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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
March 31, 2016

Affordable Model 3 is Tesla's biggest test yet

Source: AP

Tesla Motors built its reputation making sporty, sexy and very expensive electric cars.

It's staking its future on something more affordable.

Tesla plans to unveil its Model 3 electric car Thursday night at its Los Angeles design studio. At a starting price of $35,000 — before federal and state government incentives — the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla's previous models. The car is expected to have a range of at least 200 miles when fully charged, about double what drivers get from competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

The Model 3 is the most serious test yet of 13-year-old Tesla's ability to go from a niche player to a full-fledged automaker. It could be the car that finally makes electrics mainstream — or customers could be scared off by Tesla's limited number of stores and service centers. Either way, the Model 3 is already changing the industry, spurring competitors to speed development of electric cars and improve their battery range.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/affordable-model-3-teslas-biggest-110520607.html

I think these cars are going to be ridiculously popular. People have been camping out in front of Tesla showrooms.
March 31, 2016

Brazil president warns of 'putsch' ahead of impeachment vote

Source: AFP

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Wednesday she was the victim of a coup as her allies horse-traded frantically for enough votes to ride out an impeachment drive.

"Impeachment is a putschist process that is out of line with the country's trajectory since returning to democracy," Rousseff said in a speech in Brasilia, referring to the end of Brazil's two-decade military dictatorship in 1985.

A months-long crisis reducing Latin America's biggest country to political paralysis ahead of the Rio Olympics deepened Tuesday when Rousseff's leftist Workers' Party lost its main coalition partner.

That leaves Rousseff isolated as she tries to survive impeachment in Congress against a background of punishing recession and a corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras that has snared a cross-section of the country's elite.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/brazil-president-horse-trades-ahead-impeachment-vote-153541328.html

March 31, 2016

Unusual dissent erupts inside Cuban Communist Party

Source: AP

Days after President Barack Obama's historic visit, the leaders of Cuba's Communist Party are under highly unusual public criticism from their own ranks for imposing new levels of secrecy on the future of social and economic reforms.

After months of simmering discontent, complaints among party members have become so heated that its official newspaper, Granma, addressed them in a lengthy front-page article Monday. It said the public dissatisfaction over the lack of open discussion before the upcoming Communist Party congress next month is "a sign of the democracy and public participation that are intrinsic characteristics of the socialism that we're constructing."

The article did little to calm many party members, some of whom are calling for the gathering to be postponed to allow public debate about the government's plans to continue market-oriented reforms for Cuba's centrally controlled economy.

"The base of the party is angry, and rightly so," party member and noted intellectual Esteban Morales wrote in a blog post published before Obama's visit. "We've gone backward in terms of democracy in the party, because we've forgotten about the base, those who are fighting and confronting our problems on a daily basis."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/unusual-dissent-erupts-inside-cuban-communist-party-045721166.html

March 30, 2016

Venezuela parliament approves amnesty law, Maduro vows to veto

Source: Reuters

Venezuela's opposition-controlled Congress late on Tuesday approved an amnesty law to free jailed opposition activists and end legal proceedings against others, a measure President Nicolas Maduro promised to veto.

The law would benefit high-profile government adversaries including Leopoldo Lopez, who was arrested in 2014 on accusations that he helped spur a wave of demonstrations that ultimately left more than 40 people dead.

"Rest assured that the law will not get past me," Maduro said in a televised speech several hours before the law was given final parliamentary approval. "Laws to protect terrorists and criminals will not get past me, no matter what they do."

Maduro denies opposition accusations that his administration holds political prisoners, insisting they are simply "imprisoned politicians."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-parliament-approves-amnesty-law-maduro-vows-veto-125522958.html

March 30, 2016

Bolivian president's ex ordered to present love child

A Bolivian court ordered President Evo Morales's ex-girlfriend Tuesday to present the child she says he fathered with her nearly a decade ago, a son the leftist leader insists has died.

The dispute is at the center of a political drama that has gripped Bolivia since an investigative journalist revealed Morales's relationship with Gabriela Zapata, a high-powered executive who is now accused of abusing her influence to win contracts for the Chinese company where she worked.

Morales has acknowledged he had a child with Zapata, whom he says he dated from 2005 to 2007.

But he says the boy died soon after birth, while her family insists he is alive.


March 30, 2016

Brazil leader's coalition collapses as impeachment looms

Source: AFP

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's chances of surviving impeachment nosedived Tuesday when her ruling coalition's main partner jumped ship and went into opposition.

The PMDB, the country's largest party, voted to end its alliance with Rousseff's leftist Workers' Party, or PT, immediately.

"From today, at this historic meeting of the PMDB, the PMDB withdraws from the government of President Rousseff," said Senator Romero Juca, the party vice president.

The meeting, broadcast live on national television, was the culmination of a long divorce with Rousseff, leaving Brazil's first female president grasping at straws as she tries to stay in power.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/rousseffs-main-coalition-partner-quits-brazil-government-182233491.html

Another successful CIA operation unfolds.
March 30, 2016

Venezuela: Argentina can't "disappear" leftist TV network

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Monday that Argentina would not be able to "disappear" the Telesur regional television network as it erased the lives of people during the country's military dictatorship.

"The same actors who disappeared 30,000 young people in Argentina are trying to disappear Telesur," Maduro said of the conservative Argentine government that announced Sunday it would pull its nearly 20 percent stake out of the Spanish-language network.

Argentina said it was leaving because it had been shut out of financial and editorial decisions.

Maduro said the left-leaning network started by his predecessor President Hugo Chavez would continue to inform the Argentine people and stand for truth and freedom of expression in Latin America.


Quite a way with words Ol' Nicky has.

March 28, 2016

Cuba 'has no need of gifts from the empire': Fidel Castro

Source: AFP

Cuba's Fidel Castro signaled continued resistance to rapprochement between Washington and Havana, writing in an opinion piece on Monday that his country "has no need of gifts" from the United States.

The former president, 89, remained out of sight during last week's historic visit to the communist island by US President Barack Obama which aimed to cement normalization.

In his first published remarks about the visit, Castro seemed unwilling to forgive and forget more than a half-century of enmity between the two countries, declaring in the Granma newspaper that Cuba "has no need of gifts from the empire."

He made his remarks in a piece entitled "El Hermano Obama" -- "Brother Obama."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-no-gifts-us-fidel-castro-105802607.html

I think real change in US-Cuban relations won't happen while Fidel is still around.
March 27, 2016

Sanders on Clinton’s Clooney fundraiser: ‘It is obscene’

Bernie Sanders likes George Clooney. But the Vermont senator says Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s use of the actor in a pair of high-priced fundraisers next month is nonetheless “obscene.”

“It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big-money people to fund her campaign,” Sanders said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Clinton is asking donors for $353,400 for two seats at the head table with herself, Clooney and his wife, Amal, at the April 15 event in San Francisco. The next night, the Clooneys will host a $33,400 per person fundraiser for Clinton at the couple’s Los Angeles home.

“I have a lot of respect for George Clooney. He’s a great actor. I like him,” Sanders said. “But this is the problem with American politics … Big money is dominating our political system. And [my supporters and I] are trying to move as far away from that as we can.”


Looks like Clooney goes under the bus now. At least he'll have good company -- Maddow, Dean, Wenner, and Krugman are already there.

March 26, 2016

Nude photos! Innuendo! Infidelity! Is nothing out of bounds in the GOP primary?

After years of dysfunction and polarization in Washington, it’s understandable that many voters are looking for a leader from outside the underperforming political establishment. But really, couldn’t they look up instead of down?

The contest for the Republican presidential nomination, already beset by personal attacks and vulgarity, hit a new low Friday after the National Enquirer claimed that private detectives had compiled a “dirt file” on Sen. Ted Cruz with reports of five extramarital affairs. Rather than simply ignoring the tabloid, Cruz responded publicly and at length, saying the piece was false and that his GOP rival Donald Trump had planted it.

This melodrama followed a week during which Cruz’s supporters circulated a semi-nude photo of Trump’s wife, and then Trump threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife. The jabs got under Cruz’s skin — which was almost certainly the point — leading him to denounce Trump as a “sniveling coward,” “sleazy” and, well, worse. Trump sailed along unperturbed, denying any connection to the Enquirer piece on the man he calls “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” and saying he hoped it wasn’t true. Naturally, he also noted that the Enquirer had been “right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards and many others.”

Afraid to alienate Trump’s supporters, Cruz had looked the other way through much of the campaign as Trump belittled and insulted other candidates, journalists, even entire populations. But now that Trump’s trademark personal derision has been trained on him and his family, Cruz evidently has recovered his sense of outrage. Cruz called Trump’s tactics Nixonian — an accusation that Ben Carson leveled against the Cruz campaign just last month — but the tenor of the GOP primaries has been more reminiscent of the 19th century, when candidates routinely attacked each other in deeply personal terms.


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