Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Could While Away the Hours ...

"... conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain ..."

Well, that makes about as much sense to me as some of the things I'm witnessing.

Here's a good example. Today, Fed chief Ben Bernanke told Congress that the pace of the economic decline appears to have slowed, but unemployment is likely to stay high for another two years.

So what happened on Wall Street? The Dow Jones industrial average closed at its highest level since two weeks before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Ever get the feeling that the Scarecrow from the "Wizard of Oz" is running things on Capitol Hill? Or Wall Street?

Maybe he's running the Cambridge, Mass., police department, which arrested Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home last week. Charges against Gates, who is black and is also a law professor who spent a couple of years working on a documentary on Abraham Lincoln that was shown on PBS earlier this year to mark the occasion of Lincoln's 200th birthday, have been dropped, but they never should have been filed in the first place.

Apparently, Gates returned from a trip to China to discover that his front door was jammed. He managed to open the back door of his home with a key, but he was unsuccessful in his attempt to open the front door from the inside. Gates, the director of Harvard's W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, had been in his residence for a few minutes when a police officer arrived and asked him to step outside. He said he had received a report of a possible break–in.

Gates produced his driver's license and his Harvard ID, but that apparently wasn't sufficient for the police officer. Gates was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and taken to jail, where he spent the next four hours.

Seems to me the driver's license and the Harvard ID should have been enough to make the police officer aware of the identity of the man he was speaking to.

Maybe Gates could have handled things better, but my guess is he was tired after returning from a trip to a country halfway around the world. Presumably, his luggage was nearby and he must have had his passport and airline ticket stub handy.

Surely, that would have been enough to convince the police officer — unless his head was harder than the Tin Man's.

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