Friday, April 25, 2014

As The World Burns: Left Coast wackos share their concerns


Standing Up for Gay Comedians 

Charlie Ballard, an Oakland-based Native-American performer, will be a host at the massive Gathering of Nations Powwow — and this time, he's doing it in drag.

In the world of standup comedy, LGBT performers have the hardest time getting gigs. That's according to Charlie Ballard, an Oakland-based gay comedian who has extensive experience booking LGBT performers. "Gay comedians are the least booked," he said. "Comedy clubs just don't take chances on gay comedians. They just don't think we have a market." This can be a challenge, he said, even in the liberal Bay Area. So in 2011, Ballard decided to create the Hella Gay Comedy Show, a monthly event featuring LGBT and "LGBT-friendly" standup comedians.
Hella Gay has given Ballard and other gay comedians a space to push the boundaries of mainstream comedy: "My brand of standup comedy is very out there, very abrasive," he said. "I do go there. I'm not so politically correct. I will use any word in the English language to get my point across."
This weekend, Ballard is bringing his in-your-face attitude to a different kind of audience — the 31st annual Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The powwow is said to be the largest gathering of Native-American and indigenous people in the world, bringing together tens of thousands of attendees for music and dance performances across multiple stages. Ballard will host Stage 49, which showcases traditional and contemporary artists.
Ballard, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in Oakland, is a member of the Sac and Fox Nation. The 39-year-old performer is, as far as he knows, the only openly gay Native-American professional comedian. Since 1994, he has regularly attended the Gathering of Nations Powwow, and performed as a host in 2011. This time, however, he's bringing more of his Hella Gay side to the stage; he plans to host the entire show in drag (although he said his act will be "family-friendly").
While Ballard has experienced his fair share of discrimination and homophobia in the comedy industry, he said he expects the Native-American crowd to fully embrace him. "I'm going to fit in like the missing piece of the puzzle," he said. "It's just so eclectic — there are so many different artists and so many different genres. ... I just plan on being as fun as I can and it's going come out however it does. The audiences are supportive."
Since attending Sherman Indian High School, a boarding school for Native Americans in Riverside, California, Ballard said he has always felt welcome in Native-American communities, whose values, he said, emphasize caring and compassion. "I saw there were kids just like me out and open. ... I can be a queer native and be accepted." While the terminology used to describe different sexualities and gender identities varies among tribes, Ballard said he identifies with the common term "two-spirit" for LGBT Native Americans. To him, being two-spirit means "being a whole person — somebody who is at peace with themselves."
Hosting the Gathering of Nations Powwow, he said, is a significant opportunity to support an event in which Native-American artists can showcase the diversity of their work to a wide audience — and break down stereotypes in the process. "People think we are supposed to be boxed into a certain genre."
The last time Ballard hosted Stage 49, organizers praised him for "being over-the-top," he recalled, which he thought was funny given that his performance was, at least relative to his Bay Area gigs, fairly mild. "This time I'm really going to give them over-the-top." Ballard said he has refined his drag queen persona (which he sometimes refers to as "Nasty Ass Bitch") in recent years to be very different than the typical coiffed drag queen. "I'm not very well put-together," he said. "I'm the complete opposite."
Still, he said any crowd can appreciate his character. "I'm just somebody who is outrageous — somebody who will cut loose and just have fun," he said, noting that dressing in drag for him is not about looking fancy, as it often is for some drag performers in San Francisco. "For me, that's the whole point of being in drag — to just be out there bringing joy and happiness to everyone."
Organizers of the Gathering of Nations Powwow said it was important to feature a diverse group of performers, including those who identify as LGBT, said Melissa Sanchez, owner of Emergence Productions, which is the entertainment coordinator for the event. "He really engages the audience well and he puts himself out there as a performer. He's not scared to be crazy and silly," she said. "And he brings a fresh perspective."
Ballard said he's not shy about telling potentially offensive jokes. The last time he hosted the powwow, he poked fun at Navajos and Hopis, which earned him some laughs (from the Navajos when it was about the Hopis, and vice-versa, he said). His main goal is to make sure the crowd is engaged: "If I lose their attention for one moment, I'm not doing my job."
In his standup routine, he often jokes about his identity, sometimes with anecdotes about dating and sex, or with one-liners such as "It's hard being American Indian and gay. Every time I dance to house music, it rains — men."
Ultimately, Ballard hopes to see more gay comedians receive the same kind of exposure that their straight standup counterparts do — and he's willing to jump on any opportunity to introduce audiences to LGBT performers, whether it be at the Gathering of Nations or in independent movies (he recently scored his first acting gig in the film All The Others Were Practice). And while his Native-American background has given him opportunities to perform for large crowds, he only accepts gigs that allow him to embrace his LGBT identity.
"There are a lot of haters out there, especially in the standup comedy world," said Ballard, noting that he would get booked a whole lot more if he promoted himself simply as a Native-American comedian. In fact, he said he has turned down gigs from people who want a Native-American act but ask him to "not do any of the gay stuff."
Because of this unfortunate reality, Ballard works hard to bring together straight and gay comedians and crowds, most recently with Sausage Fest Comedy Show, which was held in San Francisco last month. The comedy show featured straight male comics doing sets in a gay bar — with their shirts off. Ballard said he was driven to make the event even more successful after encountering straight performers who said they didn't want to be associated with a gay show. "To be honest, I wanted to get these motherfuckers back. ... How can I make my gay show so successful that I can rub it in their face? Maybe you should've given me a chance!"
For some straight local comedians, the opportunity to perform in front of a gay audience is a welcome one. "What makes his shows unique is that he challenges comics to step outside of their comfort zone," said Tommy Arnold, a San Francisco comedian who performed at Sausage Fest. Ballard helps break down the comedy "hierarchy," which typically places straight males at the top, Arnold said. Part of that, he added, means recognizing that crowds want diverse performers, as long as they are talented: "Funny is funny."

Honor Among Thieves: Days may be numbered for Pa. Capitol's felonous portrait collection of elected criminals


York County Lawmaker Wants Felons Portraits In Capitol Removed

HARRISBURG – York County Sen. Scott Wagner plans to introduce a resolution regarding the hanging of portraits in the state Capitol honoring lawmakers who have been convicted of felonies relating to the abuse of their public office. In a memorandum, Wagner wrote that Act 140 of 1978 requires state lawmakers convicted of certain felonies to forfeit their pension benefit, yet we honor some of the same individuals with portraits in the state Capitol. Wagner added that while he recognizes that many of those individuals have played critical roles in our Commonwealth’s history and it’s impractical to leave them out of that history, he believes to revere them with portraits is a line we should not cross. Wagner’s resolution will call for an end to the practice in the state Senate and urge his colleagues in the House to do the same. Some lawmakers with portraits in the state Capitol include former Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Mellow and former House Speakers John Perzel and Bill DeWeese. The three were sent to prison on public corruption charges.


Rehashed Dem Talking Points: Gov. candidate Wolf admits part of 'Fresh Start' campaign plan plagiarized


Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf seeks support from Mon Valley and South Hills officials for his 'fresh start for Pennsylvania' campaign with a Saturday morning visit to Di's Kornerstone Diner. He is joined at the podium by U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, state Sen. James R. Brewster and McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko.

Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates on Thursday chastised businessman Tom Wolf's campaign for plagiarizing a section of his “Fresh Start” campaign platform.
Wolf acknowledged the mistake hours after U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a rival in the primary race, pointed out the plagiarism in a news release.
“I have directed the staff to make sure nothing like this ever happens again and have asked for a new process to be put in place to ensure it does not,” said Wolf in a statement.
Spokesman Mark Nicastre said the campaign terminated the person responsible and would make “appropriate changes” to the plan.
Four paragraphs from the platform include sentences that are identical to sections of two papers published by Johnson Controls, an international energy equipment distributor. The company is not cited on Wolf's website, where the “Fresh Start” plan appears prominently.
“Tom Wolf claims to be a different type of candidate,” said Mark Bergman, spokesman for the Schwartz campaign. “He says he will take us in a new direction with a ‘Fresh Start' policy, yet the words aren't even his own.”
Schwartz and Wolf are in a four-way primary race with former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty and state Treasurer Rob McCord. The McGinty campaign declined to comment.
“It's not surprising that Tom Wolf is stealing his policy ideas from corporations,” said Cameron Kline, McCord's spokesman. “After all, his natural gas policy leaves hundreds of millions of dollars in the drilling companies' pockets — almost like it was their idea.”
Wolf has advocated imposing a 5 percent gas extraction tax. McCord wants a 10 percent tax.
Christopher Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, said the issue is embarrassing but unlikely to cripple Wolf's campaign.
In 1988, Vice President Joe Biden withdrew from running for president when it was revealed that portions of his stump speech used lines from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock. The lines referred to his childhood. This information, Borick said, has less impact.
“This is a problem for the Wolf team but not one that, by itself, is a gigantic hurdle for them,” Borick said.
The Wolf campaign said the 46-page plan collected ideas from the public and private sectors and nonprofits.
“It was important to us to give credit where credit was due,” Nicastre said. “The language that has been pointed out should never have appeared in the manner in which it did. We are putting processes in place to make sure this does not happen again. This was a mistake, and we regret it.”
The phrases appear in the natural resources chapter of the plan under the heading, “Accelerating Potential Job Growth and Investments in Energy Efficiency.”
That section lifts nearly a dozen sentences about energy and related financing from papers authored by Johnson Control researchers.
A company spokesman declined to comment.
“Energy efficiency has been called the ‘fifth fuel' — a new source of energy that can be tapped to drive economic growth,” says one line.
Wolf's campaign has quoted liberally from the plan on the campaign trail. It outlines his opinions on education, jobs, infrastructure and government reform.
He has led the Democratic primary throughout 2014, according to polls. Schwartz trails as a distant second, per the latest poll from the Center for Public Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College.
The primary is on May 20. The winner likely will face Gov. Tom Corbett, a first-term Republican.

Predictable: 9/11 museum film draws heat for portrayal of Islam


The September 11 Museum entrance, center, sits between the September 11 Memorial pools, left and right, at the World Trade Center Monday, April 14, 2014 in New York.
The September 11 Museum entrance, center, sits between the September 11 Memorial pools, left and right, at the World Trade Center Monday, April 14, 2014 in New York.

NEW YORK   — A film that will be shown at the National September 11 Memorial Museum when it opens next month unfairly links Islam and terrorism, clergy members said in letters demanding it be changed.

"The Rise of Al Qaeda," a brief documentary narrated by NBC anchor Brian Williams, shows the growth of international terrorist groups in the years leading up to the 2001 attacks. The film has not been publicly released, but museum officials have screened it for groups including an interfaith clergy advisory panel.

Members of the clergy group sent a letter to museum officials this week asking that the film be re-edited to make it clear that not all Muslims support the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center.

"We continue to posit that the video may very well leave viewers with the impression that all Muslims bear some collective guilt or responsibility for the actions of al-Qaida, or even misinterpret its content to justify bigotry or even violence toward Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim (e.g., Sikhs)," the clergy members wrote. The signers included Peter B. Gudaitis, chief executive of New York Disaster Interfaith Services, and the Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York.

Officials at the Sept. 11 museum, which opens May 21 at the trade center site, said the film doesn't suggest that all Muslims are terrorists.

"Our No. 1 standard is, are we objectively telling the story of what happened? And we feel like we've satisfied that," the museum's executive director, Joe Daniels, said Thursday. He said museum officials "stand by the scholarship that underlies the creation of this video."

An imam, Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy of the Masjid Manhattan mosque, resigned from the museum's advisory panel last month to protest the film. He said in a separate letter to the museum's director that the film "in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum."

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee called concerns expressed about the documentary "extremely worrisome."

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said museum officials should not reinforce negative stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists.

"Generations of visitors to this facility will be influenced by the contents of the displays and the presentations," Hooper said. "It's going to be very important how Islam and the American Muslim community are portrayed."


Larwyn's Linx: Tea Party Claims First Victory in 2014


I felt like we needed more outsiders in Washington

With the 2014 mid-term elections 6 months away, the Tea Party has claimed its first victory.
Curt Clawson won a contentious GOP primary in Southwest Florida, filling the seat recently vacated by Trey Radel.
A businessman who spent more than $2 million in TV ads, Clawson was an unknown only a few months ago. He called himself an "outsider" against the more established Republicans:

Drawing support from Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, Clawson is to run in a special election on June 24 against Democrat April Freeman. Clawson is expected to win the solidly Republican district.
In another tweet, Clawson made it known why he decided to run.

Builder in 'kids for cash' scandal to be sentenced


SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A developer at the center of one of the biggest judicial scandals in U.S. history is scheduled to be sentenced in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Federal prosecutors say two Luzerne County judges took $2.1 million in kickbacks from Robert Mericle, builder of a pair of for-profit youth detention centers. Former Judges Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh) Jr. and Michael Conahan are serving lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.
Mericle pleaded guilty to concealing a felony. He faces eight to 14 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but could receive less based on his testimony against Ciavarella. Mericle will be sentenced by a federal judge in Scranton on Friday.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out some 4,000 juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he routinely trampled on juvenile offenders' civil rights.
(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Propagandists from N.C. join with national Leftists to spew agendas at huge rally


Moogfest begins with jobs panel, protest, surprise McCrory visit

Pat McCrory made a surprise appearance at a Moogfest VIP party at the Aloft Hotel. Photo by Alicia Funderburk
Pat McCrory made a surprise appearance at a Moogfest VIP party at the Aloft Hotel. Photo by Alicia Funderburk
Photo by Alicia Funderberk
Photo by Alicia Funderberk
At Moogfest’s first big panel discussion on April 23, state and local leaders discussed the role of technology and innovation in cultivating economic development.
Mike Adams, CEO of Moog Music, said the goal of the panel was to “get people thinking about economic development” in ways that are outside of the box. “It doesn’t have to be just the traditional economic development approach… We’re transforming from an industrial age to an information age.”
Asheville has become “a place where a lot of young people want to be,” he said, asking, “but how do we capitalize on that in a meaningful way?”
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer also participated as a panelist, and said that the ultimate economic goal is to take actions so that young people can “find high-paying, high-quality jobs that are fulfilling.” Supporting Moogfest with $90,000 in grants and in-kind donations is an investment in helping lure innovative job creators to town, she said. Other steps, Manheimer said, include building the kind of pedestrian infrastructure and educational programs that increase the area’s quality of life.
“To get into hi-tech jobs, we need to look at education,” she said, noting that a big challenge is that the area lags behind other cities in terms of the percentage of the population that has advanced degrees.
Adams also lamented the area’s lack of highly skilled workers in technology and engineering. The last three employes his company hired, he said, came from California, because it couldn’t find qualified local applicants.
Panelist Casey Steinbacher, CEO of the Durham Chamber of Commerce, advised local leaders that the best thing they can do to lure savvy companies and workers to Asheville is improve the quality of life through smart investment in infrastructure and social programs. Investing in multimodal public transportation infrastructure is key, she said.
Car ownership is less important to a new generation of educated workers who are looking for walkability and livability, she said. Her organization is working with others to build a new high-speed rail system between Durham, Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle Park, she reported.
Economic incentives play a role in luring companies to relocate and expand, Steinbacher added, but such arrangements aren’t as important to fostering a creative culture as good schools.  The most important draw for a technology company is the talent pool, she said.
Robert Geolas, CEO of the research Triangle Park Foundation, agreed. Ultimately, he said, companies’ location decisions are based more on quality of life factors than tax breaks.  “People are willing to pay more, when they get more for it,” he said.
Scroll through the slideshow to see more photos from the protest outside of Diana Wortham Theater. (Alicia Funderburk/ Mountain Xpress)

Protestors declare short-lived victory; McCrory makes surprise Moogfest appearance

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was originally scheduled to appear on the panel, but was disinvited by Moogfest organizers after local protestors planned a rally outside of Diana Wortham Theater, where the event was held.
However, about 50 protestors still showed up outside of the panel discussion at the Vance Memorial. They rallied against a wide variety of GOP state policies, from legislators refusal to expand Medicaid access to the approval of more restrictive voter laws.
Rally organizer Andrew Lafiosca said McCrory’s removal from the next door panel discussion was a “victory.”
“Because of our efforts, the governor was told to stay home,” he declared. “The reality is we can make a difference.”
The protestors, Lafiosca said, were “not against growing the economy.” But he alleged that McCrory is corrupt and that protestors didn’t want the governor to “use our city as a PR rest stop.”
Meanwhile, a short while later, McCrory made a surprise appearance at a Moogfest VIP party just down the road at the Aloft Hotel. He mingled with attendees for about an hour and reportedly said he supported Moogfest’s goal of boosting the economy.

Media provides few clues to catagorically idenify of 4 unnamed teenaged criminals


Teens arrested after ditching gun from getaway car in San Juan

Four teens are facing criminal charges after they allegedly tried to run over somebody and then ditched a gun from their getaway car.
Investigators said the incident started just outside Alamo city limits and ended in San Juan late Thursday afternoon.
Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office deputies are investigating the case.
According to preliminary reports, the teens were all in a car that was used to try to run over a person just outside Alamo.
A security guard from a nearby school saw what happened and called 911.
The teens reportedly ditched a gun from their car off Raul Longoria and Sioux Roads.
San Juan police located their car down the street on Raul Longoria and Nolana Avenue where they were all taken into custody.

Ukraine: “5 Terrorists” Killed in Operation in Sloviansk


KIEV – Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Thursday that “five terrorists” were killed in a military operation against pro-Russian militias in the southeastern city of Sloviansk.

“Five terrorists died in the armed clash,” the ministry said on its Web site.

Ukrainian Interior Ministry forces and military troops tore down three militant checkpoints set up northeast of the city center, the statement said, adding that one police officer was wounded in the operation.

Sloviansk, with close to 120,000 inhabitants, is one of the strongholds of an uprising against the central government in Kiev that erupted nearly three weeks ago in Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking southeast.

“We’re surrounded ... We have enough strength to offer resistance,” Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the self-proclaimed mayor of Sloviansk and militia leader, told the Moscow-based Russia-24 news channel.

The Ukrainian government said Wednesday that it was resuming its anti-terrorist operation against illegal armed formations in the country’s southeast.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov made the decision after the discovery last weekend of the body of Volodymyr Rybak, an anti-separatist town councilor in eastern Ukraine who, according to Kiev, was kidnapped and murdered by Russian undercover agents.

Prior to his disappearance, Rybak was seen in video footage last Thursday being jostled by a pro-Russian crowd outside the city hall in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlovka, located between the separatist strongholds of Slovianska and Donetsk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned Ukrainian authorities that punitive operations against the population in southeastern Ukraine would have “consequences” for those who made those decisions and for relations between Moscow and Kiev.

Long-simmering tensions between pro-European western Ukraine and the country’s eastern region, which has close ties with Russia, were exacerbated by the ouster in late February of President Viktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin ally.

In the wake of his removal from office, Moscow sent troops to the strategic region of Crimea.

It subsequently annexed that peninsula last month – a move the West considers illegitimate – after its mostly Russian-speaking population voted in a referendum to break off from the Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

Moscow says Yanukovych was removed from office on Feb. 22 by far-right Ukrainian nationalists and that it moved to protect ethnic Russians and Russian interests in Crimea in the wake of that development.


Greenpeace Urges Mexico to Promote Renewable Energy


MEXICO CITY – Greenpeace protesters at a conference in this capital urged the Mexican government to promote renewable forms of energy to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Holding up a banner reading “More Renewable Energy, Less Oil,” the Greenpeace activists tried to interrupt Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell’s speech at the second edition of Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos’ ExpoForo event, which ends Thursday.

Security personnel responded by removing the activists from Mexico City’s Banamex convention center, where the gathering is being held, Mexican financial daily El Economista reported.

The energy overhaul adopted last December “fell short of addressing our country’s challenges and commitments to combat climate change,” Greenpeace Mexico spokesman Hector Magallon said outside the building.

However, the overhaul’s still-pending implementing legislation “gives us the opportunity to move toward a low-emission model,” he said.

The Greenpeace members distributed pamphlets with their demands outside the convention center.

Mexico accounts for 1.4 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions and ranks as the world’s 12th-biggest polluter, Magallon said, citing U.N. figures, adding that the energy sector is responsible for 67.3 percent of Mexico’s carbon-dioxide emissions.

“Our planet urgently needs us to stop burning fossil fuels and to take advantage of sun and wind to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change,” he said.

Among other measures, Magallon said shale-gas development should be banned, contending that the extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” contaminates aquifers with heavy metals.

He also called for tax incentives for companies developing renewable energy sources and disincentives for those that are greenhouse-gas emitters.


Venezuela Economy: Venezuelan Government Keeps Adding Fuel to the Fire


From the Editors of VenEconomy

The Venezuelan economy is in free fall, the streets of the country are on fire due to protests and the peace dialogue between the Government and the opposition and business leaders has shown no signs of a genuine intention of the State in changing course. On the contrary, it maintains an unbending stance while it keeps tightening the screws of castro-communism in the country.

So true this is that Nicol├ís Maduro and his entourage will do what it takes to complete their task of building the “new man” required for the perpetuation of the so-called Socialism of the 21st century; and to that end, the Government has called for a “National Consultation for the Quality of Education” that started on Wednesday throughout the 29,000 “simoncitos” (communal preschool education centers), public/private schools and secondary education establishments nationwide.

This consultation is supposed to open a wide debate for five months throughout the national territory, which supposedly would involve all segments of the population, including parents and guardians, teachers and students. The goal of this “debate” would be that of defining “three fundamental components” through which the country’s educational system will be conducted in the future. Legal instruments derived from the current Organic Law of Education, the National Curriculum and the Ten-Year Educational Plan. As if the Government had not fully defined these already!

The “Bolivarians” don’t mind at all that the subject of education is a nerve center and epicenter of conflicts with civil society and the sector comprised by students and teachers. This has been a highly controversial subject since the beginning of the revolutionary onslaught against the Venezuelan educational system in 2000 with an attempt to impose the “Decree 1011,” which sought to regulate the teaching profession and create the figure of roving supervisors with extensive powers so they could intervene in the affairs of any public or private school.

It is a provocation on the part of the Government to start a “consultation” like this in times of student protests. Besides that it has no sense of opportunity since the impression we get from the controversial peace dialogue between the State and members of the MUD opposition party is either a pamphlet without a purpose of change or some adjustments to policies of the Revolution.

Another point in this controversial “consultation,” which will be carried out in two phases (concentrated and expanded), is the factor of trust from arbitrators and judges to evaluate a series of surveys to be conducted in public places, on the telephone, via e-mail and on the web site, according to a statement by the Ministry of Education. Who can believe these surveys will be objective and impartial, in a country where neither justice nor electoral processes are transparent?

This consultation is seen as a joke, such as all the previous ones that have been carried out for the enactment of socialist and revolutionary laws, such as those of renting spaces at shopping malls, media outlets and labor, just to mention three of them. Alleged “popular consultations” for the “legislating” people, in which only have participated organized groups loyal to the ruling party indoctrinated to agree with everything the Government says or does without having a critical opinion or previous analysis.

The reason why the entire educational community and civil society are on a heightened state of alert is because they anticipate this scenario of unidirectional, monolithic and undebatable “consultation” process may be repeated any time in the future with another public sector. We all know well that the bad intentions of the Maduro administration will make the purpose of this “National Consultation for the Quality of Education” different from improving the educational system, a task that would be commendable and plausible, as it will end up attaching education to the interests of the castro-communist process.

VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.
Click here to read this in Spanish


Thursday, April 24, 2014

NAME THAT PARTY: Dirty politics, beating lands two in jail



Port Isabel City Commissioner Place 2 Maria de Jesus or “MJ” Garza is seeking re-election but Robin Sagnes Ochoa also wants the seat - and apparently friendly competition in this case, may have gone too far.
Cameron County Sheriff Deputies arrested Ochoa's husband, Orlando Ochoa Sr., and his son Orlando Ochoa, Jr. for assaulting a man they allegedly first hired for dirty politics.
"He was hired by Orlando Ochoa to illegally remove political adds in the City of Port Isabel…under the condition that he would pay him $5 per sign that he took down," Cameron County Chief Deputy Gus Reyna said.
According to Reyna, witnesses reported the man taking down Garza's signs, to Port Isabel Police.
Officers arrested  Duvillo Grava and charged him with theft. That's when he told officers that Ochoa hired him.
Police records state, that same day, the Ochoa's took matters into their own hands.
"Grava was assaulted by Orlando Ochoa and Orlando Ochoa, Jr., for telling Port Isabel P.D. that Orlando Ochoa paid him to take off the political signs,” Reyna said.
Documents state Ochoa Sr. yelled obscenities and repeatedly punched the man on the head and body, while threatening to kill him if he didn't obey him Later Ochoa Jr. kicked Grava, records state, while he begged him to stop.
Commissioner Garza declined to comment on camera, but did confirm that more than five signs valued, at about $15 each, were stolen from homes or businesses.
She said the ordeal is surprising because Ochoa Sr., is her own cousin.
Right now, Ochoa Sr. is charged for retaliation, assault, terroristic threat and tampering with witnesses for a bond of over $125,000.
Ochoa, Jr. is charged with retaliation and assault for a $100,000 bond.
"It can be a bicycle- it doesn't make a difference what it is- the thing is that you're committing a crime by taking something that doesn't belong to you," Reyna said.
Early Voting is from April 28 to May 6; Election Day is May 10.