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At the site’s blog Hit & Run, Jacob Sullum focused on the report by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, the officer who arrested Mr. Gates on disorderly conduct charges. Mr. Sullum accused Sgt. Crowley of baiting Mr. Gates into committing an offense by inviting him outside while the professor was ranting at him about racial profiling.

“Notably, Crowley invited Gates to follow him, thereby setting him up for a disorderly conduct charge … instead of simply leaving, Crowley lured Gates outside, the better to create a public spectacle and ‘alarm’ passers-by. The subtext of Crowley’s report is that he was angered and embarrassed by Gates’ ‘outburst’ and therefore sought to create a pretext for arresting him,” he wrote.

In a post at the blog In the Agora to which Mr. Sullum linked, Indiana lawyer Joshua Claybourn criticized broadly drawn laws against disorderly conduct as a threat to civil liberties.

“Massachusetts defines the crime as fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition for no legitimate purpose other than to cause public annoyance or alarm. This sort of definition is relatively similar to that found in most states, and in almost every instance it is fraught with vagaries, giving far too much discretion to police officers. In short, ‘disorderly conduct’ can easily become a euphemism for whatever a particular police officer doesn’t like. That kind of environment runs counter to fundamental ideals of the American system,” Mr. Claybourn wrote.

Clinton-era ghost

Elizabeth McCaughey, widely credited (or blamed) for helping sink Hillary Rodham Clinton’s national health care proposal in the 1990s, is back again, wading through the details of a massive health care proposal, and has made a startling claim circulated widely among conservative and religious blogs.

The bill pending before the House would require “end-of-life” counseling for senior citizens, she said in a recent interview on the Fred Thompson radio show in which the health care scholar and former New York lieutenant governor warned people to “protect” their parents from the plan.

“One of the most shocking things is page 425, where the Congress would make it mandatory absolutely that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session,” Ms. McCaughey said. “They will tell [them] how to end their life sooner.”

“Her further claim is that this mandatory counseling would include a discussion of what are euphemistically called ‘end of life’ options. As a pro-life lawyer of several decades, I know what that phrase entails,” wrote Deacon Keith Fournier in an article at Catholic Online titled “Is Euthanasia Included in National ‘Health Care’ Reform?”

“A quick search of Dr. McCaughey on the internet revealed a flurry of attacks on her claims that this National Health Reform encourages euthanasia. However, it was interesting that none of the attackers refuted her specific claims as they related to the legislation and her references to page numbers in the voluminous bill. They all sought to destroy her credibility through the use of guilt by association tactics. Therefore, the question still remains on the table. Will this National ‘Health Care’ Plan encourage our elderly to take their own lives rather than somehow become a ‘drain’ on the rest of us? … In short, is Euthanasia included in this National ‘Health Care’ Reform?” Mr. Fournier wrote.

Victor Morton can be reached at