Archive for July, 2009

Quote of the Day

Posted on July 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

It wasn’t just a bloody sock that turned things around for the team in 2004.

—Boston  Globe, “Say It Ain’t So, Papi,” 7/31

Beer is Good*

Posted on July 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

James Crowley, Skip Gates, Barack Obama and Joe Biden sat down for a beer at the White House.

(Sounds like a joke involving an airplane and parachutes, doesn’t it?)

Reading between the lines, sounds like not much happened to change anyone’s mind.

“Two gentlemen agreed to disagree,” Crowley told reporters at AFL-CIO headquarters. “This was a positive step in moving forward.”

On the other hand, they may get together again.

Charles Ogletree, Gates’s friend and attorney, said, “They’ll be getting together to break some bread in a private session and talk about some community outreach efforts to improve relations between police and communities,” said Ogletree, who will be issuing a statement on behalf of Gates later this evening on how the nation should move forward.

(Why is it, by the way, that one of the most eloquent men in America chooses to let his lawyer speak for him? Is it on the advice of counsel? Is it because he’s afraid of what he’ll say if he does talk? Or is it just a PR move—”Skip, you’re getting pounded, stop giving interviews”….)

Anyway, it would have been unlikely that the two men in this drama would have suddenly said, “Oh, gosh, you’re right!” The meeting itself matters.


* I just had one, a Viking, at a club in Reykavik. Earlier today, I had a shot of Brennivin, colloquially known here as “Black Death.”

In between those things…clean living. I swear.

David Ortiz Watch, Cont’d (Or: Justice is Done)

Posted on July 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

I’m running to dinner, so I can’t write much now, but…

He’s a doper all right.

Asked about the 2003 drug test on Thursday in Boston, Ortiz shrugged. “I’m not talking about that anymore,” he said. “I have no comment.”

I look forward to reading the apologies of all the commenters who mocked, insulted, and reviled me for saying so.

More later. For now, I’m just enjoying being right.

Oh, there is one other thing: Can someone please find out what Skip Gates was doing in China and who paid for the limo?

(I’m thinking I’m on a roll here….)

A Post Before Sighing

Posted on July 29th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 25 Comments »

Lucia Whalen speaks. Here. And here. And everywhere.

The narrative the media’s playing up: It was the cops who “injected” race into the description of the event, not Whalen.

To me, though, it’s a little unclear what really happened…

Meanwhile, a Boston cop has been suspended for writing a “racially charged” e-mail about Skip Gates.

Greetings from Reykavik

Posted on July 29th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I’m at 101 Hotel. Come say hello if you’re in the neighborhood.

That said, I’m going to bed—I haven’t slept since Monday.

On the Road Again

Posted on July 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

I’m headed to Iceland for a few days, so blogging will be as-possible until my return on Monday. I’ll do my best….

Great Moments in Pop Culture

Posted on July 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

On Conan, William Shatner reads Sarah Palin’s farewell speech as a Beat poem.

The weird thing is, it actually makes more sense that way.

Gates and the Inkwell Story

Posted on July 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

Meanwhile, ProPublica reports that Skip Gates is having to file an amended tax return with the IRS because of misstatements by his Inkwell Foundation.

A charity headed by star Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is filing an amended 2007 report to the Internal Revenue Service because $11,000 it paid to foundation officers as compensation was mischaracterized as being for research grants.

One $10,000 grant was to Gates’ assistant, Joanne Kendall, well-known to many at Harvard (Kendall is listed as the foundation’s treasurer).

Gates, a member of ProPublica’s board of directors, said Monday that the award to Kendall was actually payment for doing administrative work for Inkwell and not, as Inkwell’s IRS 990 form states, a research grant.

A foundation giving a grant to its own treasurer? Surely tax law prohibits that. And really, how could a foundation treasurer sign off on a grant to herself?

Another $1000 paid to foundation secretary Abby Wolf was also for administrative work, rather than research.

For a foundation that doesn’t seem to do anything, Inkwell sure has a lot of administrative work.

What motive would Gates have for mischaracterizing these payments?

Well, they could be one way of throwing more money at people who work for him than Harvard was willing to give them.

But more likely, the “grants” were intended to give the appearance that the foundation was actually doing something, and to help Inkwell maintain its tax-exempt status.

As part of maintaining their tax-exempt status, foundations have to file annual reports to the IRS showing where their money goes, separating program expenses from administrative overhead…..

By reclassifying the payments to Kendall and Wolf, administrative expenses will constitute almost 40 percent of Inkwell’s 2007 spending instead of less than one percent.

And what about the foundation’s largest actual grant, $6000?

That went to Angela DeLeon, who is also…wait for it…Gates’ fiancee.

ProPublica describes Inkwell thusly:

Inkwell was started by Gates in 2005 to support programs and research on African and African-American literature, art, history and culture.

ProPublica seems to have gotten that description from Gates, but it’s a careful revision of the historical record. Inkwell’s original purpose was entirely different.

The foundation’s original purpose: to give a portion of the profits Gates was making off DNA testing to public schools.

Its story has been more fully reported on this blog—the post was called “Skip Gates’ Bogus Cause“—and in Alex Beam’s Boston Globe column—but let me sum up.

Inkwell’s original press release said Inkwell would be…

… dedicated to reforming the teaching of science and history in inner city schools using genetic and genealogical ancestry tracing.

Which, to me, was a bit like Microsoft giving away Windows to public schools and libraries so that those schools and libraries would continue to buy Microsoft products in future years.

Except, it turned out, the foundation never gave any money away, and at the time Beam and I wrote about it, seemed merely a shell intended to earn Gates some good PR in connection with the DNA racket.  When the media first wrote about Inkwell, no one even seemed to realize that the foundation only existed on paper, and that it was domiciled in Gates’ house.

And until Beam’s column, Inkwell had never filed the annual paperwork Massachusetts requires of tax-free organizations.

So let’s recap. Gates started a foundation with the ostensible purpose of promoting science teaching about DNA and genetics to, presumably, African-American kids in public schools.

Gates gets great publicity from this announcement. But a couple years later, it’s revealed that the foundation hasn’t actually given any money away.

Then, a year after that, it’s revealed that the foundation has given money away: to Gates’ assistants, his fiancee, and other of his friends, including professor Evelyn Higginbotham, a foundation board member who received a $500 payment.

Meaning that Gates has set up a non-profit corporation to funnel profits from DNA testing to his friends and fiancee, and those profits are classified as “grants” rather than income.

I’m not a tax lawyer, but if I were, I think I’d raise an eyebrow over that.

Should Skip Gates Sue?

Posted on July 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Randy Cohen, author of the NYT Mag “Ethicist” column—which, like most things in the NYT Mag, has gone about about five years too long—argues that Skip Gates should sue the Cambridge Police Department.

Gates should enjoy a cool one and then file suit, assuming he has legal grounds to do so….

[Blogger: Yes, that whole “legal grounds” thing. Important.]

I am not encouraging frivolous lawsuits or those inspired by TV pitchmen who use the words “slip and fall” as if invoking El Dorado. Rather, I refer to suits filed to oppose systemic injustice, for the benefit of the larger community,often at some personal risk and expense. This is not opportunism; it’s altruism, not self-interest but civic virtue. A lawsuit by Gates could lead to a formal examination of the troubled history of police interactions with African-Americans and hence would meet this standard.

Could there be a more perfect definition of knee-jerk liberalism?

Cohen admits that he doesn’t even know, doesn’t even appear to have considered, whether Gates has a legal basis for a lawsuit. He simply wants Gates to sue so that a larger liberal goal can be pursued. “A formal examination of the troubled history of police interactions….”

A formal examination! Wow—that’ll solve everything. Especially if it’s through the courts!

This isn’t thinking, it’s self-parody….

Red Sox Fans Panicking?

Posted on July 27th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

At the opening of his new juice bar restaurant, Big Papi’s, David Ortiz tells Red Sox fans, “Don’t panic.”

On the contrary: Panic!

The Yankees are starting to roll….