Sunday, April 13, 2008

Deadline headlines

Just got back from North Carolina, where I was covering Bob Barr's "exploratory" presidential bid. (Among other things, Barr weighed in on Obama's "bitter" gaffe.)

Today is Thomas Jefferson's birthday, and last night a flash mob (Facebook slogan, "Let's Party Like It's 1743!") showed up at midnight at the Jefferson Memorial to dance on the steps in celebration. Park Police arrested one of the dancers for unexplained reasons. The flash-mobbers are friends of mine, so this morning at 12:10 a.m., as I drove across Virginia, I got a call on my cell phone from science writer Lene Johansen: "They arrested [name witheld by request]!"

Now the incident is all over the blogs: Radley Balko has a report at the Agitator, and Julian Sanchez also has an account. (Julian mentions that there is video of the arrest, a fact which ought to worry the cops in question). Megan McArdle also has a roundup.

This incident is ironic. Thomas Jefferson was fiddler and dancer, and I'm sure he would have supported [name witheld by request]'s right to crunk. James Joyner observes:

The days when the police spoke to the general public -- whom they are paid to serve -- with polite deference are long gone. Instead, most have adopted a bullying attitude and demand to be treated with unearned deference.
Exactly. [Name witheld by request] is a citizen and a taxpayer, not a criminal. Having fun is not a crime.

UPDATE: Jason Talley organized the Jefferson Memorial flashmob. He's posted about the incident and promises to post the video soon. He's also formed a new Facebook group, "Free the Jefferson 1!" (In fact, I'm told that [name witheld by request] has already been released, but Jason demands -- and I believe rightly so -- that the charges be dropped, her record expunged, and that an apology be issued.) Glenn Reynolds sees the arrest as one more blow in the Bush administration's relentless assault on freedom. (Personally, I blame Karl Rove.)

Being on deadline today with audio to transcribe -- I hate transcribing audio -- I won't be blogging until late tonight. In lieu of blogging, then, here are some Sunday morning headlines from Memeorandum:
(FBI hostage negotiators will assist)

(Small-town America gettin' some payback)

(Who says all Buddhists are non-violent?)

(Humor: A sexist weapon of the patriarchy)

(The most ethical administration ever)

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