Friday, July 24, 2009
All He Needs to Know?
Barack Obama, having just finished not reading the bill that would impose slavery on America's medical profession, has apparently also gotten around to not reading this police report concerning the arrest of a combative Harvard professor that he counts as a friend.
Obama called [Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr.] a friend, and said he doesn't know all the facts of the case. Nonetheless, Obama said, anyone would have been angry if treated the way Gates claims police in Cambridge, Mass., treated him. Gates claims he was arrested in his own home after showing ID to police who responded to a report of a possible burglary.Gates was arrested because his belligerent, unreasonable behavior was making it impossible for the police to do its job -- in this case, making sure his house wasn't being burglarized.
Police say Gates yelled at the officers and initially refused to show his ID. Gates allegedly yelled "this is what happens to a black man in America" and "you don't know who you’re messing with" before he was arrested, and police said he was uncooperative. ( read the arrest report )
"Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof he was in own home," Obama said during a prime-time news conference that otherwise focused on the health care debate.
If my neighbor saw me and an unknown person attempting to break in to my house, I would hope he would call the police (as Lucia Whalen did), whether that neighbor recognized me or not. And upon their arrival, I would hope that the police would show some interest in who I was (as Officer Crowley did).
I would not immediately insinuate that the officer was bigotted and refuse to identify myself (as Gates did) and then caterwaul so loudly as to make it impossible for the responding officer to communicate by radio (as Gates did). Nor would I reply to a request that I move the conversation outside with a schoolyard taunt about speaking to the officer's mother (as Gates did).
And yet Obama -- the same Obama who regarded America-damning bigot Jeremiah Wright as a spiritual mentor for decades -- calls Gates a "friend" and the Cambridge Police "foolish" for doing their job while admitting that he doesn't know the facts of the case. Spit in our faces, Mr. President, and tell us it's raining.
This contempt for the facts is matched only by the injustice towards Crowley (and sometimes the neighbor) of Obama's adoring fans in the media, among whom is Boston's Adrian Walker, whose column, "Hey, Let's Talk," is a fine example of the kind of "reasoning" behind all the calls for Crowley to apologize:
Do I believe race was part of this? Of course it was.Walker contradicts himself in the last two paragraphs above. In the first of these, he is laying the blame on Crowley. In the second, he's treating this as if it is just some big misunderstanding. If Crowley acted unjustly, why does Gates need to fool around talking to him? And if there was a misunderstanding, why must only Crowley apologize? In either case, it is clear that Walker has already absolved Gates of any fault.
I don't believe for one second that Alan Dershowitz, in the same situation, would have ended up with a mug shot. First, his neighbor probably wouldn't have called the police, even if she didn't recognize him. Second, Crowley probably would have gone away.
"Skip Gates has spent his entire life talking about race in a way that makes people contemplative and gets them to think about it in a positive way," [He stopped and undid that on July 16. --ed] Leone said. "For him, this is a perfect opportunity to educate people."
Leone believes no one covered themselves in glory here. "Crowley got his back up," Leone said. "He's saying all he did was respond. I think both of them, privately, are saying, 'I could have handled this better.'"
I think Crowley should apologize. But here's what I really wish: I wish Gates and Crowley would sit down and talk to each other, no lawyers, no cameras, maybe a friendly columnist to facilitate.
I wish they could sit across lunch from each other and have an honest, no-posturing conversation about what happened.
Crowley should apologize only if making his arrest was wrong. He refuses to do so and his union has stated that what he did was, in fact, "consistent with his training ... and acceptable legal standards." Gates, on the other hand, is already planning to make a "documentary" about this affair. Please read the arrest report if you wonder about the scare quotes.
Even if, for the sake of argument, Crowley owes an apology, Gates definitely owes one. His conduct was exceptionally rude and completely inappropriate.
Fashion Peeve Trifecta
Yesterday, at a bus stop, I saw some guy walking up in a suit and a ball cap. The widespread fashion of wearing ball caps annoys me anyway, especially when they are worn backwards, but seeing one worn with a suit really makes my teeth curl. How can anyone look more clueless?
Leave it to Fail Blog to show how!
Oh, and while I'm annoying myself with peeves, I'll get tattoos and plumber pants out of my system, too. From the second of these, which I recall from some time ago, I found myself in the "Amen corner" on this comment: "[T]he few women I've seen who looked good in low-rider jeans, would have looked much better in something else."
Houston Chronicle Linkage
And no, I am not interested in online dating ...
... that "Online Dating Annoyances" link above on tattoos I found via the Houston Chronicle, who I am happy to see, also linked here and to Brian Phillips's blog, Live Oaks, yesterday.
And that's kinda nice, since they linked to my post, "Forfeiting the Culture War," on the day after I forfeited my chance to appear in this week's Objectivist Roundup!
Honduras Compared to North Korea
Yassir Arafat's fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Costa Rica's Oscar Arias, is unhappy with Honduras for not agreeing to accept the return of mini-Hugo Chavez as its president:
A frustrated Arias said Honduras had turned into the North Korea or Albania of Central America.Well. I guess if a terrorist can win a "peace prize," it follows that a nation following its own constitution would be insulted by a "diplomat."
[Manuel] Zelaya, exiled in neighboring Nicaragua, has said he will return "by air, land or sea."
But despite increasing international isolation, the interim leaders have maintained that Zelaya will be arrested if he attempts to return to the country.
I support Honduras and like it more every day.
7-28-09: Corrected URL for a link.