As 2014 Special Senatorial Election Results Finally Emerge Ellen Loses ‘Majority’ in Senate

first_imgThe final results of the just ended Special Senatorial Election seem to foreshadow a steep journey ahead for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as many of her fellow partisans who fought unsuccessfully to maintain their incumbency in the Senate will no longer be around.Among the 12 senators that stood for reelection, only two return, causing the Executive Mansion to lose about seven strong confidants from the team which was considered “the engine of Madam Sirleaf’s legislative success story” on Capitol Hill.Even though senators Isaac W. Nyenabo, Frederick D.Cherue and Cletus S. Wortoson of Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Grand Kru counties, respectively, did not seek reelection, their absence from the Senate clearly indicates the difficult circumstances the President has to struggle with while trying to make new friends in an effort to replace them.Particularly for Senator Isaac Nyenabo, who now leads Liberia’s agenda at the level of Ambassador to the European Union (EU) and Brussels, Madam Sirleaf will certainly miss his skillfull navigation of the Legislature and ability to lobby to manipulate and achieve the interest of the President.Losing the three influential personalities may not pain the presidency so much as losing a stalwart and “diehard” supporter like Gbehzohngar M. Findley of Grand Bassa County.  Senator Findley, who served for the past several years as President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, collected 10,306 votes amounting to 36.3% from behind leader, Jonathan L. Kaipay who got 16,296 or 57.4%.  This could spell real “danger” for President Sirleaf’s legislative agenda, something which is greatly needed in order to revive an already staggering legacy before the end of her second and final term in 2017.Kaipay comes from the Liberty Party, an organization believed to share a ‘mutual window’ with the Unity Party regime; and with that, many believe that winning him to the President’s side may just be a matter of time.With the arrival of pretty ‘unfamiliar’ but critical faces in the Liberian Senate for the third sitting of the 53rd Legislature, Madam Sirleaf is struggling to establish herself amongst the new senators-elect before they take seats in January 2015. According to reliable sources, the President’s Office has been engaged with placing calls to  few senators-elect and having lengthy discussions, while the National Elections Commission (NEC) has been chased for contact details of other senators-elect with whom the President does not have close interaction.Lofa County Senator Sumo G. Kupee, formerly of Unity Party, was reportedly ill-treated by UP, forcing him to seek refuge in the People’s Unification Party (PUP).  He lost to Stephen J. H. Zargo, 6,288 to 12,797.As for Maryland County John A. Ballout, one of the President’s closest confidants, who could not retain his seat, went down to former Superintendent Gbleh-bo Brown 877 to 5,192 votes. Even though UP could not give him their support, but the former UP Senator Jonathan J. Banney, a friend of Madam Sirleaf, could not stop Representative Francis Paye of National Democratic Congress (NDC) from clinching victory with 1,959 votes of the 9,176 votes cast.Margibi Senator Clarice Jah couldn’t do much to showcase her dominance as the Liberty Party seat was surrendered to new comer, Womba J. Tornonlah 7,893 to 1,967. Senator Jah chaired the Senate Executive Committee, a position she used to get closer to Madam Sirleaf.However, the Executive Committee position might likely return to presidential control with the arrival of Daniel Naatehn, who beat incumbent Theodore Momo 3,962 to 1,431 of votes cast.Interestingly, UP chairman Varney G. Sherman secured victory in Grand Cape Mount County with 13,651 votes, thereby placing him in a comfortable position to lead the Senate as President Pro-Tempore.The charisma is there, but old senators are skeptical of his alignment with Madam Sirleaf and believe offering him the job might be a replica of Findley, who was many times threatened with removal based on his ties with the Chief Executive.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CoffeeTea Meet TeaCoffee With Javazen and Zestea

first_img Cascara’s the Coffee Tea Juice You’ve Never Heard OfIt took this guy 11 hours to make a cup of tea I’m a caffeine enthusiast. I try to moderate these days, but I grew up loving Mountain Dew. I pine for the days of Jolt Cola, and I pick up a bottle or two of Bawls whenever I go to Micro Center (and I usually leave Red Bull, because while it’s the biggest energy drink name, it also tastes like soup made from Flintstones Vitamins bouillion). So when I saw that the Coffee and Tea Festival Festival NYC was last weekend, I shlepped up to Greenpoint to attend.Sadly, the days of comically caffeinated coffee is gone. Coffee and tea have evolved with more subdued sensibilities and aesthetics, and I generally approve of this change if only for the health of my kidneys. I still saw two interesting coffee and tea purveyors at the festival, whose wares I’ve been sipping all day. Javazen is a coffee company that infuses tea into its blends, and Zest Tea is a tea company that sells tea with as much caffeine as coffee.Javazen takes the herbal health and relaxation aspects of tea and adds it to their coffee (which itself is sourced from certified organic coffee farmers in Central and South America, though they don’t get much more specific than that). Their standard Balance blend mixes coffee with matcha green tea (processed Japanese green tea powder, not to be confused with sen cha, hoji cha, or kaki cha, which are leaves and stems more conventionally brewed like tea) and cacao nibs.I dislike matcha as a flavor, so I was pleasantly surprised by the Balance blend’s taste. Hints of cacao came through and made the coffee quite smooth, but I didn’t detect more than a tiny note of matcha (usually a sharp, bitter taste) that actually complimented the coffee flavor. I liked it enough that I picked up a 9-ounce bag of the blend and a new French press (I keep losing them) at the booth.Javazen is currently available in four blends: Balance, Boost, Relax, and Pumpkin Spice. Boost has a higher caffeine content and adds yerba mate and acai. Relax has little caffeine and adds Rooibos tea and Goji berry. Pumpkin Spice adds Tulsi tea to an already Chai-like spice blend. They’re available as regular ground coffee, or you can get boxes of brew bags that let you brew the coffee like tea in a cup. The brew bags are about $1.75 per cup, so the grounds are much, much more economical if not quite as convenient.Zest Tea makes caffeinated tea blends. Black tea (and even green tea) already contains caffeine, but Zest Tea blends add more on top. Each cup of Zest Tea has two to three times the caffeine of a cup of black tea, and as much or slightly more caffeine than a cup of coffee. According to Zest Tea, it produces less jitters and crashes than coffee (Javazen makes the same claim), because of the benefits of the tea basically blunting the edge that just coffee creates.I personally can’t tell, because I get jitters even without caffeine and I don’t usually crash from even chugging energy drinks. However, they make a pretty good tea, and after trying it at the show, I bought a bag of Earl Grey which I’m sipping as I write this. Their Earl Grey has approximately 155 milligrams of caffeine per cup, with a pleasant, bright taste that has a hint of lemon. I can sip it without any sweetener if I don’t steep it for too long, which is very nice to see.Zest Teas come in bag form, which is fortunately much less expensive than Javazen’s brew bags at about $0.50 to $0.60 a bag. Besides Earl Grey, Zest Tea has more herbal flavors like a green-and-mint-tea-based Pomegranate Mojito, an orange-pekoe-and-hibiscus-tea-based Blue Lady, and an orange-pekoe-tea-based Apple Cinnamon.If coffee-tea and tea-coffee seem a bit too normal for you, here’s another brewable beverage purveyor I saw at the festival. Four Sigmatic makes mushroom-based coffees and elixirs. They claim mushrooms have tons of health benefits, so they load up their drink mixes with them. I tried their Stay Awake mushroom coffee mix (with cordyceps and chaga), and, well, it tasted like coffee-flavored mushroom broth. I love mushrooms, and I’d certainly consider drinking their stuff again, but you can’t get away from that mushroom flavor.I got a sample packet of their Mushroom Hot Cacao mix with reishi, which I’m afraid to try. Actually, you know what? I’ll try it now, for you readers.Okay, it’s mixed, currently cooling.Smells very cinnamony.You know what? It’s not terrible. Doesn’t taste like hot chocolate at all, but has a pleasant cocoa and cinnamon flavor. Very relaxing, almost like a thin Abuelita. And unlike the coffee, I can’t taste the mushrooms in it. It’s pretty good. Stay on targetlast_img read more