November 28, 2004

Municipal Elections: La Recta Final.

MABB is a registered TM.

On December 5, 2004, Bolivia will again go to the ballots to elect local governments. This will be a major test, not only for Bolivian democracy, but for the decentralization process as well. These elections will be the first ones in which voters will have other choices than just those the traditional political parties present them with. Thanks to the recently approved Ley de Agrupaciones Ciudadanas y Pueblos Indigenas (roughly translated to Law of Citizen Groups and Indigenous Peoples) promulgated on July 6, 2004, voters will be able to chose among candidates representing Agrupaciones Ciudadanas and Pueblos Indigenas. This law, essentially demonopolized Bolivian politics, making it possible for different citizens groups and indigenous organizations to present alternatives.

As a result, the pool of candidates has exploded. According to the Corte Nacional Electoral CNE, there will be 12,946 candidates up for election this coming December 5. Encouragingly, 35.93 % of the total candidates will be women and 64.07 % will be men. One other interesting fact is, when we look at the total people able to vote (4,531,744), 23.5% are between the ages 22 and 30. Moreover, the group of people between 31 and 40 represent 23.3% of the electorate. Together, these two groups make almost half of the people eligible to vote. This is not surprising since Bolivians between 20 and 40 years old make up about 28% of the entire population. The Bolivian population as well as the electorate is relatively young.

The older generations are represented as follows: the group of voters between 41 and 50 years old make up 18.14% of eligible voters, and the groups between 51 to 65, 66 to 70 and over 70, make up 16.66%, 3.4% and 8.5% respectively.

For more coverage of Bolivian Municipal Elections visit Barrio Flores. Eduardo Avila has been covering this process closely. He takes you right into de middle of the political parties' rallies.

As far as I can see. The elections are set to proceed without any major event. The people are fully engaged in the process. We'll see in the next few days if it stays the same or something else develops. As always, following Bolivian politics is a roller coaster.

November 25, 2004

A full plate for the Congress

MABB is a registered TM.

The Bolivian Congress has a full plate before them to finish by early next year. Among other important issues to be considered by both chambers, like the Constituent Assembly, the legislative is pressed to finish work on the Hydrocarbons Law (pdf) (Ley de Hydrocarburos), the upcoming municipal elections, the national budget (Presupuesto General de la Nacion or PGN) and the appointment of justices and District Attorneys (DA).

The Hydrocarbons Law is most likely to be postponed to be finished next year. The reasons being the December municipal elections and the PGN. Nevertheless, some work on the energy bill has been finalized. Articles dealing with the ownership of the natural resources; procedures reviving the national oil company; YPFB (Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos) and guidelines for YPFB, were passed by the Deputies Chamber yesterday.

The municipal elections are set to be held on December 5. The legislative is planning a recess so legislators can turn their attention to local issues arising from the elections. For its part, the elections are right on schedule. By December 3, free and paid campaigning is set to stop, the ballots are already in the precincts and elections officials are all ready.

Although some have called for the consideration of the PGN after the elections, the legislative wants to get this issue done before the elections. This is a very ambitious wish but not unlikely. Congress knows that if it doesn't get it done soon and to the liking of the Executive, President Mesa will act, backed by Article 147 of the Constitution, to elevate the project to law. Congress does not have much choice but to work on it.

The issue most likely to be left for early 2005 is the appointments of judges and DAs in the Legislative Branch. Here, Congress is also pressured by the Executive. On the eve of July 31, 2004, Mr. Mesa filled, by a decree (Decreto Supremo), these posts that had been in provisional status for over a decade (read my post on this here). This was the beginning of an ever harshening relations between Congress and the President.

November 23, 2004

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

MABB is a registered TM.

This post is purely for entertainment. Nothing to think, just read and laugh. Perhaps learn a bit of American pop culture mixed with urban legends.

Warping through cyberspace I came across the story about Dan Rather, anchorman of CBS Evening News, leaving his seat, which he held more than four decades. I am actually kind of sorry to see him leave. He was a good anchorman. I enjoyed his program. But, the mistake he made with President Bush's medical records was fatal, in my mind.

The funny thing is not that he lost his job, but what happened to him a while ago. Rather has always been a 'rather' colorful personage.

To find out you are going to have to answer the question below by following the links. If you already know the answer, you can leave any comments by clicking the comments link.

Question:
What do Dan Rather and REM have in common?

Protagonists:
REM and Dan Rather

First clue: the song

Second clue: The incident

The explanations: here, here, and here.

So there. Now you know more than you aver wanted to know about what strange things happen to Dan Rather.

November 19, 2004

Critique to Islam. Can it be done?

MABB is a registered TM.

Again, I find an article amidst the Time's OP-EDs that I like. I have been thinking for a long time about this problem. But, then again, who hasn't?

Every day we read about violence in the Middle East, about insurgents in Iraq or some act of violence somewhere in the world perpetrated by a radical islamist. This article, in the NYTimes, has gotten to the core of my opinion about the subject. I always wondered, about why muslims in the world have not been more OUTSPOKEN agains all the violent acts commited in the name of Allah.

It seems to me, the latest triggering act was the murder of the well known dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh. He dared to criticize Islam. As a result, there has been a string of attacks between non-muslims and muslims, which have had an eerie repercussion throughout Europe. In Germany, the actions in Netherlands, have prompted a debate about immigrants integration and paralell societies.

The following article does one thing, in my mind. That is: It voices what every muslim in the world MUST be saying after hearing about a suicide bomber blowing himself or herself up in a crowded place anywhere in the world (not just Israel).

INDIGNATION! REPUDIATION! of these acts.

Here is the article in full length, for those of you who are not registered in the NYT.

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Under the Cover of Islam
By IRSHAD MANJI

Published: November 18, 2004
Toronto

As a young Canadian Muslim who has called for reform in Islam, I've been traveling throughout North America and Europe over the past year. Last week, I toured France and Spain. God help me.

I didn't expect a warm reception from fellow Muslims. But now, I'm also not sure that liberal Muslims like me fit comfortably in a secular European crowd. I say this even after the murder of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker, who police officials say was shot and stabbed by a Muslim extremist. Mr. van Gogh had exercised his right to criticize Islam - a right that I, as a modern Muslim, defend unequivocally.

What then gives me the sense that even modern Muslims can't be modern enough for Western Europe? It's precisely that, from Amsterdam to Barcelona to Paris to Berlin, people incredulously ask me one type of question that I'm never asked in the United States and Canada: Why does an independent-minded woman care about God? Why do you need religion at all?

I'll answer in a moment. To get there, allow me to observe key differences between the debate over Islam in Western Europe and North America. In Western Europe, the entry point for this debate is the hijab - the headscarf that many Muslim women wear as a signal of modesty. By contrast, the entry point in North America is terrorism.

Some might say that difference is understandable. After all, Sept. 11 happened on American soil. But March 11 happened on European ground, yet the hijab remains the starting point for Europeans. Meanwhile, it makes barely a ripple in North America.

This difference speaks to a larger gulf in attitudes toward religion. To a lot of Europeans, still steeped in memories of the Catholic Church's intellectual repression, religion is an irrational force. So women who cover themselves are foolish at best and dangerous otherwise.

Not so in North America. Because it has long been a society of immigrants seeking religious tolerance, religion itself is not seen as irrational - even if what some people do with it might be, as in the case of terrorism. Which means Muslims in North America tend to be judged less by what we wear than by what we do - or don't do, like speaking out against Islamist violence.

But there's something else going on. The mass immigration of Muslims is bringing faith back into the public realm and creating a post-Enlightenment modernity for Western Europe. This return of religion threatens secular humanism, the orthodoxy that has prevailed since the French Revolution. Paradoxically, because many Western Europeans feel that they're losing Enlightenment values amid the flood of "people of faith," they wind up sympathizing with those in the Muslim world who resent imported values that challenge their own. Both groups are identity protectionists.

We see such protectionism playing out in the debate about whether Turkey may join the European Union. Reflecting a sizable segment of public opinion, European Union commissioners have argued that Turkey is too "oriental." And let us stay that way, proclaim some Muslim puritans who fear the promiscuity of pluralistic values. But is Turkey all that different from Europe?

It's a longtime member of NATO. Its so-called Islamist government has updated the country's human rights statutes to conform to the standards of the European Union. It's home to an astonishingly free press. Recently, a left-wing newspaper questioned the Koran's origins, a right-wing newspaper wrote about gays and lesbians lobbying for sexual orientation to be included in anti-discrimination laws, and a centrist newspaper editorialized that the education system should be reformed to promote diversity.

As one young Turk told me, "If Western values are tolerance, democracy, justice, equality and freedom, then I live in a Western country: Turkey." Try explaining that to those Europeans who want to impose their baggage from the Vatican onto Muslim immigrants. Their secularism can be zealous, missionary - dare I say it, religious.

Which brings me back to the question of why I, an independent-minded woman, bother with Islam. Religion supplies a set of values, including discipline, that serve as a counterweight to the materialism of life in the West. I could have become a runaway materialist, a robotic mall rat who resorts to retail therapy in pursuit of fulfillment. I didn't. That's because religion introduces competing claims. It injects a tension that compels me to think and allows me to avoid fundamentalisms of my own.

Islam today has deep flaws, and I know saying so makes me a blasphemer in the eyes of countless Muslims. C'est la vie. If they move beyond emotion, they'll come to appreciate that for the rationalists among us, religion can be a godsend.

Irshad Manji is the author of "The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith.''

November 17, 2004

Slammed with work

MABB is a registered TM.

Even though I was slammed with work last week and this week, I want to take time to direct you to a very good site I found. Well, actually, it found me. Don't ask, long story.

The site is Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios or CEBEM.

Translation: Bolivian Center for Multidisciplinary Studies

The site is an excellent source for innovative research emanating from Bolivia. I have not seen many of these. These people, seems to me, are serious researchers.

Give it a try!

November 15, 2004

The Bolivian Strategy on Gas.

MABB is a registered TM.

While Bolivia's congress is busy derangedly debating the proposed Hydrocarbons Law; the government is hazily trying to avert attacks from all sides of society and government; and civil society is bent on fighting both congress and the executive in defense of what they call 'national sovereignty', plans on liquid gas exports are going ahead.

El Diario's latest report says president Kirchner and Antonio Brufau, REPSOL-YPF's representative, will sign an agreement to expand the gas pipe line of the north. While this plant takes care of the northern region's market in Argentina, other plants will be free to supply contracted amounts with Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

This is what I am thinking. After reading numerous reports of big energy companies signing contracts or agreements with neighboring countries, like Brazil or Argentina, I am thinking, there is a new strategy within the energy companies. It seems that Bolivia, as a country, with all its idiosyncracies and its cronic instability, is effectively being circumvented by big business. The energy companies only have to build their plants on more secure, stable and business friendly soil, like Brazil or Argentina. These countries, in the name of "brotherhood and cooperation", would negotiate generous contracts with the government of Bolivia. That means, cheap gas folks!

If we think about it. That would be one way to lower the high risks of doing business with Bolivia and at the same time, get cheap prices. That kills two birds with one shot.

So, I ask. Why isn't Bolivia taking advantage of its natural reserves and bringing plants, pipes, jobs and everything else that comes along with actually contstructing these things in Bolivian soil?

November 12, 2004

Unitary Arab-Jewish Homeland? What's that?

MABB is a registered TM.

Reading about the passing away of Mr Arafat, I found this article in the NY Times, which posed an interesting alternative to the solution of the Middle East problem. Essentially, the author mentions that, on the table, there is a proposal to create a state in which both, Palestinians and Jewish will live together. This would mean the elimination of the Jewish state and the Palestinian state.

More on this here.

Now, that is some proposal. Bold, but it makes you go, hm!

What would this mean? The social intricacies within Israel are a complex issue. There are Jewish and Arab citizens, and within these two groups, there are more levels of divisions, along religion, politics and geographical origin. For a good look at this topic, look here.

Corruption: The basic question for Bolivia.

MABB is a registered TM.

Following the Corruption series, MABB wants to also give a forum to other opinions about the Corruption issue in Bolivia.

PRODEMOS, an interesting Bolivian blog in Spanish (it definitely deserves a visit), published an article that tackles this issue. The question posed by Gonzalo Quiroga Zubieta, "Corruption: Chronic National Illness?" is a question that aims to the heart of the problem.

November 10, 2004

The Rise of the Latino-American.

MABB is a registered TM.

Mr. Alberto Gonzales, now, former White House Counsel , and it looks like, future US Attorney General (AG), is on his way to the highest post ever held by a Latino in the US Government. That is, according to news reports.

Mr. Gonzales, according to a press report, has been a long time friend and associate of President Bush. He will finally be rewarded for his loyalty, his counsel and his hard work.

If Gonzales is appointed, he will be in a unique position to represent all Latinos living in the US. That, in itself, is worthy of mention.

His critics, however, frown eyebrows at his possible appointment. Apparently, Mr. Gonzales is a conservative with deep roots in the south. Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas.

While at the White House, Mr. Gonzales was involved in the negotiations between the White House and the 9/11 commission. Mainly, he asked the commission, for conditions to be met so National Security Advisor, Condolezza Rice could testify. He was also in charge of negotiating President Bush and VP Cheney's talk with the same commission.

Another issue Gonzales was involved, which made news, was the issue of the war in Afghanistan and the prisoners in Guantanamo. According to a memo obtained by MSNBC, Mr. Gonzales advised President Bush to "declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention."

It would be good for all Latinos in the US if Gonzales is appointed. That would be a step forward in improving the Latino image in the US. He, ultimately, whether he likes it or not, will be a role model for all Latinos.

At the same time, it would be detrimental for that same image, if Gonzales is seen as a second Ashcroft or even worst.

Here is more info on Mr. Gonzales.

November 07, 2004

What are the Other 48% of Americans doing?

MABB is a registered TM.

While 51 percent of Americans are so happy, they are dancing on their kitchen tables while sticking their tongues to the opposite side, the other 48 percent have been largely missing from the after elections coverage.

Ah, but yours truly has found them. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the Internet and AOL, I have found the other half of Americans, those losers of elections, those who I thought were in such a depressing state, they were in bed and did not want to get out of it for at least the next four years.....

Here is what the are doing.................enjoy it! ;-)

The other half of Americans.

November 04, 2004

What is America, really.

MABB is a registered TM.

Well, it's Thursday November 4, the elections were two days ago and we already know who our President will be for the next four years. Mr. Bush.

In the aftermath analysis, we are all asking ourselves, how come Mr. Bush was able to win in such a decisive way. In my opinion, it is because America is a pretty consevative land. Yeah, I knew America was conservative. But, I did not know how much. It surprises me the depth of conservatism. I am not the only one who thinks that way. Todd S. Purdum, from the New York Times, has published a very interesting article and as is my custom I post the whole article below. Enjoy it.

Electoral Affirmation of Shared Values Provides Bush a Majority
By TODD S. PURDUM
Published: November 4, 2004

It was not a landslide, or a re-alignment, or even a seismic shock. But it was decisive, and it is impossible to read President Bush's re-election with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country - divided yes, but with an undisputed majority united behind his leadership.

Surveys of voters leaving the polls found that a majority believed the national economy was not so good, that tax cuts had done nothing to help it and that the war in Iraq had jeopardized national security. But fully one-fifth of voters said they cared most about "moral values" - as many as cared about terrorism and the economy - and 8 in 10 of them chose Mr. Bush.

In other words, while Mr. Bush remains a polarizing figure on both coasts and in big cities, he has proved himself a galvanizing one in the broad geographic and political center of the country. He increased his share of the vote among women, Hispanics, older voters and even city dwellers significantly from 2000, made slight gains among Catholics and Jews and turned what was then a 500,000-popular-vote defeat into a 3.6 million-popular-vote victory on Tuesday.

The president's chief strategist, Matthew Dowd, released a memorandum yesterday noting that Mr. Bush had become the first incumbent Republican president to win a presidential race with majorities in the House and Senate since Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and the first president of either party since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 to be re-elected while gaining seats in both houses.

"I think that there's a great deal of evidence that the American people support this president," said Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader who was Southeast regional coordinator of the Bush campaign this year. "There is a wide swath of voters, not just in the South but in the heartland of the country, that no longer feels that the Democratic Party speaks for them or their values, and that is a serious impediment to the Democrats in a campaign like we have just been through."

From state capitals to Capitol Hill, the Republicans made gains on Tuesday. Eleven state ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage passed easily, even in laid-back, live-and-let-live Oregon, and apparently inspired turnout that helped Mr. Bush. William J. Bennett, the former education secretary who has crusaded for moral values, noted in National Review Online that it was Ohio, which may well have lost more jobs under Mr. Bush than any other state, that gave him his electoral vote victory.

The former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led the charge that produced a Republican Congress 10 years ago this month, said: "I think all of the major themes of this president fit very much into the concept of a center-right governing majority. If you think about John Kerry goose-hunter, and John Kerry altar boy and John Kerry defender of America, he understood at some pretty profound level that you could not move out of the center-right and win."

Mr. Gingrich added of Mr. Kerry: "Look, I think he did the best he could. I think he actually overperformed his natural vote by four or five percentage points. You have to give him some real credit."

All along, Mr. Bush's political guru, Karl Rove, had argued that if Mr. Bush could turn out millions of conservatives and evangelical Christians who stayed home four years ago, he could win, aided also by population shifts that added electoral votes to the Sun Belt states in which the president ran strong both times.

Vice President Dick Cheney, as he introduced Mr. Bush at a victory rally in Washington yesterday afternoon, said that his boss had already had "a consequential presidency," and that voters had been inspired by his "clear agenda."

The biggest questions now may be about just what parts of that agenda Mr. Bush will choose to pursue, and just how many fights he will take on with either his liberal opponents or his conservative supporters.

Will Mr. Bush move to create private investment accounts for Social Security, a move that would follow through on an idea he first broached four years ago, gratify free-market ideologues but discomfit fiscal conservatives worried about how he would pay for them and practical politicians fearful of simply touching such a hot issue? Will he pick confirmation fights over anti-abortion judges, or press for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage? Or neither? Or both?

Yesterday, Mr. Bush sounded a conciliatory note. "A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation," he said. "We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us." Mr. Cheney's daughter Mary and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, appeared together at the victory rally.

The power of second-term presidents tends to dissipate quickly and Mr. Bush's will be limited at the outset because he will still be five Republican votes shy of the 60 needed in the Senate to stop a Democratic filibuster.

Senator Arlen Specter, the moderate Pennsylvania Republican expected to head the Judiciary Committee, warned Mr. Bush yesterday against nominating judges "who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade."

James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said that for all the Republican gains, "the other story is that the nation is deadlocked, especially in the Senate, over what the most important issues are and how we deal with them."

But Grover Norquist, president of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, said that the Republican Party was no longer what it was 25 or 30 years ago, "a collection of people running on their own." Instead, Mr. Norquist said, "there is a coherent vision, and to a large extent voters can tell that Republicans are not going to raise their taxes, are for tort reform, are for free trade."

He said that without the drag of the war in Iraq, Mr. Bush would probably have rolled up a bigger majority.

As it is, Mr. Bush became the first presidential candidate to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote since his father did so in 1988, and he received a higher percentage of the popular vote than any Democratic candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

All those are daunting numbers for the Democrats. Early in his campaign, Mr. Kerry drew fire for musing aloud that the Democrats could win the White House without the South.

Yet for all of their hope that the Southwest could be their new ticket, Democrats were left with the fact that in the past 28 years, only Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton among their ranks have made it, and both had Southern and evangelical support. Mr. Kerry, a lifelong Roman Catholic, often struggled this year to speak of his faith in public.

"Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former Clinton aide. "What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else - health care, the environment, whatever - because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them."

He added: "We need a nominee and a party that is comfortable with faith and values. And if we have one, then all the hard work we've done on Social Security or America's place in the world or college education can be heard. But people aren't going to hear what we say until they know that we don't approach them as Margaret Mead would an anthropological experiment."

November 03, 2004

It's Official: Four More Years

MABB is a registered TM.

It is official, Sen. Kerry called President Bush to concede the race and wish him success.

So, we'll have four more years of President George W. Bush.

Congratulations Mr. President. Let's make America proud.

Photo Finish US Elections

MABB is a registered TM.

This is an incredible race, worthy of a photo finish. Tighter cannot actually get!

Various news media organizations are projecting the winner of this elections day, and no one can agree on the actually winner.

MSNBC is projecting Bush having 269 electoral votes (EV) and Kerry having 238 at last count. These numbers reflect the Ohio votes, which MSNBC and Brokaw put under the Bush column. It is worth noting that Ohio vote counts are not final. Also, Brokaw and co. have placed the 17 Michigan EV under the Kerry column.

CBSNews is projecting different numbers. Dan Rather and co. give Bush 254 EV and Kerry 242 EV. The discrepancies lie in the fact that they are counting New Hampshire for Kerry and Ohio as not decided yet.

CNN has yet different numbers. They are giving Bush 254 EV and Kerry 252 EV. The difference is the 10 EV Wisconsin has, which CNN is counting under the Kerry column.

The Washington Post agrees with CBSNews and projects Bush with 254 EV and Kerry with 242.

The Yahoo News section is also projecting 254 for Bush and 252 for Kerry. They are pretty much leaving Ohio out of any count, for now.

That is THE big question, which most likely will keep us in suspense the rest of this week. Ohio's vote count. They still need to count the so called "provisional ballots", which are ballots suspect to validation. In Ohio's case, these ballots will not be counted until 10 days after the elections. Elections officials will have to look at each ballot contested and make sure it was cast by a legally registered voter. There are already people who are predicting this will end up in the courts.

One thing is for sure, though. The Senate and the House will remain in the hands of the Republicans and it Bush wins, they will have a tremendous opportunity to remake America. During the next term, who ever wins, will have the chance to appoint five Supreme Court justices and if William Rehnquist leaves his seat, that will be one more seat that needs to be filled.

So here we go again! De'ja vu! I think, there is one thing clear coming out of all this mess. America needs to fix its systems for voting. In the mean time, we won't know who won until the issue of Ohio is settled.

November 01, 2004

Predictions on US Elections.

MABB is a registered TM.

If the planets and the stars are aligned and the curses and legends are correct, then all the odds must be given to the New England patriot, who wears red sox and is favored by the redskins.

There are several wild predictions about the presidential elections going around. But, this one folks, is the wildest.

Apparently, sports legends (article)and symbolism are favoring the democratic challenger Kerry to win the oncoming elections.

The story starts on Superbowl XXXVIII. On that day, the New England Patriots won the coveted trophy. Of course, we all know that Sen. Kerry is a New England native, and won the primaries of his party. At this point most superstitious people and the patriots' fans would have been happy to make a coincidence appear more than what it is. Really a coincidence!

However, this late in the race, enthusiasts of this theory have three more reasons to point out. First, they are just too happy to recall one of the biggest upsets in baseball history when the Boston Red Sox (from New England) pulled an incredible come back from a deficit of 3 games to defeat the New York Yankees 4 to 3. The Sox were by far the underdogs due to the so called "Curse of the Bambino", which plagued the team until now. This curse, it is said, began when the Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees back on January 3, 1920. But, seemingly, the team's curse was lifted and they proved to be worthy of the World Series. People, started to pay attention to the eccentrics who were pointing out these coincidences.

The second event that raised eyebrows was the sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals by the Red Sox in the World Series. The final score was 3-0 for the Sox. Not since 1918, the Sox had won a World Series. This proved once and for all that the curse was lifted and the Sox were a team to reckon with. At the same time, this also was a final sign that the stars were in favor of New England. Sen. Kerry, himself was quick to point out the Sox achievement when asked whether his campaign was in trouble. (news)

The third and final event, which for many confirms this theory, is the losing of the Washington Redskins' home game before the elections. This past Sunday, the Skins lost against the Packers, 28-14, which I don't find in any way amusing, since I am a Skins fan. This is relevant because, according to history (here & here), in the last 17 elections, the last home game of the Redskins before the elections has correctly predicted the outcome of the elections. If the Skins win, the party in power stays. If the Skins lose, there is change of power in the White House. This fact, has not only captured the attention of all the proponents of the wild theory. Now, we even have, political commentators such as Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert, talking about it.

So, there you have it. The predictions are made and the bets are on. Who will win the Tuesday elections? It is hard to tell, but at least we have some theories to rely on.

La Paz Zoo

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Jose Maria Paz, a fellow blogger who keeps an interesting photoblog from La Paz, has cool pictures of the La Paz Zoo. You can visit his blog at, Joe's Blog.

This is the site Joe is building for the Zoo.

When I was still living in Bolivia, the Zoo was located in the city. Now, apparently, it has been moved to the south, where it is warmer and there is more space for the animals.