1) An African American man is walking around a nice home in toney Cambridge, Massachusetts. The neighbor assumes -- not without a little justification, perhaps -- that it's a burglar at work. The cops show up and arrest the guy. Only he turns out not to be a burglar; he's a professor at Harvard. And he lives in the house.
Did someone say "post racial America?
I thought the whole idea that America was post-racial and post-black was laughable from the beginning. There is no more important event in the history of black people in America than the election of Barack Obama. I cried when he was elected, and I cried at his inauguration, but that does not change the percentage of black men in prison, the percentage of black men harassed by racial profiling. It does not change the number of black children living near the poverty line. Which is almost a similar percentage as were under poverty when Martin Luther King was assassinated.
The incident is putting the discussion of race in America back on the front burner.
Linton Weeks on NPR:
What makes the Gates affair so extraordinary, Kennedy says, is its outrageousness -- it's like the unimaginably perfect rock in a whole river of rocks.
Here's where the story will go next. This happens all the time. Why does it have to happen to a wealthy man before it becomes news? I'll go discuss that with the mirror.
By the way, the comments section of the Cambridge black newspaper article uses the shooting in Kasota to claim that it "happens to white people, too." File that under "unclear on the concept."
2) Lazy summer days are perfect for starting your day at work by wasting some time. The University of Minnesota is our enabler today. "Gridlock Buster," from the Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute at the U.
As a player, you will imagine you have just been hired by the Traffic Management Laboratory and handed your first assignment. You must work through a series of levels by controlling the traffic and ensuring that delays don't get out of hand--such as lines of backed-up traffic and frustrated drivers--in the simulated environment. Your "supervisor" will guide you through the challenges toward greater challenges and responsibility.
If you fancy yourself a civil engineer -- and who hasn't? -- give it a shot.
Related: "Why the single-minded focus on vehicles when the "root cause" of nearly all crashes is human error?" the New York Times' idea of the day asks today.
3) Is this a new front on the battle for animal rights? In Las Vegas, the cool people are eating sushi -- live lobster sushi. In this video, note the chef doesn't see the irony when he refers to respecting the animal by eating all of it.
4) How bad are things on the Iron Range? Colleague Paul Tosto looks behind the unemployment number in Hibbing, which is 18.7 percent. That's four times what it is in Moorhead, indicating perhaps we're a have/have not state. In fact, things in Moorhead sound positively "90s-like" with reports of construction and electricians "all out working." Mining, like the economy, is a cyclical industry. In good times, everyone knows the bad times are coming. But like consumers who didn't save for the rainy day, Iron Rangers have been swept up in the flood.
Over in Duluth, ABC's Extreme Makeover is coming to town to build a mansion for some family down on its luck. It's asked a construction firm that caters to the well-heeled to work for free.
I've always enjoyed watching the program but I usually end up in a philosophical disagreement with the family. The show is full of product placement. Sears, in particular, gets plenty of free advertising in exchange for providing furnishings for the home. That gets under my family's skin. I, being the contrarian, counter with "at least they're doing something." Discussion point: Is it less charitable if you get something in return? What if all you get in return is a good feeling?
We've all seen it: Drivers sending text messages, drivers putting on makeup, drivers eating breakfast or talking on the phone. Federal officials are concerned about the role such distractions play in traffic accidents. If you're driving right now, please wait until you get where you're going, but then we'd like to hear your confession. What do you do while driving that you shouldn't?
WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Businessman and social entrepreneur John Hope Bryant has spent much of his career working to eradicate poverty and improve financial literacy in inner city communities. He says a close look at the decisions consumers make explains why many have become victims of the recession. Second hour: An ER physician's desire to heal led him to a contested border town in Sudan, Africa, where he treated malnutrition and a measles epidemic while trying to avoid military conflict.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will be in the studio to talk about the election reform ideas discussed at last weekend's meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Second hour: Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, speaking this week at the Chautauqua Institution about the ethics of capitalism.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.): From the sound of things, Political Junkie Ken Rudin will try to trump Al Franken when it comes to Perry Mason trivia. Second hour: Singer Judy Collins. Or, as my colleagues at Midmorning might say, "been there."
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Some local non-grain farmers have gotten a USDA grant to try to resuscitate the transport and storage infrastructure necessary to sustain fruit and vegetable producers. These assets disappeared with the large-scale conversion to corn and soybean production. Will the "eat local" movement make this a viable idea? MPR's Sea Stachura will have the answer.
From NPR, Daniel Robison will have the story of an archaeological dig in Indianapolis, where an African American community was bulldozed in the '60s. What they've found is something they've found in similar projects around the country: The neighborhood wasn't as "blighted" as popular history suggests. Here's the story from Indiana University.
David Welna will have the results of a showdown in the Senate today. Sen. John Thune is trying to attach an amendment to a defense bill that extends a state's concealed carry gun rights to people when they travel to another state. Is this an issue for the feds? Or an issue for the states?
There's a Barack Obama news conference at 7 p.m. (CT). We'll carry it live on the radio and online. I will also live blog it here. Topic: Health care.
Gates wasn't just "walking around" his house when the call was made to the police. He was trying to get in a door that had apparently swelled shut. The description I heard (on NPR) could easily have made someone think someone was breaking into the house. It's hard to know whom to believe about the ensuing conflict after the police arrived. Gates and the police officer have different stories to tell. But the initial act of calling the police because someone who happened to be black was seen having some difficulty getting into a house is simply an innocent misunderstanding, not a racial thing.
On Gates: based on the reporting I've seen, both parties made mistakes, but the cops' errors were worse. On Kasota: again, the cop's actions are questionable. If he sees someone driving in erratic fashion, why not call it in & let a marked unit handle it?
On giving; good question:
"Discussion point: Is it less charitable if you get something in return? What if all you get in return is a good feeling?"
EVERYTHING we do is based on getting a return, which may be as small as a good feeling, or a credit in the ledger for when it comes time to meet your maker. While I find the product placement aspect of shows like Extreme Home Makeover extremely annoying Sears has made a reasonable choice. They have an advertising budget that they could use entirely to buy ads, which would benefit only the sellers of the ads. Instead, they have chosen the product placement route on EHM, which at least provides a direct benefit to a small number of families. Sure, it would be great if Sears did more (with product giveaways) without expecting something in return. But is it reasonable to expect them to do so?
Gates was arrested for being belligerent with police. Given his reputation why should this be a shock?
Instead of talking about "post-racial and post-black" America, maybe we should be talking about "post-belligerent" "post-identity" America.
When the police accused Gates of trying to break into the house, he showed the police his driver's license, which had his address on it. Yes, the address of the house he was "breaking into." He was belligerent, but rightly so. I would be angry too if someone tried to tell me I didn't live where I said I did even after showing them proof.
Discussion point: Is it less charitable if you get something in return? What if all you get in return is a good feeling?
Organizations have been using this tactic for many years. Some people don't want to donate to a cause for a variety of reasons. So, the organization says "Support us by buying some merch!" How much money do you think the ACS made through the "Live Strong" bracelets? The person walks away with some item, thinking they helped a worthy cause, and they have the proof to show people "I donated to this cause." This item/proof makes them feel better about themselves and better than their friends.
The other thing that the Gates story made me think about is how disconnected our society has become. I mean, his own neighbor had no clue who he was. I don't think we need to be best friends with everyone on the block, but I hope we'd at least recognize our neighbors.
"He was belligerent, but rightly so. I would be angry too if someone tried to tell me I didn't live where I said I did even after showing them proof."
When the police approached the house, they asked Prof. Gates to step outside. He refused.
They asked him for ID. He presented them with a Harvard ID that did not contain his address.
The officer did the smart thing and called the Harvard Police. After accepting that as sufficient proof the officer left.
Prof Gates followed the officer, shouting accusations. The officer warned Gates twice that he was acting in a disorderly manner then arrested him.
Prof Gates needs to apologize to the officer and the country.
The president also needs to apologize for his "stupid" remark.
According to The Boston Globe, a passer-by reported the incident, not a neighbor.
Here is a copy of the incident report.
This is going to be interesting.
The officer had a witness to the entire affair, Ms. Lucia Whalen, and seven witnesses to Gate's subsequent behavior.
Yet the report suggests it all happened on the sidewalk in front of the house and Ms. Whalen witnessed it all.
If he was arrested out on the sidewalk, why does the picture show him being led out of his house?
"If he was arrested out on the sidewalk, why does the picture show him being led out of his house?"
It is all in the report that I linked up thread. Please read the report.
After Gates was arrested, the officer was concerned that his front door was not secured. The police waited for a Harvard maintenance crew, who were known to Gates, to show up and secure the door.
One has to assume that Gates, who walks with a cane, as allowed to sit in his house to wait for the crew to secure his door.
Now I'm really confused. You say "it's all in the report" and then your answer to my question says "one has to assume...."
We need Joe Friday here.
But you asked a question obviously based on the assumption that there was not a long period of time between the arrest and photo.
Why would you assume that subsequent to the arrest, the officers and Gates would not find a place for Gates to sit and wait for the Harvard maintenance crew?
Without your assumption, one cannot understand your question.
I have a huge problem with the way the media and the liberal blogsphere is characterizing this.
For instance, you begin this thread: "1) An African American man is walking around a nice home in toney Cambridge, Massachusetts. The neighbor assumes -- not without a little justification, perhaps -- that it's a burglar at work. The cops show up and arrest the guy. Only he turns out not to be a burglar; he's a professor at Harvard. And he lives in the house."
First of all, Gates was not just "walking around a nice home in toney Cambridge". He had broke open the door and the officer had a hard time establishing that the home belonged to Gates.
Also on MPR, In a commentary, playwrite Kim Hines writes: "A very-well known Harvard professor was arrested for trying to get into his own house, because a neighbor mistook him for a burglar"
Ms. Hines knows the power of words and she knows damn well that Gates was not arrested for "trying to get into his own house". He was arrested for disorderly conduct in the presence of eight witnesses and two police departments.
Why is it necessary to spin the facts when the public dialogue on race would be bettter served without the bias?
//First of all, Gates was not just "walking around a nice home in toney Cambridge". He had broke open the door and the officer had a hard time establishing that the home belonged to Gates.
His driver did that. His driver, dressed a limo driver would be.
It's interesting, though, to watch the white reaction vs the black reaction here. As I indicated at the time, this happens all the time, a fact that is pooh-poohed.
There is no context for white America understanding why Gates would be so upset. There is no context for white America understanding why blacks can't see how entirely logical the cop's story is.
It's also interesting to note that those details you are adopting as "facts," you're taking directly from the police reports. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren't.
But here we are with whites saying the facts are those told by whites. Blacks are saying the facts are those told by blacks.
Post racial America.
"His driver did that. His driver, dressed a limo driver would be"
Tens years ago I attended the funneral of a woman who was asked to escort a friend who wanted to remove belongings from the apartment she shared with a boyfriend.
She had kicked the boyfriend out, but he kept coming back. She changed the locks, but he broke in twice. She was scared and asked my friend to acompany her.
He had broken in again and was waiting with a shotgun. Both women were murdered.
My friend's name was Lisa and she is still missed by her friends.
People have many reasons for breaking into homes. Sometimes they have terrible motives for breaking into "their own" home.
Lisa's case was one of those.
The cops deal with these things all the time and have learned not to be intimidated by those who insist one thing, to the exclusion of some obvious facts like a Driver's license not matching the address, especially when bluster is involved.
"There is no context for white America understanding why Gates would be so upset. There is no context for white America understanding why blacks can't see how entirely logical the cop's story is.
It's also interesting to note that those details you are adopting as "facts," you're taking directly from the police reports. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren't.
There is no context for people who are not cops to understand Sgt. Crowley's side of the story. I hoped by providing a link to the police report, we could read and perhaps begin to understand his point of view.
One more thing........., Bob?
You linked us to:
- An interview with Gates in The Root.
- To NPR's LInton Weeks, who enumerated a long list of racial profiling accusations against police.
- And to a Cambridge black newspaper article.
Each of these articles presented only a very biased, very liberal side of the story.
Is this what we should expect from Public Broadcasting?
"...articles presented only a very biased, very liberal side of the story..."
I agree with Greg about almost everything he has stated on this page (a rare occurence). One thing I don't agree with is the statement above. The articles may have had a biased point of view, but not necessarily a LIBERAL one. I'm pretty "liberal," and most of the people I've discussed this with are like me in that regard, and most of us agree with Greg.
Most of the pundits and others I've heard weighing in on this who seem to be jumping to conclusions are black. Should we be more understanding of that because of their experiences with law enforcement? Maybe. To a point. But not when they use their jumped-to conclusions in public discourse, toward a social or political agenda, even after more details have emerged.