I Was So Ignorant!

     The cop did not violate the law when he arrested Professor Gates.  Professor Gates was injuring the Officer's pride, so the Officer lured him outside where his, well, rants, would be a punishable offense.  The cop tricked the citizen.

     As I wrote before, "disorderly conduct" must be done in a public place, or where the public could become alarmed.  Now, on the face of it, there is no chance any of would be disturbed to the degree that we'd be inclined to call the police if we were to hear Professor Gates yell.  The cop, however, knew that wasn't important.

     Professor Gates was wrong to lose his composure, and not to insult the (almost certainly at least a little, aren't we all?) racist police officer with a raised voice, but to call him "Boy," "Stooge," or even "Fascist," in a calm cool voice, as if he ran the plantation, as if the Police Officer were his servant, a servant of the public, the public of which Professor Gates is a member.  If the cop acted in a racist way (and we'll never know quite for sure), then that may well have been within reason.

     But by raising his voice, Professor Gates opened up a possibility.  In your home you can call a police officer anything you want, and act in any "tumultous" way you desire, and talk about the Officer's family, too.  But on the street, you can't yell like that.

     So, ask yourselves, why did the officer ask Gates out of his home if not to entrap him?  Certainly he had broken no law so far.  Why did Gates act so immaturely and yell, instead of with dignity and disdain, if one poor slob didn't treat him with the respect he felt he deserved?


Where There Could Be A Consensus On National Health Insurance

     Communicable diseases are of special interest to all the citizens of a Republic.  Whether you have nothing, or are among the wealthiest people in the world, you have an interest in the detection and treatment of communicable diseases in the people around you. 

     In New York City in the first decade of the last century, Typhoid Mary infected more than 50 people that she came in contact with as a cook.  Poorer people generally both fill the service roles that wealthier people use, and, it can be imagined, are less willing to visit a doctor if they suspect they might be ill.  This is because they can't afford it, and they can't afford to lose their wages if they are sick and their illness forces them to be quarantined for any length of time.

     It is self-interest that none of are infected by the people around us, and we don't even care if the person doing the infecting is here in this country without documentation.

     It might be an issue whether or not STDs are covered.  That all STDs can be transmitted through other means suggests that they should be.  In addition, for good or ill, it is clear that most people share some risk.  Ironically, recent history has found some of the loudest critics of this state of affairs engaging in the behavior which puts us all at risk.

     As a general rule, it is also in all of our interests to be treated for communicable diseases.  People with health insurance mostly are already.

Obama Was Close, Cop Arresting Gates IgnorantAbusing His Power (UPDATE 2)

UPDATE 1: Added final paragraph.
UPDATE 2: Please ignore this post, it has been superseded by this one.

     Here's a case from the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Commonwealth v Joseph Mulvey, which says that disorderly conduct must occur in public to be an offense.  From the synopsis:

At the trial of a criminal complaint charging disorderly conduct in violation of G. L. c. 272, s. 53, there was insufficient evidence to prove the public element of the offense, and the judge therefore erred in denying the defendant's motion for a required finding of not guilty, where the defendant's conduct took place on purely private property, and the Commonwealth failed to establish that the disturbance had or was likely to have had an impact upon persons in an area accessible to the public. [582-585]

     Thanks to Adam Winkler for cluing me into Commonwealth v Lopiano which cites Mulvey.  Thanks to Time magazine for publishing the same thing.

     The WSJ has a poll which shows fully 27% of Americans think Professor Gates was at fault.  Therefore we should recognize the media's role in this, muddling the issue.  In addition, the Chief of Police in Cambridge, in a public press conference, says that they shouldn't have dropped the charges, showing that he, too, is ignorant.

The Current Health Care Proposal - McCain-Hannity interview

     Sean Hannity interviewed John McCain concerning the health insurance bill before Congress.  They agreed that raising taxes right now, during a bad recession, is a bad idea.  The current proposal, if passed, will result in roughly 22% of small businesses paying for something they didn't have to before, either a new tax or health care.  It makes sense to me to amend the bill to waive this tax for the first year, or at least until a figure like GDP per capita starts increasing again.

As someone else wrote:

     The whole concept of employer based health care should be scrapped.  It [i]s an artifact of an attempt to get around a loophole in a price control schem[e six] decades ago.  It kind of made sense when people worked for the same company for 30 years, which isn't the situation today.
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