Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
And not like Captain Renault. Really shocked…
On a Boston radio program this morning, Bill Cosby suggested that President Obama spoke too soon on the controversial arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.
“I’ve heard about five different reports [on the details of the arrest],” Cosby said on Boston’s WZLX. “If I’m the president of the United States, I don’t care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”
“I was shocked to hear the president making this kind of statement,” Cosby said referring to the president’s remarks during last night’s press conference.
The comedian appeared to have dialed his comments back a bit in a later interview on Boston’s FOX 25 television station. Cosby cautioned those from coming up with their own conclusions, but gave the president some leeway.
“People who have not been there, people who don’t know are beginning to have their own personal feelings, but they weren’t there,” Cosby said.
“Does this include the president?” asked the FOX25 reporter.
“It includes everybody,” Cosby said. “[But] I would have to take into consideration that he lived in Cambridge for some time so he may know more than he’s saying about situations of that sort,” Cosby said.
Cosby isn’t alone in giving President Obama some benefit-of-doubt on this; white guy James Taranto, in yesterday’s Best of the Web, was charitable as well.
Let’s dispense with one common criticism of the president: that he should have refrained from commenting on the subject at all. “It’s the kind of question to which a president would normally reply with something like: ‘That’s a local police matter, I don’t know the details and I know it will be worked out responsibly,’ and move along,” says National Review’s Yuval Levin. “Very odd behavior for a president.”
True, this started as a local police matter, but by the time Obama was asked about it, it had become a contentious national debate. As he is the first president who is black, Obama’s views on a subject involving race relations were bound to be of interest and to carry considerable weight. And Obama evidently did have a strong interest in the matter. According to Politico, his answer to this question was the only point in the press conference when he “came alive.” (The rest of the conference was devoted to some policy issue or other.)
On the merits, we’d say Obama got it right. He expressed sympathy with Gates’s position while expressly declining to endorse the charge that the arresting officer had racially invidious motives. When the president made a general statement about racial profiling–a statement that is certainly debatable, but he, like everyone else, is entitled to argue for his side in a debate–he was careful to note that he was speaking “separate and apart from this incident.”
It is important…to distinguish between the initial altercation and the subsequent public debate. In the former, Crowley was in a position of authority and thus bore a greater responsibility than Gates, who was merely a private citizen. But in pressing the matter now, it is Gates who is exercising considerable authority: the intellectual authority of a pre-eminent scholar of race in America, and the moral authority of a black man demanding equal treatment in a country with an acknowledged history of atrocious racism.
On Tuesday Gates told the Boston Globe: “If [Crowley] apologizes sincerely, I am willing to forgive him. And if he admits his error, I am willing to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling. . . That’s what I do for a living.” Gates is trying to be magnanimous. He doesn’t quite succeed, does he? Still, it’s not an unattractive offer. Lots of people pay big bucks for a Harvard education.
But a true scholar devotes his life to acquiring knowledge, not just imparting it. Crowley may have something to learn from Gates, but Gates may have something to learn from Crowley, too–about the challenges of police work and the vulnerabilities, both physical and psychological, that sometimes lead cops to act overzealously — even stupidly — when citizens challenge their authority.
Taranto’s dazzling display of even-handedness is a classic illustration of how sometimes too much effort put into so-called “balance” can be antithetical to effective, clear-headed thinking. Sometimes, to be blunt about it, it isn’t necessary to see both sides. Sometimes it’s counterproductive to see both sides.
That might seem harsh, and it is…but it isn’t illogical. To support the point, one has only to step out of that realm, which is narrower than most people think, in which negotiation is appropriate. Think about situations involving wildlife. Forces of nature. Cars. So many of us possess an immediate understanding of the situation of crossing in a crosswalk without looking both ways. We understand this because our mothers forced us to understand it: If a car also isn’t looking, and you’re not looking, and you’re in the crosswalk but the car flattens you like a pancake, why yes indeedy you’ll have the right-of-way. You’ll be “right.” Dead right.
My point, here, is that Professor Gates had exactly the same “right” to get surly with a cop, as a child has to cross a street without looking.
Taranto’s got it backwards here. Yes there is a professional expectation placed on the police officer that isn’t placed on the civilian. But for the civilian’s own welfare, he is placed under an expectation of sorts as well, just like the negligent and oblivious child crossing the crosswalk. He needs to be behaving responsibly, for his own sake, or else facing the consequences — as do we all.
Professor Gates failed to show this minimal, utilitarian level of personal responsibility. He mouthed off at a cop. I’m not mouthing off at any cops. If I do, I do not expect to get away with it. I would expect to get arrested for disorderly conduct, or worse, and in my case I would expect the charges to stick. Just like, if I cross a street without looking, getting flattened (or at least honked at) would be the very first thing on my mind. Responsible people of all colors think that way.
But that’s all a little bit wordy. We’ve been criticized by some of our more loyal readers lately for being too wordy. So let us snag this one biting comment left by Doug, over at Gerard’s place…this guy speaks for us.
Gates could have dispelled all the bad air by just saying, “thanks for stopping by officer; here’s my lisence, I live here.” Then he should have shouted out to his neighbor, “Good looking out neighbor; it’s me, Skip.” And then invited her (and the cops) over to his next Bar-B-Q. Done – settled with good cheer all around, in less than a minute and a half.
Instead we get Gates having the time of his life playing the poor black victim of police brutality. Here’s a guy that America has showered with every reward, living and working at the top of the game in academic USA. Yet that is not enough; this insecure little wart needs his radical 60s street cred; he gins up a big racial confrontation with a man who is just trying to do his job.
Flipping s**t at cops even in the best circumstances (there really are no best circumstances) is just not a smart thing to do…
We’ve got no sympathy for this guy. None at all. And I daresay, there is much to criticize in the way the debate about this situation is shaping up. Too many people are seeing the light…like Bill Cosby, as an example…and then they do this “gotta say something in favor of the other side” thing, like if they take the no-sympathy-at-all angle and are too puritan about it, they’re afraid of becoming a pariah in some social circle that will become valuable to them at some later time.
They may very well be right.
But like I said. Balance is not always desirable for clear thinking. At least, in some situations…and this is one of them. Professor Gates is a crybaby, an attention whore, and worst of all he’s a bad example — to millions and millions of people who are, in fact, watching. Learning all the wrong lessons.
Oh, and President Obama? Cosby’s first set of remarks, were right on the money. This was not a matter fit for comment by a true President of the United States. You’ve just been demoted. You are no longer the President who just so happens to be a race hustler. That was last week. This week, you’re a race hustler first and foremost, who just so happens to have wheedled his way into this gig as President.
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