Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Real Problem with Obama's "Stupid" Answer

There has been a lot of reporting on the comment President Obama made last Wednesday regarding the arrest of "his friend", Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. The President said Wednesday night, in a prime time news conference, that he felt the, "…Cambridge Police acted stupidly". He said this after twice stating he didn't know the facts of the arrest. Here is the question the President was asked:


Q: Thank, you, Mr. President. Recently Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?


The President: Well, I should say at the outset that "Skip" Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts…


The first two sentences in his response tell us everything we need to know about the President's opinion on this arrest. If you followed this story at all last week, you are familiar with the sentence where he calls the Cambridge Police stupid. The sentence before it is very important. Before he attacks the Police, President Obama says, "Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but…" Twice before he gets to the heart of his answer he says he doesn't know what happened.


By the next morning, Press Secretary Gibbs was trying to backtrack. He stated that the President did not call the officer stupid. In the President's defense, he did say, " …the Cambridge Police acted stupidly…," I will let you decide what he meant by acted stupidly.


By Friday, Officer Crowley, the arresting officer that the President said, "…acted stupidly…" was in front of the cameras with a group of multiracial officers calling on the President to apologize. We had also learned by then that Officer Crowley had taught a racial profiling class at the Police Academy for the last five years. We also know now that Professor Gates was less than 100% cooperative with Officer Crowley during the incident.


All of this lead the President to invite both Crowley and Gates to the White House to have a beer with him. The goal is to allow both parties to bury the hatchet, and for President Obama to show he thinks both sides are really good people.


There are two problems with this whole thing. Like President Obama, I wasn't there, and I don't know what happened. I don't know for sure who did and didn't do what. I am getting a clearer picture with each passing report on this, but I still don't know for sure what happened. However, my first problem is that the President answered the question mentioned above at all. This was a disorderly conduct arrest. There is no reason at all for the President to get involved. An appropriate response would have been: Well, I should say at the outset that "Skip" Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts, and this is a local issue. As such, I am not going to make a comment one way or the other on this arrest or any larger meaning it may or may not have on race relations in America. This is not just a safe answer; it is the correct answer for the President of the United States. This is not an issue for him to deal with.


The second and more concerning question is this: Was this question planted for the President, and was his response scripted? We know that the President has used prescreened and scripted questions at town hall meetings or press conferences before. Was this comment one of them? This question dealt with a friend of his, and the President worked into his response a plug for Obama's history of work on racial issues in the Illinois Senate. Did the President know that Lynn Sweet was going to ask him a question about his friend and how his friends arrest affected larger race relations in America? I don't know the answer. However, because the President has used these prescreened questions before and tried to make them look spontaneous, we have to wonder if this question was one. If it was, then the President's stupid answer to the last question of the night was worse than stupid.


35 comments:

Brandon said...

Andy,

I don't think that the question was planted or the answer pre-planned. If the President had known the question was coming, I don't think his answer would have been anything like the one he gave.

I think that a pre-scripted answer would have had the President saying that Skip Gates is a good friend of his and that his behavior as described by the officer doesn't seem like that of his friend, but he doesn't know all the facts and can't comment further.

pack04 said...

I thought the President's comments on this issue were bad for 3 reasons.

The first two are as you pointed out:
One: it was very un-presidential.
two: he did not have all the facts but yet still made a comment on it.

three: any black or latino person arrested in the U.S. now has reason to fight back with an officer, which puts an officer in danger, "you are arresting me because I am black!" Screem that as you are arrested and hell you got a good chance of a cop letting you go because he does not want to get fired or deal with the press. Or get your story in the paper once you are arrested and the DA will drop the case for the same reasons. The President jumped to that conclusion without all the facts and said it is known that cops target races. This is not speech from a guy who wants to bring America together. This sounded like a Rev. Wright, Sharpton or Jackson line.

Andy D said...

Good points. This was a local situation and the President should have allowed it to be dealt with in Cambridge. This was a simple arrest, the President shouldn't have commented on it one way or another.

the anonymous guy said...

Racism is not a local issue; Gates is an internationally known figure; and Harvard is the most famous university on the planet. This ain't a strictly local matter.

There do seem to be others at fault at the police department in addition to Crowley. Listen to the entire 911 tape. The caller says that's she's only calling because an "older woman was worried" and had "interrupted her" on the street. She says *three times* that she thinks that Gates actually might "live there" in the house.

The records released don't show that the dispatcher communicated that the 911 caller said anything about the guys living there--even though she said it three times.

Regardless of the call, any misunderstandings, etc., after Crowley found out Gates was in his own home, Crowley should have swallowed his pride, apologized and left immediately, no matter what Gates was yelling at him. That's the bottom line. Crowley's investigation was *over* after he found out Gates lives there. To hang around and argue after that, and then to arrest the man was, exactly, "stupid."

And white cops arresting black men in their own home for getting uppity about a cop's mistake--that's an issue many of us care about all across the nation. Of course, to some, it's no big deal.

And I'm grateful for the conversation, even here, and that the dudes are getting a beer at the white house.

saint said...

I have not followed this very closely, but I did catch Obama's answer at the press conference, and thought the whole thing seemed out of place, nothing to do with healthcare or the economy.

Again, I don't know who did what or said what. But I would like to mention that the officer could not simply take Gates' word that he lived there. I may be wrong, but it seems like someone called 911 because he was seen breaking into a house. Now put yourself in the officer's shoes, you respond to a breaking and entering call, only to be confronted by an individual who claims to live there, and eventually produces id to show that. If I'm the officer, I want something from the precint telling me he lives there, not just an id that could be faked. The officer could have been thinking "what if this id is fake, and I walk out of here?"

Again, I don't know what happened. I know I have been pulled over more than once for what I thought was something bogus, but I never lost my cool with the officer. I was calm and respectful. Doesn't mean I wasn't angry, or gave short answers, but never did I do anything close to resembling anything to give the officer a reason to arrest me.

You would think in today's world of lawsuits, if someone thinks it is bogus, they would mind their p's and q's just so they can set up a lawsuit, not give him a reason to arrest you.

But, I don't know all the facts, as I have stated.

Andy D said...

Anon,

I think there may have been racism involved, but it doesn't appear to have been on the part for Officer Crowley. He was defended by minority officers from his office, he has taught the racial profiling class for the last five years, was selected for that position by a previous black supervisor, and was defended by the wife of Reggie Lewis for trying to save the basketball players life by performing CPR. I think you can argue that the officer arrested Dr. Gates because he got under his skin, but racism is a very difficult charge to level against Office Crowley. It's a charge that doesn't support any of the facts of the case. One has to wonder if Dr. Gates would have been as offensive if the officer confronting him was black...

Andy D said...

Saint,

Good points. At some point you have to take responsibility for your own actions. If you act disorderly around a cop, and insult him, he is probably going to lock you up, or at least put you in hand cuffs for a little while.

Officer Crowley went back into the house after he arrested Dr. Gates to get a cane Dr Gates asked for. He also cuffed him in front after Gates complained that being cuffed behind his back was uncomfortable.

the anonymous guy said...

Saint: Gates showed the officer both his driver's license and his Harvard faculty i.d. At that point, the officer should have apologized and left immediately.

From the scenario you're suggesting, I could walk by your house and see that you're home, call the cops on a cell and report a possible B&E at your address even though I admit that you "might" live there, and then the cops would have to show up, force their way into your house, check your i.d., and even then still have to run some other background check (what would that be? fingerprints? DNA?) to ensure that you actually are rightfully *in your own home.*

Anybody who wants to run things like that, please send me your address. I've got some calls to make to your local police department.

Andy basically says: "Crowley can't be racist, he's actually done his job around some black people."

But let me be clear, I doubt that "racism" is the only thing involved here. The cambridge police seem to have made a number of dumb mistakes.

But the bellicose white boy has already gotten caught lying about race in this case. (He said the 911 caller was raising the issue of "black suspects" when he talked to her in front of the house, when in fact she clearly had not. Crowley had disputed her publicly, but now the tape has been released... whoops.)

Anyway, I think being racist is like driving under the influence. You're never sure how much is alcohol and how much is just a bad driver or a bad road or a bad car. Being drunk and being racist both make you more prone to acting "stupidly," like arresting someone for yelling about getting i.d.'d while minding their own business in their own living room.

If we arrested everybody who yelled and made a scene, most of Andy's favorite news commentators (and some of mine) would be in the big house for life.

Andy D said...

Anonymous,

Do you have any real evidence that Crowley is a racists? The simple fact that he is white doesn't count. Remember, Sotomayor said she thought a Latina woman would make better decisions than a white guy and we have been told that doesn't qualify as racism.


I think my evidence against his racism was a little more complicated than he worked with minorities. I think his actions from the past show a lack of racism. Unless you know something about this case I don't, we have to assume innocent until proven guilty, and I haven't seen the evidence that would convict him in any court yet.

What about Dr. Gates actions? Where they more or less "racists" than Officer Crowleys?

saint said...

Anon

As I have said, I haven't followed the case closely. But if I'm not mistaken, he was actually seen doing B&E on the home. That means, your reply to me is invalid. Either accidentally or intentionally, under the "scenario" you listed, you altered the facts of the case. No reply needed from me on a made up case.

Okay, so Gates showed a driver's license and a college id. I'm sure neither of these have ever been faked. And I'm sure neither of these have ever been faked and used together in a college town. It would be nice if there is an officer out there somewhere reading this that would comment. And no, you don't need dna evidence. Once Gates shows his id, then all the officer has to do is ask his dispatch to verify the name and occupation of the person living there. Gates waits calmly, and the officer comes back and says thank you very much, have a nice day.

the anonymous guy said...

Crowley's actions fit a pattern of racist "law enforcement." Check this out.

"White" folks tend to think of racism as something primarily about what a person feels (or doesn't feel) in their heart--e.g. whether or not you'd be nice to someone. People of color often point out that racist patterns of injustice transcend questions of being "nice," e.g. some slave owners "loved" their slaves so much that they slept with them and had children with them. So were they not racist? Or was there something more important going on than interpersonal feelings?

Whether or not individual cops are aware of prejudicial feelings about people of color, as the link above shows, cops hassle ethnic minorities more--and are wrong about their guilt more often. Gates' arrest fits the same tired pattern.

I think Dr. Gates would readily admit that he is predisposed to suspect that "white" cops are hassling people of color without cause. So is that racism? Or is it reality--a reality that Gates has worked his entire life to rectify peacefully and fairly.

Or do you absolve Gates of racism b/c he is married to a "white" woman? (Frankly, I think you'd be quick to absolve Crowley of racism if he was married to an African American woman. But that's a guess.)

Andy D said...

How, exactly, does Crowley's actions fit a pattern of racism? He responded to a complaint, the home owner was belligerent and insulting towards the officer. The officer walked outside and the home owner followed him outside insulting him. Crowley then arrested the home owner. That's simply not racism. I don't know what was or wasn't in Crowley's heart. However his actions are not racists. I could easily believe Crowley (or any other cop) acting the same way Crowley did with a white home owner. I do not believe Gates would have acted the same way if it was a black officer that had showed up at his house. What does this mean? By any standard that you conclude Crowley's actions as racist, you must conclude that Gates actions were racist. You can conclude Gates actions were racists without concluding Crowley's actions were.

This is not about what happens during a traffic stop in Illinois. This is about what happened on a particular arrest in Cambridge, Mass.

saint said...

Anon

Read paragraph number two in *your* post. Just because Gates is married to a white woman (which I did not know or care) doesn't mean he is not racist. By your thoughts, no one can ever be absolved of racism. You forget, this is a cop who's record and minority co workers are supporting.

Senior Lady said...

I haven't heard all the facts in this case either, but there are a couple generalizations I would like to make, not considering racism as a factor.

First, to question that a person has two fake IDs (and one from Harvard!)with an address of the home he is standing in goes beyond ridiculous, Saint.

Second, I am tired of the over abuse of power that far too many police officers display, such as tasering old women because they are verbally abusive or because they dare them. Verbal abuse (unless someone has a weapon or is in your face and threatening)is no excuse to taser or arrest someone, period, and it's time for all of us to stop making excuses for those who do it. We may be on the receiving end of their over-reactions someday, and I'll bet we'd be singing a different tune. He "got under his skin" (as Andy put it) is not a crime that deserves an arrest.

Andy, it's disappointing to read your words about easily believing Crowley would act the same way with a white male, but that Gates would act differently with a black policeman. I think you should carefully examine your own racial bias.

the anonymous guy said...

My pale brothers,

If you think there's not a huge difference (in terms of history, injustice, racism, power dynamics, etc) between a white cop being suspicious of a black man, and a black man being suspicious of a white cop, then I don't think we are going to agree on this case. The article I linked above shows that the black man has good reason to be suspicious of the white cop, while the white cop is usually wrong about his suspicions about the black man. But those are just facts.

I guess the only rational thing I'd hope for, then, is that you'd agree that the cop should have just left when he saw Gates' i.d. Even if Gates yelled at him. (My angry-old-man neighbor used to yell at me all the time when i crossed through the corner of his yard as a kid. Should I have handcuffed the old coot?)

Btw, Saint, I don't think being married to someone of another "race" means that you're not racist. That was exactly my point. There are plenty of misogynists married to women.

Andy D said...

Hi Senior Lady, it's been a while since we've heard your voice in here, welcome back. On to your points...

1) I think you are probably right on this. Providing a Havard ID and a Diver's license (assuming they show his house as his residence) does seem to confirm him living there.

2) I don't think police should taser old women either. I also don't think it is a rampant phenomenon we need to worry about. I was told to be respectful of police growing up. If I am wrongly accused of something, defend myself but don't yell and insult the officer. If you are trying to convince a police officer of your innocence, insulting him isn't going to help. Should insulting a police officer lead to an arrest? Probably not. However, according to the officer's report, Gates followed the officer out of his house yelling at him when Officer Crowley tried to leave. Isn't Gates ultimately responsible for his own actions?

3) I think this is a fair challenge against me. I can only defend myself the following way:

I think Crowley acted the way he would have acted with anyone of any color there. I think if Gates had been white and acted the same way, Crowley would have still arrested him. We can debate whether Gates should have been arrested for Disorderly conduct,but I didn't see any other glaring errors Crowley made. A number of fellow officers (minority and otherwise) have stepped up and defended Crowley.


Dr. Gates was threatening Crowley and telling him "You don't know who I am." He has quickly tried to turn this into a profitable situation by discussing doing a documentary or book from this incident. My biggest suspicion that he would have acted differently is by the fact that he assumed Crowley was being a racist. Crowley didn't display any racily motivated actions, Dr. Gates assumed he did. I think that puts Dr. Gates in a different position. I would like to think that if I was in Gates shoes I would have spent some time examining my own actions before accusing someone of something as terrible as racism.

Andy D said...

Pale Brother Anon,

You and I are going to disagree on this. I firmly believe that race is only a significant factor to a very small percentage of the population (minority or otherwise). I think most people simply want to be left alone. If Dr. Gates was legitimately in his house, as I think we have established he was, he should have simply proven who he was, thanked the police officer and his neighbor for their concern, and gone on about his business.


I think honest people can disagree on whether or not Officer Crowley should have arrested Gates or not. However, Dr. Gates is responsible for his own actions. When you yell and insult a police officer (white, black or other) and follow him insulting him, there is a chance you might go to jail. If you don't want to go to jail, let the officer leave, then go on about your business.

Senior Lady said...

I absolutely believe that Gates is responsible for his own actions, and so is Crowley. It seems they both behaved badly. I still don't believe Gates' actions warranted an arrest and to me that is the bottom line. Police need to be the ones who keep their cool and remain level headed in these situations. We shouldn't make excuses for them when they don't.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy, why do you take Crowley's account at face value, and assume Gates is lying?

Andy D said...

I take Officer Crowley's side on this because the more details that emerge seem to back up his version of events.

the anonymous guy said...

evidence for your incorrect statement?

Andy D said...

What? I don't understand your last comment.

Andy D said...

"White" folks tend to think of racism as something primarily about what a person feels (or doesn't feel) in their heart--e.g. whether or not you'd be nice to someone. People of color often point out that racist patterns of injustice transcend questions of being "nice," e.g. some slave owners "loved" their slaves so much that they slept with them and had children with them. So were they not racist? Or was there something more important going on than interpersonal feelings?


This just occurred to me: Racism is 100% about what someone feels. Without the feeling that the other person is inferior, how can it possibly be racism?

Rebecca said...

Whether the officer's actions were racially motivated or not doesn't excuse the President's comments. I agree that the president shouldn't have said anything, especially since he said he didn't know all the facts. If anything, Obama's comments have added more fuel to the fire.

I laughed when I read that Obama invited both Crowley and Gates to the White House for a beer. Doesn't the President have bigger things to worry about right now?

the anonymous guy said...

the more details that emerge seem to back up [Crowley's] version of events.

This is factually incorrect. Crowley's story has broken down in places in the face of the recorded 911 call and the dispatch tape.

Andy D said...

Nonsense. Go read Gates official statement and see if it sounds like what happened to you.

Andy D said...

Rebecca,

Glad to see you back! I agree with you. When I first read about this, I really didn't see any racism in it. More importantly, I thought President Obama had made a pretty big mistake. Based on the President's actions since then, I think he realizes that as well.

Anon,

What are your thoughts on may racism statement a few comments back?

the anonymous guy said...

If you signal that you are "african american" on a loan application, you are less likely to get the loan than if you had left all racial clues off of the application.

If you reach for a cell phone on a dark night in front of a cop and you are african american, you are more likely to be shot than if you are "white."

If you are black you are much more likely to be pulled over for minor reasons or no clear reason at all.

If you have the exact same qualifications as a white applicant and you're black you're more likely not to get the job.

If you commit the same crime as a white person, you're more likely to get a longer prison sentence or the death penalty if you're black.

These are all public knowledge, facts.

It's hard to say what's in the hearts of all these people. But it certainly seems stupid if we can only talk about racism when the cops, the judges, the employers, the loan officers, etc., finally just come right out and call somebody a "jungle monkey."

I know when I've taught classes, I've realized, in retrospect, that I've unintentionally treated African American students unfairly in a number of ways, because of my own (bad) assumptions and prejudices. Does that make me "a racist"? I don't know. That's why I say I don't like those either/or labels. Does it mean that racism is a problem for me? Yes, absolutely. And it's something I continue to work on (in my "heart" and feelings and in my mind and actions).

My guess is that it's a problem for all of us. But, yes, for some more than others.

But in the end, it's not simply about peoples' hearts. There are plenty of white racist poll workers in the South. But now, if they refuse to let a black person vote, they'll go to jail. That's better than nothing.

Andy D said...

Until your last paragraph, I think you make a lot of good, very compelling arguments. Everyone brings certain assumptions with them whenever they meet a person based on that individuals life experiences. This holds true for skin color, hair color, background, and education. I have a engineering license and degree. When I meet others with these same credentials, I assume a certain level of competence. Sometimes it's an accurate assumption, sometimes its not.

However, in your last paragraph, you make the rush to assume that there are plenty of white racist poll workers in the South. You are of course, welcome to your opinion. However, with the energy and enthusiasm you are trying to defend Professor Gates, I would think you would be more cautious about labeling any group of people with such a hate filled label. How are your actions in your last comment any better than the accusations you are throwing against Officer Crowley?

Patrick said...

Ok, Andy, so I've decided to chime in. I try to observe as much as I can on the blogs without responding. (Basically b/c most bloggers and responders aren't interested in seeing the other side of either argument.) Yours is the first blog that I'm posting on.

Ok, so here's what I think on the issue. In a country that has a history (recent) of police abuse of power, it is definitely understandable that ANYONE should be able to question an officer of the law on his/her intentions. Not to mention, it was our forefathers’ idea that we should be able to question our government. (To me, this includes the foot soldiers that uphold our laws daily.) This is an important right for all Americans to have. If you ask for a badge number and name to no avail, it's a catch 22. You should comply with officers for both your safety, and the officer's safety. Also, your rights are being violated by the officer's noncompliance. I would err on the side of caution and comply with the officer, b/c he has a gun.
Unfortunately, this situation had many opportunities to be solved without handcuffs or cries of racism. I believed both men were riled by the situation and let it get out of hand. Gates (if he did go on a tirade and followed the officer – I say “if” b/c we don’t know if this is the case) could have stepped outside of the situation to handle it properly later. Officer Crowley could have done the same thing. In fact, it’s Officer Crowley I charge more in this situation to handle his emotions. As an officer of the law, you sign up for life and death situations, upholding the law, protecting innocents, etc. Because you take that oath, you are held to a higher standard than the average citizen. It is a privilege to uphold the law in the organized and government sanctioned way. So, to allow an angry man (at whose house you’re investigating) to best your emotions is not acceptable. Too many times we let this slide with law enforcement. I understand why. We empathize with those who are there to protect us and recognize their humanity. Though this is the case, we cannot forget the oath they take. That standard must be upheld, which separates regular citizens from the civil servants who protect us. If it is not upheld, then would it not be plausible to distrust the police?
Though we should be able to trust our police force on their every word, what is there to say about their “human” side? The officers’ code to protect one another? To say this code does not exist is simply inaccurate. Of course, it’s prevalent in the military as well. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest researching it. Now, I’m not suggesting this particular incident is a conspiracy. I am only stating that it’s possible in some instances for friends on the force to protect their own in the event of a mishap. (See shooting of Kathryn Johnson’s due to botched drug raid.) Also, we’ve had instances of large amounts of corruption on the police force in exchange for money and power. (See history of LA and NY Police Department. Also assassination of Derwin Brown here in Metro ATL.) With this in mind, is it still not plausible to have to right to question an officer of the law while in your home?
I’m trying to stay on topic, b/c this discussion is not about police corruption. What message I’m attempting to convey is that I find it telling that people are choosing either to take the word of the Officer Crowley or Gates in this case without considering the validity of either side being at fault. I do believe that we have to have some faith in our police officers; otherwise, the institution of governing law would cease to exist. No one would have faith in the system and it would eventually dissolve. However, if you have compassion for our civil servants, please recognize that they have faults also.

the anonymous guy said...

Uh, you're calling rampant white racism in the American South simply my "opinion"?

I've always had the opinion that it's hotter down there, too. But that's just me being opinionated.

Your remark really doesn't deserve a response, but, what the heck. It's my opinion that you could spend a bit more time dealing with facts.

Andy D said...

Patrick,
You should chime in more! The discussion is the better for your viewpoint. I don’t deny there has been a history of bad blood between white and black people and between cops and black people. No one who is a student of our history can deny that. I also agree, our police officers are human, and as such, can and do make mistakes. You should be able to question an officer in your home. I’m not a fan of the whole “mouthing off to a cop” charge either. I think if this had gone to court, I don’t know that Gates would have been found guilty of anything. I also don’t think Officer Crowley would have been found guilty of any sort of wrong doing. I honestly believe this probably had to do more with tempers than anything to do with race. My original post was critical of President Obama and his comments. I hadn’t intended to go down the road of guilt between Crowley or Gates.

Anonymous,

Yes, “rampant white racism in the American South” is your opinion. You have zero facts to back up the prejudices that may or may not exist in the South versus the North, West, Midwest, or Alaska and Hawaii. Your “fact” article simply cites voting preferences out of the last election. Could it be that Southerners had another reason than the President’s skin color to vote against him?
There is no way to factually prove what the most racist area of our country is. A fact is something you must be able to measure, and this can’t be measured. My point is: You passionately defend Gates , you are insulted by a possible claim of racial profiling against him, you give a passionate defense and call for racial tolerance in your own life, then you slam an entire section of the country with a stereotype every bit as hurtful as the one you fight against. If you want understanding, and want to call on others to be understanding, you need to show the way.

Patrick said...

Andy-

Oops. I was waiting for my comment to show up on your most recent post about the Gates-Crowley incident, and figured out why I couldn't find it. I posted under this topic by accident. Oh well, at least I got my point across.

Andy D said...

Its ok. I thought you had a very good comment, and I was very happy to see it in either of these posts.

pack04 said...

I just figured out how to fix the country and it's race issue.

Blacks can only arrest blacks, whites only whites. Blacks can only hire blacks, whites only whites. Sort of a separate for each type of thing.

Oh wait that was ruled unconstitutional in 1954.

wait an even better idea. before any response by emergency officials or hiring we put it to our new and glorious Supreme Dictator, messiah and savior Obama for his opinion followed up by the press's opinion. Only then after a quick check of all the blog sites out there and a Robert Gates clarification (backstepping) proceed with the response but only with white gloves for fear of messing up the delicate balance of compromise that was needed to make that decision.

Sorry to be so assholish with my last two comments, especially after the time and effort Patrick put into make such a well thought out post. But at some point you just have to sit back and laugh at the ridiculousness that all of this has become. I mean jee why are they still running Michael Jackson stuff on the TV?