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Boys Will Be Boisterous

The appearance of evil at Duke. What about its administration? Also: Is nuclear power green? A cultural mecca. More Liebermans, please. Plus more.

6.20.07

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DUKE OUT
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Classless of 2007:

Thanks you so much for publishing Jay D. Homnick's thoughtful essay about the Duke situation. It is a timely reminder that there are activities which, if not illegal per se, are still best avoided if we seek the protection of the law. The law is society's ultimate method of regulating human behavior, but we are poorer society if it is the only means of doing so. I greatly appreciated Mr. Homnick's Talmudic approach to the problem; it is remarkably similar to the approach advocated by the LDS church: It is best to avoid even the appearance of evil.
-- Michael Hofstetter

I'm not 100% sure of what Jay Homnick is trying to say here. Is his point that while he is happy the three former Duke students have been exonerated, their troubles were partially their fault because they were at that bar or party in the first place?
-- Mark Saleman

It would be very appropriate for these young men to accept some responsibility for getting themselves into this mess. I hope all those priests who stood by these families have counseled them on this. A little too much boys will be boys here.

The Nifong decision was the right one and a good one. Let's balance it with a slap to the other side.
-- Annette Cwik

Thank you, Jay Homnick for being the only person I have heard suggest that the "boys will be boisterous" line does not let the Duke lacrosse players off the hook for what precipitated this whole sordid affair. They planned a party, planned the entertainment and hired the entertainer.

They were fortunate to have parents bail them out of the mess they created for themselves. They were fortunate not to have been a son of mine, squandering the opportunity I had afforded them of an expensive education.

And oh, darn, now their reputations are besmirched! "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" can be answered with "What reputation?"
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

I'm not sure I get Mr. Homnick's "nuanced" point, as he appears to proclaim a pox on all parties concerned in the Duke case, except one. As the facts have finally established, all these young college men did was to throw an off campus party with alcohol and a stripper. Oh my!, quickly, the smelling salts!! Apparently, it was a question of money that precipitated the chain of events that was to follow. No, really?

So please, spare me your moralization about these young men. If you wish to ponder nuances that "elude conventional wisdom," may I suggest you concentrate on the faculty of Duke and that mensch of a president, Richard Brodhead, for their craven and politically motivated actions. Their reactions exhibited a classic example of insulated, leftist, elitist group-think, dangerously unchecked. Just where exactly were the "adults" at Duke? Nifong has at least been disbarred: A most proper disposition for his actions. Duke University has quietly paid out a settlement to the students and their families, while the MSM concentrates on Nifong. But what of Brodhead and the infamous "88"? Will they go unpunished? Apparently so.
-- A. DiPentima

There is the whiff of moral equivalence in Jay Homnick's "Classless of 2007." Yes, it was foolish for the Duke Lacrosse team to host a party with strippers. It has also been foolish for some of our courts to protect stripping as free speech (would they were so concerned about actual political free speech). Those justices were supposedly mature legal scholars, not callow boys unfortunately unexposed (forgive the pun) to any teaching of traditional morality at their supposedly first-class university.

There is no comparison of any kind between such foolishness and the persecution of these students by Nifong for political purposes, and by the Duke establishment for a PC rallying point. I note that Duke has already settled with the students. Terms have not been released, but a statement by one of the students gives me hope that part of the settlement might be that left-wing oldie of participation in a consciousness raising session, in this case dedicated to not jumping to conclusions based on PC script. Delicious, if so. One would hope the President of that august institution would resign from shame if he is capable of feeling any. I suppose that is too much to expect. However, how can anyone take seriously anything he says in the future? After all, he's the jerk who was bamboozled by a not very bright political hack prosecutor. And he's the benevolent father of those faculty children (all with Ph.D.'s, making them idiot savants) who couldn't wait to libel and slander members of their own community before they knew anything about what really happened at the party. Where are the alumni? Are they really okay with turning their alma mater into a laughingstock?

As for Nifong, disbarment is not enough. He belongs in an orange jump suit for obstruction of justice. It was clear within days of the "incident" (well, I have to call the nothing something) that there was no there there. Not only was there no positive evidence; there was clear exculpatory evidence going the other way -- evidence from which Nifong insulated himself. The disbarment hearing focused on the non-disclosure of the exculpatory DNA evidence, but there were plenty of earlier actions taken by Nifong and his minions that demonstrate this was always a political ploy, not a serious law enforcement matter. Let us not forget the photo ID array of only Duke players, so there could be no "wrong" identification. Or that Nifong never even met with the nutty complainant before rushing to judgment -- and to the microphone. Or that Nifong wouldn't even meet with Reade Seligman to review clearcut evidence that he was away from the house when the "incident" occurred. Hey, so what if these students would have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect themselves legally from an out-of-control prosecutor. That was no skin off Nifong's nose! I hope that the civil suit against Nifong results in every future dollar he makes going to the victims of his malfeasance. For once, maybe the tort system can actually do some good. I have heard that Nifong may qualify for a public pension of over $5K per month. If so, I hope there is some way for him to lose that as well.

Nifong could probably have saved himself if he dropped the matter after the primary, but he was too stupid and stubborn to do so. He didn't want to be embarrassed when it became obvious that the whole prosecution was for political purposes. Joke was on him! Everyone already knew that. There might have actually been some forbearance if this had gone away after 60 days, instead of dragging on through 2006 and into 2007. After all, the liberal press was not going to campaign against a kindred spirit. They would have praised him for stepping up to the situation and "following where the evidence led." (They would have ignored that the evidence led to dropping the matter within the first week or so after the "incident.") When talk radio and the cable news networks had exposed this fiasco for nearly a year, and the North Carolina Attorney General was forced to take over the case, even the MSM allies couldn't save Nifong. They merely buried the story.

Some college kids foolishly followed a crude tradition. A prosecutor obstructed justice to save his political career, and an institution turned on its students in a PC flight of fancy. There is no moral equivalence here!
-- Stephen Zierak
Kansas City, Missouri

HAD AGAIN
Re: Philip Klein's West Bank Follies:

With money flowing from Iran to Hamas in Gaza and the spigots of Europe and the U.S. reopened to fund Fatah in the West Bank, one would think the Palestinian people would be in better financial condition. Some may wonder if all along the Palestinian split might have been engineered to get the additional money. But much of that money won't reach the people. It will go to the gangs that run Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas and Fatah are both corrupt.

Gaza will become a prison. The Israelis will have to contain Hamas, and in doing so will be made to look like jailers. In actual fact, Hamas will need time to build up its army and patronage and cement its control over its citizens while at the same time satisfying Iran's demands. Hamas will really be running the prison, not Israel.

Fatah in the West Bank to earn its money will have to keep up the ruse that it is a government looking for peace in a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel. Its new credo will be the unification of Palestine which will put off further the peace process with Israel. But the money from the West will keep flowing into the coffers of Fatah. We have been had again.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

NUCLEAR GREEN
Re: William Tucker's Renewable Energy?:

Of course, the expansion of nuclear power will be one of the main ways for the world to meet its growing demand for electricity in the future.

But the point I'd like to touch on now is just how crazy with whole man-made global warming hypothesis is getting. Now I don't suspect many readers of The American Spectator would find the Nation attractive, but you still might be interested in what one of its regular columnists, Alexander Cockburn has to say about the matter.

In a series of three columns (May 14, May 28, and June 25), Comrade Cockburn effectively debunks man-made global warming as a myth -- or worse, a plot. But reality can only hold Cockburn for so long for he then goes on to say, "The world's best-know hysteric and self-promoter on the topic of man's physical and moral responsibility for global warming is Al Gore, a shill for the nuclear and coal barons from the first day he stepped into Congress ..." (May 28). So there you have it. Al Gore is a stooge for the nuclear power industry. Who would have thunk it?

According to Cockburn, the "greenhouse dogma" is all a plot to revive nuclear power and provide huge government subsidies for the energy industry. Me, I personally don't believe that. Rather I think that the phenomena of the more the hysterics like Al Gore and his fellow-traveling Hollywood bubble-heads rant and rave about man-made global warming with the increased attractiveness of nuclear power seems is not a conspiracy. It's the law of unintended consequences coming back to bite the Greens on the arse in ways they never anticipated.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

The French nuclear program is based upon breeder reactors and we don't have the will to breed additional fuel that will have to be protected from pilferage or political instability. Even though the breeder fuel cycle can be called "recycling," the pacifist factions among the eco-freaks are going to have to be dragged like dead weight to using it. It seems that the left, no matter how dire the consequences, is not willing to take risks or suffer certain anxieties to save Mother Earth. True desperation eventually turns into risk taking, but its kind of risk taking seems to have value only as long as it it parceled out in a progressive pattern based upon the principles of Karl Marx.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas? Carbon dioxide is one essential component for plant life to create itself. The other two components are sunlight and water. Ergo, when plants have access to additional carbon dioxide, they absorb additional sunlight and COOL the climate. Why is this so difficult for so many to understand?
-- David Shoup
Fort Gordon, Georgia

LIFE WINS
Re: David Hogberg's The Knock on Knocked Up:

David Hogberg's article is on point except for one important issue: it appears to gloss over the consideration for the life of the child itself. His critique seems more appropriate for the years prior to the passage of Roe v. Wade.

To be sure, the normalization of births out of wedlock is a tragedy, but it pales in comparison to the wholesale slaughter of the most innocent amongst us.

If we had perfect options we could select perfect choices. Absent that we must work with what's before us. Were I given the choice between being raised by ne'er-do-well parents or being ripped apart in utero I would choose the former.

I have not seen the movie and probably won't, mostly because I don't see very many movies. However, it sounds as though the movie suggests to its viewers (albeit, perhaps unintentionally) that the mistake of immorality (or foolishness, as the moviemakers would probably characterize the situation) should not be compounded by murder. I find it hard to fault that. Again though, Mr. Hogberg made some valid points.
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

Excellent article. It is right on target. I could also, tell you stories of pregnancy and abandonment by the boyfriend. It is the said tale not being told by Hollywood, government, schools, or in some cases parents.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia

GIVEN THE FOURTH DEGREE
Re: Mark Tooley's Getting Angry, Mennonite-Style:

A while back, you ran a column on a Mennonite couple who were arrested for creating a disturbance at the Stow-Munroe Falls Library [Ohio] over the presence of a military recruiter there. Well, here's the resolution of the case according to "Man found guilty of creating disturbance in library," Stow Sentry, June 17.

Andrea Cole reports that Timothy L. Coil of Hudson, Ohio was found guilty by Judge Kim Hoover of a fourth-degree misdemeanor of disorderly conduct on June 13 in Cuyahoga Falls Municipal Court. He could face up to 30 days in jail or pay a maximum fine of $250. Sentencing is scheduled for June 27 at 11:00 AM.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

COME OUT FIGHTING
Re: Jeff Emanuel's Political Points at Any Cost:

It's painfully obvious that Reid, Pelosi and the rest of the feckless, shameless hacks that comprise the Democrat leadership have no knowledge of conditions on the ground in Iraq and no interest in acquiring any, lest that knowledge compromises their campaign to bring down the "Bush regime." Mr. Emanuel's outline of Democratic efforts to realize their preordained outcome of defeat, retreat and humiliation is a sad and infuriating chronicle, but sadder and more infuriating still is the administration's non-existent defense of its policies. Where is the leadership? Where are the statesmen with the will and ability if not to inspire the American people, then at least to create and sustain a sense of purpose and direction?

If Iraq is the central front in the larger war against Islamic totalitarianism, as many believe it is, why isn't it repeatedly shown to be so? It cannot be that hard to demonstrate this simple fact to the American people, even in the teeth of a hostile media.

We need more Joe Liebermans.
-- Richard Meade
Bayside, New York

WINNING SIGNS
Re: George H. Wittman's Losing Hearts and Minds:

The U.S. is winning hearts and minds in Iraq as witnessed by the large numbers of Sunni tribal groups defecting from al Qaeda in Iraq and turning on their erstwhile allies. Unfortunately, many Americans who glean their information from the MSM are following for the lies and propaganda of "al Qaeda" in America's media puppets.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

A CHECKERED HOOSIER PAST
Re: Stephen M. Davis's Symphony Flags and Bernie Gilbert's and Paul's letters (under "Musical Interludes") in Reader Mail's Hold the Applause:

A reader described my view as "sneering condescension." Lighten up! It was a marvelous concert and Mario Venzago, music director and conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, is so animated that he inspired my tongue-in-cheek suggestion of introducing the "racing flags" as much as the ill-timed applause. I was born and raised a Hoosier and, as a kid, every boy in my neighborhood loved waving a checkered flag in May. We knew what all the flags meant on race day, so let's try it at the symphony!

As for any assertion of my erudition, and snobbery, I'll take the readers back to a wonderful moment in my education. It was at an Indiana University football game (fortunately IU's school of music -- which claims as an alumnus the extraordinary young violinist, Joshua Bell, who performed the very difficult Brahms piece I referenced in the article -- is better than its gridiron counterpart), that an announcer at halftime intoned. "Be sure to get tickets for the IU Theater's Production of Shakespeare's immortal 'Henry VEE' (sic)."

We Hoosiers know culture when we see or hear it!
-- Stephen M. Davis

Bernie Gilbert may suffer the ravages of the proletariat at a Classical Music performance: "But unfortunately, you can't tell thirty or forty people in a concert hall to stop clapping." At least Mr. Gilbert also admits to breaking this sacred rule recently. Since all that's now on the table let's count our blessings: They may not applaud on cue, but at least they're there!

In the metro-Detroit area, commercially viable Classical radio is kaput. It does not draw enough listeners to generate the necessary ad revenue to maintain a radio station, nor does Blues or Jazz. They are watered down with selective POP music or ostensible "R & B" in order to keep a few listeners bringing the commercial cash in. Metro-Detroit purists have to tune into our Canadian brethren or public radio, which is forced upon us through taxpayer subsidies.

I'm not knockin' the tunes at all! But the cash is elsewhere, and that's what radio station owners are chasing.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Just to clarify things, is it critical to my bona fides as a conservative that I give a crap one way or the other whether people clap between movements of a symphony?
-- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey

INTENTIONAL WALK
Re: H. Pippins's letter (under "Take Me Out of the Ball Game") in Reader Mail's Hold the Applause:

I have to agree with H. Pippins, baseball is boring, all the players do is scratch and spit, very slow game.
-- Elaine Kyle

NO FREE LUNCH
Re: Jim Sweeney's letter (under "Down on the Farm") in Reader Mail's Hold the Applause:

As to Jim Sweeney's response:

Good point. Next time you're hungry, eat a shirt sandwich.
-- Mark Andreasen
Stammon Farms

IN SUM
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's The Fruits of Multiculturalism:
Excellent piece.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

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