Patterico's Pontifications


Honduran Government: Zelaya Funded by FARC

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 7:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via Fausta’s Blog, the Honduran government claimed today that former President Manuel Zelaya is being funded by FARC:

[P]olice seized a notebook and receipts showing that “Zelaya’s government officials and supporters, leftist leaders, farmers, union members, and at least one mayor and one governor” were paid between $2,500 to $100,000 for the “transportation of people and supplies” to the border region.

The information was gathered from a computer seized from a FARC leader. No money was seized since the funds had already been distributed. describes FARC as “Colombia’s oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist insurgency.” It has orchestrated “bombings, murder, mortar attacks, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets” as well as kidnapping of foreigners for ransom.


Henry Louis Gates Dispatch Call: Did Gates Say: “I’m a Hostage!”?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:03 pm

Here is the Gates 911 call:

And much more interesting to me, because you can hear Gates in the background — the Gates dispatch call:

Most news stories have described Gates’s statements in the background as unintelligible, but I’m not so sure. I have listened several times to the portions where you can hear Gates, and I believe you can hear him repeatedly asking the officer to leave — and at one point stating: “I’m a hostage!”

Here’s what his statements sound like to me:

At 1:34 he says something I can’t make out. “–ofessor Gates” or “called Mr. Gates” or “I’m Mr. Gates” or something else entirely. I really can’t tell.

At 1:40, when Sgt. Crowley is saying that “the gentleman” says he resides there, Gates says something that sounds like: “I’m called Mr. Gates.” That may not be what he’s saying, but it sounds a lot like it.

At 2:22 I could swear I hear Gates angrily saying: “I’m a hostage!”

At 2:51, Gates can be heard saying something like: “No, I want you to leave.”

At 4:16 it sounds like he’s saying: “[Unintelligible] leave right away.” Possibly: “I want you to leave right away.”

When you first listen to this it will be hard to hear these phrases. I’m a veteran of transcribing hard-to-hear tapes and I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but these are all guesses/approximations. See what you think.

One thing is for sure: Sgt. Crowley is calm throughout. Gates sounds increasingly angry.

UPDATE: At 2:22, a commenter hears: “I am outraged!” Plausible.

NFL Reinstates Michael Vick

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 5:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated Michael Vick today “with conditions,” so now Vick can play in the upcoming 2009-2010 NFL season if a team is willing to take a chance on him. Goodell charitably described the reaction to his proposal to reinstate Vick:

“Goodell said he spoke to numerous current and former players and coaches as he weighed his decision and that the responses were “very mixed.”

“I do recognize that some will never forgive him for what he did,” Goodell said. “I hope that the public will have a chance to understand his position as I have.”

There you go — we fans just need to be more understanding. I’ll do my part by not linking the horrific photos, videos and stories about the dogs killed and maimed by Vick and his business associates.

On second thought, I’m not that understanding so I’ll link this report.

There is some good news, though. JayHub won the bet with his wife.


A Smattering of News (Updated x2)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 10:18 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

There are several items I’d like to blog about today but I have to go to work so I will cover them here:


The Cambridge police department announced it will release the 911 and radio dispatch tapes from last week’s arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In addition, Tom Maguire notes the 911 caller did not report the suspects’ race, proving once again how unreliable first reports can be.

UPDATE 1: Here is a link to the 911 and dispatch audio.

UPDATE 2: Hot Air has a powerful CNN interview with Sgt. Crowley’s co-workers, including Officer Kelly King who voted for Obama but would not again. King said Obama should have said: “I support my friend but I don’t have all the facts. I won’t weigh in yet.”

Biden Open-Mouth-Put-Foot-In-Gate:

Joe Biden indicated the U.S. could take advantage of an economically weakened Russia, contradicting Barack Obama’s recent statements during his visit that the U.S. wants to see a “strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia.” The Russians expressed concern. Press Secretary Gibbs reassured reporters that Biden really is on the same page as the Obama Administration.


A South Florida jury has found in favor of a local hospital in a suit for damages filed by the guardian of a former patient who was left paraplegic and brain-injured after being hit by a drunk driver. The hospital had chartered a plane to fly the patient, an illegal immigrant and day laborer from Guatemala, back to his home country. A court had authorized the return but that decision was later overturned on appeal after the patient had already been flown home — at a cost of $30,000 for a charter flight.


Alphonse, Gaston & Obamacare

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:35 am

[Posted by Karl]

TNR’s Jonathan Chait gets it about half-right today:

Paul Krugman’s column today has some good analysis of the House Blue Dogs, who have been raising a ruckus over health care reform. I disagree, though, with Krugman’s premise: “Right now the fate of health care reform seems to rest in the hands of relatively conservative Democrat.” I think the ultimate bottleneck remains the Senate, where Democrats need 100% of their members, many from conservative states, to stop a filibuster. In the House, Democrats only need 50% plus one, which doesn’t take you very deep into red America.

Actually, as Nate Silver has pointed out, there is a larger moderate bloc in the House; for example, there are 39 House Democrats more conservative than the second-most conservative Senate Democrat. Of course, Silver also notes the importance of the center in the Senate, where each is proportionately more of the overall vote. And so far, despite multi-million dollar attacks from the Left, red-state Democratic senators like Kent Conrad and Mary Landrieu have not caved yet (Obama Administration officials recently got a frosty reception on the topic down on the bayou). Even so, the argument for the Senate being key rests more in that chamber’s rules — the filibuster and the Byrd rule — than in its ideological makeup. But the argument for the Senate goes a bit further than that. As Chait himself noted last week:

The Democrats want the House to pass a liberal bill, so that whatever gets passed out of the Senate can get nudged to the left. But the Blue Dogs don’t want to have to vote for a more liberal bill than what gets signed into law. So there’s a conflict between their interests and the party’s interest.

Ezra Klein may not fully understand what a prisoner’s dilemma really is, but he has otherwise stumbled into the current dynamic:

Some sources are speculating that the Blue Dogs are getting cold feet as they watch Max Baucus dither. Many of them felt burned by the hard and damaging vote on the cap-and-trade bill, as it looks like nothing will come of it in the Senate. Committing themselves to a health-care bill before the Senate shows its hand carries similar risks, and they’re no longer in a risk-taking mood. The worst outcome for conservative Democrats in the House is that they’re on record voting for a health-care reform bill that dies in the Senate and is judged a catastrophic example of liberal overreach.

The problem, of course, is that the more dissension there is among Democrats in the House, the less pressure there’ll be on the Senate Democrats to make a hard vote on health-care reform. This makes health-care reform something of a prisoner’s dilemma for conservative Democrats. If Blue Dogs in the House and centrists in the Senate both put it on the line to pass the bill, they’re both better off. But if one puts it on the line and the other whiffs, then the other pays the price.

Neither Klein nor Chait notices the irony of this situation. The Obama administration’s general approach to the healthcare issue has been to look at what the Clintons did in 1993-94 and do the opposite. But Hillarycare failed after House Democrats already had voted on an unpopular economic package, including a BTU tax which died in the Senate. This year, Democrats rammed through an unpopular, partisan “stimulus” package, and House Democrats again were forced to back an equally unpopular energy tax (the so-called “cap-and-trade” bill for carbon emissions) that is again dying in the Senate.

Of course, history never repeats itself exactly. Ben Domenech suggests that this time, Obama’s plan has more support from industry and less coherent opposition from the populist right. The former is likely true, due to changes in the industry in the last 16-year cycle. The latter may be temporarily true, as the point of Obama’s strategy was to not release a draft bill as a target. Now Congress is at work, and approval of the effort is sliding daily.


Resurrecting an Old Column: Trouble in the Ivy League

Filed under: Current Events,Race — Jack Dunphy @ 2:30 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

In an earlier post, our host graciously linked to two columns I wrote back in my salad days at NRO. I recalled another, which I think captures, in a (I hope) humorous way, the frustration many police officers feel with all this talk of racial profiling. You can read it here.

–Jack Dunphy

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