A word I was not familiar with, before today

adjective: Threatening or menacing.

From Latin minari (to threaten), from minae (threats). Ultimately from the Indo-European root men- (project) that is also the source of menace, mountain, eminent, promenade, demean, amenable, and mouth.

[Click to continue reading A.Word.A.Day –minatory]

Do not Bring Yer Guns to Town
[Don’t Bring Yer Guns to Town – Trident Cannery, Ketchikan, Alaska]

One could say the Cambridge police officer involved in the Professor Gates false arrest incident claimed that Gates was acting in a minatory fashion towards the officer, even though facts later proved the officer’s description as erroneous and laughably misleading.


Obama Criticizes Arrest of Harvard Professor

Professor Gates being arrested in front of his own house continues to resonate. President Obama even gave his opinion, when asked at last night’s White House news conference.

Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun-Times asked him about the case and what it said about race relations in America.

Mr. Obama paused, then said, “Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here.”

Then he made his only joke of the evening, as he speculated about what would happen if he were seen trying to force the door of his own home? “I guess this is my house now,” he said, “so it probably wouldn’t happen.” Then, after a beat, he added, “Let’s say my old house in Chicago. Here, I’d get shot.”

The president then became serious, taking up a chronology of the events last week after the police received a report of a possible break-in at the home of Mr. Gates, a leading authority on African-American history.

“The police are doing what they should,” he said. “There’s a call. They go investigate. What happens?

“My understanding is that Professor Gates then shows his I.D. to show that this is his house, and at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct.”.

“I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that,” Mr. Obama continued. “But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and No. 3, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by police disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

[Click to continue reading Obama Criticizes Arrest of Harvard Professor –]


Yeah, no kidding. Police should be trained well enough to be able to listen to people complain to them without the police feeling they have to “show their power” by arresting innocent people. No matter what Professor Gates said, arresting him was just a power play by the officer “I’ll show this asshole who dared question my authority, why, I’ll arrest him on trumped-up charges!”

Professor Gates was interviewed by Dayo Olopade of The Root, and disputes the allegation that he even was yelling at the officer

The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured.

It escalated as follows: I kept saying to him, ‘What is your name, and what is your badge number?’ and he refused to respond. I asked him three times, and he refused to respond. And then I said, ‘You’re not responding because I’m a black man, and you’re a white officer.’ That’s what I said. He didn’t say anything. He turned his back to me and turned back to the porch. And I followed him. I kept saying, “I want your name, and I want your badge number.”

It looked like an ocean of police had gathered on my front porch. There were probably half a dozen police officers at this point. The mistake I made was I stepped onto the front porch and asked one of his colleagues for his name and badge number. And when I did, the same officer said, ‘Thank you for accommodating our request. You are under arrest.’ And he handcuffed me right there. It was outrageous. My hands were behind my back I said, ‘I’m handicapped. I walk with a cane. I can’t walk to the squad car like this.’ There was a huddle among the officers; there was a black man among them. They removed the cuffs from the back and put them around the front.

A crowd had gathered, and as they were handcuffing me and walking me out to the car, I said, ‘Is this how you treat a black man in America?’

[Click to continue reading Skip Gates Speaks]

Of course there are elements in the US1 that support any and all actions by police officers, even when they are clearly in the wrong. I’m not linking to any of these, but on nearly every article I’ve read about the incident, there is a vocal and often surprisingly openly racist contingent who defend the police. These people frighten me with their deference to power, as the phrase goes, might doesn’t make right.

The Smoking Gun has the police report which obviously contradicts some of Professor Gates’ statements

  1. and the world – don’t know if the whole world is watching this incident, but having the President speak of it will certainly elevate it []

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Falsely Arrested

Charles Ogletree has issued a statement on behalf of Professor Gates who was in a dust-up with the Cambridge police a few days ago

“Colored People: A Memoir” (Henry Louis Gates Jr.)

This brief statement is being submitted on behalf of my client, friend, and colleague, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is a statement concerning the arrest of Professor Gates. On July 16, 2009, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor of Harvard University, was headed from Logan airport to his home [in] Cambridge after spending a week in China, where he was filming his new PBS documentary entitled “Faces of America.” Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’ luggage into his home.

Professor Gates immediately called the Harvard Real Estate office to report the damage to his door and requested that it be repaired immediately. As he was talking to the Harvard Real Estate office on his portable phone in his house, he observed a uniformed officer on his front porch. When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there. The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address.

Professor Gates then asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then placed Professor Gates under arrest. He was handcuffed on his own front porch.

Professor Gates was taken to the Cambridge Police Station where he remained for approximately 4 hours before being released that evening. Professor Gates’ counsel has been cooperating with the Middlesex District Attorneys Office, and the City of Cambridge, and is hopeful that this matter will be resolved promptly. Professor Gates will not be making any other statements concerning this matter at this time.

[Click to continue reading Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested]

Stop Snitchin

Crazy. And after seeing a photograph of the incident, Professor Gates looks even less like a threat. No wonder he was incensed. I would be too.


Reading Around on July 20th

Some additional reading July 20th from 09:53 to 19:30:

  • The Return of the Pay Wall | The Big Money – The summer of 2009 is a terrible time to start charging for what was free. …

    So is this really the best time to start charging for online news? No. The best time was back in 1994, when the Web made online publishing to the masses a snap. And now that newspapers are finally making the move, they're applying a 1994 solution to the 2009 Web. Today, online publishers are seeing more and more traffic coming through blogs, aggregators like Google News, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ignoring them is even more perilous to a paper's image than it was two years ago, when the New York Times tore down its Times Select pay walls. The hypertext link that made the Web unique is even more powerful today, and pay walls that break those links send would-be readers a clear message: Don't bother.

  • – these things don't just blame themselves – Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in.. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.
    He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. …
    Now, I can understand why the police might think that a middle-aged black man was breaking into a home during lunchtime by trying to ram the front door with his shoulder, because it’s what many middle-aged black men do with their time, between Young and the Restless commercial breaks.
    … I’m sure that a significant number of people will read this and think that this is just a black man screaming racism because he handled a situation poorly, because a significant number of people like being dead fucking wrong.
  • The Return of the Pay Wall | The Big Money – The summer of 2009 is a terrible time to start charging for what was free. …

    So is this really the best time to start charging for online news? No. The best time was back in 1994, when the Web made online publishing to the masses a snap. And now that newspapers are finally making the move, they're applying a 1994 solution to the 2009 Web. Today, online publishers are seeing more and more traffic coming through blogs, aggregators like Google News, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ignoring them is even more perilous to a paper's image than it was two years ago, when the New York Times tore down its Times Select pay walls. The hypertext link that made the Web unique is even more powerful today, and pay walls that break those links send would-be readers a clear message: Don't bother.

  • Hullabaloo – Wrecking Ball – Davis really had only bumped the fee back to its historic level: to 2% of a vehicle's value, rather than a recently enacted 0.65%.

    Schwarzenegger's canceling of the fee hike actually amounted to the single biggest spending increase of his reign. That's because all the revenue from the vehicle license fee had gone to local governments, and Schwarzenegger generously agreed to make up their losses by shipping them money from the state general fund.

    The annual drain on the state treasury was $6.3 billion until February. Then the governor and Legislature raised the fee to 1.15% of vehicle value, saving the state $1.7 billion.

  • Kennedy ’suicide ramp’ improvements to increase suicide rates | The Daily Blank – "According to an official Illinois Department of Transportation report, the notorious “suicide ramps” on Chicago’s downtown Kennedy Expressway will undergo much-needed improvements in order to bring the annual number of suicide deaths back up from what has been a startling decline in the past decade."

Let Me Show You How to Eagle Rock

Let Me Show You How to Eagle Rock
Let Me Show You How to Eagle Rock, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Eagle Rock, you remember how to Eagle Rock, right?

[for instance: Dictionary of American Regional English; ]

Eagle rock
1 – a popular black dance from the 1920’s, performed with the arms outstretched with wings and the body rocking from side to side. Here’s a description of the Eagle Rock (Ballin’ The Jack ?)dance:

“First you put your two knees close up tight, then you sway ’em to the left
Then you sway ’em to the right, step around the floor kind of nice and light
Then you twist around and twist around with all your might,
Stretch your lovin’ arms straight out into space,
then you do the Eagle Rock with style and grace.
Swing your foot way ’round then bring it back.
Now that’s what I call Ballin’ the Jack.”
from ]

[some say Eagle Rock is a metaphor for sexual congress, but I have no special insight into that usage in re: this photo]

I only knew the phrase from a Blind Willie McTell song, Kind Mama:

Soon in the morning at half past four
Hot shot rider rappin’ at her door
She’s a real kind mama looking for another man
She ain’t got nobody in town to hold her hand
Went to the door and the door was locked
Think that baby tryin’ to eagle rock
She’s a real kind mama looking for another man
Real kind mama looking for another man
And she ain’t got nobody here to hold her hand

Kind mama looking for another man…

Arts Links Music

Reading Around on June 15th

Some additional reading June 15th from 08:19 to 13:13:

  • Et Tu Google – Pay the artist, simple as that. “So, one of the things I hear constantly from my wife is her…annoyance at people who think they can get weeks of work out of her, but in lieu of cash, they’ll give her “exposure”.”Exposure” is a barely nicer way of saying “I’m not paying shit for your work, but maybe someone who isn’t a cheap douchebag will see your art and throw you a bone. Besides, aren’t artists against money?
  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol finally releases video of trooper attack on paramedicBefore the encounter is over, [Officer ] Martin has assaulted the paramedic, frightened the patient, and created a neighborhood scene that is so unprofessional that it’s just about unbelievable. Enraged, he calls for backup, repeatedly threatens the unit’s operators, curses, chokes and slams White up against the ambulance several times–an action the patient later said rocked the unit, frightening her. He also keeps screaming “you insulted me.” The trooper later says that Franks made an obscene hand gesture as Martin passed the ambulance, a charge Franks denies. Martin plans a press conference on Monday, according to Fox 23. Martin, who had his wife in the patrol car with him for an as-yet unknown reason, later declared that he’d recently come back from service in Iraq
  • Troubleshoot your Internet connection – some good tips
  • Q and A: eMusic CEO Explains Controversial Price Increase, Sony Deal | Epicenter | – “artists with albums soon to be sold on eMusic as part of the deal include Captain Beefheart, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kate Bush, Miles Davis, The Clash, Miles Davis, Franz Ferdinand, Robert Johnson, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Psychedelic Furs, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Spiritualized and the Stone Roses”


DNA Database will protect the innocent

Putting aside your thoughts regarding the creation of a massive government database of intimate details about its citizens, because that already exists, and consider why the police can copy a suspect’s fingerprints when arrested, but not also take a DNA sample. Seems to me, a lot of the falsely accused would have not spent time in jail for crimes they did not commit if the police routinely collected DNA evidence as well.

When someone is arrested for a serious crime, police automatically take a set of fingerprints and no one thinks twice about it.

In close to 20 states — but not Illinois — the cops go a step further: They take a DNA sample from everyone who has been arrested for a serious crime but not yet tried. The FBI recently started to do the same.

That’s a reflection of just how valuable DNA has become as a way to catch the guilty — and exonerate the innocent. Experience shows that such databases stop criminals and solve cases.

[Click to continue reading: Stretching the DNA net —]

Federal Bureau of Investigation Chicago Division

I wonder if the resistance to routine collection of DNA evidence is based on cultural prejudice, or religious grounds (knee-jerk reaction to stem cell and the like)? I see no real reason that evidence shouldn’t include DNA, especially since fingerprint data is problematic, and often wrong.


Flip HD footage of Haymarket

Because I feel as if I am underutilizing the potential fun of owning the Flip HD video camera, I am going to make a concerted effort to shoot more footage with the device. Viewer beware. My first attempt was pretty Cinéma vérité indie film bullshit – I need to drink less coffee perhaps, or invest in a tripod. I actually have a Flip HD tripod, but wasn’t able to use it because I was just leaning out of my window.


The footage was simply shot out of my office window. Less anarchists and police than in prior years – in fact, quite a lot less. Some years the street by the Haymarket Riot Memorial statue is blocked off, and a stage is erected. This year, the performers and speakers were shunted onto the sidewalk. I am pleased that nobody was run over by a car, as there was some portions of the crowd that lingered in the street.

Same video hosted on Flickr: wonder if there is any difference in the conversion codex?

The clip quickly thrown together in the current iMovie application, and audio provided by Wire1

Oh, used a handful of images taken also from my office window using my Nikon D80 with a 200 mm (digital) lens.

  1. Field Day for the Sundays – from Pink Flag []