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The White House beer day for Crowley and Gates, who are related

Henry Gates Barack Obama and James Crowley

With the recent steady drip-drip of discourse from the White House on police and racial profiling,  we hope the Obama clan also keeps some Guinness on tap.

Turns out that Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. may actually be related through Irish ancestry to the police officer who arrested him in his own house earlier this month, according to ABC News.  No, really!

President Obama, who initially said the Cambridge, Mass., police department "acted stupidly," then on second thought sort of recalibrated his comments, has pledged to host the two for a "beer summit" and, hopefully, a make-up at the White House on Thursday. (An earlier version of this post said the meeting would be held today.) 

One can only imagine how the proceedings will end, given that professor Gates,  who is half-Irish, says he can trace his ancestry to the Niall of the Nine Hostages, one of Ireland's most prolific warriors, to whom Sgt. James Crowley also attributes his family roots.

However boozy it may get -- maybe with a late-evening rendition of Molly Malone?  -- hopefully it won't set Obama back on the cigs

These kind of familiar relationships do tend to crop up in Washington: Obama is eighth cousin to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Obama is also related to six other U.S. presidents through his mother, S. Ann Soetoro, and the former British prime minister, Winston Churchill.

Churchill's wartime ally, Franklin Roosevelt, was related to 11 presidents by blood or marriage, while the Bush family is distantly related to the British queen. Barbara Pierce Bush, the former first lady, is a great-great-great niece of the 14th president, Franklin Pierce. At least 16 other presidents were of Scot-Irish descent, including Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Woodrow Wilson. reports that up to 3 million Irish Americans may be descended from Niall, the Irish "High King" at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from AD 379 to AD 405. He was said to have struck the fear o' death into the hearts of the English, the Scots, the French and even the Romans.

But we want to know just what the "birthers" will make of Obama's role in all of  this?

-- Craig Howie   

Meanwhile, even Irish can click here for Twitter alerts on each new Ticket item. Or follow us   @latimestot

Photos: Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Obama and James Crowley. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (26)

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so is he related to Aleister Crowley is what i'd like to know...

Although I think this was a battle of egos and the cops didn't really have to arrest Gates, Gates is known to be a trouble maker.

His alarm system went off once and the company responded in a reasonable period of time. Still, the first words out of Gates' mouth was, "you took so long because I'm black". Note to Gates...NOT EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS BASED ON THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN AND THE SOONER YOU GET THAT CHIP OFF YOUR SHOULDER THE BETTER. Had that chip not been there, he would have showed his ID to the responding officers, thanked them for checking up and doing their jobs, and finished unpacking and settling in.

Hell, I'm related to Niall of the Nine Hostages too. No telling how may millions are.

Obama has the birthers, Bush had the "selected not elected" crowd.

So, I really have no sympathy for Obama!

Narrgansett Beer dropped a case of beer on Gates' porch yesterday... I hear he doesn't drink beer, but it's interesting that this might have turned into a marketing opportunity for the old new england brew. Is it over the line? - there's a breakdown of this over at economixt -

Crowly would have been better off staying as far away from an Obama:Gates staged meeting as possible. All they want is a photo op, and a chance to discredit any defamation suit that the police should rightfully bring against this Gates nutcase.

some journalists in US are turning into a bunch of idiots and their stories are ridiculous..I can only see how productive they are...

News Media and Liberal Politicians will do anything to divert negative attention from the real source of the problem,HUSSEIN!!!!!!! This issue would not have reached it's momentum if Hussein had stayed out of it.

Being descended from Niall is simply being Irish. It's like saying that all Mongolians are related because they're all descended from Genghis Khan.

But with all that beer, will they dance an Irish Jig?

Sgt. Crowley forgot to learn that:

"sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"

Grow up Crowley.

Note to racist and self indulgent middle white America. This case has nothing to do with race and everything to do with precedent. It should never be okay for a police officer or any other authority to claim dominion in your place of residence to the point where you could be arrested for no crime except claiming your right to your private dominion, ever. If we forget that, then the meaning of America is lost. This will be our future, prepare for it, if this type of experimental tyranny is allowed to stand without question, because it is falsely filed under the ruse of racisim. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with our rights as citizens but you people will let racism cloud your vision. What if it happened to you???

Talk about profiling, two hot headed Irishmen are going to meet tonight for a beer, silly that this is big news. :)

This is such media play it makes me sick. The relation is so far removed that who cares if it's true. We're all related in some way. It's one big world of incest

The most powerful way to reach a man is to treat him like one. This is especially true in race relations. I believe the President fully understands the delicate nature of the situation, and is making a genuine attempt to steer the nation toward unity and equality. And what better way to solidify a union than over a cold one. Genius!

I believe this incident was the result of both the professor and the cop overreacting. The policeman should have let things be once the professor informed him he was in his own home. I don't know that I wouldn't become angry if a policeman tried to arrest me for entering my own home if I had to force the door open for whatever reason. Anyway, hope all works out and this issues fades into the sunset!

Gates isn't half-Irish. His Y-Chromosome is of Irish origin, but a several generations removed. DNA tests confuse the ignorant.

"One can only imagine how the proceedings will end, given that professor Gates, who is half-Irish..."

For Gate to be "half-Irish" then one of his parents would have to be 100% Irish. So which parent is 100% Irish?

technically, this does not sound like a dispute between two obstinate Irishmen...
specifically because-

1) neither were alleged to have been intoxicated at the time,
2)OR to have thrown a punch..

Maybe american-living has softened them both up and dried them out?

if this was a dispute between two irishmen..

how come niether was drunk, and neither threw a punch?

I could beleive this of a continental european or a african, but two irishmen IN THE SAME PLACE, no one is drunk or brawling... COME ON!

maybe the reason most politicians are messed up is because they're all inner bred

This is all a joke! I am so tired of hearing..."It's because I'm Black, White, Brown, Purple or Blue!" There are so many things that makes this county look trashy. This one of them. One man was tired from a long trip and couldn’t get into his home! The other was a uniformed police officer just responding to a concerned call. Doing his job! Both MEN over reacted. Pulling the "racist card" was below both of them. It is Arrogant and childish! What happens? Someone told "Daddy" !!!??? The fact that the President is involved and is calling either side "Stupid" shows some personal feelings towards like situations. This is wrong! If things are ever going to get better or change, then this is not something the President needs to take sides on . We need to move forward and grow up. This is not the example we need to lead our children, other countries, and fellow man in. There are many other issues that AMERICANS would give there left arm for the President to pay attention too. This is a waist of time!

Our economy is in shambles and he's off having a beer with some cop who was doing his job?!?

What a crock of crap.

After making his remark [disapproved by people 41% against 29% according to a poll by the Pew Research Center] over the Gates-Crowley incident during a news conference where an important issue – health care plan – was on the table, President Obama said later that he could've calibrated those words differently and stated fairly that both Crowley and Gates had "overreacted" during their confrontation. As a President, this is an impressive action and beyond that, the two men were invited to the White House to have a drink: an effective and simple way to put all together, to discuss and understand one another on the issue and move forward in a constructive manner.
This action solved more than just one case. Any sensible person to human values who watched the meeting and listened from both men on TVs or read in News papers would turn this matter into what Crowley called "frank discussion, cordial and productive discussion," in which they agreed to move forward rather than dwell on past event; and what Gates stated in his web site: “Let me say that I thank God that (I) live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I've come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf”.
I am deeply touched by the outcome of this event and wish that the apology from Massachusetts police officer Justin Barrett after referring to Gates in a mass e-mail as a "banana-eating jungle monkey” could be heard and accepted. We all learned lessons from this teaching moment. America is continuing to grow up with a new spirit to fight credibly against irregularities and injustice in services regardless of race and culture. I believe that this requires a contribution of all to maintain a strong and powerful America on all fronts.

I think this whole mess can be solved with a little lovin'. I think these three gents should strip down and hump each other until the hate is gone. Trust me, it works! You can't hold on to hate after you have humped and been humped. It just ain't possible.

Crowley did great. He did not allow himself to be intimidated by Obama and Gates. No doubt Obama and Gates hoped to pressure him to apologize and he didn't. Thank you to Crowley for telling the truth.

Biden looked like he was going to burst out laughing. The whole event was a joke and as an American I am embarrassed for Obama although he probably lacks the awareness to be embarrassed for himself. First he's hosting beer summits, then he is charging guests to the white house for their lunch. Can we say tacky?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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