Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 27 July 2017

Rameses Agonistes

Anyone who has known me for more than 15 minutes knows how much of a “bleed-Carolina-blue” Tar Heel fan I have always been. I expect always to be.

Rameses Agonistes

Rameses Agonistes
(Rameses in inner turmoil)

That having been said, I have been from the beginning one of the most vocal critics of my beloved alma mater over (a) their scandalous academic behavior and (b) their scandalous deny-deny-deny, sweep-scandal-under-the-rug behavior. I find it rotten to the core.

A cousin of mine drew my attention today to a CBS article by renowned sports commentator John Feinstein. Sadly, I find a huge amount in it with which I agree. (Click to read his entire article.)

As much as I understand and sympathize with his broader message, I should point out that I saw immediately that he got at least a couple of little things wrong:

First, the dates of the upcoming NCAA hearing are August 16-17, not Aug. 14 as he says.

Second — and this is far more important — it was not something called the “North Carolina Accrediting Agency for academic institutions” which put UNC on accreditation probation, as asserted in the article. No such agency exists. Carolina was put on a year’s accreditation probation (“usually, but not necessarily, the last step before an institution is removed from” accreditation) by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is from SACS (and SACS alone) that Carolina receives “national” accreditation that covers the entire institution. Without it, no Federal financial aid would be possible for any student attending. Let that sink in!

Back to Feinstein: it’s catching these two “little” but important mistakes which makes me wonder what else he may have gotten wrong.

What he definitely got right is how Carolina got itself into this mess in the first place. If you’ve been living on Mars, or otherwise distracted, the last 2 decades, here’s his summary:

         The basic premise of the investigation is this: During a period that might have been as long as 18 years (!!) dating from 1993, numerous Carolina athletes were involved in sham classes in the African and Afro-American studies department.
         In all, according to reporting done by the Raleigh
News & Observer and an independent report sanctioned by UNC, about 3,100 students participated in the sham classes. Roughly half were scholarship athletes and many – most – were either football or basketball players.
         The classes, according to the reports, never met and the work required was absolutely minimal – if there was any work done at all.


All that said, I feel torn down to my Carolina-blue-blood between, on the one hand, my intense anger at UNC’s egregious academic sins coupled with my sense of justice which demands punishment for those sins — and, on the other hand, my love for and admiration of the Carolina student-athletes who will likely suffer a great deal of the blowback from whatever judicial sanction bomb the NCAA explodes in Chapel Hill. It was not the athletes’ fault that the school offered those fake classes, nor that their athletic staff pushed them to take them.

Feinstein closes by saying, “The only question is whether academic fraud took place. The athletic director says it did. Which is why Carolina’s punishment must be harsh for the NCAA to retain what little credibility it has left.

I wonder what will happen.




Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 23 July 2017

If Vivent Comes Knocking, Caveat Emptor


Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, has been part of the English language since 1523, when it was used in connection with the sale of a horse, which might have been ridden upon and be tame or might be wild. If wild, it was not the merchant who had to beware, but caveat emptor, beware thou buyer.”

— District Judge Michael Joseph Reagan (S.D. Illinois)
Spivey v. Adaptive Marketing, 23 September 2009

What follows is a recent true example of how important this legal dictum and common sense truth remains. Read on and Beware.

Upfront, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that this article is based solely on the experience my wife and I had with the door-to-door salesperson who represented himself as working for Vivint Smart Home. It turned out to be a most unsatisfactory experience (for us and for him, as well, I’m sure), and I feel very good about the fact that we did not become Vivint customers that day — regardless of how good Vivint’s products may or may not be.

In his favor, let me say the door-to-door salesman was very well trained by whatever marketing company he works for (see below). He is clearly well versed in the sales approach that they want him to use, one that has no doubt proved to work well in this kind of suburban setting. He had the “company line” down pat for every question, objection, skepticism, or comment we had.

Unfortunately, what they have trained him to do is to vaguely promise the moon and half the stars up front to get us homeowners interested. But as the details begin to emerge, we’re left being offered only a couple of acres of scrubland in Utah. (Pardon my metaphor.) It’s a common ploy, and I’ve been exposed to it in various forms throughout the years. (Since then, I have wondered if he realized that I was sitting there, predicting his next ploy, point by point, as he was attempting to play on our egos, our supposed vulnerabilities, and our greed.)

Vivint logoThe major “hook” they use is to make you think you are getting an insider’s deal (that will not be made available to anyone else, you are assured). They merely need to “pre-qualify” you to see if you are “verbal” enough and “social media savvy” enough to promote their products for them in the neighborhood and online. “If people see our sign in your yard,” he glibly began, “and come and ask you about it, it would be worth it to us to give you this equipment so that you would tell them how much you like it. Do you have iPhones? Do you ever go online, like Facebook? Do you blog? Do you know your neighbors well?

You’re supposed to think, “Well, heck yeah! You give me all this equipment free (or even at a substantial discount) and I’ll tell the world! That’s easy!!” In other words, you’re supposed to think they are willing to give you something for basically nothing. Well, clearly, they have zero interest in that.

Finally, excruciating detail after repeated excruciating detail, “pre-qualifying” gimmick after “pre-qualifying” gimmick, he finally gets to the money. And, as it turns out, nothing’s free. They are trained to use a “step down” discount method when dealing with costs. It begins this way: “How much do you think you would pay if you bought this directly from Vivint’s website? What if you went to Home Depot and bought it, what do you think they’d charge you? Either way, you’ll have to pay installation and activation fees.” He then writes down numbers for all the extraneous charges, PLUS the ridiculous retail amount for the equipment (expect it to be at or over $2000 for equipment alone). Then the whittling down starts.

If you’re willing to agree today, I’ll knock this charge off. I’ll reduce that fee. You won’t even have to pay the full amount for installation; we’ll cut that down to almost half. And we’ll even take the $99 standard monthly fee, slice it in half to $49 a month just for you.” He conveniently forgot to point out that Vivint’s own literature says the monthly fee starts at only $39.

And what about all that equipment he said at the beginning he wants to “give” us?

Vivint offer

Well, surprise! There was absolutely no equipment free or discounted in what this young man wanted to sell us! His “deal” required that we pay the entire roughly $2000 total manufacturer’s list price for all the equipment in the package!

Oh, but because he really wanted to put this equipment in our house — you know, so that our neighbors will also want to buy it — he was willing to spread the payments out (no discount, but interest free) over 60 months. Because we would only be paying one-sixtieth of the equipment’s total list price each month (in addition to the “forever,” supposedly discounted monthly fee), I’m sure he counted on our forgetting about all those things he, at first, hinted about “giving” us.

He skated a razor’s breadth from the line of untruths, but (to the credit of those who trained him) I never actually caught him lying. (I can’t say the same about the pair of young AT&T salesladies who once told me, I discovered later, whopper after whopper in an effort to get me to sign on the dotted line.)

At this point, I began my boatload of questions to our Vivint marketer. First, do you personally work directly for Vivint? “Well, of course! See my shirt?” No, that’s not good enough. Most of the door-to-door people that have come by here say they’re working for the main company, but are instead working for a Marketing firm hired to put hoards of people out on the streets to knock on doors. So he said, “See, I’ll show you. When I finish getting all the information I need from you, I call this number.” He made a great show of dialing 801-437-4037, from which a man answered saying, “Account Creation. What is your badge number?” — at which point our salesman hung up. I guess he thought I looked gullible enough to believe that this little charade actually proved something.

I have not yet been able to discover whether that phone number does or does not belong to Vivint. I did find one website that said the phone number belonged to “Gary Jackson, N 920 West St., Provo, Utah” — which appears to be a cul-de-sac of 7 small homes near Carterville Park and University Boulevard — but I don’t know if I believe that page either. (By the way, the salesman kept repeatedly saying that the home office of Vivint is in “Utah, Provo”   seemingly unaware that there is no such place, and as if believing that this fact would infuse some additional credibility to the company and his sales pitch.)

Vivint panelAnd I never got a straight answer from him giving me proof that he actually was an employee of Vivint.

By this time in our conversation, I had been on my tablet and found a Yelp review page for Vivint — on which 93% of reviewers gave Vivint the lowest rating possible; ouch!! — and similar customer screeds from several other sites. This confirmed for me what I had been feeling all along — that I didn’t want to do business with this salesman or this company.

I told him I would not sign a contract to pay for equipment over a period of 5 years after only hearing a high-pressure 30-minute sales pitch. He said, “I tell you what. I’ll give you 3 business days to decide if you like it. No, I’ll even stretch that to 2 weeks! If you were over 70 years old, I could give you a whole month, but I can’t put anything false in my order. Anyway, if you decide you don’t want it during that 2 weeks, you call us and we’ll come out and get all our equipment and refund all the money you’ve paid us to that point.

My final attempt to make sure we were understanding him correctly was this: So let me get this straight. Vivint has forbidden you to let me take a few days (1) to read your contract in detail, (2) to research your company and this offer, and (3) to compare it to your competitors — before I sign on the dotted line to pay for the equipment over a period of 5 years, as well as the $49 monthly fee? “No. You have to do it today. You can always decide in that 2 weeks that you don’t want it.” (…repeating sales pitch over and over, as if hearing it the 21st time be the magical tipping point.)

Clearly we were talking in circles around each other. We told him that, even if we loved the product and the deal (which, by this time, we didn’t), we would never be willing to sign or commit to anything this quickly. Further, we said that we understood him to be saying that the deal was not possible unless it happened today. “Well, what if I call my manager and get the FULL installation fee waived?

Seeing that he was clearly not going to convert this investment of his time into a profitable sale, his demeanor quickly changed into a simmering, sulky hostility.

My final words to him: No, sir. Have a good day.

Be very careful, folks, about deals that seem too good to be true, if only you’ll sign on the dotted line TODAY. You’re almost certain to regret it.

No Soliciting




Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 15 June 2017

Tweet: ‘Kill Republicans’ & ‘Abort Christ’

As if the Berkeley riots, and other Antifa violence, were not enough. And as if the message of a publicly funded (by the city and state of New York) musical (!!) called Killing Republicans were not splashed on playbills all over NYC. (Where, you might ask, was this “rock opera” staged? Why, at the Shooting Gallery Arts Annex, of course. You can’t make this stuff up.)

Lars MaischakIt seems as if a California university teacher’s call for the Killing of Republicans may have been heard and acted upon. (Thank God that, as yet, there are no innocent fatalities from the Arlington shooting — but not for lack of trying.)

The tweets that featured the grinning face of Fresno State’s lecturer Lars Maischak (until they were deleted) have given him the 15 minutes of fame he seems to have sought. Try these on for size:

  • “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better.”
  • “Has anyone started soliciting money and design drafts for a monument honoring the Trump assassin, yet?”
  • “Justice = the execution of two Republicans for each deported immigrant.”
  • “When California secedes, you Fascist Trump-voting white trash scum can wallow in your filthy hell-holes of flyover states. Enjoy.”
  • “A democracy must not be tolerant of those who want to abolish democracy. It must vigorously defend itself. Ban the GOP.”
  • “Given the nature of his [Trump’s] regime, he will be held accountable for his crimes in a court, and historical precedent suggests that a death sentence is inevitable, if democracy prevails.”

And finally, there’s this malignantly vulgar one:

  • “If only Mary had had an abortion! We would have been spared this Clerical-Fascist crap. HisGlory, my ass!”

Lars Maischak quote

The Arlington gunman was solely responsible for his own actions. Period. Full stop.

No government-funded “rock opera,” no HuffPost screed, no politician, no ultra-left militia group, no cable news talking head, no Hollywood starlet — not even comrade Lars Maischak himself, urging on the Revolution from his safe position behind his computer screen — none of these bears responsibility for the 50+ rounds fired at Congressional Republicans.

But one cannot help wondering, what was the cocktail of violence-infused philosophical pabulum that justified to him this particular exercise of his free will?

Lecturer Maischak, of course, has every God-given right to his own opinion about anything, including Christianity. But as a matter of correcting error, I would suggest that, given his fixation with the execution of President Trump and his wished-for in utero killing of Christ, he might be shaking his own impotent finger in the wrong direction.

After all, it wasn’t Marx, or Hegel, or Lenin, or Stalin, or Mao, or Bill Ayers, or Hillary Clinton that gave us the universal antidote to this philosophical fantasy of death — it was that singular revolutionary document called The Bible. I would be so bold as to suggest that if the Arlington gunman’s philosophy were based on THIS, Congressman Scalise would be back at baseball practice today.

Please read and emulate, lecturer Maischak:

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
(Matthew 5:43-44)

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.”
(Phililppians 4:8)

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
(Titus 3:1-3)


Killing Republicans: The Musical




Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 1 June 2017

A Tar Heel Excommunication

Life MemberThe unthinkably unimaginable has happened! 🙂

Your humble correspondent, Grover Proctor — lifelong fierce and loyal Tar Heel fan, who bleeds Carolina blue, and who was literally “Tar Heel born and Tar Heel bred” — has been excommunicated from a private Facebook group that calls itself “Die Hard Tar Heel Fans Only!!! (Official).” (Translation: I was booed, hissed, cursed, fired, dismissed, kicked out, shooed away, shoved aside, run out of town on a rail, etc., etc. — in case it wasn’t clear.)

Me? Unceremoniously stricken from the rolls of Tar Heel fandom? Surely you jest!

Oh, I was welcomed with open arms, as long as my participation exclusively mirrored the group’s choruses of “rah rah Carolina-lina” and “aren’t we the greatest in the world? and eff-you if you say we aren’t” and “let’s think of every smug, hateful, and obscene thing we can say about Duke [which, of course, they spell “dook”], Coach K, Tony ‘one-and-done’ Bradley, Rashad ‘turncoat’ McCants, Jay ‘Duke Boy’ Bilas, anything at all to do with the NCAA, and everything that is not ‘pry the Dean Dome from my cold dead fingers’ loyalty.”

Did everyone behave this way? Of course not; I found many wonderful, ebullient, friendly Heels fans there, and I thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with them. But it surely seemed as though the jerks were often the most vocal.

Ah, but among some in the group, there was a feeling that the serpent had nefariously crept into Paradise, in the form of my recent post (click here to read the unabridged version), where I urged the Carolina administration and leadership to take ownership of the school’s academic scandal, accept their deserved punishment, apologize to those harmed, and never ever do it again.

To be fair, I got as many “Likes” from group members as there were screeds from “disagreers,” before they once-and-for-all severed my metaphorical UNC umbilical cord. There was even one member whose opening volley was fiercely in “attack Grover” mode, but who, after a few brief exchanges of civil discourse between us, turned out to be one of the nicest people I’ve met on the Interwebs. It’s a friendship I hope lasts a long time.

But, boy howdy! The lethal venom and totally ad hominem attacks that ensued would make Bobby Knight blush. You would have thought I was the fleshly embodiment of the Voldemoron spirits of everyone who espouses the ABC philosophy (Anybody but Carolina). I was accused of being a Duke fan who crept in unawares (“go back to your dookie group!”), a shill for the evil NCAA, and obviously a misanthropic surrogate for Rashad “Benedict Arnold” McCants.

The group’s Moderator boasts that the site “is a NO DRAMA FREE group!!” I do not think that means what he thinks it means. The group proudly boasts it is “a place for all Tar Heel Fans to unite!!!” (Your experience may vary.) Grounds for getting “kicked out of the group” consist of “Don’t start nothing.” Saying that I’m a huge Tar Heel fan, but that I abhorred the UNC athletics/academics scandal… that was “starting something”?

Many of the rank-and-file members of the group (there are 38,000+ of them at present), as well as apparently its Moderator, will brook absolutely no criticism of anything related to Carolina Nation. Unless, of course, you are criticizing Rashad McCants, in which case it seems to be open season to libel him with as many profanity-laced tirades as you please.




(For those of you who don’t know Mr. McCants’ significance here, he had the unmitigated gall to assert that, while a student and star basketballer at UNC, he had been placed in a series of “no-work, easy-A” classes after his GPA began to drop into dangerous territory that threatened his playing eligibility. Lo and behold, several years (and $3.1 million) later, Carolina commissioned the Wainstein Report, which affirmed all of that sordid academic story. However, as I found out by my brief affiliation with this FB group, there is an amazing level of vituperative hatred of Mr. McCants for his supposed “traitorous lies” — the same Rashad McCants whom they wildly cheered not all that long ago when he helped Carolina win a national championship. Go figure.)

Back to my excommunication. Please understand: I absolutely agree with the right of the Founder or Moderator of a Facebook group to include and exclude anyone, at will. Admit me; throw me out; it’s your prerogative. That’s not at issue.

This turn of events would be HILARIOUS to me (ME? not Tar Heel enough for a UNC fan page??), were it not one more sign of the times — We are “us” and there are only two possibilities for you: if you are 100% “us,” then, by definition, there is no one greater than you; but if you are NOT “us,” then DIE, HERETIC, and burn in effing heck. (Which, by the way, was one of the things written to me on the site, though my version here has softened the linguistic edges.) It feels like a culturally systemic case of borderline personality disorder.

Do I care about being thrown out of the supposed “in-crowd”? First of all, they aren’t that; and second, I truly could not care less one way or the other. I got into the group to have fun and share information with like-minded Carolina fans, and I now walk away for the same reason.

Dean SmithBut folks — especially those in the “I love Carolina” universe — can we just try a little harder to re-establish civility, harmony, decency, humility, brotherhood/sisterhood, and a love of hearing opposing viewpoints in a spirit of camaraderie and growth, in our discourse and in our lives?

What would Dean want us to do? “I do believe in praising that which deserves to be praised.” “You should just do the right thing.”

Let’s try. Let’s meet half way.




Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 31 May 2017

This ol’ Carolina Boy is Sorely Disappointed

Now, I’m just an ol’ Carolina boy and a fiercely loyal University of North Carolina fan. (Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred, etc. etc.) I love my school and will ’til the day I’m a Tar Heel dead.

But I have refused to close my eyes to the ongoing academic/athletic scandal that has rocked the school and sullied its reputation. I earned my living for most of my professional life teaching and as a dean in Higher Education. As I began to hear the details of the UNC scandal, I knew exactly what the checks and balances, oversights, and academic rigor enforcements were which should have been in place — and which should have kept or stopped something like this from happening immediately — but which had been non-existent, unknown, innocently ignored, or maliciously flouted.

NCAA AllegationsIt resulted in academic fraud and (we may soon learn from the NCAA) athletic malfeasance. I am terribly angry at and greatly disappointed in my beloved alma mater for allowing this demeaning of the value of my education and diploma, and that of a huge number of of students and student-athletes. Here’s how things stand now, as we await the NCAA hearing scheduled for mid-August.

UNC’s sole response to the NCAA at this point seems to be, in essence, “Screw you. You only have power over us in Athletics. You have no authority over what we do in Academics. That is the job of our accreditors. So bug off!”

“The University takes seriously its obligations to comply with NCAA bylaws, but fundamentally believes that the matters at issue here were of an academic nature that do not implicate the NCAA bylaws,” the school said through the mouth of one of its attorneys, from a Chicago/New York law firm whom Carolina is paying an hourly rate of $990 per partner and a minimum of $450 per associate for the foreseeable future.

It is highly ironic to hear this coming from the school whose academic malfeasance caused their accreditors to put them on probation — because UNC “had failed to meet seven standards, including academic integrity and control over college athletics” and “showed little control over athletics.” According to those accreditors, probation is “usually, but not necessarily, invoked as the last step before an institution is removed” from accreditation. The accreditation agency’s probationary status for Carolina ended in June 2016 because the school had convinced them that they had put sufficient “safeguards in place to ensure this doesn’t happen [again.]” Let’s hope this turns out to be true.

As a result of its year on accreditation probation, Carolina is now alleging it has done its time in academic purgatory and has repented of its sins, therefore the NCAA has no standing to pronounce sanctions on them.

That reasoning might sound okay on a first, hurried reading — except for the fact that satisfactory and real academic progress (as defined by the NCAA) is a non-negotiable criterion for athletic eligibility!

If you falsify one to fraudulently achieve the other, Carolina, you have linked them inseparably.

Athletes must keep their GPA high enough to meet NCAA standards, or they will be declared academically ineligible. It’s over. Sayonara. How greatly might any school sin if one (or several) of their star football or basketball players was in a deeply deficient GPA situation?

When the scandal broke, Carolina (to its credit) hired a former Federal prosecutor to do a thorough, complete, no-holds-barred, we-have-nothing-to-hide investigation. When Ken Wainstein came to campus to present his 131-page Report in October of 2014, the stunned faces of UNC System President Tom Ross and UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt were all we needed to see to know that some major manure had been raked up. Three-and-a-half pages of the Report’s Executive Summary contain nothing but bullet-points of wrongdoings. The following are verbatim excerpts from just the first of those pages:

Former Federal Prosecutor Ken Wainstein presents his Report to the UNC leadership.

Former Federal Prosecutor Ken Wainstein presents his Report to the UNC leadership.

  • shadow curriculum… flawed instruction through the offering of “paper classes”… no interaction with a faculty member… required no class attendance or course work other than a single paper… resulted in consistently high grades… awarded without reading the papers or otherwise evaluating their true quality.
  • to help struggling students and student-athletes… felt sympathy for under-prepared students who struggled with the demanding Chapel Hill curriculum… affinity for student-athletes in particular… gave them ready access to these watered-down classes.
  • 18 years these classes existed… hundreds of individual independent studies in the “paper class” format — with no class attendance or faculty involvement, and with [Deborah] Crowder [“non-faculty,” “secretary”] managing the class and liberally grading the papers… over 3,100 students received one or more semesters of deficient instruction and were awarded high grades that often had little relationship to the quality of their work.
  • grades earned in these paper classes were significantly higher than grades awared in the regular classes… average grade issued to all identified students in the paper classes was 3.62 [out of a possible 4.0].
  • student-athletes accounted for a disproportionately high percentage of enrollments in the paper classes… 47.4% were student-athletes, even though student-athletes make up just over 4% of the Chapel Hill undergraduate student body… 50.9% [of these] were football players, 12.2% were men’s basketball players, 6.1% were women’s baskteball players, and 30.6% were Olympic and other sport athletes.

(If you want to read the entire report (or if your stomach won’t tolerate that, then just the explosive Executive Summary), you can find it by clicking here.)

These (and so many more) are the findings of the independent legal Consultant — bought and paid for by UNC, to the tune of $3.1 million — for whom all doors on campus were opened and to whom access to everything was granted. Carolina owns these findings. All the evidence indicates that the school provided at least one avenue for an extraordinary number of “under-prepared” student-athletes who “struggled with the demanding Chapel Hill curriculum,” in order to circumvent normal academic rigor and receive unmerited high grades for minimal or no work.

And now, Carolina’s latest ploy is to say that the NCAA has no right to use the findings of the Wainstein Report as evidence against them. Surely they’re not trying to assert that the school has something similar to 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination?!?

I love you with all my heart, Carolina! I’m forever proud of the education you gave me. And I love and have admired every athlete who has ever worn a UNC jersey!

But you did wrong. Fake classes with no professor, no attendance or residency requirement, and the minimal required work was graded by a secretary? Did easy A’s = easy eligibility?

And you know you did wrong. So… sit down, shut up, take the punishment you deserve, apologize profusely and continually to the athletes whose degrees you have demeaned and whose reputations you have sullied — and never, EVER do this crap again!

‘Nuff said.




Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 19 May 2017

You Should Seek ‘The Searchers’

My wife and I had the great pleasure on May 18 to view the East Coast premiere of The Searchers, the award-winning documentary film by Randolph Benson. The audience at Chapel Hill’s Varsity Theater seemed unanimous in their admiration of the film’s quality, and the vital slice of American history it has preserved so heroically.

Winner of the 2017 Orson Welles Award at the prestigious Triburon International Film Festival, The Searchers calls itself “a portrait of researchers of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.”

Randolph Benson

Randolph Benson

Fourteen years in the making, the film uses never-before-seen interviews, archival footage and recently declassified documents to chronicle the past and present of these ordinary citizens and their contributions to revealing the truth about the crime of the 20th century.

Suffering ridicule, and being labeled with the intellectual scarlet letter of conspiracy theorists, these individuals have challenged the institutions of power for over 50 years. They have fought against great odds to, as they often proclaim, “take back our history!”

The film features a literal “Who’s Who” of those who have given most to the investigation: Cyril Wecht, Robert Groden, Josiah Thompson, Mark Lane, John Judge, Jim Marrs, Jim DiEugenio, Debra Conway, Gary Aguilar, Lisa Pease, Rex Bradford, Walt Brown, Andy Winiarczyk and John Kelin, among many others.

A “great strength of the film is that it is made for an audience that is not necessarily expert in all things JFK,” noted film critic Joseph Green. “The director made it, in his words, for ‘himself, before I got into all this.'” These researchers were at first scorned, then completely shunned, by the mainstream media — having the effect of caricaturing the people and censoring their message. This film “counters that by simply letting the critics speak about the case without being interfered with. . . . The great achievement of the film is to humanize the researchers themselves.”

Randolph Benson (whom I am fortunate and honored to call friend) is an award-winning, Durham-based filmmaker. His films have garnered the Gold Medal in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards and a Kodak Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Cannes Film Festival, among others. His work has been featured on the Bravo Network, the Independent Film Channel and UNC-TV as well as several international channels.

A graduate of Wake Forest University and the North Carolina School of the Arts, Benson has taught at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for more than 10 years. He is author of the article “JFK, Oswald and the Raleigh Connection,” as well as the highly intriguing and informative “13 Documents You Should Read About the JFK Assassination.”

As is, alas, the case with all too many highly deserving documentaries, The Searchers is not currently set for national release. That is all the more reason you should haunt its Official Web Site to keep track of scheduled showings. Find one near you, and go. Even if you do not know much about the JFK assassination, you need to see the human drama of these men and women unfold in Benson’s deft telling. Seriously.



The SearchersThe Searchers




Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 27 April 2017

My Dallas Interview (2015)

When I was in Dallas in November 2015, preparing to deliver my presentation From Dallas to Raleigh: Lee Oswald and the Fingerprints of Intelligence, I was asked to do an interview on a wide ranging set of issues related to the Kennedy Assassination. Quite by chance, I discovered today that the 40-minute interview has just been posted (uncut, and in HD) on Youtube. (It can be viewed below.)

I was responding to questions from Tom Keener (lecture series impresario extraordinaire), who unfortunately was apparently not mic’ed well (if at all). So you have to really strain to hear his questions — which is a shame, because he asked some excellent ones.

As was the case in their HD video of my lecture, the production values of this interview are excellent (apart from Tom sounding way-off-stage). So once again, let me say how much of a delight it was be hosted by Tom, and to work with his exemplary staff of videographers, producers, and editors.

(During that same visit to Dallas, I was interviewed at great length by the Sixth Floor Museum, for their Oral History Project about the Assassination. Due to the Museum’s restrictions, I am forbidden to publish or post that interview in any manner.)



(42:24)   ●   19 NOVEMBER 2015





Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 27 April 2017

Lee Oswald and the Fingerprints of Intellilgence

Because of the (literally) unbelievable interest in it — ⅓ of a million views in 16 months — I am placing the video of my lecture on “The Raleigh Call” here to provide a permanent URL for it.

Even though I still find it impossible to fathom the number of views, my sincere thanks to all for your continuing enthusiasm for the topic.



The first 59 minutes is my lecture on “The Raleigh Call.” The remainder is the question-and-answer session, where I was joined on stage by fellow researcher Jim Marrs, author of Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy. The Q&A went on for over an hour; the audience members simply kept coming up with great questions and were eager to ask them!





Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 23 April 2017

Grazie, Assunta!

I’m not much captivated by the mediocrity that passes for advertising these days.

But I confess that the newest ad for RAGÚ (see below) has hit me very positively in many ways: its content, its style, its tone, its message, its editing, its humanity, its insistent pacing, its homage to history and tradition, its beautifully gustatory visuals, and its tribute to co-founder Assunta Masiello Cantisano (though it summarily omits mention of her husband and business partner, Giovanni).

Assunta e GiovanniShe was a mere 22 years old, and he 28, when they emigrated to America. Here is a very brief story of Assunta and Giovanni, as told by today’s RAGÚ corporate marketing department (with my small edits for continuity):

“It all started in Italy. In 1914, Assunta Cantisano left from the port of Naples, bound for America with little more than her family’s pasta sauce recipe to her name. She and her husband Giovanni settled in Rocheter, New York, but they stayed true to their Italian upbringing by putting down their roots — literally. Their own backyard garden would ultimately inspire their fresh tomato sauce and delicious meals, planting the humble beginnings of the RAGÚ sauces on the market today.

“In 1937, during the Great Depression, Giovanni and Assunta set out to support their family by selling homemade tomato sauce right from their front porch. By 1946, the Cantisanos outgrew their kitchen and opened the first RAGÚ factory in Rochester to better meet the demands for their delicious combination of vine-ripened tomatoes and flavorful herbs. The company grew, and so did their commitment to the highest standards of quality for every single batch of fresh tomato sauce. The iconic gondola was added to RAGÚ packaging as the brand continued to grow.

“By the 1960s, RAGÚ sauce had become a centerpiece on family dinner tables across the United States. An Italian tradition turned American classic, this sauce was simmering from coast-to-coast as a staple in some of America’s most popular recipes.”

All of this appeals to me for many reasons — and it doesn’t hurt that I LOVE Italian cuisine!

Buon appetito!







Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 8 January 2017

Gobsmacked, Redux

Grover Proctor and the Raleigh Call

Well, here we go again. One more time, Gobsmacked. (British for “utterly astonished or astounded.”) This is truly unbelievable.

Right at a year ago, the HD video of my Dallas-area lecture on “The Raleigh Call” was posted on Youtube. I was pleased that Tom Keener and his staff had done such a superb job making and editing the video, and that they felt the subject matter worthy of being posted.

Fast forward exactly six months. I get word from Tom that they are amazed that the video has received over 20,000 views — a record (at that time) for any of the lectures in their series! It worked out to, on average, 120 views every day since it was posted.

I wrote all that up in a posting (here) at the time, noting that “this response is minuscule compared with Gangnam Style (2.6 billion) or any of a whole host of Taylor Swift or funny cat videos. But for a lecture (ugh; no music or dancing or feline frolics) — about a relatively small part of an “acquired-taste” subject (the JFK Assassination) — much less, a lecture by me! Well, suffice it to say I was quite amazed and very humbled.”

100,000 viewsFast forward six more months, and here’s the big news: last night the Youtube “videometer” clicked over 100,000 views!

Think about it: that’s 20,000 views in the first six months, and 80,000 views in the second six months! On average, 260 views per day since it was posted. How is that possible??

My sincere thanks to Tom Keener and his crew (again), as well as to all the people who have viewed the video and recommended it to others. (That has to be how it happened; there are not 100,000 people out there who have any earthly idea who I am — or care!) I am truly grateful that people have seen something valuable and interesting in this video.

To quote Sherlock, “My blushes, Watson!”



The first 59 minutes is my lecture on “The Raleigh Call.” The remainder is the question-and-answer session, where I was joined on stage by fellow researcher Jim Marrs, author of Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy. The Q&A went on for over an hour; the audience members simply kept coming up with great questions and were eager to ask them!





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