Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jason Whitlock on the Super Bowl coaches

Great column:

Coaches make dream matchup
This part is interesting and probably deserves to become the basis for a book:
By perfecting his Cover 2 defensive scheme, Dungy turned the Bucs into winners, a team that constantly knocked at the Super Bowl’s door. While in Tampa, he also taught Lovie Smith and Herm Edwards the principles and philosophies that would one day make them fine NFL head coaches.
How does a good man become a winner? That is the story i want to read. Even more, i want to read about a winner who rejected the win-at-all-costs, every man for himself ethos that we usually celebrate. The Dungy coaching tree is made up of men who are friends first, and then rivals. Dungy clearly was not the sort of manager who views his subordinates as competitors to be held back.

Monday, January 29, 2007

SuperBowl Coaches

This article over at The American Thinker hits the nail on the head:

Two Good Guys and the Other G Word

Both coaches were immediately asked in their initial post game interviews on Sunday about the significance of their being the first African American coaches in the game. Interestingly, both coaches used the vernacular "black" rather than African American, and quickly steered the conversation to their respective teams, and how much this meant for their cities. The two coaches are good friends, and talk each Monday during the season. Smith was on Dungy's staff when his Tampa Bay team played for the NFC title against St. Louis in 2000. Dungy praised Smith and his team in a properly respectful fashion. Smith was interviewed before it was known who his team's opponent was, so any comment on Dungy or the Colts would have been premature.

But there was one part of each interview Sunday that is not likely to be pursued as a big story line the next week. Both coaches thanked God for their good fortune, and expressed a genuine humility about getting this far, traits not always visible in the winners circles in professional or college sports. Dungy in particular pointed out how Smith coached with a calm demeanor (without the four letter word tantrums so common to the sidelines). The humility and demeanor of the two coaches very likely has something to do with the religious devotion of the two men

Only a fool would think that the race of the two coaches is irrelevant. This is a happy milestone. But that aspect of the story is overdone because it is cheap and easy to do. It appeals to the moral vanity of sportwriters and lets lazy "reporters" pretend that they are doing important work. The two men who coached their teams to the Super Bowl deserve better than that.

UPDATE: I love this quote over at Football Outsiders:

I think even more important than that to me, I know the type of person he is, and Lovie has the same Christian conviction that I have. He runs his team the same way. I know how those guys are treated in Chicago and how they play tough, disciplined football even though there’s not a lot of profanity from the coaches. There’s none of the win-at-all-cost atmosphere. For two guys to show that you can win that way, I think that’s just as important for the country to see.”

– Super Bowl-bound head coach of the Indianapolis Colts Tony Dungy

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What's so bad about parity?

TMQ clears up a lot of myths about parity in the NFL.

The sports media needs to fill air time and column inches. There is no easier (i.e. cheaper) way to do so than to manufacture an ersatz controversy and then beat it to death. The need for a play off in college football is one tried and true subject. Moaning about NFL parity is another.

I like the current NFL system. Most fans do, too, given that pro football is the most popular sport in the country.

The great thing about the NFL is that most fans get to watch their team play a meaningful game most weeks of the season. Moreover, most teams have a legitimate shot of winning each week. Very few teams are out of the playoff hunt at the midpoint of the season. Few games are gimmes.

Steelers fans know this from both sides. We went from 6-10 to 15-1 and an AFC Championship game. Then we fell back to 7-5 before going on an 8-0 run that culminated in a SuperBowl win. We followed that up with an 8-8 season.

As much as 8-8 hurt, Steelers fans can look forward to 2007. So can almost every other team. Contrast that with the lot of a Pirates fan. Fourteen straight losing seasons. No dreams of the playoffs after July 4th. Eventually, no reason to be a fan at all.

Why would the NFL want to emulate that?

One argument the yakkers and scribblers cough up is that fan interest is increased when there is a big bad dynasty to root against. How they reconcile that "thought" with the current popularity of the NFL is not clear.

One thing i've noticed about the yappers who yap about how much people loooove to root against dynasties like the Yankees: very few of them actually root against the Yankees (unless it is to roof for their evil twin in Boston.)

What most big time sports pundits hate about the NFL and parity is that the New York teams don't rule the roost as they do in baseball. Kansas City can do as well as NYC. And that just kills them.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Exit the tuna and other football miscellany

Never one to shun the spotlight, Bill Parcells has retired. On a day that should belong to the Colts and the Bears, the New York-centric media went nuts for a story that had an NYC hook.

Maybe this time Parcells stole Tony Dungy’s thunder by accident. It still brought back bad memories of the way that the Tuna flirted with Tampa Bay while Dungy was still their head coach. If the Colts can win SB XLI, Dungy will have the last laugh. Parcells’s failure in Dallas stands in stark contrast to the success that Dungy has had in Indy.

The Parcells’s coaching tree has been more successful than the Dungy tree (so far.) But the Dungy guys all seem to like each other. The Parcells’s group seems like a highly dysfunctional family.

The Patriots acted like sore losers. Big deal. It is not like the press gave Manning and Dungy any credit for the classy way they handled defeat in years past.

Far too many sportswriters are sludge-swilling bottom feeders. They enjoy shooting the wounded. I see no reason why any athlete should smile politely at them while they go about their dirty business.

Some ex-player I never heard of was talking about Parcells on the NFL network. He chalked up the Tuna’s problem to “a new generation of players” who just will not tolerate old school coaching. Hence, it was Parcells’s job to adapt to T.O., not visa-versa. No one pointed out that Troy Brown has three rings while T. O., Michael Vick, Chad Johnson, and Plaxico Burress have ZERO.

I love the idea of the NFL network: Year round coverage of football without having to listen to yapping about the NBA or Michelle Wie. The NFL Films programs are first-rate. But their on-air talent is just abysmal. Deion Sanders? Bryant Gumbel? It is almost as bad as the ESPN crew. (Bristol wins because Rich Eisen could not be as bad as Kornheiser if he tried.)
One monkey gone, press brings next one from cage

Archie's boy is going to the big dance. Now that he has defeated the invicible Belicheck-Brady, the nay-sayers in the press want to remind us that he has to win it all, or everything will be for naught. The need to win a ring is emphasized for Manning much more than with other QBs.

I have to admit that i gave up hope when he threw the interception that went for a touchdown. I thought the only question remaining was if the Pats would score 40.

The unsung hero of the game has to be the much maligned Colts defense. They had every right to give up when the score hit 21-3. Instead, they kept the pressure on and held New England enough that the offense could get back in the game.

This game deserves to rank with the Cowboys-49ers-the Catch and Denver-Cleveland-the Drive.

Let's not forget that the Patriots's loss means that the 74-79 Steelers are still the only team to four Super Bowls in six years.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Talk about a bloated business model

As Time Inc. Cuts Jobs, One Writer on Britney May Have to Do

People magazine’s article this week on Britney Spears and her “new guy,” model Isaac Cohen, is five paragraphs long. It was reported and written by seven people.
Vietnam reporting

A couple of follow-up points about Halberstam and his band of knowing brothers. CSPAN did an interview with William Prochnau author of Once Upon a Distant War: David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett--Young War Correspondents and Their Early Vietnam Battles.

Here the author describes Neil Sheehan's background that earned him s spot in Saigon and gave him such deep insight into the war:

Neil Sheehan was 25 years old. A sometimes brooding, sometimes absolutely wildly humorous and wonderful Irishman who had worked exactly two weeks for UPI in Tokyo before the Saigon correspondent for this, second-rate, second-best news agency. The Saigon chief quit. They rustled around in Tokyo to see who could speak French; he spoke French. And suddenly, after two week's experience, he was the Saigon bureau chief for UPI, and it was 30 years before he really rid himself of Vietnam after that.
Here is Halberstam in his element with the media mob:

Well, Halberstam I describe as a brilliant brat. I mean, he clearly was the driving force. He worked for The New York Times. The Times, at that time was clearly the dominant and most prestigious newspaper in the world at that time. And television was not what it is today. That television came in occasionally with stringers and part-time correspondents and you'd see a little blip here and a little blip there about Vietnam, but Halberstam represented the most powerful media institution of all. He was 28 years old. He was a man of great passions, great angers. The lying and more deception of another kind, the self-delusion and the self-deception -- he felt was deluding itself as much as deluding the American people -- drove him to fits. At one point, in one very famous episode, he slammed his fist down on a table in a little cafe in Saigon and said that the commanding general, the American General Harkins, Paul Harkins, should be court-martialed and shot. And everybody in the room turned around and looked at this 28-year old making this kind of announcement. He was clearly the drivingforce.

Here is Sheehan's own explanation for his political evolution from hawk to dove:

I have sometimes thought, when a street urchin with sores covering his legs stopped me and begged for a few cents' worth of Vietnamese piastres, that he might be better off growing up as a political commissar. He would then, at least, have some self-respect.
Ideology as an unthinking tantrum. That is all it takes to become a journalistic hero.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A fragment of history, lost, never to be recovered

At a Harvard conference in 1983 David Halberstam told a touching story of the terrible trials he faced as a war correspondent in Vietnam:

During the fall of 1963, i was twenty-eight, and I went to the Mekong Delta with a man named Richard Tregaskis; he had been a hero of mine, who had written a book, Guadalcanal Diary, that i had greatly admired as a boy. We had spent what I thought were an entirely pleasant two days in the Mekong Delta, I had introduced him to treasured sources of mine. On the way back to Saigon, he turned to me and in a very soft voice said to me, "If I were doing what you were doing, I would be ashamed of myself." We traveled the rest of the way in Stony silence; my face, I am sure, was ashen."
Halberstam goes on to write off Tregaskis's remark to that old devil the Generation Gap. Those old reporters just did not understand the complexity and nuances faced by young reporters in Vietnam.

Still, i wish i knew what Richard Tregaskis saw in the Delta that made him think that Halberstam's conduct was shameful.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Vietnam: a different sort of revisionism

Very good review of a new book on Vietnam:

A Winnable War
The argument against the orthodox history of Vietnam.
I especially liked this part:

The primary weakness of the orthodox school, Moyar demonstrates, is its constricted historical horizon. For the most part, orthodox historians have covered the war as if the only important decisions were made in Washington and Saigon. This is an example of what has been called "national narcissism," the idea that history is just about us. Of course, important decisions were also made in Hanoi, Beijing, Moscow, and many other places. Moyar has exhaustively consulted the relevant archives and uses them to demonstrate the very real limitations of the orthodox view. He not only places Vietnam in its proper geopolitical context, but demonstrates the Clausewitzian principle that war is a struggle between two active wills. An action by one side elicits a response from the other that may be unexpected.

Orthodox historians often act as if Hanoi pursued a course of action with little regard for what the United States did. But Moyar demonstrates that the North Vietnamese strategy was greatly affected by U.S. actions.

This point was driven home to me in 1983 when the late Douglas Pike, the foremost American expert on Vietnamese communism and an early proponent of Vietnam revisionism, delivered a paper at a Wilson Center symposium on the war. Pike observed that "the initial reaction of Hanoi's leaders to the strategic bombings and air strikes that began in February 1965--documented later by defectors and other witnesses--was enormous dismay and apprehension. They feared the North was to be visited by intolerable destruction which it simply could not endure." But the air campaign was severely constrained, a fact that became increasingly apparent to Hanoi. As a result, North Vietnamese leaders concluded that the United States lacked the will to bear the cost of the war

There is a big, important book to be written by a scholar from the new generation on the war reporters who made their bones in South East Asia. The review touches on them but I want more:

So why has Diem been depicted the way he has? First, he was a victim of press bias: No one did more to undermine Diem's reputation in the United States than David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan. Far from providing a balanced picture of the war, they pushed a decidedly anti-Diem view, and their prejudice was so transparent that a 1963 congressional mission described the American journalists as "arrogant, emotional, un-objective, and ill-informed."

But then, these same reporters were themselves influenced by others with axes to grind. Much of the criticism of the Diem regime's military policy was fed to them by the maverick U.S. Army adviser, Lt. Col. John Paul Vann. In addition, many American reporters relied on a Vietnamese journalist named Pham Xuan An, a Reuters stringer later revealed to be a Communist agent whose very mission was to influence the American press. As journalists such as Stanley Karnow later admitted, Pham was very good at his job.

I think Halberstam illustrates Moyar’s point about the Western insularity of the orthodox view. This problem was present even in the “first draft of history” written by those brave young reporters in 1962-65. (This article by Robert Elegant is very good on the subject).

Correspondents, briefly set down in the brutally alienating milieu called Viet Nam, turned to each other for professional sustenance and emotional comfort. After all, there was nowhere else to turn, certainly not to stark reality, which was both elusive and repellent.

Most correspondents were isolated from the Vietnamese by ignorance of their language and culture, as well as by a measure of race estrangement. Most were isolated from the quixotic American Army establishment, itself often as confused as they themselves were, by their moralistic attitudes and their political prejudices. It was inevitable, in the circumstances, that they came to write, in the first instance, for each other.

To be sure, the approbation of his own crowd gave a certain fullness to the correspondent's life in exile that reached beyond the irksome routine of reporting and writing. The disapprobation of his peers could transform him into a bitterly defensive misanthrope (I think here of one industrious radio and newspaper stringer who was reputed to be the richest correspondent in Viet Nam, except, of course, for the television stars). Even the experienced correspondents, to whom Asia was "home" rather than a hostile temporary environment, formed their own little self-defensive world within the larger world of the newcomers.

It was no wonder that correspondents writing to win the approbation of other correspondents in that insidiously collegial atmosphere produced reporting that was remarkably homogeneous. After each other, correspondents wrote to win the approbation of their editors, who controlled their professional lives and who were closely linked with the intellectual community at home. The consensus of that third circle, the domestic intelligentsia, derived largely from correspondents' reports and in turn served to determine the nature of those reports. If dispatches did not accord with that consensus, approbation was withheld. Only in the last instance did correspondents address themselves to the general public, the mass of lay readers and viewers.
I discussed another example here:

Mission to Niger and a Cautionary Tale from Vietnam
In his book the Best and the Brightest Halberstam goes to great lengths to appear knowledgeable about "the real forces" driving the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. It’s nationalism and anti-colonialism; communism is just a canard. But thirty years later, with colonialism dead everywhere, Hanoi is still run by a Stalinist regime.
A glimpse into Halberstam’s thinking is provided by his obsession with McCarthyism. Anti-communism, that was the real cause of the Vietnam debacle:

All of this was part of one of the great illusions of the country and the Administration in 1961, the belief that the McCarthy period had come and gone without the country paying any real price, that the Administration and the nation could continue without challenging or coming to terms with the political and policy aberrations of that period.
Halberstam the Harvard man wielded Vietnam as a club against those awful men--those rubes-- who were mean to the China hands and Robert Oppenheimer. So which came first: his disenchantment in Vietnam, or his snobbish anti-anti-communism?

I think the snob factor is real. Halberstam goes on and on about the anti-communists ignorance of "nuance" their failure to appreciate "subtleties", etc. etc. Since Halberstam, like most US reporters in Vietnam had neither the language nor education to really grasp the nuances or subtleties themselves, what was he talking about? Was it just thatthose Marine officers in the Delta were not like him? Not as clever, not as well-read, not hip to the new world without absolutes? Not willing to suck-up to the super-credentialed reporter from the New York Times?

I’ve suspected for a long time that much of the "slant" to the reporting came from ignorant young reporters reading Graham Greene’s The Quiet American on the plane ride over to Vietnam.

Here is just one example of Halberstam’s ill-informed arrogance. In The Best and the Brightest he draws a savage portrait of Gen. Paul Harkins the top US military man in Vietnam during the Kennedy years. Harkins, he declared, was a "compelling mediocrity", a military nonentity, a careerist, a staff officer who knew nothing of infantry war.

Missing from Halberstam’s description is the fact that Harkin served as the deputy Chief of Staff in Patton’s Third Armythe finest Army level staff the US had in World War Two. This was the group that pulled off one of the great feats of modern war: the redeployment of Third Army to relieve Bastogne and cut off the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. Patton’s staff was not a bunch of rear echelon paper shufflers. In the Third Army staff officers operated as extra eyes for Patton. They went to the front seeing, evaluating, reporting back to their commander.

None of this means that Harkin did a good job in Vietnam. But it does show just how shallow Halberstam’s understanding was. Harkins knew war. He had seen it from the bottom to the top. He had seen sieges, armored thrusts, grinding infantry advances and desperate defensive stands. If a reporter could be so knowing and yet so wrong on such a basic point, how can you trust him on anything?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Duke lacrosse: An inconvenient truth

From Dorothy Rabinowitz:
For all the public shock and fury over his behavior, there is little that is new or strange about Mr. Nifong. We have seen the likes of this district attorney, uninterested in proofs of innocence, willing to suppress any he found, many times in the busy army of prosecutors claiming to have found evidence of rampant child abuse in nursery schools and other child-care centers around the country in the 1980s and throughout most of the '90s. They built case after headline-making case charging the mass molestation of small children, and managed to convict scores of innocent Americans on the basis of testimony no rational mind could credit. Law officers who regularly violated requirements of due process in their effort to obtain a conviction, they grasped the special advantage that was theirs: that for a prosecutor dealing with molestation, and wearing the mantle of avenger, there was no such thing as excess, no limits to what could be said of the accused. In court, rules could be bent, any charges presented, and nonexistent medical evidence proclaimed as proof positive of the accusation.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CNN executives: obtuse or liars?

CNN defends 'provocative' talk-show host Nancy Grace

PASADENA, Calif. -- CNN defended Nancy Grace's integrity Tuesday as the cable-news giant unveiled plans to celebrate Larry King's 50 years in broadcasting.

"The CNN brand stands for integrity, accuracy, class, timeliness," Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, told television critics.

One critic asked whether Grace, who hosts a show on CNN Headline News, exemplified those qualities.

"Absolutely," Walton said. "I am not judge and jury, nor am I the morals police. One of the responsibilities of CNN is to be unbiased and present multiple perspectives and points of view. We feel in this case we're doing that."
Paint by numbers polemics

In the bad old days, you had to build your own strawmen when arguing politics. Now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can just pick one off the cyber-shelf.

Want to paint the Right as unbalanced loons-- well, La Coulter is happy to oblige. Want to do the same to the Left, drop by Kos or James Woolcott's blog.

I was sorry to see even the esteemed New Criterion opt for this shortcut.
Delusions of “reality”

James Bowman is better than this. Honest media criticism in an asymetrical war is important work. But going after Olbermann and Frank Rich in a serious journal is breaking a butterfly on a wheel.

Monday, January 08, 2007

News and Observer to bloggers: Can't we all just get along?

N&O editor Melanie Sill has a post up on their blog which is part apologia and part olive leaf:

Journalism AND blogs
Most of her sentiments are unobjectionable; some are even noble.

Good journalism is defined by what it is, not who does it. Journalism involves a discipline of accuracy, verification, fairness, public-mindedness and truth-telling. As part of democracy it empowers citizens by informing them, holds people in power accountable to the rest of us and, conversely, takes responsibility for its own actions.
As i said, by itself the post is all puppy dogs and apple pie.


To anyone following the Duke lacrosse case, this passage should carry a snort warning:

I thought of this in reading Thomas Goldsmith’s piece from Sunday on the rising number of mentally ill people sharing rest homes with frail, elderly patients. This reporting took a great deal of research and time as the reporter gained to an understanding of the situation as well as details on how it is affecting people in North Carolina. The same is true for The N&O's exhaustive and comprehensive reporting on the Duke lacrosse case; many of those who have been reading the coverage (rather than reading about it) have noted the results of our commitment to original and verifiable reporting.

If only the N&O had done what they claim they did. But the truth is, they ran alot of stories on the Duke lacrosse travesty, however their coverage has not been fair, accurate, comprehensive, or exhaustive. They began with vicious attacks on the lacrosse team, a sanitized interview with the dancer/escort, and a docile acceptance of Nifong's statements. Since then they have made grudging attempts to cover the new developments fairly (Joseph Neff has done stand-out work) but they have also made many misteps. Most importantly, their coverage has not been comprehensive because they have never "exhaustively" examined their coverage nor owned up to their mistakes.

See the following for more background:

Duke lacrosse: Triangle media still spin for Nifong

Duke lacrosse: The News and Observer is still covering for Nifong

From the cone of silence to Emily Litella

Duke Lacrosse: Assessing the News & Observer

Duke lacrosse: Custom, interest, and the pursuit of truth

But Sill raises another point that has nothing to do with the lacrosse story.

Like some of The N&O's virulent critics, I think the Internet has opened up dialogue in a revolutionary way. In the history of media a new form rarely replaces an old one; instead, the effect is additive, radio adds to print, TV to radio and print, the Internet to all of the above. The Internet allows media to cross from print to electronic in a wonderful way that we are just beginning to comprehend.

I think that the Internet is different for two reasons. First, radio and TV never challenged newspapers in "explanation space". Instead, they ratified and amplified the editorial decisions of the relevant newspaper. Walter Cronkite essentially cribbed the front page of the New York Times and then added pictures. Local radio does the same thing with the local broadsheet.

The internet is a direct challenge to the monopoly that print journalists are accustomed to. Those most threatened are not front-line journalists like Neff; it is the editors and pundits. The "new morning paper" breaks their monopoly to say what news is and what it means. It also reveals the shortcomings they wish to hide.

That's new. It is powerful. And it will profoundly change Ms. Sill's relationship with her audience.
Duke lacrosse: Newsweek interviews a real victim

A good piece of journalism on the harm Nifong's sham investigation has done to one of the families:
Duke Lacrosse Player Speaks Out

While Newsweek deserves credit for this story, they have a long way to go to make up for their horrible cover story from last spring. They were happy to put the players's mug shots on the front of their magazine and heaped vilification on the team. Now that the evidence for innocence is overwhelming, they have second thoughts.

No wonder they are called the drive-by media.

UPDATE: LaShawn Barber posts on this here. I have only one quibble.

She writes:
Mainstream media (MSM) have turned against Mike Nifong. It’s funny how they “reported” his version of events as though it were gospel in the beginning. Never have I seen left-leaning journalists parroting a district attorney and cops the way they’ve done in this case.
My quibble is that most crime stories do parrot the DA/police line. See more here:
Atticus Finch doesn't work here

Friday, January 05, 2007

Duke lacrosse: the revisionist history begins

KC Johnson thoroughly demolishes an attempt to rewrite history. No surprise the rewriter is a member of the Group of 88.

One additional point. Professor Cathy Davidson writes that:
The ad said that we faculty were listening to the anguish of students who felt demeaned by racist and sexist remarks swirling around in the media and on the campus quad in the aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house.

The insults, at that time, were rampant. It was as if defending David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann necessitated reverting to pernicious stereotypes about African-Americans, especially poor black women.
As KC points out, this is a crock because Evan, Finnerty, and Seligmann weren't being defended at all because they had not been named as suspects. Further, there were very few defending the lacrosse team in public and many who were vilifying them. Here's is the open letter Professor Houston Baker (now at Vanderbilt) wrote on 29 March. Does this sound balanced and nuanced? Does it express even minimal doubt that the lacrosse players are guilty?
But there is a clear urgency about the erosion of any felt sense of confidence or safety for the rest of us who live and work at Duke University. The lacrosse team - 15 of whom have faced misdemeanor charges for drunken misbehavior in the past three years - may well feel they can claim innocence and sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness. But where is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again? And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys? Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives. There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.

Duke University's higher administration has engaged in precisely such a tepid and pious legalism with respect to the disaster of recent days: the actual harm to the body, soul, mind, and spirit of black women who were in the company of Duke University lacrosse team members as far as any of us know. All of Duke athletics has now been drawn into the seamy domains of Colorado football and other college and university blind-eying of male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Steelers: End of an era

No, no! Not the Cowher soap opera. Dick Hoak has retired.
Steelers assistant Dick Hoak's unrivaled 45-year career ends
He coached our running backs for 35 years. In 33 of those seasons the Steelers outrushed their opponents. Sometimes the running game was keyed to high-profile players like Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis. At other times, it depended on unheralded players like Willie Parker and Merril Hoge. But it was nearly always effective.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Duke lacrosse: what the chronology reveals

"He taught me one thing very useful," Mr. Powers said. "He said, 'The first thing [the Church committee's disclosures of C.I.A. secrets] will do is, it will allow them [the K.G.B.] to build a 'deep chrono.'

"And I said, 'Deep chrono?' And he said it was all about what you could learn from chronology, the basic tool of intelligence, and the dates and the meanings of the comings and goings of agents, which all can disclose a pattern."

(Writer Thomas Powers on CIA counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton and his methods)

Lie Stoppers gives us a good example of the power of the chrono.

The time line demonstrates just how corrupt Nifong "justice" is.

UPDATE: John in Carolina gives us another example. Only this time, his chrono busts the spinning of an MSM enabler.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Duke lacrosse: an interesting double standard

A good point from the Liestoppers blog:

Cameras were waiting on March 23 as the forty-six innocent lacrosse players were paraded into the police station to submit to DNA samples and photographs. Cameras were waiting when hand-cuffed Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were picked up by sheriff deputies, requests to present themselves at the jail having been denied. Yet Defendant Mike Nifong's required oath taking for a public position is shielded from the public.

In a private ceremony attended by his wife, his son and some members of his staff, District Attorney Mike Nifong was sworn in by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson this morning. The press and the public were locked out of the courthouse while the ceremony took place.

David Maister on changing minds

My experience has been that those who seem to like my work most tend to be people who already share my underlying assumptions (about professionalism, people and passion, to name only three things.) Those who do NOT share my assumptions do not seem to appreciate my work, and neither read my work nor hire me for consulting or seminars. I tend not to have the chance to engage in debates with those I would most like to reach - those who do not share my world view and might benefit from considering it. And, of course, vice versa.
RTWT here.


Why corporate change is hard and failure almost inevitable

Part I
Part II
Part III

Monday, January 01, 2007

Jason Whitlock: Prophet

From 11-22-06
Michael Vick, coach killer? Truer words have never been spoken. Thank you, Jim Mora Sr.

A coach killer needs three ingredients: 1. a fat contract; 2. more potential than work ethic; 3. a passionate group of enablers willing to rationalize any and every shortcoming
Duke lacrosse: Durham in Wonderland looks at an enabler

KC Johnson takes a hard look at Wendy Murphy:

The Wendy Murphy File
He asks a really important question-- why would any law school want this woman on its faculty?

See also:

Tucker Carlson: The willing degradation of the reservation conservative

When inmates take over the tabloid asylum

Duke lacrosse