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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: 9,642

Journal Archives

The latest poll numbers in Ecuador are a bad sign for Julian Assange

Ecuador will elect a new president April 2, and poll results are not looking good for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

According to a Feb. 23-24 survey of 2,834 Ecuadorans by the Cedatos polling agency, right-wing challenger Guillermo Lasso is leading the ruling party candidate, Lenin Moreno, by a margin of 52 to 48 percent.

Lasso has pledged to evict Assange from Ecuador’s embassy in London within 30 days if he is elected.

Assange has lived at the embassy since 2012 under the protection of Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa, but Correa is ineligible to run for a third term. The WikiLeaks founder has lived in a small converted office at the embassy during that time, and if he is forced to leave, he would be subject to arrest as soon as he steps on the sidewalk.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/27/the-latest-poll-numbers-in-ecuador-are-a-bad-sign-for-julian-assange

Melania Trump Looks Down On Husband From Gallery With Loving Grimace

North Korea 'executed five security officials with anti-aircraft guns' over false reports

Source: AP

North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that "enraged" leader Kim Jong-un, South Korea's spy agency said Monday.

The comments by the National Intelligence Service in a private briefing to lawmakers come as Malaysia investigates the poisoning death of Kim's estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong-nam.

That investigation is still going on, but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong-un ordered the assassination, which took place February 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport.

The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong were executed by anti-aircraft guns because of the false reports to Kim, South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-executed-five-security-152641011.html



That's harsh. But effective.

Electric cars are set to arrive far more speedily than anticipated

THE high-pitched whirr of an electric car may not stir the soul like the bellow and growl of an internal combustion engine (ICE). But to compensate, electric motors give even the humblest cars explosive acceleration. Electric cars are similarly set for rapid forward thrust. Improving technology and tightening regulations on emissions from ICEs is about to propel electric vehicles (EVs) from a niche to the mainstream. After more than a century of reliance on fossil fuels, however, the route from petrol power to volts will be a tough one for carmakers to navigate.

The change of gear is recent. One car in a hundred sold today is powered by electricity. The proportion of EVs on the world’s roads is still well below 1%. Most forecasters had reckoned that by 2025 that would rise to around 4%. Those estimates are undergoing a big overhaul as carmakers announce huge expansions in their production of EVs. Morgan Stanley, a bank, now says that by 2025 EV sales will hit 7m a year and make up 7% of vehicles on the road. Exane BNP Paribas, another bank, reckons that it could be more like 11%. But as carmakers plan for ever more battery power, even these figures could quickly seem too low.

Ford’s boss is bolder still. In January Mark Fields announced that the “era of the electric vehicle is dawning”, and he reckons that the number of models of EVs will exceed pure ICE-powered cars within 15 years. Ford has promised 13 new electrified cars in the next five years. Others are making bigger commitments. Volkswagen, the world’s biggest carmaker, said last year that it would begin a product blitz in 2020 and launch 30 new battery-powered models by 2025, when EVs will account for up to a quarter of its sales. Daimler, a German rival, also recently set an ambitious target of up to a fifth of sales by the same date.

The surge has two explanations: the rising cost of complying with emissions regulations and the falling cost of batteries. Pure EVs, which send no carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere, and hybrids, which produce far less than conventional engines, are a way to meet Europe’s emissions targets—albeit an expensive one. But the gains from cheaper methods such as turbocharging smaller engines, stop-start technology and weight reductions will no longer be enough, since a tougher testing regime, to be introduced in the wake of VW’s diesel-cheating scandal, will make those targets still harder to reach.

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21717070-carmakers-face-short-term-pain-and-long-term-gain-electric-cars-are-set-arrive-far-more

Bin Laden raid architect McRaven says Trump media attack threatens democracy

Source: Yahoo News

The retired admiral who designed and oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden says President Trump’s superheated charge that the mainstream news media is the “enemy of the American people” is not just wrong, but also could pose a dire threat to American democracy. Reporters, however, must get their facts right, cite reliable sources and be aware of their own biases and pride.

“The president said the news media is the enemy of the American people,” William McRaven said Tuesday. “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”

The former Joint Special Operations Command leader, now chancellor of the University of Texas system, made the remarks at the inaugural event of the Communication and Leadership Speaker Series at UT’s Belo Center for New Media. McRaven graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in journalism.

“I will tell you as journalism majors, as Americans, you should challenge that sentiment and that statement every opportunity you can,” he continued. “We must challenge this statement, and this sentiment, that the news media is the enemy of the American people.”

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/bin-laden-raid-architect-mcraven-says-trump-media-attack-threatens-democracy-143623267.html



McRaven is a Special Forces icon.

Gov. Brownback's tax policies barely survive after Kansas Senate vote

Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy was saved by three votes on Wednesday when a divided Kansas Senate preserved his veto of a bill that would have increased income taxes and generated $1 billion over two years.

Lawmakers are left to contemplate a path forward to close a budget gap projected to be more than $1 billion through June 2019.

Senate leaders have called for patience as other options are weighed, but many lawmakers in the House remain committed to rolling back Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts, which they blame for the state’s fiscal hole. A compromise could take months.

The Senate vote capped off a dramatic day at the Kansas Capitol that began with Brownback’s veto. The Kansas House voted 85-40 to override the veto two hours later.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article134395734.html

What's the matter with Kansas?

When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

The European far right sees much to admire in the United States, with political leaders such as Marine le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands celebrating events — such as the recent presidential election — that seem to bode well for their brand of ethno-nationalism. Is this cross-Atlantic bond unprecedented? A sharp break with the past? If it seems so, that’s only because we rarely acknowledge America’s place in the extremist vanguard — its history as a model, even, for the very worst European excesses.

In the late 1920s, Adolf Hitler declared in “Mein Kampf” that America was the "one state" making progress toward the creation of a healthy race-based order. He had in mind U.S. immigration law, which featured a quota system designed, as Nazi lawyers observed, to preserve the dominance of "Nordic" blood in the United States.

The American commitment to putting race at the center of immigration policy reached back to the Naturalization Act of 1790, which opened citizenship to "any alien, being a free white person." But immigration was only part of what made the U.S. a world leader in racist law in the age of Hitler.

Then as now, the U.S. was the home of a uniquely bold and creative legal culture, and it was harnessed in the service of white supremacy. Legislators crafted anti-miscegenation statutes in 30 states, some of which threatened severe criminal punishment for interracial marriage. And they developed American racial classifications, some of which deemed any person with even "one drop" of black blood to belong to the disfavored race. Widely denied the right to vote through clever devices like literacy tests, blacks were de facto second-class citizens. American lawyers also invented new forms of de jure second-class citizenship for Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and more.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-whitman-hitler-american-race-laws-20170222-story.html

Interesting and disturbing article.

Americans buy existing homes at fastest pace in a decade

Source: LA Times

Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007. That has set off bidding wars that have pushed up prices as the supply of available homes has dwindled to record lows.

Home sales rose 3.3% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Assn. of Realtors said Wednesday.

Steady job gains, modest pay raises and rising consumer confidence are spurring healthy home buying even though borrowing costs have risen since last fall. Some potential buyers may be accelerating their home purchases to get ahead of any further increases in mortgage rates. With few homes available for sale, buyers feel pressure to rapidly close a deal when they find a suitable property.

The typical house for sale was on the market for just 50 days last month, down from 64 days a year earlier. Strong demand is pushing up the median home price, which jumped 7.1% from a year earlier to $228,900.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-home-sales-20170222-story.html

AMERICANS OVERWHELMINGLY SAY LIVES HAVE IMPROVED SINCE KELLYANNE CONWAY WENT AWAY

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—An overwhelming majority of Americans say that their lives have improved since Kellyanne Conway went away, a new poll finds.

According to the poll, Americans have been sleeping more, eating better, and enjoying a markedly greater sense of well-being following Conway’s sudden departure.

“I had lost my zest for life,” Carol Foyler, a poll respondent, said. “Now that Kellyanne Conway is gone, I greet every day with a smile, I feel my energy coming back, and I want to have sex again.”

Across the nation, medical professionals have reported striking improvements in patients’ mental health since the White House counsellor vanished, a phenomenon some doctors are calling the Conway Effect.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/americans-overwhelmingly-say-lives-have-improved-since-kellyanne-conway-went-away

In Trump's future looms a familiar shutdown threat

Add a potential government shutdown to President Donald Trump's growing roster of headaches.

Beneath the capital's radar looms a vexing problem — a catchall spending package that's likely to top $1 trillion and could get embroiled in the politics of building Trump's wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a budget-busting Pentagon request.

While a shutdown deadline has a few weeks to go, the huge measure looms as an unpleasant reality check for Trump and Republicans controlling Congress.

Despite the big power shift in Washington, the path to success — and averting a shuttering of the government — goes directly through Senate Democrats, whose votes are required to pass the measure. And any measure that satisfies Democrats and their new leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, is sure to alienate tea party Republicans. Trump's determination to build his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border faces a fight with Democrats, too.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-future-looms-familiar-shutdown-threat-083328233--finance.html
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