Thursday, July 30, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

I have not commented on the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. arrest to the point (and really, I guess I still am not), but seeing as how today is Beer Summit Day, it seemed as good as any to comment, although the main impetus for a post was an e-mail written by Boston police officer Justin Barrett that hit the news this morning.

There is a lot that could be said about the e-mail in question, but it can be summed up in the following bit of advice to any would-be writers in the audience: it is almost impossible to use phrases like “banana-eating jungle monkey” and then suggest that a female reporter with whom one disagrees is only fit to “serve me coffee and donuts on Sunday morning”1 and then have people take you seriously when you claim “It was a poor choice of words. I didn’t mean it in a racist way. I treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

Not only are you unlikely to be taken seriously in your apology, you are likely to lose multiple jobs as a result (especially if those jobs allow you to carry firearms).

What strikes me is that it is clear that Barrett should not be entrusted with the job of being a police officer, given his utter contempt for his fellow citizens and his utter lack of judgment.

The entire e-mail is available here. Upon reading it is stunning that a) he wrote it, b) having written it he decided to send it, and c) that he sent it to multiple recipients.

  1. Indeed, Barrett used the racial slur twice (once in all caps) and also made the donut remark twice. []
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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Huffington Post:Stormy Daniels’ Political Advisor May Have Been Hit By Car Bomb: Reports

Porn star Stormy Daniels’ potential senatorial campaign was rocked yesterday by an explosion that blew up her political advisor’s car in New Orleans, according to local news reports.

Now that’s a paragraph chock full of surreal goodness.

More from the AP: Porn star mulling La. Senate race has a tough week.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Both El Espectador (Conciliadores de Cámara dejaron en suspenso el referendo reeleccionista) and El Tiempo (Fracasó la reunión de conciliadores uribistas del referendo reeleccionista) are reporting that today’s conference committee was unable to reach any agreements about the referendum.

According to the El Tiempo report, only five uribista legislators attended the meeting.

More later, but this is a rather interesting development.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via El Tiempo (Conservatismo decidió no aplazar su consulta interna, que será el 27 de septiembre) we learn that the Conservative Party’s National Directorate voted 6-5 against postponing its presidential primary, and will hold it as scheduled on September 27th. It did, however, vote to request that the National Electoral Council allow it to extend the deadline for the inscription of precandidates. This is interesting as the article suggests that this may allow some presumed uribista politicos, like Noemí Sanín and ex-DefMin Marta Lucía Ramírez, to compete for the PC nomination. It is really starting to look as if candidates and parties are starting to assume that a second re-election bid by Uribe is not going to be allowed and they are therefore starting to jockey for position.

A PC primary will also be interesting because 1) the party has never used this mechanism to name its candidate before, and 2) the party has not run a candidate under its own label since 1990.1

  1. In 1994 and 1998 is supported Andrés Pastrana, the 1998 winner, but who did not run as a “Conservative” officially. Its 2002 candidate dropped out before the election and its supported Uribe in 2006. []
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By Steven L. Taylor

Via El Espectador: Senadores de Cambio Radical no apoyarán posible reelección de Uribe

La bancada de Senadores de Cambio Radical dejó en claro que la única elección presidencial que apoyarán es la de Germán Vargas Lleras.


The Cambio Radical (Radical Change) caucus in the Colombian Senate made clear that the only presidential candidacy that it will support is that of Germán Vargas Lleras.

This is interesting, because Cambio Radical has been an uribista party and has 20 seats in the Chamber and 15 in the Senate.1 Given that the Conservatives (29 seats in the Chamber and 15 in the Senate) also appear to be running their own candidate, one begins to wonder if the votes exist to pass a reconciled version of the referendum that would allow Uribe to run for a third term.

Just looking at the Senate (102 seats), the anti-reelection coalition of the Liberals the Polo Democrático Alernativo has 28 seats (PL, 18, PDA, 10)–throw in the 18 from the Conservatives and 15 from CR and that makes 61 votes–more than enough to put an end to any chances Uribe third term. The question remains, however, as to whether the Senators in question are prepared to vote against the reconciliation package, as many of them voted in favor of reelection the last chance they had (although at least four CR Senators were opposed last time: Alfonso Valdivieso, Rodrigo Lara, Carlos Enrique Alvarado and Juan Carlos Restrepo (see: Semana, Los 8 uribistas que no apoyan el referendo reeleccionista).

  1. At least of the official 2006 election returns–it is possible some label shifting, and therefore seat-shifting, has taken place. []
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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Chavez freezes ties with Colombia

“I’ve ordered to withdraw our ambassador from Bogota,” the Venezuelan leader said on Tuesday. “We will freeze relations with Colombia,” he added.

As well as a diplomatic freeze, Mr Chavez warned trade relations would also be frozen and raised the possibility of expropriating Colombian companies.

Venezuela, he said, would also substitute imports from Colombia – which currently account for about a third of the country’s trade – with goods from other countries, notably Brazil and Ecuador.

My initial reaction is that it must be a dizzying job being the Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia, as it seems every few months one is being withdrawn. I exaggerate, but only a little.

My second, and more significant, reaction is that it is easier said and done to quickly and easily 1/3rd of all trade. Indeed, I am highly skeptical that at the end of the day a serious rupture of Ven-Col trade will occur, but we shall see.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Politico: Iowa caucuses move to Saturday in ’10 – Michael Falcone

The Iowa Republican and Democratic parties together announced Tuesday that they will hold the state’s 2010 primary caucuses on a Saturday, a move that party leaders say is designed to increase turnout in a non-presidential year.

Officials from both parties said it is the first time in recent history that the caucuses will take place on a Saturday, but would not speculate on whether the change would carry over to the 2012 presidential election. Traditionally, Iowa’s caucuses are scheduled on a weekday evening.

Of course, weekend elections typically make voting easier and increase turnout and this raises the question, which crops up now and again, as to why we don’t have all elections on weekends, as is the case in a lot of the world.

This move reminded me of a post over at Fruits and Votes concerning a proposal made at Fair Vote about a weekend component to the presidential primary process. The post and the comments especially are worth a read, as they both contain example of weekend voting elsewhere, as well as a discussion of the religious implications of Saturday and Sunday polls.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Colombian rebels say did not fund Ecuador’s Correa

Colombia’s biggest rebel army denied on Tuesday government accusations that it gave money to the political campaign of leftist President Rafael Correa of neighboring Ecuador.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said the Colombian government manipulated a video released earlier this month in which a top FARC commander said the rebels helped fund Correa’s 2006 presidential campaign.

Given that the Colombian governments doesn’t feel it has to justify itself for the strike into Ecuador last year, I am not sure what the motivation would be to doctor the tape (especially when they have turned over copies of the video to the OAS and to Interpol).

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By Steven L. Taylor


365.208. I was pleased with the texture of this one.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Gumshoe Sunset

365.207. While I did have a noirish idea, the execution is rather mundane. In truth, I was as much keeping the streak alive as anything else.

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