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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: 9,637

Journal Archives

Ortega tightens grip on Nicaragua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega won even more control over the levers of his nation when 28 opposition lawmakers were ousted from parliament by electoral authorities.

The move meant "all formalities and pillars of representative democracy have been eliminated; we are face-to-face with a dictatorship," charged an ex-lawmaker, Jose Pallais.

Ortega, a former leftwing rebel seen as an authoritarian leader, is standing for re-election to a third term in November elections.

He is expected to win in the face of an increasingly fragmented opposition.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ortega-tightens-grip-nicaragua-032654178.html

Isn't Danny supposed to be one of the good, admirable leftists? I guess I need a turgid scolding from some LatAm internet scholar to clarify the situation for me.

On a walk with Michael Dukakis as he picks up litter

On his two-mile walk to work, the distinguished professor crosses a playground, whips a crumpled plastic grocery bag out of his canvas briefcase, and plucks a tissue – a used tissue – off the ground.

You stifle the “ew!” if you want to keep up with his brisk pace. It seems like a low-impact task for a man who served 12 years as the governor of Massachusetts and was the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, but that’s not how Michael Dukakis sees picking up litter.

This is going to be a two-bag day for the octogenarian. That is, by the end of his daily constitutional from his Brookline home to Northeastern University in Boston, he’ll have filled two bags with the detritus of the people.

Mr. Dukakis was nominated 28 years ago this summer to run against George H.W. Bush. It may have been his last election campaign, but Dukakis – who serves on the boards of seven organizations and teaches public policy – stumps on earnestly for an array of civic causes. One of them he takes very personally: litter, and its close cousins, graffiti and billboards.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2016/0728/On-a-walk-with-Michael-Dukakis-as-he-picks-up-litter

What a decent person.

Tesla's Autopilot makes for a smooth highway cruise

This week, Autopilot helped me drive a Tesla Model S luxury electric sedan from the Bay Area to Reno, about 240 miles on Interstate 80.

The next day, it helped me drive back.

Everybody I talk to wants to know: Did I like the car? Did I like Autopilot? Is it ready for prime time?

My answers: Yes, yes, and sort of.

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-tesla-autopilot-review-20160728-snap-story.html

Reid: 'Absolute fraud' Grayson should drop Fla. Senate bid

Source: AP

Top Democrats are pressuring Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson to drop his bid for U.S. Senate in Florida following reports he physically abused his ex-wife.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that Grayson is an "absolute fraud," adding: "Now having whacked his ex-wife around a few times ... I don't know who supports him other than himself."

Reid has tangled in the past with Grayson, an unpredictable liberal firebrand who is defying Democratic leaders' wishes by challenging their favored candidate, moderate Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, in the Aug. 30 Florida primary.

Reid's comments to reporters in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention followed a similar statement a day earlier from the No. 3 Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, who is on track to be the party's leader in the chamber next year.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/reid-absolute-fraud-grayson-drop-fla-senate-bid-151220034--election.html

Venezuela to reassign private, public workers to agriculture

Venezuela said private and public companies will be obliged to let their workers be reassigned to grow crops, in a dramatic move in the middle of the country's crippling economic crisis.

The Labor Ministry announced the measure as part of the economic emergency already in effect; it will require all employers in Venezuela to let the state have their workers "to strengthen production" of food.

President Nicolas Maduro's government is fighting for its life amid staggering inflation and shortages of everything from food to toilet paper, diapers and shampoo.

Maduro, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, has increasingly moved the country towards taking over parts of the economy.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-reassign-private-public-workers-agriculture-014558981.html

Sounds like Maduro's version of Mao's Cultural Revolution is in motion.

Venezuela government aims to sink Maduro recall, opposition protests

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government sought on Tuesday to scupper a push by the opposition to oust him this year via a referendum, while his opponents called for protests.

As the OPEC nation faces an unprecedented economic crisis, both sides are deadlocked over a provision in the constitution allowing a recall referendum halfway through the president's six-year term.

Government supporters lodged a complaint at the election board saying the Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition falsified signatures in an initial collection to trigger the process.

"They are committing grave fraud and corruption," senior Socialist Party leader Jorge Rodriguez told reporters outside the election council, saying signatures of nearly 11,000 dead people and 3,000 minors were included.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-government-aims-sink-maduro-recall-opposition-protests-000303892--business.html

SEEMINGLY DECENT HUMAN BEING’S INVOLVEMENT IN 2016 ELECTION CONFUSES VOTERS

MIAMI (The Borowitz Report)—The involvement of a seemingly decent human being in the 2016 election campaign left American voters stunned and deeply bewildered on Saturday.

In interviews across the country, voters expressed reactions ranging from shock to total incomprehension at the campaign début of a man who, at first blush, exhibits none of the outward characteristics of a sociopath or clinical narcissist.

Furthermore, the man’s evident failure to be the target of fraud lawsuits, sexual-harassment claims, or federal criminal investigations was, in the parlance of many voters, “weird.”

“He seems like a nice guy, the kind of person you might enjoy spending time with and getting to know better,” said Harland Dorrinson, age thirty-two, who watched the man’s unveiling on TV. “I don’t know. The whole thing feels like some kind of prank.”

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/seemingly-decent-human-beings-involvement-in-2016-election-confuses-voters

Brain training may forestall dementia onset for years, new study says

If you’re intent on keeping dementia at bay, new research suggests you’ll need more than crossword puzzles, aerobic exercise and an active social life. In a study released Sunday, researchers found that older adults who did exercises to shore up the speed at which they processed visual information could cut by nearly half their likelihood of cognitive decline or dementia over a 10-year period.

The new clinical trial results, presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s International Conference in Toronto, establish specialized brain training as a potentially powerful strategy to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and other afflictions, including normal aging, that sap memory and reduce function.

With 76 million baby boomers reaching the age of maximum vulnerability to Alzheimer’s and with no effective treatments available to alter the disease’s progression, researchers are keen to find ways to prevent or delay the onset of the memory-robbing disease. The new research suggests that even years after it is administered, an inexpensive intervention without unwanted side effects might forestall dementia symptoms.

The latest results emerged from a 10-year study that compared the effects of three forms of brain training in a group of 2,802 cognitively healthy seniors. The ACTIVE study — short for Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly — was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-brain-training-dementia-20160724-snap-story.html

If California's a 'bad state for business,' why is it leading the nation in job and GDP growth?

State and federal statistics released as recently as Friday make it clear: California is smoking hot, economy-wise.

The state gained 40,300 jobs in June and 461,000 over the year. With a gain of 2.9%, that was the best 12-month record of any large state except Florida, which won by a nostril with a gain of 3%, and much better than the nation as a whole (1.7%). According to the congressional Joint Economic Committee, California leads the nation in growth in its gross domestic product, which grew by 4.2% in 2015 — more than twice the national rate.

This record raises numerous questions, the most interesting of which is: So what’s all that guff about California being a “business-unfriendly” state?

We ask because grousing from business lobbies about California’s economic climate continues unabated. CNBC, which ranks all states according to “60 measures of competitiveness,” placed California way down at No. 32 in its 2016 rankings this week. In his “Rich States, Poor States” ranking for the conservative, pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, conservative economist Arthur Laffer places California at a dismal 46th in economic outlook for 2016.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-california-econ-growth-20160722-snap-story.html

Venezuelan civil servants signed a petition to oust the president. Now they’re losing their jobs.

Source: Washington Post

“You must know what you did,” Eva Belloso’s boss said to her when she was fired without notice this month after 24 years with Venezuela’s tax and customs service.

Belloso, who was coordinator of legal services at Seniat (as the agency is known) in Zulia state, said she told her boss she had no idea, “unless it has something to do with my signature for the recall referendum.”

“That must be it,” her boss said, according to her account.

The same thing happened that week to Juvenal Rosales, a nine-year Seniat employee in Caracas — with one difference: Rosales got an oblique heads-up.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/23/venezuelan-civil-servants-signed-a-petition-to-oust-the-president-now-theyre-losing-their-jobs
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