Monday, July 13, 2009

Checking in with the Group

A recent issue of Duke Magazine featured three members of the Group of 88 showing that critical self-reflection is not a hallmark of Group scholarship.

The first essay—coupled with a bizarre photograph—came from Karla Holloway, identified as “James B. Duke Professor of English and professor of law.” (Holloway is the very rare member of an elite law school’s faculty who does not possess a J.D.)

Holloway’s essay is a paean to the right to privacy. Writes she,

The right to privacy that allows us to associate our homes with sanctuary and that places the highest value on an "inviolable personhood"—a nineteenth-century notion of "the right to be let alone"—is a right we still understand and desire today. But in twenty-five years, I suspect that we will barely recognize how public—and indeed how violated—our inviolable personhood has become. In fact, we have encouraged some of this slippage. The threat of terrorism has been enough to persuade us to accept warrantless searches. And when these searches became virtual in the form of warrantless wire-tapping, it seemed merely a change of venue rather than a loss of constitutional rights. In the battle between privacy and national security, the nation followed its fears.

Holloway also expresses grave concern about how DNA—even when given up voluntarily—can cause a loss of privacy. “As the science advances, the material you sent in for one purpose may end up being used for something entirely different—from medical research for the public good to tracking down a suspected criminal in your family, using the very genetic markers you made available for discovery.”

Is this the same Karla Holloway who couldn’t be bothered when a local judge demanded that some Duke students who weren’t even in Durham County the night of an alleged crime had to turn over their DNA, under force of compulsion, to local authorities? We all know how Holloway responded to that loss of privacy—she signed onto the Group of 88’s statement, proclaiming that something had “happened” to the accuser and thanking protesters who had (in another seeming violation of privacy) blanketed the campus with “wanted” photos of the lacrosse players.

You’d think that having seen this remarkable transgression of privacy rights, occurring to students at her own institution, might have caused Prof. Holloway to reflect on her part in events of 2006 and 2007. But it appears that for the ”James B. Duke Professor of English and professor of law,” some invasions of privacy aren’t much of a problem.


Duke Magazine also brought to alumni the insights of Group of 88’er Paula McClain. McClain, who offers a variety of courses on race and American politics but seemingly teaches nothing else, cautioned that the election of Barack Obama does not signal “the end of issues of race or racism in the U.S.”

McClain concedes that, yes, the African-American Obama received a higher percentage of the white vote than did the white John Kerry. And she also notes that he carried a majority of the vote from younger whites. But these facts, she cautions, shouldn’t detract from Victimology 101, “because so many areas of structural inequality in the U.S. have existed for so long.”

How should this “structural inequality” be addressed? McClain doesn’t say, although she implies support for a continued racial preferences scheme coupled with government assistance to minorities. And even if Obama did everything she wanted, the Group of 88’er asserted that “much would remain to be done after he leaves office.”

McClain concluded with an off-the-wall comment: “As the nation becomes increasingly multiracial over the next twenty-five years, the imperative to confront these inequities will be even more important if the nation is to continue moving forward.”

Of course, “as the nation becomes increasingly multiracial,” the racial preferences system will almost certainly become harder to sustain. To take the most clear-cut example—higher education admissions—the testing data suggests that African-Americans benefit from “diversity” admissions primarily at the expense not of whites but of Asian-Americans. How would this problem be addressed in the “increasingly multiracial” United States? McClain doesn’t seem interested in exploring the matter.


Duke Magazine readers also got to hear from Cathy Davidson (shown, like Holloway, in a somewhat peculiar photograph). In a passage that could have applied to her fellow Group of 88’ers, Davidson maintained, “Given the ever-increasing rapidity and magnitude of change on a global scale, we all need to master the precious and formidable skill of being able to stop in our tracks, discard the road map that has failed us, and try a different route on the unpredictable journey ahead.”

Her essay mostly consists of complaints that good grades don’t predict future success and that universities don’t have enough “interdisciplinary” offerings (which, freed from even the limited constraints of disciplinary bounds, are particularly appealing for the politically correct). The time has come, writes Davidson, for “radical educational transformation.” Of course.


Davidson, McClain, and Holloway would be well-served by reading an essay published last week by Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, whose work I have cited on other occasions in the blog. The title could be a description of the Group of 88: “To become an extremist, hang around with people you agree with.”

As Sunstein notes, research shows that “much of the time groups of people end up thinking and doing things that group members would never think or do on their own . . . when people find themselves in groups of like-minded types, they are especially likely to move to extremes. And when such groups include authorities who tell group members what to do, or who put them into certain social roles, very bad things can happen.“

What explains group polarization? According to Sunstein, the key “involves the exchange of new information. Group polarisation often occurs because people are telling one another what they know, and what they know is skewed in a predictable direction. When they listen to each other, they move.” Applied to the Duke case: In the race/class/gender world of the Group of 88, where dissenting opinions are rarely if ever heard, the natural development was a movement to a position that was more extreme than what all but a handful of the Group of 88 (perhaps Wahneema Lubiano, Grant Farred, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva) would have taken on their own.

Again describing a phenomenon we saw with the Group of 88, Sunstein notes, “People tend to respond to the arguments made by other people — and the pool of arguments, in a group with a predisposition in a particular direction, will inevitably be skewed in the direction of the original predisposition.”

The contrast: “Those who lack confidence and who are unsure what they should think tend to moderate their views. Suppose that you are asked what you think about some question on which you lack information. You are likely to avoid extremes. It is for this reason that cautious people, not knowing what to do, tend to choose some midpoint between the extremes. But if other people seem to share their views, people become more confident that they are correct.”

As we saw with the lemming-like signatures to the “clarifying” letter, in which Group members proudly proclaimed they would never apologize, a certainty of their rightness characterized the Group throughout the case.


One Spook said...

Excellent post, professor Johnson.

As an individual who is a pretend law professor like Holloway, she is woefully uninformed. Each and every person who is booked into jail in America has fingerprints taken.

Millions upon millions of other persons have had their fingerprints recorded as a condition of employment for years now. Where has Holloway been? Why, other than it is the extremist liberal "Chicken Little" cause du jour, is all of this fear being mongered about DNA?

DNA is a "genetic fingerprint" and it should be used in exactly the same manner as fingerprinting has been used for a long time. Such a database would greatly assist in solving crimes and in proving innocence in criminal cases.

McClain and the Revered Barber whose recent speech parrots McClain's commentary, have to perpetuate victimology because their entire ideology and careers depend on inculcating their followers with the belief that their ancestors were victims, they are victims, and they will and should always be victims.

And in this entire episode, nowhere is Sunstein's warning "when such groups include authorities who tell group members what to do, or who put them into certain social roles, very bad things can happen" more apparent than in remembering the very troubling comment of one of the more moderate members of the 88, Duke History professor Susan Thorne.

Thorne e-mailed one of her students to say that she had abandoned her plans to apologize for signing the Group of 88 "listening statement" and then decided to publicly announce that she would not apologize. Otherwise, Thorne wrote, "my voice won’t count for much in my world."

In other words, Thorne's "world" amidst the like-minded Group of 88 is a world that tolerates no dissent.

One Spook

Kilgore Trout said...

Note to Obama's nominee Sunnstein: How about encouraging Obama to hang out with a greater diversity of people around gender issues. At this point he only hangs out with feminists and what you write is a perfect description of his narrow focus and extremely chivalrous, and womanitarian views.

William L. Anderson said...

For anyone who might think that the G88 became "marginalized" at Duke after the lacrosse case blew up, think again. These are the faculty members who benefited the most from their own antics, as they were able to take their own racist behavior and turn it around into yet another sorry episode of victimology.

Yes, yes, Karla Holloway really was a "victim" in the lacrosse case. When I reported the gist of a conversation she had with another faculty member, she claims that what was said "could not have been said."

Well, yes it was said. Holloway herself is on the record as saying that "guilt is a social construct," and anyone with that kind of viewpoint has no right to teach in an American law school. (I think her views are better suited to the law in North Korea, as EVERYTHING there is a social and political construct.)

I do find it interesting to see that Duke has chosen to honor the faculty members and the students who desperately tried to aid a rogue prosecutor framing innocent people. As I see it, this is not in spite of what they did but because of what they did.

RighteousThug said...

Holloway's picture has her looking skeert at the loss of privacy; Davidson is groovin' to her iPod (while thinking about designing a class that will only involve listening to an iPod).

Anonymous said...

Featuring these three "G-88ers" in the latest Duke Magazine may be some of the worst PR advice Dickie Brodhead has received as President. One "glamoure" shot and two strange poses remind me more of tabloid enticing photographs I regularly see in the grocery store check-out line than photographs of scholars from academic setting that wish to be taken seriously for their scholarship.

Without question, these women, and Duke's administration, are on a mission to glamourize these and other G-88ers, and one is compelled to wonder why. As a Trinity graduate(1966), I cannot remember any Duke Magazine photos where so much emphasis was placed on the appearance of the faculty mnembers featured. These are definitely not file photos,but, instead, the result of hollywood-like glamour photo shoots that are not inexpensive.

In a magazine distributed to alumni, from whom Duke expects to receive financial gifts and emotional support, I question why featuring these academicians, famous for their pre-judgment of innocent students in the LAX fiasco, is more important than featuring any of the thousands of educators on the Duke faculty who are making real educatory and scientific contributions through teaching and research every day and who, apparently, do not need "rehabilitation" or glamourization with Duke's alumni.

For example, Duke researchers were the first to identify the gene that predisposes one to Alzheimer's and today's international headlines trumpet the fact that the same Duke research team has now identified another gene that may allow doctors to predict the time of onset of this disease. These and other researchers and educators at Duke are not considered to be as important as these G-88ers. Truly odd.

Once again, we see, clearly, that the priorities of this administration are wrong-headed, defensive and prejudicial. It would be interesting to find out just how much Duke is paying outside and inside PR specialists for the advice to keep reminding folks of just how strange and out of touch these G-88ers and the university are with reality.

Debrah said...

I love to see members of Duke's Gang of 88 spread their wings.

After leading a pogrom against their own students that would seem to have been antithetical to their "teachings", we have this latest unintentionally comical effort into the "avant-garde". LOL!!!

Avant-garde (French pronunciation: [avɑ̃ɡaʁd]) means "advance guard" or "vanguard".[1] The adjective form is used in English, to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics.
Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm.

The only trouble with this idea is that, for the most part, most of them are very nondescript people with shaky curricula to push.

That adjective really applies only to those whose work can be identified as existing.

But what better idea for the rehabilitation tour than to try for Salvador Dali-inspired poses and these hot new photos?

"Strike a pose!"

"Vogue!".........(with apologies to Madonna)

Duke's Gang 88 are sensitive....

cutting edge....


unapologetically curious....

whimsically creative....

......and..... wickedly fresh!

RighteousThug said...

One Spook - McClain and the Revered Barber whose recent speech parrots McClain's commentary, have to perpetuate victimology because their entire ideology and careers depend on inculcating their followers with the belief that their ancestors were victims, they are victims, and they will and should always be victims.

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."

- Booker T. Washington, 1911

jim2 said...

I'm not sure the fingerprint and DNA comparison is a good parallel. While both are identity determination/confirmation tools, the DNA one does yield a lot more personal information that does raise privacy issues.

For example, certain genetic diseases - Huntington's disease is one - have possible future insurance eligibility implications. Sperm/egg donors could be ID'ed as parents despite assurances at the time of donation that their identity would be kept secret.

jim2 said...

KC -

Did you see the recent news articles on another apparent prosecutor abuse? This one may be particularly appropriate as the man did not have good defense counsel, was told to plea and appeal, got convicted/sentenced, and it appears now to have been another Nifong.

The parallel is particularly striking, as the medical examinations were decisive exculpatory evidence that the prosecutor did not share. The prosecution stated that the sexaual abuse had been repeated and violent, but the medical exams showed no evidence of any trauma at all - - because there had been no sexual abuse.

Without deep pockets, the man fought an uphill battle and only just now - 20 years later - has prevailed, and only because his now-grown children fought to recant in court. It just shows where the LAX trio might well have ended up w/o their active and able defense.

The prosecutor? Retired as this began to come to light and continues not to be available to comment. Oh, did I mention the prosecutor's first name? Sharon.

Here is one url:

Anonymous said...

Is KC's comment policy marxist?

Greg Toombs said...

Cathy Davidson seems to be a fashionista who also wears a lot of jewelry.

Leather, too. What will become of her PETA membership card?

Strange display, for one who has been so oppressed.

Debrah said...

Perhaps this is one project that Holloway and her colleagues can embrace.

Exploring the reasons for tensions in Durham.

After what I have witnessed for so long---hoping that saner minds would at least once prevail---I doubt there will be very much "understanding" in a place like Durham where so many enjoy lucrative occupations pushing discord.


Pauli Murray Project highlights race relations in Durham

BY JOHN MCCANN : The Herald-Sun
Jul 13, 2009

DURHAM -- This city's motto is "Good Things Are Happening in Durham."

Duke University instructor Barbara Lau doesn't deny that.

But it's not all good around here, she said.

"I think the Pauli Murray Project is about interrogating that story," Lau told a group gathered on Sunday in a room at First Presbyterian Church before the Rev. Joe Harvard led his congregation in the morning worship service.

Murray in 1977 became the first black woman to get ordained in the Episcopal church. Harvard mentioned talk in the Episcopal church of elevating Murray to a saint.

Murray in life was, along with being an Episcopal priest, a lawyer, a historian, a teacher and a poet. There are five murals bearing her likeness throughout Durham. She was raised here, on Carroll Street, in the West End community.

And it was in Durham where Murray -- she was black, white and Native American -- watched black people get treated with dignity, and she saw them get trampled on like dirt, too, Lau said. Murray was denied admission to institutions of higher learning because of both race and gender.

Which all combines to make Murray an apt lens through which the people of Durham can look at themselves, said Lau, who heads up the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center.

The Pauli Murray Project is about getting people to read Murray's book, "Proud Shoes." The book is about Murray's grandparents and their struggles with racial prejudice. But Lau would tell you that book tells Durham's story, too.

When the drama was unfolding about Duke lacrosse players supposedly raping a black stripper, outsiders started questioning Durham's black-white relations. But many around here closed ranks around the idea that black people and white people in this city have no major beef with each other.

Yet Lau told those at First Presbyterian to think about what happens around here when it comes to public policy -- black folks want what they want, and white folks want what they want, she suggested.

The Pauli Murray Project can get at the root of that, Lau said. She wants people to form groups to discuss "Proud Shoes." Learn more about that by contacting Lau at or (919) 613-6167.

It's about activating history for the purpose of social change and reconciliation, Lau said. But the effectiveness of the Pauli Murray Project depends on the kind of energy the community brings to the discussion table, she said.

Murray was born in Baltimore in 1910. Unable to beat cancer, she died in 1985 in Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

7/13/09 11:08 AM said:

Is KC's comment policy marxist?

Guess who's back.

Bob said...

I always find it interesting that when someone makes a living in academia from wearing various "minority" hats, they can pick and choose which particular "minority" issue they want to discuss at any given point.

For example, Paula D McClain is co-director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender. In the article linked to by KC, she chooses to discuss issues pertaining to race. She uses statistics from infant mortality (Health) through to comparative educational achievment to illustrate that "blacks" (her ethnic categorization) and "whites" have "disparities" in terms of opportunity, life expectancy and life in general.

I would be interested to see her write another article on the "gender" aspect of her job title. She could use similar statistics derived from the same social and health analyses that she used for her previous article.

She could for example show that men's life expectancy is shorter than that of women in all Western countries, that men die from the top 15 causes of death in greater numbers than women, that 95% of all workplace fatalities are men and that in terms of education, approaching 60% of all undergraduates are female. This too would show disparities and inequalities and that "on the long, steady march toward equality....we still have miles to go".

Wait a minute, are we talking about men here? Oh no, this won't do at all....etc etc

Gary Packwood said...

Is Duke University operating under some sort of a court approved settlement action whereby they must publish the work of certain faculty or staff members who are members of a protected class?

If so it probably doesn't make much difference for the Group of 88

Eventually their karma is going to run over their dogma.

One Spook said...

To RighteousThug at 8:40 AM:

While your juxtaposition of the quotes is interesting, I would not have agreed with Booker T. in 1911.

But much as happened since 1911

Since then, segregation in the military, education, public accommodation, and housing has come to an end. Jim Crow laws and voting restrictions have been eliminated. Sweeping legislation arising from the Civil Rights Acts of the 60's have completely changed employment opportunity to the extent that majority races have been impacted negatively as was shown in the recent Ricci case.

As KC has pointed out college admissions procedures have had a disparate impact on other minority races, most notably, Asians.

I agree with KC that those "structural inequalities" need to be examined.

One Spook

One Spook said...

jim2 @ 8:43 AM writes:

"I'm not sure the fingerprint and DNA comparison is a good parallel."

Perhaps not, Jim, but I think the key is how will that information be used, and I believe properly written laws can ensure that privacy is maintained.

I feel the same way about DNA technology as I do about NSA intercepts and the great whipping boy known as the "Patriot Act."

There is a good deal of what I term "Chicken Little pronouncements" (such as Holloway's essay) about the supposed abuses of the technologies used pursuant to those measures, but scant, if any, evidence of actual abuses of individual rights that have happened.

To me, such pronouncements are actually extreme ideologically driven efforts to fix what is not broken. Much of the ideology and pedagogy that we've studied and seen in the Group of 88 seems to fit in that category.

And much of the rhetoric and very hyperbolic analogies that rise from these extremists is woefully intellectually dishonest, such as Chafe's absurd comparison of the lacrosse case to the Emmet Till tragedy.

One Spook

jim2 said...

One Spook -

I did not choose my examples randomly.

I have friends who have Huntington's disease in their family tree such that they might have the genetic carrier that dooms them to getting it, eventually. Many of their family have died from it.

They do not know if they have the gene, and they definitely do not want insurance companies to have any potential access to the info. They want to be able to answer that they do not know when applying for health insurance.

Additionally, I know some men who donated sperm in their youth and now fear they could be tracked down, etc. I would guess the same would be even more true for women who gave up children for adoption.

Fingerprints cannot be used that way, so there is real and actual potential for misuse.

Let me put it another way. Are you willing to trust that the information will not ever be misused? How much would you be willing to bet? All your future health insurance eligibility? The life you have made since a mistake in your youth? Should you be so eager to make others accept such a wager?

Debrah said...

Attorney General to pursue restitution

Anonymous said...

In Cathy Davidson's article, she proposes that in order to "shift our paradigms about paradigms,"
each quarter every student should have to take a course drawn from a hat, no matter how irrelevant to his major or his interests.
You first, dear.
I suggest Fourier transforms, followed by steam thermodynamics. If existence theorems and steam tables don't make your head explode, I'll consider apologizing to you.

wagnert in atlanta

Anonymous said...

wagnert in atlanta at 8:39 wrote:

"each quarter every student should have to take a course drawn from a hat, no matter how irrelevant to his major or his interests.
You first, dear."


The only courses I EVER took voluntarily were math, science and music. My advisor had to put a gun to my head (and threaten to withhold my degree as I was finishing undergraduate studies) unless I took the required number of "liberal arts" courses.

So I took comp lit (I had already read half of the books required, I wasn't illiterate), anthropology 101 and European history. I'm not saying they weren't valuable experiences. But when you put it the way you do- it never really occurred to me that perhaps many of the folks who push those subject areas (and insist that everybody have some) wouldn't be able to compete if they were required to take a representative sample of the courses I was drawn to like differential equations, physical chemistry and molecular biology.

The survey "science" courses offered now are suspect in my mind (biology for non science majors comes to mind).

It is also highly disturbing to me how these "scholars" hijack scientific lingo in their screeds:
Assessing attitudes though the metric(?!) of racism.

Anyway- thanks for the ah ha moment.

RL alum '75

Debrah said...

A commenter on an N&O forum made an excellent point when learning that Bernie Madoff will be spending the rest of his life in the North Carolina prison at Butner.

"NC has enough criminals already!"

One Spook said...

jim2 writes @ 7:30 PM:

"Fingerprints cannot be used that way, so there is real and actual potential for misuse."

Jim, I was and am in agreement with you that a "real and actual potential for misuse" and abuse exists.

Similarly though, there is much other information, predating DNA, that government has garnered about individuals (like your tax returns) for a long time now that holds a potential for abuse and misuse as well.

Existing laws seem to protect that information fairly well. Perhaps I'm too trusting, but I just do not see the problem to the degree that some seem to ... and perhaps I'm wrong in that.

One Spook

RighteousThug said...

One Spook - While your juxtaposition of the quotes is interesting, I would not have agreed with Booker T. in 1911.

Booker T seemed to have a problem with race pimps even back then. Since he was at ground zero...

Anonymous said...

Now that's the ticket, pick your education out of a "hat" in order to guarantee diversity. Interesting concept, Cathy Davidson.

Maybe Dickie Brodhead should direct ALL academic departments to do the same when selecting a teacher/researcher to fill an empty slot on the faculty. Make it easy on yourselves, guys. Just open the Durham phone book, pick a page at random and drop your finger to a name. That human gets to be your colleague and fellow faculty member at Duke.Instant diversity.

Yet another variation on this innovative concept would be for every faculty member to pick a course to teach from a "hat" every other year so as to guarantee the broadest possible viewpoint and diversity. Davidson might pick Calculus or, Tennis or Theremodynamics or Zoology. What a great idea.

Oh, my God. What has happened to Duke University?

Anonymous said...

Sorry for posting in the wrong forum, just found it and thought KC might find of interest.

Jim in San Diego said...

The existence of recorded DNA fingerprints has been virtually the sole reason 240 convicted felons have been exonerated and released from prison by the Innocence Project. This includes 17 who were on death row.

It would be tragic if, in the interest of alleged privacy issues, these fingerprints had not been recorded.

Each of those 240 would, if asked, tell you the recording of their DNA saved their lives, literally.

Jim Peterson

jim2 said...

I agree that DNA samples for screening such as criminal checks provides a valuable societal benefit. I applaud that the presence of such an evidence sifting tool may serve as a deterrent, as well as solver, of crime. My view is that the DNA testing/screening should continue and perhaps even be expanded.

Nonetheless, there is the potential for abuse in DNA testing and information handling that is not there in fingerprinting, and that danger or risk should not be denied. Instead, the risk should be acknowledged and managed.

Anonymous said...

Although I do not have a thorough understanding of DNA technology, it is my understanding that the DNA records that are used for identification are not at all the ones that have information about diseases, etc. It is sort of looking at your tax return, and taking the sums of the digits on lines 5,11,17, etc. Given enough lines, nobody else would have the same totals, but it tells nothing about you.

Bill Alexander

Debrah said...

Everything is getting "playful" in Durham these days.

We see that the Gang of 88 have become much more playful over at Duke.

And now Durham has been named a playful city.

But the first commenter I included under this report disagrees.


Durham is named a 'Playful City USA'

By Matthew E. Milliken : The Herald-Sun
Jul 15, 2009

DURHAM -- Durham is one of five communities in North Carolina and 93 nationally to be named a "Playful City USA."

The city is making its first appearance on Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit KaBOOM!'s list of recreation-friendly communities thanks to the renovation of Old North Durham Park. The Central Park School for Children shared costs for revitalizing the park with the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission.

"We are extremely pleased," said Rhonda Parker, director of the city of Durham Parks and Recreation Department, which applied for the recognition. "We're excited about it. It just proves that good things are happening in Durham, and we make this commitment because we want the citizens of Durham to play more."

That last phrase, "play more," is the departmental motto.

Parker said that Old North Durham Park was not the city's first venture into recreational facilities created with community help. Play spaces have been built in Birchwood and Marine Road in recent years.

Parker called such collaborations win-win situations.

"The community has an investment in that playground and helps us to promote it, helps us to build and design it and also helps to maintain it as far as people taking care of it," the department head said.

Durham made KaBOOM!'s list along with Greensboro, Greenville, Sanford and Creedmoor. Creedmoor is the state's only repeat honoree, having been a Playful City USA community for three straight years.

In all, the organization's list had 39 first-time honorees, 32 two-time honorees and 22 three-time honorees.

KaBOOM! singled out six communities in three categories. Indianapolis and Dothan, Alaska, were honored for their number of usable, open play spaces. San Francisco and Las Cruces, N.M., were honored for high-quality recreation facilities. New York and Ankeny, Iowa, were honored for easily accessible play spaces.



Submitted by mebgirl1984 on 07/15/2009 @ 07:34 AM

Yeah, and Durham's favorite game is: Duck Duck Cover

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the privacy concerns expressed in the article -- although, as has been pointed out, there is nothing new or shameful in having your fingerprints collected, as this is a prerequisite for many honorable professions, including (no jokes for now please!) lawyers and armed services.

Not that every lawyer and soldier is honorable! -- my point is just that having your fingerprints taken is not necessarily a mark of shame, and certainly is not legit cause for screaming and whining where such is requested (for example) for welfare recipients. It's a fairly accepted standard for identification. Anyone taking the SATs must give a fingerprint!

Whether or not I agree with this philosophically, is another matter, but is one in which Karla demonstrates no consistent or thoughtful analysis.

I do wish we could live in a country where our DNA is nobody's business (or especially, not the business of the criminals and thieves of the insurance industry).

However, I wish even more that we could live in a country free of the hypocrisy of Karla Holloway and her like. In her latest article, she was BEGGING to get slammed in exactly the way that KC has delivered.

Obviously she does not care, but she should, because the day MIGHT come when she may need to pass muster among evaluators who are neither stupid, nor liars, nor hypocrites like herself.

Either you believe in privacy, or you don't. But please don't bullsh*t us about how privacy rights exist EXCEPT for white guys who are falsely accused of raping a lying black mental case.

As a "law professor," Karla must know that legal principals must be maintained as just that -- matters of PRINCIPAL, and not as a case-by-case litmus test of race/class/gender, whether the bias is hers or anyone else's.

Panacea said...

If anyone is interested Brodhead is now accepting questions via this website for an interview that university publication Working@Duke will run with him in September.

So fire away. Make sure you scroll down to the headlines At Duke: Ask the boss a question.

Anonymous said...

The Duke Magazine published its 25th Anniversary self-congratulatory edition. This is the magazine which allowed anyone paying attention to know that Duke was becoming a paragon of PC a decade ago (with Prez Nan). As part of the 25 year edition, the editor grabbed 25 profs, administrators, and others (e.g., Coach K) and told them to write something. The pictures, I believe, were meant to be "whimsical" so I can't fault anyone for that. Most wrote about the change in the past 25 years, but the articles authored by the 88's were generally un-readable.

The problem I had was of the 25, 5 were Group 88 profs (McClain, Holloway, Lentricchia, Davidson, and Neal) and 3 more were publically simpatico (Brodhead, Wells, and Zimmerman). That's a huge percentage and reflective of the attitude on campus, or at least at the Alumni magazine. I have to wash my hands after reading to remove the stench.

Grafton '68

Debrah said...

Employees jump at Duke offer

Duke is trying to trim its payroll, but what's hilarious is the comment below the article about the Gang of 88.

It seems that anything written about Duke University brings up the lacrosse case.


Gary Packwood said...

RL alum '75 :: 7/14/09 said.
... never really occurred to me that perhaps many of the folks who push those subject areas (and insist that everybody have some) wouldn't be able to compete if they were required to take a representative sample of the courses I was drawn to like differential equations, physical chemistry and molecular biology.


The survey "science" courses offered now are suspect in my mind (biology for non science majors comes to mind).
Isn't this the source of much of their power within the academy since most professors and most of their students have never taken any of the courses you were drawn to?

And most of these students are told that the real 'Quant' students and graduates think survey 'science' courses are a joke.

What a perfect opportunity for the G88 to rush into that vacuum and offer comfort and guidance to those who are not appreciated and not wanted by the 'Gear Heads'...both current students and graduates.

Especially if their census is moving towards fifty one percent of the entire undergraduate enrollment.

And how many alums are pouring money into Duke in support of students who are not drawn to science and math because of the discrimination they felt from the 'math heads' while they were attending Duke many years ago?

Debrah said...

No word on how Duke ranks with regard to SANE nurses.


For 20th year, Duke is among top 10 U.S. hospitals in magazine's rankings

: Duke Medicine News Service
The Herald-Sun
Jul 16, 2009

DURHAM -- Duke University Hospital has continued a tradition that began 20 years ago by again being named one of the top 10 best hospitals in America in U.S. News & World Report's annual best hospital edition.

Duke was 10th overall, and ranks among the top 10 in seven of the 16 specialties measured. Duke was tied for eighth last year.

Duke is the only hospital in North Carolina and the Southeast ranked among the top 10 nationally.

"We're pleased that the Duke Heart and Cancer Centers continue to be ranked as the best such treatment and research programs in the Southeastern United States," says Victor Dzau, Duke's chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of Duke University Health System. "Our high national scores in heavily cancer-related specialties reflects the fact that our specialists and sub-specialists in various cancers are focused entirely, every day, on nothing but providing state-of-the-art cancer care and studying novel clinical and scientific strategies for more effectively dealing with various cancers,"

Duke's rankings in individual specialties include:

* Gynecology, 4

* Geriatrics, 5

* Orthopaedics, 6

* Respiratory Disease/Pulmonary, 6

* Urology, 6

* Ophthalmology, 7

* Heart Heart Surgery, 8

* Cancer, 9

* Kidney Disorders, 11

* Psychiatry, 12

* Digestive Disorders, 17

* Neurology and Neurosurgery, 18

* Diabetes Endocrine Disorders, 22

The U.S. News World Report's rankings appear in today's issue and are available online at

The medical centers named as the part of the honor roll this year had to demonstrate a breadth of excellence by achieving a high ranking in no fewer than six of the 16 specialties, according to the magazine.

The top 10 hospitals in the U.S. News World Report's rankings are, respectively: Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, UCLA Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, New York-Presbyterian University Hospital, University of California-San Francisco, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Duke.

Anonymous said...

Grafton: "(Brodhead, Wells, and **Zimmerman**)" - Zimmerman doesn't appear to be in the set of 25... did you mean someone else?

Anonymous said...

Paula McClain and Cathy Davidson have joined Eduardo Bonilla-Silva in the chorus of 88ers who sound like the Glass Manufacturers' Association at the advent of plastic: "You still need us. You really, really need us!"

McClain, like Davidson and Bonilla-Silva, went on the offensive to proclaim that race relations and racism won't be significantly impacted by the Obama presidency. True to form, they don't wait to conduct scientifically modeled research on the subject or allow others the time to do so; for that matter, they don't even wait to allow this fact sufficient time to sink into the national fabric and have any effect.

I do agree with McClain on one thing, and that is the term "structural inequalities." However, we diverge on the definition of the term and its application to alleged racial injustice. She believes it applies to systems in America charged with the disbursement of health care, prison sentences, education and jobs. In this context, I think the better definition of "structural inequalities" should refer to the difference between the percentage of single-parent black families versus single-parent white and asian families. Who is right? I don't know because PC considerations have precluded scholars from actually studying the problem or arriving at non-PC conclusions. MOO! Gregory

Debrah said...

I came upon this offering from Gaynor.

Apparently, this is not the first time the commenter who goes by the pseudonym "Joan Foster" pushed her weight around while blogging.

I never followed Liestoppers closely enough to have remembered this dust-up among the natives there.

Why do "secrets and sources need to be protected" by some, but KC should be held to a different standard......

.......even when his work on this case has been exponentially more pivotal than the work of his now-detractors?

"First, 'Joan' has poetic license!

"Second, 'take my word for it' is a frustrating, but not illegitimate, answer. Sometimes secrets and sources need to be protected.

"I found my NC sources reliable, yet unwilling to identify themselves (like lots of LieStoppers).

Telling, eh?

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I should expect this silliness by now I suppose. But at the risk of being accused of small minded credentialism, I became stuck right away on one issue: Holloway is on the faculty of the law school and she's not a lawyer?

Do other law schools have such "I play one on TV" appointments? I know of course that many law schools have lecturers who are forensic accountants or specialists in criminal procedure. But this woman has no training pertinent to any lawyer.

So Duke first debases the value of its english department by a flood of fashionable but unqualified hires. Then it puts Holloway on its laws school faculty?

Duke seems to believe its credibility can be spent like water and will neevr be diluted or expended. I can assure you, however, that I will never view one of its newer graduates as I did before.

This is just appalling!

Debrah said...

Convicted felon with two jail stays eyes City Council race

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun
Jul 17, 2009

DURHAM -- A convicted felon whose record includes several fraud-related charges, a couple counts of obstructing justice and two jail stints intends to run for the City Council Ward 2 seat now held by incumbent Howard Clement.

Darius M. Little, 29, will file today before the county Board of Elections' noon deadline.

Little says his criminal record is common knowledge among community leaders, and hasn't kept him from marshaling support amongst some of the city's major church congregations.

"If I'm going to do something like this, obviously I know that's going to come out," he said Thursday, referring to his run-ins with the law. "That shows you I don't care. And I don't care because this is greater than me."

Court and N.C. Department of Correction records detail Little's transgressions.

They began early this decade and led in April 2004 to his conviction in Orange County on five counts of misdemeanor larceny and three counts of floating worthless checks.

The larceny counts each started as felony charges of obtaining property by false pretenses, and were pleaded down to the lesser offense, records in Orange County show. Little received probation and community service.

But he got in trouble again in October 2005 when Chapel Hill police charged him with obtaining property by false pretenses and felony obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty to both counts the following spring, in a plea bargain that included prosecutors' voluntary dismissal of two other false-pretenses counts.

Little admitted -- both in a Thursday interview and in 2006 letters to Orange-Chatham Superior Court Judge Carl Fox -- that he'd been kiting worthless checks to cover his living expenses while he was attending classes at the Triangle's major universities.

The obstruction of justice charge came about because Little called a landlord he'd floated a check to and, impersonating a magistrate, falsely told her that a court date stemming from that offense had been changed. He admitted to Fox he'd done that to buy himself more time.

Fox required Little to pay the landlord nearly $8,014 in restitution, and gave him a jail sentence that kept him behind bars for nearly five months in mid-2006.

While that case was still pending, events transpired in Durham that led to new charges against Little -- a felony worthless check violation and another count of obtaining property by false pretenses -- in September of 2006.

The worthless-check count involved $4,500, while the false-pretense charge was for Little's falsely telling a would-be roommate from Gastonia that he'd lined up an apartment, thus convincing him to hand over $900 for a security deposit and the first month's rent.

Another plea deal followed in late 2007, with Durham Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens giving Little probation and credit for time served.

The sentence recognized that Little had landed back in jail late in 2006 after his probation on the Orange County charges was revoked. He stayed there for 9¬Î© months.

Little said he violated Fox's order to avoid contacting his former landlord. He says he called the woman to apologize and she in retribution reported him.

Little still faces two other charges, counts of harassing phone calls and cyberstalking a former girlfriend lodged against him in 2006.

The former girlfriend -- whom Little had described in letters to Fox as his fiancâ??©e -- said he contacted her repeatedly in late September of 2006 after he got out of jail. She said the relationship by that time was over.

The warrants she swore out went unserved by Chapel Hill police, but Durham County sheriff's deputies acted on them this past September. Little has a court date scheduled for July 24 and says he thinks the charges will be dismissed.

Court records also show a 2006 conviction on a misdemeanor obstruction of justice in Wake County and a 2005 worthless-check conviction in Beaufort County.


Debrah said...

H-S letter:

Tough questions about Duke money

With nearly 300 Duke University employees accepting early retirement, it's time for hard questions: The latest tally shows the university had 6,208 employees earning more than $50,000 a year, a total that excludes the separate Duke Health Corporation with its hospitals and patient care.

How many higher paid employees were offered retirement? (My source says none). We cannot sit silently during this financial meltdown while Duke balances its budget on the backs of the poor alone.

While early retirements do shrink the current expense budget, they merely transfer the burden to the retirement system, which lost 24.5 percent of its assets in the past 12 months. Can the pension plan swallow hundreds of people getting checks far larger than anticipated, much earlier in their lives than anticipated? Duke has offered no assurance.

Here's my menu to cut the lard: 1) Settle the lacrosse lawsuits. Quit the legal wiggling. One defense law firm billed Duke for $1,966,288 in the last year. Overall legal expenses at Duke were $17 million, four times the cost of three years earlier.

2). Cut the administrative battalions. There are 16 academic deans of Trinity College, who largely duplicate 10 deans of the Arts and Sciences, who largely duplicate 10 vice provosts. Let's reduce vice presidents and vice chancellors to the number President Richard Brodhead found when he arrived five years ago.

3) Curtail lavish fringe benefits, from a subsidized country club to interest-free 40-year mortgages. One officer -- retired since 1997 -- is still paying just $4,000 a year on his home loan.

New York City
July 17, 2009

a Nice NJ Guy said...

Anonymous 7/16/09 8:07 PM asked:

Holloway is on the faculty of the law school and she's not a lawyer?
Do other law schools have such "I play one on TV" appointments?

The legendary deconstructionist Stanley Fish was Arts and Sciences Professor of English and Professor of Law at Duke University from 1986 to 1998. He does not have a law degree. Presently, he is Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and Law at Florida International University, teaching in the FIU College of Law.

I suspect the 'contribution' is that since law is based on words, the deconstruction of words will give entirely new meanings to laws. We certainly have seen this in the interpretation of laws by our courts.

It all depends on what your definition of "is" is.

Carmine Burton said...

So Duke first debases the value of its english department by a flood of fashionable but unqualified hires. Then it puts Holloway on its laws school faculty?

It gets worse - she teaches legal ethics.

Panacea said...

Debrah, thanks for your 2:28 link.

That was one revealing page, although I had to keep my shovel handy while reading.

Too much bickering and too much self-interest for my stomach.

Who do these people think they are? Do they think this case has been about them?

Anonymous said...

Recipe for "Fluff Pop Culture Article":

1. Take one googled old quote;
2. Mix in the new cool pop culture topic (i.e. "sexting");
3. Sprinkle in no original thought;
4. Serve cold with no suggestions to eradicate the problem.

Serves: No one.


My advice would be: Don't put anything on facebook or myspace, in your garbage unshredded or let people take pictures of you that you don't want your Mom to see with you in the room. MOO! Gregory

Debrah said...

One of the zaniest ideas floated during the Lacrosse Hoax and Nifong's election bid was to back Lewis Cheek for DA---even though he would not have taken the job!

Along with his myriad personal problems.

OID = Only in Durham



Ex-council member back

Former Durham City Council member Lewis Cheek was back in City Hall on Tuesday night, along with his new professional associate, attorney Patrick Byker.
Cheek recently went to work for the same law firm as Byker, K&L Gates. They were on hand for the Durham Planning Commission hearing on a rezoning case near the Research Triangle Park.
Cheek left the City Council in 2003, then won a seat on the county Board of Commissioners in 2004. After an unsuccessful try at unseating beleaguered District Attorney Mike Nifong in 2006, he opted not to run for re-election as a commissioner.
One of his last acts as a commissioner, though, was to vote against a county-financed survey of the disputed Jordan Lake critical boundary -- a vote favorable to the Southern Durham Development company, whose plan for a subdivision on N.C. 751 hinges on just where that boundary is.
Now, Southern Durham Development is suing Durham County over that boundary. Its legal counsel? Cheek's new employer, K&L Gates.

Compiled by staff writers David Bracken, Jim Wise and Jesse James DeConto

doc said...

thanks for the useful post

Black Tea said...

Hypocrisy so thick you can cut it with a lacrosse stick. Was that actually written for public consumption?

It would appear the type of behavior we've seen from a few bloggers recently is quite common among people who feud nonstop for attention.
Is this about the hoax or a bunch of internet crybabies?

Debrah said...

Bob Ashley, do everyone a favor and just stuff it inside a dark place....left to your imagination.

You, your cowardice, your lack of professionalism, your oozing, insipid, and vaporized existence are a huge reason why so many think of the Lacrosse Hoax the moment the word "Durham" is mentioned.

You OWN that fiasco.

Now go cheerlead with mousy-boy Reyn over at the Visitors' Bureau!


Durham: A playful place to be

Jul 19, 2009

Maybe it was the mellowing effect of contemplating this column while sitting on a sunny porch in a South Carolina coastal community.
Whatever the reason, the comment that cropped up on our Web site one day last week struck me as being especially cynical -- and this reaction from someone who has spent better than four decades in what is seen as an especially cynical profession.

The subject was a fairly routine story in The Herald-Sun on Wednesday.

"Durham is named a 'Playful City USA,'" the headline said. And the story noted in its first paragraph or two:

"Durham is one of five communities in North Carolina and 93 nationally to be named a 'Playful City USA.'"

The comment someone posted even before most folks had started their morning commute to work? Here it is:


"Yeah, and Durham's favorite game is: Duck Duck Cover."

OK, the "playful city" moniker, while welcome, may seem a little trivial.

But to seize the opportunity to contrast it with an image of a city, as a nearby newspaper once characterized it as "in fear" over rampant crime, is a cynical stretch.

It also is not an unusual one.

Sadly, just as frequently they are predictable rantings of oft-repeated premises attached with metronomic repetition to the same story lines. Any mention of the wrongful accusations against Duke lacrosse players, for example, is like pulling a string for a handful of posters who will immediately weigh in with the same recitation of wrongs.

Crime stories often bring out the repetitive, often racially tinged commentary.

And, like the "playful city" article, notes about the city's commendations as a great place to live and work bring out comments, often from the same handful of posters, who can't wait to point out what they see as the irony.

Sometimes the prompt is not the immediate announcement of an accolade, just its recent existence, as in this comment posted after a Durham police officer was shot and wounded investigating a break-in call at a South Square area apartment.

"Great place to live??????" the poster rhetorically titled the comment, and you knew from the number of question-marks what the answer was going to be. The comment continued,

"Durham............being recognized as a great place to work and long as you don't get assaulted, battered, or shot. Folks, this incident involved a police officer, armed and doing his job to serve the community. What chance does the average joe on the street have against this level of violence???

"Whoever is laying these accolades on Durham for its quality of life obviously has not visited there or done much investigation into the goings on around town. Durham is what it is........all the nice words etc will not change that."

Crime, of course, happens everywhere. But to characterize Durham as a crime-ridden city where residents should live in terror and arm themselves for protection is just as much a disconnect from reality as it would be to conclude there are no problems.

One frequent scathing Web commenter mentioned that he was glad he didn't live here.

Probably it is best he or she doesn't. But many folks choose quite willingly every year to move here or to continue to make this their home.

For the most part, we're neither oblivious to the city's real problems or the challenge of addressing them, nor overcome by the cynicism of the occasional bitter Web poster.

Bob Ashley is editor of The Herald-Sun

Debrah said...

The indefatigable "MOO Gregory" has done it again.

Deserving of yet another AL Pacino summation award!

Check it out on Chris' blog.

Anonymous said...

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