Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Roundup

In addition to the Charlotte Observer, Greensboro News-Record, and N&O, a fourth North Carolina newspaper, the Wilmington Star, already had censured Mike Nifong last week—even before he decided to manipulate the evidence to fit his theories yet again by dropping the rape charge but maintaining the other two charges.

The Star noted sadly that it was “hard to keep track of the North Carolina district attorneys who cheat, break the law and trample the truth in a rush to get convictions—not to mention publicity for their next political campaign.” It suggested that the state bar’s failure to punish prosecutors in the Gell and Honeycutt cases might have emboldened Nifong to violate state law and try to withhold exculpatory evidence.

Where are the statewide officials? As Nifong has trampled on the national image of North Carolina justice, AG Roy Cooper has stood silently by. Why has Cooper, the Star wonders, not asked “the General Assembly to give him (and not just local DAs) the authority to go after prosecutors who violate the laws they swore to uphold?”


Saturday, papers from one end of the state to the other reacted with dismay to Nifong’s bizarre decision to drop the rape charges but retain the charges of sexual assault and kidnapping.

One important exception existed to the pattern. The Herald-Sun, which has published nearly two dozen unsigned editorials on the case, was silent on the latest Nifong maneuver. Instead, the editorial page saw fit to write about such issues as “Share Your Christmas” wish lists; a woman suing Durham for injuries suffered when a speeding police car struck her; and the activities of Miss USA and Donald Trump.

The latter item featured the editors asking the hard-hitting question, “Whatever happened to pageant winners who took pride in being role models for young women?”

With 24 hours to consider matters, the "Snooze Room" spin machine spun into motion. An editorial conceded that the accuser's credibility was "frayed," and had nothing good to say about her. But the H-S continued to stand by its man. Dismissing claims of prosecutorial misconduct, the editorial page offered this remarkable version of events:

It's possible that Nifong and police investigators simply gave credence to the accuser's story. Don't we want our law enforcement officials to be attentive to accusations of crime victims, no matter who the victim is or who is being accused? Yes, she may have changed her story in the days after the incident, but that is not uncommon with traumatized rape victims and is not in itself evidence of dishonesty.

No, actually "we want our law enforcement officials" to follow their own procedures. And Bob Ashley claims to be "baffled " as to why H-S coverage would be cited as grounds for a change of venue.


The silence of North Carolina’s Democratic Party as Nifong trampled on civil liberties and welcomed a homophobe as his citizens’ committee co-chair is disturbing. The silence of North Carolina’s Republican Party about the case, however, is inexplicable.

Strictly from the standpoint of bare-knuckle politics, the case should be a boon for the GOP. In a carryover from the Jesse Helms period, the North Carolina GOP receives almost no black support. So the GOP has nothing to lose and much to gain from seizing on the Nifong issue. In particular, aggressively attacking Nifong could tarnish the man who appointed him, Mike Easley, who is a potential candidate for Senate in either 2008 or 2010.

Perhaps this Republican reticence is about to change. BlueNC, the Tar Hell State’s leading Democratic blog, this week ran a post with a large photograph of Mike Nifong, coupled with the tag line, “Could this be the face that will haunt North Carolina Democrats?”

The post makes no bones about Nifong’s behavior:

In light of recent developments, Michael Nifong may be guilty of egregious prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke rape investigation. Already it appears that professionally Nifong is toast, and there is speculation that his malfeasance may not be covered by prosecutorial immunity. In what may be the ultimate irony in this Gothic drama, Nifong himself could wind up being the only "player" who faces a judge and jury.

But BlueNC is most worried about “the implications for North Carolina Democrats.” It takes note of Walter Jones’ demand for a federal investigation into Nifong, and looks at how an article by Wendy McElroy went out of its way to stress Nifong’s partisan affiliation.

In the end, BlueNC expresses doubt that the issue will harm the Democrats, at least until more politically savvy Republicans become involved. Perhaps. But if leading Tar Heel State Democrats start to fear that Nifong will harm them politically, they might begin to do what they should have done months ago, and act to check this runaway prosecutor.


Last week, political science professor Michael Munger became the second Duke arts and sciences professor—and third undergraduate professor overall—to publicly criticize Mike Nifong. Munger asserted that “the evidence now appears overwhelming (actually, it was overwhelming three months ago; now it is outrageously overwhelming) that the prosecution is conducting a politically motivated and cynical witch hunt. The system is broken, and Nifong has to go. I would go so far as to say that the city of Durham should have to pay most, or all, of the legal costs of the three young men.”

Munger provides the most perceptive response I have seen to the line of argument offered by figures like FOX News panelists Ted Williams or Barry Grimm—to wit, that people should remain silent about the prosecutorial abuses in this case because these sorts of things happen to poor minorities all the time.

These critics, Munger suggests,

are missing the point: these young men are not charged with rape in SPITE of their race and class. They are being charged precisely BECAUSE of it. The whole point, for Nifong and for some (I don’t know how many) of his supporters is that this is a chance to get back at the elite. Nifong’s side appears to want to argue this way: If these particular white boys didn’t commit the rape, well they have done other bad things we don’t know about. And the very fact of their wealth and privilege is an outrage, and someone needs to be held accountable.
Munger also blasts the Group of 88’s questionable judgment. As he observes, “their statement was, even in the most charitable reading, full of opportunities for what signers later called ‘misrepresentations’, though it appears to me that the critiques of the statement are based on the plain meaning of the words in the statement.” He also takes note, as have I, of the irony of the Group of 88 complaining about people misrepresenting their words when they ensured that their statement was removed from the Duke server. (A preserved version of the statement is available on this blog’s sidebar.)

Munger is surprisingly soft on the administration, and overly harsh (as he seemed to concede in comments) about what Duke should have done to the lacrosse team. But his critiques of both Nifong and the Group of 88 are superb.


The Duke Chronicle has started an on-line forum about the case. Early posts are strongly, and justifiably, critical of the University’s response. Posters have singled out the Group of 88 for criticism—and justifiably so.

Tenure and principles of academic freedom protect the Group of 88 from personnel retaliation (quite appropriately). But nothing prevents the administration from taking other steps to express its disappointment with the Group’s actions.


One fallout from Nifong’s latest manipulation of the evidence came in a change of heart from Richard Brodhead. The Duke president issued a strong statement urging a special prosecutor and demanding that Nifong publicly account himself for his behavior.

A few days before Brodhead’s reversal, dartblog ran a poignant post from a Duke 2006 graduate expressing disappointment with how his school responded to the affair.

I graduated from Duke this past spring, and just want to shoot you a quick comment, especially now that the case has jumped up again. When the allegations first came out (when The Duke Chronicle reported a rape occurred at the lax house), much of the student body raised an eyebrow, but were maybe not totally surprised — after all, the lax guys did have their reputation. But as more and more details came out and it blew up nationally, the large majority of students thought it through rationally and realized that the players were probably innocent of such charges, fairly early on. Sure, they were a little over the top, but they were still fellow Duke students, and not more “barbaric” or such than the rest of us. It just didn’t seem realistic.

And while the Duke administration’s initial stance — condemning the actions if true, and letting the initial investigation proceed — was certainly understandable, over time the tide changed dramatically. As it became quite clear to everyone paying attention that these 3 students were innocent of the outrageous charges, the Duke administration did not change its tune. Sure, while some members would occasionally slip a “more information has come out that might possibly cloud what happened that day” into an informal talk, the school as a whole never released any kind of statement that changed their attitude from essentially backing the accuser/Nifong, to actually supporting their own students and reputation. All it would have taken was a press release, something apologizing for preemptively canceling the lax season (something nearly all students disagreed with) and inviting the suspended students back to campus, if they chose to return (knowing full well they wouldn’t anyway until the trial was over).

Something to reassure the current students and recent alumni that the school actually backed its own. However, this never happened, and still hasn’t, as it is abundantly clear the whole case is bunk. Everyone knows it. This is what Duke students are furious about. Even if they did not personally know the accused, or even a lacrosse player, seeing how Duke has treated its own disgusts us. I don’t know how many students I have heard talk about how this will affect their future view of the school, and any possible alumni relations. While Duke students certainly support the ‘idea of Duke’ — a great education, outstanding athletics, and a vibrant social life — the administration (which was on poor terms with the students to begin with for constantly changing the school without consulting students) not supporting its own only continues a trend of which Duke students are tired.

Were students pissed at the national assaults about race/ class/ elitism/ etc.? Sure, but that has subsided as even The New York Times has changed their tune. What hasn’t changed is the stance by the administration, and this is what will come back to harm the school in the long run. Why support your school if they won’t support you? Duke students love Duke for the other students there, not for the administration and [its] polic[ies] that seem in constant conflict with the undergraduate experience.

In an article last week, Brodhead expressed his belief that it will take two to five years for Duke to recover from this affair. His statement on Friday was a good first step in this recovery. But it’s clear he has a long ways to go to meet the concerns of the poster above, and others like him.


The Times and Herald-Sun have deserved every bit of criticism they have received for their coverage of the lacrosse case. But a third paper has been equally bad. The Washington Post has played a much lower-profile role than either the Times or the H-S, but it has been poor in a unique way. It has published relatively few articles on the case; instead, it has made its mark with over-the-top commentary that has failed to stand the test of time.

Eugene Robinson, for instance, deemed it “impossible to avoid thinking of all the black women who were violated by drunken white men in the American South over the centuries. The master-slave relationship, the tradition of droit du seigneur, the use of sexual possession as an instrument of domination—all this ugliness floods the mind, unbidden, and refuses to leave.” Lynne Duke likewise wildly termed the case “reminiscent of a black woman's vulnerability to a white man during the days of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow, when sex was used as a tool of racial domination.” And in legal “commentary,” Andrew Cohen aggressively rebuked those in the media who dared to question Mike Nifong’s actions.

The Post returned to Duke matters Saturday with a poorly reported story that followed the storyline laid out by Lynne Duke, Robinson, and Cohen. The case, Post reporters Peter Whoriskey and Sylvia Adcock stated, “pitted a black woman who attended a small, largely black school and worked part time as an exotic dancer against the largely white lacrosse team at one of the nation’s most prestigious and expensive private universities.”

Actually, NCCU’s undergraduate enrollment for 2005-2006 was 6353 students, or 109 more than Duke’s undergraduate total of 6244. And no one has yet presented evidence that the accuser “worked part time as an exotic dancer” while she attended school full-time; indeed, the reverse seems to be the case. But the “weak-vs.-strong” storyline certainly is an attractive one, regardless of the facts.

Whoriskey and Adcock continued, “At the behest of Finnerty’s family, Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) has asked Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to open an investigation into the prosecution.” In an interview with FOX, Jones explicitly said he had no contact with any of the students’ families, and that he made his request because of constituent pressure. It’s extraordinary for the Post to insinuate that a sitting congressman isn’t telling the truth without providing any evidence to substantiate the claim.

The Post’s duo further added, “The accuser was hired for $400 to perform for two hours at the party. She left early as some students shouted racial taunts, witnesses have said.” While Lynne Duke and Duff Wilson have claimed that some of the players shouted racial taunts at the accuser in the house, no witnesses have done so.

And some more: “A study conducted at Brodhead’s direction raised questions about an overzealous party culture on campus. Others criticized the university for fostering a sense of privilege and racial insensitivity.” I’m unaware of what study the Post reporters are referencing; and noting that a vague “others” issued undetermined criticism strikes me as sloppy reporting.

If the Post can do no better, perhaps it should return to having its news division ignore the case.

Holiday greetings from the DIW staff.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Professor Johnson, for giving citizens a civics lesson and for providing a forum for honest discussion. The Post article was disappointing. A person at The Post who cares about accuracy and fairness is the chief executive, Donald Graham. He's the person to contact.

Anonymous said...

"a woman suing Durham for injuries suffered when a speeding police car struck her"

Perhaps "Precious" had hijacked it....

Happy Christmas, KC. I hope you get the Pulitzer for journalism, because you've earned it. And if you decide to write the book on this case, I'll be in line for a copy.

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

More excellent coverage KC. Have a fantastic Christmas.

Just like gunslinger, I will buy several copies of the book. I want an autographed one though!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, KC won't be eligible for a Pulitzer. The prize organization is controlled by the major media; The New York Times has lots of influence.

Anonymous said...

Another home run, K.C. I re-read the Neff-Niolet piece in the N&O, this time reading it out loud to my wife. She was stunned at the outright lies and half-truths that Nifong declared in a courtroom.

Furthermore, this notion that Nifong can make the DNA evidence irrelevant in pursuing the other two charges is a dog that won't hunt. It is clear to everyone that the guy is trying to manipulate everything -- and getting nowhere.

Remember his swagger and cockiness last spring? It now is gone. Remember his confidence that he could use rape shield laws to make exculpatory evidence disappear? While Wendy Murphy and Nancy Grace might like that idea, Nifong will not be able to convince a judge to do that.

In other words, this is a dead case, and don't think that Nifong is the only one feeling the pressure. The higher-ups in the system know they no longer can take the proverbial powder. Once upon a time, the governor and AG could ignore questions, but no longer.

As I said before, this case does not make it to the February 5 hearing, much less a trial.

K.C., once again you have proven yourself to be a champion and a first-rate thinker, writer, and advocate. You took on the New York Times and a corrupt prosecutor, and did it with one hand tied behind your back.

As I said before, it really was not a fair fight, as perhaps you needed BOTH hands tied behind your back. But I am glad the fight was not fair, as you mowed them down. As an interested spectator, it was fun to watch, and there is more, much more to come.

Merry Christmas, K.C. You have provided some rather important Christmas gifts to three families in need of something good. And you helped put corrupt prosecutors on notice, which is a strike for liberty.

By the way, I know Mike Munger from a professional relationship, and he is an interesting character. I am not surprised that he has come out against Nifong and the Gang of 88, as he shares neither their dishonesty or bad academic traits. I'm glad he is aboard.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Munger is brilliant and honest may also help to explain why he is more critical of the LAX team and less critical of the Duke administration than most of the people posting on this website.

Anonymous said...

To KC:

Your statement that tenure and principles of academic freedom protect the group of 88 from personnel retaliation quite appropriately will come as a big surprise to the many morons who have been criticizing Brodhead because he has not disciplined or fired the members of that group.

Anonymous said...

To 1:35
Perhaps he is brillant and honest but he revealed a shocking ignorance of some facts central to his main point. He bluntly stated that the Basketball Team would not hold a stripper party - but they had done that very thing that same spring - along with some 20 other groups around campus. He also appears unable to accurately describe the so-called "racial" aspects of the partys meltdown. Beyond one guy using the N word to a stripper who called him a "little-dicked-whit boy" there is no supported allegation of racial slurring.
All in all, Munson joins a long, long list of Duke-oids who wandered into this arena armed with a lot of prejudices and a handfull of partial facts - remember that N/ guyO letter from a Duke faculty completely full of wrong facts - and end up having to correct themselves in the full glare of the kleig lights.
I have NO sympathy for him. He owes the team an apology for his very public mis-statements of these crucial facts.
Maybe the sting of making a public retraction will serve to remind him to take the trouble to know what the hell he is talking about before next time posing as an expert.

january said...

Professor Johnson, it can't be said enough: Thank you! and Merry Christmas......

Anonymous said...

KC- Nifong says the defense attorney only did what they did in exposing the deal with the lab because they wanted to vilify him.
You can't make this stuff up....

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays KC - again great work. The Fong's lies and spin are of such a mind numbing proportion, I think it will take the legal system years to sort out the depth of his prosecutorial misconduct. Surely he did his internship at Pravda as an undergraduate. This will be a case studied at every law school in the US for decades- to bad the Fong doesn't realize that his name will live on in infamy as part of a Legal Ethics course.

Orange Lazarus

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 2.25:

A slight clarification:

There's absolutely nothing in principles of academic freedom that would protect the Group of 88 against some form of discipline. In fact, I would argue that at least four Duke professors (Holloway, Lubiano, Farred, and Wood) have violated Section Six of the Faculty Handbook, which lays out minimum standards through which Duke profs must treat Duke students, and should receive some internal discipline as a result of their actions.

I agree completely, though, that any sort of retaliation (i.e., trying to fire them, or punish them by, say, putting their offices in a basement, as was done to an Oklahoma prof who had ticked off the administration there) would violate academic freedom.

It's worth remembering, of course, that the chances of the current Duke adm. enforcing Chapter Six of the faculty handbook are zero.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Munger is a weasel. At this point it's easy to criticize Nifong, the Duke AD, etc. What would take some courage is criticizing the university administration that installed Munger as Chair. But this he does not do.

Anonymous said...

From a legal perspective, the way I see it: Those who matter don't care, those who care don't matter.

Mike NiWrong has known for a long time he didn't have a case. Yet, like the little train engine, he keeps going on. "I think I can, I think I can". The most recent example him knowing he has no case is: it took him months to dismiss rape charges after he knew NO LAX DNA was found on the alledged victim. This alone suggests that this case isn't about justice (which it should be) to him as a prosecutor. It's ALL about power and exercising that power as long as possible. So, don't look for him to exercise other dismissals until the last possible moment, exactly the same way he did the most recent dismissal.

And don't look for others to step in to correct this wrong. They lack the bravery. Remember, those who matter don't care. The only way someone is going to step in is if they can gain by doing so.

The winner here is Mike Nifong. He is financially bleeding the LAX boys and their families to death. How much has this case cost Mike Nifong? Not one cent! Furthermore, I've seen NO indication that it will ever cost him, monetarily or otherwise. He'll skate away. He'll collect his state government retirement and go to parties with his yellow friends who pat him on the back for "doing the right thing" for the poor who can't help themselves. The LAX boys will never collect a cent of reimbursement for their legal costs through the courts.

The best thing the LAX boys can do to pay their legal bills is to write a book about this mockery of justice.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong, 9:17. The three defendants have an excellent chance of prevailing in a civil suit against Durham, Nifong, Gottlieb, et al., for violation of their federal civil rights. Nifong stepped outside his role as prosecutor when he committed some of his misconduct in this case, and because of that, he will not be entitled to the "absolute immunity" that prosecutors typically enjoy. Instead, he will only be able to claim "qualified immunity," and that will not be sufficient to shield him from liability for what he has done. Unfortunately, because Nifong did these illegal and unethical acts while acting in his capacity as an employee of Durham, it is the Durham taxpayers who will ultimately pick up the tab for his misconduct, and not Nifong personally.

Anonymous said...

Don't be so sure that Nifong, the city of Durham and perhaps the state of North Carolina will escape paying some of the legal costs. And the Duke administration, particularly Brodhead and his chief deputies, deserves the criticism it gets on this Web site. The Group of 88 should be an embarrassment to Duke.

Anonymous said...


Nothing would please me more than being wrong. Merry Christmas from 9:17

Anonymous said...


"Holiday greetings from the DIW staff."

Heheheh, good one, KC! ;>)

Merry Christmas, and thank you!!

Anonymous said...

There is a limit to what Brodhead can do to the Group of 88, but there is nothing to stop him from saying something to the effect of:
"This administration made mistakes in a rush to judgement, for which we apologize. But the members of the Group of 88 demonstrated intellectual dishonesty and unethical behavior worthy of the most racist totalitarians, not so-called intellectuals."

Anonymous said...

I did a fellowship at Duke, my daughter received an undergraduate degree and returned to complete a residency in the medical school. I have been a great fan of Duke. Your blog has exposed not only the wrong doing of Nifong but revealed the ugly truth about some of the Duke faculty. I can no longer support Duke. Why would any parent send their child to Duke?.

Don't expect much from the legal system of North Carolina. It accepts not only the wrong doing of the prosecutor but also the corruption of the state government.

Blogs like yours are having a dramatic impact getting the news out. Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson said:
"...As an interested spectator, it was fun to watch, and there is more, much more to come..."

Bill, don't tease...are you hinting that there is more prosecutorial misconduct to be uncovered? Or, police misconduct? What? Who?

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas KC....did you happen to see what Ashley buried in his Christmas Eve Editorial? "A resolution of the Duke lacrosse case whose legitimacy is widely accepted would be one of the greatest gifts to the community. The dropping of rape charges Friday may have started down that road, but in the near term we can expect even more upheaval. On Christmas Eve, at least, perhaps optimism is called for. "

How in this world can it call its legitimacy widely accepted? I'd be stunned if this were the beginning of this saga......

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to the Evans, Finnerty, and Seligman families. I hope the pain and suffering is almost over. I am a Durham Mom of two Dukies and my favorite Christmas present this morning was a Duke Lacrosse T-shirt.
Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

I am just speculating, of course, but we can see that neither Nifong nor the Durham police thought it necessary to cover their tracks. They went with the attitude that:

1. This is Durham County, and we do what we damn well please;
2. Duke University is behind us, or at least is not doing anything to hinder us;
3. Prosecutors and police get away with murder (or at least attempted murder) in North Carolina, so even if we are caught, no problem;
4. We have the media -- especially the New York Times -- on our side, and the defense has only some obscure blogs;
5. The potential jury in Durham would be likely to convict, not simply indict, a ham sandwich.

With that kind of thinking, you can bet that we only have scratched the surface regarding the lawbreaking going on with Nifong and the police. Furthermore, there is the Ashley Cannon factor. While I have no idea if her charges of sexual harassment will amount to anything or will lead to the uncovering of more wrongdoing, it cannot help Nifong and the others.

I really do not have inside information here. I'm just putting my economist's logic to work. Economists hold that incentives matter, and for Nifong and the police there seemed to be a great deal of upside, and almost no downside.

People operating on that set of assumptions are not going to be careful about where they leave their fingerprints. That is why I say there is going to be more to come.

Anonymous said...

I need to make one other point. Right after Nifong avoided recall, he started uttering threats to some of the bloggers, mainly K.C. Here was a guy who was full of himself, and at that point, I think he believed himself to be invulnerable.

Neither Nifong nor his henchmen Himan and Gottlieb are particularly intelligent people. They broke the law in broad daylight because a large number of people in Durham did not care what Nifong and the others did as long as they could find a way to get convictions.

So, we have half-witted people -- who believed they were invulnerable -- breaking the law. Now, you tell me just how careful they were in covering their tracks. Oh, yes, they erased the police tapes of the first night. But I will guarantee you that these guys left footprints, handprints, and fingerprints all over the place, just like half of the male population of Durham left their marks in Crystal's underwear.

The issue is NOT whether evidence of felonious behavior is uncovered. That already has happened. The real issue is whether or not the authorities from the State of North Carolina -- which have spared no expense so far in trying to railroad innocent young men into prison -- are going to be willing to do some fumigation.

Thus, we on the blogs must keep on the heat to make these people do right. Look, if we were a factor in uncovering this mess (and not the only factor, obviously, but we kept the drums banging), then most assuredly we can keep the pressure on the authorities.

We have demonstrated unequivocally that the Internet can be a mighty weapon against prosecutorial abuse. I suspect that the Internet also can be a great mechanism to keep the NC and DOJ authorities on the Straight and Narrow Path.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas everyone.

I have really enjoyed reading the various and most imformative posts on this most wonderful of sites. More power to KC and company for keeping up the fight for justice for the 3 boys.

Sadly, one can only reached the conclusion that most of the residents of North Carolina understand and accept they have corrupt officials running and working in the justice system !

One can feel the sense pathos from these residents that nothing will ever change.

Maybe now with the help of KC and Liestoppers,etc and all of the many contributors that at least we may have the embryonic stages of a metamorphosis under way in North Carolina?

Anonymous said...

It's posters like 8:25 AM who give academics and activists with left-wing, race-based agendas whatever credibility they have. You may think you are witty, but if you indulge in ad hominem attacks based on stereotypes and on what people look like rather than addressing real issues, you are a lot bigger part of the problem than of the solution.

Anonymous said...

Bill, it seems to me that Duke, rather than "not doing anything to hinder" the bush-league attitudes in Durham, was actively complicit. I find it outrageous that in KC's case narrative, he describes Duke administrators telling the LAX coach to instruct the players not to tell their parents about the police investigation, and then Duke hires an attorney to meet with the players and "coordinate" the Duke response. In other words, Duke actively worked to prevent the players from getting their own counsel in the early days of the rape investigation, when they were all vulnerable to 30 year prison sentences, and then hired a lawyer with an obvious conflict of interest to toss these guys to the sharks.

If I were a parent, given this set of facts, I would not consider sending my high school senior to Duke under any circumstances, but I would also be deeply suspicious of Harvard.

Duke and US university culture as a whole has been fully complicit in this railroading. I would say that not only Brodhead, but a whole layer of Duke management needs to go -- as it would in a corporation (or even a government agency) with a similar scandal. Not enough is being said about the Duke side of the affair.

John Bruce

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Mikey, Precious and Dickie,

Things are looking a bit down, I know.

Here's the good thing: the good people in the US r gonna take as much time and effort to persecute u that u guys took in persecuting messrs seligmann, finnerty and evans.

Except we're a lot more intelligent.

That's not a good thing--for you.

Have a scummy Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

Merry Christmas. Get this. It is Christmas morning, I went into Starbucks and guess who I run into working there? A girl who was working on her Masters at Duke when I was living in Durham. She graduated this past Spring. Guess that old Master's Degree from Duke can only get you to Starbucks these days.

While this is an isolated incident I am describing, it is also a true story.

Anonymous said...

The Sword of Justice wonders why it took Professor Mike Munger so long to say something publicly about the Duke case. His late entry into this matter smacks of opportunism. Still, he did say something even if a tad late (as in several months late).

Where is the rest of the Duke faculty? One wonders about Munger's colleagues in political science such as Michael Gillespie and Ruth Grant. Now that it's safe to say something, will they?

Anonymous said...

how to punish the parasites and friends of parasites:



Anonymous said...


imo, the most aggravating thing about this case is the sanctions element--eg:

1. how to punish nifong

2. ditto precious

3. ditto brodhead

4. ditto parasites et al

re 1) not a lawyer, but i suspect that "prosecutors" should be treated like average citizens, with very few "protections"

re 2) the law has to be changed to reflect the horror of what a "false accuser" really is

re 3) duke alumni and parents/students interested in applying to duke should write a letter to the board of trustees expressing their opinions re B's handling of the incident--sanctions include not letting children apply to duke and alumni withdrawing financial support--let's face it: if asians and euros don't apply, duke's rep is going to take a big hit

re 4) yes, boycott their classes, but i would also urge alumni and future alumni to make it known that they think black studies is a joke and that it should not have departmental stature--they should demand that the "discipline" should have no more than 6 part-time faculty

brodhead's been proven to be a wimp; alumni and those interested in applying to duke must have the courage to express their views on the immorality of funding a bunch of dopes--that's y i call it academic welfare




cf said...

If academic traditions and rules of conduct protect Broadhead and the 88, then they are foolish and should be scrapped. In no other area of American life would members of an institution charged with the protection of young people get away with unfairly targetting, persecuting them, holding them up to reprobation and subjecting them to criminal consequences.

Anonymous said...

When Pulizer Prize nominations time rolls around, we must all write to the committee per KC. Any thoughts on how the power of the internet and bloggers has evolved? How did this happen and how does it work? Happy New Year to all.

Anonymous said...

power of bloggers is the power of individuals

high IQ trumps Duff Wilson

Columbia University sponsors the Pulitzers, and u can get a Pulitzer for a blog

KC should write a book, though, since he would get a lot of media attention

I told him to contact the brilliant editor Adam Bellow and obtain a sharp agent. Thinh he could get a decent advance.


Anonymous said...

The comment about the 8:25 a.m. post was on target. These kinds of comments degrade the general high standards of Professor Johnson's blog. Is there a way for KC to ban the person who posted the 8:25 comment?

Anonymous said...

Please remove 8:25 AM's comment. I am sure neither you nor most of the commenters want to be associated with such a nasty comment.

More importantly (from a fellow history prof), thanks for all your hard work. It's nice to know that a history prof is doing something to more than offset the unfortunate actions of the Group of 88.

Anonymous said...

true, the comment was inappropriate

let me try to rewrite it to reflect what the poster was really saying (i didn't write it):

this woman looks stupid

why is she a tenured professor at duke?

is that satisfactory?


Anonymous said...

One thing is for certain: the Internet is a very powerful tool to use against government corruption and prosecutorial abuse. Prof. James Bennett, who teaches economics at George Mason University, once told me that technology trumps government.

Now, Bennett was dealing with regulation (his specialty), and he made those statements to me nearly 20 years ago, but I think that the events of the past nine months have demonstrated the timeless truth of Bennett's remarks. (It was an offhand remark at that, yet extremely insightful.)

Once upon a time, the Nifongs of the world could have made this case nearly disappear. The gag order would have kept the attorneys without a forum to get out their story, and I think that without the pressure from the blogs, Nifong could have hidden the exculpatory evidence indefinitely.

Furthermore, in a pre-Internet age, the North Carolina authorities would not have been under the pressure that they currently are now. They would have played the "old boy" politics game, which always worked in Nifong's favor.

Thus, I must admit to being more hopeful not only about the outcome of the criminal case, but also about Nifong's future. We can continue to beat the drums, and as long as we constitute what some might call a "public outcry," we can force the authorities to take action against Nifong that never would have been the case only a decade or so ago.

How is that for a Christmas message of hope?

Anonymous said...

1 more comment on lubiano and her ilk:

it's not a travesty that she's "far left," "radical," "Marxist"--the travesty is tat she's stupid and because she's black Duke hires her and has to support her like a welfare bitch--pathetic!


Anonymous said...

re feckless college presidents:

not all college presidents are pathetic, ineffectual lightweights like Brodhead:

when i attended the great jesuit high school, brooklyn prep, i was taught by john sexton, who is now president of NYU

sexton has a pair, and would never have allowed the BS that went down under Brodhead


Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on 8:25. Have you seen the picture??? She could be on the cover of a flap jack box!!!

Anonymous said...

yeah, i have to agree with 8:25. She looks like a maid.

You know, now that I think of it, this looks a lot like someone I saw panhandling for loose change in Chapel Hill last night. And I swear she was saying that her car ran out of gas and she needed to get back to Durham.

Good call 8:25

Anonymous said...

KC wrote: "Tenure and principles of academic freedom protect the Group of 88 from personnel retaliation (quite appropriately). But nothing prevents the administration from taking other steps to express its disappointment with the Group’s actions."

KC: This raises a very interesting question. How do the rules of academic freedom apply to faculty who have not only failed to protect their students but have unjustly railroaded them toward a long sentence in prison? This is not at all like the case of the professor in Oklahoma that you cite.

Also, what "other steps" could the administration take against the Gang of 88?

Anonymous said...

First, I think that Peter Woods' comments about the lacrosse players (and especially the "Indian" comment) were well over the line and I do not think it would be an "academic freedom" violation for the administration to discipline him over that.

Second, his comments about Reade Seligmann definitely were over-the-top and do not qualify as examples of academic freedom. It is one thing to make "little Eichmann" comments, as obnoxious as they might be. It is quite another to attack an individual student.

We are dealing with privacy regulations and rules, and it is clear that Woods very well could have broken them. I am not free to speak in a public forum of the academic performance of one of my students, so I cannot imagine that what he said about Seligmann was protected. Furthermore, from what I understand, other students who were in the class have disputed Woods' description of Seligmann's actions in that class, so we very well could have a case in which a professor lied about a student just to smear him.

The original Chronicle ad, I believe, was protected under academic freedom and freedom of speech, and I do not support any action being taken against the Gang of 88 on that basis. However, things like Grant Farred's piece in the H-S clearly went beyond the bounds of academic freedom and, in my opinion, should have resulted in his being demoted or even fired.

Karla Holloway's piece was in an established journal, and while it was stupid and insipid, it still falls well within the academic freedom matrix (to use her term). The comments of some of the other faculty members, however, are over-the-top and I would not mind seeing them have to lose their jobs over them.

In short, I support academic freedom. I do not support vicious, dishonest attacks against individual students, and I clearly do not support attacks on individuals as was the case with Woods.

My guess is that Duke will do nothing. The administration would like for this to go away, and they believe that the less said to the Gang Members, the better. Also, the Gang Members were able to further entrench their tenacles at the university. But while they may be able to operate from a position of power there, they still are scum, in my book.

Anonymous said...

to Duke alumni, students, faculty:

is there a japanese studies department, chinese, german?

how do their numbers compare to AAAS?

this could be very interesting info, given the overrepresentation of a race that has contributed the least to the arts and sciences


Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson, it seems to me that section c of the AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure excludes statements that tenured faculty make as citizens if these statements are not restrained and accurate, and if the professors do not make it plain that they do not speak for the institution. The Group of 88 ad violates all these. A 2002 case, Peter N. Kirstein of Xavier University, saw a tenured professor suspended for section c violations. The Leonard Jeffries case, where a CCNY professor made anti-Semitic remarks in a public speech, resulted in a court ruling that speech is not protected if the speech interferes with the purpose of the institution, in particular in that case, alienating potential Jewish donors. It seems to me that the 88 ad had a more destructive public impact, causing the Duke 3 defense to move for a change in venue, than either the Kirstein or the Jeffries cases. I believe there are grounds to discipline the 88 for the ad. If (as I'm sure they will) the faculty screams "McCarthy", the nation needs to say back, calmly, "Scottsboro".

This is an area where I find academics of whatever political stripe consistently disappointing. For that matter, no matter how administrators may insist on "academic freedom", every case like this makes them less and less willing to create tenure lines to replace those of retiring faculty.

Anonymous said...

I realize that the commenters who are using terms like "maid," "bitch," and "looks ugly" are likely trolls trying to undermine Professor Johnson's good work and thereby hurt the accused players. Maybe such folks should just be ignored. Nevertheless, thank you to the commenters who object to the trolls' childish comments.

Anonymous said...

i find it disappointing that my fellow posters are unwilling to address the academic welfare issue

black studies is appropriate at Morehouse, not duke

students should be studying the best--not honkie hatin' and hip-hop


Anonymous said...


Your name is being taken in vain on the Duke Chronicle discussion board. In April, you supported Brodhead's decision to end the lacrosse season. Why don't you revisit the subject and tell us what you think now that we know more about what Brodhead knew and when he knew it.
The link

Anonymous said...


is it your point that Brodhead is not a bitch?

make your point


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to the following people for their courageous work in 2006:

Beth Brewer, who, against great odds, deprived Mike Nifong of a majority vote. It took the sweetness out of his election win.

Christiane Regelbrugge and Emily Wygod, the two spokespersons for Duke Students for an Ethical Durham.

Professors Mike Gustafson and Steve Baldwin.

Bob Harris, who on election day said to Mike Nifong's face: "It's about honesty. You're not honest."

Elmostafa the cab driver.

Bob Wilson, former editor at the Herald-Sun. He now posts regularly at John in Carolina's blog. If you haven't read him, start doing so!Think how things might have turned out if he had been editor the past 9 months, rather than Bob Ashley.

Anonymous said...

To 6:42 PM:

I'm with you, and I would like to add another person: Kerstin Kimel, the women's lacrosse coach at Duke. She was the first person employed at Duke to forcefully say that Reade, Dave, and Collin were INNOCENT. She took a pounding in the press and at Duke for what she did, but she stood firm and was "standing in the gap."

The people you mentioned plus Kirsten were on the front lines, and performed heroically. Who knows how many hostile and threatening emails Kirsten received. Nifong tried to throw Elmostafa in prison.

Beth Brewer is not a wealthy person, yet she was willing to give up so much in order to publicly raise a recall vote. I can only imagine the abuse that she took.

Keep in mind that when many of these people were standing up for the players, most people were on the other side. Yes, we now see the NY Times and other entities questioning Nifong's case and his ethics, but they were nowhere to be found last spring.

So, we celebrate people who were willing to risk so much for people they really did not know. This says something about their character and I would like to add my applause.

Anonymous said...

am i wrong to compare what the 88 did to collin, reade, and david to what the nazis did to the jews in 1932?

the overriding issue was the lacrosse players' race--as in the honkie race

kick the bums out, or at least get rid of them through attrition

we're living in a global world now: black studies can't compete in the marketplace of ideas

i saw dule's books recently

guess what, "black studies" was a liability under "Reparations"


Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

To Bill A-

Bill thanks for all your great work and I hope you had an outstanding holiday. I must have missed Nifong's jabs/threats at KC and other bloggers. What exactly did he say?

Anonymous said...

The word I got from my sources in Durham (damn good sources, too) was that Nifong was going to go after one or two bloggers, with the idea that "the rest would scatter like cockroaches."

November 7 was less than 50 days ago, but we forget just how cocky Nifong and his supporters were that night and the next day. Nifong believed he was unstoppable, and took the vote (even his 49%) as a "mandate" for "moving this case forward."

It was in that spirit that he and the others thought they could make life difficult. Now, I am not aware of anything done to me, although I would not be surprised if someone contacted my president or dean (or both). A few years ago, someone contacted our last president and demanded I be fired. She told him (nicely, but firmly) where he could get off.

In retrospect, the election really was Nifong's last stand. As he has brought this case forward, I am stunned at how poorly prepared he really has been. My guess is that he figured he could bully the judge, bully the witnesses, bully the attorneys, ask the defendants if they ever had uttered the "N-word" in their brief lifetimes, and then sit back and watch the Durham jury convict.

In the end, the only scattering cockroaches are Nifong and his dwindling band of supporters. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

Anonymous said...

I basically agree with Anderson -- I think there's a good chance that Nifong's misconduct is even worse than it now appears.

I predict he gets the dirtbag prosecutor trifecta: (1) suppressing exculpatory evidence; (2) suborning perjury; and (3) lying to the Court.



Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone has to worry about Nifong suing them for their internet comments. Remember, libel, slander & defamation allegations can all be successfully defended by proving that the remarks made were the truth. Internet bloggers and commenters have called Nifong a liar, and we have solid proof that he is, in fact, a liar. Bloggers and commenters have also called Nifong unethical. Again, we have solid proof of multiple ethical violations (e.g., prejudicial extrajudicial statements; lying to the tribunal; deliberately concealing exculpatory evidence, etc.).

In any event, I suspect Nifong is going to be far too busy defending himself in future lawsuits to have the time (or the money) to try and go after any of us.

Anonymous said...

Would any one know what the atmosphere is like at present in the Durham DOJ ,especially those underlings carrying out the Fongs instructions?

It must be very uncomfortable, what with the media attention and now they know they are working for a charlatan who may be quite a transient DA ???


Anonymous said...

Yep. Think of where the Nifongistas were on November 8 as opposed to December 25. That is 47 days ago, according to my feeble calculations. In less than seven weeks, they went from being unstoppable to "every man for himself."

Granted, K.C. cannot take credit for this meltdown. Nifong chose to lie to the court, and he chose to be a total jackass. K.C. did not make him be a jackass; Nifong chose that for his career symbol, so all the credit goes to Mike.

What K.C. did, however, was to use sheer, unadulterated logic (something that the Gang of 88 left by the wayside when they embraced Marxism, as "Marxist Logic" is an oxymoron) to pick this thing apart.

Me, I am a loose cannon; K.C. is the one who is cool and collected. He has taken the Bad Ship Nifong apart from day one, and I have enjoyed the show, as have the rest of you.

As for the comments regarding the actions of the Gang of 88, I would not care if Duke fired the bunch of them, just as long as they did not matriculate up here to Frostburg. I just think what they did was terrible, but I suppose there are free speech issues involved. I am hardcore when it comes to free speech, and am willing to give these people the benefit of the doubt.

(Apparently one of the gang, Ariel Dorfman, DID sign the petition to get a recall on the ballot, so that is progress. At least, that is what Dorman told me in an email.)

(By the way, K.C., I am doing this on my breaks while writing a referee's report on a paper -- revise and resubmit, of course. So, I still remain true to my day job.)

So, Merry Christmas, Mikey! Next Christmas will not be as merry.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget; Ashley Cannon's claim of sexual harassment also is an 800-pound gorilla here. When it rains, it pours.

Anonymous said...

4 minutes out of a two hour hire is certainly "Leaving early." Have emailed both onny Graham and Bo Jones asking them to question the facts as these writers reported . "Visions of slave - master 150 years ago popped into their their heads and won't leave. Please......Sorry they did not mention that Nifong is Bush League.

Anonymous said...

And so are they. This is not worthy of the Post.

Anonymous said...

re 88, nifong, CGM, et al

These are all structural issues: the individual players are not that important.

KC is weak on the more abstract issues. That's why he teaches--as opposed to creates.

the dude

Anonymous said...

Bill A and KC - When you two write your books, the publishing company will need to rent a stadium for the book signing. Heros of the Hoax.

Anonymous said...

That Newsweek genius writer, Stuart Taylr, already has a book contract. He has a real job, and I look forward to his scintillating analysis.

The Dude

Anonymous said...

It's true--Stu Taylor is the best writer and legal mind covering this case.

Does he have a blog?

Anonymous said...

how would I know?

do you know Google?

Does Bill Anderson teach at a third- or fourth-tier institution?

Notice how he sucks up to the author of the blog, whatever his name is.

the dude

Anonymous said...

As for books on this thing, Stuart definitely has cornered the market. And he got an advance for it.

The problem for him is that this case right now is SO fluid that he does not know from one day to the next what is going to happen.

If I ever do anything on it beyond my Lew Rockwell stuff, it will be part of a larger book on the courts and crime. As much as possible, I need to "stick to my knitting" and write on those things for which I have some (limited) expertise.

Believe me, Stuart can and will write a book that will be far better than anything I could create. I look forward to reading it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dude, Frostburg State is a "third-tier" regional university, according to U.S. News. So, what's your point?

And I see no problem in giving K.C. the credit he deserves.

By the way, both of us have accomplished much more in our lives than you in yours, which is why I don't worry when someone like you tries to give me the "You are not good enought to teach at Duke" stuff. You are right; I am not an elite enough scholar to be hired on the Duke economics faculty. (One has to do real work there, as opposed to some of the other "studies" at Duke.)

But, then, I never counted on getting hired at Duke or any other top-tier institution. I am what I am, and there has been a place for me in my profession. I apologize for not being disappointed, but that is the way it is. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked about the publisher of the N&O. This is from the newspaper's Web site. Question: Does Melanie Sill report to Quarles and does anyone know Quarles? The short bio from the N&O:

Orage Quarles III, President and Publisher
Mr. Quarles was named president and publisher of The News & Observer in January 2000; it is the third McClatchy newspaper he has led. From 1996 to 2000, he was publisher of The Modesto Bee in California, and from 1993 to 1996, he was president and publisher of The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C. When he assumed his role in Rock Hill in January 1993, he became the first African American to lead a daily newspaper in the South. Mr. Quarles began his newspaper career in San Bernardino, Calif., where he attended high school and college. He spent more than 20 years with the Gannett Co., the largest newspaper company in the nation, working in advertising and marketing before becoming a publisher. He led The Coloradoan in Fort Collins from 1987 to 1990 and The Record in Stockton, Calif., from 1990 to 1993 and was named Gannett's Publisher of the Year in 1990. Mr. Quarles was named the nation’s outstanding publisher by Editor and Publisher magazine in 2002 for his leadership of The News & Observer. Mr. Quarles is active both in the newspaper industry and the Triangle community. For nine years, he was a member of the Associated Press board of directors, and he has been a board member of the Newspaper Association of America, serving as chair in 2001-2002. He is a member of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute board, the Freedom Forum Board of Directors, the American Press Institute general management advisory board and the National Association of Minority Media Executives. In the Triangle, he serves on boards of Rex Healthcare, Peace College, N.C. Museum of Art, Carolina Ballet, UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication Foundation, the Pope House Museum Foundation and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Mr. Quarles and his wife, Linda, have been married for more than 30 years and are the parents of two grown daughters. He is an avid reader, runner and movie-goer.

Anonymous said...

To the point about the GOP not doing anything about Nifungu, it should be noted that the state party just got a new head, a woman from Charlotte, whom I know and is very good, but not very aggressive. I doubt she will take this on. Not her style, but we'll see

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to Prof. Johnson, Prof. Anderson and all the other "frequent flyer" posters on the board.

Anonymous said...

The past two hours or so I spent catching up after a 36 hour break was a Christmas present in and of itself. Good will triumph over evil; truth will be victorious. The arrangement of the deck chairs does not matter. Mr. Nifong's ship is sinking.
and, yes, the atmospheric conditions and ocean currents and charts that contributed to this disaster will surely be examined thoroughly and, I hope, for everyone's sake, reformed.

KC, you continue to DAZZLE us. Beyond the Pulitzer, I think a knighthood is in order.

As has been pointed out, the NYT's reporting improved a lot with Saturday's story...but they still missed half of it when they completely ignored the election. Too many words needed to explain everything, I guess. They could always opt for a series, though. The election aspect is no longer timely, of course, just essential for understanding.

Chicago, sorry I missed the rsvp. You are welcome any time.

JC, I have no idea how you remove a college department...has this ever been done?


Anonymous said...

I'll just put it this way, I'd take the credential's of Dr. Anderson's economics appointment at a so-called third - tier institution anyday. I say so -called because that whole report out of US News is mostly a popularity contest. Most of the PhD's for the 88 committee should be given out in crackerjack boxes, they have little to no respect in the eyes of most academics(not all, unfortunatly there are maybe 2 or 3 respectable departments that the 88 committee came from). This is coming from someone with a PhD in pharmacology from Case Western and is a postdoctoral fellow doing cancer research at Duke and is in the process of looking for an assistant professor position. Not that you need my support, nor care to hear it Dr. Anderson, but just felt inclined to say something, having some insights into the whole process. I had the utmost respect for the response you gave to that idiot thedude and I'm sure you're one hell of a professor just by listening to your insights on this and other blogs.

Anonymous said...

to Observer:

The Dude likes JC, but it seems everyone ignores his posts. Yes, the dude is new to this blog, but he has a platinum portfolio.

I think what JC is arguing is that it's time to stop lying about black studies: it's not worth funding given the more worthy academic disciplines in existence.

I think he's deadly serious.

the dude

Anonymous said...

Frostburg State has earned new respect. But when do the professors sleep?

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

Observer, Thanks for the comment. I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Bill, thanks for answering the threat question I had, nothing that Nifong does at this point will surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Just checking my e-mail after a holiday respite from the computer....and I see that KC's place is still going strong.

"Just when I think I have weaned myself away for a few days.....they pull me back in!"----To paraphrase the great Michael Corleone. LOL!

Seriously, I have to comment on what a few posters have said.

Bill Anderson is, indeed, a very valuable asset to this ongoing Duke lacrosse fiasco. He and KC provide the stable and sturdy spine for the comments made by the rest of us.

To the Dude--given the prolific habit of using affirmative action to hire many professors at some elite universities, I doubt that most of those people could stand up to Anderson's standards.....or KC's.

IMO, the Dude is a regular poster here who is just using a different moniker. He must have gotten peeved about something and has come back to diss his betters.

Oh, well........

About News & Observer publisher Orage experience with him is that he is a first class guy. Great personality and quite fair......even though his paper employs some who are anything but fair.

I have spoken with him numerous times. Before they hired an ombudsman, I stayed in contact with him frequently when I had problems of unfairness with regard to their editorial staff.

When I contacted problem went away.

Orage is black, but he carries none of the racist views I have seen from the editorial staff at the Herald Sun.

Debrah Correll

Anonymous said...

12:47AM - "When do the Professors
sleep?" I live in Vegas - did a Post at midningt PT time and Bill A answered me very quickly. I think Mike may wind up in a padded cell. What is happening at the lab and Dr Meekam?
Happy New Year to all.

Anonymous said...

When discussing the role of the "talking heads" perhaps the FCC should become involved. Not for censorship, but perhaps for disclaimers. By example, this expert has not taken the time to do her research and is just talking of the top of her head. This is not a news show but an entertainment special.

Gray Dawg