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Archive for April 29th, 2008

The Civil Anger of New York City

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 29th, 2008 4:28 am by HL

The Civil Anger of New York City
The Sean Bell trial is over. Trial judge Arthur F. Cooperman, acting as both judge and jury, issued his verdict of “not guilty” to three police officers. Those officers – two black and one white — had been charged in the killing of Sean Bell, a young black man celebrating his forthcoming marriage. According to the judge, the three undercover officers — who fired 50 shots at Bell’s car — committed no criminal act. The judge noted in his verdict that “Questions of carelessness and incompetence must be left to other forums.” Sean Bell was killed on November 25, 2006 after he and two companions left a night club in which the three had been partying and got into Bell’s car. The three undercover officers believed that one of the passengers was reaching for a gun. The public was told at a press conference attended by Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Mike Bloomberg that the police had fired 50 shots, described by Mayor Bloomberg, as I recall, as excessive. Commissioner Kelly emphasized that police regulations state that a police officer firing a gun is required to stop after three shots to determine whether more were needed.

Will The Worst Debate Ever Matter?

Last night’s ABC’s debate was a spectacular travesty, if not the first of it’s kind in this campaign. (MSNBC’s Cleveland debate was in many ways an anti-Clinton pile-on.)

You would think after the polls barely budged in the wake of the Rev. Wright and “bitter” media frenzies, that traditional media outlets would recognize that most voters want to know more about the issues than be force-fed manufactured outrage. Sadly, no.

(To complain to ABC, call 212-456-7777, via Eschaton.)

But with recent history in mind, will the latest anti-Obama pile-on matter at the polls next week?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blog reports:

WTAE [Pittsburgh’s ABC affiliate] in its post-game coverage, asks everybody at its “watch party” if Sen. Obama was forced to spend too much time answering “gotcha” questions, 45 minutes or so about flag pins and Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers. Almost everybody raised their hands.

Sorry Pittsburgh voters. The very non-elitist David Brooks says “No Whining About the Media” tonight. He knows real people, not like you, uh, real people.

An Old Newness
Many years ago, a great hitter named Paul Waner was nearing the end of his long career. He entered a ballgame with 2,999 hits — one hit away from the landmark total of 3,000, which so many hitters want to reach, but which relatively few actually do reach. Waner hit a ball that the fielder did not handle cleanly but the official scorer called it a hit, making it Waner’s 3,000th. Paul Waner then sent word to the official scorer that he did not want that questionable hit to be the one that put him over the top. The official scorer reversed himself and called it an error. Later Paul Waner got a clean hit for number 3,000.

A Pastor at Center Stage
WASHINGTON — Because John McCain and other legislators worry that they are easily corrupted, there are legal limits to the monetary contributions that anyone can make to political candidates. There are, however, no limits to the rhetorical contributions that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright can make to McCain’s campaign. Because Wright is a gift determined to keep on giving, this question arises: Can persons opposed to Barack Obama’s candidacy justly make use of Wright’s invariably interesting interventions in the campaign? The answer is: Certainly, because Wright’s paranoias tell us something — exactly what remains to be explored — about his 20-year parishioner.