Friday, 7 April 2006

Cameron Rocks!

Tonight’s concert featuring Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie was great, and well worth the 25 bucks, even if I think I was about the oldest person in my section—and I’m even not that old. It was particularly nice to see Duke undergraduates behaving like the vast, vast majority of Duke undergrads do when they’re not hitting the books—having a good time with their friends while behaving like responsible young men and women. Normally I wouldn’t comment on such things, but after the last few weeks it bears noting.

Duke Lacrosse Investigation

If you’re new to the blog, all of the posts related to the Duke lacrosse investigation are here. Please also read below the fold for a few groundrules.

I recommend the CourtTV discussion board for this case if you want to discuss the intricacies of the evidence.

A new tagline

The boss just suggested a new tagline for the blog: “All lacrosse dicks, all the time.” I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty catchy.

I’m hoping, though, that I’ll soon be able to return to sane, normal stuff like mocking Chronicle articles on freshman student dining and inane student op-eds. Somehow, though, I suspect that Mike Nifong won’t let me off the hook that easily.

Who says the sum is less than its parts?

Boston Cote today proves that you can get a Duke education and turn out to be more intelligent than at least one of the college’s tenured faculty members:

On MSNBC, Rita Cosby pressed [professor of English and African-American Studies Houston] Baker for a practical solution in begging the question “what should be done?” Given his chance to finally say something constructive, Baker simply replied that we need “a restoration of confidence” in our institution.

I’m sorry, but that is not a practical solution. That’s not even an appropriate response to the question at hand. A “restoration of confidence” is not an action that “should be done.” A “restoration of confidence” is a consequence of what can be done. And unlike Brodhead, nowhere in his open letter or in his many media appearances did Baker offer a sensible proposal for how the University can help restore confidence in its intellectual or academic mission without resorting to the eradication of athletic programs.

Individuals and groups that feel slighted by the University’s moderate response to the allegations ought to be more proactive in their criticisms. It is shamelessly insufficient to claim: “The University has not done enough! Enough steps have not been taken!” Protesters ought to be drafting recommendations-not asking pointless rhetorical questions and answering them with more pointless rhetorical questions. Because frankly: You. Aren’t. Helping.

The rest of today’s Chronicle coverage is pretty meh; go and read it if you like, I don’t care. In big media, the situation is worse; the Herald-Sun at least is continuing to cover the story, but a look at the front page of the News & Observer website would leave you wondering if there were anything going on at Duke at all.

City code enforcement lax in Trinity Park

Well, well, well—it turns out that Durham’s going to have to shoulder at least some of the blame for the “out of control” student population in the neighborhoods around East; most egregious paragraph in bold:

[Council member Thomas] Stith’s point about a crackdown addressed neighborhood complaints that lax [not lacrosse – ed.] code enforcement by the city has contributed to a party atmosphere on the edge of campus.

In addition to police, who deal with overt disturbances of the peace, the job of enforcing Durham’s regulations belongs to the City/County Planning Department and the city Department of Housing and Community Development. The planning office handles zoning matters, while the housing department probes violations of Durham’s minimum housing code.

City/County Planning Director Frank Duke said Thursday that his department hadn’t received or investigated any complaints about 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. in the past four years, and had handled only two complaints targeting houses anywhere on North Buchanan Boulevard in that time.

Both those complaints targeted homes on the 700 block. One alleged that a house had too many occupants, but was dismissed because the landlord proved he was entitled to an exception because the practice was entrenched long before the city established a maximum number of occupants, Duke said.

The other alleged that Duke students living in a house had posted commercial beer signs on the building. Inspectors upheld the complaint and made the students remove the signs, Duke said.

A similar accounting was not forthcoming Thursday from the housing department.

Its director, Mike Barros, said he’d forwarded an inquiry from The Herald-Sun e-mailed to him on Tuesday to his assistant director, Constance Stancil, and that she was looking into the matter.

So, we have private property owners and leaseholders of legal contract age, and yet the university gets the blame for the rowdy behavior that goes on outside its jurisdiction. A pox on all my neighbors, student and Townie alike.