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Subject: Let's Talk About it Over a Beer rss

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Really? Obama invited Crowley and Gates over to the White House for a beer? And people are up in arms about this?

Sorry, I deliberately ignore these types of media scandals as best I can, but all the RSP chatter made me give in and look up some of the details. What's the big deal, guys? It sounds like all three of them were wrong at some point down the line, and for Obama to end it all with an invitation to beer at the White House... it almost gives me the giggles.

DW? Dar? Spaceghost? Bueler? Anyone? Anyone?
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Send me a beer or six and I'll discuss it with you.
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yeah -- I would be glad to drink some beer too.

On its own, I don't have a problem at all with them having a beer.

I would rather see him working on his health care agenda, the economy, or something worthy of his status instead of delivering a "teachable" moment.

Quote:
"And it's our hope that, as the president said, this can be part of a teachable moment, that we can create a better communication and a dialogue between communities and police and help everyone do their job a little bit better," he said. "And it's our hope that soon Professor Gates and Sgt. Crowley can sit at the White House and talk about some of these issues and have a beer with the president."


I just don't see that we need the President of the United States, perhaps the most powerful man in the world, holding forth on how their should be better dialogue between police and their communities. Additionally, the situation was blown way out of proportion and the president probably didn't need to speak on it.

In short, for me, it is just a distraction from things that matter a hell of a lot more than whether a professor lost face because he was having a shitty day (or conversely, that a police officer was having a bad day and overreacted). This happens everyday in some form and I don't think that drinking a couple of beers is going to solve this problem. So it is a distraction that has escalated into a publicity stunt.

EDIT:

Quote:
Obama walked back his comments Friday at a surprise appearance at a White House daily briefing and announced he had spoken with Crowley on the phone and invited him to the White House for a beer with Gates. Gates accepted the invitation later that day.

"This has been ratcheting up, and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up," Obama said of the racial controversy on Friday. "I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could've calibrated those words differently."

The president did not back down from his contention that police had overreacted by arresting the Harvard professor for disorderly conduct after coming to his home to investigate a possible break-in. He added, though, that he though Gates, too, had overreacted to the police who questioned him. The charge has been dropped.


This is all the president needs to say, and I am fine with that. Why do we need to "mend the fence" between these two guys.
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Hey, thanks for the thorough reply. I agree with most of what you've written. I just thought you were more torqued off about the situation from your comment about the "hubris" of the phrase "teachable moment" in another thread. It's a silly phrase, I'll grant you.

Look, I'm not at all surprised that the first black president got asked a question about a racially charged police action. That was inevitable. He could have chosen his words more carefully, and I'd have been happy if he just asked some obvious questions. I don't think his status required him to dodge around the issue and give a non-answer. And given that it turned into a media frenzy I think it's fine that "the most powerful man on earth" is "mending the fence" between a flustered (?) white cop and an embittered (?) black professor.

Now back to health care.


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jarredscott78 wrote:
Send me a beer or six and I'll discuss it with you.

I hope Derk & Aldie sell beer at the BGG-booth in Essen this year
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SpaceGhost wrote:
This is all the president needs to say, and I am fine with that. Why do we need to "mend the fence" between these two guys.


It is a political strategy to defuse the situation to try to get the focus back on policy issues.
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JohnRayJr wrote:
Really? Obama invited Crowley and Gates over to the White House for a beer? And people are up in arms about this?

Sorry, I deliberately ignore these types of media scandals as best I can, but all the RSP chatter made me give in and look up some of the details. What's the big deal, guys? It sounds like all three of them were wrong at some point down the line, and for Obama to end it all with an invitation to beer at the White House... it almost gives me the giggles.

DW? Dar? Spaceghost? Bueler? Anyone? Anyone?


So far I have read nothing that indicates Sgt. Crowley in any way was in the wrong. If I were him I'd never apologize, especially since Obama and Gates seem intent on using this event as a referendum on racism.

Gates is a fucking idiot. Obama proves once again that he is far out of tune with the reality of American life.
 
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Beer makes everything better.
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DWTripp wrote:
So far I have read nothing that indicates Sgt. Crowley in any way was in the wrong.


Is that because you think Gates committed a crime?

Or because you think the police should sometimes arrest people who haven't committed a crime, just to keep them in their place?

I've heard both opinions, but I'm not sure which camp you're in.

I still bet that if Gates were an older white guy and someone called in that he was carrying a gun and the police showed up to question him and he showed them his permit and they still kept asking him questions and he started yelling at them that they were ignoring his second amendment rights and they arrested him for disorderly conduct, you would be on the other side.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
So far I have read nothing that indicates Sgt. Crowley in any way was in the wrong.


I still bet that if Gates were an older white guy and someone called in that he was carrying a gun and the police showed up to question him and he showed them his permit and they still kept asking him questions and he started yelling at them that they were ignoring his second amendment rights and they arrested him for disorderly conduct, you would be on the other side.


In other words, you believe I'm a racist. With that in mind it's pointless to discuss it with you because you're biased by your incorrect opinion of me.
 
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DWTripp wrote:
In other words, you believe I'm a racist.


I guess "other words" means "I'm going to take what you wrote and throw it out the window and replace it with some other arbitrary statement"?

For what it's worth, I think you'd also be on the side of the black gun owner.
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DWTripp wrote:
So far I have read nothing that indicates Sgt. Crowley in any way was in the wrong.


If his arrest for disorderly conduct was correct, then why were the charges dropped?
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DaviddesJ wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
In other words, you believe I'm a racist.


I guess "other words" means "I'm going to take what you wrote and throw it out the window and replace it with some other arbitrary statement"?

For what it's worth, I think you'd also be on the side of the black gun owner.


Oh sure, now you qualify the statement.

It's my opinion that police are charged with protecting not only people like Gates, or some hypothetical gun owner, but also with ensuring their actions or lack of actions don't present harm to other citizens. Often, as in this case, there is not enough information about the emotional or mental state of the individual to make an officer's actions indisputably 100% right one way or the other.

I'll repeat what I said in another thread - this officer acted the way he did because of his concern not only for Gates' safety, but because he was generating a public disturbance... and that has the potential for getting out of control and harming innocent bystanders. Arresting Gates diffused the potential... but gave Gates yet another motivation to create a media scene and further his own aims. Too bad, but that's the way it is.

Even Colin Powell, who I often disagree with, remarked that Gates acted foolishly and showed no respect for the officers who ultimately work to serve and protect him.
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Drew1365 wrote:
dysjunct wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
So far I have read nothing that indicates Sgt. Crowley in any way was in the wrong.


If his arrest for disorderly conduct was correct, then why were the charges dropped?


Who knows? Could have been pressure from higher-up. That doesn't mean the police were wrong to bring him in.


People all over the country are arrested and then later released when all the facts are brought to light. It's not as if this one schmuck in Cambridge is the only guy ever arrested and later released. Gimme a break.
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MWChapel wrote:
Beer makes everything better.


Amen to that!
 
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DWTripp wrote:
I'll repeat what I said in another thread - this officer acted the way he did because of his concern not only for Gates' safety, but because he was generating a public disturbance... and that has the potential for getting out of control and harming innocent bystanders.


And you support this principle that the police should arrest those who are creating a public disturbance that might get out of hand, in general? Even if the people creating the disturbance are speaking values and promoting ideas that you strongly support?

The police in Iran have been arresting people who are creating a public disturbance that might get out of hand. I'm not so fond of that whole idea.
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Drew1365 wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
People all over the country are arrested and then later released when all the facts are brought to light. It's not as if this one schmuck in Cambridge is the only guy ever arrested and later released. Gimme a break.


Such is the harm that this one overblown incident has caused to the relationship between the public and law enforcement, that now people are questioning even the most basic police procedures. Thank you, Professor Gates.


If hauling someone in for the crime of back-sassin' is a basic police procedure, then I'll happily question it and I hope others do to.

All evidence points to Gates acting like an asshole. But acting like an asshole is not a crime. Criticizing police, even loudly, boorishly, and crudely, is not a crime. If free speech matters, then it matters most when it's speech we dislike, and especially if it's speech that criticizes the government and its agents. If the government can curtail criticism of itself through threat of arrest or punishment, then that is very troubling to me as a supporter of small government with limited and enumerated powers.

To stave off one criticism, I find Gates' ideas and theories about race relations dubious at best and transparently self-promoting at worst; moreover I find him personally repugnant in behavior in this incident, i.e., an asshole. So, not a fan.

To stave off another, I have two brothers in law enforcement that I fully support and respect; I am in no way anti-cop. But I am anti-abuse-of-power, especially when it comes from an authority that our society entrusts with a great deal of power. I see no evidence that the arrest of that asshole was anything other than a guy with power deciding he didn't like getting sassed.

I guess the difference is that when it comes to state power, I'm a conservative, not an authoritarian. A big difference.

Best,
Kevin
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DaviddesJ wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
I'll repeat what I said in another thread - this officer acted the way he did because of his concern not only for Gates' safety, but because he was generating a public disturbance... and that has the potential for getting out of control and harming innocent bystanders.


And you support this principle that the police should arrest those who are creating a public disturbance that might get out of hand, in general? Even if the people creating the disturbance are speaking values and promoting ideas that you strongly support?

The police in Iran have been arresting people who are creating a public disturbance that might get out of hand. I'm not so fond of that whole idea.


Anyone who seriously thinks Gates arrest for a misdemeanor is somehow similar to Iran's oppressive regime has zero credibility when they say I'm a nut job who rants rather than thinks.
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Drew1365 wrote:
^ Hippie.



Hey, Tripp was the one rolling around in the mud at Woodstock. I wasn't even a gleam in my daddy's eye!
 
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dysjunct wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
^ Hippie.



Hey, Tripp was the one rolling around in the mud at Woodstock. I wasn't even a gleam in my daddy's eye!


Excuse me? I never bedded a muddy hippie chick. I cleaned them up and deloused them first thank you very much.
 
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Has anyone here ever become friends with someone they disliked because they had a beer together? It's common cliche, but any anecdotes here?


It'd be kind of cool to have beer in the White House regardless of the occupant. But NPR reported that Obama is going to have a Bud Light, so I guess he opted out of having a beer.


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Drew1365 wrote:
Not to detract from the whole "let's have a beer" controversy, but I think the reason that those making a public disturbance and mouthing off to the police are quite frequently arrested and hauled in has to do with the effect the display may have on bystanders.


That's sort of, the whole fucking point. That's why we put the First Amendment in the Constitution. If you can't appeal to the public to support your position, what's left of freedom of speech? Is it something you can exercise only in your own house in a soundproof room where no one can hear?

Quote:
The police report strongly suggests the only reason Crowley warned Gates too cool down was because a crowd was starting to gather.


My god. A crowd? And it might contain some people who disapprove of police actions? Well, we certainly can't have that!

Quote:
In spite of a warning that Gates would be arrested if he continued, he continued.


Good for him. If there's one thing we can agree on, presumably it's that the citizens shouldn't feel compelled to obey unlawful orders from the police?

Quote:
I admit that part of my own feeling about this situation is colored by the fact that my brother is a police officer whose former partner was killed when responding to a call at a residence; drunk idiot met him at the door and unloaded a gun into his face.


I must admit that I can't imagine what this has to do with arresting people for criticizing the police.
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DWTripp wrote:
So far I have read nothing that indicates Sgt. Crowley in any way was in the wrong.


Well, there have been some pretty clear explorations of MA law that make it clear that even assuming that Crowley's police report was 100% accurate Gates was not guilty of disorderly conduct and should not have been arrested.

That doesn't mean that racism was a factor or that he deserved anything like being called stupid by the POTUS, but it seems like some people who are angry about Gates/Obama's behavior are over-compensating wrt Crowley. His decision to arrest Gates was at best poor judgement.

That said, if the meeting turns into one where Obama and Gates look to Crowley to apologize, I think you're right. But I don't get that impression. I think David is clearly right that the motive is mainly political -- to diffuse the situation rather than let it hamper larger legislative priorities -- but beyond that it looks to me like a very normal thing to do when three people have had a conflict that none of them want to continue. Sit down, bond over some food or drink, have a friendly chat...and move on.

Thankfully, the media and the rest of us can continue to discuss this forever, even if the three of them part on good terms. snore
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qzhdad wrote:
Has anyone here ever become friends with someone they disliked because they had a beer together? It's common cliche, but any anecdotes here?


I don't drink, but I've done it over food. In one case it was a lot like this one -- a pretty heated situation arose where it was clear that both parties thought that what had happened was very different from what the other thought but where the conflict was also pretty pointless. We had dinner together, talked mostly bullshit about other stuff, and parted friends.
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Drew1365 wrote:
The police report strongly suggests the only reason Crowley warned Gates too cool down was because a crowd was starting to gather. In spite of a warning that Gates would be arrested if he continued, he continued.

He didn't leave Crowley many options.


Actually, Crowley had one fairly straightforward option. He could have followed the clear rulings of the MA Supreme Court that Gates' behavior did not rise to the level of a crime and left the scene.

Quote:
I admit that part of my own feeling about this situation is colored by the fact that my brother is a police officer whose former partner was killed when responding to a call at a residence; drunk idiot met him at the door and unloaded a gun into his face.

I have little sympathy for people who cannot control themselves at the sight of a police officer.


I don't either -- but there is a LOT of behavior that I have no sympathy for but that also doesn't merit an arrest. Moreover, I think the police obviously have a duty to obey the law, which includes not arresting people under conditions that the supreme court (state or federal) has said not to.

I can totally see why your brother's partner's experience would cause you both to feel extra contempt for Gates's behavior and to want to give the police very wide leeway to exercise their judgment. In this case, however, there was no indication of any threat.
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