[Update, Friday 9.09pm: A blockbuster piece in today's N&O detailing the degree to which DA Cline twisted the truth in her public "town hall" denouncing the N&O series. Using Cline's own words, the article (penned by Andrew Curliss and Joe Neff) demonstrates that Cline, at best, has convinced herself of self-serving versions of events that aren't true; and, at worst, is simply incapable of telling the truth.]
A few case-related items in the news:
First, Andrew Curliss reports that Frankie Washington—whose conviction was tossed out on grounds that Durham authorities denied his right to a speedy trial—has filed a lawsuit against not only the city of Durham but also embattled “minister of justice” Tracey Cline. As a district attorney, Cline possesses virtually total immunity for decisions made as a prosecutor. But the suit, filed by the Bob Ekstrand, accuses Cline of libel and slander, based on her recent public statements reiterating her absolute, seemingly faith-based, belief in Washington’s guilt. (Cline had no comment on the suit.)
The suit asks both for money and for an independent oversight board for the DPD. Curliss reports that Durham Mayor Bill Bell said that the city would consider reform steps even before a court order—but given that Bell and Durham politicians did nothing when the massive misconduct associated with the lacrosse case was revealed, it’s hard to imagine any forthcoming action from the Washington case, either.
Second, the Daily News caught up with ex-BOT chairman Bob Steel, now (after his . . . sterling . . . performance running Wachovia) a deputy mayor in New York City. Thanks to an executive order from Mayor Bloomberg, top city officials must live in the city unless they receive a waiver, which Steel did not. Yet the Daily News caught up with Steel at what the paper described as his “extravagant Greenwich [CT] mansion”—at which his wife, four dogs, and Porsche, Mercedes, and Lexus all reside.
When the Daily News reporter dropped by, Steel’s wife claimed that he was at his other residence in the city, only to have Steel then appear “wearing golf shoes, shorts, and a preppie sweater.” Steel, naturally, denies any wrongdoing, and claims that his primary residence is in New York.
Finally, the Atlantic is a publication of unusually high quality. How, then, to explain the following passage, from an article about prominent African-Americans’ personal confrontations with racism?
Duke Professor Wahneema Lubiano, who was introduced to me by a brilliant college professor as "one of the smartest people in America," [triple emphasis added] internalized a racist comment and it shifted the course of her life. In the early seventies, in Pennsylvania, in high school, she took the National Merit Scholar's test and placed as a semifinalist. But when she went to the guidance counselor, he suggested she go to secretarial school. "And I believed it," she said. "I went home crying but I believed it." Lubiano ended up going to the University of Pittsburgh but she left after freshman year. "I dropped out, thinking, 'You're too stupid to do this,'" she said. "The damage had been done." She didn't return to college for ten years.
When she went back she went to Howard University and it changed her life. "I was surrounded by really smart black people who were pretty casual about it," she said. "It's not like you walked into a class and sat down and said, 'This is a miracle there are so many smart black people here.' No, you normalized it, it was routine. And in that way it was really nurturing because being smart was routine." For someone with tremendous mental capability and a self-esteem so fragile that it could be broken by a slight comment from a white man she respected, Howard was a life-saver. "By the time I finished with Howard I could go to grad school at Stanford because I was ready."
At least the so-called “brilliant college professor” had the good sense to offer such a breathtaking description on a not-for-attribution basis, to avoid any personal embarrassment. But perhaps this item will provide a new excuse for Prof. Lubiano’s perpetually-forthcoming manuscripts: her sheer brilliance prevents her from getting her thoughts down on paper.