By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Gates comments now closed

I have changed Blogger’s settings so that any comment made to a post more than a day old will be moderated. That will allow me to delete any further comments to posts on the Henry Louis Gates arrest. This will not apply to any new posts I might write on the Gates matter. But we’re now up to well over 200 comments, mostly from the same small group of people. Enough.

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Obama, Gates and racism


Payback time for Couric


  1. Esther

    Wow, you got more than 200 comments?! I'm jealous.

  2. O-FISH-L

    Are the Muzzle Award nominations closed?

  3. Treg

    It may as well be me who points out that Dan isn't "muzzling" anyone. After giving everyone ample opportunity to get their points on a particular subject across in this forum, he's simply asking us to take it elsewhere.Like, to your own blog. It does seem to me like it's all been said, at least for now.Except: No one has pointed out that the Obama/Gates/Crowley grab-a-beer-at-the-Whitehouse scenario is obviously SO going to be the opening of the next Saturday Night Live . . . "I LOVE YOU, MAN!!!" . . . .

  4. Treg

    "Ok, Skip. Sgt. Crowley has joined us here in good will, had a couple beers, helped us understand his perspective, and said he's sorry about, you know, handcuffing you on your own front porch. Is there anything you'd like to say?""Yes, Mr. President, there is. LIVE FROM NEW YORK, . . ."

  5. O-FISH-L

    Treg, did I miss something? When were you appointed overnight moderator? Sheesh.Love the typical liberal "Do as I say, not as I do" approach. No more comments on Gates, except for mine. Now go to your own blog! Priceless!

  6. Treg

    Um, that was supposed to be . . . levity.

  7. Robin Edgar

    O-FISH-L You have been right on the money in a good number of your comments. Some might even say "prophetic". 😉 Would you have any objection to me reproducing some of your comments on my brand spanking new Occam's Zweihänder blog?

  8. meamoeba

    i have to side with o-fish on this one, dan. i think it is one of your more head-scratching decisions. you might be the only blogger trying to limit traffic. it's ALWAYS the same group of people commenting on posts here, although it looked to me like every one of your cast of characters was joining in rather than a select few. i was impressed and invigorated with the conversation. rather than your view of more than 20 comments repeating, i think it was one of the most robust debates i've seen on your site yet. i thought the tone was civil, without name-calling and on point top to bottom. i'm not quite sure what prompted the paternalistic and condescending "enough." you clearly have the right to limit commenting and, as you've pointed out to others before and likely will to me again, i have the option to go elsewhere. i hope, however, neither is your goal but it may be the result with me and others if this is a precedent.

  9. meamoeba

    should be "200 comments repeating," not 20. i need an editor.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    meamoeba: Actually, it's very common for blogs and news sites to close comments on a post after about three days.

  11. LFNeilson

    Gateskeeper, Gatescloser. Good move, DK.zzzzzz

  12. lkcape

    Dan can do what he wants.However, unless the discussion becomes uncivil, there appears to be no need to limit conversation.What is your motivation. Dan?If and when the tapes come out and Mr.Gates is shown as less-than-honest, will the thread be reopened?Seems to be a fair amount of "protecting" Mr. Gates in this choice.

  13. Dan Kennedy

    Ikcape: I've already posted on Gates again, which opens it up again. Did you really think there would be no further opportunity?I think it makes sense for a whole host of reasons to cut off comments on posts that are more than a few days old.To use your hypothetical — what sense would it make to comment on new developments at an old post? I can't imagine I wouldn't post again when the tape comes out, as it should.

  14. meamoeba

    given that reasoning, dan, then i am more confused as to why you'd selectively close commenting. if it's a new development, surely people will gravitate to the most recent post. they wouldn't comment on something new where it is less relevant. and after 20 or so years on the www, i don't consider myself a newbie but i have to admit i'm unfamiliar with sunsetting comments sections. maybe many do and i'm just unaware but i always thought there was an organic end to reader opining. when i notice other sites halt comments, it's usually posted prominently and a result of an egregious action or iolation of rules, emphasis on usually. also, you are choosing to block comments after 24 hours with what i see as a lack of incivility, somewhat more limiting than the three-day window you cite. either way, like o-fish, i find it ironic the ringmaster of the annual muzzle awards has unilaterally chosen to end commenting on a specific post. but, as i tell my grandchildren, my house, my rules.

  15. mike_b1

    I'm still waiting for all those rightwingnuts who were oh-so-in-favor of transparency to start practicing what they preach.Which I'm sure they will do, once they stop having affairs and abortions and looting companies and killing innocent people.

  16. meamoeba

    i certainly don't think you're talking about me, mike. i'd put me slightly left of che but not quite to the left as mao.

  17. Dan Kennedy

    meamoeba: It's called editing. It is logically impossible for me to engage in censorship, because I'm not the government.

  18. meamoeba

    that's a defensive response, dan. no need to lecture me because i fully understand the concept of both editing and censorship. i accused you of neither and with censorship especially, i am completely aware of its uses, abuses and implications, as much as you or anyone out here. so throwing that straw bogeyman into the mix is a non-starter. but the irony was not lost on me, although it took o-fish to trigger the analogy, that you, the arbiter of the muzzle awards who regularly hands them out to private entities, decided what will and won't be open for comments here and for how long. that's not editing; it is controlling. but, again, within your purview as master of this domain. i respect your right and quite often agree with and always respect your opinion. i just don't like this decision or agree with your rationale.

  19. O-FISH-L

    Robin, by all means. Thanks for the compliment, too. Compliments are thrown around here like sewer covers, at least for conservatives. Best,O-FISH-L

  20. O-FISH-L

    The prophet O-FISH-L has one more prediction on this case. Look for President Obama to make a Presidential appointment of Sergeant Crowley to some type of position in, or related to law enforcement. A top choice might be US Marshal for Massachusetts, although the career people in the Marshals service have been trying to get away from cops as political appointees for the top job.It could be something as minor as the Presidential Commission on Criminal Justice (if there is such a thing), but something along those lines. And Gates, will endorse the appointment, saying that he has now educated Crowley to go forth and spread the good word on race relations. A win, win for all.I think this saga has been so damaging to Obama, (latest tracking polls show him sinking below 50% approval) that he needs more than the ceremonial beer with Crowley, he needs him on the team.And this is the word of O-FISH-L. +

  21. lkcape

    The reason, Dan, for NOT closing a particular thread is the continuity of the discussion.Readability becomes a concern, but splitting without linking increases the odds that the disconnect will go unnoticed.Some very solid points were made in the first thread…by both sides, and likely will be made again. But you lose the context, a feature of discussion that you value and frequently insist upon.

  22. Robin Edgar

    You're welcome to the compliment O-FISH-L, I think you earned it, and thanks for your "blessing" on quoting some of your comments. I may not do so immediately but will probably do so over the next week or so. For the record I am a left of center Canadian liberal, but very much a "moderate" who respects the views of moderate conservatives. I am not big on radicals or extremists on either side of the left/right divide which is sometimes a hard one to determine in any case. From what I can see Sgt. James Crowley seems like a stand-up guy and I respect his manner of standing up for his rights than Henry Louis Gates' bigoted buffoonery. I expect that Gates is crying the tears of a clown now that there's virtually no one around who believes his hyperbolic if not vitriolic BS about racism being the motivation for his arrest. Just trying to fool the public indeed. . . I think I just might do a song parody of Smokey Robinson's 'Tears Of A Clown' dedicated to that now world famous Harvard educating clown known as Henry Louis Gates Jr. It seems to me that 'The Fears Of A Clown' or 'The Jeers Of A Clown' to say nothing of 'Some Beers For A Clown' would be appropriate titles of such a parody song. Personally I think that some enterprising brewer should buy the rights to the arrest photo that shows Gates yelling like a maniac and use it to advertise their product.Let's see now. What might some of the advertising slogans be. . .Busch Beer: Head for the porch.Budweiser: Where there's strife, there's Gates.Coors Light: The Boldest Lambasting Boor In Cambridge.Heineken: A bitter boor deserves a beer with Obama.Bud Light: Be yourself and make it a sad sight.Miller: Everything you always wanted in a boor. And more.or If you've got the time, we've got the boor.Bavaria: And now, for a tantrum.Dos Equis Mexican beer: Sooner or later you'll regret it.Carlsberg: Gates. Probably the best boor from Harvard.Labatt Blue: A whole lot can happen, Out of the Blue. No need to tweak the actual slogan really but I like – A "rogue cop" can happen, Out of the Blue. . . even though I don't believe that Sgt. Crowley is really a rogue cop.Another Labatt Blue slogan is/was -If I wanted water, I would have asked for water.which "translates" to -If I wanted Crowley, I would have asked for Crowley.St. Pauli Girl: Put him on a pedestal, or in an Ivory Toweror You never forget your worst nightmare.Bass Ale: Reach for Notoriety.Schaefer: America's Boldest Harvard Boor.Amstel Beer: Cause strife. Pure Unfiltered.Michelob Ultra:Lose the barbs. Not the face. . .Michelob AmberBock: Rich and _______ (fill in the blank yourself)Sagres: Spot the differencesCorona: Miles Away From Ornery?Harp Irish Lager: Who puts out the fire? Samuel Adams: Harvard's World Class Boor.Guinness Irish Stout: Politeness is good for you. and Bad things come to those who bait.The original beer advertising slogans may be found here.

  23. Robin Edgar

    Dan,With all due respect, and in general I do respect you although I have had some quibbles about your blog "moderation" for some time now, are you quite sure that you are not "moderating" comments to protect Gates and to prevent O-FISH-L and others being able to come back and say "I told you so" down the road a bit? Most of those news sites that close comments do so after several days or even a few weeks, not one or two days. Personally I think that you should reverse your "moderation" policy and allow people to continue to post comments to older threads if they have something to say. You know as well as I do that old threads, especially those about well known controversial subjects can have a life long after they were initially posted.

  24. O-FISH-L

    Robin, don't forget my favorite:GUINNESS: "Pre-eminent African American Scholar dragging Obama down with him, BRILLIANT!"

  25. mike_b1

    Robin: …if they have something to say. "If" being the operative word. O-Fish and the rest of the republicanazis have made clear that they are interested in nothing but ideology over fact, race over right, and protecting the status quo. They are the problem, the US's version of the Soviet Black Guard, which is why America has so forcefully voted their ilk out of office over the past several years.

  26. Robin Edgar

    ROTFLMU*UO!:"If" being the operative word.O-FISH-L and others definitely have something to say whether you, or indeed I. . . *like* it or not mike_bs.:O-Fish and the rest of the republicanazis have made clear that they are interested in nothing but ideology over fact, race over right, and protecting the status quo. That's funny Mike because you yourself seem to be interested in nothing but ideology over fact, race over right, albeit not protecting the status quo. I am all for positive change of the status quo aka progress but you of all people posting here should not be "flinging accusations" as Obama put it about *others* being "interested in nothing but ideology over fact". I dare say that you may be unwittingly engaging in psychological projection with that accusation.

  27. lkcape

    Unwittingly?Now, you're being kind.

  28. Robin Edgar

    Well I do try to be kind, and give people the benefit of the doubt where possible, lkcape. As a rule most people who engage in psychological projection are quite unaware that they are doing so. Come to think of it. . . that applies quite well to one Henry Louis Gates Jr. doesn't it?Of course on occasion I feel obliged to be cruel to be kind as it were. . . 😉 Enjoy! WVC = cutin as in cuttin'

  29. O-FISH-L

    mike_b1, is President Barack H. Obama a Republicanazi? After all, it was he, not I, who invited the esteemed Sergeant James M. Crowley to the White House for an ice cold beer, no? In fact, I believe it is Obama who, however late to the truth, joined me in calling Sergeant Crowley "an outstanding officer." At the end of the day, the pre-eminent African American scholar, and the first (second?) African American President himself, were trumped by the "lowly" civil servant from Cambridge. Few officers are elevated in a way as to receive a White House invitation during their career. You don't think the President would be inviting the Sergeant to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if he had done anything wrong, do you? No doubt, Obama has heard the damaging tapes.

  30. Michael Pahre

    It was pretty amazing to notice the sheer volume of comments that appeared both on the Boston Globe and Boston Herald stories on the Gatesgate stories. 1300 here, 500 there, ditto for the next story, etc. I didn't read them, I can't imagine anyone who had the time to do so. Yuck!Even the number of those who wrote a formal letter-to-the-editor was off-the-charts: the graphic in Saturday's Globe looked like around 130 or so letters this week. Compare that to a typical hot-button story that would normally generate 5-10 letters, and you can see the amazing response. They basically got a whole month's worth of letters in only a couple of days and only on one topic.The interesting statistic about the Globe's letters-to-the-editor is that they were leaning significantly negative. I think that means that they were leaning against Gates' side of the story (and Obama's defense of him while saying the police acted "stupidly"), but it would be good to get the official editorial page editor's statement on what "negative" meant in this case.

  31. mike_b1

    Robin, you should review what Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff-Sergeant Christine Wozney has to say about the Canadian police and its world-beating history of wrongful arrests before you comment again. Not. Too. Good.

  32. Rick in Duxbury

    Mike,Every time I start to think that you're a really smart guy with whom I disagree vehemently, you use conflations like "republicanazis" and "rightwingnuts" to snatch the football away from my kick.(That roll of paper should be shrinking, no?)

  33. Robin Edgar

    Why would I need to do that mike_bs when I have been wrongfully arrested myself once or twice? I am trying to be *objective* here and I am on the side of Sgt. Crowley until I see some evidence that suggests that he had no grounds to arrest Gates for disorderly conduct. There is virtually no question that Gates had a bad hair day that Tuesday and has yet to admit to his bad behavior that provoked the arrest. Even if the arrest *was* illegal it only happened because Gates was being an arrogant and belligerent asshole to Sgt Crowley and perhaps other Cambridge cops. He brought it on himself. Who knows? Maybe Gates actually *wanted* to get himself arrested so that he could claim false arrest and racial profiling yadda yadda yadda to advance his well known interests and agenda. Activists deliberately get themselves arrested on minor criminal charges in ersatz "civil disbedience" for the publicity value quite regularly. Come to think of it. . . maybe *that's* what President Obama meant when he suggested that the Cambridge police acted stupidly. Maybe Gates saw what he thought was an opportunity to gain national attention and took it.

  34. mike_b1

    Obama didn't "suggest" anything. He called the situation for exactly what it was. Whether you yourself are an ex-con (or perhaps should be one) is immaterial.

  35. Robin Edgar

    That was a quick reversal from talking about the alleged "world-beating history of wrongful arrests" on the part of Canadian police to suggesting that I am "an ex-con (or perhaps should be one)" mike_bs. . . What I said about my own *wrongful* arrest(s) made by Canadian police officers was a perfectly legitimate response to your comment. What part of the word acquitted do you fail to understand?

  36. mike_b1

    Hey, if you got off because you had a good lawyer, congratulations. I fail to see how any of that is relevant here.Obviously, certain high ranking officials within the Canadian law enforcement system think their colleagues are crappy cops. Perhaps that played in to your cases. Being arrested, even for the wrong reasons, is nothing to be proud of.

  37. Robin Edgar

    :Hey, if you got off because you had a good lawyer, congratulations. I fail to see how any of that is relevant here.I'll tell you what mike_bs, I am going to take that sarcastic snark as a compliment. I didn't have a good lawyer, in fact I had a *fool* for a lawyer, because knowing I was innocent and the prosecutor didn't have a legal "leg" to stand on I choose to represent myself. I had quite a bit of fun doing so showing up what idiots and hypocrites the Montreal Unitarians who brought the charges against me were in my cross-examination of their foolish prosecution witnesses. The prosecutor threw in the towel at the end of the prosecution phase of the trial because my cross-examination of witnesses made it abundantly clear to him that he could not prove a single one of the four or five points of law that he had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. He wanted me to file a motion of non-suit so the trial would end then and there but I chose not to do so because I wanted to present a defense that would have shown how Montreal Unitarians misused and abused the Canadian Criminal Code in a misguided effort to force an end to my peaceful public protest. :Obviously, certain high ranking officials within the Canadian law enforcement system think their colleagues are crappy cops.Some cops are crappy cops but the vast majority of the cops I have dealt with have been polite and professional and I have only had a few run-ins with bona fide "rogue cops" and fairly low level examples of that.:Perhaps that played in to your cases. Perhaps. If the cops had checked the facts and legal precedent more carefully before arresting me they might not have done so. That being said, I contacted the prosecutor before the trial began and pointed out to him all the ways that my protest outside of the church could not be construed as disrupting a religious service and suggested that he could save everyone a lot of trouble by dropping the charges but he said he had "witnesses" and decided to proceed with the prosecution. Unfortunately his "witnesses" were of no help to him at all. Not the police officer who arrested me, nor the two members of the church who I cross-examined, in fact there was a third prosecution witness lined up to testify against me but I blew the prosecutor out of court in my cross-examination of the first two. :Being arrested, even for the wrong reasons, is nothing to be proud of.Tell that to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton just for starters. . . Tell that to all the other activists who engage in ersatz "civil disobedience" in order to get themselves arrested on minor criminal charges like trespassing so that they can gain media attention. Being arrested is nothing to be ashamed of if you are innocent. Having a "fool for a lawyer" blow a bogus charge out of court during the prosecution phase of a criminal trial is something to be proud of AFA*I*AC. 🙂

  38. mike_b1

    "If the cops had checked the facts and legal precedent more carefully before arresting me they might not have done so."Well put. Same applies to Dr. Gates. The rest is just filler.

  39. Robin Edgar

    Amazing. We actually agree on something. At least in principle. . .Interestringly enough the WVC for this comment is cutslac

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