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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,602

Journal Archives

Republican voter registration tanks in California

Californians may be more disenchanted with political party labels than at any time in modern history, as new voter registration data show another shift away from party affiliation coming at the same time as a presidential race that exposes deep partisan divides nationwide.

The report issued by Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Monday finds that 24% of California voters now officially have "no party preference," the term used by elections officials to describe independents. That's up almost three percentage points since the last presidential election in 2012.

While the migration away from Californians picking formal party labels has been evident for most of the past decade, the trend has picked up speed since 2008.

"The Democratic share of registrants has been flat, the independent share has been climbing fast, and the Republican share has been sinking just as fast," said Eric McGhee, an elections researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-voter-registration-20160222-story.html

Bolivians vote on limits to leftist Morales's record rule

Source: AFP

Bolivians voted Sunday on whether to allow Evo Morales, a leftist who is under fire over corruption allegations, to seek a fourth term and potentially extend his presidency until 2025.

Already the country's longest serving leader, the 56-year-old Morales cast his ballot in the coca-growing region of Chapare where he first emerged as a political force to become Bolivia's first indigenous president in 2006.

Monitors from UNASUR, a regional political union, said polls opened "in a climate of absolute calm" in Bolivia, a major gas and mineral producer but one of South America's poorest countries.

But angry voters set fire to ballots and ballot boxes at a polling station in the city of Santa Cruz after they learned there were no election registries, a spokesperson for the regional election tribunal said.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/bolivian-reform-could-extend-leftist-presidents-record-rule-143316142.html

Colombian army kills seven guerrillas amid rising tension

The Colombian military has killed seven leftist guerrillas and captured an eighth in an operation near the Venezuelan border, President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday amid a sharpening conflict with the country's second-largest guerrilla group.

Santos said the guerrillas belonged to the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has been in preliminary discussions for two years with the government about joining formal peace talks.

Tensions have risen sharply, however, since February 3 when the group captured a Colombian soldier.

"If they want to begin some kind of public conversation, they have to free those two kidnapped people they are holding," Santos said, referring to the captured soldier and a civilian who has been in rebel hands since 2014.

http://news.yahoo.com/colombian-army-kills-seven-guerrillas-amid-rising-tension-211819175.html

Snowden: Would return to US with guarantee of fair trial

Source: AP

Speaking via Skype from Russia, Edward Snowden told an audience of supporters in New Hampshire on Saturday that he is willing to be extradited to the United States if the federal government would guarantee he would get a fair trial.

The former National Security Agency contractor in 2013 leaked details of a secret government eavesdropping program and left the country. He faces U.S. charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.

Snowden spoke Saturday at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, heavily attended by libertarians. WMUR reported that forum organizers did not allow the media to video record his remarks.

"I've told the government I would return if they would guarantee a fair trial where I can make a public interest defense of why this was done and allow a jury to decide," Snowden told his audience.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/snowden-return-us-guarantee-fair-trial-043059728.html



How ya likin' those Moscow winters, Eddie?

And not allowing the media to video record your remarks? What's up with that, Mr. Freedom of Information?

Iraqis Celebrate as Threat of Third Bush Presidency is Over

BAGHDAD (The Borowitz Report)—Thousands of Iraqis poured out into the streets to celebrate in the early hours of Sunday morning, as the threat of a third Bush Presidency was declared over at last.

Iraqis, on edge about the prospect of another Bush in the White House since former Governor Jeb Bush entered the race last year, had been watching returns from the South Carolina primary with a mixture of anxiety and cautious optimism.

Moments after the first evidence of Bush’s dismal finish began trickling in, however, Iraqis roared with glee as spontaneous festivities erupted across the country.

Observers were stunned to see Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds dancing together in the streets, putting aside their enmity to celebrate an outcome that they never dreamed possible.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/iraqis-celebrate-as-threat-of-third-bush-presidency-is-over

The presidential race is so awful you can't look away

I'm not saying I'll ever leave California and move to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada. But for months now, I've wished I had a front-row seat to the parade of presidential wannabes in the most entertaining primary season ever.

A Jewish socialist candidate who is roughly the same age as Moses has locked up the youth vote.

An African American candidate's most lasting impression was a defense of his belief that the pyramids were actually grain elevators.

The whitest male candidate, Jeb Bush, may speak better Spanish than the two Latino candidates, one of whom cooks bacon on the barrel of an AR-15.

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0221-lopez-presidents-20160221-column.html

Conspiracy Theorists Say Republican Party Did Not Die from Natural Causes

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Conspiracy theorists believe that the Republican Party did not die from natural causes but was instead the target of an elaborately planned killing, a leading conspiracy theorist has confirmed.

Harland Dorrinson, whose basement walls are covered with photos of suspects in the killing of the G.O.P., has spent countless hours connecting those photos with different colors of yarn in the hopes that a larger pattern would emerge.

“Because the Republican Party is one hundred and sixty-one years old, it’s assumed that it was time for it to die,” he said. “The truth is, that’s exactly what the people who killed it want us to think.”

While some conspiracy theorists have focussed on the billionaire Donald J. Trump as the most likely suspect in the death of the Republican Party, Dorrinson favors a “two-killer” theory that involves Arizona Senator John McCain and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/conspiracy-theorists-say-republican-party-did-not-die-from-natural-causes

Are Venezuelans at the Breaking Point?

There was a time when the word “Venezuela” conjured up oil wealth, beauty queens, and baseball players. Today all those things are overshadowed by flag-themed tracksuits, histrionically ranting leaders, and, above all else, lines, lines, lines. The dramatic collapse of the economy, thanks to chronic mismanagement and plunging oil prices, has made queues — las colas, as they are locally known — the most visible symptom of the country’s failed revolution. And they’ve gotten far worse under President Nicolás Maduro.

Since coming under government control in 2014, Ultimas Noticias, one of Venezuela’s highest circulating national newspapers, has become a wellspring of rosy observations. Last week, it published an article that succinctly sums up the tragic surrealism of everyday life in what was once South America’s wealthiest country. Noting that waiting in long lines has become an unavoidable part of everyday life (“whatever the reason”), and duly asserting that “life wasn’t made solely to satisfy our tastes, wants and preferences,” the author offered a series of helpful tips to make the best of queue-standing:

“Try to stay cheerful, friendly, and make fun conversation with those next to you in line as well as behind and ahead; read; make sure to bring an umbrella and a snack; do breathing exercises; meditate and focus creative energy on the general good…”

And if those suggestions weren’t uplifting enough, the author added a bit of advice on how to improve one’s relationship with the supernatural: “For those who are religious or philosophical, it’s a marvelous moment to take stock and gauge the advancement of your spirituality.”

http://news.yahoo.com/venezuelans-breaking-point-221434859.html

Scandal emerges as Bolivia president seeks fourth term

President Evo Morales had seemed exempt from the scandal that has besmirched much of South America's left, but an alleged influence-peddling affair involving a woman who bore him a child comes at the most inopportune of moments.

Bolivians decide in a vote Sunday whether he can run for a fourth term.

Morales pulverized the opposition in the early years of his decade-long presidency and cut poverty as he empowered Bolivia's long-downtrodden native majority. In 2014, he won re-election with 60 percent of the vote.

But the Andean nation's first indigenous president faces the growing prospect that his current term will be his last.

http://news.yahoo.com/scandal-emerges-bolivia-president-seeks-fourth-term-050119534.html

Gotta be a CIA dirty trick.

After all, there are lots of 29 year old women who are general managers of engineering firms that win lots of no-bid contracts.

Venezuela's black economic magic

Sorcery is alive and well in Venezuela, once the richest country in South America, now an economic disaster. Hand over $100 and - hey presto! - you get a wad of notes the size of two house bricks: 100,000 Bolivars.

But that's an all-too-simple trick on the black market. Shopping for chicken, rice, toothpaste, soap, flour and toilet rolls has been turned into a vanishing act. The government's fixed prices for staples are at such low values shops lose money if they sell them - so they don't.

Pop-up queues appear when rumours swirl that a supermarket might have a batch of staples at the fixed price. That people in the country with the biggest oil reserves in the world queue for food is black magic indeed.

Four soldiers in flamboyant uniforms - black shakos, red feathers, gold brocade - guard the shaman responsible. Hugo Chavez lies in his tomb, a hero to his supporters, to his enemies the founder of a political cult. The mausoleum smacks of a shrine to a god suffering, like his country, from devaluation.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35589524
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