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One belief that many well-educated Americans have is that Venezuela's government controls its media. According to this belief, this is the reason why Hugo Chávez continuously wins elections. Since all the television channels and newspapers are pro-Chávez, the common people are "tricked" into supporting him.

In fact, this appears to be a completely false myth. On balance, Venezuela's media is anti-Chávez. A person who watches Venezuelan news coverage, listens to a Venezuelan radio program, or picks up a Venezuelan newspaper is more likely than not to hear bad things about Chávez.

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By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

The electoral college is one of the lingering undemocratic parts of American politics. Unlike almost every other country in the world, America elects its presidents not via the popular vote but rather via a strange system of “electoral votes” distributed by states. The good news is that this system generally reflects the popular will. The bad news is that it occasionally fails, as last happened in 2000.

Since then there has been a push to reform the electoral college so that all states cast their electoral votes for the winners of the popular vote. Currently half the states needed to implement the reform have signed on.

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This is the second part of two posts examining how North Korea fell behind South Korea.

As the previous post found, for several decades North Korea kept up with South Korea. Then, during the mid-1970s, the country started falling behind. Ever since then the gap between the two countries has widened.

This post will explore several factors behind what caused North Korea to fall behind. There seem to be three main causes: the failed ideology of juche (self-reliance), the end of Soviet aid, and Kim Jong-Il's incompetent rule.

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This is the first part of two posts examining how North Korea fell behind South Korea. The second part can be found here.

The story of the two Koreas is a common American tale amongst the educated classes. As the fairy tale goes, once upon a time there was one Korea. By chance, one day this Korea was divided amongst the communists and the capitalists. The communist Korea fell into chaos and poverty. The capitalist Korea became rich and a democracy. Beware communism!

The general thrust of this tale is true. But there are some interesting complexities behind how North Korea and South Korea became the way that they are. After the Korean War, it wasn’t as if South Korea immediately began pulling ahead. For a long time it wasn’t obvious which Korea was doing better.

This is what happened:

The 1940s
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Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM PST

The Disadvantages of Absentee Ballots

by Inoljt

This is part of a two-part series evaluating absentee ballots, which are being used more and more often. The first part focused on their advantages. This second part will focus on their disadvantages.

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The previous part discussed the two main advantages of absentee ballots: absentee ballots make it easier to vote and enable voters to have more information about obscure ballot measures and races.

Let's look at the disadvantages. Actually, there's only one big disadvantage of absentee ballots: the potential for fraud or voter intimidation.

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Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM PST

The Advantages of Absentee Ballots

by Inoljt

This is part of a two-part series evaluating absentee ballots, which are being used more and more often. The first part will focus on their advantages. The second part will focus on their disadvantages.

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Absentee ballots are increasingly being used throughout the United States. They are especially popular in the West Coast; elections are entirely absentee-ballot in Oregon and Washington, for instance.

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This is the last part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

The Basics of the Proposition

This proposition is a referendum on the State Senate districts drawn by California’s citizens redistricting commission. A “Yes” vote on Proposition 40 would indicate approval of the districts as drawn. A “No” vote on Proposition 40 would reject the districts drawn by the commission. The new districts would then be drawn by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court.

It sounds pretty simple, and on the surface there is. But there’s a long, long story behind this proposition. It’s an ugly story, and after reading the story it’ll be very obvious why to vote yes on this proposition.

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This is the tenth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

The proposition raises taxes on multistate businesses in California through a subtle method. Right now those businesses can choose between two ways of calculating their taxes. They can be taxed based on the number of sales, property, or employees the business has in California (the "three-factor method"). Or they can be taxed based only on the number of sales (the "single sales factor method.")

Proposition 39 changes it so that multistate businesses can only be taxed through the latter method. This would raise their taxes.

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This is the ninth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:


An Unfortunate Proposition...

There are two revenue-increasing propositions before the public. There is Proposition 30, the good one backed by Jerry Brown, and Proposition 38, the bad one. You should vote yes on Proposition 30 and no on Proposition 38. Unfortunately, that's probably going to confuse a lot of people.

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This is the eighth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:


A Badly Written Proposition…

On its most basic level, Proposition 37 has a fairly simple concept. It requires labels on genetically engineered food and prevents genetically engineered food or processed food from being advertised as “natural.”

Unfortunately, in the real world things are rarely that simple.

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This is the seventh part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:


A Tough Proposition

Proposition 36 is a tough proposition. There's a strong case for voting yes on this proposition. Out of all the proposition recommendations made in this blog, this one is made with the most hesitancy.

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This is the sixth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:


What Proposition 35 Really Does

Proposition 35 is almost certain to be approved by California voters. It bans human trafficking. Who isn't against human trafficking?

But there are actually a number of reasons to vote against Proposition 35.

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