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There have been a lot of diaries on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., but I want to try to go a little meta here and discuss a larger point about how we understand the interactions between police and citizens--a point that I think is embedded in a prominent response to the Gates case.

The response I have in mind is the one that insists on second-guessing Gates:  the one that often begins, yeah, the cop was wrong to arrest him, but why did Gates have to behave that way?  Why didn't he just respond politely and let the cop leave?  Maybe Gates was within his rights to yell at the cop, but by choosing to go that route he escalated the situation to its predictable conclusion.  Everybody knows what happens when you talk to cops that way.

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:46 PM PDT

John McCain:  Palin is no FDR

by Hprof

And he means that as a compliment.

That's what he told the Des Moines Register's editorial board today.  In the video labeled "Sarah Palin's Experience" on the DMR website, McCain defends his running mate by contrasting her favorably with FDR:

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Sure, sure - there are lots of ways to calculate the political differences between the two--you could point out, for example, that Obama tied for first among economical liberals in the Senate, while Brownback ranked as the 8th most conservative.  

Being the economic conservative that he is, Brownback would surely like to know what the market thinks of the difference between him and Illinois's junior Senator.

And here's the answer...

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Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 06:02 AM PDT

Broder Pulls a Klein

by Hprof

To pull a Klein, v.i. - when in error on the facts, claim the difference is only one of opinion--an opinion that you will continue fearlessly championing

Everyone knows how, in recent weeks, Joe Klein has tried to cover his errors of fact by attacking the fact checkers:  so what if I said Representative Harman voted for a bill she voted against?  The real story is that left-bloggers are being mean to me!

Follow me to the flip to explore how David Broder pulls a similar maneuver.  

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Mon Jun 11, 2007 at 10:40 AM PDT

Gore and Lincoln: Good News, Bad News

by Hprof

The bad news first:  Abraham Lincoln probably didn't author that disputed quotation that Al Gore attributed to him in the Assault on Reason.

The good news:  Lincoln was not a 19th century Gordon Gecko, and it's hardly less of a historical error to paint him as one.

Follow me to the flip for more about what Lincoln really wrote and thought.

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Fri Jun 08, 2007 at 06:04 AM PDT

Bork: Tort Reform for Thee...

by Hprof

but not for me.

Last June, Robert Bork tripped and fell while ascending the platform for a speech at New York City's Yale Club.  Despite banging his head and bruising his leg, he made it up the platform and delivered a speech to the New Criterion Club.

But now, the former judge is suing the Yale Club for $1 million, accusing the Club of "wanton, willful and reckless disregard for the safety of its guests":

"Because of the unreasonable height of the dais, without stairs or a handrail, Mr. Bork fell backward as he attempted to mount the dais, striking his left leg on the side of the dais and striking his head on the heat register," the lawsuit said.

Bork underwent surgery and physical therapy, the suit said, and he still limps and uses a cane.

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Last week, DrSteveB asked what state had the nuttiest senatorial duo.  My vote was Oklahoma, on the theory that Tom Coburn would be crazy enough all by himself, even if he weren't paired with James Inhofe.

This week, Coburn proves his bona fides for that title all over again, by slandering one of the icons of the modern environmental movement--as we'll explore on the flip.

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Thu May 10, 2007 at 12:00 PM PDT

Star-Spangled Enchainment

by Hprof

As if there weren't enough reasons to hate the Damn Yankees:

At the Stadium, Stay Put When the Music Plays

The most patriotic moments at Yankee Stadium can also be the most confining.

Seconds before "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" are played, police officers, security guards and ushers turn their backs to the American flag in center field, stare at fans moving through the stands and ask them to stop. Across the stadium’s lower section, ushers stand every 20 feet to block the main aisle with chains.


Howard J. Rubenstein, the spokesman for the Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner, said the policy was an expression of patriotism.

Right ... an expression of the same patriotism that brought you Guantanamo.

More on the flip

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Thu May 03, 2007 at 06:31 AM PDT

Another Outbreak of "High Broderism"

by Hprof

Atrios calls it "High Broderism"--the "worship of bipartisanship for its own sake, combined with a fake 'pox on both their houses' attitude" as practiced by that High Priest of the Beltway establishment, David Broder.  

Broder is at it again with this morning's column, entitled "Thankless Bipartisanship."  

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Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 01:36 AM PDT

Broder: Now It's McCain Who's Bouncing

by Hprof

Perhaps he's given up waiting for George Bush's bounce.  Or perhaps he's just looking for a Senator he can love more than Harry Reid.  But--somehow--Broder convinced himself that McCain has bounced back to his Straight-Talk-Express days of 2000.

Straight Talking Again

After years of cozying up to the man in the White House, and emerging (for better or worse) as the most eloquent defender of Bush's current strategy in Iraq, McCain this week reverted suddenly and dramatically to his 1999-2000 role as the leading Republican critic of politics as usual.

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I did a brief diary earlier morning this noting that Wesley Clark was going to be on the Diane Rehm show this morning, a panel discussion of the war in Iraq.

You can listen to the archived audio at:

I've updated below the fold with some highlights about what Clark said....

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Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 06:56 PM PST

Poll For Educators: Do you ...

by Hprof

Apparently, David Horowitz's list isn't so little after all.

He's currently on tour flogging his new book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

But last night on the Scarborough Country, he upped the ante (via Media Matters):

There are 50,000 professors with the views of [fellow Scarborough Country guest and Citizens for Legitimate Government founder Michael] Rectenwald and [Colorado high school teacher] Jay Bennish, who are anti-American, they're radicals, they identify with the terrorists, they think of them as freedom fighters. It's a huge danger for the country. And I tell you, if there was a Christian teacher who was ranting in that way against abortion in the classroom, they would be toast.


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