In the ongoing and heated debate about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home, many people have weighed in on the issues of racial prejudice, racial profiling, police procedure and civil liberties. Gates, arresting officer James Crowley and President Obama are discussing the incident over beer this evening at the White House.
One of the people who weighed in on the matter is a Boston police officer, who in a mass email used the term jungle monkey four times three times referring to Gates and one time referring to a Boston Globe columnists opinions about the issue. The officer, Justin Barrett, says he is not racist. (He also said in the email that he would have used pepper spray on Gates if her were in Crowleys situation. He also attacks Gates, saying the academic has done nothing for Barrett's family or for military veterans.)
Its disappointing that a police officer could repeatedly use the term jungle monkey and not see it as racially biased. But one has to wonder how the journalists at CNN can - in the theoretical interest of what? Fairness? Balance? Accuracy? find any use of the term in reference to a black man that is not racist.
EDIT, 07/30/09, 11 AM - Walsh has emailed Gambit to point out that Talking Points Memo has amended its original story, at his request, to omit the sentence "Brian Welsh's story isn't quite adding up." The revised version of the story can be found here, and Welsh has agreed to a phone interview later today to discuss the matter.
Talking Points Memo tonight reports that the car belonging to Brian Welsh, aide to putative/possible Senate candidate Stormy Daniels, did not "explode," as had been reported earlier, but was simply a car fire:
Brian Welsh's story isn't quite adding up. He keeps describing the incident as an "explosion" that lifted the car's roof five stories in the air -- which differs from what the New Orleans Fire Department has told us.
"It was a fire. The car didn't explode," said Public Information Officer Jonathan Pajeaud. An arson investigation is underway and foul play hasn't been ruled out. But, Pajeaud said, Welsh told firefighters he'd recently gotten electrical work done on his 1996 Audi, and investigators are also looking into that as a possible cause.
Welsh told a local TV news station that police told him they'd never seen anything like it.
But, Pajeaud said, "Car fires here are very common."
He added that investigators, on average, have a preliminary report in about two weeks. Pajeaud said that, for now, the investigation is being handled solely by the fire department and not by police. The police department has not responded to our questions.
(Gambit also tried to get a copy of the police report earlier, without success. We have a request in with the NOPD.)
Welsh responded to TPM:
Welsh just called us back and said that, while the electrical work -- a replaced fuse -- was his first thought as to the cause, the surveillance tapes convinced him otherwise.
We also asked him why, if he didn't want to say that it was a political opponent who caused the fire, he posted the videos on YouTube in the first place?
"If somebody is (trying to send a message) then I believe the most important thing I can do is to make sure people saw that," Welsh said. "If anybody was trying to do that, they would think twice about doing something in the future. You can't be quiet about something and wait for it to happen in the future."
This hasn't kept Welsh and "Team Stormy" from trying to capitalize on the incident, with links to the surveillance footage of the fire posted on YouTube and this statement on Twitter stating the car had been "tampered with" and "blown up":
None of this seems to have put a crimp in Ms. Daniels' busy schedule; since the arrest, she's completed principal photography on her latest opus, Sex, Lies and Spies, and is scheduled to begin a new film tomorrow.
As for her plans to challenge Sen. David Vitter in the 2010 Senate election, Daniels is still officially undecided. Too bad the grainy surveillance footage of the car-go-boom isn't of high enough quality to appear in Sex, Lies and Spies.
Crescent City Brewhouse is holding its 15th annual brewmaster's dinner Thursday evening (7 p.m.-10 p.m.). The meal pairs each course with the brewpub's German-style beers. Full menu after the jump. Call 522-3901 for reservations.
On Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., The Makeup Lab Artistry (843 Carondelet, Studio 4, 6663795, 982-0289) will host their All About Eyes Makeup Mixer. The mixer will feature step-by-step tutorials on applying eye makeup. You will learn how to create a smokey eye, how to conceal dark circles, how to apply false lashes and more. So whether youre an old pro or a newbie, this is the perfect opportunity to polish up your makeup skills and meet other makeup-loving locals. The sessions are $75 per person, per session. You must reserve your seat in advance and hurry because space is limited.
Food, Inc. is a one-sided, biased film that the creators claim will lift the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer." Unfortunately, Food, Inc. is counter-productive to the serious dialogue surrounding the critical topic of our nations food supply.
Or so says food-production giant and Food, Inc. target Monsanto on its Web site devoted specifically to debating the documentary. Its talking points include:
Throughout this film, Food, Inc.:
- Demonizes American farmers and the agriculture system responsible for feeding over 300 million people in the United States.
- Presents an unrealistic view of how to feed a growing nation while ignoring the practical demands of the American consumer and the fundamental needs of consumers around the world.
- Disregards the fact that multiple agriculture systems should and do coexist.
Any factual errors in Food, Inc. regarding other companies are best addressed by those organizations themselves. It is our responsibility to set the record straight on the films portrayal of Monsanto.
But perhaps the Monsanto author here saw a much different film.
Each year, chefs and restaurateurs around the country take part in a benefit called Taste of the Nation, organized by Share Our Strength and billed as America's largest fund-raiser for efforts to end childhood hunger.
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