blind_html Fwd: topical for a change

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 03 Aug 2009 14:52:25 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: topical for a change
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 07:08:15 -0700
From: Edwin Cooney <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi All,
I've felt a bit guilty lately for not being particularly topical in my columns.  I haven't written much about the banking crisis or anything at all about the GM situation.  I think I'm going to write something about healthcare next week while trying not to be boring about it.
Thus, what you see below.  Hope you like it.
Please feel free to let me know what you think--it makes my day either way!
Warm Regards,





As you know, last Thursday night, President Barack Obama, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Police Sergeant James Crowley of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Vice President Joe Biden sat down for a couple of beers in the White House Rose Garden.


Each of these men, dedicated as they are to their professions, appear to be serious about their work.  Additionally, all of these men appear to possess that essential perspective that allows for equity of judgment of people and situations. This is a good thing, because there is nothing people fear more than other people’s judgment. 


Responding to a question at his July 22nd press conference about the July 16th arrest by Sergeant Crowley of his friend, Harvard Professor Gates,  President Obama asserted that the Cambridge police had “acted stupidly”.  The result was a firestorm of protests from Americans who just never, never, never misspeak.  Furthermore, had the president said “no comment”, thus avoiding the controversy, many of these same citizens would have accused the president of protecting his political “you know what” for his political preservation.  Of course, had the president not used the word “stupid” in his judgment of actions taken by the Cambridge Police Department, alas, there would have been no “teachable moment” at the White House last Thursday night. 


The idea for the White House beer bash was Sergeant Crowley’s, not President Obama’s. The good sergeant was at a local bar when the president called him on his cell phone to apologize for calling his department “stupid”.


It’s just possible that we’ll have to wait for former President Obama’s memoirs to know what was said at the “teach-in”, but it’s not likely.  What’s more likely is that radio and television talk show hosts, along with political and cultural analysts, will continue to belittle the president for wasting his time on such a trivial issue while themselves engaging in large lumps of air time, cyber- and pulp paper space on this very topic.


The president, a good politician, knows better than anyone else that what he says has a far greater impact on people’s feelings than anything the rest of us do, write, or say.  Thus, we have the apology to the Police Union and to Sergeant Crowley and (of course) the White House Rose Garden teach-in.  Seated around the picnic table were two blacks and two whites, none of whom marched with Dr. King (or Stokely Carmichael, for that matter), none of whom ever experienced slavery or owned a slave, all of whom have substantial incomes and even health care, and all of whom are admirable in one way or another.  (We have it on good authority that Sgt. Crowley is strictly business once he gets behind his badge.  He recognizes neither friend nor family member—only the public to be served via professional, not grudge, policing.)


So, who taught whom and what did they teach him?  Did who learn?  Was it hard for who to learn, or did whomever was learning easily see the light?  What light did who see if who or whomever saw any light?  (That’s only the first set of questions, but I’ll spare you the rest!)


There were apparently four frosty beers: Bud Light for the President, Red Stripe for Professor Gates, Blue Moon for Sergeant Crowley and—wait a minute—-what did Vice President Biden drink?  He had to have had something because; as the president once told us, “You don’t mess with Joe.”   Hopefully, Joe didn’t spoil the patriotic color scheme of red, lite, and blue!  That would be terrible!


Of course, the White House Rose Garden “teach-in” had neither teachers nor students, but as a concept, it’s a pretty good one.  Americans under our federalist system have known 43 persons identified as Mr. President.  As well-meaning or even as qualified as any one of them may be, most people wouldn’t argue with the proposition that a president never possesses enough knowledge or wisdom.  Hence, White House “teach-ins” are a hell of an idea, if you ask me.


We Americans of course are great traditionalists.  Thus the tall frosty teach-in may well become the biggest boon to education since the old McGuffey reader or hickory stick.


Let’s see now: the littlest ones get plain milk or juice (sorry, kiddies: no soda!), the older kids get chocolate milk, and by the time kids get to junior high, both milkshakes and perhaps even smoothies are available.  Sorry, kids, beer in the classroom doesn’t start until you are a junior in college.


Can you imagine all of those frosty stands at the front of every American schoolroom?  Who says we’re not coming out of this economic recession?!







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