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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Duke Case: Sterotyped

Devon Sherwood - Duke lacrosse teamChris Cuomo interviewed Devon Sherwood for "Good Morning America" -

He is the only African-American player on the 47-man embattled Duke lacrosse team and the youngest man in the group.

In his first, exclusive interview with ABC News, Devon Sherwood said that his three white teammates who have been accused of sexually assaulting a black woman had been stereotyped by class and skin color.

"It's almost a reversal… It's just been all the stereotypes… I've even been stereotyped for being rich, being on full scholarship, [being] not in touch with my own black community at Duke. … It's terrible to find yourself being stereotyped…"

"And you're like, 'Hold on. This couldn't be much further from the truth'"

source:
Sole Black Duke Lacrosse Player Says White Teammates Stereotyped [ABC News, Oct. 31, 2006]

Duke Case: Dysfunctional Durham

updated:

"He may be an evil liar, but he's our evil liar." - anonymous Durham voter

Mike Nifong - prosecutor of the hoax
Mike Nifong has got a choke hold on three innocent men, the criminal justice system, and on the voters in Durham. Nifong has used the circumstances of the Duke case to set himself up as an underdog in this election, pitted against powerful outside forces, who want to control Durham's future. As News & Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan put it:
.... in a strange way, Nifong has become a symbol of Durham to the nation. And in Durham, as in most dysfunctional families, it may be OK to holler and throw lamps at one another within the family, but let an outsider criticize and, honey, watch out.

Durhamites are tired of seeing their city mischaracterized and maligned.

A friend of mine from Durham recently visited Philadelphia and had lunch with a woman whose own city, according to the FBI, is one of the most dangerous in the country.

Yet this woman said she'd never send her child to school in Durham: too violent.

My friend was steamed.

Whether halfway across the country or a half-hour up the road, we outsiders might be appalled at Nifong's handling of the Duke lacrosse case, but on this one, Durham voters are in the driver's seat.
The more Nifong is trashed in the main stream media and on the Internet the more support he builds in dysfunctional Durham. Call it a backlash or blowback, but it is another perverse case of "The Law of Unintended Consequences." For example, Durham voter recognition of Nifong has probably become 100%. He told the AP:
"Now I must say that the single good thing about all the publicity that I've gotten is that so many people know my face now that it's really easy for me to meet people. Before, literally very few people had any idea who I was, so I had to go up and introduce myself to everybody. And now I don't have to do that."

Compare that to the recognition of his two opponents: Steve "take me to dinner" Monks, and Lewis "I will not serve" Cheek. How many people can put a face to either of these two lame opponents? How many Durhamites will vote for the man they perceive as having a backbone, crooked though it might be?

Whether you are in Baghdad or a Durham, nobody likes "outsiders" coming in and telling you how you should run your city. A backlash vote against these "outsiders" will help propel Mike Nifong back into the DA's office. Nifong will use his new found notoriety to hold the DA's office until the day he retires, outsiders be damned.

So after Nifong wins this election, then Durham like Baghdad should be marked off as a "dead zone," and all outsiders, especially tourists, students, and businessmen should steer clear. There are better opportunities elsewhere.

update: Exhibit A-
Ms. Sheehan:

I am writing to express my outrage that you could use the front page of the City/State section to call us Durhamites idiots for voting for Mike Nifong in the upcoming election.

If you wanted to phrase your sentiment with something like "you are fools for voting for a over zealous prosecutor no matter the other issues in Durham are, or what the actual facts of the case are", that's one thing. But, most everyone I talk to is proud that the community is united and we are voting on more than the Duke Lacrosse issue (which was a no-win situation from the outset). Who cares what our national reputation is (as evidenced by what? the media like Nancy Grace and 60 minutes? and your friend's friend in Philadelphia?--who cares about that?) By all accounts, Mike Nifong is a great guy and an incredible advocate for Durham and that's why we want him to stay in office.
Exhibit B: Letter to Herald-Sun-
....I hope the people of Durham look at this and realize that a crime is a crime no matter who performs the act. DA Nifong is not the problem. Letting people who do not live, raise their families, volunteer and fight for their country, and call Durham their home to dictate to the rest of us is the problem.

WAYLAND BURTON
Durham
November 2, 2006
sources:
Turning the tide in Durham [Ruth Sheehan NewsObserver.com, Oct. 30, 2006]
AP Interview: Mike Nifong on the Duke lacrosse rape case [heraldsun.com, Oct. 30, 2006]

related:
DA's foes raising more [NewsObserer.com, Oct. 31, 2006]
Why Nifong will win the DA's race [Talkleft.com]

Monday, October 30, 2006

Duke Case: Mangum said, "Put marks on me"

updated:

Kim Roberts on GMA, Oct. 30rd Kim Roberts revealed dramatic new information about Crystal Gail Mangum, the alleged victim of the Duke lacrosse gang rape. ABC News is reporting:

The second dancer in the Duke rape case has said for the first time that the accuser told her to "go ahead, put marks on me" after the alleged attack.

Dancer Kim Roberts made the new allegation — which she has not shared with authorities — in an interview with Chris Cuomo that aired today on "Good Morning America."

[...]

Roberts said the comments "chilled me to the bone, and I decided right then and there to go to the authorities."

Roberts' attorney, Mark Simeon, said she never shared what she says were the accuser's final comments with police, not realizing their significance at the time.

He said she would be willing to take a lie detector test about the new information...
Why didn't the Durham authorities ever re-interview Ms. Roberts regarding the incident? The police investigators only personally interviewed Ms. Roberts once, on March 22nd, when they took her statement.

ABC Poll Question/Results regarding this new information at 9:45 a.m., Oct. 30th.
Vote: What Does New Claim Mean for Duke Case?

Kim Roberts, the second dancer in the Duke rape case, told ABC News that the alleged victim asked Roberts to "put marks on me."

What does this latest claim by the second dancer mean for the Duke rape case?

  • This doesn't look good for the prosecution. They should consider dropping the case.
    549 (85.3%)

  • It's hard to say, but it will make it harder to find an unbiased jury.
    48 (7.5%)

  • The second dancer has been inconsistent. This won't affect the case.
    46 (7.2%)

  • Total Vote: 643

Update: Fast moving discussions of the new Roberts' allegations:

Re: BOMBSHELL Precious - "Put marks on me" Rape setup? (latest post) [forums.talkleft.com]
Kim Roberts on GMA 10/30
(latest post) [forums.talkleft.com]
'Go Ahead, Put Marks on Me' [Freerepublic.com]
Second Dancer reveals Duke rape set-up [Freerepublic.com]
Kim exposes more of the hoax on ABC [LieStoppers forum]
2nd Dancer drops a BOMBSHELL... [forum abc11tv]

sources:
Go Ahead, Put Marks on Me [abcnews, Oct. 30, 2006]
Second Dancer Drops Bombshell [abc11tv]

Associated Press:
Report: Accuser in Duke lacrosse case "talking crazy" after party [heraldsun.com, Oct. 30, 2006]
Duke accuser 'talking crazy' after party [newsoberver.com, Oct. 30, 2006]

related:
Kim Roberts version 6.0 [TJN, Oct. 12, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Duke Case: More Sunshine Please

"The best disinfectant is sunshine." - Louis Brandeis
Mike Nifong is doing a great job as a PR man for injustice. It's too bad that he's in court once a month and not once a week. The main stream media, national, and now international audience are just starting to appreciate his deceptive legal shenanigans.

One of many good legal comments at The Volokh Conspiracy:
I have a lot of experience investigating rape cases. I did two child rapes last week. This case stunk from the beginning. It smelled of politics then, it REALLY smells of politics now.

Given the PUBLIC comments that the prosecutor made about his conviction that the offenders had committed the crime, and his trust in the truth of the victim, it is inconceivable to me (especially considering the mountains of exculpatory evidence presented on behalf of the defense) that the prosecutor has yet to at least witness a police interview with the "victim", let alone speak to her himself. In my jurisdiction, prosecutors have to be very careful about actually interviewing victims themselves, because they can't be both witnesses and prosecutors.

This case (on the prosecution's side) is a joke. I really really detest rapists, and that is why I took a lot of specialized training in rape investigation, so I could investigate these types of crimes thoroughly, and this case (the prosecutor) has been insane from the beginning.

Jonah Goldberg at The National Review Online (NRO):
Wow

I'm no expert, but wouldn't you think a prosecutor in a racially charged, political heated, nationally watched case would take a few minutes to talk to the sole accuser in the Duke "rape" case and see if her facts pan out? I mean, he ran on the case in the last election, but he never satisfied his own curiosity about the case personally (or asked lawyers from his office to), even after the media have poked so many holes in her story?
Jonah Goldberg mail from Durham:
...my business is located in Durham so I have a pretty good feel for the local community.

Not only is Nifong a national embarrassment, he will probably win re-election by a landslide. He has two challengers in the race, and one has publicly stated that he will not accept the position should he win. (!)

Durham is a strange place. On one hand, we have an educated and large medical community that surrounds Duke University and Duke Medical Center, but on the other hand, we have a long-entrenched black power base that controls the politics of this city...
Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy at NRO:

Re: "Wow!" Is Right on Nifong
If the AP report is true, and the quotes from Nifong are accurate, that is just breathtaking incompetence. It is unethical to indict a case — not talking mere arrest here, but indictment, which is a much weightier step — unless a prosecutor is personally convinced that a rational jury would find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial based on the facts that are known at the time of indictment. How can you indict a he-said-she-said case without first satisfying yourself about what she would actually say?

Nifong is not a social worker, he's the prosecutor...

Bob Ingle Asbury Park Press:
DA Is A Disgrace

That case of alleged rape involving some members of the Duke University Lacrosse team and a woman hired to be a stripper at a party gets stranger and stranger....

What seems to be driving Nifong is he is up for election next month. And you thought that kind of thing only happened in New Jersey.

Instead of sunshine, the Herald Sun is a journalistic shower of acid rain. The Herald-Sun doesn't just carry water for Mike Nifong, they drive a pumper truck and hose down any story with an acid shower of pro-Nifongian piddle. The Herald Sun does it again: "Monks counts himself in for DA."

Write-in district attorney candidate Steve Monks offered hypothetical statistics Friday to show he might be able to pull more votes in the Nov. 7 election than current chief prosecutor Mike Nifong or County Commissioner Lewis Cheek.

If Cheek threw his support behind Monks, then Monks might capture 52 percent of the ballots compared with Nifong's 46 percent, the statistics indicated.
The tone of this John Stevenson article uses FUD - fear, uncertainty, and doubt as a strategy to disseminate a negative message about the "Vote Cheek - Recall Nifong" campaign. It plays up the strength of spoiler Steve "take me dinner" Monks. It will be interesting to see now much money Nifong spent on advertising with the Herald Sun for this election.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Duke Case: Hoax Busting Video

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What an extraordinary and fast moving 24 hours, it's been hard to keep up with all the developments and hoax busting that have been going on in Durham.

Some people were working late in Durham last night, and we are not talking about the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum. KC Johnson publishes his analysis of yesterday's hearing at 12:15 a.m., and the News & Observer publishes a Joe Neff article at 12:30 a.m. and modifies it 3:33 a.m.

The Neff article and video release seem to be the confirmation of defense attorney Joe Cheshire's comment to local reporters, after yesterday's hearing, that information on the accuser was soon coming out soon.

The N&O said:

A woman identified as the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape case performed an athletic pole dance at a Hillsborough strip club at the same time that the accuser was visiting hospitals complaining of intense pain from being assaulted.

A time-stamped video shows a woman at The Platinum Club on March 26. The club's former security manager, H.P. Thomas, identified her as the accuser.

The video, reviewed by The News & Observer, shows a limber performer. The same woman told doctors at UNC and Duke hospitals around that time that she had been beaten and assaulted and was racked with pain....

Crystal Gail Mangum pole dancing on March 26th

The video segment, about a minute long, shows the woman, introduced as Precious, as she approached a floor-to-ceiling pole on a stage, dressed in a thong and skimpy top. She grasped the pole and lowered herself into a squatting position, so that her buttocks almost touched the floor. With her hands on the floor, she stretched out her right leg vertically, as though she was kicking to the ceiling while squatting, and waved her leg several times to either side of the pole.

The accuser's appearance was part of a longer recording documenting an event at the club that began March 25 and continued past midnight.
First, there were the time-stamped photos of the party showing that Ms. Mangum was not in any way, shape, or form a victim of a violent 30 minute gang rape. Now this new video showing her kicking up a storm on stage, while at the same time pretending she was still hurting from an alleged attack.

When will this legal insanity stop?

sources:
Yesterday's Hearing [KC Johnson, Oct. 28, 2006]
Video may aid players' defense [N&O, Oct. 28, 2006]

Friday, October 27, 2006

Duke Case: OUTRAGE

updated 10:31 pm:

OUTRAGE: 'Duke Lacrosse' Prosecutor Yet to Interview Rape Accuser 'About Facts...The Drudge Report's stamp of "OUTRAGE" on this story sums up the reaction to DA Mike Nifong's admission that he had yet to interview the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, regarding the facts of the Duke lacrosse case. Nifong said:

"I've had conversations with (the accuser) about how she's doing. I've had conversations with (the accuser) about her seeing her kids," Mike Nifong said. "I haven't talked with her about the facts of that night. ... We're not at that stage yet."
At today's court hearing, Nifong made this admission in response to a defense request for any statements the woman has made about the case.
"I understand the answer may not be the answer they want but it's the true answer. That's all I can give them," the prosecutor said after the hourlong hearing.
This confirms the stunning revelation made by the News & Observer in an October 1st story, Benjamin Niolet reported:
Although Nifong has never heard the woman tell her story, he believes her.
When will Nifong reach the stage of talking to Ms. Mangum about her allegations, the day after the election? And is that when he drops the case, after the election? Mike Nifong has no shame.

Wow, and KC Johnson was blogging in almost real time from the court hearing and, of course, offered the best insights:
Nifong opened the hearing by complaining about the October 11 letter from Cheshire, and said that the N&O received copy of letter before he did. The Cheshire letter noted that Nifong claimed to have interviewed the accuser, and the only time this could have occurred was on April 11. Nifong asserted that the Cheshire letter deals with matters already dealt with. He said he hasn’t responded previously, but wants to provide historical context...

Nifong, speaking, he said, as a man of "integrity," asserted that on April 11 (days after she was pole dancing, according to 60 Minutes, the accuser was too traumatized for any "meaningful discussion"; "no matter how many times they ask the question, that will still be the answer."

[...]

When Nifong took over as lead investigator, [defense attorney Brad] Bannon noted, “he put himself in the position of being a factual investigator in this case.” In that position, he had meetings with witnesses. Bannon asked: what has the accuser said to Mr. Nifong, and when did she say it?

Nifong’s response: he, as the DA and lead investigator of the case, has only spoken to the accuser on one item relating to the facts of the case—whether or not she used the drug ecstasy.

Bannon, with reason, remarked that this claim “stretched credulity.”
Dan Abrams of MSNBC made a comment way back in the spring that he had never seen a criminal case before get progressively weaker and weaker every day like this Duke lacrosse case. The continuous unraveling of Nifong's illegitimate prosecution has been going on since the day, April 18th, when Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were arrested. Can anyone think of anotherhigh-profile case in the history of the American criminal justice system that has continually weakened and produced ever diminishing evidence for over six months, like this one, and still gone to trial?

It is an outrage.

update:

WRAL.com report on hearing - "Nifong Never Talked With Accuser On Details Of Duke Rape Case"
Key points:
1) Nifong claims he has not discussed facts of case with accuser
2) Nifong appointed lead investigator on March 24
3) Detail of SBI DNA turned over
4) No new hearong until Dec. 15 (so much for speedy justice)
via LieStoppers discussion.

Later: Nifong's comment: "I've had conversations with (the accuser) about her seeing her kids," has caused some confusion.
> What does that mean, "her seeing her kids"?
Does she not have custody of her kids?

>> I wondered about that too. I thought her kids were with her but it sounds like they might not be. Obviously they aren't with her parents. It almost sounds like she has to make arrangements to see them.
even later: The TalkLeft forum had this report:
> Joe Cheshire just told local reporters that information on the accuser will be coming out soon and did not elaborate further.
And some wild speculation:
>> Wow, I cannot imagine an attoney worth his salt putting himself out there unless it is a done deal.

It goes to credibility. Nifong has been inconsistent with his statements to the public.

So far, the Defense Attorneys have been on the mark.

Wonder if she is still dating Matt?
Wonder what Jariel is up to?
Wonder if Brian Taylor is still driving the daughter of an NCCU bigwig.
Wonder if Willie Drewery is still pimping? He was her boss at the time of the party.
Wonder if her ex is staying out of trouble?
Wonder if any of them have offered info to the Defense Attorneys?
Wonder what happened to the rumor of the trickbook with some recognizable names?

So many questions.
Ditto the questions.

ACLU Panel Discussion - KC Johnson (left)still later: Blogger KC Johnson (left) was part of a three-person panel about the lacrosse case hosted by Duke ACLU on Thursday night. The Duke Chronicle reported on the panel discussion:
Sparked by a question from the audience, the panelists spoke about the ethics of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the case. Johnson criticized the judicial system of North Carolina, calling for a reform in the accountability of district attorneys.

"In North Carolina, the only person policing a rogue DA is the rogue DA himself," he said.

Miller said that the actions of Nifong are impeding on the rights of the accused lacrosse players. "You have an intellectual cancer where political agendas are more important than due process," he explained.
LB at FreeRepublic.com covered the ACLU panel and provided a summary.

sources:
OUTRAGE: 'Duke Lacrosse' Prosecutor Yet to Interview Rape Accuser 'About Facts of that Night'... [AP breitbart.com, Oct. 27, 2006]
Stretching Credulity [KC Johnson, Oct. 27, 2006]
Duke Case: Cheshire Letter to Nifong [TJN. Oct. 11, 2006]
Nifong Never Talked With Accuser On Details Of Duke Rape Case [WRAL.com, Oct. 27, 2006]
ACLU panel criticizes Nifong, faculty response [DukeChronicle, Oct. 27, 2006]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Duke Case: Obsession

Consider yourself obsessed with the Duke lacrosse case a.k.a. "hoax" if you can answer "yes" or agree with three or more of these statements.

  1. You can force yourself to read an entire Michael Gaynor article without zoning out. Bonus points if you read a week's worth. Big bonus if you've read them all.

  2. You can force yourself to read an entire Cash Michaels article without clicking the "back" arrow first.

  3. You stay up to until midnight to see what KC Johnson has posted at Wonderland.

  4. You can name two or more members of the "Group of 88."

  5. The names "Jakki" or "Couch" mean something.

  6. You know who Jeralyn Merritt or Joan Foster is.

  7. You read something about the Duke lacrosse hoax every day.

  8. You are pissed off at anyone of the following: Richard Brodhead, the Herald-Sun, Bob Ashley, Steve Monks, or the News & Observer.

  9. You know who Ruth is.

  10. You know the address of the Duke lacrosse party house.

  11. You know who Kathleen Eckelt is.

  12. You know who: LTC8K9, Tony, Photios, and imho are.

  13. You know how many Bret's or Matt's were on the 05-'06 Duke lacrosse team.

  14. You would like to have a baseball bat and a Mike Nifong pinata hanging in your garage.

related:

Why Are We So Obsessed With This Case? [forums.talkleft.com]

Duke Case: Yes, Please "Tar and Feather" Them

updated:

Professor Steven Baldwin wrote an apology for his choice of some words in his letter criticizing the Duke administration's mismanagement of the lacrosse scandal.

Professor Baldwin's apology:

An editorial that I wrote appeared in The Chronicle Tuesday that was critical of the way the lacrosse incident has been handled by the Duke administration. Although my position is unchanged, I now realize that some of the language I used in the editorial was insensitive and inappropriate. I truly regret that my words have caused pain for some members of our community.

In particular, in the next-to-last paragraph of the editorial I used some terms that I have now learned have racial connotations for some. I certainly did not intend them that way. I grew up in the western U.S. and, quite frankly, associate the terms I used with the western frontier of the late 1800s. I saw a lot of cowboy movies as a kid.

I deeply regret that what for me is a totally non-racial issue has assumed that character. I wish I had used other language; I wish I had bounced a draft of the document off someone who might have steered me straight....

I am very sorry that my naivety has offended any members of the Duke community. That was entirely unintentional and I should have been more careful in my selection of words.
On Tuesday, Baldwin said in his next-to last paragraph:
I mention this because I believe the young man would not mind my describing him in these terms. On the other hand I do not believe that a faculty member publicly describing any student in pejorative terms is ever justified. To do so is mean-spirited, petty and unprofessional, at the very least. The faculty who publicly savaged the character and reputations of specific men's lacrosse players last spring should be ashamed of themselves.

They should be tarred and feathered, ridden out of town on a rail and removed from the academy. Their comments were despicable. I suspect they were also slanderous, but we'll hear more about that later.

Finally, I urge the Duke community to take a reality check. Speak your minds. Do what you think is right. Tell the administration that you are not satisfied with the way they have handled the lacrosse affair. Demand better.
So some thin-skinned wimps on the Duke faculty think the phrases, "tarred and feathered," and "ridden out of town on a rail," should be removed from discussions of American issues? That is bull.

Wikipedia says:
Tarring and feathering is a physical punishment, at least as old as the Crusades, used to enforce formal justice in feudal Europe and informal justice in Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance (compare Lynch law) ....

Metaphorical uses

The image of the tarred-and-feathered outlaw is so vivid that the expression remains a metaphor for a humiliating public castigation, many years after the practice disappeared. An example (in a story serial in a web forum) is: "The last episode was meant to be a cliffhanger, but readers' comments showed that they would tar and feather me if I did not quickly rescue the hero and show what happened next."
There is no indication that the phrase has a racial connotation in the Wikipedia entry.

The New York Times has used the phrase "tarred and feathered" in about 90 articles since 1981.

Google has about 221,00 references to the phrase "tarred and feathered" and it has around 20,000 references to the keywords "George Bush" + "tarred and feathered"

The nation was founded by men who wanted to "tar and feather" the British. Today it is a totally valid metaphor for "humiliating public castigation."

Wikipedia on the phrase "Riding the rail" -
...though few have been tarred and feathered or ridden out of town on a rail in recent years, the expression remains to describe anyone subjected to indignity and infamy. From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson
There is no racial connotation for "ridden out of town on a rail." The NY Times has used the exact expression nine times.

Has the First Amendment now been suspended on the Duke campus? We know the Fourth Amendment has already been suspended. This is absurd political correctness and censorship.

See this Wikipedia entry:
Freedom of speech is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship. It is often regarded as an integral concept in modern liberal democracies...

Later: The Duke Conservative Union commented on the PC policing:
You may remember how White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was criticized for using the phrase "hug the tar baby" in a May press conference. Well, now the phrase "tar and feather" is also taboo. In response to Professor Steven Baldwin's excellent editorial in yesterday's Chronicle criticizing the Duke administration and faculty for its treatment of our student athletes, Professor Robyn Wiegman has a letter in the Chronicle today taking Baldwin to task for his use of the phrase "tar and feather"...

It's ironic not only that a professor of literature doesn't understand metaphors, but also that someone urging "critical thought" fails to think critically, and prefers to make a silly ad hominem attack rather than actually respond to the substance of her colleague's arguments. Making every little thing into a racial offense does not bring the issue out into the open and force us to confront something we may have been avoiding, as Wiegman ostensibly hopes it will. Rather, it only makes it harder for us to discuss race if we always have to be worried about using language or expressing ideas that are deemed politically incorrect.
TJN - Policing Vile Metaphors & Idiot Professors:
Since Ms. Wiegman is now throwing vile metaphors, like "tarred and feathered," off the Duke campus here are a few more metaphors/expressions she can expel...

Sources:
'Insensitive' language unintentional [Steven Baldwin | DukeChronicle.com, Oct. 25, 2006]
The administration's mismanagement of lacrosse [Steven Baldwin | DukeChronicle.com, Oct. 24, 2006]
Police enter Edens for interviews [DukeChronicle.com, April 17, 2006]
The Word "Tar" Causes Trouble Once Again [DukeNewSense.com, Oct. 25, 2006]

Duke Case: Nifong in Catbird Seat

"Neutral men are the devil's allies." - Edwin Hubbel Chapin
Durham voters are making their beds and it looks like they want to lie down with Mike Nifong. Some are still holding out hope that Lewis Cheek will pull in a big majority of the undecided voters and squeak out a victory. Don't hold your breath. It does not look good.

The News & Observer/WRAL poll
for the DA's office shows Mike Nifong with a large double-digit lead. He has 46% of the vote, to 28% for Lewis Cheek, 24% undecided, and 2% for write-in spoiler Steve Monks.

Durham voters look like they want the circus to come to town. A huge months long media circus that will stakeout the Durham courthouse and give local businesses a big boost. The Durham Chamber of Commerce couldn't be happier. Every small businessman in Durham will probably vote their pocketbook and think to themselves - any press is good press, and if the three Duke boys are really innocent, they will be acquitted.

Nifong is in the catbird seat.

Nifong, who has been highly criticized for his handling of the affair, has tried to emphasize his long career beyond the single case. He said Tuesday that the intense focus on the lacrosse case has come from a small but vocal group, many of whom will not be voting Nov. 7.

"The people that are likely to have that kind of strong feeling about the lacrosse case and who believe it is the only thing that is truly of importance are not likely to be Durham residents," Nifong said. "I think I really have never thought that a DA's race for the vast majority of the electorate would be a single issue."

Nifong's read on the Durham voters and the race looks like it is dead on. The small vocal group against him will not be voting. A single "iffy" case against three boys from outside of Durham will not convince the voters to give the governor a blank check.
- Elsie Russ, 75, retired

says she Will vote for Nifong.

"I don't think those boys done it. But just over that one case, I can't go against [Nifong].

"If somebody runs over one of our children or grandchildren, we'd want them put behind bars. He's the one to do it."

- Eugene Gordon, 33, Whole Foods employee


Says he's undecided but skeptical of the lacrosse defendants.

"If you got money, you can basically buy your way out of anything. Are you going to take a stand for [the accuser] or are you going to stand with the people who have money?"
Steve "take me to dinner" Monks has done an excellent job of spoiling a direct two-way confrontation between a corrupt bully and a possible recall of Nifong with his crapola write-in campaign. Thank you very much Steve "take me to dinner" Monks, Cliff Brandt, and Charlotte Woods.

This is grim. Durham is going down a treacherous path.


sources:
Nifong in driver's seat, but many still undecided [N&O, Oct. 25, 2006]
Comments about the DA race [N&O, Oct. 25, 2006]
Referendum on Nifong [LieStoppers, Oct. 26, 2006]

Duke Case: Dog Bites Man

Dick Bonehead Richard Brodhead - liar

Yes, Richard Brodhead is a lying dick.

TalkLeft was discussing an email from Duke - NEWS!! Duke Official: "Considerable Support" Offered to LAX Players:

A Duke parent (not associated with the lacrosse team) sent an e-mail to President Brodhead questioning why the indicted players had not received more support from Duke University. The parent received the following message back from a Duke official:

"President Brodhead asked me to respond to your email to him about our support for the students and alumnus charged in the case. Let me assure you that we're in regular contact with them and their families and offering considerable support. As you know, for the reasons articulated by the president on numerous occasions, Duke cannot pre-judge the outcome of the case regardless of media accounts."

"We all hopes this ends soon.
Jason Trumpbour, spokesperson, Friends of Duke University posted a message in response:
I am posting here for the first time because the assertion made by Brodhead’s assistant that the Duke administration has been “in regular contact with them and their families and offering considerable support” is so absolutely outrageous that I believe you should know the facts.

Brodhead and the rest of the administration have had no contact with any of the lacrosse players or their families whatsoever with the following three exceptions:

1. Brodhead talked to Devon Sherwood’s family and apologized for what they were going through. Devon is African American.

2. One of the families of a player who was not charged ran into Brodhead at a reception following the dedication of a facility at Duke Medical Center. Brodhead was very cold and uncaring toward them. One of the trustees joined them and was supportive of the lacrosse players. The trustee asked them how to get lacrosse wristbands and he indicated he wanted to get enough for a lacrosse team at the university where he teaches. As Brodhead watched silently, the family members gave him one of their own wristbands, and he put it on immediately. At this point, apparently, Brodhead walked away.

3. Colin Finnerty’s parents contacted Brodhead to ask for permission to transfer credits from other colleges. Both Colin and Reade Seligmann are taking classes this semester at colleges near their homes. However, Duke will not let them transfer more than two courses so they are unable to keep up with their studies while suspended unless they get permission to transfer more. Colin was supposed to do study abroad this semester, but Duke cancelled that. Brodhead refused to meet with them despite several requests. Finally, the person in charge of the annual giving program told Brodhead that, unless he agreed to see the Finnerties, he would resign. Only then did Brodhead agree to meet them. In the meeting, Brodhead remained intransigent and he and Mrs. Finnerty got into terrible argument. The Finnerties walked out because Brodhead started insulting them.

There has not been a single note, card or other expression of kindness from anyone in the Duke administration to any of the three accused students.

By contrast, I received an e-mail from someone close to Reade Seligmann who told me that, the same day Duke suspended Reade, an Ivy League athletic department official called him to tell him how much they believed in him and wanted him to come to their university and play lacrosse. The people there had recruited him out of high school, two years prior, remembered what a great person he was. They that much confidence in him.

-------------------------
FYI:

Duke University Tuition & Fees

No college or university can honestly state that an education at the college level is inexpensive. Fees paid by students cover less than half the cost of their instruction and the operation of the university. Income from endowment and contributions from alumni and other concerned individuals meet the balance and assure each student the opportunity to pursue an education of unusually high quality.
                            Academic Year, 2006-2007
(two semesters)
Tuition
Trinity College $32,845
Engineering $32,845
Residential Fee
Single Room $6,540-7,860
Double Room $4,950-5,950
Triple Room $4,410-5,310
Food (projections include a
meal plan service fee)
100% board plan $4,599
75% board plan $3,959
Books and Supplies $1000
Student Health Fee $524
Student Govt./Duke Union Fee $398
Recreation Fee $196
Residential Program Fee $104
It should be realized that additional expenses will be incurred which will depend to a large extent upon the tastes and habits of the individual. The average undergraduate student, however, can plan on a budget of approximately $46,207. This budgets represent most student living expenses except for cable, telephone, parking, travel costs, loan fees, and major clothing purchases.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Duke Case: Other Viewpoints

updated:

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Lewis B. Smedes
Sometimes we check-in to see what the blog Justice-For-2-Sisters is saying about the case. Here is song4assata's latest take on the case:
You Know What the 3 Accused Players Should Do When This is Over?

Go speak out against racism. Let it soak in for a second. I've said from the start of this case, if the public feels these guys have been treated unfairly and stereotyped, well congratulations, you now know what it feels like to be African-American and be prejudiced against. Let's list the reasons we've heard the sympathizers and the accused cite for being unfairly stereotyped:

Because of their race.
Because of their socio-econimic status.
Because of the neighborhood they come from.
Because of the school they attend.
Because of the sport they play.
Because of the behavior of others in the above groups.

They've been "cut loose" by their school, face plastered around the world, teachers turned on them, arrested without cause, subjected to DNA tests, mug shots, fingerprinting, torso photographs. Every bit of it, according to them, has been unpleasant, unfair, demeaning, and life-changing.

Go back and read those reasons again, and think of when African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, have made these exact same claims in terms of their experiences with racism and classism. Did you think it sounded like whining and complaining? I hope this perspective causes you to see it in a fresh way....

What Reid, David, and Colin and their families are feeling now, every African-American in this country has been feeling for over 400 years....
A good point, in a blog by a women who wanted to believe the accusations from the moment she heard them. By the way, their names are Reade and Collin, not Reid and Colin.
I started this blog the day the alleged victim's story ran in a local paper. When the story mentioned the team planned to play a match that same afternoon with Georgetown as if there were no felony allegations against 3 of them, I just got 'righteously angry' as the saying goes.
Song4assata motives for following the Duke case remind us of this quote from "hip-hop intellectual," Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, on April 18th, regarding the Duke rape case:
As I said before, I truly believe the young woman's story and hope that the truth is brought to surface as soon as possible. But, like many Black people, a part of me NEEDS to believe that the story is true. Although most Black people won't admit it, many of us are thinking "“She better not be lying or it'’s gonna take years to live this down."”
So was this case about "pay back" and "Justice-For-All-Sisters?"

sources:
Accused Players Should Do.. [Justice4TwoSisters.com, Oct. 24, 2006]
Duke Rape Case: The Squirm Factor [TJN, April 19, 2006]

Duke Case: Identification Issues

updated:

The Innocence Project reported that there have been 183 DNA exonerations of innocent men who were wrongly imprisoned nationwide. In 75% of these cases, eyewitness identification played a role in wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project is affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

In the Duke lacrosse case, Mike Nifong's prosecution is solely based on the eyewitness identification of the three rapists by the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum. During every step of this case Ms. Mangum, aided by the Durham PD, has consistently failed to make a convincing identification of any of the three accused men: Evans, Finnerty, or Seligmann.

Ms. Mangum's descriptions of her attackers to Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Ben Himan in a March 16th interview are useless. The descriptions recorded by Inv. Himan in his handwritten notes and by Sgt. Gottlieb in his supplemental case notes, made from memory, do not agree with each other.



The News & Observer reported
:

In the lacrosse case, Durham police conducted several ID sessions with the accuser. On March 16, she viewed 24 photos of lacrosse players printed from the goduke.com Web site. On March 21, she viewed 12 more.

She recognized five of the 36 players, but police records of the March lineups are unclear whether she identified the five players as assailants or merely as partygoers. According to forms filled out at the time by Investigator Richard Clayton, he showed the accuser a series of photographs and asked whether the person had sexually assaulted her.

In an undated typed report released to defense attorneys in June, Clayton said he asked whether she recognized the player. Clayton did not return phone calls for an explanation of which question he asked, or both.

On April 4, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb conducted a third lineup session, using a procedure suggested to him by Nifong. Gottlieb met with the accuser at the police substation at Northgate Mall. He told her she was going to view pictures of the people who attended the party. He showed her mug shots of all 46 white players. (He did not show the team's lone black player because the accuser said her assailants were white.)
The Confidence Question

One part of the Durham police identification lineups conducted with the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, was the confidence question. The confidence question is when she was asked to describe how sure she was of her identification of a lacrosse player she had chosen as a suspect.
The confidence question is key to helping investigators decide whether to focus on one suspect and should be asked immediately, said Gary Wells, a psychologist at Iowa State University and the nation's leading expert on eyewitness identification.

After a photo lineup, investigators and prosecutors influence a witness' confidence, he said. By the time of trial, a witness who has chosen the wrong person can become supremely confident in his choice, Wells said. "A mistaken identification is not what convicts innocent people. It's a mistaken identification by confident people," Wells said.
After Ms. Mangum failed in two March lineups to identify any of her attackers she was influenced by Durham PD investigators, Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan, to pick three suspects and one alternate on April 4th. She was only 90% confident of her identification of David Evans and she said, "He looks just like him without the mustache." Evans never had a mustache.

Conflicting Identifications

Here is a comparison of the selections made by Crystal Gail Mangum in lineups conducted by the Durham Police Department in March and April.
Comments are made by Iowa State University professor Gary Wells, an expert on police identification procedures.

Player: Brad Ross.......March Lineup: Yes.......April Lineup: Yes

Comment: Ross was with his girlfriend at N.C. State until after the party broke up; she filed a sworn affidavit, backed by Ross’s cell-phone records showing calls originating in Raleigh from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. that day. Wells said, "It places [the accuser] in the questionable category of eyewitnesses who is capable of being positive and wrong. That’s a red flag."

Players: Fred Krom, Nick O'Hara, Kevin Mayer.... March: Yes.....April: No


Players: Glenn Nick, John Walsh, Kyle Dowd, Adam Langley, Josh Coveleski, Matt Wilson, Ben Koesterer, Peter Lamade, Dan Flannery, Erik Henkelman, David Evans, Willliam Wolcott........March: No........April: Yes

Comment: Wells said he could understand a witness having unclear memories of tangential people: "Her consistency about who she says are her attackers is crucial." She did not recognize Matt Wilson or David Evans in March but identified them as assailants in April.

Player: Reade Seligmann.......March: 70 percent......April: 100 percent
Comment: In March, the accuser was 70 percent certain she recognized Seligmann but could not remember exactly where she saw him at the party. In April, she was 100 percent certain he had assaulted her. Seligmann was indicted two weeks later. Wells: “Memory doesn’t get better with time. That’s one of the things we know. How does she get more positive with time?”

Player: Tony McDevitt.......March: n/a.......April: Yes

Comment: The accuser said McDevitt made the comment about the broomstick; the captains said Peter Lamade made that comment and that McDevitt repeatedly apologized to the second dancer about his teammates’ behavior.

Player: Chris Loftus........March: n/a.......April: Yes

Comment: He was not at the party but was in his dorm with his roommate and their girlfriends, according to interviews by private investigators and other records provided to police.
Forget the fact that local, state, and federal identification procedures were violated by not having fillers and that an investigator who does not know the suspect's identity should be conducting the lineup. Even with rigged lineups, Ms. Mangum fails to make convincing identifications.

The only crime involved here is allowing anyone to be indicted for rape based only on these flawed identifications.

sources:
DNA Proves Scott Fappiano’s Innocence [innocenceproject.org, Oct. 6, 2006]
Lineup process rankles DAs [NewsObserver, Feb. 22, 2006]
Experts: Lacrosse IDs likely tainted [NewsObserver.com, Oct. 6, 2006]
Transcript Suggests Alleged Rape Victim ID'd Four Duke Lacrosse Players [WRAL.com, May 10, 2006]
Conflicting Identifications (.pdf) [N&O, Oct. 6, 2006 - published with 'Lacrosse IDs likely tainted']
Not Matching graphic [N&O, via ezboard.com]

related:
TalkLeft Discussion of ID Issues [forums.TalkLeft.com]
Duke Lacrosse Roster '05-'06 team [TJN]
The Faulty Lineup [TJN]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Duke Case: Follow the Money??

It has been nearly two weeks since KC Johnson first revealed that Mike Nifong had a very large financial incentive to prosecute three innocent Duke lacrosse players.

Since then not a single main stream media organization seems to have picked up the story that KC Johnson broke regarding Nifong's $28,989 in loans to his primary election campaign. This investment in his own reelection bid could only be recouped if he found a way to to defeat Freda Black in the primary. He was trailing her at the time of the Duke lacrosse incident and he eventually won by less than 900 votes.

60 Minutes in their tightly focused story did not mention Nifong's financial stake in prosecuting the hoax. The News & Observer and the Herald Sun have also both ignored this big flashing arrow pointing at Nifong's corruption. What gives?

What does it take to get the MSM off their collective asses?

Other items in hoax land:

Steven Baldwin a professor in the Chemistry department at Duke has some thoughts on the abandonment of the lacrosse players by the Duke administration and some members of the faculty (Group of 88). He writes:

As displeased as I am with Pressler's firing, my biggest concern has always been with Duke's treatment of the student athletes at the center of the storm. These kids were abandoned by their university. At least one of the indicted students, perhaps all three, was trespassed from Duke property. They were denied the presumption of innocence, despite the mounting evidence that the case against them is made of smoke and mirrors and is fatally flawed procedurally. They have been pilloried by their faculty and scorned by the administration. They are pariahs....

The faculty who publicly savaged the character and reputations of specific men's lacrosse players last spring should be ashamed of themselves.

They should be tarred and feathered, ridden out of town on a rail and removed from the academy. Their comments were despicable. I suspect they were also slanderous, but we'll hear more about that later.
KC Johnson tracks down what the vultures, also known as "The Group of 88" have been up to. He writes:
In contrast to their compelling need to speak out last spring, in recent weeks most members of the Group of 88 have turned silent on issues relating to the lacrosse case....
Vultures prefer eating dead flesh. Now that the "three dead men" have shown some life the vultures have scattered and are off looking for other corpses to chew on. Mark Anthony Neal is chewing on "HomoThugs, ThugNiggaIntellectuals and ‘Queer’ Black Masculinities."

Will someone at Duke please put out some poison or shoot some buckshot at this flock of vultures and chase them off the property. Their droppings are still fouling the campus.

La Shawn Barber commented on the case and then posted a teaser:
I just got some cool news I can’t blog about yet. (I know it’s not nice to tease, but the girl can’t help it.) I’ll fill you in later.
Hope it's good.

sources:
Follow the Money [KC Johnson, Oct. 11, 2006]
The administration's mismanagement of lacrosse [Steven Baldwin | DukeChronicle.com, Oct. 24, 2006]
Checking in with the Group of 88 [KC Johnson, Oct. 24, 2006]
Duke Rape Case: The Bloggers [lashawnbarber.com, Oct. 23, 2006]
Duke Case: The Vultures [TJN, July 17, 2006]

Duke Case: Hoax Fast Track

The Duke lacrosse story panel discussion on Friday was still getting some coverage today. News & Observer managing editor John Drescher, who was one of the participants at the discussion, made some comments about the case today on the N&O's Editors' Blog.

Drescher reemphasized a point Prof. Coleman made during the panel discussion. Blogger style, Drescher used some clips from the N&O’s Eric Ferreri and Joe Neff:

Coleman also faulted Duke administrators for not correcting the erroneous public perception that lacrosse players had not cooperated in the investigation. Duke officials knew that the three captains living at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. had voluntarily given statements, interviews and their DNA to Durham police at the start of the investigation. Police and District Attorney Mike Nifong went on to accuse the team of erecting a stone wall of silence; The public condemnation of the lacrosse players may have lessened had Duke administrators corrected police and prosecutorial mistatements early on, Coleman said.
So Drescher is blogging to make the point that the N&O was not acting in a vacuum when it first went with the Nifong spin. The Duke administrators (that's Brodhead right?) are the ones responsible for letting Nifong drive the hoax train out of the station.

There were a lot of people on that hoax train, including the N&O, and anyone of them could have yanked the emergency brake. So why didn't anyone yell stop?

One excuse, the Duke Chronicle had this clip from the lacrosse panel:
One audience member criticized the media for having had "the will to believe the lurid and false story in the beginning," though Meadows said Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's early actions may have unwittingly influenced reporters.

"I think what made this case so extraordinary is that you had a public official saying, 'I am sure this person has been raped,'" Meadows said. "We expect our public officials to know what they are talking about."
What happened to hard boiled journalistic cynicism? Doesn't journalism school teach you to never trust a pubic official?

Drescher also said:
Overall, I said at the forum Friday, our coverage has been strong. While those in the national media often have focused on issues of race and class, we’ve emphasized getting to the bottom of what happened that night and covering the ensuing investigation and key players. If you read our coverage from beginning to end, from March 24 through today, you get the most complete picture of the Duke lacrosse story. Perfect? No. But pretty darn good.
The News & Observer has been the source that TJN has most often linked to regarding the Duke story. They have provided "the most complete picture." They were one of the first news organizations to have all the discovery information, but they did not use that information like a sledge hammer to demolish the hoax. Instead they used it as a scalpel and tried to dissect the case without leaving too much blood. However, Nifong deserved to be badly bloodied and then bloodied some more.

By the way, it was Dan Abrams at MSNBC, who was the journalist swinging the sledge hammer with all that discovery information. Too bad he didn't have more company back in June.

It seems there is a hate, don't hate, like, like a little more, thing going on between the N&O and many close followers of this case. Anyone would look good standing next to Bob Ashley and the Herald Sun.

One more N&O clip:
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said the emergence of blogs as part of the Duke lacrosse case has tested press coverage by "investigating the investigation of it."

"Some of what I've read is good, and some of what I've read is not so good," Bilas said. "But it's something we've not had before."
That last part about some blogs being "not so good." Well, the only excuse TJN can make is we're not "journalists" dammit. Johnsville is one thousand trained typing monkeys pretending to be bloggers. But our guarantee is that only the monkey cream is published.

Last observation from the Duke Chronicle:
Though the audience members seemed largely in support of the team, some criticized the lack of coverage about Nifong's conduct. Drescher noted the Raleigh News and Observer has worked over the past three years to expose prosecutorial misconduct.

During the discussion, the lacrosse player's parents also said University officials told their sons not to tell anyone, including family, about the situation last March.

"We're all afraid for our boys," the mother said after the panel.
After getting caught up in this mess newspaper editors will be treated like public officials, the public should follow the "trust but verify" standard regarding any remarks they make.

sources:
Duke lacrosse forum [John Drescher | N&O -The Editors' Blog, Oct. 23, 2006]
Panel analyzes lax coverage [dukechronicle.com, Oct. 23, 2006]

Monday, October 23, 2006

R.I.P. NAACP 1909 - 2006

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP is dead and someone forgot to write the obituary. No, you say? Then demonstrate proof of life.

Name something notable or significant that the NAACP has done in the last 5 years? In the last 10 years? Or in the last 15 years?

Can you point to a protest, a march, a demonstration, a strike, a sit-in, a boycott, an election, a picketing, a work stoppage, a major court case, an act of civil disobedience, a speech, a documentary, a television show, an advertisement, an award, a book, a sound bite, a photo, or a YouTube video from the last fifteen years that shows the NAACP doing anything important or newsworthy to advance people of color?

Perhaps the NAACP died in 1991 after their voter registration campaign in Louisiana yielded a 76 percent turnout of black voters to defeat Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for the United States Senate. Was that their final victory?

Rosa Parks in 1955, with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background.Or perhaps the NAACP symbolically died a year ago this week when Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005.

At a memorial service in Montgomery, Alabama, for Rosa Parks, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that if it had not been for Rosa Parks, she would probably have never become the Secretary of State. Rosa Parks' casket was transported to Washington, D.C. and taken, aboard a bus similar to the one in which she made her protest, to lay in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. She was the first woman and second African American ever to receive this honor. An estimated 50,000 people viewed the casket there, and the event was broadcast on television on October 31, 2005.

Rosa Parks was born in 1913. The NAACP was founded in 1909. It is hard to imagine the modern civil rights movement existing without the presence of both Parks and the NAACP. Parks joined the NAACP in 1943 and became a lifetime member.

If you asked anyone under the age of forty what the NAACP is, they would probably confuse it with the NCAA and think it has something to do with college athletics. The full name of the organization is an anachronism and it had a diverse group of founders. Wikipedia notes:

The NAACP was founded by a diverse group on February 12, 1909 by WEB Dubois (African American Man), Ida Wells-Barnett (African American Woman), Henry Moscowitz (Jewish male), Mary White Ovington (White woman), Oswald Garrison Villard (German born white male), and William English Walling (white male and son of a former slave owning family, to work on behalf of the rights of colored people including Native Americans, African Americans, as well as Jews. Its name, retained in accord with tradition, is one of the last surviving uses of the term "colored people". This is now generally viewed as dated and derogatory. In the historical context of the NAACP, however, the term is not considered offensive.
The NAACP is dead because it no longer serves a clearly defined mission and younger blacks could care less about it. Why do African Americans (or Native Americans, or Jews for that matter) need to support the NAACP? Should they support if for civil rights, education reform, healthcare reform, economic opportunity, voter rights, or due process and criminal justice rights. Can one organization do all these things for all Black Americans?

Blacks are doing well in this country, thank you very much, due to the past work of the NAACP and many others in the civil rights movement. But the time for the NAACP has passed and it is no longer a champion of social justice.

Tiger Woods Condoleezza Rice

Colin Powell - former Sec. of State Michael Jordan

One recent social justice issue that the NAACP became involved in was the death penalty case of former gang leader, Stanley "Tookie" Williams. In late 2005, the NAACP joined with many anti-death penalty organizations and the ACLU in seeking to urge California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency to Stanley "Tookie" Williams, because he had "become a strong voice against gangs, violence and drugs."

Stanley Williams was one of the founders of the Crips, a violent Los Angeles gang. Williams was convicted in 1979 for the deaths of four people. "While in prison, Williams refused to aid police investigations with any information against his gang, and was implicated in attacks on guards and other inmates as well as multiple escape plots. In 1993, Williams began making changes in his behavior, and became an anti-gang activist while on Death Row."

The NAACP was a follower, not a leader in the campaign to save "Tookie" Williams. They only held four small rallies in California in protest of the execution. The ACLU took the lead in getting more than 175,000 Californians to sign a petition requesting the temporary suspension of executions in California until the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice could complete its study due by Dec. 31, 2007.

Governor Schwarzenegger held a clemency hearing on Dec. 8, 2005, and he did not grant clemency. Williams was executed by lethal injection on December 13, 2005.

The NAACP played a minor role in the "Tookie" Williams campaign. It looked like it was just going through the motions for old times sake. That seems typical of its record of social activism during the past fifteen years. The Williams campaign was not even worthy of mention on the NAACP history page at their own website. The NAACP lists the following, as its notable accomplishments since 1990:

1991 When avowed racist and former Klan leader David Duke runs for US Senate in Louisiana, the NAACP launches a voter registration campaign that yields a 76 percent turn-out of Black voters to defeat Duke.

1992 The number of Fair Share Program corporate partners has risen to 70 and now represents billions of dollars in business.

1995 Over thirty years after the assassination of NAACP civil rights activist, Medgar Evers - his widow Myrlie, is elected Chairman of the NAACP's Board of Directors. The following year, the Kweisi Mfume leaves Congress to become the NAACPs President and CEO.

1997 In response to the pervasive anti-affirmative action legislation occurring around the country, the NAACP launches the Economic Reciprocity Program... And in response to increased violence among our youth, the NAACP starts the "Stop The Violence, Start the Love' campaign.

1998 Supreme Court Demonstration and arrests

2000 TV Diversity Agreements. Retirement of the Debt and first six years of a budget surplus. Largest Black Voter Turnout in 20 years

2000 Great March. January 17, in Columbia, South Carolina attended by over 50,000 to protest the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag. This is the largest civil rights demonstration ever held in the South to date.

2001 Cincinnati Riots. Development of 5 year Strategic Plan. Under the leadership of Chairman Bond and President Mfume, the NAACP continues to thrive, and with the help of everyone - regardless of race - will continue to do so into the next millennium...

It is a short list. It has been five years since the NAACP has done anything worth mentioning on its own website.

The recent record is not much better at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund website. The last case worth mentioning there is also from 2001:
2001 - Cromartie v. Hunt; Daly v. Hunt

The Supreme Court rules that a lower court should not have ruled that North Carolina’s redrawn Twelfth Congressional District, which re-elected African-American Congressman Mel Watt, was a racial gerrymander without conducting a trial, because creation of a district with a significant concentration of minority voters is not unconstitutional when the district is drawn for partisan political reasons and minority voters tend to vote for one political party rather than the other.
So it has been five years since the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has documented a significant case?

Consider yourself a real political/policy expert if you can name the current president and CEO of the NAACP or any its leaders for the past twenty years. What does that say about the quality of the leadership that the NAACP has had? If you think of black leaders you still think of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. It is interesting to note that the Jesse Jackson biography page on Wikipedia.org does not have one mention of the NAACP. Jackson organized the Rainbow Coalition in 1984.

Regarding the current concerns of the NAACP, Wikipedia.org said:
The Internal Revenue Service informed the NAACP in October 2004 that it was undertaking an investigation into its tax-exempt status, focusing on a speech given by Julian Bond at its 2004 Convention in which he criticized President George W. Bush, as well as other political figures. The NAACP has denounced the investigation as retaliation for its campaign involvement, and refuses to supply the information that the IRS has requested regarding such activities.
So it seems the NAACP is currently worried about tax evasion. Dick Grasso and the NYSE proved that just because an organization is designated a non-profit, does not mean someone can't make an obscene profit.

USA Today reported:
The organization faces problems ranging from stagnant membership (at about a half-million for the past decade) and budget troubles (a $4.7 million shortfall last year) to an IRS audit (questioning its non-profit status) and management problems at Baltimore headquarters (accusations that as president, Kweisi Mfume showed favoritism to female employees he was dating; he denies the allegations).
The NAACP website demonstrates that it is currently focusing on education, not the justice system, as its main priority.

Today her teacher did not ask her name for the 15th time.
The NAACP says they are now "working to ensure an equal high-quality public education for all minority children." It would be interesting if someone could document any overtures the NAACP has made toward the Hispanic community or other minority community regarding working together for high-quality public education. A brief search didn't find any reports of collaboration.

Bruce S. Gordon was selected in 2005 to head the NAACP. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the CBS corporation. On July 17, 2006, Gordon gave an address to the 97th NAACP Convention in which he said:
The NAACP has been mighty, but we need to be mighty again....

The framework for the 21st century NAACP advocacy agenda touches education, healthcare, economic empowerment, criminal justice and civic engagement. We've tried to build out some capacity in international affairs. Our approach is straightforward. There is a gap between those who have and those who don't. Our mission, close the gap. We put programs in place to make that happen...

We opened this convention -- some of you were here, some of you were not -- we opened this convention on Saturday with a focus on HIV/AIDS. Simply stated, let's not say this fancy: HIV/AIDS is killing our community. It's killing us...

"The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to insure the political, education, social and economic equality of rights of all persons, and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination."
"Has been mighty, but we need to be mighty again," is a nice way for Gordon to say the NAACP has been dead for years.

The mission statement for the NAACP is very broad in Gordon's speech. It includes fighting AIDS, education, healthcare, economic empowerment, and yes, criminal justice, and civil engagement, whatever that is. Voting rights was left off Gordon's agenda since Congress had just reauthorized the Voting Rights Act without too much of a delay for politicking. Gordon's agenda sounds like a platform for a political party. But the NAACP does not claim to be a political party.

The NAACP like many last century organizations is trying to stay alive by staying relevant. So they have been floundering around trying to find that big issue to focus on, in order to build their membership. The NAACP is a membership organization and an annual adult membership costs $30.

The problem is that they have lost focus and died while floundering around looking for an issue the would grab the attention of their target audience. Their mission has become a muddled mess. Do they really want to become a "Save the Children" through better education organization? What does the NAACP stand for in the 21st century? This loss of focus along with demographic changes, and its abandonment of its core ideals is why the organization has died.

Fraternal and social organizations that were popular in the 20th Century such as the Kiwanis, the Elks, the Shriners, the Rotary, and The Lions Clubs are all fighting to stay alive as their aging memberships die off and younger people are not interested in joining them.

The NAACP is really no different than these other dying fraternal and social organizations. African Americans are no longer the largest minority in the United States. Hispanics are now 12.5% of the U.S. population and growing much faster than African American who are at 12.3% of the population. What percentage of the NAACP membership is under the age of forty?

That brings us to the present sorry state of affairs regarding the NAACP's behavior in the Duke lacrosse incident. The Duke case is the final epitaph for the NAACP.

KC Johnson and William L. Anderson have both recently written critiques of the NAACP's failures regarding its traditional roles as watchdog of judicial due process and a champion of social justice in the Duke case.

As both men point out the NAACP has failed miserably in Durham. Specifically, with regard to changes in venue, gag orders and free speech, procedures and criminal identifications. William L. Anderson concludes:
That is a hard question to ask, but if I read the case correctly, apparently people like [local NAACP spokesperson, North Carolina Central University law professor Irving] Joyner are so desirous of gaining a conviction of three innocent whites that they are willing to sacrifice the lives and freedom of blacks who will be tried in future cases. That should tell us everything we need to know about Irving Joyner, and about the NAACP. If this organization wishes to lose all its credibility just to railroad through a wrongful conviction, then it is an organization that has lost all of its moral bearings. Indeed, it is obvious that the NAACP really had no problem with Jim Crow justice, or at least a modern-day version of it. That is most chilling of all.
NCAAP president Bruce Gordon in his speech to the NAACP convention, in July, quoted Martin Luther King's famous line: "Injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere." However, he messed the line up slightly, it should be: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It's a metaphor for the NAACP not paying close attention anymore to legal injustices, especially to a grave injustice in Durham, North Carolina.

The NAACP logo includes the scales of justice. It is another anachronism of an organization that lost its moral compass and died as it tried to find a way to survive in the 21st century. Writing the obituary of the NAACP will be one lasting legacy of the Duke lacrosse case.



sources:
NAACP president to take helm [USAToday.com, July 13, 2006]
The NAACP and Jim Crow Justice [William L. Anderson, Oct. 21, 2006]
Nifong Tarnishes the NAACP [KC Johnson, Aug. 16, 2006]

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Duke Case: Breaking The Story

At the Duke Law School panel discussion about the Duke lacrosse rape case on Friday, October 20th, News & Observer managing editor John Drescher reportedly opened his comments by saying that "the N&O broke the story first." An observer at the panel discussion said:

Drescher opened his comments by noting that "the N&O broke the story first" (I think it was the Chronicle actually but Darby didn't call him on it) and that how in their very first article which was triggered by the mass DNA test they noted how unusual that was and tried to give the appearance that they were wise to Nifong from the start. He also said that the N&O hadn't really played up the race/money/gender angle much (barf barf gag gag).
The Duke Chronicle published the first news report about the incident. Their story was published on March 21, 2006 - "SUSPECTS IN ALLEGED RAPE UNIDENTIFIED"
One week after a young woman was allegedly raped at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., the Durham Police Department is still investigating the situation, saying "the suspects have not been clearly identified."

The house, which was recently purchased by University subsidiary Durham Realty, was the site of a party that involved both Duke students and non-students, said Sgt. M.D. Gottlieb of Durham Police District 2 Investigations.

Sue Wasiolek, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the University will not take action until the police department's investigation is finished.

"From what I understand, the situation is under investigation by the Durham Police Department, and we will await that investigation," she said.

Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, added that the University would take appropriate measures, pending the police investigation.

Gottlieb said any man that attended the party March 13 would be a viable suspect but refused to go into further detail.

The residents of the house have been cooperative with DPD in locating any suspects, he added....
Note: It is interesting to remember that Sgt. Gottlieb said the party had included non-Duke men and that "any man that attended the party" would be a viable suspect. The presence of "non-students" at the party was one aspect of the investigation that was never pursued by Durham PD and never explained.

The News & Observer published a story on March 24th in which the Duke lacrosse players were first linked to the incident: "DNA tests ordered for Duke athletes"
Durham police had 46 members of the Duke University lacrosse team DNA-tested Thursday in the suspected gang-rape of a woman at an off-campus party last week.

Police think at least three of the men could be responsible for the sexual assault, beating, robbery and near-strangulation of one of two women who had an appointment to dance at the party March 13, according to a search warrant.

Such a broad DNA sampling early in an investigation is unusual, several local lawyers said.

The assault allegedly happened in a house shared by three members of the men's lacrosse team, Duke officials said...

sources:
Suspects in alleged rape unidentified [DukeChronicle.com, March 21, 2006]
DNA tests ordered for Duke athletes [N&O, March 24, 2006]

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