Barack Obama

Hail to the National Conflict Resolution Mediator

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Relax. Take a brewskie. Let's talk.

According to The Washington Post, President Obama is inviting Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley to meet at the White House, for what can only be some strange sort of presidential group healing session. There is obviously nothing that this man cannot fix:

Obama said the remark he made Wednesday during a nationally televised news conference "unfortunately… gave an impression that I was maligning" the officer. He said he hoped the public debate surrounding the events would be "a teachable moment" for the nation.

Obama said he had spoken privately by phone with the officer, Sgt. James Crowley, and the White House said Obama later spoke with Gates. Obama invited Gates to join him and Crowley at the White House in the near future, officials said.

Obama did not say whether his conversation with Crowley constituted the apology for his remarks that some police officials and union leaders have demanded.

In other news, Obama wants to know…is everything OK at home? Do you just need to talk to somebody? He's just a phone call away, you know. Just a call. Stop by whenever.

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  1. I made the kumbaya comment for race relations and healing in the other 300 post thread. It’s a smart spin after a retarded comment.

    It’s bullshit, but heh isn’t everything out of DC.

  2. You was just doin’ yer job, Officer Crowley, I realize that. But now ya know that Professor Gates is a friend of mine. Ya got a problem with da professor, don’t hassle him about it, just tell me and I’ll have a talk with him, quiet-like. Won’t hafta get in the papers.

    So, Officer Crowley, now that’s settled, say hi to your wife, Jean for me and your three adorable little children – Bobby, age seven, Ashley, age 9, and Tommy, age 10.

    Have a nice day, Officer Crowley.

  3. Oh, and one more thing, Officer Crowley. If you see your boss the police chief, tell him that the bureucratic delays which arose yesterday have been cleared up, and the extra police cars we bought with the stimulus money should be arriving soon.

  4. WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY.

  5. Oh, no, a sudden impulse has come over me . . . I want to apologize in advance to the readers and to Ozzy Osborne.

    Ahhh, I can’t hold it back any longer . . .

    Sergeant Crowley,
    What went on in your head?
    Oh, Sergeant Crowley,
    Why’d you arrest my friend?
    Your life could become really tragic
    If you mess with my friends
    I’m the Pres with the powers that are magic
    I don’t like what you did at Gates’s door
    Sergeant Crowley,
    Did you think you were pure?
    Mr. non-racist sensitivity trainer
    Arresting people that are connected
    To the powers of the Earth
    You thought you were doing your duty
    But you shoulda talked to me first.
    Sergeant Crowley,
    Won’t you come to the White Horse?
    Sergeant Crowley,
    It’s symbolic, of course
    I’ll work a reconciliation
    I hear the media’s call
    Approaching a time that is drastic
    You stand with your back to the wall
    I’m your President
    l want to know what you meant
    I want to know,
    I want to know what you meant.
    Yeah!!!

  6. Oops, White House, not White Horse.

  7. WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY.

    Are you really such a fan of his legislative priorities that you want him concentrating on them instead of the fluffy crap?

  8. When you put it that way, Alphabet Man, no.

  9. Hail to the National Conflict Resolution Mediator

    Win.

  10. Xeones: WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY.

    See: Commerce Clause.

  11. Who is scripting this guy’s thoughts these days anyway?

  12. The outrage is that there was outrage over Obama calling the officer’s actions “stupid.” They were clearly stupid, and petty and an abuse of authority.

  13. See: Commerce Clause.

    Sure it’s not the necessary and proper clause?

    either way I laughed.

  14. What’s next from this asshole? A stroll across the Potomac w/ Gates on one shoulder and Sarge on the other? I hope Crowley tells him to kiss his ass. He sure can kiss mine.

  15. Well, Obama’s thing has been about finding middle ground between extremes, often less through policy than through promoting civility, and this has touched off a national firestorm, so it’s not that crazy imo to have them have a sit down at the White House.

    What is crazy is that people aren’t demanding that guy’s badge for arresting a man for the petty bullshit he did. We are a nation of sheep.

  16. What’s next from this asshole? A stroll across the Potomac w/ Gates on one shoulder and Sarge on the other? I hope Crowley tells him to kiss his ass. He sure can kiss mine.

    What I’m not understanding is what could possibly motivate you to care about this? I know I don’t. If he has some personal things to say to these two, that’s his business and theirs.

  17. I’m imagining a group of Waxman-like, mealy mouthed wordsmiths sitting in a dark room somewhere. Whenever Obama, Biden, Pelosi, or some other dumbfuck politician put his/her foot in his/her mouth, a red light flashes and high pitched alarm sounds. The audio of the offending statement is piped into the room, and the Office of Rhetorical Thesaurus team bounds into action. They brainstorm for a few minutes to determine what the offending official “really meant” and hermit #1 pounds away on his Royal typewriter to craft the “clarification” that is eventually trotted out.

    Every time one of these tools says something dumb, we should start a pool to see how long it will be before the “real meaning” of what they said comes out.

  18. “Oops, White House, not White Horse.”

    It’s OK Max, I understand kicking a junk habit is hard. I hear people trying to kick it obsess about it, they sweat, some even have convulsions or engage in pro-Catholic apologia on the internet…

  19. What were his “offending statements?” The officer acted in a stupid, petty and lawless fashion.

  20. I think Crowley is a loathsome, imbecilic asshole.

    Annd yet, I cannot stop myself from thinking he should tell the Presidential Suit, publicly and in no uncertain terms, to go pound sand up his ass.

  21. Well, Obama’s thing has been about finding middle ground between extremes, often less through policy than through promoting civility, and this has touched off a national firestorm, so it’s not that crazy imo to have them have a sit down at the White House.

    Civility? Like calling the actions of one party stupid while admitting to not knowing the facts? Jesus I’m going to need a new BS detector. Mine just exploded.

    If he really wanted civility why in gods name did he pick Rahm noodle as chief, that guy has a history of incivility that makes General Sherman look like a nun.

    The common ground civility line is a line, like most of the other crap he, and fairly most politicians, spews.

  22. MNG,

    Oh, you sweet innocent darling, you didn’t recognize
    the song on which my parody was based
    ?

    You should reflect seriously on the fact that a Catholic troll knows more about popular culture, and rock-n-roll, than you do.

    Poor dear.

  23. MNG:
    Oh, yes. An example of Obama finding the middle ground might be his calling the Cambridge Police stupid.
    I would like to see Gates locked up for a month with fellow race baiter-hustlers Sharpton and Jackass Jackson.

  24. He was serious when he said that he invited them over to the White House for a beer and a chat?

    I was sure that was just a joke – a throwaway laugh line for the press.

  25. I did’nt say he was a proven force for civility, just that is his thing. Listen to his speeches, he’s always talking about bringing together different sides of seemingly irreconciable conflicts.

    And again, civility need not mean blessing the stupid actions of folks like the officer in question.

  26. Max
    Are you listening to artists whose song lyrics and themes would be condemned by the National League of Decency? For shame.

    “a Catholic troll knows more about popular culture”

    Sorry Max, you lost any chance of putting this argument forward when you admitted to having not seen the Godfather the other day…

  27. “I would like to see Gates locked up for a month with fellow race baiter-hustlers Sharpton and Jackass Jackson.”

    Ah, stupidity, nothing like it on earth…

  28. Elemenope |

    What I’m not understanding is what could possibly motivate you to care about this? I know I don’t. If he has some personal things to say to these two, that’s his business and theirs.

    He made it my/our biz when he made his moronic comment during the press conference. Furthermore, you really aren’t so naive as to miss the fact that he will manipulate the situation/meeting (if it occurs at all) to stroke his ego messiah complex.

  29. The police acted stupidly.

    Obama said it.
    I believe it.
    That settles it.

  30. No, my position that he acted stupidly can be derived from the officer’s own police report and account.

    Can you justify arresting Gates?

  31. The outrage is that there was outrage over Obama calling the officer’s actions “stupid.” They were clearly stupid, and petty and an abuse of authority.

    True, but my initial reaction was: Why did he even feel the need to comment at all? Shouldn’t the president be a little above this kind of trivial bullshit?

  32. ‘Sorry Max, you lost any chance of putting this argument forward when you admitted to having not seen the Godfather the other day…’

    Dude, I had to pay a bunch of money for an indulgence so I wouldn’t have to see the Godfather, and now you’re giving me grief?

    Anyway, I compensated for not seeing the Godfather by not seeing Godfather III.

    And I’ve seen all the Ernest movies, including the controversial *Ernest Goes to Camp* and the salacious *Slam Dunk Ernest.*

  33. MGN: Keep on sippin’ from that cup. Lord Obama gonna make all your troubles fly away.

  34. Taking the police report as true, who wants to defend an arrest of a man on his own property who was not bothering his neighbors and not threatening the police?

    If Gates were being a jerk as described in the police report that is not illegal in this nation. Does anyone on here want to contend it should be?

  35. Hazel
    President’s often comment on the news of the day. It was fine for him to offer his comment, and fine of him to offer the understatement that he did. His backing down is troubling. But much more troubling for this nation is that people line up to defend cop who abused his authority in such a manner. That kind of abuse of authority is a much, much bigger threat to all of us citizens than a President trying to mediate this dispute.

  36. Gates is going to have years worth of fun extolling his Harvard students on how easy it is to bait some honky cop into doing something stupid. Nothing better than a real life example (with plenty of publicity) of mau-mauing the man.

  37. MNG, look at the thread below. I’m very tired of arguing about this.

  38. Tulpa
    No offense, but if your comments on that thread (btw, the thread below this one is about something else) are comparable to your usual ones, then we are all better off that you are tired of arguing about this…

  39. He made it my/our biz when he made his moronic comment during the press conference. Furthermore, you really aren’t so naive as to miss the fact that he will manipulate the situation/meeting (if it occurs at all) to stroke his ego messiah complex.

    So, and let me get this straight, you’re saying that if the president comments on something that has nothing directly to do with you, it becomes your business because he said it?

    Interesting, in an egomaniacal sort of way.

  40. No prob, MNG. I don’t take offense at the opinions of partisan hacks and other idiots.

    Also, the thread in question *is* below this one. I didn’t say “immediately below”.


  41. True, but my initial reaction was: Why did he even feel the need to comment at all? Shouldn’t the president be a little above this kind of trivial bullshit?

    As the National Greeterin-Chief there is no one better. I wished all his days were like this, high profile mediation.

    Tip: Invest in Blue Moon, every body is going to want one now.

    Also, great alternative Mr Crowely lyrics, Mad Max. You are becoming my favorite Catholic since the original Mad Max.

    Good afternoon Officer Sugarlips.

  42. Or was that SugarTits?

  43. I rather have more crap from Obama on incidents like this than him sticking his collective nose into systems where it doesn’t belong.

  44. Now if the president starts cursing at you and accusing you of racism in the White House, do you have to leave? Or can you lure him out to the Rose Garden and arrest him for disorderly conduct out there?

  45. Maybe he can invite Shem Walker and the undercover cops who shot him to the White House for martinis afterward. If he can make everything right in that case, he deserves the messiah worship he’s getting from the left.

    Note, I have a feeling we’re not going to hear Obama comment on Shem Walker, Kathryn Johnston, Cheye Calvo, Cory Maye, or any of the other truly awful police misconduct cases.

  46. Now if the president starts cursing at you and accusing you of racism in the White House, do you have to leave? Or can you lure him out to the Rose Garden and arrest him for disorderly conduct out there?

    Tough one, but I say you have to outside of 1600 Penn Ave., maybe even as far away as the Mall. Get him when he is attempting to walk on water in the pools.

  47. Hey MNG,

    What does Obama’s cum taste like?

  48. Laughing | July 24, 2009, 7:36pm | #
    Hey MNG,

    What does Obama’s cum taste like?

    If you are truly curious, I would suggest getting a hold of Obama’s meal plan. Try gauging your own personal diet to that for a few weeks, and then jack off, and sample your own sperm. Sperm is sperm with the only real variation being diet. I had to stop eating onions for one steady chick, years ago.

  49. True, but my initial reaction was: Why did he even feel the need to comment at all? Shouldn’t the president be a little above this kind of trivial bullshit?

    Race. Everything after he finally got to his comment on the events is race oriented.

    Now, I’ve — I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

    And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportion ately. That’s just a fact.

    As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.

    That doesn’t lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that’s been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.

    And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause, casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that’s why I think the more that we’re working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we’re eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody’s going to be.

  50. Can someone tell me, what exactly is so terrifying about one guy inviting some others over for a beer?

  51. President’s often comment on the news of the day.

    Not that I’ve noticed. The usual tactic is to decline to comment on “an ongoing investigation”. But Obama seems to have an addication to sticking his two cents in all the time, even on issues hwere there’s no real need for him to be the center of attention.

  52. It’s not terrifying, just stupid.

  53. Elemenope
    Your shallow intellectual musings humor me.

  54. Kaitian

    Good point. Although Obama’s patronizing and annoying, he causes very little real damage w/ his inane comments.

  55. You guys don’t seriously think that Obama has a limited amount of time to make trouble, do you? It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.

  56. Your shallow intellectual musings humor me.

    I aim to please, and am in turn pleased that one such as you has called me shallow.

  57. Sperm is sperm with the only real variation being diet.

    Said like a connoisseur. 😉

  58. Hooray for passive aggression!

  59. Any way you spin it, the episode has given Obama a half-black eye.

  60. Tulpa | July 24, 2009, 7:59pm | #
    Sperm is sperm with the only real variation being diet.

    Said like a connoisseur. 😉

    Oh, Tulpa, no you didn’t.

  61. Elemenope
    My pleasure, you silly twit.

  62. Hey, when your specialty is the sloppy seconds you might know a little more about that than you would really want to.

  63. That didn’t come out the right way.

  64. That didn’t come out the right way.

    Oh, you meant it. Be proud, you got me. I’m down by a notch.

  65. Am I the only one who finds it creepy for the president to but into what should be a local court case? So much for having your case heard in an independent, neutral court.

  66. Elemenope
    My pleasure, you silly twit.

    The pleasure is all mine, little prince of perspicacity. Shame about the living in the attic thing, though.

    Any way you spin it, the episode has given Obama a half-black eye.

    LOL.

  67. Am I the only one who finds it creepy for the president to but into what should be a local court case? So much for having your case heard in an independent, neutral court.

    It was no longer a criminal case, and had yet to become a civil case (if it ever will)…so I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

  68. Why is it that any time Obama issues one of his trademark clarifications they remind me of former girlfriends and every mealy mouthed “I’m sorry you’re so upset” non-apology I’ve ever received from them?

  69. I think kawliga has a crush on you, LMNOP.

    Onions, alan? I would have thought broccoli or asparagus.

  70. What does Obama’s cum taste like?

    Ask joe.

    Note, I have a feeling we’re not going to hear Obama comment on Shem Walker, Kathryn Johnston, Cheye Calvo, Cory Maye, or any of the other truly awful police misconduct cases.

    No shit. This is just going to a a gimmee photo-op for the Messiah regarding race in a situation that doesn’t have anything to do about race. I am sick of arguing about this. But more sick of how the media is treating as some sort of how the media is treating as some sort of Rosa Parks issue. Fuck!!!

  71. I think kawliga has a crush on you, LMNOP.

    Shh! Damn it, I was trying to find the moment to let him down easy. Now that’s blown.

    Good job breaking it, hero.

  72. I understand that a diet heavy in dog shit makes it taste bad also. The love life of a coprophage isn’t as easy as you’d think.

  73. Any way you spin it, the episode has given Obama a half-black eye.

    But wouldn’t that make his eyes only 1/4 black?

  74. Note, I have a feeling we’re not going to hear Obama comment on Shem Walker, Kathryn Johnston, Cheye Calvo, Cory Maye, or any of the other truly awful police misconduct cases.

    That’s because this is a class division and not a racial division. If this was a black guy named steve who was a plumber no one would give a shit.

  75. Any way you spin it, the episode has given Obama a half-black eye.

    It would be one all black eye. 1/2 black eye + 1/2 black eye = 1 black eye

  76. What gets me about this is that he could have essentially made this go away by just saying something like “OK, I shouldn’t have commented on this because it’s got nothing to do with my office. I just feel strongly about it because I know Dr. Gates and know that he’s a good man [blah blah blah]”. The police would be happy because he withdrew his criticism, Gates would be happy, and I think most people would respect his ability to admit a minor mistake.

    I think politicians get themselves into so much trouble by avoiding simply admitting that they were wrong about something, probably out of fear that someone will use the soundbite against them in a future campaign ad. I think that danger is exaggerated especially when you’re dealing with something minor like this. (If Bush had admitted in 2007 that he was wrong about invading Iraq, that would have been a political disaster, but this isn’t comparable)

  77. My wife just called me an asshole for questioning her calzone-making skills. Can you straighten that out for me, barack?

  78. Episiarch | July 24, 2009, 8:38pm | #
    I think kawliga has a crush on you, LMNOP.

    Onions, alan? I would have thought broccoli or asparagus.

    Onions are a big part of my diet, be they spring, shallots, Vidalia, or garlic. I pretty much sneak them in every dinner. And being a BITCH, she complained about the composition of my swimmers. I never complained about the sushi, so wtf, right? But, after a few post-coitus mouth to mouth moments and chest clean ups, I had to concede she had a point.

  79. > Who is scripting this guy’s thoughts these days anyway?

    Dog, you mean that tidbit’s not at whitehouse.gov?

    I’d like to buy the world a Coke.

  80. I see noone made even a half-hearted attempt to take me up on my challenge at 7:08. You cn bitch about Gates, say that he is a race-huckster or was an asshole or whatever until the cows come home, all of that is irrelevant. What is relevant is also pretty clear: the arrest just is indefensible.

    Heck, one might say it was “stupid”…


  81. Any way you spin it, the episode has given Obama a half-black eye.

    I saw the ABC Nightly News version of the Blue Moon Peace Talks and in their version it already a political success and a done deal for the president. So, even though the day started with low Rasmussen poll numbers, who knows, he might get away with it, counting it as a notch on his belt.

    Obama!!!

  82. I don’t think the arrest was indefensible, MNG. Mass.’s disorderly conduct law reads:

    A disorderly person is defined as one who:

    *with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or
    *recklessly creates a risk thereof
    *engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or
    *creates a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.

    Gates’ behavior, if we are to believe the police report, the supporting cops and several witnesses that have made statements, was indeed “tumultuous” and therefore subject to sanction under the law (“tumultuous” being defined as “raising a great clatter and commotion; disorderly or noisy” or “highly agitated, as the mind or emotions; distraught; turbulent.”

    All the cop wanted was to establish that Gates and his driver weren’t burglars, but Gates got on his high horse right off the bat. I’m sure he was tired from his trip and frustrated at his ordeal with the door, but it’s pretty apparent he was acting the fool with the cop.

  83. What will the Big O do if both parties come out of this meeting a) even angrier and b) blaming him for making the situation worse? Whom do I need to pay to have this happen?

  84. Why is it that any time Obama issues one of his trademark clarifications they remind me of former girlfriends and every mealy mouthed “I’m sorry you’re so upset” non-apology I’ve ever received from them?

    Being a Messiah means never having to say you’re sorry.

  85. Preview is my friend…preview is my friend…

  86. All the cop wanted was to establish that Gates and his driver weren’t burglars, but Gates got on his high horse right off the bat. I’m sure he was tired from his trip and frustrated at his ordeal with the door, but it’s pretty apparent he was acting the fool with the cop.

    It has already been established in the last thread on this matter that the DC law has been gutted like a carp by the Mass Supremes, and the cop arrested someone where the charges would not stick.

    Fluffy – I would have to see those laws to believe that the content of the speech renders any “misbehavior” protected. I don’t believe in disorderly conduct charges, but I cannot believe what you’re saying could possibly be correct.

    http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/404/404mass471.html

    In Commonwealth v. Feigenbaum, the defendant had intentionally blocked a street to prevent the police from towing cars at a protest and repeatedly refused police orders. The court overturned his conviction for disorderly conduct because the Mass statute requires that the defendant have no legitimate purpose, and the court had separately held that the “legitimate purpose” section of the statute protected any exercise of a first amendment right.

  87. Two arguments:
    1. Does anyone here want to defend the making of a person acting in a “tumultuous” fashion on their own front porch at a decent hour an arrestable defense?
    2. Given that a common definition of “tumultuous” involves behavior “marked by violent or overwhelming turbulence or upheaval” or effectively breaching the peace, and that the term is placed in the same line with “fighting or threatening, violent” then one does not have to be a lawyer to see that the law in question is getting at either threatening or inciting behavior. Does anyone want to argue that Gates’ behavior was physiclly threatening to the officers or public or that it was inciteful of a “tumult?”

    Even your metaphors suggest how pathetic your argument is:
    “got on his high horse”
    “acting the fool with the cop”

    Should getting on a high horse or acting the fool on one’s own front porch be behavior subject to arrest? WTF?

  88. tu?mul?tu?ous
    Pronunciation: \tu?-?m?l-ch?-w?s, tyu?-, t?-, -ch?s; -?m?lch-w?s\
    Function: adjective
    Date: circa 1548
    1 : marked by tumult
    2 : tending or disposed to cause or incite a tumult

    tu?mult
    Pronunciation: \?t?-?m?lt, ?ty?- also ?t?-\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English tumulte, from Anglo-French, from Latin tumultus; perhaps akin to Sanskrit tumula noisy
    Date: 15th century
    1 a: disorderly agitation or milling about of a crowd usually with uproar and confusion of voices : commotion b: a turbulent uprising : riot
    2: hubbub, din
    3 a: violent agitation of mind or feelings b: a violent outburst

    Again, given the more common definitions of term above and placement of the term “tumultuous” in the statutory language thusly “engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior”, do you still want to argue that even were the cops report gospel here that Gates’ behavior fit this?

  89. The thing is, MNG, is that the cop didn’t know it was Gates’ house or front porch. As I recall, all he had shown the cop was a Harvard ID which did not include an address and had refused to show an ID that did confirm he lived there. He could have been anyone. The cops’ request for valid ID establishing residency was reasonable and lawful.

  90. What really is the “messiah” stuff we keep getting about Obama.

    Look, Democrats like Obama because they were shut out of the presidency for eight years, and so they are quite predictably excited about him being president. The previous president was very polarizing, so of course a party change is going to excite folks. And yes a lot of people were very excited to see a country that 40 years ago was having trouble letting black kids go school with white kids in many areas and 200 years ago kept black folks as slaves elect a black man as president. And a lot of black supporters got excited about the first black person to attain such a prominent position.

    That’s the excitement. Why is that so remarkable and invoking of all of this “messiah” talk?

  91. Ah, let’s stop right there Jeff, as the arrest in question wasn’t for failure to show ID, or suspiscion of burglary, now was it? It was for disorderly conduct. And that was bullshit for reasons I have explained.

  92. Again, given the more common definitions of term above and placement of the term “tumultuous” in the statutory language thusly “engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior”, do you still want to argue that even were the cops report gospel here that Gates’ behavior fit this?

    Quite possibly, yes. There is apparently a recording of the entire incident, so we shall see. It will be a judgement call either way, I think you will agree.

    Personally, as a property owner, I’m appreciative of ordinances that sanction fellows ranting from their front porches within earshot. His right to speak ends at my property line, and I do not appreciate the unwelcome invasion of my property. Even if it’s from a Hahvahd prof.

  93. If there were no arrest and Gates was screaming that he was offended just because a cop came by and suspected he was breaking into his own home, and he claimed it was only because he was black, then I’d personally think it was at best much ado about nothing or at worst that Gates was being a silly race-baiter.

    But it’s not about that to me, it’s about this insane abuse of power on the part of the cop, arresting Gates because he “got on his high horse” as you put it.

  94. You are against a person “ranting” from their own property, at a decent hour, when that “ranting” is audible on your property?

    WTF? You want to make loud talking that is audible to neighbors during the day illegal? Look at how crazy your position on this is getting because you don’t want to side with a “race-baiter”…

  95. “It will be a judgement call either way, I think you will agree.”

    Not at all…Unless his tirade officer was threatening to the officer or to neighbors, or it was done at an indecent hour, or for an extended period of time, then no, I don’t care if he was acting uppity, loud, stupid and like a complete asshole, he was not engaging in “disorderly conduct,” nor was he acting in any way that legitimate government should make an arrestable offense.

  96. That’s the excitement. Why is that so remarkable and invoking of all of this “messiah” talk?

    You don’t believe in me? Screw you. Will i. am believes in me, and he is way cooler than you.

  97. Oh, are my property rights somehow abated during certain hours? Can someone dump their garbage on my lawn if it’s trash day? I work from home, with the windows open in suitable weather…am I required to endure a neighbor who shouts from his porch all day as long as it’s between hours MNG deems “decent?”

    Yes, Gates’ behavior was “tumultuous.”

  98. Not at all…Unless his tirade officer was threatening to the officer or to neighbors, or it was done at an indecent hour, or for an extended period of time, then no, I don’t care if he was acting uppity, loud, stupid and like a complete asshole, he was not engaging in “disorderly conduct,” nor was he acting in any way that legitimate government should make an arrestable offense.

    It’s clear the law does not require the behavior to be threatening, nor does it specify certain hours where the law applies. You’re making this up as you go along.

  99. Personally, as a property owner, I’m appreciative of ordinances that sanction fellows ranting from their front porches within earshot. His right to speak ends at my property line, and I do not appreciate the unwelcome invasion of my property. Even if it’s from a Hahvahd prof.

    So, a one-time incident requires an arrest? And people shouldn’t be able to have rallies or gatherings if nearby neighbors can hear them?

    Dude, you have GOT to change your handle.

  100. So, a one-time incident requires an arrest? And people shouldn’t be able to have rallies or gatherings if nearby neighbors can hear them?

    Dude, you have GOT to change your handle.

    No, rallies are legitimate and protected by the First Amendment. There is a direct, legit purpose to such a gathering and the noise it might generate. The temporary loss of my property rights are miniscule to the public benfit of such a right.

    Shouting at police officers and ranting baseless charges in response to lawful requests to produce valid ID are, justifiably, not.

    Seriously, do you guys want to live in a society where the cops can’t check the IDs of some guys carrying your widescreen out of your house because he claims to live there and filibusters at the top of his lungs instead of producing ID?

  101. Tulpa:

    “Note, I have a feeling we’re not going to hear Obama comment on Shem Walker, Kathryn Johnston, Cheye Calvo, Cory Maye, or any of the other truly awful police misconduct cases.”

    You know it, brother.

  102. Cory Maye’s predicament makes my blood boil. He shouldn’t even be in jail, much less have been put on Death Row. A true injustice that needs to be fixed, and fast.

  103. Seriously, do you guys want to live in a society where the cops can’t check the IDs of some guys carrying your widescreen out of your house because he claims to live there and filibusters at the top of his lungs instead of producing ID?

    I don’t think I particularly want to live in a society where some authority-abusing LEO can trick me into stepping outside so that he can arrest me for having the temerity to ask him for his name and badge number either. The cops in this country seem to think they’re the goddamned lords of creation and the rest of us are just so many peons to be bossed around, roughed up, beat up, shot up, and/or harvested like so many cattle.

  104. The facts are pretty simple:

    1. Did Gates act like an ass and make baseless claims based on race – yes
    2. Did the cop over react by arresting Gates – Yes
    3. Did Obama step out of bounds commenting on this – yes

    We now have a stinking pile of crap where everyone looks bad and no one wins and it’s time to move on.

  105. What gets me about this is that he could have essentially made this go away by just saying something like “OK, I shouldn’t have commented on this because it’s got nothing to do with my office. I just feel strongly about it because I know Dr. Gates and know that he’s a good man [blah blah blah]…”

    This goes for most presidents. I don’t know what the deal is, but all most politicians have to do once they have fucked up is go say, “oops I fucked up. Sorry man I won’t let it happen again.” Bill Clinton could have saved himself a huge headache if he would have just said, ” I got a hummer in the oval office, I shouldn’t have. Sorry heh.” The arrogance and ego get in the way or they are getting shitty advice.

  106. He’s going to give Crowley a piece of gum and show him how to chew it.

  107. See: Commerce Clause.

    Are you implying that cops are for sale like, say…. junior senators from Illinois?

    -jcr

  108. It would be wonderful irony if Obama got those two into the same room with him at the White House, preferably with cameras rolling, and then Gates went off on the cop and assaulted him or something, and got arrested … again.

  109. It’s rare that I actually agree with MNG on anything, so I’m savoring the kumbaya moment … I’ve got neighbors who sometimes scream or go berserk for a bit. I don’t call the cops, I wait for them to calm down, and chalk up the noise as the inevitable price of living in close quarters to others.

    You have the First Amendment right to call cops names and be rude and antisocial to them, if you haven’t committed any crime, on public or private property. Any law saying otherwise is unconstitutional, even if 5 SCOTUS judges said otherwise at some point.

  110. I don’t think I particularly want to live in a society where some authority-abusing LEO can trick me into stepping outside so that he can arrest me for having the temerity to ask him for his name and badge number either. The cops in this country seem to think they’re the goddamned lords of creation and the rest of us are just so many peons to be bossed around, roughed up, beat up, shot up, and/or harvested like so many cattle.

    I’m sorry, but do you really think that a fucking screen door is going to make a difference here? If there’s a reason for the cop to arrest you after you’ve stepped out, there’s a reason for him to arrest you before.

    My point stands: If a cop is called to a house where a couple of guys are emptying it of all its valuables, can the fuzz be permanently confounded by an unsupported claim that the gentlemen live there and are thus presumed to be the owners of the property? Or do the thieves/owners have to start making loud, baseless allegations of racism/sexism/ageism/lookism/homophobia/fatism/etc. first?

    Now imagine coming home to your place stripped of everything, calling the local Five-O and having them tell you they were there, but the guys said they were the owners so they left them in peace. Somehow I think this shallow abstraction of yours just wouldn’t be what you’d be thinking at the moment.

  111. I’m coming late to this thread, but…I don’t think the cops were particularly racist. The neighbors that called the cops? Probably.

  112. Seems to me that the cops should understand a guy being very upset and mouthing off when he’s in his own home and they come in as if he’s done something wrong. No way this should have ended with an arrest.

    Good thing Professor Gates wasn’t checking out his own house with a gun in his hand.

  113. Agree w Tommy J.

  114. No way this should have ended with an arrest

    It ended with the charge being dropped, actually. Then it began again when Mr. Obama put his foot in it Wednesday night. And now it will live forever–like “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”–because of Obama’s choice of words in his bizarre non-apology. Look for “calibrate” to become the new ?ber-excuse:

    “Sorry, mom, I never did take out the trash. I should have calibrated my time a little better.”

    “Yeah, I slept with her. And it was wrong. But my tool needed recalibrating.”

    “I did do my homework, but the dog calibrated it!”

  115. Oh, yes. An example of Obama finding the middle ground might be his calling the Cambridge Police stupid.

    The charges were dropped before the “perp” even appeared for arraignment. Yes, that’s a pretty stupid arrest. Not to be racist, but that’s a spade calling a spade a spade.

  116. “can the fuzz be permanently confounded by an unsupported claim that the gentlemen live there and are thus presumed to be the owners of the property? Or do the thieves/owners have to start making loud, baseless allegations of racism/sexism/ageism/lookism/homophobia/fatism/etc. first?”

    This is all irrelevant as the arrest was not made on suspicion of b+e, it was made on disorderly conduct. And a person making allegations of “racism” or whatever on their own front porch is certainly not “tumultuous” warranting an arrest.

    “It ended with the charge being dropped, actually.”

    This does not matter, arresting a person is a serious imposition on their liberty, even if later charges are dropped. When an unwarranted arrest is made then the cop hasw done something wrong and “stupid.”

  117. http://www.slate.com/id/2223379/

    The arresting officer alleges that Gates shouted at him and threatened to speak to his “mama.” He then arrested Gates for disorderly conduct. What, exactly, is disorderly conduct?

    Behavior that might cause a riot. Massachusetts courts have limited the definition of disorderly conduct to: fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition for no legitimate purpose other than to cause public annoyance or alarm. (The statute, however, just says “idle and disorderly persons,” a formulation that is, on its own, patently unconstitutional.) Violators may be imprisoned for up to six months, fined a maximum of $200, or both.

    The stilted language in the Gates police report is intended to mirror the courts’ awkward phrasing, but the state could never make the charge stick. The law is aimed not at mere irascibility but rather at unruly behavior likely to set off wider unrest. Accordingly, the behavior must take place in public or on private property where people tend to gather. While the police allege that a crowd had formed outside Gates’ property, it is rare to see a disorderly conduct conviction for behavior on the suspect’s own front porch. In addition, political speech is excluded from the statute because of the First Amendment. Alleging racial bias, as Gates was doing, and protesting arrest both represent core political speech.

  118. Mass. case law on point:
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=ma&vol=appslip/appMar03i&invol=1

    The statute authorizing prosecutions for disorderly conduct, G. L. c. 272, ? 53,(5) has been saved from constitutional infirmity by incorporating the definition of “disorderly” contained in Model Penal Code ? 250.2(1)(a), (c) (1980). See Commonwealth v. Chou, 433 Mass. 229, 231-232 (2001) (summarizing history of ? 53 and its construction). See also Alegata v. Commonwealth, 353 Mass. 287, 303-304 (1967); Commonwealth v. A Juvenile, 368 Mass. 580, 595-597 (1975). “The resulting definition of ‘disorderly’ . . . includes only those individuals who, ‘with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof . . . : (a) engage[] in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or . . . (c) create[] a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.'” Commonwealth v. Chou, supra at 232 (citations omitted).(6) “Public” is defined as “affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access.” Commonwealth v. A Juvenile, supra at 586 (citing Model Penal Code definition quoted in Alegata v. Commonwealth, supra at 304).(7)

    The public element of the offense is readily met in cases where the proscribed conduct takes place on public streets, see Commonwealth v. Mulero, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 963, 963-964 (1995); or by the side of a highway, see Commonwealth v. Bosk, 29 Mass. App. Ct. 904, 906-907 (1990). It also may be satisfied where the disturbance takes place in a more secluded environment, but only if members of the public are likely to be affected. See Commonwealth v. Collins, 36 Mass. App. Ct. 25, 33 (1994) (disruption occurred in area of police station that was public place); Commonwealth v. LePore, 40 Mass. App. Ct. 543, 549 (1996) (voyeur’s conduct, even though unseen by victim, occurred in public alley). Compare Commonwealth v. Blavackas, 11 Mass. App. Ct. 746, 747-750 (1981) (defendant’s sexual solicitation and conduct should not have been prosecuted as disorderly conduct; regardless, public element was not met where acts took place in car parked fifty feet from street, up driveway and on lawn area of house).

    Whether the disturbance itself occurs on publicly owned property is not dispositive. The public element may be satisfied where the actor’s conduct takes place on private property that is frequented by the public, such as stores, apartment houses, or theaters. See Model Penal Code ? 250.2 comment 2, at 329. See also Commonwealth v. Carson, 10 Mass. App. Ct. 920, 921-922 (1980) (tumultuous conduct in dormitory and abutting plaza). It also is possible that behavior occurring on purely private property may be shown to affect or be likely to affect persons in an adjacent or nearby “place to which the public or a substantial group has access,” Model Penal Code ? 250.2, such that a disorderly conduct charge would be appropriate. Still, “[n]othing less than conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of public nuisance will suffice for liability.” Model Penal Code ? 250.2 comment 2, at 328-329.

  119. Is there a way to filter out posts by MNG?

  120. Well, MNG’s a good contributor but I fully admit that he has a few bad posts every now and then (see: 8:48am). Nobody’s perfect.

  121. Art
    What can you do? Nobody likes to have long cut and paste posts and I’m sorry to have done it, but when you have this endless stupidity about whether Gates’ behavior falls under the authority on point or not, there comes a time when one long post on point can hopefully end what is a foolish debate. I’m a utilitarian, what can I say, a wrong that prevents a worse wrong=a good.

  122. Now that the case law on point has been clearly established, let’s hope no one will embarass themselves further with the foolishness that Gates arrest was justified even if one accepts that arrests for “tumultuous” behavior on your front porch during the day should be an arrestable offense.

  123. hopefully end what is a foolish debate

    You promise, MNG? No more? You really promise?

  124. PS

    Nobody reads solid-wall paste-jobs. They’re the digital version of pissing in the wind.

  125. Seriously, is there a way to filter out posts by MNG? I enjoy reading Reason and the comments. I am not interested in the Hufington Post.

  126. Uh, sorry plussy, but since this is one of the few times where I’m arguing the libertarian position on this libertarian website I’m afraid I don’t feel inclined to give it a rest when you LGF types spew your irrelevant Gates hate…

    Libertarianism has its faults (they are Legion imo), but it has many admirable qualities. One of them is a healthy willingness to defend the rights of even unlikable individuals and another is an awareness of the importance of keeping a strict and suspicious eye on uses of government authority. A libertarian (and most of the regulars here have done this) would condemn this arrest whether it was a black Harvard professor or a white Neo-nazi or whoever. Right wing nuts posing as libertarians though would, predictably, have different principles for different persons, and would attack the victim of what they otherwise would consider an injustice if he were of a type they despise (liberal elitist, black “race-baiter”, blah, blah, blah).

  127. Easy Sea, take your cowardly ass on to this site:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/

    You’ll find no posts you disagree with to upset your delicate nature there, and I surely don’t post there.

  128. “I enjoy reading Reason and the comments. I am not interested in the Hufington Post.”

    The funniest thing about this is that Reason’s regular contributors (Sullum, Walker) that have spoken out about this have condemned the arrest and even defended Gates in equivalent or stronger terms than I have…And most of the regular libertarian commenters have posted with much more outrage on the subject than I am.

    Fail, buddy, fail.

  129. Would it not be possible to just quietly drown them both and go back to our truncated, over-regulated lives?

  130. Joel,

    If by “them both”, you mean the media outlets that keep flogging this story to death* (and we know there’s only two media outlets, Murdoch and Soros 😉 ) rather than Crowley and Gates, I’m down with that.

    Sea of Liberty, Seasteading?

    *’cept Reason. Love y’all!

  131. The arrest, of course, was BS and the cop should at the very least receive an official reprimand and maybe a pay dock.

    But Gates was way out of line. The cop had a good reason to be there initially, and Gates apparently went from zero to nuclear very quickly (even apparently by his own account). That’s garbage behavior too. And not because the guy was a cop, but because the guy was a fellow human being.

    I mean if he behaved like that in a bar, there’s a decent chance he gets punched. That would be equally as incorrect and in opposition to the law as arresting him, but wouldn’t exactly be the most shocking thing to ever happen. He’s got every right to act like a jerk to anybody he wants, cop or not. But that doesn’t mean he should, cop or not.

    I try to be respectful to police officers, but then I try to be respectful to everybody until they finally work my last nerve (and even then when I fly off the handle, I usually regret it afterward). Gates pretty clearly didn’t make a similar effort here.

    There’s nobody emotionally to root for here (legally Gates is in the right), so like others I wish it would just go away.

  132. OMFG ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS? WTF!!!!!1!one

  133. Fermat,

    At least the estate of Michael Jackson wasn’t involved.

  134. Still talking about this? Are you kidding me? This is a great story! Abuse of police authority, race baiting for personal gain (is there any other kind?) and a president ignorant of the facts taking sides on the issue nonetheless.

    Everyone but the three key figures gets to display sanctimony. Fuck healthcare reform. This is a blogger/commenter’s dream.

  135. A cop named Crowley?

    “Let ‘Do What I Say’ Be the Whole of the Law!”

    Sorry, I’m sure someone else had that one somewhere.

  136. This is all irrelevant as the arrest was not made on suspicion of b+e, it was made on disorderly conduct. And a person making allegations of “racism” or whatever on their own front porch is certainly not “tumultuous” warranting an arrest.

    You miss the point so completely, MNG, it can only be deliberate, so I’ll make it explicitly here: How were the cops to know it was Gates’ “own front porch?” How did they know he wasn’t a would-be burglar with a good bluff?

    It’s likely that Gates flashing his Harvard ID saved him from a B+E arrest outright, but they still hadn’t established that it was indeed his home before he started into his denunciations.

  137. It’s likely that Gates flashing his Harvard ID saved him from a B+E arrest outright,

    Brar har har, say your neighbors are feeble of mind and they call the cops and say that they thought some guy fitting your description was breaking into your house through the front door…

    Keep in mind, I’m not faulting Crowley for his actions, just pointing out how idiotic the premise for a breaking and entering “arrest” might be.

  138. …and you didn’t have your ID on your person. They might detain ya, but something tells me they’d need more than that (maybe signs of forced entry or sumthin’) to take you to the station house for processing.

  139. I’m saying you can’t fault Crowley for that part because you have to act on information and not just assume that whoever called in the tip was a moron.

    I’m sure both Gates and Crowley would hope that the neighbor was acting in good fath when s/he called in that “tip”.

  140. LOL, no doubt about it dude, the only thing Obama is good at is giving speeches!

    RT
    http://www.online-privacy.tk

  141. If I’m Professor Gates I accept and toss my beer in Officer Crowley’s face.

  142. You miss the point so completely, MNG, it can only be deliberate, so I’ll make it explicitly here: How were the cops to know it was Gates’ “own front porch?” How did they know he wasn’t a would-be burglar with a good bluff?

    Jeffersonian,

    Since you spend so much much time crawling up them, how do cops’a asse smell?

  143. Oopsies.

    Make that “how do cops’ asses smell?”

  144. The strangest thing about this is that Obama chose to stick his nose into it in the first place, seeing as how getting his socialized medicine bill passed is such a DIRE EMERGENCY THAT WE HAVE TO GET DONE RIGHT NOW – THIS VERY SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  145. Jeff
    We’ve gone over this, not even the cop maintains that this arrest was about suspicion of B+E, so why do you keep bringing this up? He claims the arrest was justified because disorderly conduct was occurring. And I’ve, perhaps too thoroughly, provided the case law on that subject; disorderly conduct, under Mass law, was not occurring. As the law is understood in Mass there was no threatening, violent or “tumultuous” (inciteful and in a public place) behavior occurring.

    Now add to this that unless there is extended disorderly conduct or late nite/early morn disorderly conduct or conduct which is threatening then there should be no criminal offense of disorderly conduct in a free society, and you can see why I’m pissed at the cops here. I could give a hang about Gates, if this had happened to David Duke (and no, to head off some posts, I don’t think the two are equatable) I’d be just as pissed…

  146. “The strangest thing about this is that Obama chose to stick his nose into it in the first place”

    Iirc he “stuck his nose” into it by answering a question on the topic put to him.

    But off topic, as I’ve long said, his health care plan is awful. I’d rather he be focused on this issue frankly.

  147. LOL, no doubt about it dude, the only thing Obama is good at is giving speeches!

    Whoa, Anonymity Guy has turned on Obama! This is like a watershed moment or something!

    DIE MOTHERFUCKER DIE

  148. Thank God for this excellent distraction from health-care reform! I should think it’s prompted at least 1000 H&R comments.

    ‘The facts are pretty simple:

    ‘1. Did Gates act like an ass and make baseless claims based on race – yes
    ‘2. Did the cop over react by arresting Gates – Yes
    ‘3. Did Obama step out of bounds commenting on this – yes

    ‘We now have a stinking pile of crap where everyone looks bad and no one wins and it’s time to move on.’

    I agree, except as follows:

    -the ‘time to move on’ is only *after* we’ve thoroughly castigated the at-fault parties.

    -Pres. Obama also stepped out of bounds by proposing to fill his role as National Healer with a conference at the White House. I may not have seen *Godfather,* but I’m making up for it by observing Obama’s actions here.

  149. And it’s typical that Obama is allowed to portray himself as an impartial mediator of a dispute where one party is his friend, whose side he of the dispute he has already endorsed. Not the first time this will happen (common ground on abortion!) nor will it be the last.

  150. Jeffersonian:

    Look up Cambridge’s noise ordinances. During the daytime you aren’t entitled to relief from noises from your neighbor’s house unless the decibel level exceeds that from a construction site.

    And with regard to the disorderly conduct statute in Mass, here are additional court cites from Volokh:

    Massachusetts courts have rejected MPC s. 250.2(b) as a violation of free speech rights. So this provision is not part of Massachusetts law:

    (b) makes unreasonable noise or offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display, or addresses abusive language to any person present.

    And here are some squibs:

    Arrest under Massachusetts “idle and disorderly person” statute was unlawful under Massachusetts law, where defendant was arrested for yelling, screaming, swearing and generally causing a disturbance but, though the yelling was undoubtedly loud enough to attract the attention of other guests in hotel, it did not rise to level of “riotous commotion” or “public nuisance.” U.S. v. Pasqualino, D.Mass.1991, 768 F.Supp. 13.

    And –

    Defendant who did not physically resist his arrest arising out of a domestic violence incident could not be convicted of disorderly conduct based solely on his loud and angry tirade, which included profanities, directed at police officers as he was being escorted to police cruiser, even if spectators gathered to watch defendant; defendant did not make any threats or engage in violence, and his speech did not constitute fighting words. Com. v. Mallahan (2008) 72 Mass.App.Ct. 1103, 889 N.E.2d 77, 2008 WL 2404550.

    And –

    Defendant’s conduct, namely, flailing his arms and shouting at police, victim of recent assault, or both, after being told to leave area by police, did not amount to “violent or tumultuous behavior” within scope of disorderly conduct statute, absent any claim that defendant’s protestations constituted threat of violence, or any evidence that defendant’s flailing arms were anything but physical manifestation of his agitation or that noise and commotion caused by defendant’s behavior was extreme. Com. v. Lopiano (2004) 805 N.E.2d 522, 60 Mass.App.Ct. 723.

    The Mallahan cite is almost exactly on point. If anything, it establishes that behavior considerably WORSE than anything Crowley claimed Gates did STILL wouldn’t qualify as disorderly conduct in Massachusetts.

    I am going to have to get this laminated on a card or something, because the sheer number of assholes who read a gutted and discredited statute and think they understand how the Mass courts will permit it to be applied is staggering.

  151. BTW, I hate Obama and almost all his works, and the only thing he did wrong here was back down and apologize.

    But I guess I should have expected that as soon as Obama said one thing I could support [post-inauguration] that he would fuck it up almost immediately as soon as there was any heat on his spineless ass whatsoever.

  152. But what about our “national teaching moment”?

    Is it cancelled?

    And, as has been pointed out numerous times, I’m still waiting for that worthless lying bag of shit to offer up his thoughts on the death of Shem Walker.

  153. this is one of the few times where I’m arguing the libertarian position on this libertarian website

    You’re not giving yourself enough credit, MNG. You always argue the libertarian position when it lines up with Obama’s position.

  154. Iirc he “stuck his nose” into it by answering a question on the topic put to him.

    And strangely, that’s the only question he answered directly during the whole conference!

  155. Of course, every time Obama’s bungling politiciancraft inches me closer to Bush nostalgia, something like this comes out:

    WASHINGTON – The Bush administration in 2002 considered sending U.S. troops into a Buffalo, N.Y., suburb to arrest a group of terror suspects in what would have been a nearly unprecedented use of military power, The New York Times reported.

    Vice President Dick Cheney and several other Bush advisers at the time strongly urged that the military be used to apprehend men who were suspected of plotting with al Qaida, who later became known as the Lackawanna Six, the Times reported on its Web site Friday night. It cited former administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Damn you, Bush and Cheney, for saving Obama from being the worst president of this century (yet).

  156. Keep in mind, I’m not faulting Crowley for his actions, just pointing out how idiotic the premise for a breaking and entering “arrest” might be.

    Neighbor sees two men forcing their way into a house, calls cops. Cops respond and find a fellow there who says he lives there, but refuses to provide any proof of that supposed fact.

    Is there some reason the guy should not be arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering.

  157. The Mallahan cite is almost exactly on point. If anything, it establishes that behavior considerably WORSE than anything Crowley claimed Gates did STILL wouldn’t qualify as disorderly conduct in Massachusetts.

    Okay, you win, I’ll concede the point as long as the evidence supports your claim about Gates’ behavior.

  158. Since we are all about semantics today…

    “unfortunately… gave an impression that I was maligning” the officer

    ma?lign
    -verb (used with object)
    1. to speak harmful untruths about; speak evil of; slander; defame: to malign an honorable man.

    Saying that the guy acted studpidly, does not equate to saying he is a bad, stupid, or evil man. In addition, in this case, since the man DID act stupidly there is no sense in which the original statement spoke an untruth about him.

    Obama’s original statement was spot on and he did not, it should be emphasized, back down from it. He just highlighted the fact that saying the cop acted stupidly is not the same as saying he is a bad cop, a bad man, etc…

    Jeffersonian…I second the request that you change your handle, or at least add irony tags.

  159. NM,

    Your comments are stupid. All of them. And you’re all about semantics every day, not just today.

    Did I just malign you?

  160. Tulpa
    I’m not sure if you are new here, but longtime posters can probably remember that I did not support Obama in the primaries and was pretty hard on him. He’s been disappointing in several areas and I’ve said so. Of course, I have defended him where I’ve agree with him, so I’m sure that’s what you are focusing on.

    “Is there some reason the guy should not be arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering.”

    Argh, again, since the arrest was not justified on these grounds this is crazy irrelevant. I might also add that it assumes the police report is gospel, but given the repeated obtuseness on the first point, why waste time in that area?

  161. Because we all know that one’s committment to liberty rests on being in lockstep with the Massachusettes Supreme Court’s rulings on disorderly conduct statutes, right NM? Just as one’s supposed stupidity does.

    So let’s do a little synthesis:

    * Officer Liberty is called to an address where two men were seen forcing open a door
    * Officer Liberty arrives to find one man within eyesight at the address
    * Officer Liberty is told by the person that he, the person, lives there
    * Officer Liberty asks the person to step outside and show some evidence of residency
    * Person shows Officer Liberty a univerity ID that does not have the address of the residency on it
    * Office Liberty requests additional ID with residence address on it to confirm the statement of the person
    * Person refuses and begins long, loud tirade about Officer Liberty’s presumed faults

    Officer Liberty’s next act should be __________________________ (fill in the blank)

  162. Argh, again, since the arrest was not justified on these grounds this is crazy irrelevant. I might also add that it assumes the police report is gospel, but given the repeated obtuseness on the first point, why waste time in that area?

    And why was an arrest not warrented on B+E? There was no evidence provided by Gates that he was indeed the resident of that house and he was seen breaking into it. What was to keep the cop from arresting him on suspicion of that crime but the fact that Gates had shown him his Harvard ID, thus making the probability that he was not breaking and entering more remote?

  163. > But what about our “national teaching moment”?

    Not cancelled; it’s becoming our national teaching *semester*.

    See y’all in detention!

  164. There was no evidence provided by Gates that he was indeed the resident of that house and he was seen breaking into it.

    Crowley? Is that you?

  165. It’s a serious question, P Brooks. Can you answer it? Or maybe you want to step into Officer Liberty’s shoes for a few minutes.

  166. Crowley? Is that you?

    Barry? Is that you?

  167. As with the Ron Paul Newsletters, the race angle is a distraction. Officer Crowley thought he could arrest someone for insulting him. It was a petty abuse of power.

    Crowley probably isn’t a racist, but he is a bad cop if he thinks that he can arrest someone in his own home for saying something Crowley doesn’t like. Prof. Gates was rude, mean-spirited and wrong to make the racism accusation, but that doesn’t make him a criminal.

    Maybe that’s why the charges against Gates were dropped.

  168. “why was an arrest not warrented on B+E”

    Irrelevant as he was not arrested on B+E, he was arrested for disorderly conduct, Jesus!

    “Person refuses”

    Do you have any evidence for this other than the police report? Why would you so uncritically take one sides version when you clearly don’t know for sure? Remember, my arguments contra yours have all assumed the report is correct, but you seem to have uncritically accepted that Gates did not show any ID other than his faculty ID (btw, because it seems pretty chancy that a Harvard faculty member was breaking into someone’s home that alone should have undercut any probable cause for a b+e arrest), Gates’ complaint says he showed two forms of ID iirc…

  169. Because we all know that one’s committment to liberty rests on being in lockstep with the Massachusettes Supreme Court’s rulings on disorderly conduct statutes, right NM?

    Actually, I seconded the request based on your stated opinion that the speech of your neighbors should be subject to arrest if it was loud enough to be heard on your property…

    You seem very, very confused on the issue of natural rights and clearly missed the point of everything written by Thomas Jefferson.

  170. As with the Ron Paul Newsletters, the race angle is a distraction. Officer Crowley thought he could arrest someone for insulting him. It was a petty abuse of power.

    That imputes a motive that may not, indeed, is most likely not what actually caused the arrest. Here’s my theory:

    * Crowley arrived on the scene with the assumption that Gates’ residence was being broken into
    * Gates failed to provide evidence that he was the actual resident of the house, but did provide personal ID that showed he was a Harvard prof, whereupon he became belligerent
    * Suspecting that Gates was indeed the legal resident but lacking positive proof, Crowley detained Gates on the DC charge so he could make sure the man who was he said he was and that he was the legal resident of the house.

    It wasn’t so much an “abuse of power” as the use of process to verify Gates’ identity and residency. The DC charge was never meant to “stick.” In this manner, Gates’ property is protected against an imposter claiming residency while stealing the professor blind, while only minorly inconveniencing Gates whose belligerence, after all, escalated the situation beyond all reason.

  171. Officer Liberty’s next act should be __________________________ (fill in the blank)

    1) Continue to monitor the situation to assure that nothing goes missing from the house.

    2) Take steps to verify that the man is the resident of that address…(some options)

    a) check police data-base which should have the name of the resident.
    b) ask a neighbor if the irate man does indeed live there.
    c) repeat request and continue to wait calmly for the man to produce an ID.

    If you can’t figure these out, you shouldn’t be a cop.

  172. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates2.html

    Crowley’s own police report claimed that upon cuffing Gates he asked Gates if he wanted to an officer to take his house key and secure “his” (Gates’) front door, then a Harvard maintenance man came to the scene who “appeared familiar with Gates” and Crowley asked Gates if he would be ok with the maintenance man securing “his residence.”

    So yes, any idea this arrest was based on b+e is nuts. That stuff all over your face is egg Jeff…

    Now here is a question for you: what kind of insane hate for Gates made you stake out such a groundless position and defend it with such gusto, and is that level of dislike for a man you whom you likely don’t know a lot about rational? I mean, wtf?

  173. Tulpa, a few months ago, when there was a mass shooting in Samson Alabama, nearby Fort Rucker sent several active duty military police to patrol the streets of Samson and Geneva Alabama. Some people asked why and there is an ongoing investigation, but it is very quiet around here about it. I mentioned it on threads here and sent links via e-mail to Reason staffers.

  174. Crowly NEVER claims to arrest Gates on suspicion of b+e, never. He claimed all along that the arrest was for disorderly conduct (read his own frigging report, especially page 3). You are completely pulling this fantasy out of your ass.

    If Crowley had probable cause he could have lawfully detained Gates to check out things, and if he had probable cause he could have arrested him for b+e. Of course, he did not and so did not.

    He tries to create probable cause in his report for disordery, even foolishly parroting the word “tumult” and “tumultuous” (foolish, because as repeatedly pointed out upthread the legal meaning of the word tumult in Mass law does not include Gates’ alleged behavior). There is not even the slightest pretense, by Crowley himself, that the arrest was motivated by suspicion of b+e.

  175. Irrelevant as he was not arrested on B+E, he was arrested for disorderly conduct, Jesus!

    Not irrelevant, because the facts of the situation support detaining Gates on a b+e but, as you correctly point out later in your post, the Harvard ID probably told Crowley that this wasn’t likely a b+e. At that point, Crowley could have assumed that to be the case, or he could verify it conclusively by getting positive ID from Gates with an address on it. The former would leave him exposed if he was wrong and Gates’ home got cleaned out after the cops left, the latter would not.

    Do you have any evidence for this other than the police report? Why would you so uncritically take one sides version when you clearly don’t know for sure? Remember, my arguments contra yours have all assumed the report is correct, but you seem to have uncritically accepted that Gates did not show any ID other than his faculty ID (btw, because it seems pretty chancy that a Harvard faculty member was breaking into someone’s home that alone should have undercut any probable cause for a b+e arrest), Gates’ complaint says he showed two forms of ID iirc…

    I agree with the last portion of your comment here. So far, all the reports from witnesses I’ve read have supported the police version of the story, none have supported Gates’. See my best-guess above as to what really went on regarding the arrest.

  176. Because we all know that one’s committment to liberty rests on being in lockstep with the Massachusettes Supreme Court’s rulings on disorderly conduct statutes, right NM? Just as one’s supposed stupidity does.

    So let’s do a little synthesis:

    * Officer Liberty is called to an address where two men were seen forcing open a door
    * Officer Liberty arrives to find one man within eyesight at the address
    * Officer Liberty is told by the person that he, the person, lives there
    * Officer Liberty asks the person to step outside and show some evidence of residency
    * Person shows Officer Liberty a univerity ID that does not have the address of the residency on it
    * Office Liberty requests additional ID with residence address on it to confirm the statement of the person
    * Person refuses and begins long, loud tirade about Officer Liberty’s presumed faults

    Officer Liberty’s next act should be __________________________ (fill in the blank)

    … to step outside the house, off the alleged homeowner’s property, and look up on the police cruiser’s computer Gate’s home address.

    … to step outside the house, off the alleged homeowner’s property, and ask a neighbor to confirm whether Gates lives there.

    … to step outside the house, off the alleged homeowner’s property, and conclude that sufficient ID has been provided to not warrant an arrest, and leave.

    … to step outside the house, off the alleged homeowner’s property, and leave

    See a trend here? The person alleged to have broken into the house has produced ID that has some credibility to it, which should raise valid doubts that the allegations of possible B&E were unfounded, and that the person addressing the officer has the right to demand said officer leave the property (i.e. not trespass) in the absence of more compelling evidence of a crime.

  177. “Crowley could have assumed that to be the case, or he could verify it conclusively by getting positive ID from Gates with an address on it. The former would leave him exposed if he was wrong and Gates’ home got cleaned out after the cops left, the latter would not.”

    Incredible! He surely had the bare probable cause necessary to detain Gates until he found out more.

    It’s bd enough for you to argue as if Crowley’s report was completely true, but you go further and invent motivations and jutifications for Crowledy that he himself never maintained! That kind of deference for a government agent is, frankly, incredible imo. Let’s all hope you don’t at least think of yourself as a libertarian with that mindset. Sheesh.

  178. “Iirc he “stuck his nose” into it by answering a question on the topic put to him.”

    Which he could easily have handled by:

    a. Stating that he didn’t want to comment on an incident where he didn’t have all the facts.

    or

    b. tap dancing around with a bunch of irrelevalnt, diversional drivel to avoid actually answering the question – the same thing he did with every question he was asked about health care.

  179. prolefeed,

    Great minds.

  180. 1) Continue to monitor the situation to assure that nothing goes missing from the house.

    For how long? An hour? A day? A week? If you think something is going to missing, isn’t that an admission that it’s reasonable to conclude Gates was a burglar?

    2) Take steps to verify that the man is the resident of that address…(some options)

    a) check police data-base which should have the name of the resident.
    b) ask a neighbor if the irate man does indeed live there.
    c) repeat request and continue to wait calmly for the man to produce an ID.

    a) it’s a rental home, so it’s likely the house would be registered to the title holder, not Gates
    b) it was a neighbor who saw Gates forcing his way into the house and called cops. If Gates was known well enough in the area, the neighbor wouldn’t have called the fuzz in to begin with
    c) already tried, and Gates was abusive and acrimonious. Why shouldn’t the officer conclude instead that the fellow was unable to confirm his residency and arrest him on a b+e?

    Weak.

  181. There’s no evidence or even claim that Gates was in any way trying to leave the premises. All the cop needed to do was wait. Even he says in his report that he had called the HU police to verify Gates’ claim. An arrest of Gates, especially as you fantasize, an arrest for a charge which the officer KNEW was unwarranted but was done in order to provide time to more fully explore b+e possibility, is blatant false arrest and something he should be punished for, period.

  182. Tulpa,

    At some level, all arguments are about the semantics (i.e., the meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form).

    If I think situation X is an example of Y, you probably disagree with me on the meaning of Y.

  183. NM — dammit, you beat me to the punch, and more succinctly, too.

    * Shakes fist *

    I guess this is the topic where the right-libs and center-libs and left-libs and even flat-out leftists can finally all agree.

    /warm and fuzzy

  184. “Why shouldn’t the officer conclude instead that the fellow was unable to confirm his residency and arrest him on a b+e?”

    My God, such obtusenss was never even seen in the likes of SIV!

    CROWLEY NEVER CLAIMS TO HAVE ARRESTED GATES ON SUSPICION OF B+E!!!!!!

  185. … to step outside the house, off the alleged homeowner’s property, and ask a neighbor to confirm whether Gates lives there.

    Fine. Crowley asks the neighbor who phoned in the call to begin with. She says “no.” Would you then cheer Crowley arresting Gates on the b+e?

    As for the rest, they’re a restatement of NM’s flaccid response.

  186. (btw, because it seems pretty chancy that a Harvard faculty member was breaking into someone’s home that alone should have undercut any probable cause for a b+e arrest)

    Wow, look who’s in favor of profiling now. So you think it would have been OK to drag him off in cuffs on a B&E rap if he worked at Wal-Mart?

  187. There are no facts, only interpretations. Nietzsche

  188. 1) Continue to monitor the situation…

    For how long? An hour? A day? A week? If you think something is going to missing, isn’t that an admission that it’s reasonable to conclude Gates was a burglar?

    For the short amount of time it should take to verify the man’s ID and residence.

    2) Take steps to verify that the man is the resident of that address…(some options)

    a) it’s a rental home, so it’s likely the house would be registered to the title holder, not Gates

    See prolefeed above…verify where GATES lives.

    b) it was a neighbor who saw Gates forcing his way into the house and called cops. If Gates was known well enough in the area, the neighbor wouldn’t have called the fuzz in to begin with

    Not all neighbors are created equal…finding a 3rd party with no stake in the situation who is likely to know his next door neighbor, a pretty basic step.

    c) already tried, and Gates was abusive and acrimonious. Why shouldn’t the officer conclude instead that the fellow was unable to confirm his residency and arrest him on a b+e?

    Innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Again see prolefeed above.

  189. CROWLEY NEVER CLAIMS TO HAVE ARRESTED GATES ON SUSPICION OF B+E!!!!!!

    FFS, MNG, I know that. What I am saying is that Crowley would have been within reason to do so. Does that register?

  190. What I am saying is that Crowley would have been within reason to do so.

    Hence the requests for you to change your handle.

  191. Tulpa
    This may shock you, but I’m not sure this liberal would be against all racial profiling (whatever one means by that [nods in NM’s direction]), but yes, I think when being called to a possible b+e at university faculty housing the production of a university faculty id undercuts the probable cause there…

  192. Jeff
    Jesus, so you admit that it’s irrelevant (no one is talking about what Crowley COULD have done, they are debating whether what he DID do was warranted).

  193. a) it’s a rental home, so it’s likely the house would be registered to the title holder, not Gates

    Call title holder. Ask name of current renter.

  194. At some level, all arguments are about the semantics (i.e., the meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form).

    In the sense that you can “win” any argument by redefining certain words, I guess that’s so. But that intellectually dishonest tactic is what gives semantics its negative connotation.

    If I think situation X is an example of Y, you probably disagree with me on the meaning of Y.

    Most arguments aren’t about something of that form. They involve real-world occurences that can’t be changed by changing the meanings of words.

  195. Wow, look who’s in favor of profiling now. So you think it would have been OK to drag him off in cuffs on a B&E rap if he worked at Wal-Mart?

    Not at all. I was agreeing with MNG when he said “because it seems pretty chancy that a Harvard faculty member was breaking into someone’s home that alone should have undercut any probable cause for a b+e arrest.” Perhaps you need to pillory him for his “profiling.”

    What was required was a positive verification that Gates lived there, precisely my point. Thank you for agreeing with me.

  196. So do you concede that the actual arrest, for disorderly conduct, was wrong?

    Good, now does anyone else dispute that?

    Now it seems to me the only thing to debate is what kind of punishment Crowley should get for his wrong act.

  197. Most arguments aren’t about something of that form. They involve real-world occurences that can’t be changed by changing the meanings of words.

    First, I said, “at some level.” Not at all levels.

    But, even if we go with your framing…

    If a real-world event occurs, you will categorize that event as an exemplar of (let’s say) a “right” or a “wrong.” (something he “should have done” or “shouldn’t have done”; something that was “fair” or “unfair” etc…).

    The argument will be about whether or not the event can properly be considered an example of that category.

    As for the “intellectual dishonesty” term you are throwing around here…that implies that you think a disagreements of this nature is not based upon an actual disagreement…those situations occur (particularly on the internet), but they are not the only type of argument based on “semantics.”

  198. You guys need to remember that this cop was BY HIMSELF and there were reportedly TWO people involved in the break-in (which turns out to be true — Gates’ driver helped him jimmy the door). As far as the officer knows the other guy is sneaking up on him from behind with a crowbar. This isn’t an interesting philosophy question that the officer should withdraw to investigate for a couple of hours, it’s potentially a matter of life and death.

  199. Uh, Jeffersonian, I thought I was pillorying MNG. I do actually agree with you, so you’re welcome. 😉

  200. Tulpa
    When he arrested Gates there were several officers present (read Crowley’s report for pete’s sake before saying something so stupid), so your point is both stunningly misinformed and irrelevant to whether the arrest was justified.

  201. 1) Continue to monitor the situation to assure that nothing goes missing from the house.

    For how long? An hour? A day? A week? If you think something is going to missing, isn’t that an admission that it’s reasonable to conclude Gates was a burglar?

    Until the officer has managed to resolve the ambiguity about whether the person on the premises actually resides there. Call in backup if need be and guard the back door too.

    2) Take steps to verify that the man is the resident of that address…(some options)

    a) check police data-base which should have the name of the resident.
    b) ask a neighbor if the irate man does indeed live there.
    c) repeat request and continue to wait calmly for the man to produce an ID.

    a) it’s a rental home, so it’s likely the house would be registered to the title holder, not Gates
    b) it was a neighbor who saw Gates forcing his way into the house and called cops. If Gates was known well enough in the area, the neighbor wouldn’t have called the fuzz in to begin with
    c) already tried, and Gates was abusive and acrimonious. Why shouldn’t the officer conclude instead that the fellow was unable to confirm his residency and arrest him on a b+e?

    Are you seriously saying that if I produce some ID showing my picture and name on it, that the police have NO WAY of determining where I actually live, and whether I’m trespassing on a given property? If so, what good will it do to arrest me and take me down to the police station and continue to not be able to determine this information?

    But, since you do seem to be trying to make a good faith effort here to argue your POV, here goes:

    a) If it’s a rental, then the owners can be contacted and asked who resides there, or the neighbors. Unless you’re a complete recluse, SOMEONE will be able to establish who actually lives there.

    b) The neighbor who called it in may not have gotten close enough to positively ID the person, not wanting to get shot or otherwise assaulted. So it might resolve the situation to bring the person who called in the complaint close enough to get a good look at Gates’ face.

    c) ID was requested. Credible-looking ID was produced, sufficient to establish the identity of the person in question, if not their residence, at which point the officer did not have probable cause to arrest the person. So, at that point the burden of proof was on the police officer to then establish that this suspect, who is legally presumed innocent, has enough evidence against them to warrant an arrest that would hold up in court.

    If there had been sufficient evidence to arrest Gates on charges of B&E, Crowley certainly would have done so, rather than trumping up some different charges.

  202. Tulpa,

    Yes, a cop’s job is always about life and death.

    But sometimes the best way to protect life (his and citizen’s) is to use sound judgment. All the evidence available to this officer indicated that the B & E had not in fact occurred. He just needed to verify that. Shouldn’t have taken hours.

  203. The conjecturing when they know they do not know better by the cops’ supporters in flopping attempts to justify their actions is astounding…Greater love hath no man than a conservative for an authority figure…

    I mean, maybe it was a tumult? Maybe he arrested him to find out more about the b+e? Maybe the other guy was sneaking up on him and he was by himself?

    Maybe you should check on basic facts before you conjecture wildly about them. Maybe you should not be so apologetic for police officers actions. Maybe you don’t know much about the man you assume the worst about…

  204. prolefeed.

    Well done…but I beat ya again.

    ;^)

  205. Dammit, NM, quit typing * my responses * so fast! 😉

  206. NM,

    You are defining semantics so broadly that it ceases to be a useful concept. When I argue with someone about whether a particular action is moral or not, I wouldn’t classify that as a semantic argument just because we have a different idea of what things are moral.

  207. When he arrested Gates there were several officers present

    We were talking about the point at which Gates first produced ID. At that time he was alone.

  208. Crowley explicitly said (pg 3 of his report) that he was leaving the residence, then Gates’ followed outside and yelled at him, and then he arrested him. He clearly was not considering arresting him for b+e at the time. Likely he was going to just go out front and wait for more information as noone claims any suspicion that Gates was going to flee. It was when Gates had the temerity to harangue him that he decided to arrest him for dc.

  209. “We were talking about the point at which Gates first produced ID.”

    Nice try, but since that was, by Crowley’s own admission, not the time he decided to arrest Gates’, it is astoundinly irrelevant.

    “He had to arrest him when several officers were present because earlier when they weren’t present there were two suspects and only one of them, and one could have snuck up on him with crowbar for all he knew.”

    Jesus, think before you say things…

  210. Tulpa,

    I wouldn’t classify that as a semantic argument just because we have a different idea of what things are moral.

    Now you ARE just arguing semantics…;^)

    You want to call it an ethical argument, but in order to have that argument, you will first need to determine the definitions of right and wrong…quickly, this becomes a disagreement about what “right” means. And it will be an honest disagreement, in most cases.

    As for the charge that I am using such a broad definition of semantics to make it meaningless…well, you were the one that claimed that all my comments were about semantics.

  211. “He had to arrest him when several officers were present because earlier when they weren’t present there were two suspects and only one of them, and one could have snuck up on him with crowbar for all he knew.”

    And Gates was armed with a walking stick!!! “That’s an offensive weapon, that is!”

  212. He clearly was not considering arresting him for b+e at the time.

    How do you know this? Gates’ identity had been established, but not the fact that he resided at the house. If he, in fact, did not reside there then a b+e arrest would have been very much in order.

  213. FWIW, NM, I think Tulpa is right on the narrow issue that such an argument is not primarily semantic because the disagreement is about the normative (rather than descriptive) content of whatever propositions are at issue. That the content of the discussion itself is (necessarily) semantic is besides the point.

  214. Not all neighbors are created equal…finding a 3rd party with no stake in the situation who is likely to know his next door neighbor, a pretty basic step.

    Okay, and that neighbor says “no.” Arrest Gates? Or do we need to do best two out of three? Maybe ring up Gallup to do a poll of the neighborhood?

  215. The way easier way to go is, after you have the college ID, you have reasonable confirmation of the suspect’s name. Using the Plain Sight doctrine, I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find some item (like unopened mail) that was addressed to the guy or otherwise had his name on it, which if found would be reasonable confirmation that–hey!–it’s his place, and it’s time for you to go away now.

  216. prolefeed | July 25, 2009, 5:59pm

    That last rebuttal is probably the best I’ve seen so far. It’s reasonable insofar as the amount of due diligence one would expect from the police in a situation like this, unlike the rest put forth so far that involve things like large stake-outs at Gates’ home for indefinite periods of time to make sure no one walks out with his DVD player (and if it’s indeed his, why couldn’t he walk out with the DVD player? Hence the need to establish residency).

    The only flaw I can see in it is the possible ambiguity of searching the driver’s license database and coming up with multiple Henry Gateses or Gates having an old license address.

  217. The way easier way to go is, after you have the college ID, you have reasonable confirmation of the suspect’s name. Using the Plain Sight doctrine, I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find some item (like unopened mail) that was addressed to the guy or otherwise had his name on it, which if found would be reasonable confirmation that–hey!–it’s his place, and it’s time for you to go away now.

    Another good idea, but I can’t even imagine the wailing and rending of garments here if the cop had the gall to read even the envelopes of Gates’ mail.

    I suppose the question is why Gates didn’t offer any of this information and end the standoff forthwith.

  218. you were the one that claimed that all my comments were about semantics.

    Perhaps not all, but a disproportionate number are about semantics (narrowly defined). And you do that trick of redefining terms to “win” arguments a lot too.

  219. Uh, Jeffersonian, I thought I was pillorying MNG. I do actually agree with you, so you’re welcome.

    Duh…[forehead slap]…did you ever look right at something and not see it?

  220. It’s the MNG Show! Brought to you by SafeGuard, the soap that keeps you clean and fresh-smelling all day long!?? Johnny, what’s in store for our guests today?

    More of the same, Wink!
    Piss-in-the-wind narcissism by MNG, Jeffersonian and Elemenope!

    Excellent! First question, for $100…

  221. Game-Show Host Wink HitAndRun | July 25, 2009, 7:47pm | #

    If we’re boring you, I’m sure you can find more fulfilling things to do than read us. Go eat a hamburger, jerk off in the corner, or write a love poem to your favorite hat. There’s lots of great things you could be doing.

  222. There’s lots of great things you could be doing…jerk off in the corner…

    Isn’t that what we’re doing here, LMNOP (QRST, etc.) ?

  223. Isn’t that what we’re doing here, LMNOP (QRST, etc.) ?

    Indeed. But your complaining makes it sound like you’ve got a kink in your dick or something. Nobody likes grousers during jerk-off sessions; it ruins the mood.

  224. Not complaining. Just observing. My eyes!

  225. I’m coming late to this thread, but…I don’t think the cops were particularly racist. The neighbors that called the cops? Probably.

    So when you see two guys breaking down a door it’s now racist to call the cops?

    WTF

    Supposedly it was a lady walking by who called the cops on her cell phone. Sounds like you have some racist assumptions.

  226. Obama said the remark he made Wednesday during a nationally televised news conference “unfortunately… gave an impression that I was maligning” the officer

    Gee, I don’t know how anyone could get that impression from Obama saying he “acted stupidly.” Clearly this is our fault for misinterpreting him.

    I might have more sympathy for your casual anonymous jackass who gets arrested for yelling at a cop outside his own home, but Gates decided to make this a huge deal on the completely untrue basis the cop’s actions were racist.

  227. Not complaining. Just observing. My eyes!

    Never put salt in your eyes.

    So when you see two guys breaking down a door it’s now racist to call the cops?

    WTF

    It really just depends on the neighborhood. Some neighborhoods are closely knit, while others consist merely of people who happen to live near one another.

    In any case, Gates himself said he thought that the neighbor did the right thing.

  228. I might have more sympathy for your casual anonymous jackass who gets arrested for yelling at a cop outside his own home, but Gates decided to make this a huge deal on the completely untrue basis the cop’s actions were racist.

    I’m still not understanding why that matters. It’s kinda like saying that your sympathy extends to all kinds of jackassery, except this one specific special kind. So, if he called the cop a serial granny sodomizer he’d have your sympathy, but calling him a racist, well, that’s just beyond the pale!

  229. And you do that trick of redefining terms to “win” arguments a lot too.

    I don’t typically try to win arguments on H&R.
    I typically try to engage in discussion.
    The fact that I do that in a crowd the sees conversation as a competitive sport results in lots of odd accusations.

  230. FWIW, NM, I think Tulpa is right on the narrow issue that such an argument is not primarily semantic because the disagreement is about the normative (rather than descriptive) content of whatever propositions are at issue. That the content of the discussion itself is (necessarily) semantic is besides the point.

    Fair enough, I guess, but it seems to me that once you are in the realm of ethics, the normative and the descriptive get pretty muddled together.

    If an argument is about “what happened” and there are objective facts involved, we are pretty much outside the realm of semantics. But if the discussion is normative, you are by definition in the realm of semantics.

    “What do you MEAN he shouldn’t have done that? Of course he should have done that.”

    Where I disagree with Tulpa is in the claim that moving the focus of the discussion to the level of semantics is somehow a dishonest move on the part of participants. It seems to me that you can’t have a productive discussion without getting clear to an agreement on what the meaning of the terms of contention are.

  231. I don’t typically try to win arguments on H&R. I typically try to engage in discussion.
    The fact that I do that in a crowd the sees conversation as a competitive sport results in lots of odd accusations.

    I’ve noticed that too. I got accused yesterday of attempting to “trap” someone because I pointed out a logical consequence of what they had said.

    Weird.

    It seems to me that you can’t have a productive discussion without getting clear to an agreement on what the meaning of the terms of contention are.

    I agree.

    If an argument is about “what happened” and there are objective facts involved, we are pretty much outside the realm of semantics. But if the discussion is normative, you are by definition in the realm of semantics.

    I’m a moral realist, so I guess my view that normative content is ontologically real colors my point. More what I was trying to say is that beyond arguing over which signifier is properly assigned to which phenomena, there is actual non-semantic content to pretty much every statement (insofar as it is attempting to refer to some referent, either by correspondence with reality or some other coherent set). To claim that all argument is semantics glosses over the restrictions that the brute facts of existence place on how the referents may be reasonably constructed.

  232. Just finished 22 oz of Port Townsend Scotch Ale. Went good with chicken and shrimp, and I would even drink it with something spicy. Now I’m onto the stash of Alaskan IPAs. Good times.

  233. It seems to me that you can’t have a productive discussion without getting clear to an agreement on what the meaning of the terms of contention are.

    This isn’t what you do. You take something someone else says and then either redefine the word and accost them for not using your definition, or take a completely unrelated meaning of the word and accost them for “misusing” it.

    This post is a good example. It’s about the housing market, and Herodotus comments that a market is an abstraction to understand human interaction. Then you say that definition is wrong because a Farmer’s Market is concrete, not abstract. A bunch of commenters chime in that your definition doesn’t apply to the housing market, and you generally obfuscate and accuse everyone else of not understanding semantics. This is your typical behavior.

    Indeed, I’m not sure why I dug up that thread. You’ll do it again soon enough for all to see.

  234. I don’t typically try to win arguments on H&R. I typically try to engage in discussion.

    More semantics. Guh. When you express an opinion, another person disagrees, and you rebut their disagreement, you’re in an argument, not a mere discussion.

    The fact that I do that in a crowd the sees conversation as a competitive sport results in lots of odd accusations.

    It’s called persuasion. If you don’t like it there’s plenty of other places on the Net to hang out and shoot the shit pointlessly.

  235. As far as the officer knows the other guy is sneaking up on him from behind with a Jim crowbar.

    FTFY.

    Kisses!

  236. So when you see two guys breaking down a door it’s now racist to call the cops?

    Yes, JB, I’m sure they were “breaking down” the door. I read that they had a battering ram, and when the cops got there, the door was completely splintered and on the ground.

    :::rolls eyes

  237. Well, there were two guys struggling with a door, which whenever I see, I always assume there’s a burglary. I’d have to stop, see which one of them has the breach kit.

    I’m sorry, it’s not racist, but sexist.

  238. Also, most burglars try to stay out of sight of random passersby. True story.

  239. most burglars try to stay out of sight of random passersby

    Yeah, well…

  240. Actually, read the last two paragraphs of “Public reaction”. Also, note note that Winston Moseley was insane. I’m not saying that there aren’t insane burglars, but I think they’re in the minority.

  241. @ Kitty Genovese,

    Thank-you for that link. For at least a month, off and on, I’ve been trying to recall that case and its details. I read something about it way back about 40 years ago.

  242. I read the article in the Wall Street Journal today and it makes a great case for Gates not being a race baiter. He has a great quote that came about after genetic research on himself that shows he is Jewish, Irish along with African.

    This immediately brought to mind one of my favorite quotes – “we are all brothers under the skin” – which I again googled and was shocked to find out was from Ayn Ryand – go figure.

  243. Geez, smartass sob, didn’t you…Watchmen?

  244. Okay, and that neighbor says “no.” Arrest Gates? Or do we need to do best two out of three? Maybe ring up Gallup to do a poll of the neighborhood?

    Jeff. How can you be so obtuse? Obtuse. Is it deliberate?

  245. Geez, smartass sob, didn’t you…Watchmen?

    Or The Boondock Saints for that matter.

  246. I’m not saying that there aren’t insane burglars, but I think they’re in the minority.

    Always poundin’ on the minorities. Jeez.

  247. Heh, heh, good spot, anarch.

  248. J sub D | July 25, 2009, 11:31am | #
    If I’m Professor Gates I accept and toss my beer in Officer Crowley’s face.

    Funniest comment on the thread, sez I, but seems unlikely to happen.

    Which shows that even the prospect of inebriation can cloud a man’s judgment.

    It’ll be time to move on when the PO-lice show remorse and a resolve not to repeat the crime.

  249. ” His backing down is troubling. But much more troubling for this nation is that people line up to defend cop who abused his authority in such a manner.” – MNG

    Why is Obama backing down from his statement troubling?

    While I agree that Crowley had Gates arrested essentially for insulting him, Gates and Obama made the incident out to be cops picking on a black man for racial reasons, which from what I can tell from the reports is not a defensible accusation.

    One can oppose Crowley’s ultimate actions while defending him on the racism charges. The totality of Obama’s statement on this matter in the press conference was foolish, and defended Gates’ hysterics as being justified.

  250. What is this, a rainbow party?

  251. Less refined sugar would calm everyone down.

    Which is why it should be banned only for government employees.

  252. Tulpa,

    Then you say that definition is wrong because a Farmer’s Market is concrete, not abstract.

    That grossly mischaracterizes the point I was making, imho.

    It’s called persuasion. If you don’t like it there’s plenty of other places on the Net to hang out and shoot the shit pointlessly.

    There are other purposes besides winning/persuasion. I am mostly interested in understanding the details of what people believe. Sometimes that requires pushing for them to elaborate their points. A strategy for doing that is to explore the implications of what they are saying in more detail.

  253. there is actual non-semantic content to pretty much every statement (insofar as it is attempting to refer to some referent, either by correspondence with reality or some other coherent set). To claim that all argument is semantics glosses over the restrictions that the brute facts of existence place on how the referents may be reasonably constructed.

    I agree. I tried to be precise with Tulpa when I said that there was a semantic element (“at some level”) in most arguments. The degree to which they are the core of the disagreement varies, of course.

    An example. Tulpa describes my reaction to someone presenting a provisional definition of a term as an attempt by me to “redefine the word and accost them for not using your definition.”

    Is our disagreement over this a matter of fact?
    Or is it a matter of whether the characterization presented is an accurate signifier of what occurred.

    Since we both have the transcript available, it seems the facts are not in dispute.

  254. Looking back at Tulpa’s link to my earlier comment, I notice that what occurred was this…

    1) I put forward a provisional definition of “market.” (markets are tools)

    2) H – rejected that provisional definition and put forward one of his own (markets are descriptive abstractions.

    3) I provided supporting arguments for my provisional definition.

  255. What is more interesting to me, however, is why Tulpa interprets my statements the way he does.

    Now, I will admit that one of the reasons I find H&R an interesting forum is the fact that many libertarians use words in very atypical senses without seemingly recognizing that those outside of their community would take issue not with their point, but with the terminology they use to make it. In a large sense the disagreement is about terminology in many cases.

  256. Tulpa,

    Just to be clear, one of the main purposes of discussion is about jointly creating an understanding of something.

    One of the ways to work out MY OWN understanding of a situation is to offer up that understanding as a claim in a conversation. Reactions from those who see that characterization as incorrect is helpful for me to understand my own position as well as to understand theirs. In a fruitful conversation, both parties will leave the discussion with a different understanding of the issue than the one they came to the table with. This is, in my view, the opposite of competitive…for me it is collaborative.

    No winners/losers involved.

    Now in the competitive environment of H&R, not everyone is interested in these collaborations.

    So, to use the discussion you linked to, CC’s reaction to one of my statements was to call me “foolish” for putting forth a particular statement. I did, I admit, react with a snide remark in kind.

  257. I’m with MNG that the arrest was wrong, and the cop was out of line.

    I just think Obama should have kept his mouth shut, and looks like a stupid attention whore for opening it in the first place.

  258. and looks like a stupid attention whore for opening it in the first place

    But transparency in government is a good thing!

  259. Obama at 48% approval now in Zogby’s latest.

    And Rasmussen has 40% strongly disapproving, net -11.

    He’s really stepped in it.

  260. He’ll spin it. They are all meeting at the WH. I’m going to bet there is a photo or video out before the end of the week of all three of them joking laughing and running a train on Michelle or Rahm.

  261. What is crazy is that people aren’t demanding that guy’s badge for arresting a man for the petty bullshit he did. We are a nation of sheep.

    This from MNG who sheepishly wishes to turn his healthcare over to petty bureaucrats

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