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Wyden, useful liberal 'idiot'?, Sherwood man charged in Aloha Tiki torch attack
by: Chase Allgood U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, took flak in 2009 from silent protesters that urged him to abandon his Healthy Americans Act for a single-payer strategy for health care reform.

Wyden, useful liberal 'idiot'?

For many years, Democratic Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has burnished his moderate credentials by working with Republicans. He and former Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith repeatedly made headlines for their bipartisan cooperation.

So Wyden must be more than a little surprised by the flak he's catching for teaming up with Republican Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan - chairman of the House Budget Committee - to reform Medicare.

For example, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman accused Wyden of doing 'a bad, bad thing' in a Dec. 17 column titled, 'Ron Wyden, Useful Idiot.'

Liberal Democrats see Ryan as a chief architect of the right's political strategy who must be defeated in 2012. Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban, who is running for the Democratic nomination in Ryan's district, already is attacking him for trying to destroy Medicare in his primary campaign. The last thing Zerban and his supporters want is Ryan working with a moderate Democrat.

Sherwood man charged in Aloha Tiki torch attack

A man with a Tiki torch broke into the home of a sleeping Aloha couple and attacked them on Christmas day.

Washington County sheriff's deputies arrested 28-year-old Matthew Zamora of Sherwood in the attack.

Zamora was lodged in the Washington County Jail and charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, providing false information to police, menacing, criminal mischief and an unrelated felony warrant. He is being held on $50,000 bail.

At the time of the attack, Zamora was only wearing underwear, socks and a bandana around his neck. Deputies suspect he was under the influence of drugs.

The husband and wife in the home were not hurt.

Deputies and Beaverton police officers were called at about 10:31 a.m. on Dec. 25 to a report of an intruder who broke into a home in the 3100 block of Southwest 209th Street in Aloha. The victims said the man broke through the back door into a house where the residents were sleeping.

When deputies arrived, they found Zamora running from the house carrying an unlit bamboo Tiki torch. He was arrested without incident.

The investigation revealed that Zamora forced his way in the back door of the house carrying a Tiki torch he picked up from the backyard. He then yelled at the man and wife in the house and was swinging the Tiki torch wildly at the couple in bed.

The couple woke and realized there was a stranger in their house who was hitting the husband with the Tiki torch. The husband grabbed a handgun he kept next to his bed and pointed it at Zamora, who struck the husband's hand, causing the handgun to fire. The bullet went into the wall and no one was injured.

The wife then picked up a shotgun she kept next to the bed and ordered Zamora out of the house. He reportedly ran into the bathroom and climbed out a window as deputies arrived.