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  • raylehmann 10:49 am on May 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    TONIGHT! One Night Only With the Jefferson 1 

    The liberal Christopher Hitchens! The conservative First Fridays! The libertarian Bureaucrash! All that, and the Jefferson 1 herself will be on hand at D.C.’s Union Pub for a special post-partisan affair, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDST. It’s $5 at the door, which covers the cost of one drink and a one-time donation to the FreeTheJefferson1 Defense Fund. If you’re in the Washington area and can make it out to Capitol Hill for a few hours, we’d love to see you there.

    Roughly $3,300 has been raised thus far to assist our own Brooke Oberwetter, as she continues to fight federal charges of “interfering with an agency function” and “demonstrating without a permit,” all brought because she had the temerity to ask U.S. Park Police why she was not permitted to bop silently in celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

    More info here.

    • bruce majors 6:08 pm on May 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      where is Union Pub?

      link above nonfunctional

  • raylehmann 3:47 pm on April 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Slate on the Jefferson1 

    The Jefferson 1 was a topic of discussion today on Slate’s Political Gabfest, with regular podcasters John Dickerson, David Plotz, and Emily Bazelon. The discussion starts at around the 25:40 mark (or, conversely, 3:40 from the end.)

    And here’s a transcript:

    David: There’s an amazing story making its way through the blogosphere this week. A couple of weeks ago, I guess around April 12, there was a gathering of libertarians at the Jefferson Memorial at midnight to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. And these group of libertarians were in the rotunda. They went at midnight because there wouldn’t be a lot of people around. And they were dancing silently, they were all listening to iPods, and they were dancing around. And a security officer said…came up to them and said you have to leave…and then one of them said ‘Why?’ And at this point, they arrested this woman, whose name is…what is her name…her name is Mary Oberwetter. And arrested her, charged her with all kinds of ridiculous crimes, for interfering with the function of a police officer, probably disturbing the peace. And it’s…it’s appalling. It’s absolutely appalling. And so you should go and find about the…

    And there’s YouTube video.

    David: There’s YouTube video of them…and, you know, they’re doing nothing!

    John: And there’s a Web site now called freethejefferson1.

    David: Freethejefferson1. It’s ridiculous. You know, the kind of national…you know, as a native Washingtonian, I’m kind of increasingly perturbed about the way this city has been, you know, securitized. And this is just another example of the way that the notions of security and safety and protecting against some vague outside threat have been turned to absurd levels.

    John: (sarcastic) Yeah .

    Emily: No?

    John: I couldn’t sit through the whole video. I got annoyed by the narrator. I’m down with everything David said, I just don’t want to listen to the guy who was going on about it on the video while they were talking to the two cops.

    All in all, a great spot, even if one of them wasn’t crazy about Jason’s narration. Let me say welcome to anyone who may have heard of us by way of the podcast, and if you want to help in the legal fight to come, you can donate to the FtJ1 Defense Fund.

    • Jim 7:10 pm on July 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      David seems to be ‘increasingly perturbed about the way this city (Washington DC) has been, you know, securitized’. Well David sounds like one of those people that think that guns and other types of weapons should be outlaw’d and taken out of the hands of honest, law abiding citizens while all the time the murder rate has been escallating in that city. Some times you get what you want and it isn’t pretty.

  • raylehmann 11:29 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Another cavalcade of links 

    Townhall.com: Dance the Night Away …

    The LRC Blog: Girl Arrested for Celebrating Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday

    Hit & Run: Update on the Jefferson Memorial Arrest

    The Agitator: Jefferson Memorial Update

    The Independent Institute: Thomas Jefferson Fan Arrested for Dancing at His Memorial

    patri friedman: Thomas Jefferson’s birthday celebration results in arrest

    ECONJEFF: Land of the free?

    Mike the Actuary: The Jefferson 1


    Stock Market Investment Research: Woman Arrested for Dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

    First Friday Collective: Here are two worthy things to do today, so go to them!

    AFF Brainwash: April 21, Drinking for a Cause with TLF and the Jefferson 1

    The Pie Blog: The Washington D.C. Park Police: Also Nazis

    CraveOnline: Cool Stuff You Missed This Week

    Punditry by the Pint: Free the Jefferson 1! Update

    Memyselfandhi: All She Wants to Do is Dance!

    Free New York Blog: Arrested for Celebrating Jefferson’s Birthday

  • raylehmann 11:07 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Jason Talley on BlogTalkRadio 

    Jason discusses the incident with Eric Dondero over at BlogTalkRadio.

  • raylehmann 11:02 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    From S. Adams to T. Jefferson 

    The Sam Adams Alliance’s Paul Jacobs devotes the latest edition of Common Sense to the Jefferson 1 case.

    Common Sense

    Jacobs: “Tom Jefferson once said, ‘Dancing is a healthy and elegant exercise.’ And he didn’t even own an Ipod.

  • raylehmann 10:37 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    What else can get you arrested at the Jefferson Memorial? 

    Would you believe…taking photos of Park Police slacking off on the job?

    That’s according to a February 2008 report from the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General, which found “the USPP continues to struggle with fulfilling its responsibility to protect the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial to the degree necessary given the national significance of the icons.” In addition, the Park Police “failed to adequately manage its financial affairs” and the agency is “suffering from low morale and lacking confidence in its command staff,” the report found.

    In March 2007, the department’s Office of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Management started conducting unannounced site inspections to see how the USPP were handling the task of icon management. Among their findings was an officer at the Jefferson who appeared to be sleeping in a parked squad car (page 13 offers a snapshot) even though the Memorial was ALREADY short-staffed that day and even though “the visitor centers located in both the Lincoln and Jefferson were continually left unmonitored and unprotected.”

    Then, on page 14 of the report, you find this gem:

    On two occasions, USPP detected assessment team members while conducting covert site visits at the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. During the first incident, a contract security guard confronted assessment team members while they were opening an unsecured utility access door at the Lincoln Memorial. The second occasion occurred at the Jefferson Memorial after an assessment team member was detained after attempting to photograph a USPP officer completing a crossword puzzle for a period of time inside the Memorial’s information office.

    Such is the state of an agency whose chief was canned last month; where six of the top 13 police positions are open; and where, according to the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the number of sworn officers on the force shrank to just 576 at the end of January, down from 625 in 2001.

    And yet, they still have time to arrest people for dancing.

  • raylehmann 8:59 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Jane Galt on the Park Police 

    The Atlantic‘s Megan McArdle, who was among the first to break the story, offers an update and two theories as to why the Park Police have yet to drop the specious charges:

    There are two theories of why this is going forward. It may be that the agency is simply reluctant to admit that it erred and back down, which would be embarassing, particularly since they are still recovering from their recent failures at crime control in the national monuments, which culminated in the rape of a young girl near the Smithsonian. (So much for the commenters who derided me for pointing out that the police might have something better to do than prevent mall dancing.

    The other possibility is that they’re trying to head off a civil suit; the only way they can be sure of this is to get a criminal conviction, so they’re going for it, however unlikely this may be. There’s a large downside to this strategy, of course. I can’t speak for Brooke, but if the police forced me to spend large amounts of money defending a spurious criminal charge, there would be a civil suit, no matter what the personal inconvenience involved.

    There certainly should be one. The purpose of the justice system is to protect the public, not to keep them in line.

    • DocAmazing 9:03 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      What, no call for the use of two-by-fours? Boy, Jane Galt sure lost her edge when she got a patronage job…

  • raylehmann 6:54 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    WaPo update 

    We wanted to thank the Washington Post for correcting the record regarding the incident. The Post had earlier reported that Ms. Oberwetter “was arrested after she kept returning to the chamber,” which was patently untrue. She never left the chamber until her arrest, a fact they conceded in the April 19 edition:

    An April 16 Metro article mischaracterized the actions of a woman who was arrested while celebrating Thomas Jefferson’s birthday at the Jefferson Memorial. She did not return to the memorial chamber after authorities ushered her out.

    See also, Radley Balko on the Post story.

  • raylehmann 6:48 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Let them bring cake 

    Amy at Atypical Musings offers an assessment of the Jefferson 1’s *real* crime:

    I don’t know how I feel about Libertarians, but these guys are funny. I mean, I love the idea of people just randomly dancing at national monuments, especially at the Thomas Jefferson Monument, in celebration of his birthday. Fine, they probably were dancing not just to celebrate but to make a statement as well. The statement being, “Hey, we’re here to celebrate TJ’s achievements. Want to know about a few?” Perhaps the idea of a run-in with “the man” came to mind, but I doubt they thought anyone would be arrested. Honestly, cuffing the gal in front of everyone…FOR DANCING? Head up the Capitol Hill; that’s where the real criminals are, and we pay them to rip us off. Brooke Obberwetter (sic) is not a criminal. The only crime she committed was not bring a cake to celebrate Jefferson’s birthday! And who forgot the party decorations?

    • Amy 11:12 pm on April 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the link. I definitely think you need cake next time. I know Tommy J. would have had it no other way!

  • raylehmann 6:41 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    ‘Authority’ cards 

    Over at the Attitutor Blog, educational entrepreneur (or “teacherpreneur,” as he calls himself) Don Berg offers a thoughtful assessment of what went wrong at the  TJDP:

    The videos of the dancing incident at the Jefferson Memorial seem to indicate that the police reacted in a highly unprofessional manner. They interpreted the actions of a group of people to be a threat of some kind and then acted swiftly and without any meaningful communication about why they were taking the actions they took.

    These are the park police failures.
    1. They judged the activity of dancing to be a threat to the sanctity of the monument
    2. They created a conflict by ordering the dancers to leave without explanation
    3. They escalated the conflict by using foul language, engaging with people by physical contact and openly displaying anger.

    With the job of keeping the peace, our police are entrusted with an extraordinary responsibility for acting in a manner that ultimately leads to the lessening of conflicts, not the creation of conflicts. Given the videos that I have seen and the account of the organizer, it appears that the police abused their authority, violated the public trust, and may have abrogated the rights of the arrested dancer, if not the rights of all the people who were peacefully gathered to celebrate Tomas Jefferson’s birthday with a late night show of physical exuberance.

    Consider this three part series of articles entitled “The Situational Sources Of Evil” by Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. He revisits Stanley Milgram’s famous experiments on obedience and shows a number of ways that authority can be abused. The question on the flip side is how to create professional codes of conduct for authorities (i.e. uniformed and armed law enforcement officers) in such a way that abuses like this can be prevented.

    The fundamental practical problem is that they made a ridiculous judgment of the situation and then simply played out the “Authority” cards they dealt themselves. The exercise of authority needs some way to reign in the tendencies of the officers to act merely according to their role as an “Officer’ without tempering that role with some other more human roles such as “Human Being” or “Exuberant Celebrator of Jefferson’s Birthday.” Engaging a different perspective on a situation like this is where leadership is crucial.

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