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July 23, 2009

Comments

The Graver Tank thing sounds interesting. Why don't you blog on it?

Re "secret facts," I have noticed this kind of reasoning a lot the last few years.

"Torture doesn't work."
"Oh, no, they wouldn't do it if it didn't work. There are probably all sorts of secret successes we don't hear about for security reasons."

"Obama's plan is dumb."
"Oh, no, he's a smart, good guy, he must be planning something we don't see yet."

None of these are very convincing.

So even though Obama admitted he didn't know the full story and even though he was sticking up for a friend and even though the President of the United States probably shouldn't - with such limited, incomplete, and one-sided information - spout off and call the actions of the entire Cambridge P.D. stupid - you have no problem with it because, hey...he's Barry!

BTW, this cop which Gates was accusing of being "RACIST!" tried to save the life of late Celtic great Reggie Lewis by giving him mouth-to-mouth resucitation in 1993. Hardly the actions of a black-hating bigot.

The hater here was Gates.

Test - is anyone else having trouble seeing comments on the blog?

BTW, this cop which Gates was accusing of being "RACIST!" tried to save the life of late Celtic great Reggie Lewis by giving him mouth-to-mouth resucitation in 1993. Hardly the actions of a black-hating bigot.

How do you know? After all, Reggie Lewis died.

(I kid, I kid.)

But honestly: Leave race out of this. Obama didn't call this cop racist. He said that the police (this cop) acted stupidly. Read the police report, and explain to me how Gates' behavior, even if offensive, justified an arrest.

Gosh, gewillikers, tomaig. You don't have the full story either, but that didn't stop you from reaching a normative conclusion.

Simply astounding.

First link is broken.

Test - is anyone else having trouble seeing comments on the blog?

I was for about an hour, Von, but I thought it was just me.

Seems to be working just fine, now.

BTW, this cop which Gates was accusing of being "RACIST!" tried to save the life of late Celtic great Reggie Lewis by giving him mouth-to-mouth resucitation in 1993. Hardly the actions of a black-hating bigot.

Can you be racist without being a black-hating bigot? Discuss.

von-

1. deficits: are they too small?
2. military: yes. agree it's too big? After all, it has taken on all the attributes of an 'unfunded mandate'.
3. patent law: Agree. It should be radically reformed.

Inquiring mind here wants to know. Thank you.

Scott de B. nails it.

As the Big Blue Satan said:

One thing which is frustrating in all of these kinds of things is how our stupid discourse sees racism as a binary 1,0 Racist, Not Racist kind of thing. Most of us - including me! - are a bit racist in that we sometimes unconsciously make assumptions based on race which, even if they aren't based in malice, can sometimes effectively come out in malicious ways.

I have no idea if this guy is a racist in a David Duke, or even Pat Buchanan, kinda way, but he should spend a few moments figuring out why he arrested a man for trespassing in his own house...

Correct me if I'm wrong, from what I understand, once you are in your own house, and it’s been estblished that it’s your house, the police need a Warrant to come in an arrest…right?

That is why after getting Gates ID, the officer asked Mr Gates to step outside. If Gates had not stepped outside, then the officer would have had to get a judge to sign a warrant to arrest Gates for “disorderly conuct” IN HIS OWN HOUSE.

Now are we truly to believe that a reputable judge would have done that?

That why Obama was right in saying that this was a stupid thing to do.

Can you be racist without being a black-hating bigot? Discuss.

Is it possible to be racist and yet not so racist that you would throw away your job by refusing to help a dying member of the race you have a problem with? Discuss.

What's to discuss? Of course it's possible. Wow, that Reggie Lewis defense is stupid.

Eric,

I know you're a lawyer and didn't mean to be imprecise, but Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct, not trespassing. The cop clearly screwed up, got annoyed that Gates wouldn't let him hear the end of it, lured Gates out onto his porch, and then arrested him on trumped up charges. That is some serious BS.

And it really shows how messed up we are as a he-said-she-said nation that predictably partisan people are siding with the cop.

Thanks, Ugh. Link fixed.

Seems to be working just fine, now.

The wonders of TypePad never cease ....

I think the cop was likely annoyed that here he was responding to a burglary report and what he ends up with is the homeowner yelling at him and calling him racist, so the cop decides that he'll just teach Gates a little lesson by arresting him for disorderly conduct instead of just getting in the cruiser and driving off. Could be some racism thrown in there along with a little Eric Cartman respect mah authoritah!

In any event, Obama should probably have just dodged the question or used some word other than stupid.

Of course, that wouldn't have kept Rush Limbaugh from pouring kerosene on the scared whitey fire:

"Last week, we saw white firefighters under assault by agents of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor," said Limbaugh (emphasis his). He added: "Now, white policemen are under assault from the East Room of the White House, by the President of the United States, after admitting he had no -- he didn't know all the facts, what went on in there."

br: ?

I was quoting Atrios. And his point was that, in essence, the guy was arrested for trespassing in his own house. Yes, technically, he was arrested for disorderly conduct, but that was ancillary to the trespassing harrassment. And should have been shrugged off regardless.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct, not trespassing or breaking and entering. Please try arguing in good faith.

I was quoting Atrios. And his point was that, in essence, the guy was arrested for trespassing in his own house.

Maybe should have put in a link or block quotes (assuming they weren't stripped out by typepad), as I was thinking of correcting you too (didn't remember the Big Blue Satan lead in as I was distracted by the trespassing comment).

Ugh, why were white policemen barging into the East Room of the White House? Did some of the neighbors report seeing a black man go in there?

"BTW, this cop which Gates was accusing of being "RACIST!" tried to save the life of late Celtic great Reggie Lewis by giving him mouth-to-mouth resucitation in 1993. Hardly the actions of a black-hating bigot."

This cop also has black friends.


DISCLAIMER: For some reason, this story is bringing out the snark in me, so please forgive the above comment.

Eric,

Sorry, I didn't understand that those were Duncan's words, not yours.

Regardless, the cop was wrong and everyone knows it.

Did some of the neighbors report seeing a black man go in there?

Everyday for just over six months now, they finally figured out it must be a crack house and called the police.

Disorderly conduct. Hahah. In England the equivalent offense is "breach of the peace", popularly quoted as "breach of the police", since its main use is to arrest people who haven't done anything except object to being harassed by police officers. Seems some things are the same everywhere you go.

"Regardless, the cop was wrong and everyone knows it."


Unfortunately a significant number think it appropriate that Gates was arrested for "contempt of cop".

Obama should probably have ... used some word other than stupid.

Like "tumultuous": ... the Cambridge police acted tumultuously in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

Well, I would have laughed if he had.

tomaig:

"BTW, this cop which [sic] Gates was accusing of being "RACIST!" [more on this momentarily] tried to save the life of late Celtic great Reggie Lewis by giving him mouth-to-mouth resucitation in 1993. Hardly the actions of a black-hating bigot."

Clearly. No racist would ever french-kiss a dying negro. Who needs black friends when you carry that trump card in your backpocket?

Regardless, whether or not Crowley is a bigot (and that dog-whistling, bait-heavy interview with the Backlash Herald is hardly convincing) is irrelevant. His actions were irresponsible and unwarranted no matter what the underlying motivation -- full stop.

Ugh:

"I think the cop was likely annoyed that here he was responding to a burglary report and what he ends up with is the homeowner yelling at him and calling him racist, so the cop decides that he'll just teach Gates a little lesson by arresting him for disorderly conduct instead of just getting in the cruiser and driving off. Could be some racism thrown in there along with a little Eric Cartman respect mah authoritah!"

Skip Gates is hardly a loudmouth "kill whitey!" firebrand, as this post by Melissa Harris-Lacewell (a personal acquaintance of Gates) attests to. The fact that so many are quick to believe/assume a broad caricature of an 'ANGRY BLACK MAN!!' is quite telling (and no, I am not accusing anyone here of racism, merely being products of a racist culture -- one that, one way or another, affects all within, regardless of ethnic background).

For the record, Gates claims that he did not yell nor accuse Crowley of being a racist:

“The police report is full of this man’s broad imagination,’’ Gates said. “I said, ‘Are you not giving me your name and badge number because I’m a black man in America?’ . . . He treated my request with scorn.’’

Gates also said he was suffering from a bronchial infection and was physically unable to yell.

Furthermore, Gates said that as a man who is “half white,’’ who was married to a white woman for more than two decades, and whose children are part white, “I don’t walk around calling white people racist. . . . Nobody knows me as some lunatic black nationalist who’s walking around beating up on white people. This is just not my profile.’’

Great post, von. On this subject we seem to travel a lot of common ground.

More from ANGRY NEGRO Skip Gates:

O'BRIEN: A neighbor called 911. I mean, it was a neighbor of yours who said that description, two black men breaking into your house. Are you angry with your neighbor?

GATES: No. In fact I hope right now that if someone is breaking into my house this nice lady is calling the police. I have a lot of valuable art and books in that house. And in fact, I think I'm going to send this person some flowers. I hope she is watching. I know that she must be intimidated and she must think that I'm very angry.

It wasn't her fault. It was the fault of the policeman who couldn't understand a black man standing up for his rights right in his space. And that's what I did. And I would do the same thing exactly again

And no, he didn't once "yell" during the interview.

My question is what do the police do next time they get a report someone is breaking into that house? I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.

So if the professor had been a cranky old white man, and the police sergeant had been a power-tripping black man, would it be okay for a POTUS of either color to say the cop acted "stupidly"?

--TP

My question is what do the police do next time they get a report someone is breaking into that house? I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.

Ask to see ID. If the ID matches the person, leave. This is not hard.

I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.

So you think that the whole Cambridge PD is staffed by racist assholes? Wow, I hope you're wrong about that.

Von please blog on the doctrine of equivalent. I read the Wikipedia entry and see merits on both sides. On one end I find it somewhat impractical for a person wishing to register a patent to have to consider and patent every single possible alternative ingredient in their invention.

What kind of protections do the patent amendments afford?

If I were an inventor applying for a patent, I would personally hope to have protections extended to the general utility of the widget rather than the precise mixture of its ingredients.

On the other hand, I believe that there is a lot of societal benefit to having a narrow interpretation of patents and encouraging folks to improve on designs.

What are your thoughts?
Perhaps use a simple example rather than what was in wikipedia. VHS v Beta maybe?

I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.

Unlikely. They would probably respond, but take care to check IDs and heed the ID if it matches.

Radical, I know.

The charges were dropped. So Gates did nothing wrong. If he had broken the law the charges wouldn't have been dropped.

My question is what do the police do next time they get a report someone is breaking into that house? I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.

I know you're not an idiot. Why are insisting that other people would act like an idiot?

Seretse -

I actually intend to post something on patent law in the coming days. The problem is that patent law is remarkably complex. It's very hard to write a post that communicates anything of substance without just being flat-out misleading.

As an example: the doctrine of equivalents itself. Since Graver Tank, the doctrine has been substantially narrowed. There are now a whole bunch of rules that describe when the doctrine of equivalents can and can't be applied (the dedication-diclosure rule, for instance; prosecution history estoppel; claim term vitiation; prior art limitations; etc.). Each of those rules have their own sub-rules (the foreseeability limitations imposed in the Festo III case on prosecution history estoppel, for instance). And the doctrine itself has been, at various times, been expressed in three different, purportedly "equivalent" tests (pardon the pun): the insubstantial differences test; the function-way-result test; and the hypothetical claim test. (The hypothetical claim test is disfavored these days.) Add into the fact that there is a very similiar concept -- a Section 112/6 equivalent -- that deals with a different concern but may (or may not) employ the exact same test as the doctrine of equilvents. And, yes, if you're wondering, it's theoretically possible to have an equivlant under the Doctrine of Equivalents to a Section 112/6 equivalent.

Confused yet? Candidly, I haven't even scratched the surface .... much less mentioned strange offshoots from the Doctrine (such as the Reverse Doctrine of Equivalents, which appears to be dead. Well, most probably dead, we think.)

So I'm not quite sure where to begin.... except to say that the Wikipedia entry on the Doctrine of Equivalents lacks so much detail as to be misleading. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_equivalents

The state of the peace officer's soul is irrelevant. The state of Prof. Gates' soul is irrelevant.

If, as Anatole France said, the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread, surely the law also, in its majestic equality prohibits both redneck racist cops and prejudice-free, open minded cops who worked on racial profiling studies from making "contempt of cop" collars.

And prickly professors with race-based axes to grind should have the same expectation that the law, in its majestic equality, should be followed as Trappist monks, or meth-cookers.

BTW, this cop which Gates was accusing of being "RACIST!" tried to save the life of late Celtic great Reggie Lewis by giving him mouth-to-mouth resucitation in 1993. Hardly the actions of a black-hating bigot.

Others have addressed this, but here I defer to Pam at Pandagon:

Needless to say, I was laughing so hard at this that I had tears streaming down my face. OK. How many ways is this man’s reasoning absolute jackassery. As a campus police officer who is trained in CPR, did he think he had the option to refuse to give mouth-to-mouth to Lewis? Are we supposed to think he was so heroic that he was willing to touch his mouth to the lips of a black man in front of all those people? Honestly, this only raises some seriously uncomfortable questions about Crowley’s thinking if he’s using this to somehow “prove” he isn’t racist. For instance, Lewis was a superstar, a black man, and, as Crowley observed, a human being. One presumes all human beings are equal and he would be comfortable with giving mouth to mouth to, say, RuPaul, or Halle Berry, or the janitor who sweeps the courts after a game. It’s all good, right? I don’t know what this cop is trying to get at with this tale—to show he’s down with the brown?

I was also thinking about all the children born that were conceived by slave and master. Was the master's willingness to have intercourse with his slave proof of his non-racist bona fides?

Was Strom Thurmond's love child?

Feh.

regardless of the situation, obama shouldn't have commented on it in that forum. the question was asked to distract from the health care that he had talked about for the rest of the presser and it did distract. he should have just kept it to "i don't know enough about the case to comment"

"The hater here was Gates."

So when Von says "Yglesias is right," your response is to not bother to read the cited post, but instead to regurgitate all the points already refuted by the facts.

Useful.

"My question is what do the police do next time they get a report someone is breaking into that house? I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond."

So your defense of the police is that they should act in an unprofessional manner and personally retaliate against someone?

(That's setting aside any debate over who was justified doing what, not that I see any reasonable debate possible on that; I'm just fascinated by the logic here: even if it had been a case of Gates being abusive, that would mean he wouldn't be entitled to future police protection: that's your idea of justice? Just fascinating.)

Further to the earlier discussion on tasers, Justice Braidwood here in BC just released a report on their risks and benefits as a result of an inquiry into a fatal tasering incident in the Vancouver Airport. He is recommending that they be treated approximately like (other) lethal weapons. The BC government has already announced it will adopt the recommendations. I understand the manufacturer is hopping mad.

My question is what do the police do next time they get a report someone is breaking into that house? I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.
As I understand it, we almost get to test this proposition, as the cops are now claiming that the reason Gates had to jimmy his front door is that the house was burglarized while he was away. So now we get to see what sort of a job the cops do investigating: it might be a bit of a hard choice, as on the one hand home burglaries probably lack for good clues and aren't a high priority, on the other hand this is now a high-profile case, and on the third hand the whole police department has now apparently decided to close ranks around the position that Gates is a Bad Man; witness their absurd press conference this afternoon. All that's assuming that the cops didn't do the burglary themselves in revenge for the controversy, given the apparently heightened feelings now surrounding the incident.
I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond.

So you think that the whole Cambridge PD is staffed by racist assholes? Wow, I hope you're wrong about that.

I'm not aware that racism has anything to do with this - nor even that it had anything to do with Sgt. Crowley deciding to trump up a charge on Gates and humiliate him in the first place. This is about Us-Versus-Them, about closing ranks now. Gates has called the whole operating procedure of the Department into question, their whole lifestyle of asserting their power over the people they meet. If I were Gates, I certainly would make extra sure not to park illegally or to cross against the light in Cambridge.

Justice Braidwood here in BC just released a report on their risks and benefits as a result of an inquiry into a fatal tasering incident in the Vancouver Airport. He is recommending that they be treated approximately like (other) lethal weapons. The BC government has already announced it will adopt the recommendations.
This is really very excellent news. And, of course, it happened only because some guy videotaped the lethal confrontation - and iirc the cops confiscated the videotape, and the guy had to hire a lawyer to force its return.

"I'm guessing someone could break in today and no one would respond."

No, they'll respond, and if anything they'll be extraordinarily scrupulous about crossing their t's and dotting their i's.

Regarding Republicans and blacks: I'm a white, late middle aged born-and-raised surburbanite, so please take what I say with a grain of salt.

But whenever black folks talk about being treated differently than other folks, the Republican response seems to be "quit whining".

At least, that's how it looks to me.

Maybe that would be a good place to start making a change.

"Unlikely. They would probably respond, but take care to check IDs and heed the ID if it matches."

And tell the resident about the report, ascertain if the resident might have inadvertently caused the report as in the Gates case, and if not, ask if the resident had seen or heard anything suspicious, in case somebody *did* break in, which is entirely possible.

I mean, if someone reported a break-in, and it wasn't me breaking in to my own house, then I probably wouldn't mind if the police asked to take a look around the perimeter of the house looking for signs of forced entry just in case.

The Braidwood report on tasers is here.

You're against a larger military, I hope. Because I feel like this country is drowning in a suit of armor as it is.

If you've been shown that nothing illegal has happened, why waste the time you're supposed to spend doing police work on trying to get some respect or whatever from a citizen? Get out of there instead, once you've established no foul play happened.

I'm in favor of a larger military, DP, although I agree with the cancelation of the F-22.

I believe that it is not the wages of the grunts that makes the US military so expensive but primarily all the expensive high-tech equipment. War was a lot cheaper (in relative terms) when it was considered an unavoidable fact that in war soldiers die in significant numbers. A highly trained (and/or motivated) army can do a lot without blowing trillions on hardware. To put it in extreme terms, the US army could have defeated Iraq* easily even if equipped with only weaponry of the first post-WW2 generation (or with WW2 stuff plus modern hand-held anti-tank missiles). That would have been an order of magnitude cheaper but would have cost more lifes (though probably not orders of magnitude more). The question many would consider as cynical is: Should the US be willing to sacrifice more lifes abroad in order to save so much money that it can save more at home and avoid bankruptcy?
---
As for patent law, inventors that try to write the patent petitions themselves are fools. The complexity requires specialists and at least over here patent lawyers are the embodiment of specialization. I also personally know of patent lawyers that have not just studied law but also the narrow subsection of science/technology they are covering** and try to stay in that subsection because they know that could easily fail when going beyond that.
That's a fact. If we do not like it we have to overhaul the whole structure. But there will always be an abuse by on the one hand blocking patents designed to prevent even fair competition and on the other hand frivolous patent circumvention (both regularly practiced by large companies with even larger legal departments).

**'patent engineer' is a degree program (correct word?) by itself.

*not the Soviets of course

Rachel Maddow had a segment last night about those who apparently think it does work.

Sen. Graham supported Judge Sotomayor and said he was for reforming the judicial nomination process. I didn't take him totally seriously since when he spoke about Dems blocking Bush nominees he failed to note that Republicans did the exact same thing under Clinton. Only more so.

But, his speech still showed some sanity. On race, and some other things, the Republicans imho are insane. I don't take them seriously as a result. A pro-choice and pro-life member of Congress just announced a joint bill toward helping to reduce the need for abortions. If sanity is possible there, it is possible here.

Second on the interest of a post on patents. It's partially your blog ... you can have a lark. And, heck, another nerds around here for people to actually be interested. Besides, it's probably important. Copyrights have received some attention; why not patents?

After all, we hear that it "subverts the constitutional and statutory scheme"

I'm in favor of a larger military

Larger than what?

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