CONSERVATIVE DUKE STUDENTS BLOG

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Anybody heard of IBOR? Anybody being fully aware of what this is? I knew it…But don`t worry, this is a financial term you are not actually supposed to be aware of in case you haven’t graduated Finances in Stanford or Oxford. However, there is nothing wrong yet in finding out the detail about this thing or whatever it is right now in your head. Today, you are about to find out what IBOR is! Finally, right?

IBOR – Translation and Definition

IBOR is an abbreviation that stands behind the long financial term investment book of record. This term refers to the simplified method for making fast and what is more important right business decision. The method uses a database with all the important factors filled and the arguments are clearer to be seen and better to be understood. IBOR collects all of your company investment data in order to centralize if for the whole company and to make it accessible for all the departments and employees. Thus, you receive a great support for consolidated and real-time processing or already made investing activities. Moreover – IBOR also includes data and suggestions for risk, as well current activity investment positions, cash balances, stock forecasting, and portfolios – including multitasking and etc.

What Does Investment Book of Record Benefit Your Business With?

IBOR is more than just recommended and required for a business. It brings many opportunities to expand your progress and growth. But to be more specific, we will know list all of the benefits your business will be rewarded with in case you have IBOR by your side and all of its privileges.

  • Timely management of the investment. In business time is money and even one single deadline missed is catastrophic. And you know quite well that in investing nothing should be missed or delayed.
  • Accuracy in analyzing your investment. Everyone can make a mistake with investing, but you should better not do such. Well, with Investment Book of Record software you can avoid such bad situations and make it easier to decide what is risky and what should be done now.
  • Better investing opportunities. Well, let`s face it straight – if you maximize your investing opportunities, you will be much more tranquil that you are heading the right direction and with IBOR this initiative is more than just possible.
  • IBOR is a significant approach into balancing current and future technology requirements with new regulatory or client-driven demands. Such a goal must be put on pedestal by the big names in business and if you want to be such, better have such software and leave the completion behind.
  • Lower costs on people to hire for such task to be done and more chances to hire one expert that can only analyze the results of your IBOR performance.

Now when you know how important IBOR is, you need to precisely consider how to integrate it in your own business unity. The rest will come!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Certain investing activities have their own strategies and approaches to follow. By recognizing them in your own practice, you can be sure that you are heading the right way. However, meanwhile, there is a big bunch of common mistakes investors – especially the ones in their beginning stage – tend to keep doing and repeating without even understanding that they are going on a very wrong direction. This statement refers to real estate investing by all means, too! And in case you are a real estate investor, too, do not do these mistakes for anything in life. Here are the most common among them:

1. Late plans and no considerations

In short, if you plan as you go without even analyzing things that happen on the real estate market or in a separated individual case, do not expect lots of profits and success. It is proven that half of the investors in real estate market tend to look at their activity only as a financial transaction and forget that it takes a brilliant strategy to be made and established at first and then to wait for the transaction to come… Look for quality markets like Fort Pierce real estate where you returns would be better.

2. Too much positive plans with no work

Many investors in real estate sphere think that once they enter it, the big money will come just like that. Ok, being positive is never bad, but let`s be realistic for a while and stop thinking more realistically over the question. Even if you are the richest guy in the world, won`t the property for or the house for your home place be the most serious decision in your life. It will be and you will make it seriously and slowly, so people don`t buy your words for granted just like that. You will have to work really harder!

3. Spending too much

They always say that the more you give, the more you will eventually get, but in real estate this is not the whole story and truth! Actually, some real estate agents and experts believe that those investors in real estate market, who do not earn a lot, are just paying too much. Exceeding with paying high prices comes with the wrong choices, too. Only real professionals know where to find a decent property to buy and then, trade, but since you are a beginner yet, you will have to be more careful with your selections to avoid too much losses.

4. Making deals, but not business

This is when an investor succeeds to sell a property and becomes quite satsified with the results (and the commission) he receives. What such an investor does is going on a vacation with the money and telling everyone he is now the best in the market. But this is the wrong approach. The real expert in real estate investing does not stop, when he closes the deal of his life, but gets even more motivated to make a hell more of such successful deals!

So what can you say now? Are you really the perfect investor in real estate niche or you have lots to change in your strategy! Start today, because tomorrow is always too late in business..!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

If the lacrosse case isn’t enough for you…

…read this from ESPN.com about a standout football player in Douglas County, Georgia, who was railroaded on a trumped-up charge:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=wilson&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1

Someone should do a study on “helmet sports” and their high risk of being targeted by unscrupulous prosecutors.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Congressional Courtesans

At least, that’s what Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared to be last night at the State of the Union address. As President Bush was trying to leave the building, the relatively powerless members of Congress did all they could to get some face time with him. Foxx and Bachmann, who placed her hand on the president’s shoulder for over 30 seconds, behaved ridiculously, and both should be ashamed

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union

Obviously, I liked the speech. It had a lot more stuff that liberals like to hear but that’s because elections have consequences. I’m still proud to be associated with the party that respects those consequences.

But Bush put forth plenty of ideas to get things started and kept the basic message of, “Send me a bill so I can sign it and we can do something for a change.” As nearly as I can tell, he is the truest bipartisan in Washington.

As for the war, I’m glad he stuck to his guns. He told the same story from the beginning as always, but he updated it with last year’s setbacks and woes. And then refused to quit. Good man, Mr. President, good man.

I think I said this before, but I will not begrudge the democrats the majority if they actually do any of the stuff that Bush has offered to work with them on. Immigration reform, health care MARKET reform, kickin’ Iran’s ass, you name it.

I remain ever hopeful, so let’s get to it.

Young Trustee

It’s that time of year again. Since 1972, the position of Young Trustee has been offered each year to one undergraduate and one graduate student. Both will eventually become a voting member of the Board.

I would like to extend my congratulations to the eight Young Trustee finalists, who were announced today in the student paper. Their lips must be completely worn out by now, and for that we should lend them our highest respect.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Brodhead Scrutinized by the Chronicle

Today’s Duke Chronicle features a front-page story discussing President Richard Brodhead’s leadership in the Duke lacrosse case, as well as a Q & A with him. The article notes the criticism Brodhead has received from “a chorus of bloggers.” As an aside, it seems like no defender of Brodhead or of the “Gang of 88” can speak publicly without vilifying the “blogs,” and the “blogosphere” for them almost seems to be a code word for everything malicious in the world. This helpfully allows them to ignore any serious, thoughtful criticisms coming from bloggers. I say ‘serious’ and ‘thoughtful’ because if any morons are sending racist, hate-filled invective to any of the Duke faculty (as has been claimed), they should be ashamed of themselves.

To what level are criticisms of President Brodhead valid? I find it difficult to chasten Brodhead too heavily, if only because hindsight is, as they say, always 20/20. In hindsight, Brodhead certainly could have supported his students more strongly. Nifong’s statements early in the case likely influenced some of Brodhead’s decisions, and it’s unfortunate that Brodhead did not show more trust in the claims of his students. It is clear that the administration went into full “public-relations mode” as the allegations began to surface, and that I think is where Brodhead buckled. He decided that the national reputation of the university was more important to defend than three lacrosse players. While I am disappointed by this, I cannot say it is surprising. As DNS contributor Baron von Steuben discussed in this post, it is hard to say that others would not have buckled under the same pressure.

Finally, what does this mean for Brodhead’s future at Duke? While some important alumni are quite disappointed with his handling of the situation, I cannot believe this would lead to Brodhead leaving Duke. And that is the crux of this story: by taking the middle ground, or as close as he could get to it, Brodhead ensured that he will, despite some criticism, remain at Duke for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Are the “Concerned Duke Faculty” backing off?

A group known as the “Concerned Duke Faculty” (www.concerneddukefaculty.org), which includes several of the “Group of 88”, has recently posted a statement (mentioned on Durham in Wonderland, Ann Althouse, La Shawn Barber and Instapundit) saying the “Social Disaster” ad from last spring was not “a judgment in the case”, but merely “a call to action on important, longstanding issues on and around our campus.” They reassure us that they “do not endorse every demonstration that took place at the time”; could this be an admission that there was nothing to “confess”, let alone be “castrated” for?

If even the Group of 88 is backing away from these charges, how much longer can they last?

On a related note, the collapse of this case could be a very good thing for poor and minority Durham residents. Put simply, if Nifong had been able to get away with railroading three young men in a case that attracted national attention, where the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to the defendants’ innocence, and where the defendants (students at a highly-ranked university) could afford high-quality lawyers, what would he try to do in future cases? What if the next Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty, or Dave Evans could only afford a public defender, or was an immigrant who could barely speak English? What if the case never got more attention then a blurb on page 12 of the Herald-Sun? Do 49% of Durham residents really think Nifong wouldn’t pull another stunt like this the next time it might help his re-election?

The silver lining in this legal disaster could be that Nifong picked on defendants who at least could demonstrate how flimsy his case was before he could convict them- and before someone else was trapped in another case of prosecutorial misconduct.

A Great Day for Equality

I am very pleased to announce, with my first post on this blog, that women’s sports have finally reached equity with men’s sports. At the women’s basketball game against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last Saturday, the Cameron Crazies began chanting “Sweat, Brenda, Sweat!” at Maryland coach Brenda Frese, a takeoff on chanting “Sweat, Gary, Sweat!” at men’s coach Gary Williams. When the Crazies mock the women’s coach as harshly as they mock the men’s coach, a new dawn has arrived. This, despite the fact that, according to some in the media, we’re a bunch of sexist pigs.

Speaking of our non-rivals up in College Park (note: this doesn’t really have anything to do with politics), on the website “Truth About Duke”, run by another Twerps fan, the following appears:
“This begs the question – If Dook hasn’t made it past the Sweet 16 4 out of the last 5 years with all this “talent”, what will happen now?”
This begs the question – If your team hasn’t even gotten in to March Madness the last two years, why are you criticizing us for not making it past the Sweet 16? Especially when you can’t even spell the name right?

Miller on MLK Day

Stephen Miller, the usual suspect, took part in a panel discussion on affirmative action earlier this week as part of Duke’s big long MLK Day celebration. I wasn’t there to see it, but someone was quoted in the Chronicle saying “there was blood on the floor.” I’m sure that was merely hyperbole, but I can tell you that when Miller enters an argument he is unmoveable. I remember last year Duke held a ‘race relations’ forum concerning Bill Bennett’s remarks to a caller who he thought was stupid. Miller and I both attended and seperately stood up for Bennett in our own ‘discussion groups,’ much to the dismay of several hyper-activist students who wanted Bennett’s head on a pike. Needless to say, with Miller on a panel in front of an audience on MLK Day, I’ll bet it was twenty times more awesome.

If you saw Miller’s critique of affirmative action, please give an account in the comments.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beckett Letter Takes on Faculty

Duke alumni Steven Beckett, Fuqua ’87, wrote an interesting letter to the editor that was published in today’s Duke Chronicle:

As an alumni of Duke, I have followed with great interest the case involving the three Duke lacrosse players. This case illustrates a growing danger in this country. As a nation, we have become more polarized, and in a time in which information is instantly available, we rush to judgment all too quickly. What is worse, we project our own political and social beliefs onto every situation, in the process failing to ask even the most basic questions about what we believe and what we are told.

I do not pretend to know all of the “facts” surrounding this case, which puts me in exactly the same place as every Duke student, faculty member and administrator. Yet, many did not let this lack of information prevent them, particularly faculty and administrators, from taking decisive measures against the accused. While time will hopefully show what truly transpired in March, it is already clear that the three students’ right to due process was violated and presumption of innocence ignored by people who let their own political and social aims guide their actions. What is more ironic and disturbing is that these actions were taken in the name of justice.

There was a time, not that long ago, when a group of people were similarly singled out and persecuted and, in some cases, prosecuted in a similar manner. So egregious were these cases, so horrible these times, that a name was given to the hysteria that led to it, a phrase that we often use today when similar situations arise: McCarthyism.

Steven Beckett

Fuqua ’87

Beckett is on-point when he talks about segments of the Duke community engaging in something approaching a witch-hunt last spring. However, if you’re like me, and believe McCarthy was not far from the truth when he said that our government was infested with Communists, you may think that calling their behavior an example of “McCarthyism” is not pejorative enough. In any case, expect a swift and angry response from a Duke faculty member quite soon. I will of course cover it, so check back soon to get your dose of daily entertainment courtesy of the Duke faculty.

Botched Execution in American Headlines?

Upon stopping by CNN.com yesterday, I was greeted with a headline story of the botched execution of Saddam Hussein’s brother, as well as a picture of the man. It seems as if the Iraqis overestimated how much of a fall was needed in the hanging and as a result, Barzan Hassan was decapitated.

It certainly is a grisly story, and one for which I hope no video is released. At the same time, why is it such a big story in American newspapers? The man deserved to be executed, the Iraqis did so by hanging, and it seems as if Hassan suffered no additional pain in the process. If the fall had been too short, Hassan probably would have died by strangulation. This result would have caused a great deal more pain, and hence, might have made the story more newsworthy. Like the front-page story of Saddam being taunted by his executioners, I don’t understand how this story got legs. The two stories seem to be yet more examples of the mainstream media attempting to blame anything that goes wrong in Iraq on the American government.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Nifong Gets ’60 Minutes-ed’…Again

’60 Minutes’ decided to dig more deeply into the rape case involving three former Duke lacrosse players, and as could be expected, the result was again devastating for the former prosecutor. Among other things, Brian Meehan, who ran DNA testing for Nifong, stated that Nifong assuredly knew of exculpatory evidence that was not turned over to the defendants. This included the result of the test showing DNA from multiple men on or in the accuser, none of which matched members of the Duke lacrosse team. ’60 Minutes’ also reported that the accuser has a long and scarred psychological history.

At this point, the additional evidence that comes out is just lending to the beating of a very-dead horse. Nifong did not have a case, and everyone knows it. However, more ominously for the DA, the parents of the three lacrosse players are pretty angry, and seem to be weighing options for a civil lawsuit against him.

Please check out analysis of the ’60 Minutes’ report at DBR and Durham-in-Wonderland.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dean Wells (Prays) a Different Tune?

Sam Wells, Dean of Duke University Chapel, has been criticized for what some felt was a rush to judgment at the beginning of the “Duke lacrosse case.” Indeed, Wells was cited by defense lawyers in their motion to change the trial venue. They quote an editorial, taken from a sermon delivered soon after the case broke, in which Dean Wells wrote that the case showed the “disturbingly extensive experience of sexual violence, of abiding racism, of crimes rarely reported and perpetrators seldom named, confronted, or convicted, of lives deeply scarred, of hurt and pain long suppressed…The last week has exposed the reality that sexual practices are an area where some male students are accustomed to manipulating, exploiting, and terrorizing women all the time–and that this has been accepted by many as a given.

Like just about anyone else who has been following this case, Dean Wells seems to have realized that this case is and has been a complete fraud. While giving the “Prayers of the People” in today’s Duke Chapel service, Dean Wells said:

“God of Compassion, whose prophet Isaiah promised your people that they would no more be termed forsaken nor their land termed desolate, we pray for those for whom the last ten months at Duke and in Durham have been spent under the shadow of hurt, accusation, raging publicity and hasty judgment; for those who want to say ‘sorry’ but don’t know how; for those who feel their own hurt so deeply that they can’t see the hurt of others; and those so exhausted by public speculation and media exposure that they simply long for this long night of doubt and sorrow to come to an end any old how.”


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Duke Faculty Back At It Again?

Recently, the Duke Chronicle ran an online poll asking whether Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty should have been reinstated. Rather surprisingly, a large majority of responses voted for the option, “No, Duke does not need students like these.” The poll was subsequently pulled from the Chronicle’s web page, leading one to wonder whether the Chronicle was showing a bias in attempting to protect the accused. It seems the poll was pulled for a completely different reason, namely that two faculty-owned computers were allegedly the source of hundreds of fraudulent votes for the “No” option. A poster on a Chronicle message board identifying himself as the “night forum moderator” wrote:

“If the result was genuine…”

IF is the keyword. We have taken it off the web after an internal investigation has revealed that two Duke faculty-owned computers have been the source of hundreds of fraudulent “clicks” attempting to influence the result of the poll. We are trying our best to maintain a climate of even-handedness and freedom of opinion, but we might have to disclose the sources of the attempts to falsify the pool, if forced. Thank you for your cooperation.

Duke Chronicle

(night forum moderator)

Just when you thought certain segments of the Duke faculty could not get any more juvenile , a story like this arises. Assuming it was actually faculty members on the faculty-owned computers, do they really have nothing better to do than to manipulate unscientific polling data in attempting to portray campus disdain for two wrongly-accused (as of now) former students? The pettiness displayed by this alleged scam does not befit an 18-year-old freshman, much less a presumedly-“mature” member of the Duke faculty. I find myself hoping that no person hired to educate my fellow students or me would ever stoop to this level of immaturity, but I guess I have before been surprised.

You can find the original Chronicle message board posts Thanks to the forum at TalkLeft for the link.

UPDATE: Chronicle Editor Steve Veres has stated that no Chronicle moderator posted in that thread anonymously. I still do not know whether any faculty computers were involved in rigging the vote totals, but it looks now as if they may not have been. Like I said, I certainly hope not.

Happy Trails to Mike

In what could be the beginning of the end of the “Duke lacrosse case,” District Attorney Mike Nifong has asked the state attorney general to replace him with a special prosecutor. Nifong’s lawyer claimed that Nifong still believed in the accuser and in the case, but felt that his presence was too much of a distraction. A skeptic might point to ethics charges, possible disbarment, and likely humiliation at trial as other possible motivations.

This should not come as too much of a surprise. One legal observer that I spoke to a few weeks ago speculated that Nifong was already sorting through exit plans. While this observer assumed that Nifong would look to drop the entire case with as much dignity as he could muster, it looks as if Nifong took a more direct route.

So what happens next? KC Johnson ably tackles that question. Wherever the case goes from here, please join with me in hoping for a swift conclusion to a very forgettable chapter, on multiple levels, in the history of Duke University.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Check down

I am a blog-doofus and don’t know how to “bump” a post to the top once I’ve updated it. So go down a few entries if you want to read my reaction to Bush’s speech.

THOR says: Here it is…

I watched last night, and then I perused the blogs this morning. Like-minded people have varying opinions of the new plan and the speech itself, but here’s what I have to say. The president has become acutely aware that his term ends in two years and that nobody in Washington has the will to win in Iraq if things continue as they have. So he is “all in” as it were. His speech gave all kinds of ammo to his opponents by admitting there have been mistakes and taking personal responsibility for them. He used terms like “changing course” to signal that he is not politically invincible. Liberals will have a field day claiming that he is a flip-flopper (a lib caller did exactly that on Rush yesterday), that the mistakes can’t be fixed, blah blah blah. But I sense the purpose of these admissions was to show that he is not trying to gain politically from the war. He showed that he is willing to eat crow and humiliate himself before his political enemies in order to convince people that he still serious about victory.

What I like best about the speech is that Bush laid out everything very carefully and openly. Nobody can accuse him of hiding anything or ignoring any issues. As for the plan itself, I’m not a general or a strategist or anything of the sort, but apparently it’s what the troops want, so I’m behind it. Also, the president has again named names with Syria and Iran. I think it is the first time he has done so in a major speech. This is a step in the right direction.

It has been my opinion since 2002 (the year I started paying attention to politics and anything else besides Notre Dame football) that Bush is the most honest, open, and trustworthy politician in Washington. He always negotiates in good faith even though he has been burned many times, even by his own party. As such, it has been hard for me to watch as his willingness to confront domestic issues is blocked at every turn by liberal opposition and a general lack of conservative spine. But it always heartens me that Bush knows his role as Commander-in-Chief, and that he is responsible for our victory or failure. He can not be voted down on this nor filibustered. He has two years to get it done or at least show enough improvement that his successor doesn’t quit immediately.

I’m behind him.

PS – It also appears that Muqtada al-Sadr is going to learn what “rule of law” really means. This would be a huge development if it actually goes that way.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A “Gang of 18” Emerges?

On the day when the Duke Chronicle’s editorial board officially called for Mike Nifong’s resignation, eighteen professors from the Duke Economics Department signed their name to this letter:

We, the undersigned Economics Department faculty members at Duke University, are cognizant of the fact that, to date, the only collective signed statement by faculty members concerning the events of last March was an advertisement in The Chronicle subsequent to protests and a forum on March 29, 2006. We are aware too that the advertisement was cited as prejudicial to the defendants in the defense motion to change the venue of the trial involving the three Duke lacrosse team members.

We regret that the Duke faculty is now seen as prejudiced against certain of its own students.

In light of recent events detailed in court proceedings, it appears that there were a number of irregular acts committed by members of the Durham law enforcement agencies and District Attorney’s Office. We join with President Richard Brodhead in calling for an investigation of those acts, inimical to students at our university.

We welcome all members of the lacrosse team, and all student athletes, as we do all our students as fellow members of the Duke community, to the classes we teach and the activities we sponsor.

It is refreshing, at long last, to hear from the less-radical members (however small in number) of the Duke faculty. However, I am still amazed at how few have responded in this fashion. I cannot believe that they do not see the absurdity of Nifong’s charade or the egregious miscarriage of justice to this point. Do they not realize that, by their silence, they have let the “Gang of 88” speak for the entire Duke faculty? At this point, I would again harangue the “Gang of 88” for not having the fortitude to emerge from the shadows and decry Nifong’s treatment of the players, but they really are not worth it.

As an aside, does anyone doubt that if the three accused were a) non-athletes, b) non-white, and c) non-“privileged”, the “Gang of 88” would be railing against a “racist, white prosecutor” at every possible turn? If you would like to agree or disagree, please let me know under the “Comments” link below.

Finally, you can find a petition in support of the letter from members of the Duke Economics Department. I have signed it, and would encourage all our readers to do the same.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Letter to the Duke Community from President Brodhead

Here is the text of a letter sent today by President Richard Brodhead to members of the Duke community:

January 8, 2007

Dear Members of the Duke Community:

I write to greet you at the start of a new year. I also want to address
some important developments that have taken place while the University
was on break, and to offer some thoughts as we go forward.

Last spring, this community became embroiled in a major controversy
arising from a party held by members of the men’s lacrosse team. It is
universally acknowledged that the behavior at the party was inappropriate
and unacceptable. Several factors came together to intensify the emotional
response to this event. Though vehemently denied by team members, the
accusations that resulted from the party raised deeply troubling questions
about sexual violence and racial subjugation, issues of fundamental
concern to any decent community. Passions were further intensified by a
series of statements by the Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong that a
rape had indeed taken place. Intense media coverage heightened these
passions, promoting an air of instant certainty about rapidly changing
“facts.”

In the confusion of this situation, the University’s response was guided
by two principles: that if true, the conduct that had been alleged was
grave and should be taken very seriously, and that our students had to
be presumed innocent until proven guilty through the legal process.

As perceptions of the story changed, the University continued to maintain
the need for broad deference to the legal process. If this case has taught
us anything, it is our need for a legal process based in fairness, the
rule of evidence, and withholding judgment until the truth is established.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” last fall, I noted that given the
concerns that had been raised, when the case came before a judge and jury,
Mr. Nifong’s case would be on trial as much as the students would. But as
that comment recognized, the road to a resolution necessarily involved
going through legal process, not outside or around it.

In mid-December, there were important developments as the legal process
entered the courtroom. These included the revelation, in sworn testimony,
that the district attorney had not shared with the indicted students
potentially exculpatory evidence from the DNA tests. Also, on December 22,
the Friday afternoon before Christmas, the district attorney announced
that he was dropping the rape charge because the accuser was no longer
certain about her claim. After Christmas, the North Carolina State Bar
announced that it had reviewed concerns about the district attorney’s
public statements and found grounds to file a formal complaint. Days
later, the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys also called
on Mr. Nifong to recuse himself in this case.

On December 22, I issued a statement saying that, given the certainty with
which the district attorney made his public statements regarding the rape
allegation, his decision to drop that charge must call into question the
validity of the remaining charges. I added that the district attorney
should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can
restore confidence in the fairness of the process. That last phrase is,
for me, the heart of the matter. We entrust our conflicts to the law to
provide a path to a fair resolution. But to earn this faith from the public,
those who work in the legal process must behave with elemental fairness and
regard for the rights of those involved. We need and deserve for that faith
to be restored.

In the wake of these new circumstances, I concluded upon the recommendation
of Vice President Moneta that we should offer reinstatement to Collin
Finnerty and Reade Seligmann so that they can return to Duke and resume
their studies. (David Evans graduated last spring.) Interim suspension,
the policy measure that had been invoked last April, is not a disciplinary
measure or judgment of guilt. It is a temporary measure taken when a
student is charged with a violent crime, and its use must balance a
variety of factors, including the gravity of the charge, the presumption
of innocence, the possibility of danger to the student or the community,
and the need of students to continue with their education. Although the
two students still face serious charges, in the changed circumstances,
it seems only right to strike the balance at a different point. The fair
thing is to allow the students to continue with their studies.

We all pray that the legal matter will be resolved in a fair and speedy
fashion. But as a university, we also need to look to the future and see
how we can learn from this chapter of history. By facing the lessons of
this painful episode, we can make Duke a better place. Let me outline a
few specifics.

First, we still have work to do on this campus. One thing that has made
this event so difficult is that particular charges against individuals
have tended to be conflated with larger community issues of race, gender,
privilege, and respect. During these hard months, some have seemed to
imply that if you insist on the students’ innocence, then you must not
care about the underlying issues. Others have seemed to suggest that if
you insist on the underlying issues, then you must not care about fair
treatment for the students.

But it is essential that we separate the legal case from the larger
cultural issues and give each its separate, appropriate response. The
Campus Culture Initiative, begun last year and due to report this spring,
is not a referendum on the party last March. It is an effort to visualize
the best community we could make for students to grow and learn in, a
community of mutual respect and vibrant mutual engagement. It will be all
of our work to advance toward that goal. I see this as a chance to build
on existing strengths in our educational experience and to press toward
higher ambitions: the latest chapter in Duke’s long history of self-
improvement.

Just as important, we must work together to restore the fabric of mutual
respect. One of the things I have most regretted is the way students and
faculty have felt themselves disparaged and their views caricatured in
ongoing debates, often by individuals – sometimes anonymous – outside the
Duke community. In the age of instantaneous worldwide media coverage,
members of the lacrosse team were judged around the world on the basis of
highly selective, highly prejudicial coverage last spring. A number of
them were subjected to vile abuse. More recently, a group of Duke faculty
members (including a number of African American faculty) have been widely
attacked in blogs and emails – and in some cases personally attacked in
highly repugnant and vicious terms – based on caricatured accounts of
their statements on the lacrosse event.

We want to see an end to these destructive assaults. We cannot change the
nature of modern communications, but we can make an effort on this campus
to promote more constructive dialogue and a more charitable atmosphere for
exchange. This does not mean that troublesome issues should now be avoided.
It’s the mark of maturity in a university when hard issues can be freely
and vigorously engaged, and this past year has shown us many areas in need
of discussion and debate. But it does mean that we need to be less quick to
take offense at the words of others, and work harder to understand what
others are actually trying to say – even if we then disagree with it.

In its very difficulty, this moment gives us a chance to strengthen the
climate of respectful engagement in this community, and it is crucial that
we come together to seize the chance. Turning conflict among divergent
points of view into the basis for mutual education is at the core of the
university’s work.

Last, in the heat of recent debates, there’s been a danger that we will
lose sight of something fundamental, and I want to say it on all of our
behalf. This is a great university, one of the greatest in the world.
The vigor, intelligence, and devotion of each member of this community –
faculty, students, and staff – are what make Duke great. This place needs
all of us. And all of us are incalculably lucky to be part of this place,
and to have the others who surround us for partners and colleagues.

Duke can and will become better yet, and it’s our business to make it so.
This is the season of the New Year – a time for new starts and fresh
beginnings. Let’s work together to make our university as great as it can
be.

Richard H. Brodhead
President


KC Johnson brilliantly takes apart Brodhead’s confusing “apologia”


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Book Review: Empire by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card wrote one of my favorite books of all time: Ender’s Game. Recently, he lost stock in my eyes with his “shadow” series involving side characters from Ender’s Game. But his latest effort has catapulted him back up.

“Empire” is about America and contemporary politics, but the title (and the book jacket’s description) are misleading. America is not portrayed as a tyrannical and conquesting imperial nation; rather, it describes how we might become one. It is a novel about a civil war engineered by conspirators in and outside of America, by flaming liberal wackos (attempting to restore the ‘rightful’ Al Gore presidency) and paleo-conservative generals (trying to defend the Constitution from liberal culture). In the middle stands a bright young historian who argues that America is in the position of Rome before its imperial days. All that we require to move to empire is a strong, non-partisan hand to quell the violence and unite Americans under one culture… whose hand shall it be?

The story is pretty cool, except for a few cheesy parts. It moves a little faster than Card’s previous stories, but in a good way. But really the best part is that all the protagonists are conservative and the rebels are all liberal wackos. It is an enjoyable read for anyone who likes this site.

The biggest failing? Card writes an afterword in which he dumps his conservative views and whines about excessive partisanship. I suspect it is an attempt to pre-empt liberal complaints, but I found it kind of lame.

The New Year and the War in Iraq

I eagerly await Bush’s strategic revamp of the war effort. I know he won’t be qutting because he said so and he keeps his word. With Saddam executed and Sunnis NOT rioting en masse, I think the pro-democratic forces in Iraq can get a real boost from an increased American presence. I may have said this before, but I would really like to see this thing won before Bush leaves office. I simply don’t trust any of the namby pamby presidential frontrunners to carry the torch in this war.

UPDATE: I watched last night, and then I perused the blogs this morning. Like-minded people have varying opinions of the new plan and the speech itself, but here’s what I have to say. The president has become acutely aware that his term ends in two years and that nobody in Washington has the will to win in Iraq if things continue as they have. So he is “all in” as it were. His speech gave all kinds of ammo to his opponents by admitting there have been mistakes and taking personal responsibility for them. He used terms like “changing course” to signal that he is not politically invincible. Liberals will have a field day claiming that he is a flip-flopper (a lib caller did exactly that on Rush yesterday), that the mistakes can’t be fixed, blah blah blah. But I sense the purpose of these admissions was to show that he is not trying to gain politically from the war. He showed that he is willing to eat crow and humiliate himself before his political enemies in order to convince people that he still serious about victory.

What I like best about the speech is that Bush laid out everything very carefully and openly. Nobody can accuse him of hiding anything or ignoring any issues. As for the plan itself, I’m not a general or a strategist or anything of the sort, but apparently it’s what the troops want, so I’m behind it. Also, the president has again named names with Syria and Iran. I think it is the first time he has done so in a major speech. This is a step in the right direction.

It has been my opinion since 2002 (the year I started paying attention to politics and anything else besides Notre Dame football) that Bush is the most honest, open, and trustworthy politician in Washington. He always negotiates in good faith even though he has been burned many times, even by his own party. As such, it has been hard for me to watch as his willingness to confront domestic issues is blocked at every turn by liberal opposition and a general lack of conservative spine. But it always heartens me that Bush knows his role as Commander-in-Chief, and that he is responsible for our victory or failure. He can not be voted down on this nor filibustered. He has two years to get it done or at least show enough improvement that his successor doesn’t quit immediately.

I’m behind him.

PS – It also appears that Muqtada al-Sadr is going to learn what “rule of law” really means. This would be a huge development if it actually goes that way.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Nifong Faces Ethics Charges

The North Carolina Bar has now filed ethics charges against Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong for his complete lack of them during his prosecution of three Duke Lacrosse players on charges of rape, sexual offense and kidnapping. The ethics charges stem mainly from the bevy of interviews Nifong gave about the case early in its development. He made numerous inflammatory remarks about the suit and the players involved that catapulted the investigation to the national limelight.

According to Aaron Beard of the AP these remarks include:

Referring to the lacrosse players as “a bunch of hooligans.”

“I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir.”

“One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.”

These are foolish and rabble-rousing statements that vilified the players during the early weeks of the investigation. Nifong characterized the players as violent and aggressive, asserted that there was definite guilt for charges that have now been dropped based on a lack of evidence, and insinuated that if one is innocent he does not need a lawyer to represent him. His words and actions were completely irresponsible, and now the lives of these players have been tarnished forever.

The good news is that Nifong may be removed from the case, either by himself or by the presiding judge. Regardless, Nifong faces charges that range from admonishment to removal from the bar. Hopefully now, justice may be served.