Tom Ehrich on the Lessons of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

Perhaps the single best opinion piece written thus far on the infamous Duke University Lacrosse Team Rape Case is
“We can’t ignore lessons of Duke lacrosse case”
by Tom Ehrich. This article is about the “epidemic of accountability-denial” that pervades the Duke University administration. As Ehrich points out, the administration of university President Richard Brodhead “shows no discernible appetite for learning from these events.”

Ehrich also points out aspects of the case that the news media have by and large ignored:

On the Sunday after rape allegations were revealed, I watched female students express outrage at the way women are treated at Duke, neighbors express outrage at the way hard-partying undergraduates tarnish their neighborhoods, and others express outrage at a jock culture soaked in beer and privilege.

Duke needs to be taking that outrage seriously. It doesn’t go away with Nifong’s removal. If the women were correct in describing a high incidence of sexual assault by male students, then Duke has a huge ethical issue, not to mention potential exposure to crippling lawsuits.

Moving drunken students out of the tony neighborhood where the notorious lacrosse team party occurred doesn’t address the problem of out-of-control drinking or the growing perception of Duke as a party school.

However, Brodhead’s administration appears dead set on pretending that all the bad things that did happen were the fault of District Attorney Mike Nifong. Duke athletes are still allowed to go around engaging in drunken, boorish behavior right up to and including threatening female students with rape and worse. The administration still refuses to even so much as acknowledge these evil things or to do anything to stop them. Big money from big athletics are too important to the university.

After all, as the top dog administrators are no doubt snickering, its difficult to recruit superstar athletes but recruiting young ladies is a snap. Why should they change their ways when nobody is applying any pressure on them to do the right thing?

Anne K. Ream on the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

One of the very best opinion pieces written about the Duke University Lacrosse Team Rape Case was by Anne K. Ream that originally appeared in the June 17th Chicago Tribune and was reprinted on the
Sexual Assault Training & Investigations (SATI) website
. In it Ream pointed out some inconvenient facts:

The young men who narrowly lost to rival Johns Hopkins in the NCAA championship game are indeed gifted and resilient athletes. But praising the players as “outstanding” and “upstanding” young men, as the Duke Lacrosse Booster Club did in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, is a reminder of just how low the bar has fallen when it comes to acceptable male behavior. Legal vindication is not moral vindication, no matter how hard a PR campaign works to make it so.

We may never know everything that occurred on the night of March 13, 2006, when the Duke lacrosse players threw a team party at an off-campus house. But what we do know is troubling enough.

Photos taken at the party show two young women, hired to perform by the players, dancing at the center of a group of largely drunken and leering men. The North Carolina attorney general’s report details how one of the lacrosse players held up a broomstick during the night’s events, suggesting that the women use it as a “sex toy.” Another player sent a chilling group e-mail just hours after the party, musing about bringing in more “strippers” and cutting off their skin while ejaculating. Witnesses reported hearing racial slurs lobbed by partygoers.

Ream goes on to point out how the phrase “boys will be boys” has been used to justify even the most barbaric of crimes committed by “student”-athletes against females. Ream also notes the real problem with the way that the news media has reported on rape for years and years: “It is underreporting, not false reporting, that poses the greatest risk to our families and our communities.”

Let’s hope that voices like Ream’s are heard and their concerns acted upon.

Bad Public Relations Form at Flying Lab Software

Following is a press release from the folks at Flying Lab Software:

We’ve recently posted someinformation to the website for our upcoming, massively-multiplayer, onlinevideo game Pirates of the Burning Sea that we think you will findinteresting. Read below for more details:

Flying Lab Software CEO, RussellWilliams, has just posted a lengthy Developer Log explaining the recentlyannounced publishing contract with Pirates of the Burning Sea and SonyOnline Entertainment. You can find Rusty’s Devlog byvisiting this link: http://www.burningsea.com/pages/page.php?pageKey=news/article&article_id=10349

Pirates of the Burning Sea fansare encouraged to attend today’s Flying Lab Software Developer Chatat 2pm PST. This discussion will give everyone a chance to ask our teamquestions regarding the recent partnership announcement with SOE, as well asany other questions they may have about Pirates of the Burning Sea. A number ofFlying Lab Software staff will be on hand to answer your questions in thismoderated chat. This chat will be followed by a brief opportunity for somefree-form conversation with Flying Lab Software staffers.

If available, please join usthrough IRC in #potbs-devchat on irc.coldfront.net. We look forward to seeingyou there!

Troy ‘Aether’ Hewitt

Director, Community Relations

troyh@flyinglab.com

TheresaPudenz

Public Relations

theresap@flyinglab.com

Flying Lab Software

1905 Queen Anne Ave. N. Suite 300

Seattle, WA 98109-2549 – USA

http://www.burningsea.com http://www.flyinglab.com

These guys sent this out just a little over an hour and a half before the IRC chat was to take place. This is hardly enough warning time. No wonder so few people showed up on IRC to either take part in it or to report on what was said. Truly, this was an exercise in incompetence. Next time they do something like this, at least send the thing out 24 hours or so before the event for maximum attendance,

Prof KC Johnson’s Little Fantasy

Over at Durham in Wonderland, Prof KC Johnson has been engaging in more than his usual fantasizing. This time his fantasy is about his comments policy:

A reminder on the blog’s comments policy: I welcome all viewpoints in the comments section, but delete vile or off-topic comments.

Actually, what he does is remove all comments that offer any reality based challenge to his baseless fantasies. His working definition of “vile” and “off-topic” is anything that he cannot or will not answer. Truly, he is as intellectually lazy as he is biased.

The Disgrace of “The Disgrace of the Duke 88”

One of the worst results from the advent of Internet journalism is the triumph of attitude over substance. Attitude all too often trumps fact and logic. A recent example of this disturbing tendency is the article
“The Disgrace of the Duke 88”
that was written by one Carey Roberts. A text to keep in mind when reading articles on the so-called “Duke 88” or “Gang of 88” is
this advertisement that was paid for by 88 Duke University professors out of their own pockets
. This endeavor towards stirring up discussion and debate has been willfully distorted by critics such as Mr. Roberts.

First off, Roberts demonstrates that truth is not something that he really cares about by stating:

The three lacrosse players have been declared innocent, Duke University has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement, and Michael Nifong’s law license has been yanked. But unfinished business remains.

The lacrosse jocks were declared innocent by a politically ambitious state attorney general who was ever mindful of the facts that North Carolina is a racist hate state and that the Big Money and Big Political Power were on the side of the opulent youth, not Truth, Justice and the American Way.

Additionally, the settlement was out of court and sealed. The particulars have been kept secret and out of the press. So just how can Roberts claim that it was a “multi-million dollar settlement”? He just simply made that up because it sounds good. If he really had knowledge of the particulars of the deal, he would have reported his findings and gained a great deal of attention in the process. He has not done so.

Some more from Roberts:

Worse, the professors’ manifesto used the logic of the lynch mob, fostering the notion that since a Black woman claimed to be a victim of rape, everyone at Duke was now tinged with racism: “We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists … It’s part of the experience.”

Wrong. The ad simply quoted someone about his or her experience at Duke. It did not specify the race or sex of the person in question. Nor did it did not make any such claim about how the traumatization of Crystal Mangum “tinged” “everyone at Duke.”

Roberts rules of error continues:

The most vitriolic member of the bunch was professor Houston Baker, who repeatedly indulged in racist and sexist claims. In his letter to Duke provost Peter Lange, Baker charged, “Young, white, violent, drunken men among us – implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators – have injured lives.”

Young, violent, drunken men among us – Dr. Baker, that’s the language of the KKK, not of a university teacher.

The “language of the KKK” is all about racial hatred, not describing the realities of Duke. As for the bit about “Young, violent, drunken men among us,” that happens to be a pretty fair description of most NCAA Division I athletic programs. Guys like Tank Johnson & Pacman Jones do not become miscreants after entering the NFL. They have been coddled at least at the high school and college levels and sheltered from the consequences of their criminal actions.

Roberts continued his reign of error:

History professor William Chafe made the claim that “Sex and race have always interacted in a vicious chemistry of power, privilege, and control.” Somehow Dr. Chafe forgot his history lessons about the notorious case of the Scottsboro Boys, the nine Black teenagers who were falsely accused of rape in 1931.

Unfortunately for Roberts, historical research shows that while some of the “Scottsboro Boys” were almost certainly innocent, some were in fact guilty as charged. It was ham-handed Southern law enforcement’s failure to differentiate between the guilty and the innocent that led to the national outcry over the case.

Roberts rages on:

The Duke 88 advertisement marked a critical turning point in the Mangum rape case. It condoned the actions of the campus potbangers, hardened racial divisions in the Durham community, and provided fodder for Michael Nifong’s re-election campaign.

Wrong. The advertisement used quotes that had already appeared in the news media. The “potbangers” were protesting the fact that nothing had been done about a lacrosse team that had been out of control for at least several years. The racial tensions in Durham were caused, at least to some extent, by the coddling of criminal jocks by Duke University administrators who were more concerned about athletic success than the rule of law. Look at Columbine High School for where such lax attitudes concerning enforcing rules of conduct amongst jocks can lead to. As for the re-election campaign, incumbent Nifong would have won anyways rape case or no rape case.

More Roberts ramblings:

And just 12 days after their statement came out, two members of the lacrosse team were arrested on charges of rape, first degree sexual offense, and kidnapping. A month later, a third player was indicted.

The advertisement and the enforcement of the law had nothing to do with each other. The jocks were culpable for their own crimes.

And finally, Roberts weeps about:

A year later, these young men have been declared innocent and a semblance of normalcy restored to their lives. But their names and reputations are forever associated with a heinous crime.

Actually, this case was the best thing that ever happened to these jocks. Previously, they lived indolent lives common to Old Money families where one’s income depends on inheritance instead of actual work. Its doubtful if any of the jocks in question had ever done an honest day’s work. Now, they get to be on TV, they can get lots of money from lawsuits, have lucrative book deals and probably wind up in the movies since they are all rather handsome.

“The Disgrace of the Duke 88.” Now that’s a real disgrace.

Duke Lacrosse: Comment & Reaction

Here’s a comment I made at

The Duke Chronicle
on a recent piece by one of its typically clueless reporters:

Charles Rector
posted 6/21/07 @ 12:05 PM EST
I am shocked and dismayed by the fact that you, a Duke student, have so little understanding of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. For a writer who either lives on or near the Duke campus, you are naive about the realities of both rape by Duke “student”-athletes and the failure of authorities to combat it.

Throughout recent history, all too many district attorneys & prosecutors have failed to prosecute Duke athletes for serious crimes under the claim of “insufficient evidence” even when there really was
sufficient evidence. What happens here is that the big money boosters and other powerful members of the local establishment lean heavily on prosecutors not to bring charges.

When Mike Nifong decided to throw caution to the wind and prosecute the fiends who traumatized poor Crystal Mangum, he brought all this political weight to bear against him. If you saw any of the live televised coverage, you would have seen that it was a kangaroo court proceeding that disbarred Nifong.

Charles Rector
Blogger, The Nexus
http://archive.omgn.com/nexus

Now, here’s the response from some of the nitwits who infest Duke:

Linda
posted 6/21/07 @ 1:10 PM EST
Rector, if what you intended was parody, a big round of applause for you. If you’re serious… well, best of luck to you, and I hope your medical insurance covers all the expenses related to mental illness.

and:

jayelwin
posted 6/21/07 @ 1:34 PM EST
All you have to do is peruse his blog for about 60 seconds to discover he is a complete whack job (especially the entry about “reverse speech being one of the most interesting scientific discoveries of our time).

Later, someone posted a post of mine from this blog to the

LieTellers Forum
and then had this comment:

This Rector guy is something else. His blog has the comments option turned off. I read a few other comments of his. At least I know now not to bother. Here’s a selection from his 6/18 post:

“It should be remembered that the case against the lacrosse players was sufficient for a grand jury to issue indictments. Grand juries do not indict unless there is sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the defendants. Also, the case was thoroughly investigated by the Durham Police Department which submitted it to the D.A.’s office. This was a typical case pursued by law enforcement. What was not so typical was the opulence of the defendants combined with the powerful forces arrayed on the behalf of the lacrosse players. As a result, this was a defeat suffered not only by Mike Nifong, but by law enforcement in general.”

What this shows is that those who choose to believe the fantasy scenario of the Duke Lacrosse team being wholly innocent and Durham County law enforcement being wholly evil write like they think: poorly. Also, what was so wrong with the above one paragraph summary of the case to begin with?

Boyce Watkins on the Duke Lacrosse Traumatization Case

From the

the so-called “LieStoppers” Forum that should be entitled “LieTellers”
:

Nifong, Duke and the dirty, dirty south – why we still just don’t get it

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

I was taken aback yesterday by the volume of hate mail I received in response to the last article I wrote about Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke LaCrosse case.

Apparently, a few folks had the urge to circulate the column through various chatrooms, news stations, magazines, KKK rallies and porno shops causing the panic that rocked the nation. One of the writers even called me a “negroid”, which is a nice change of pace. I am not sure if I’ve ever been called a “negroid” by anyone other than a scientist.

“What long emails, do these people have jobs?” I wondered, as I checked my email in my boxer shorts. “Maybe they are on welfare or something.”

I am used to this sort of thing. It happens every time I appear on Hannity & Colmes or when I go back to my home state of Kentucky.

I’ve rarely seen people work so hard to defend a pack of drunken thugs, and I wonder if they would have the same passion when defending Pacman Jones, who just lost his job for a shooting he didn’t commit.

Some made the point, rightfully so, that the North Carolina Attorney General had proclaimed the Duke Lacrosse Players to be innocent. “Isn’t that cute”, I thought. “I am sure his statement gives people a lot of confidence, no matter how false that confidence may be”. While the Attorney General may go to some campus parties, I am sure he wasn’t at this one. Neither was I. So, neither he nor I will ever be able to prove innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, particularly in a climate that is overflowing with political motivations and the racist, sexist history of the south (remember this is a case involving the rich and powerful, and a lot of butts were being covered in the end).

Also, let’s be clear: the south is horrifically, undeniably and disgustingly racist. Hence, the credibility of the entire justice system is as weak as that of the drunken frat boys.

Remember that little email from the Lacrosse player about killing strippers? Sweet, innocent boys don’t talk about killing strippers.

So, the Attorney General’s declaration of innocence has as much credibility to me as President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” statement 4 years ago regarding the Iraq war. Read my lips: Just because a politician says something, that doesn’t make it true. Attorneys General are politicians.

In all fairness, I want to hear from the alleged victim in the Duke Lacrosse case. She has gone into hiding and hasn’t said much in public. She should be forced to testify at risk of incarceration. If she lied and made everything up, then she should be prosecuted. If she was bribed or intimidated, then that should be revealed as well. When a victim has one story and suddenly changes it, there is usually a reason for the abrupt change of heart. To have her say “I made it all up” without the risk of going to prison has no credibility, since such a person can take their bribe money and live happily ever after. The seriousness of sex crimes says that she should be forced to testify as well.

On another note, I found it quite ironic that many people seem quick to discuss the questionable credibility of the alleged rape victim, but they do not question the credibility of the students themselves. Who’s the bigger “ho”? Someone who takes their clothes off to feed their family, or the idiots who get naked with strippers for free? Men who have wild drunken stripper parties are not all that reliable in court.

I’ve said my piece. Attacking the integrity of rape victims and mobbish anger after racially-divisive conflicts is a long-standing tradition in the south and much of America. The OJ trial, Hurricane Katrina and the Duke rape case showed us that. When put on trial for racism in the highest degree, the south and Duke University (a campus that rarely hires black professors or admits black students) are guilty as charged. Such a reality, no matter how much we deny it, will always play a powerful role in our interpretations.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” and “Everything you ever wanted to know about college”. He makes regular appearances in the national media, including CNN, BET, FOX, and USA Today. For more information, please visit www.boycewatkins.com.

What’s Up With TDZK?

Lately, the popular free space trading strategy multiplayer online game TDZK has been offline has have the forums. This leads to 3 distinct possibilities:

A: The game is offline for updates that could take a while.

B: The game is in financial difficulties.

C: The staff needs a breather.

My guess is that it is a combination of A & C.

Regular Folks Back Nifong

Here is a

letter to the editor of the Greensboro News-Record
that shows that most of the regular folks
in North Carolina still support Mike Nifong no matter what the elites do to Nifong:

Nifong gets punishment just for doing his job

Mike Nifong should never have had to step down as district attorney. He did what he was elected by the people to do. I wonder if we will go after all attorneys who have prosecuted innocent men and take their licenses.

Let’s consider the countless African American men who have been falsely accused of rape with no evidence against them. These men’s lives have been destroyed, but no one cares.

Also, with DNA evidence available, most of the men freed are African American, but the only response they get is “oops.” The crime even remains on their record unless the governor removes it.

Are we going after the attorney who prosecuted Darryl Hunt and hold him responsible for the years Hunt sat in jail innocent? Hunt will never get those years back.

In some cases these men received monetary compensation, but what is that compared to lost years behind bars knowing your innocence and when everyone in the judicial system knows it?

These Duke boys were inconvenienced; they don’t have a clue about having their lives disrupted. In a few years, this will be forgotten. I say give Mike Nifong back his job. We need fair men like him.

Michele McMillan
Greensboro

The Trashing of Nancy Grace

One of the more infuriating aspects of bloggers and blogging is how so many of them seem to get their kicks out of projecting their bizarre fantasies on others. One lady (a lady in the truest sense of the term) who has been trashed by weirdo bloggers lately is Nancy Grace of CNN Headline News. Grace is a former prosecutor who now has her own TV show that covers issues of law and justice.

One blog in particular that has been trashing Grace is RS: Redstate that recently ran a most despicable post under the diabolically eye-grabbing title that the blogger could come up with: Nancy Grace: A Whorer Show. The blogger in question opens his post up with a provacative paragraph:

The mainstream media loves to tell bloggers that the MSM is fact checked, reliable, lacking the rabid looniness of the online horde, and credible. Whether you are of the left or the right, the next time anyone tells you the media has greater credibility than bloggers, point them to Nancy Grace, media whore.

Nowhere in this entire post did the writer present even one shred of evidence that Nancy Grace has ever traded sex for cash. That is the only way one should ever accuse someone of being a “whore.” That being the case, the blogger in question is a “grace”-less jerk and should be ashamed of himself.

Racism Duke University Style

One thing that has gotten lost in the coverage of the Duke University Lacrosse Team Rape Case is that Duke is a historically racist institution. And not just racist, but severely racist.

Duke was originally founded to promote what it called the “supremacy of the supreme race.” Up until the early 1970’s, in order to get hired there, you had to take what amounted to a racial loyalty oath in which you pledged to uphold the concept of “whiteness is rightness.” Any Duke employee who was found to be engaged pro civil rights activity would be automatically fired regardless of how long the employee had worked there or if he/she had tenure. Duke students found to be similarly engaged were expelled from the campus. So much for academic freedom.

According to a friend of mine, racism is prevalent among the white students there. Many of the white students came to Duke so that they could be as “racist as they want to be.” To be sure, Duke does have a fearsomely sounding Politically Correct “Code of Student Conduct,” but it is there for show, not for enforcement.

According to my friend, all too many white students openly use hateful racist language. My friend says that the whites talk as if they can rape any black female on or off campus and completely get away with it now that Mike Nifong is no longer the district attorney. Black students have learned not to take the time to report these outrages to either the campus police or the university administration since their previous experience with these folks is that they will do nothing but take down a report and as soon as their backs is turned, throw them away.

The sad thing about it is that the racist white students may well be right. It will be a cold day in Hell before any of Nifong’s successors dares to even lift a finger to protect minority students from the depradations of Duke athletes.

That being the case, both my friend and many of her friends are looking at other schools instead of staying in such an inhospitable climate.

Frontier League

The Frontier League is a leading example of an independent pro baseball league. Players get paid $1,000 a month to play a 96 game schedule over 5 months May-September. This is baseball at its purest form uncorrupted by TV, radio, huge salaries, huge prices and unions.

The Late Coach Terry Hoeppner Was A Scum Bag


Terry Hoeppner has just kicked the bucket
and with his passing nothing but laudatory obituaries are written. That this should happen with a low life such as Hoeppner is nothing but sickening.

Terry Hoeppner was one of those coaches for whom winning was everything and if that meant recruiting criminal players, then so be it. Both of the “schools” where Hoeppner was a head football coach, Indiana & Miami of Ohio were wracked with continual news stories about football players running amok.

A pattern developed where as long as a criminal player was eligible to play football, Hoeppner continually stuck up for them, arguing that they deserved “a second chance” that increasingly went to be a third chance, a fourth chance and so on. Invariably, these players received suspended sentences, probation, community service and other Mickey Mouse penalties. However, once they lost their eligibility and committed more crimes, Hoeppner dropped them like hot potatoes and thus betrayed the young men who he had so callously exploited for his coaching career.

Terry Hoeppner was a scum and is not deserving of obituaries that shower nothing but praise upon his wretched name.

Reverse Speech

Reverse Speech is one of the most interesting scientific discoveries of our time.

From the website:

If human speech is recorded and played backwards, mixed amongst the gibberish at regular intervals can be heard very clear statements. These statements usually appear in short sentence form and are nearly always related to the forward speech. It appears constantly throughout language, so much so in fact, that it is believed to be a natural part of our speech processes.

The pioneer and 20 year veteran of this field, Australian David John Oates, describes Reverse Speech as another form of human communication. He states that language is bi-level, forward and reverse. As the human brain constructs the sounds of speech, it forms those sounds in such a way that two messages are delivered simultaneously. One forwards, which is the conscious mind speaking, and the other in reverse, which is the unconscious mind speaking.

The applications of this discovery are exciting. On the surface level, it can act as a sort of Truth Detector as Reverse Speech will usually correct the inconsistencies of forward speech. If a lie is spoken forwards, the truth may be communicated in reverse. If pertinent facts are left out of forward speech these may also be spoken in reverse. It can reveal hidden motive and agenda and other conscious thought processes. At deeper levels, Reverse Speech can reveal thought patterns that are unconscious, including reasons behind behaviour and disease. This information can be used to greatly enhance the therapeutic and healing processes.

CGDC E-Mail

Here’s an E-Mail from Tim Emmerich of the
Christian Game Developer’s Conference
:

Greetings again.

Anyone want to do a speech? Or would like to nominate someone to do one? On the nomination, we need you to do the initial footwork – contact them, see if they are interested, etc.

Again, if you don’t want to prepay, go ahead and register (ignore the paypal buttons):

http://www.cgdc.org/forms/cgdc_registration.asp

Also, if you recognize any of these Emails – please follow through and try to find an Email or phone # that works for them. Email me the new info once you find it (and after you’ve invited them to the conference).
axe@adelphia.net
ighojude610@hotmail.com
jputman@twelve32.com
lhuebel@excite.com
scott.allumbaugh@intel.com
sdl@firelineinteractive.com
mog_agapechild@hotmail.com
physika@chollian.net

God bless you,
Tim

Movie Review Rough Draft: Brand Upon the Brain!

One problem with all too many movie reviewers is that they are pretentious and want to make you believe that they are are great intellectuals. As a result, they will almost invariably praise every foreign language film that comes down the pike and loudly lament how the average person does not have a proper appreciation of such movies. The same goes for all too many “independent” movies of the sort that are produced by filmmakers who pronounce themselves to be on the “cutting edge.”

Usually, when an “indie” film is released to theaters, it does not gain access to too many theaters. Instead, their premieres are held at film festivals such as Sundance where the filmmakers indulge themselves in all sorts of weeping and wailing that their productions are being denied access to movie audiences while big studio pictures are able to gain an audience without any trouble. At these same festivals, there are movie reviewers who cozy up to the indie filmmakers and act as volunteer public relations agents for them. When these indie movies are released to a limited theatrical run, usually in pretentious “art houses”, movie reviewers line up and praise them to high heaven and imply that the reason why most folks do not line up and go to these movies is that the typical movie fan is simply too stupid to fully appreciate these productions.

One good example of a recent independent film production that has received its share of rave reviews from pretentious film critics is Brand Upon the Brain! This is a production of Guy Maddin who literally specializes in making pretentious art house movies. The things that make Brand Upon the Brain! so tantalizing for movie reviewers to seize upon to dump on average folks are that it is shot in black and white, it is a silent movie and that it deals in supposedly taboo subjects such as incest.

The movie begins with a man in a rowboat. His mother calls out to him to come to their house and paint it like he had promised. After he gets the boat on shore, he passes out. The poor guy then experiences all sorts of flashbacks as well as what appears to be flashbacks within flashbacks. Both his mother and his sex-crazed sister come up to him and demand to know just why he is such a space cadet. After this weird start, the movie proceeds to make less and less sense.

The movie then proceeds to a subplot involving two teenagers named the Light Bulb Kids and another teenager named Savage Tom. Seems some sicko is going around and drilling holes into the heads of children. Savage Tom is the top suspect, but the Light Bulb Kids are not so sure of his guilt. Then, as soon as this started to get interesting, this subplot comes to an end without any resolution as the movie goes back to the man, his sex-crazed sister and his increasingly sex-crazed mother.

The remainder of the movie is devoted to the man’s problems as well as lots of footage that is nothing but empty visuals. This photography has nothing to do with anything in the movie and appears to be nothing but filler. Apparently, the movie makers ran out of funds to turn the rest of the script into a movie and resorted to place stock photography in its place to reach the desired length.

And just what do the pretentious movie critics have to say about this
undignified mess of a movie? Thus far, every critic who have written about this motion picture have praised it to high heaven. Typical of these reviewers is Roger Ebert. In
his review of Brand Upon the Brain!
, Ebert uses the tricks of
the pretentious critic who wants to impress his readers that he is a
great intellectual. Ebert’s review is light on discussing the actual
movie and heavy on writing about just about everything else. This is
an unconscious hint on Ebert’s part that he really did not like the movie (this is assuming that he actually saw it) and is simply adding padding to make the “review” full length.

Ebert also insinuated that if you go and see the movie and not like as much as he the oh so great Ebert, then you are either lacking in taste and sophistication.

Quoth Roger Ebert:

In a sense, you will enjoy Brand Upon the Brain! most if you are an experienced moviegoer who understands (somehow) what Maddin is doing. The average filmgoer might simply be frustrated and confused. For me, Maddin seems to penetrate to the hidden layers beneath the surface of the movies, revealing a surrealistic underworld of fears, fantasies and obsessions.

In other words, Roger Ebert is a great intellectual and you the moviegoer is nothing but a dumb schmuck. So very typical of Roger Ebert and other pretentious movie critics.

In any event, Brand Upon the Brain! is a piece of pretentious movie drivel that you need to avoid like the plague.

Mike Nifong Railroaded by Kangaroo Court

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has been disbarred for the crime of pursuing his duties in the public interest in the matter of the infamous Duke University Lacrosse Team Rape Case. What happened was that wealthy Duke alumni, Duke athletic boosters and powerful figures in North Carolina combined with the endemic racism in the South to forge a successful coalition aimed at punishing Nifong and making him an example for other law enforcers across the country who encounter cases of so called “student athletes” engaged in violence against students in general.

It should be remembered that the case against the lacrosse players was sufficient for a grand jury to issue indictments. Grand juries do not indict unless there is sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the defendants. Also, the case was thoroughly investigated by the Durham Police Department which submitted it to the D.A.’s office. This was a typical case pursued by law enforcement. What was not so typical was the opulence of the defendants combined with the powerful forces arrayed on the behalf of the lacrosse players. As a result, this was a defeat suffered not only by Mike Nifong, but by law enforcement in general. The Duke case already has affected the way that law enforcement agencies across the country handle the problems posed by jocks such as in the
De Anza College baseball team case
.

For more on the negative repercussions from the sickening way that the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case has turned out, consider
these excerpts from a recent Black Prof Blog posting
:

Anyone who has worked or participated in the American justice system can’t help but to feel utter bewilderment at the announcement of Mike Nifong’s disbarment.

If we follow the equation to its logical end, the lives of three accused privilege white males will always, unapologetically, be viewed as more valuable than the lives of thousands of wrongfully prosecuted non-whites. In this whole fiasco, no one is addressing the elephant in the room; that Nifong’s fatal error was that he believed the words of a black woman over that of three privileged white men.

Almost immediately after the rape allegations were made, it became evident from student comments submitted to the media, that for the Durham community, the rape allegations represented not just one isolated incident, but a culmination of slights and abuses of privilege that the community hoped would finally be punished. The very fact that a team of 43 young Lacrosse players considered the hiring of two African American strippers as an acceptable form of sexual entertainment corroborated this feeling of exasperation. It is also interesting that, in the midst of the mass obsession with the culpability or non-culpability of the three players, no one took the time to ask the obvious question: Why did the Duke administration offer no remonstrance against the Duke Lacrosse team for hiring black strippers at a team’s party?

The answer to the last question is that the Duke administration, from University President Richard Brodhead on down, puts athletic success above all else.

Such is the sad state of affairs in American higher education and it will get worse before it gets better.

National Institute for Sports Reform (NISR)

The National Institute for Sports Reform (NISR) is a leading organization that is attempting to bring some sanity to the jock culture that has damaged the integrity of the American sports culture.

From the website’s front page:

Crisis on Our Playing Fields

“At the heart of these problems (in sports) is a profound change in the American culture of sports itself. At one time, that culture was defined by colleges, high schools, summer leagues, and countless community recreational programs. Amateurism was a cherished ideal. In such a context, it made sense to regard athletics as an educational undertaking. Young people were taught values ranging from fitness, cooperation, teamwork, and perseverance to sportsmanship as moral endeavor. All of that seems somehow archaic and quaint today.”
The Knight Commission, A Call to Action, 2001

An exerpt from Svare, B. 2004, “Crisis on Our Playing Fields: What Everyone Should Know About Our Out of Control Sports Culture and What We Can Do to Change It”, Sports Reform Press.
There is a crisis brewing on our nation’s playing fields and it is fueled in part by the unprecedented popularity of sports in our country. Look at the nationwide figures today regarding sports participation and you will see some staggering numbers. Roughly 22 million 6-18 year olds participate in youth sports programs such as Little League baseball and Pop Warner football; approximately 16 million athletes are involved in intramural or interscholastic sports; 2 million are involved in club or fee based programs; 332,000 are involved in intercollegiate athletics. These numbers, which represent dramatic increases over what they were 10 and 20 years ago, clearly indicate the rising popularity of sports in our country.

Later on after clicking on the read full excerpt on the front page:

*Sports have become very serious business and immense pressure is now placed upon the early specialization and professionalization of young athletes, the intense promotion of athletic achievement for the reward of an athletic scholarship or professional contract, and winning at all costs.

*Academic corruption is pervasive in our public schools and institutions of higher learning that house big-time sports programs.

*Commercialism and the big business of pre-professional sports is increasing and threatening the integrity of our academic institutions.

*The utilization of supplements and performance enhancing drugs is pervasive and has been fueled by a culture of winning at all costs.

*Declining sportsmanship, elevated violence, and the general misbehavior of athletes, coaches, parents, and fans threatens to compromise the essence of athletic competition.

*Sports injuries and other health related issues are increasing for almost all levels of athletics and not enough is being done to prevent them.

*The media acts irresponsibly and at times unethically in the manner in which it overexposes, glamorizes and hypes the lives of young athletes and popularizes their misbehavior both on and off the field.

*Sports gambling and the printing of point spread information threatens to undermine the integrity of sports.

*Sports opportunities are shifting dramatically and producing severe inequities in many segments of our society.

*Competitive sports, which satisfies the needs of a small group of elite athletes, is the dominant theme in our sports culture while recreational and fitness-based sports, which satisfies the needs of the vast majority, have been de-emphasized.

*Existing sports governing bodies, youth and amateur organizations, and educational institutions have done a poor job of protecting the health and welfare of athletes who are increasingly abused and exploited by our present sports culture.

*Our sports loving parents, many of whom are well intentioned but not sufficiently armed with important information, may not be aware of the threat posed to their children if our runaway sports culture is not reformed before it is too late.

Here is the Mission Statement and Goals of the NISR:

Mission Statement

The mission of NISR is to:

*end the exploitation and abuse of youth, scholastic, amateur, and collegiate athletes
promote safe and healthy sports activities for all individuals regardless of age, race, gender, religious background, socioeconomic status, or level of physical proficiency.

*develop resources to aid individual researchers and institutions who are studying sports reform
serve as a think tank, clearing house, and research center on sports reform issues

*educate the public regarding important reforms that are needed to improve the academic and athletic experiences of those who compete in sports

*bring under one umbrella organization the many different groups that are actively seeking to improve and reform sports in the United States

*promote discussion between national sports organizations and sports reform groups

NISR Goals

The specific goals of the NISR are to:

*end the academic corruption that routinely occurs in college and scholastic sports.

*curtail the growing commercialization of interscholastic and intercollegiate sports.

*end the inappropriate and overemphasized media coverage of young athletes.

*stop sports gambling and the reporting of point spread information for interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic contests.

*end the utilization of performance enhancing drugs at all levels of athletic competition.

*end the win at all cost attitude that pervades sports at the pre-professional level.

*reduce the growing trend of early professionalization and specialization of very young athletes.

*curtail the proliferation of poor sportsmanship, violence, unethical conduct, and misbehavior of players, coaches and fans.

*end the escalating incidence of burnout, over-training, and sports injuries among athletes.

ISN News #2 Report

By popular demand, here is the 2nd ever news report from the ISN team that was issued forth on January 10, 1999 in the now defunct game Space Merchant:

From: ISN (isn_editor_3@hotmail.com)
Date: Sunday, January 10, 1999 07:32 PM

——————————————————————————–

THIS IS INTERSTELLAR NEWS FOR JAN 10, 2499

THE UNFORGIVEN DECLARES VICTORY
The break up of THE POLIT BUREAU effectively ends DUDEMAN’s One Man War. Citing poor leadership, ANANKE denounced TPB and left to look for another home along with several other TPB members. Moral of this story, Web board warriors make poor alliance members.

STELLAR PRIDE RUNS FOR THE COVER OF DARKNESS
After begging most of the top alliances to let him in after the fall of his masters, TPB, STARBLADE bounced around a little before falling in the DARK VORTEX. Reports suggests that the DARK VORTEX was started by a few members of another alliance who stole planets and money from its newbie members and skipped town. This reporter watched late last night as STARBLADE and 3 other STELLAR PRIDERS changed alliances one-by-one like clockwork. We will not report which traders made that late night transition, since it does not seem to be a secret that STARBLADE is “close” to several other traders in his alliance.
Vortex Homeworld

NEW ALLIANCE
ALSKANT: CREEL, disappointed by the inferior quality of all the other alliances, started his own:
THE CREEL ADMIRATION SOCIETY.

FEDERAL ULTIMATUMS SPOTTED
BARBARELLA and LADY OF THE LAKE of the AVALON COALITION were spotted in their new Federal Ultimatums hunting unsuspecting prey. The Interstellar Revenue Service is auditing AVALON tax returns to determine if they claimed all of their income legally. There seems to be some questions of how such a small alliance and traders with nearly no experience can afford not one, but two fully armed FUs.

Interstellar Revenue HQ, Manton Prime

EIGHT PAC FOUR CANS SHORT OF A TWELVE PACK

In a act of shear stupidly, rage or greed, EIGHT PAC continues to commit suicide on ANLA’SHOK planets. Having attacked ANLA’SHOK planets no less than 25 times in the past week, Thevian Blue Cross & Blue Shield is considering canceling his life insurance policy.

Anla’Shok Homeworld

MISSING TRADER FOUND
HUMAN FEDERAL PROTECTION ZONE: Federal authorities confirmed reports that a West Quad trader was held captive for nearly 36 hours in the cargo bay of a Planetary Super Freighter. It seems that the trader landed is Alskant Speed Demon in the loading zone at the port in sector 255 and was loading into the Planetary Super Freighter by accident.
Federal HQ Station in Human Galaxy

THIS DAY IN HISTORY
2003 President Elizabeth Dole was impeached by the House of Representatives of the United States of America for lying about her age.
2005 President George Bush Jr. was impeached by the House of Representatives for removing the tag from his pillow.
2009 Ex-President G. Bush Jr. wins re-election as Governor of Texas and declares war on Louisiana. No one complains until the Cajun Chicken McNuggets supply starts to run low.

ASK SPAMBOY
Q: How did you get so much experience?
A: WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY? I AM NOT NONAD! AAARRRRGGGGG!!!!

Note: SPAMBOY and NONAD are characters created by ISN and are not meant to represent persons in the Space Merchant universe. Any similarity to persons living, deceased or existing in multiple personality form in cyberspace, is purely coincidental?

IN OTHER NEWS
1/3/99 2:28:32 AM Hillsfar II killed Time in sector #962 J

JOKE
Q: What is the most common number of multiple personalities?
A: 5, if he doesn’t want to be too obvious.
– One to scout
– One to trade
– One to fight
– One to be killed
– And one to be called a cheater.

TOP 10 WEB BOARD POSTS/TOPICS
10. Complaints about StarBlade and WarZone
9. Discussions on the ethics of killing newbies
8. Bright ideas and suggestions no one has thought of since last week
7. Posts answering questions for those too lazy to read the manual
6. Marta reminding people to refrain from using profanity
5. People sucking up to Marta, John and Speef
4. People complaining about Marta, John and Speef
3. People sucking up to and complaining about about Marta, John and Speef
2. Posts that abuse the letter “Z”

And the #1 Web Board Topic is:

1. “Hey, anyone else getting errors?”

Chicago Blackhawks Sign Jonathan Toews

From the Chicago Blackhawks:

Blackhawks Sign 1st Round Pick Toews

————————————————–
BLACKHAWKS SIGN 1ST ROUND PICK TOEWS

General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the Blackhawks have
agreed to terms with center Jonathan Toews
(http://www.chicagoblackhawks.com/news/news.asp?story_id=3856) on a
3-year entry level contract.

“Jonathan Toews is an exciting player that Blackhawk fans are going
to enjoy watching,” said Tallon. “We’re excited to welcome him to the
Blackhawk family.”

“Now that it’s finally official, I can tell you that I’m really
excited to be a part of the Blackhawks organization,” said Toews.
“Chicago is a city with a great history and it’s a great hockey city.
I’m looking forward to playing for the Chicago Blackhawks fans.”