The week (May 12th): Nobody asked me, but…

With another nod to the legendary Jimmy Cannon, nobody asked me, but…

SORRY, I CAN’T TAKE any pleasure in seeing Barry Bonds close in on Babe Ruth’s second place record of 714 career home runs. Babe Ruth’s granddaughter has refused requests to witness Bonds’ attempt to tie or surpass the Yankee hero saying: “I just don’t want his {Ruth’s} name mixed up in steroids.” She’s right. The numbers put up by Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and the other allegedly-juiced sluggers of the late 20th century have to be considered suspect. Blame the Lords of Baseball (the owners and commissioner) for looking the other way as the steroids abuse problem grew worse; as long as fans came to see the long ball and TV ratings soared, nothing was said or done.

DOLPHINS APPARENTLY RECOGNIZE the distinctive whistles of close relatives, suggesting that, like humans, they have a “naming system.” A study of bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida has shown that they have their own signature whistles. Researchers Vincent Janik (St. Andrews University), Laela Sayigh (University of North Carolina at Wilmington) and Randy Wells (Mote Marine Laboratory) deserve credit for expanding our knowledge of these amazing mammals. Wells directs Mote’s marvelous Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, which has been studying bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, for some three decades.

SEVERAL CRUCIAL QUESTIONS LOST in the furor over the ouster of Porter Goss at CIA and the announcement of Air Force General Michael V. Hayden as his possible replacement are these: Did the CIA get it right on terrorism pre-9/11 and on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Did the CIA need reform? Was Goss correct in looking to both restore CIA human intelligence capabilities and to retain the Agency’s analytical mission? Will DNI John Negroponte’s apparent need to centralize control of the “intelligence community” prove to be a positive step (one advocated by the 9/11 Commission), or a recipe for more bureaucracy, group think, and a over-reliance on signal intelligence (sigint)?

If you believe that the CIA’s performance during George “Slam Dunk” Tenet’s tenure was exemplary, as the Washington Post’s David Ignatius apparently does, then you’ll buy the Goss-as-partisan-hack frame being sold by the permanent Agency bureaucracy. If you think a centralized command and control approach to intelligence will work in a networked world, then Negroponte’s consolidating moves make sense. Count me out: both assumptions are flawed in my book.

COLLEGE LACROSSE’S NCAA championship playoffs begin Saturday. In Division 1, look for Virginia (the undefeated top seed and favorite), Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Maryland in the Final Four.

The best team not in the tournament? Duke, whose season was cancelled after the alleged rape of a stripper at a party attended by most of the team. Two Blue Devils players have been charged with sexual assault. Meanwhile, defense attorneys are claiming a second round of DNA tests shows no conclusive match to any team member. District Attorney Mike Nifong’s case is looking shakier and shakier.

BULLY FOR QWEST for balking at the National Security Agency’s request (as part of a anti-terrorist program) for the calling records of their customers without legal back-up. The Washington Post reported that: “A lawyer for Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest’s former chief executive who left the company in June 2002, said he had refused to give call records to the NSA when no warrant or other legal process was provided to justify the government’s request.” Apparently AT&T Inc., BellSouth Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. rolled over and coughed up the data without a court order or warrant.

Maybe the NSA program is vital to the national security; if so, it should be child’s play to get the necessary court orders. If we are going to trade off some of our privacy to combat terrorist threats, it should be with appropriate legal safeguards.

MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI is backing away from earlier comments that the Democrats might seek impeachment of President Bush if they gained control of the House in November. The problem, of course, is that “putting the toothpaste back in the tube” isn’t the easiest thing to do. Pelosi has given conservative Republicans a rallying cry and GOP direct mail fund raisers great copy for their pitch letters (along with the time-honored technique of mentioning Hillary Clinton in the first sentence of their campaign contribution appeals).

And I am not making any of this stuff up…

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Copyright © 2006 Jefferson Flanders
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One thought on “The week (May 12th): Nobody asked me, but…

  1. District Attorney Mike Nifong is a disgrace to his job:

    1) A responsible DA would have stated at the beginning that “there is an investigation, and we don’t have enough to make a statement right now. I’m responsible not only to the accuser, but to the accused. Please wait and let our investigators do their jobs”, but Mr. Mike “all-of-these-privileged-white-boys-are-rapists” Nifong at the beginning of the investigation he will prove the entire lacrosse team is guilty for aiding and abetting a gang rape inside a small enclosed bathroom. Nifong stirred up racial woes and put the lives of Duke and Durham at risk for gang threats and the racist groups like NAACP and the New Black Panthers. Nifong encouraged sexists groups to paste these boys pictures with hate slogans all over their school. Daily hate protests by women’s groups claiming these boys are rapists.
    2) DA Mike Nifong cares nothing of guilt, innocence, or destroying innocent boys’ lives.
    a. The first batch of DNA came back with conclusive for no match to any of the lacrosse boys.
    b. The crime scene was completely void of any DNA evidence of any gang rape.
    c. The boy’s that Nifong charged has an air-tight alibi and wasn’t at the party at the time the stripper claimed a rape occurred, and he refused to see this evidence before destroying his life.
    d. The second batch of DNA came back with no conclusive match to any of the lacrosse boys.
    e. DNA couldn’t rule out partial material found on top of a fake finger nail, inside a waste basket full of DNA material from the boys who lived in that house.
    f. The third boy indicted went down to the police department for questioning without counsel, helped with the investigation by identifying all the other boys at the party, offered to take a lie detector test, willingly volunteered a DNA sample, and past a lie detector given by a top senior experienced FBI agent. The stripper said is 90% sure if he had his mustache, but he has never had a mustache, which makes it 0% sure. DA Mike Nifong refused to see this evidence and instead decided to destroy another innocent boy’s life.
    g. The stripper’s body was completely void of any sign of a sexual assault (except for signs of recent vaginal and anal from her boyfriend). The alleged crime scene was completely devoid of DNA. It is impossible that a crime scene with three drunk men in a small enclosed room with a fighting and clawing woman being orally, virginally, and anally penetrated not leave any DNA evidence of urine, blood, vaginal fluid, sweat, fecal matter, scat smears, saliva, tears, or semen… especially if condoms were used. How would they take off the condoms during all this chaos without spilling, smearing, or touching the content inside or outside of the condom?

    3) Investigator Mark Furman reviewed the lie detector test completed by the FBI on the 3rd boy unfairly indicted for a rape that never occurred. Mr. Furman stated that the boy not only passed the lie detector test, he passed with flying colors, but even without the test, this boy’s resume of helping the police with the investigation is impeccable.
    4) DA Mike Nifong stated that all of these boys are hiding the truth and covering up for one anther. Nifong claims the boys are “stone walling”, but when the accusation was made, the police questioned the three boys who lived in the house for over six hours, not one asked for a lawyer. When the entire team was told they had to submit DNA samples, they didn’t call their parents or fight the warrant. The boys cooperated completely. These aren’t the actions of guilty boys. Only when their parents witnessed the circus-like atmosphere created by District Attorney Mike Nifong, the boys were advised to remain quiet.
    5) DA Mike Nifong gave the second stripper a deal to change her story to support the false accusation of rape, and he wouldn’t revoke her probation from a previous conviction of embezzling $25,000 from her empolyer.

    Mike Nifong got re elected by pandering to black voters more interested in convicting white boys than guilt or innocence.

    With the taste of his own foot still lingering in his mouth, District Attorney Mike Nifong has another piece of evidence blow up in his face, I wonder how’s his ulcer is doing?

    So would it be his own aura or is it the universe’s way of getting back at Nifong for destroying these young boys lives?


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