Andrew Sullivan has a great take on that notorious email that police officer Justin Barrett wrote to the Boston Globe about the Henry Louis Gates arrest:
Notice the Cheney view: that a suspect has no rights; and is always a suspect, always at the mercy of the state and government, with a duty to obey police and military power or face brutal consequences. Notice the use of pepper-spray as a response to mere verbal complaints of mistreatment.
And the more you read, the more you realize how deep the Bush-Cheney legacy runs and how the torture and ‘enemy combatant’ state, celebrated nightly on Fox, easily seeps into domestic law enforcement. Notice how Cheney actually wanted to use the military against “suspects” in America. And how proud he is of that move. And notice in the email how all of this is bound up with a defense of God.
One blog over, Jeffrey Goldberg suggests that Crowley may have been trying to set Gates up to get arrested:
Sergeant Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department a) is a self-righteous man who was enraged when his authority was questioned, and b) set-up Gates for an arrest because of these feelings of rage. By set-up, I mean he that he made at least a semi-conscious effort to gaslight Gates, that he went out of his way to make sure that Gates would be so angry at his treatment that he would be, by Crowley’s standards, a plausible candidate for arrest.
ALSO: Colin Powell went on CNN the other day (on Larry King, unfortunately) and offered the most balanced and reasonable viewpoint on the Gates arrest that I’ve heard yet. Via Gawker:
I think Skip, perhaps in this instance, might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer and that might have been the end of it. I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal…There is no African-American in this county who has not been exposed to this kind of situation. Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? Do you protest? Do you try to get things fixed? But it’s the better course of action to try and take it easy and don’t let your anger make the current situation worse.
I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department. Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would’ve thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said “Okay look, it is his house. Let’s not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.”
Um … Colin Powell for president?
Incredibly, Forbes has run an opinion piece calling for the break-up of Goldman Sachs… And over at Bloomberg, Michael Lewis almost fooled me, for a paragraph or two, into thinking this is actually a defense of Goldman:
America stands at a crossroads, and Goldman Sachs now owns both of them. In choosing which road to take, ordinary Americans must not be distracted by unproductive resentment toward the toll-takers…
Every time we hear the phrase “the United States of Goldman Sachs” we shake our heads in wonder. Every ninth-grader knows that the U.S. government consists of three branches. Goldman owns just one of these outright; the second we simply rent, and the third we have no interest in at all. (Note there isn’t a single former Goldman employee on the Supreme Court.)
Most of us have heard of Peter’s Principle: “All new members in a hierarchical organization climb the hierarchy until they reach their level of maximum incompetence.” The end result being that corporations, governments and NGOs are riddled with incompetent people in positions of responsibility.
But what to do about it? Are there better ways to promote employees to prevent organizations from being run by the incompetent? Yes, says a new study:
Their model shows that two other strategies outperform the conventional method of promotion.
The first is to alternately promote first the most competent and then the least competent individuals. And the second is to promote individuals at random. Both of these methods improve, or at least do not diminish, the efficiency of an organization.
NDP leader Jack Layton wades into the US health care debate, defending Canada’s province-run health systems against the lies being told about them by the American health insurance lobby:
Costs are under control in Canada. We spend similar amounts on public care - around 7% of GDP. For that price, Canada covers everyone, the U.S. just one third of the population. In case you’re worried Canada wastes money on bureaucracy, know that just 2.4% of our total costs go to administration compared to 7% of what your government spends. In end, Canadian care costs $2,500 less per capita - and covers everyone.
Our outcomes are excellent too: infant mortality is lower, people live longer and we are less at risk of cardiovascular disease than Americans.
Yeah. So there.
In the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams asserted that the answer to life, the universe and everything is forty-two. (The problem, of course, is finding out what the actual question is.) Now, we have evidence to suggest that forty-two may in fact be the most important number in the universe…
Ernest Hemingway’s only son has re-written his father’s memoir, A Moveable Feast. The original “was dishonest and I think the revised version is more true to the book my dad was working on when he died,” Patrick Hemingway says. Predictably, the younger Hemingway’s move is more than a little controversial…
The Stasi had a file on Michael Jackson…
How to repair crumbling buildings with Lego blocks…
With his “clear disdain for figures of authority” and his homosexual lifestyle, Oscar Wilde is an unlikely hero for the Catholic church…
It’s true. The Vikings discovered America…
The Gitmo detention camp is headed for the history bin (sooner or later), but who will preserve that history?
More from Britain’s burgeoning police state: The government is planning to assign social workers to twenty thousand “anti-social” families, who will monitor the families’ behavior twenty-four hours a day… More…
Headline of the Week: “Biker so dumb, thought pickles grew on trees…”
Congratulations! You have reached the end of the Internet…
An historic day, for better or worse, in Canadian journalism. Today the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal ran a massive front-page apology for running a story claiming that Prime Minister Stephen Harper put a communion wafer in his pocket during communion at Romeo LeBlanc’s funeral.
And now the Globe is reporting that both the paper’s publisher and editor-in-chief have been let go or resigned.
That is a pretty large price for a newspaper to pay for an erroneous story. So let’s see exactly what the Telegraph-Journal got wrong. From the apology:
The story stated that a senior Roman Catholic priest in New Brunswick had demanded that the Prime Minister’s Office explain what happened to the communion wafer which was handed to Prime Minister Harper during the celebration of communion at the funeral mass. The story also said that during the communion celebration, the Prime Minister ’slipped the thin wafer that Catholics call ‘the host’ into his jacket pocket.”
There was no credible support for these statements of fact at the time this article was published, nor is the Telegraph-Journal aware of any credible support for these statements now. Our reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras, who wrote the story reporting on the funeral, did not include these statements in the version of the story that they wrote. In the editing process, these statements were added without the knowledge of the reporters and without any credible support for them.
So, essentially, it looks like the T-J’s story got two facts wrong: That a “senior Roman Catholic priest” was demanding an explanation; and that Harper put the communion wafer in his pocket.
The first mistake is inexcusable. If the paper incorrectly reported that a priest was demanding an explanation, and no priest was, then this was simply a fabrication, likely designed to give a “news edge” to what otherwise would have been little more than an amusing video showing Harper pocketing the host during communion. (Or, I guess, not pocketing it.)
Which brings me to the second mistake. The T-J apologized for claiming that Harper put the host in his pocket, but there is video of Harper clearly not eating the host upon receiving it, and tucking it away somewhere — if not into his pocket, then into the event program he was holding in his hand. (Or whatever paper document he had in his hands.)
Tellingly, the T-J does not clarify this point — it doesn’t say, as Harper’s people claim, that Harper ate the wafer. It just says he didn’t put it in his pocket. That’s a hell of a detail for the top two people at the T-J to lose their jobs over.
Though it’s not unheard of for senior editors to resign when reporters or junior editors screw up (Howell Raines resigned from the New York Times after the Jayson Blair scandal), I just can’t imagine that the T-J would let both their publisher and editor go over this detail. The only way this really adds up for me is if one of the two resigned in protest over the firing of the other; or, there was outside pressure — political pressure — on the paper.
We know Stephen Harper loves to litigate. He’s threatened questionable lawsuits against the Liberals; he’s even litigated against the elections commissioner that he appointed. Harpo is one litigation-happy politician.
Which brings me to the last question I have left about this silly, bizarre incident in Canadian politics (other than what the hell did he do with that wafer) — which is this: To what extent was the Telegraph-Journal’s massive act of contrition a reflection of its solid journalistic ethics, and to what extent was it a reaction to the threat of merciless legal action from the Prime Minister’s Office?
I, for one, am not taking any chances, and declaring the following with respect to this whole matter:
– Stephen Harper ate the host. He did not put it in his pocket, he did not save it for a midnight snack to have with a pat of Vegemite. He ate it promptly and did not leave any crumbs on his suit whatsoever.
– Stephen Harper is the best prime minister ever. I apologize, in retrospect and in advance, for anything negative I have ever said, or ever will say, about Mr. Harper.
– God bless Canada, and God bless the benevolent, all-knowing Conservative Party of Canada.
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