the authors lay out the facts with scrupulous care. This is a thorough and absorbing history of a shameful episode. ”— Michael Kinsley, columnist for Time magazine
What began that night shocked Duke University and Durham, North Carolina.
And it continues to captivate the nation: the Duke lacrosse team members‘ alleged rape of an African-American stripper and the unraveling of the case against them.
In this ever-deepening American tragedy, Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson argue, law enforcement, a campaigning prosecutor, biased journalists, and left-leaning academics repeatedly refused to pursue the truth while scapegoats were made of these young men, recklessly tarnishing their lives.
The story harbors multiple dramas, including the actions of a DA running for office; the inappropriate charges that should have been apparent to academics at Duke many months ago; the local and national media, who were so slow to take account of the publicly available evidence; and the appalling reactions of law enforcement, academia, and many black leaders...
LS forum: "Until Proven Innocent" To Be Released Sept. 4
Ruth Sheehan, News & Observer:
Lacrosse house ... what if ? -- John Burness, vice president of public affairs and government relations for Duke University, had just begun our tour of the university's community outreach efforts when we turned on Buchanan Boulevard.
He slowed as we passed a ramshackle white cottage with black shutters hanging from the hinges.
"There's a house I've seen before," he said.
We both sighed.
The house, of course, was the scene of the infamous Duke lacrosse team party. The one that ended in false accusations of rape against three lacrosse players, dismissal of the coach and, ultimately, the resignation of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.
The one that nearly turned Durham, and Duke, upside down.
Coincidentally, Burness had originally offered to take me on this tour 18 months ago, when I participated in a one-month fellowship at Duke in late February and early March 2006.
At the time, Burness had mentioned that the university had just purchased several new houses that would be renovated and resold as owner-occupied dwellings.In fact, the Buchanan Boulevard house is just one of 160 houses that have been purchased by Duke since 1994 for rehabilitation and then sold to first-time homeowners under Durham's affordable housing guidelines....
John in Carolina: Sheehan & Burness Sighed
Lawyer known as calm voice -- Williams takes on Vick dogfight case -- James D. "Butch" Williams has had his share of dogfights in court -- the Duke lacrosse case among them. Now Williams, a prominent Durham lawyer and sports agent, is in the middle of another brawl on the national stage -- this time as part of a team of attorneys representing Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback charged with operating a dogfighting ring.
"I can't talk too much about the particulars of the case," Williams, 52, said Friday, the day after Vick pleaded not guilty in federal court in Richmond, Va. "But I will tell you this one will be more difficult than the Duke lacrosse case."
Williams, well-known around the Durham County courthouse and also an agent for professional athletes, jumped at the chance to be on Vick's defense team with Billy Martin of Washington, Daniel Meachum of Atlanta, and two lawyers from Virginia Beach, Lawrence Woodward Jr. and Tom Shuttleworth.
"I know how much Mike means to the NFL," Williams said...
In the Heart of Freedom, in Chains -- Two April days threw a clarifying light on the state of race in America. On the 11th, North Carolina’s attorney general exonerated three white Duke students of the rape charges that a black stripper had lodged with much press fanfare a year earlier. The next day, CBS fired shock jock Don Imus for calling black Rutgers women’s basketball players “nappy-headed hos.” Between them, these events suggest an explanation for America’s most vexed social question: in a country whose chief domestic imperative for 50 years has been ending racism and righting long-standing wrongs against blacks—with such success that we now have an expanding black middle class, a black secretary of state, black CEOs of three top corporations, a black Supreme Court justice, and a serious black presidential candidate—how can there still exist a large black urban underclass imprisoned in poverty, welfare dependency, school failure, nonwork, and crime? How even today can more black young men be entangled in the criminal-justice system than graduate from college? How can close to 70 percent of black children be born into single-mother families, which (almost all experts agree) prepare kids for success less well than two-parent families? ...
Group Profiles: Maurice Wallace -- Group of 88 member and “clarifying” faculty signatory Maurice Wallace teaches in the English and African-American Studies departments. In 1995, he received a Ph.D. from Duke, where he studied under future Group of 88 stalwarts Karla Holloway and Cathy Davidson.
According to the summer 1999 Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Wallace’s appointment formed part of a late-1990s diversity “hiring spree” that “is one of the great success stories among the nation’s highest-ranked universities.” The dean of faculty at the time was future Group of 88 leader William Chafe; his associate dean was Holloway.
Wallace’s scholarship has focused on the idea of black masculinity, with particular interests in psychoanalysis and the race/class/gender trinity...
Moreover, despite his assertion that he wants to train “thinking citizens,” Wallace’s behavior over the past 17 months suggests that he doesn’t practice what he preaches. His conduct in the lacrosse case gave no indication that Wallace believes that “thinking citizens” should speak out against prosecutorial misconduct in their midst—a vision of civic affairs that would leave students as automatons, discouraged from challenging government authority...
Brown University Welcomes Duke Rape Case Victim: Sophomore Reade Seligmann was one of the victims of the false rape case at Duke University. The Brown University lacrosse coach, with support from the school's administration, recruited Seligmann for the Brown team, and he will enroll at Brown this fall. As a Brown Daily Herald article explains, Brown's new coach began recruiting Seligmann "almost immediately" after being hired last August. Although the malicious prosecution had not yet collapsed, the coach talked to people in the lacrosse community who knew Seligmann, and was "absolutely convinced" of Seligmann's innocence. According to the BDH, "Seligmann, who says he always wanted to attend an Ivy League school, chose Brown over the other two or three schools that were interested in him because of how the University treated him. They allowed him to visit the campus when he wasn't even allowed back at Duke."
Three cheers for my alma mater for standing up for truth and justice. [see comments]
John in Carolina:
Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1) -- The Raleigh News & Observer’s repeatedly said it didn't use anonymous sources when reporting the Duke lacrosse story. I know that’s preposterous but it has. (See, for example, here, here and here. )
Now there's strong evidence that one of the anonymous sources the N&O used last March to publicly frame the lacrosse players was then DA Mike Nifong.
Recall that in front-page stories on March 24, 25, 26 and in a March 27 news column by Ruth Sheehan, the N&O laid out its deliberately fictional Duke lacrosse script about a frightened young black woman brutally beaten and gang-raped by privileged white male Duke lacrosse players whose racist teammates had formed "a wall of solidarity" to prevent the police from identifying their gang-rapist buddies.
Nifong’s never mentioned in any of those stories or Sheehan’s column...
Now Sheehan admits that a major portion of the N&O's fictional script was provided to N&O journalists by Mike Nifong...
John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Hardin praises district attorney staff -- After a month on the job, interim Durham District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr. sees good news and bad news in the wake of the year-long Duke lacrosse scandal that recently ended the career of his predecessor, Mike Nifong.
Hardin said he is gratified that members of the district attorney's staff maintained morale and productivity even as the lacrosse case heaped disgrace on Nifong, polarized the community and brought an avalanche of adverse national publicity to the Bull City.
In an interview last week, Hardin said he was mentally prepared to find a devastated and demoralized office when Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to temporarily replace Nifong, who has resigned and been disbarred for misconduct in the lacrosse affair.
"What I expected is very different from what I saw and continue to see," Hardin said. "It is a tribute to the fortitude of each staff member.
"Given the events of the past year and the extent those events had a disruptive effect, the staff has done an incredible job of keeping cases moving," he added. "I'm trying to be as positive as I can be. I've got good reason to be positive about what the staff has done. Their attitude, to a person, has been remained above reproach."
Next, the bad news.
Hardin said efficiency statistics for the District Attorney's Office are not as good as he would like...
comment: What a relief, no more rotten apples in the barrel. Thank you John Stevenson and the Herald-Sun for the cheery news. This just confirms the Herald-Sun editorial on June 23rd, 2007, which said: Hardin a great choice
Duke case: Brad Bannon as Columbus or Columbo? -- The great accomplishment of the defense team was getting Mr. Nifong to agree to a judge who proceeded to order him to turn over the underlying documentation despite his vigorous opposition and making sure the documentation finally produced was the actual documentation. That was the ball game.
If Durham is Wonderland, is Brad Bannon Columbus or Columbo? Columbus, financed by wealthy monarchs, discovered America while looking for the East Indies and not expecting to find. Colombo is the fictional detective who solved murders in brilliant, if unorthodox ways. Mr. Bannon swore that he did not expect to find multiple-male DNA evidence, but he was reviewing the documents anyway and there was the proof...
LS forum: Brad Bannon Posts On DNA Discovery
TalkLeft: A Word From Brad Bannon
New Duke Position -- According to Inside Higher Ed, Duke is seeking a new director for “Diversity and Equity,” whose task will be “to provide training and support diversity initiatives.” ...
Since President Brodhead has thrice defended the Group of 88’s statement—indeed, once going so far to describe the Group as professors who “signed a petition defending students who as minorities, felt threatened by the situation”—it would seem that respect for “all faculty, staff, students, and patients” will not be a priority of the new “diversity and equity” director...
In theory, of course, such a position is perfectly appropriate. But given the track record of the past 17 months, in which all students were not treated equally by some quarters of the faculty and administration based on their race, class, gender, or athletic status, it seems unlikely that the new director will treat all students equally.
Nifong charge may be a first -- Just as the controversial Duke lacrosse case was no run-of-the-mill prosecution, a criminal contempt charge arising from it is anything but a garden-variety, ho-hum piece of litigation.
Former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has resigned and been disbarred, faces the charge for allegedly lying about DNA evidence favorable to three defendants in the lacrosse incident.
He could receive a fine of up to $500 or a 30-day jail term, or both. A hearing is set for Aug. 30.
Many lawyers and judges say they never saw anything like it.
Contempt almost always involves more predictable issues -- mouthing off to a judge or failing to show up for jury duty. One local juror was fined for violating orders not to discuss a homicide trial outside court.
But a contempt charge against a former elected district attorney for alleged dishonesty may be the first of its kind, lawyers and judges agree...