The [Thursday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
I hope the White House is smart enough to know that the summit isn't going to put anything to rest. In fact, it will probably extend the tiresome discussion for another few days - or until the next incident comes along that we can all chew over.
"If Obama were serious about tackling this explosive issue, he would have called a town hall meeting in Cambridge that brought together black members of the community, law enforcement and the media to hash out what went wrong here," Mitchell writes.
I don't know about that, but I do find it interesting that no one seems to be invoking at this particular moment the supposedly brilliant speech on race that Obama gave to get past the Jeremiah Wright imbroglio.
What was it he said again?
I do like the idea of including the media in a town hall meeting, though. They seem woefully ignorant of basic police procedure.
And it's a shame, because African Americans are getting their teeth kicked in by cops every day and no one seems to care as long as they aren't Harvard professors facing the excruciating humiliation of being asked a few questions to ascertain the facts in response to a concerned phone call.
"The Cambridge police were wrong to lure Gates outdoors to arrest him after establishing that Gates was in his home - even if the haughty scholar was hysterical," Don Terry writes today in the Sun-Times.
I'm not sure that sentiment comports with the facts.
Police officers don't like to talk to folks through a door. It could be dangerous. They want to see where your hands are at all times, and have you within reach. That's entirely reasonable.
And showing someone identification doesn't establish anything. If Gates had indeed been a burglar, he might have gotten a driver's license from inside the home - or from the body of the homeowner stuffed in the closet.
Crowley was doing his job - protecting Gates's home.
Cops can be assholes, just like anyone else, but there is a certain way to behave when dealing with them.
For starters, do what they say (as long as it's legal) and show them some respect. You will not always know what kind of case they are pursuing or why they want certain pieces of information. It's not always about you.
Unless you are Christopher Hitchens. It's always about him.
"Last Memorial Day, I was going in a taxi down to Washington, D.C.'s Vietnam Memorial when a police car cut across the traffic and slammed everything to a halt. Opening the window and asking what the problem was and how long it might last, I was screeched at by a stringy-haired, rat-faced blond beast, who acted as if she had been waiting all year for the chance to hurt someone. (She was wearing a uniform that I had helped pay for.)," Hitchens writes in his syndicated column, reprinted today in the Sun-Times.
Imagine yourself as a police officer with reason to cut across traffic and slam everything to a halt being interrupted by Christopher Hitchens from the back of a cab wanting to know what the fuck was taking so long.
Yes, this story is as much about elites as it is about race.
Hitchens, for example, is white.
But he has important places to be.
And he can't imagine the inconvenience - the gall, even - of being questioned in his own home by a police officer responding to a report of a possible break-in.
Because after all, who wouldn't recognize Christopher Hitchens - or Skip Gates?
Kass: "Teachable Moment On Tap At O'Bama's."
"Yet state Senators Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora) both defended their own information requests as legitimate constituent service, not an attempt to tamper with the admissions review."
* " . . . an increase in employer-sponsored insurance . . . "
* " . . . would reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance . . . "
* " . . . Instead of the federal government picking up the full cost of an expansion of Medicaid, states would pick up part of the costs . . . "
* " . . . In his appearances, Obama stressed that any legislation he signs will include numerous consumer protections, including a ban on insurance company denials of coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions. A White House fact sheet left room for insurers to continue charging higher premiums based on prior health problems . . . "
"Over the next 15 months, insurers and their lobbyists found a sympathetic ear in Obama, who amended the bill more to their liking partly because of concerns they raised with him and his aides, according to lobbyists, Senate staff, and Obama's remarks on the Senate floor."
Health Care and Skip Gates Reader
* "For us, the incident's first 'teachable moment' concerned Matthews, Page and Dyson."
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Purple Rain Revisited
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The Beachwood Tip Line: Stay alert.
Posted on July 30, 2009
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