Next time somebody tells me how wonderful and sincere our president is, I’m going to point him to this:
On the meeting’s being dubbed the “Beer Summit,” Obama said, “It’s a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys. This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day, and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other, and that’s really all it is.
“This is not a university seminar. It is not a summit. It’s an attempt to have some personal interaction when an issue has become so hyped and so symbolic that you lose sight of just the fact that these are people involved,” he said.
He said he would be surprised if the media makes the meeting out to be more important than his meeting Thursday with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, president of the Philippines, but “the press has surprised me before.”
Here’s the accompanying picture:
The following video is long but so awesome. It documents one young man’s attempt to follow the law and triumph over the scourge of society known as towing companies.
This actually created a pretty strong likeness. Also, I think Christina Hendricks is checking me out.
Tom posted this at 7:44 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 as Random Bloggish Things
Like Tom, and contra Apollo, I find that the real story in this whole Gates kerfuffle is the apparent abuse of police power.
It seems that the wacky liberal, Judge Andrew Napolitano, agrees with me:
Jamie posted this at 4:09 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 as Liberty and/or Security
Though it deals with someone I don’t enjoy discussing, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in months.
Back when he was president, Jimmy Carter ensured that his various staffers would need his permission to use the White House Tennis Courts:
Carter came into office determined to set a rational plan for his time, but soon showed in practice that he was still the detail-man used to running his own warehouse, the perfectionist accustomed to thinking that to do a job right you must do it yourself. He would leave for a weekend at Camp David laden with thick briefing books, would pore over budget tables to check the arithmetic, and, during his first six months in office, would personally review all requests to use the White House tennis court. (Although he flatly denied to Bill Moyers in his November 1978 interview that he had ever stooped to such labors, the in-house tennis enthusiasts, of whom I was perhaps the most shameless, dispatched brief notes through his secretary asking to use the court on Tuesday afternoons while he was at a congressional briefing, or a Saturday morning, while he was away. I always provided spaces where he could check Yes or No; Carter would make his decision and send the note back, initialed J.)
This sort of micromanaging has now met its match: President Obama will host a meeting over beers with Professor Gates and Officer Crowley. Where to begin?
1) Obama blundered initially by getting involved in the first place.
2) By staying involved, he compounds the blunder. If he leans to far one way or the other in this meeting over beers, he’ll be accused of bullying by one party or the other. He opens himself up to more needless criticism.
3) The president might want to acquaint himself with a La Rochefoucauld maxim: “Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things.”
When Ann Coulter abandons you, its time to rethink your beliefs.
The best part is the way the nutjob Freepers go completely insane and start basically calling Ann Coulter, ANN COULTER, a stealth liberal.
Its time to slink back to your backwoods swamps and crazy unibomber style shacks.
Jamie posted this at 9:51 AM CDT on Monday, July 27th, 2009 as Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!
For the supposed greatest public speaker of his generation, our president sure has to apologize for his word choice pretty frequently. But what does this mean?
“Because this has been ratcheting up and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I wanted to make clear in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could have calibrated those words differently.”
He doesn’t actually apologize for what he said, or even imply that he actually did anything wrong. It is indeed unfortunate that he maligned the police with his words (“gave an impression” – he said they acted “stupidly” and then went on a rant about racism). And he indeed could have chosen his words differently. But he stands by the position that it’s his job to run off at the mouth about these sorts of matters. And he continues with his old shtick that this isn’t about him or about any particular incident, it’s about America’s race problem.
My hope is is that as a consequence of this event, this ends up being what’s called a teachable moment, where all of us, instead of pumping up the volume, spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations, we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity.
So we should learn from what he did. He shouldn’t have done anything differently. He could have done something differently, but he wasn’t wrong to do what he did. We’re all just wrong to have made a big deal about it.
On the Dish, Conor posts the following from a reader, who argues Gatesgate will wake-up white America to black victimization:
White Americans don’t necessarily relate to the young men who are arrested for driving while black, walking while black, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time while black. You can’t convince white Americans that the law is biased against blacks because whites believe (without necessarily admitting it to themselves) that young black men get arrested so disproportionately and go to prison more often because they deserve to.
And by whites, I don’t mean just Neanderthals. I mean most of the people you will ever run into. They assume that black men are more disposed to crime and so they don’t have to pay attention when you or Radley Balko or someone else points out how many have been railroaded.
This is patently absurd. However much sympathy Gates deserves — and I think he deserves some — there should be little question that he’ ended up in jail primarily because of his own belligerence and assumption that Sgt. Crowley was a racist.* As Apollo points out, that conclusion is based as much on Gates’ own comments about the incident as Crowley’s police report.
Contra Conor’s reader, the Gates case is a terrible example of the kind of police abuse that Radley Balko has brought to light, especially those with a racial angle. What pains me about this is that the next time Radley writes about something genuinely horrific, a lot of people are going to roll their eyes and assume it’s just another story about a whining black guy with a chip on his shoulder. Cory Maye deserves better.
* I’m more than willing to consider that Crowley’s behavoir was less than exemplary and I confess I’m sketpical as to whether or not Gates should have been arrested.
Tom posted this at 8:45 AM CDT on Friday, July 24th, 2009 as Race
This account of his own arrest from Henry Gates is impressive. He’s correct about one thing: the degree of open racial animosity and stereotyping that occurred during this engagement is shocking.
Apollo posted this at 9:15 PM CDT on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 as Race
Not only did the president say that the police acted “stupidly,” not only did the president exclusively blame the cop, but the president made sure everyone knew that he thought this was a racial issue with his stupid bit about himself getting shot trying to get into the White House.
It’s really quite dumbfounding that the president said what he said. It’s absolutely infuriating that his spokesman comes out the next day and insists that the president didn’t say what he said.
After his pontifications on the American and Honduran constitutions, and German politics, our president felt confident that, while he didn’t know all the facts, he did know that a cop acted stupidly in arresting Henry Gates. I’m glad we elected the smartest man in the world as our president, or else we’d have to watch the unbearable Nancy Grace in order to hear uninformed condemnations.
Then this post, or at least the first third of it, is for you. It bothers me that someone so young and completely devoid of experience or expertise has risen so far and so fast. A 25 year old should not be writing opinion in one of the nation’s top newspapers.