Texas Election Results 2010: Rick Perry and Bill White on the lead

The much anticipated Texas Election Results 2010 has been released and was published online. Bill White is leading in the Democratic Texas Election Primary Results 2010, while Rick Perry is on the lead in the Republican Texas Election Primary Results 2010.

As we all know, Texas Primary Election 2010 involves Lieutenant Governor, Governor, State and Congressional House, State Senate, State Board of Education, County Commission, and Commissioner of Agriculture.

More news and updates about the Texas Election Results 2010 will be posted soon.

For the meanwhile, here’s the official tally of the Texas Election 2010 results:

Republican Texas Election Primary Results 2010 with 2% of votes counted:
» Rick Perry 240,326 – 53 %
» Kay Bailey Hutchison 136,510 – 30 %
» Debra Medina 73,829 – 16 %

Democratic Texas Election Primary Results 2010 with 2% of votes counted:
» Bill White 170,120 – 76 %
» Farouk Shami 27,903 – 12 %
» Felix Alvarado 11,262 – 5 %
» Alma Aguado 6,935 – 3 %
» Clement Glenn 3,472 – 2 %
» Bill Dear 3,390 – 2 %
» Star Locke 2,217 – 1 %

President Obama accepts health care proposals from GOP

Stating in a letter that he is willing to consider several of their ideas in a compromise plan, President Obama extended a bipartisan olive branch to GOP leaders in the health care debate Tuesday

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the president’s ideas were little more than a few items “inadequately addressed in a 2,700-page bill.”

The president also said that his decision to consider the GOP ideas was a result of last week’s health care summit.

President Obama is set to lay out a political road map for passage of sweeping health care legislation on Wednesday, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Among other things, Obama is expected to advocate for an “up or down vote” in Congress if necessary.

To be specific, President Obama said he may be willing to:

  • Boost Medicaid reimbursements to doctors in certain states
  • Include language in the final bill ensuring certain high-deductible health plans can be offered in the health exchange
  • Commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs
  • Allow undercover investigations of health care providers receiving Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs

Obama’s midweek remarks will also deal with the substance of health care reform, Gibbs said. White House aides said the president’s speech will largely mirror the nearly $1 trillion compromise package he laid out one week ago.

Political science graduates are in demand

For all the excitement and interest surrounding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees, Political science graduates are finding that their field of study is still very relevant in the 21st century. In fact, political science degrees are currently very popular among university students in the United States.

The unstoppable trend of globalization is one of the reasons behind the rising interest in political science. STEM degrees are in vogue due to the rapid advance of technology; political science, on the other hand, is a mainstay that is gaining relevance due to the global village concept.

Record numbers in enrollments of students in political science masters programs highlight the importance of this field of study. These are students who recognize that the world we live in is far from static. The course our lives will take is ultimately determined by policies, which are shaped by those who are versed in political science.

There is a common misconception about political science students being overtly idealistic in their choice of major. This is not the case; in fact, these students tend to be realists who wish to learn how the world really works from an academic point of view. Granted, many of these students want to change the world, but they realize that they must be able to navigate the intricacies of how policies are enacted and their global impact.

Political science students have a clear advantage in the sense that their curriculum programs are likely to predominantly feature online instruction. Such is the case of the George Washington University and its Graduate School of Political Management. This dynamic program emphasizes the fact that governance and policy-making are activities that mostly take place online; therefore, adjusting traditional learning with Internet technology becomes an important goal.

Students are mostly attracted to political science because they know that their careers will enjoy versatility. Public officials are not the only professionals who graduate from political science programs. Consultants, economists, foreign service officers, international relations experts, policy analysts, professors, and many other jobs are often made available to those with political science degrees.

In the end, political science majors enjoy a greater range of career opportunities when compared to many of their peers.

Aid & Politics in Africa

“The worst drought in 60 years has thrown some 13 million people across the Horn of Africa into crisis. In Somalia, ravaged by two decades of conflict, the consequences have been disastrous. We ask if aid in this region of the world has become politicised? And has Washington’s pre-occupation with terrorism in the Horn of Africa contributed to the deadly consequences of this disaster?”

Al Jazeera English


Photo courtesy of David Axe.


The answer to the first question is, “Duh.”

Aid work in Africa has been tied to politics since the first time outside governments decided to step in. I think the grassroots Christian groups and other non-profit organizations (like Doctors Without Borders) do a better job at maintaining aid. OK, so there are some bible-thumping on the part of the Christian groups and the other NPOs tend to lean left, but this does not affect the fact that they are helping out in practical terms. When it’s a government involve, not just Washington in this example, the rice and anti-malaria kits come with diplomats. Famine should never be used as a pawn in a political chess game. The only benefit of a government body bringing aid is that they are backed up by millions of tax payer money and logistical resources.

Now, this goes deeper than that. In the book “Dead Aid”, which I read a while back and is a book worth checking out at your local library, the author, economist Dambisa Moyo, states that aid actually harms Africa more than it helps them. What you get (and this is obvious) is a system of dependence. Dependence on outsiders is what set Africa back to begin with, like colonialism for instance, in which they had no choice but to depend on their European colonizers. You see, food is politics. Famine is one of the best ways to gain power over a region politically.

On to the second question. Pirates, Muslim militants and warlords have been conducting a bloody orgy in the Horn for some time now. It doesn’t help that western-made guns end up there either. The U.S., I think, still remembers the Blackhawk incident in Somalia. But if top officials are found in the Horn, the U.S. will go there and destroy them. And it has been conducting operations there, even if just intelligence gathering.

So, what you have now is an imbalance of priorities. Do we go after terrorists or aid the civilians? There are really no one-way options here. It’s like a branch with an intricate set of twigs protruding out. You can’t have access to the civilians without dealing with the political elements of the country. In this case, before you can even bring aid you need to do some politicizing, which may contradict with my first argument, but in this circumstance you have no choice but to give in to the push-pull mechanism of political bargaining.

The West is good at setting up sanctions and that may work well for countries like Iran and North Korea, because they’re major players in the global stage, but a nation in the Horn won’t flinch a nerve over threats of sanction. To them this is nothing new. When was the last time anyone had truly done anything in Africa that affected the region? Oh, right, Libya. But when it comes to sub-Saharan Africa, it’s as if these government suits show a kind of guilt. Oh dear, we made a mess of that continent. Let’s just throw them money from afar. Stepping into a sub-Saharan African country is like stepping back into your own crime scene.

Quelling terrorism anywhere is an important priority, but the local governments in that area need to step their game up as well. American/NATO operations are still in Af-Pak. We don’t need another front. We just pulled our troops out of Iraq; Let’s give them a rest. Washington should focus more on humanitarian efforts (with as less politics involved if possible) and diplomatic missions than military actions. This can be done by taking a more regulatory role, in that making sure aid money and supplies actually get into the hands of civilians and the non-profit organizations already working there. The U.S. and the EU needs to make sure that medicine and canned foods don’t end up being filtered through local governments and are used for their personal profit. Helping with economic programs might also work. Tell the local government to either get with the program or face a larger crisis. If aid—medical, food and educational—isn’t put to use properly, the country could sink deeper into a death pit. The links between terrorism and poverty has been well-studied in developing countries. I’d rather see people being fed than being blown up in a guerrilla war between western forces and militants.


U.S. Embassy to Zimbabwe Police: Stop Political Violence

On Friday, the U.S. embassy in Harare voiced its concern over the failings of Zimbabwe’s police in reducing political violence in the country. Though it recognized the efforts of police officers, prosecutors and other court officials who have worked hard in eradicating corruption and crime, the U.S. embassy is becoming more worried about the officials who exercise political bias.

On September 23, four individuals were allegedly beaten to death by police officers after they were transported from their village by private security guards. There have also been reports by human rights groups that local activists are being harassed and targeted by officers, such as leaders of the group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). Extortion and intimidation tactics by politically aligned gangs also seem to be prevalent in Harare.

All of these reports and allegations have caused a stir within the U.S. embassy, who emphasized that such level of corruption will only perpetuate further violence in the country.

The Government of Zimbabwe has made a pledge to uphold and protect human rights and, to show its commitment, it is to appear before the Human Rights Council’s Universal Period Review on October 13. The U.S. embassy states that it wishes for the government to fulfill these promises and show more effort in exercising human rights principles.



Department of Defense to Return Facilities in Germany

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it will close several of its facilities in Germany and return them to their host-nation. This is part of a cost-cutting initiative taken by the U.S. European Command; shutting down “non-enduring sites” and installations throughout the continent.


Facilities that are being removed from the DoD’s property inventory include:  the Oberweis Annex warehouse, which will save the federal government about $1.24 million; communication sites at Pruem Air Station, Hahn Communication Station and ARFT radio relay station, which will vanquish over half a million dollars from the budget; an ammunition storage facility in Hochspeyer; and Bitburg Storage Annex No.2, which will save $1.5 million.

UN gives tough message to Nepal, urges to settle the political row

As Nepal is making little headway on ongoing peace process that has begun since end of 2006, the visiting UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe called upon political parties here to demonstrate a political will and readiness to compromise to resolve the issue of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants before the term of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) expires in Mid-January.

“From UNMIN’s perspective for the next 100 days, the priority for the parties should be resolution of the issue of integration and rehabilitation,” Pascoe told a press conference before wrapping up his two-day visit on Thursday.

He urged the parties to view the remaining 100 days for the closure of UNMIN as an opportunity to complete the peace process. Pascoe was in Nepal for two days to assess the progress made on ongoing peace process of Nepal where UN’s political mission is carrying the monitoring task of Nepal Army and Maoist combatants languishing in different satellite camps across the country.

After waging the arms for one decade, in 2006, Nepal’s UCPN (Maoist) had decided to join the mainstream politics, shunning all kind of violence.

Then the Nepal’s mainstream political parties and UCPN (Maoist) jointly begun the peace process and requested UN to monitor and supervise the 19,000 Maoist ex-combatants. The UN had established its special political mission in support the peace process in Nepal in Jan. 2007. UNMIN is mandated to stay in Nepal till 15 January 2011 and UN pledges to complete the peace process by Jan. 14. Pascoe was in Kathmandu for making preparation for a smooth exit of UNMIN and transition after the UNMIN role is over.

In a meeting with Pascoe, Nepal’ Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has sought support of the UN for the rehabilitation of the ex-Maoists combatants saying that,” We will accomplish the integration of the combatants of our own but we have expected support for the rehabilitation of the combatants.” Nepal has sought direct financial assistance and other expertise of UN during the rehabilitation of the process. Since the establishment of the UNMIN, and through peace fund, millions of dollars have been spending each month under different entitlement.   

International donor communities and UN, UN agencies have been providing the financial assistance to support UNMIN, to carry our the monitoring and supervision works, salaries to the cantoned Maoists combatants and their lodging and fooding facilities.  
During discussions with the government, party leaders and members of the Special Committee overseeing the Maoist combatants, Pascoe encouraged all to forge consensus on the modality of integration and rehabilitation.

“Everyone that I talked to in the last day-and-a-half has made it clear that, yes, they could complete it between now and January 15th,” Pascoe said. “All that is needed is for all the sides to get together and to push the process forward,” he added.

Pascoe arrived on Tuesday to assess the progress in the implementation of the four-point agreement between the government and the Maoists signed on Sept. 13 and preparation for the post-UNMIN phase. He will brief the UN Security Council on the findings on Wednesday.

“The developments in the last month represent encouraging progress after a year marked mostly by stagnation. The renewed effort by the Special Committee and the establishment of Secretariat are important developments in this context,” Pascoe said.

Pascoe said all political leaders, whom he met during the visit, reaffirmed their commitment to complete the integration and rehabilitation on time.

“While these positive indications and promising signs of progress are good, they depend on the political will to break the political impasse and build consensus.”

The senior diplomat from the UN Headquarters also reiterated that the Security Council holds the position that UNMIN will left last Jan. 15, 2011.

He stressed the need of using the remaining months productively and stated that UNMIN is ready to lend its expertise and support to meet the deadline.

A Report the USDA Doesn’t Want You To See

The USDA commissioned, published and even praised a review that it made available on its National Agricultural Library website last June. As of last Friday, the document is gone and no explanations were provided. The only way to get a copy is from a cached version provided by the Union of Concerned Scientist.

So why was the document removed? The report was assembled by Vaishali Dharmarha, a research assistant at the University of Maryland. It is a summary of research from 63 academic papers and government studies.

The following are just a few of the findings:

  • “Use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs in food animal production and human medicine is the main factor accelerating antimicrobial resistance.”
  • “[F]ood animals, when exposed to antimicrobial agents, may serve as a significant reservoir of resistant bacteria that can transmit to humans through the food supply.”
  • “Several studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella showed that [antibiotic resistance] in Salmonella strains was most likely due to the antimicrobial use in food animals, and that most infections caused by resistant strains are acquired from the consumption of contaminated food.”
  • “Farmers and farm workers may get exposed to resistant bacteria by handling animals, feed, and manure. These exposures are of significant concern to public health, as they can transfer the resistant bacteria to family and community members, particularly through person-to-person contacts.”
  • “Resistant bacteria can also spread from intensive food animal production area to outside boundaries through contact between food animals and animals in the external environment. Insects, flies, houseflies, rodents, and wild birds play an important role in this mode of transmission. They are particularly attracted to animal wastes and feed sources from where they carry the resistant bacteria to several locations outside the animal production facility.”

As Debt Negotiations Continue, So Does the Fall of the US Dollar

Amidst debate of increasing the debt ceiling, the value of the US dollar has continued to decrease against it foreign counterparts. Just last week, the US dollar fell to $1.4465 against the euro, and down to $1.6391 against the UK pound.

If a deal to increase the borrowing limit is not made by August 2, the US risks defaulting on its debt.

Meanwhile, fear continues to escalate at the prospect of more debt, causing stock prices to fall.

In Europe, countries are being forced to borrow at higher interest rates. This is despite reaching a deal last week to help solve their debt crisis.

Spain paid an interest rate of 2.519% for a 2.9bn euro short term debt of six months. For the same amount of time, Italy incurred a 2.269% interest.

The US has accumulated a national debt amounting to $14.3tn yet President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continues to blame each other about not reaching a deal.

It was usually a routine in Congress to vote on increasing debt limits. But without any significant decrease on the budget deficit, Republicans refuse to reach a deal about the debt.

Saudi Arabia Blocks Amnesty International’s website

After its criticism of a draft anti-terror law, the website of Amnesty International has been blocked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The blockage is independently confirmed by activists and journalists stationed in Saudi Arabia, saying they are unable to access the www.amnesty.org domain.

This is what users see when accessing the website from inside the country.

Saudi Arabia Blocks Amnesty International’s website

The organization obtained a copy of the draft from a leak. Based on the draft law, detainees can be held for extended periods of time without being charged or going to trial. It contains no wording prohibiting the use of torture or other maltreatment and it casts harsh punishments even for peaceful demonstrations.

In the analysis published in its website, Amnesty International mentions that the proposed law stifles dissent, treats peaceful protests as “terrorist crimes” and grants broad powers to the Minister of Interior without any oversight, accountability, or judicial authorization.

Speaking for the organization, Malcolm Smart, Director for Amnesty International Middle East andNorth Africa said, “Instead of attacking those raising concerns and attempting to block debate, the Saudi Arabian government should amend the draft law to ensure that it does not muzzle dissent and deny basic rights.”