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Anthony Zurcher, a BBC reporter covering the US has an interesting take on our political process: Fees, petitions and ‘extortion’ make getting on US ballots a challenge

Qualifying for those ballots is a state-by-state slog, with different rules and regulations for each. It takes time and money – and lots of it. Only the most organised, professional campaigns can manage the task.

For instance there’s a $1,000 (£6,600)[sic*] price tag attached to getting on the ballot in New Hampshire – the early-voting state that has made, and broken, many a candidacy.

That’s nothing, however, compared with South Carolina, the third state in the nominee selection process and a battleground for Republican candidates looking to build momentum as the Southern states hold their votes.

To have a shot at winning there, Republicans by Wednesday had to cut a cheque for $40,000 (£26,500) to the state’s Republican Party – half of which is passed along to the state government for administrative costs. The other $20,000 goes straight to the party’s coffers.

“It’s extortion,” says Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News. And it may not even be legal.

So the South Carolina GOP and state government split a half million plus. Not a bad scam and it keeps the ‘lower orders’ from aspiring to higher office.

* – It should read £660, as Steve Bates noted.

October 3, 2015   5 Comments

Hurricane Joaquin – Day 7

Hurricane JoaquinPosition: 28.0N 68.9W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northeast [050°] near 20 mph [31 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 130 mph [215 kph].
Wind Gusts: 150 mph [280 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 205 miles [335 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 70 miles [110 km].
Minimum central pressure: 944 mb ↑.

Currently about 385 miles [ 620 km] Southwest of Bermuda.

The storm has strengthened and is a Category 4 again at 10AM CDT. At 1PM is has become the strongest Category 4 possible. Any further strengthening and it will be a Category 5.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Bermuda.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 3, 2015   Comments Off on Hurricane Joaquin – Day 7