Sunday, September 30, 2012

(Video) David Simon interview: David Simon on Treme, New Orleans, the Drug War, Obama, The Wire

Thursday, September 27, 2012

(Video) US Election 2012: when the future is not so easy to read

(Video) US Election 2012: when the future is easy to read

(Sports) Football: Three Reasons Why Liverpool is 18th





While Liverpool FC fans might beg to differ, this may be the worst Liverpool team the Kop has ever laid its eyes on. This is not the fault of Brendan Rodgers, who has given the job to rebuild Liverpool with little money and a unbalanced squad in positions and experience. 

Liverpool over the past two or three years have floundering due to rash decisions (getting rid of Roy Hodgson before he could hang family pictures up in his office) and a strange and expensive transfer policy which is responsible for why the likes of Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson play for Liverpool and Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano do not. There are five reasons as to why Liverpool is 18th and Everton are 3rd, the first being:

Unbalanced Squad

No matter how good your first team is if your squad is unbalanced, under staffed or overstaffed with players of similar quality, it is likely that the team is question is going to struggle unless addressed quickly. Liverpool has no real striker except for Luis Suarez, who finishing skills are poor to say the least.

Liverpool’s defence is the only part of the side that looks balanced and settled, probably because there is little competition to replace them adequately. However this is again is not the fault of Brendon Rodgers, forced to make do with the squad left by Kenny Daglish due to the desire of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group to cut down the clubs’ wage bill with the spending done by Kenny Daglish cited as a reason[1].  

Poor Transfer Policy

A poor transfer policy has been at the crux in Liverpool’s slight decline as they have failed to replace players who have left with players of equal or greater quality. The most recent example of this was Fernando Torres departure to Chelsea where Liverpool used the proceeds to purchase Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, which has proved of late to be frustrating for Suarez and a £35m disaster for Carroll. However Liverpool’s recent flops are not all Daglish fault. Rodgers made a whooper when he loaned Carroll out to West Ham and shoved hard working but ineffective Fabio Borini upfront.

This may be down to the high wage bill Liverpool has but it hasn’t quelled Rodgers frustration as he missed on a number of targets during the summer but his angst was underlined by missing out on Clint Dempsey, who was poached by Tottenham at the last minute of the august transfer window[2].

Experienced/star players not showing up

There are number of players at Liverpool who can make a difference, but none have done it has much as Liverpool captain Steven Gerard. It’s doubtful Liverpool would  have won the 2005 champions league without Gerrard timely volley against Olympiacos or his fantastic drive into the bottom corner against West Ham in the in the FA Cup Final just a year later. However what is become clear recently is while he is still capable of great moments, there aren’t that many left in the locker.

 WhileG errard was influential in the 2-1 to Manchester United; the 2-0 defeat against Arsenal showed that Gerrard best days are behind him. Arsenal controlled the midfield due to a acres of space afforded to them and Abu Diaby making Toure-esque runs through midfield the whole match. Steve Gerrard decline is only an issue because Liverpool has no replacement and has relied on him even when the likes of Torres and Alonso were at Anfield. 
  
In sum, Liverpool may or may not recover from its slight decline but what is clear is that if they are to survive this rough patch, they have starting winning and quickly.




[2] J. Bernstein, 2012, Rodgers fury over transfers: Liverpool boss can’t hide anger as players allowed to leave club,

Monday, September 24, 2012

(Video) Voter ID's: Sarah Silverman on Voter Id

(Book Review) Milo Moon: Milo Moon demonstrates Why Derek Haines is one of the better writers around




When reading Derek HainesMilo Moon two things become clear within` the next three chapters, that Derek Haines is one of the better writers around and Milo Moon is one of the better Sci Fi books you’ll read. Milo Moon is a hot-potch of ideas that are hardly original yet executed well enough for you not to notice with shades Philip K Dick’s Lies, Inc. and Michael Bay’s The Island. Milo Moon touches on  so many genres it’s hard to place this piece in any clearly defined niche.

First off we start with Milo Moon, a unremarkable man leading an even more unremarkable life, when ARC (Alpha Reality Control) employee George Smithe (with an ‘E’) takes Milo on a ride (which we later find out was more psychedelic than anything else) . After such a ride Milo lands and finds out he’s part of the biggest conspiracy that could bring the EU and a number of other organizations with them. However, what’s most interesting is the philosophical and political implications of Milo Moon .

There seems to be message that two heads are better than one and one can live a better when one consciousness is continuous dialogue rather than a one sided, severely critical internal monologue. For example, Milo Before meeting George Smithe or being one part of a mind meld with Michael Fischer was a rather unremarkable man with very few achievements to pin to his name, seemingly drifting through life with no real purpose with his only friend in the world, Cindy, his cat.

However as the story progresses, Milo become fulfilled the moment he mind melds with Michael Fischer, a character with which Milo shares a mind and body. Milo Finds that being part of a consciousness is better as he doesn’t have to make every decision and can take turns living life which is best described in the book with milos interaction with Michael’s Wife Claire. However, even in the mind meld with Michael he still finds that he has little purpose despite finding life much easier to manage.

This view is confirmed further by Milo’s utter despair caused by Michael share of consciousness whittles away into nothingness which leaves Milo, once again, to deal with life on his own. Milo Moon provides a healthy critique of psychoanalytic experiments that took place not too long after the Second World War where the CIA and other governments around the world did their best, unsuccessfully, to master control over others through the use of drugs or experimental psychological methods.

In Milo Moon, we see the stories of the CIA’S mind control experiments in the 50’s from the perspectives of the victims rather than through the eyes of doctors who prove once and for all that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In sum, Milo Moon is a well written book by an author with a knack of writing for the reader making his books easy to pick up and a real challenge to put down. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

(Opinion) Mother Jones Romney Video: Mother Jones Video insight into Why Mitt Romney cannot win




Due the election being too close to call, Mitt Romney may become president, but  mother jones video recording Romney's comments at a private fundraiser reveals why he might not. Romney comments regarding fellow American reveal an attitude that should shock very little due to the ideas of the republican platform and the numbers indicating that Mitt Romney will have to rely on his republican base and the majority of independents to win. However what is wrong is not Romney’s analysis of his chances of winning, but his attitude to fellow Americans who will vote for the Obama/Biden ticket.

Romney cites his belief that almost half of his fellow American will never vote for him as they believe that government should ‘take care of them’ and see themselves ‘victims’[1]. Romney continued his assessment of fellow Americans set to vote for Obama by citing a large number(47 percent) of Americans who do not pay income tax  and  are ‘government dependent’ with regards to  healthcare and housing[2]

With this knowledge, Mitt Romney sees that this group will never vote for him as the republican platform of ‘low taxes doesn’t connect’[3] and he cannot ‘convince them (that) they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives’[4]. To remedy this Romney suggests that he should appeal for the votes of independent voters who may vote reasons more to do with ‘emotion’ than rational thought[5].

Politicians are prone to gaffes but mitt Romney looks like he’s trying to break a political record in an age where people like Romney who made their money in finance aren’t exactly the flavour of the month. Romney has actively expressed his intention to ignore 47 percent of the electorate based on their views about government and possibly income status. The point of an election is to win as many votes as possible, so effectively giving up on 47-48 percent  of fellow Americans is suicidal to any hopes Romney had to become president.

Mother Jones infiltration of Mitt Romney closed door fundraiser revealed not only Mitt Romney’s attitude to Obama voters but his cynical approach to politics. While it would be foolish to suggest that Romney is the only politician guilty of having a cynical outlook on the American electoral process, it is strange that Mitt Romney would be so pessimistic in one of the very few elections in American life where the electorate are open to argument.

While congressional races favour the incumbent to the point of criminality, presidential elections tend to be open to argument as people are open to a vision of America that appeals to them which further condemns Romney practically in the video that the republican platform is rather limited.

However, while Romney expressed a rather pessimistic view of the American electorate, his point citing Americans that will not vote for vote for him does have a kernel of truth.as according to a poll taken by Gallip, 20 percent of voters will not vote for Romney because of his wealth and neither will 37 percent of democrats and a notable 19 percent of independents[6].

In sum, Mitt Romney was never going to able to market himself as a man of the people due to the fact he is rich and how he made his money but the mother jones video revealing an honest Mitt Romney stating his honest thoughts about the electorate  reveals the cold and calculating logic many voters have suspected Mitt Romney of having.


 



[1] D. Corn, 2012, secret video: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors what he reall thinks of Obama voters, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser
[2] E. MaCaskill, 2012, Mitt Romey stand by gaffe but says case not elegantly stated,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/18/romney-secret-video-government-dependent
[3] D. Corn, 2012,  secret video: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors what he really thinks of Obama voters, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] F. Newport. 2012,  Mitt Romney’s Wealth Costs Him With One in Five Voters,  http://www.gallup.com/poll/155627/Mitt-Romney-Wealth-Costs-One-Five-Voters.aspx



(Video) the 99 percent: movement founder David DeGraw interview

(Video) Adelson investment in Romney: Romney best investment in town

Saturday, September 15, 2012

(Video) Intelligence Squared Debate: money in politics overregulated?


(Sport) Ricky Hatton Comeback: pride comes before the fall


There has been much lip service lended to the return of Ricky Hatton back to boxing and planned return to the ring on November 24th, but one comment to Enzo Calzaghe distils all the chatter when he pointed quite simply that Hatton “can't be better than you were three years ago”[1]. Ricky Hatton cited in his comeback press conference (see below) that he wanted ‘redemption’ and his desire to get his pride back which would make sense if he wasn’t a two weight champion in two of the most competitive weights in boxing.

The competition at these weights is as fierce if not more as it was three years ago with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao still active and fellow Brits Kell Brook and Amir Khan with ambitions to be champions. Hatton seems to be suffering from warrior syndrome where his other attempts to flourish after boxing have not gone as well as hoped.  Sky sports have recently dropped Hatton boxing shows from its roster citing that they were “focusing on quality rather than quantity” citing their desire to cut the number of their televised fight nights in half[2].

What’s interesting about Hatton’s reaction to Sky Sports decision was how he expressed his disappointment by citing his achievements with Sky Sports as a boxer before his success as a promoter as he cited that he “gave them their biggest Box Office successes ever and helped make them millions of pounds” before stating that had realized his goals as a promoter to ‘produce champions’ by “producing many British, Commonwealth, European and International champions, and world title challengers”[3].

While it would be crude to suggest this is a play for money, it is clear to everybody, especially Hatton, that his return to the ring will put bums on seats in record time. You only have listen to the crowd during his bout with Floyd Mayweather to realise the love and admiration Ricky Hatton has among his fans and the boxing world to suggest his comeback would be more than welcome, however their concerns are palpable. According to a taken by Telegraph, 70.29 percent of their readers thought that “Ricky (Hatton) should stay out of ring and not risk a serious injury” compared to 29.71 percent who disagreed[4].

In sum, Ricky Hatton comeback to boxing is good move for reasons outside the ring than in it as no one can fill a stadium quicker than a Hatton bout, but with the competition as it is in the welterweight division, fans set to turn up and watch Hatton return to greatness or watch a car crash  in action are sure to get a bit of both.





[1] ESPN, 2012, Calzaghe Sr warns against Hatton return, http://www.espn.co.uk/boxing/sport/story/169976.html
[2] Quoted by G. A Davies, 2012, Ricky Hatton hits out at sky sports, saying decision to axe his boxing shows is unfair,
[3] Ibid

Thursday, September 13, 2012

(Video) Mitt Romney Comments on US Embassy attack: when you don't go on the offensive

(Video) Intelligence Squared Debate: Islam is a Religion of Peace?

(Opinion) ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film controversy: more an affront to cinema than Islam




After watching the innocence of Muslims’ extended trailer you can come to number of conclusion but two will probably be most among them, firstly, it is as offensive as it is poorly executed, and secondly, surprise that such a silly attempt at hateful propaganda lead to the death  of U.S ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Steven. While the film is insulting to Islam and its prophet as it depicts Muhammad as a barbaric idiot, it is more of an insult to cinema as a medium.

Why such awful film from the writing, directing , acting and production of such flagrant propaganda even got made or any backing goes to show that there no such thing as merit in the movie industry when a real estate developer who reckons himself the next Leni Riefenstahl can even helm a movie.

The trailer itself reveals quite quickly that the director has no type of skill or taste for dialogue or comedy as this comes off at a very bad attempt  to imitate the Monty Python’s classic send up of the story of Jesus ‘the life of Brian’. The comedy in the piece is unfunny and thus comes off as offensive as characters run totally off script into ignoble tirades about the prophet Muhammad and his supposed penchant women and girls.

The fact that followers of Islam saw this film as an affront to their faith and their prophet says a lot more about followers of the faith than the trailer in question. This film is affront to good taste and valuable time not the prophet Muhammad as the only question after watching the trailer is that if this film had a $5 million budget, why backers of this film aren’t asking for their 4,999,999 back.

In sum, The Innocence of Muslims is no affront to Islam or its prophet as it is more of an affront to cinema as a medium. The only travesty is that this film ever got made and its release led to the death of a human being. The death of  J. Christopher Steven says more about certain followers of the faith that such a silly film should inspire such outrage as there have been releases of films about other faiths that have been much more libellous and insulting that this one which serves to buffer the divisive argument (the central argument in the trailer) that Islam is not a religion of peace.
   







Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Video) David Simon interview: on Treme and other things

Chris Ferguson interviews creator of the wire and treme David Simon.

(Opinion) Pew research center poll: the america you never hear about




According to a poll carried out by the pew research center, 32 percent of adults of voting age identify themselves as ’lower class’ marked by a great increase in all age and race groups except black people[1]. People in this class seem to be waning in confidence of the American dream as they cite an increased need to ‘cut back spending’ and  only 51 percent believe that ‘hard work bring success’[2].

The fact that there is an marked increase in people who identify themselves as members of the lower class also has political implications as there has been big increase among independents and democrats who , but the most profound increase is among those who are republicans, who experienced a 10 jump[3]

However what is really profound is that the two major political parties have gone out their way not to recognise this voter bloc. While such an omission may be expected by republicans who have long been considered as the party of the rich, it is not so readily accepted by the democratic party, the self -claimed party of the ‘little guy’.

From the Clinton era onwards, the Democratic Party has made it a point to market itself to the middle class rejecting a growing working class/lower class demographic that is pessimistic about America’s future to say the least. The most revealing findings in the poll was the increase in young people between the ages of  18-29 who consider themselves lower class  from from 25 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012[4].

This represents a major blow to one of the most reiterated values in American life;   future generations should have it better than their predecessors. If the Romney campaign had any competence they would come up with ads in record time targeted in swing states where Obama currently has the edge  citing these findings  running into the continued theme of the campaign  asking Americans if they are better off than they were four years from now.

But knowing this campaign, they have so far never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The Romney campaign managed to turn what should have been an week of easy press into a comedy of errors by insulting Britain during the Olympics and Palestinians while in Israel. They have failed to answer calls of democrats to release his tax return as democrats have successfully framed Mitt Romney as a cold blooded capitalist in a climate where one could be burned at the steak.

In sum, the recent findings serve as further proof of a truth that is becoming self-evident; the American dream is in trouble and it going to take longer than four years to keep it alive.













[1] R. Morin and S. Motel, 2012, A Third of American Now Say They Are in the Lower Classes, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/09/10/a-third-of-americans-now-say-they-are-in-the-lower-classes/
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid

(video) Bill Maher On Brokaw: Balance v Objectivity

(Video) Romney interview: why ask a question when the answer is obvious?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

(Video) Immortal Technique Interview: Real Talk

Immortal Technique shares his original perspective with Hard Knock TV.

(Video) Joseph Stiglitz and Peter Mandelson: An Odd Couple



(Opinion) US Election 2012: Why Obama Is The Best Pick For The World




There are many reasons to elect both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the highest office in the land, but one firm reason to elect Obama for four more years as commander in chief is that as far as foreign policy is concerned, he has been close to flawless. While we haven’t seen much of mitt Romney abroad, however, the little cameo of his foreign policy tour gave pause for thought as he insulted allies by breaking “the golden rule of state visits and general etiquette when in home of others: do not, at all costs, insult the host” [1].

This is not to say that Mitt Romney is fit for office due to a couple of blunders in the press as many politicians have made the same mistakes, but in the international context defined by its quick pace and a perpetual state of flux, Mistakes like this among less friendly company can lead to international disputes.

Romney got a little taste of this when he  foolishly compared Israel’s economic development with Palestine’s and concluded that Israel economic dominance was down to ‘cultural’ superiority (completely overlooking decades of conflict) while controversially calling Jerusalem “the capital of Israel”, a major stick in the crawl of past negotiations  between Israel and Palestine leaders[2]. Palestinians response to Romney’s comments were scathing to say the least with a senior Palestinian official describing Romney’s comments as “a racist statement” and openly questioned Romney’s ‘knowledge’ of the “region and its people”[3].

While Romney was talking at a fundraising event, it reveals certain ignorance from Romney for not expecting the eventuality of his comments to reach the wider public as when a potential president speaks; the world pays attention due the United States having it fingers in so many pies. Mitt Romney doesn’t help own case as his views on  Russia threaten to set US-Russia relations back four years by recognising Russia as a major “geopolitical foe”[4].

The Obama administration have done some great work in thawing relations between the US and  Russia with regards to nuclear counter-proliferation  which, with a Romney presidency, would become frosty with some haste due to republicans favouring a missile defence shield in Europe, a policy  strongly opposed by former and current  Russian  president Vladimir Putin[5].

In sum, while Mitt Romney mistakes abroad are not going to harm him considering the bigger picture, it does reveals a truth that every country but the US is prepared to admit, a U.S. president amenable to negotiation is much better than a U.S president who isn’t.


[1] The carnage report, 2012, Mitt Romney negative favourable: no surprise, http://thecarnagereport.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/opinion-mitt-romney-negative.html
[2] Quoted by H. Sherwood, 2012, Mitt Romney ‘providence’ comment in Israel outrage Palestinians, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/30/mitt-romney-israel-economic-success
[3] Ibid
[4] R. T. Buchanan, 2012, Mitt Romney issues ‘inadmissable’ threat to Russia, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/mitt-romney/9512295/Mitt-Romney-issues-inadmissible-threat-to-Russia.html
[5] J. Marson and L. I. Alpert, 2012, Putting on U.S. vote: Obama ‘Genuine’, Romney ‘Mistaken’, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443589304577635113013597198.html

Thursday, September 6, 2012

(Video) Julian Castro DNC Keynote Address: Home run to 2016?



(Video) Michelle Obama DNC Speech: Out the Ball Park


(Opinion) Sir Bobby Charlton England 2014 prediction: not the hardest prediction to make




There are many things wrong in football, most of it off field of play, but what is a major indicator of thing being out of order and place is when it ruling body places a nation that couldn’t make it past the quarterfinals (England) of euro 2012 over countries that did (Portugal and Italy) and places a very poor Greece national side one place ahead of five time world cup winning Brazil[1]. The FIFA world rankings have always been strange but none stranger than Sir Bobby Charlton obvious prediction that England will not win world cup 2014 in Brazil.
His observation to support his claim are the same reasons offered for every failure since England last moment of triumph in 1966 (particularly in last 20 years) such as the influx of foreign players and the lack of quality among the English ranks (almost inextricably linked to the influx of foreign players)[2]. He did throw a tiny morsel of hope citing conditions the England national team haven’t managed to reproduce since he was still playing stressing that if “the right group of players come together and stay together for a while and gel into a team, with the right manager, then perhaps it might happen, but I have to be honest and say it's a way off”[3].
Sir Bobby Charlton will have long wait for such conditions to come into fruition, a wait that unfortunately he is unlikely to survive. With a manager whose methods were innovative when Elvis was shopping for a demo deal and a team dominated by talented individuals who play like they missed a toilet break they really needed whenever against opposition south of FIFA top 100 countries and look like Sunday league amateurs when confronted by any occupants of its top 10.
In 2014, most team will blood a younger generation in a bid to win the 2014 world cup but trust England to blood the same of group who have for the most part choked when it really mattered. If Roy Hodgson is anything, he’s is consistent and will overlook new talent where is plenty, contrary to the common opinion by many football writer and pundit.
In sum, While Bobby Charlton prediction of England not winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will bring little in the way of disagreement. It does bring into focus the lack of quality in current England ranks and the lack of optimism in the general public over England’s prospects as England look set to add another fours of anguish to glory-famished England fans.






[1] FIFA, 2012, FiFA/Coca Cola World Ranking,
http://www.fifa.com/worldranking/rankingtable/index.html
[2] Guardian.co.uk, 2012, England will not win 2014 world cup, says Sir Bobby Charlton,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/sep/04/england-world-cup-bobby-charlton
[3] Ibid

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(Opinion) Coalition government cabinet reshuffle: why is George Osborne still in office?


While the world is full of things that are beyond comprehension, George Osborne remaining as Chancellor of the Exchequer after the cabinet reshuffle has just joined the ranks. In the government’s recent cabinet reshuffle there has been some strange and expected changes such as the demotion of Ken Clarke (expected) and promotion of Jeremy Hunt to health secretary (strange) but why Prime Minster David Cameron has not thrown George Osborne a break and move him to a position closer to the PM office is very strange given the calls across the political spectrum to bench him or move him out of the treasury.

Perhaps it is because he believes in the programme currently in place at the treasury as he hasn’t failed to move out minsters who don’t agree him on key issues such as Kenneth Clarke and Justine Greening (the latter of which has sparked a major rift within the conservative party[1]) or ministers who have performed poorly such as Andrew Lansley. The fact that George Osborne remains in office reveals not only move to the right in the cabinet[2]   but a preference for loyalty over performance.

While George Osborne did not inherit an economy in great shape, his implementation of trademark conservative policies has done him and the coalition government in general no favours. George Osborne budgets have made large cuts in taxes, housing and education while presiding over Britain’s continuous slide into a double dip recession. However his performance is really the problem so much as his unpopularity with only 34% of the British thinks George Osborne is “doing a good job”[3].

The lack of change in the cabinet reshuffle, at least in positions that are key to the implementation of conservative policies, represents an assertion of a prime minster determined to get rid of the well earned tag of being government of that has only mastered the art of the u-turn. However as a result of this, the government’s main opposition to this assertion in policy will be the conservatives as the government is already receiving criticism for its changes in the cabinet. London Mayor Boris Johnson was quick to denounce the removal of Justine greening from the position of transport secretary due to her opposition to the addition of a third runway at Heathrow describing her as a “first rate Transport Secretary”[4].

In sum, David Cameron may be a conservative prime minster but has revealed his allegiance to his allies amenable to favoured policies rather to efficient and effective governance. While no one in politics expects a politician not to turn to his cronies in a time of need, for it to be done so openly for all to see is what gives reason for criticism. Geroge Osborne is a prime example of this criticism as he has performed poorly and is highly unpopular yet manages to stay in the cabinet despite his strengths is in political rather than economic strategy.   


[1] H. Siddique, 2012, Heathrow runway row: Cameron flies into storm of Tory criticism, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/05/heathrow-runway-row-cameron-tory
[2] P. Wintour and N. Watt, 2012,  David Cameron’s right turn in cabinet reshuffle, http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/sep/04/david-cameron-government-reshuffle-cabinet?intcmp=239
[3] P. Kellner, 2012,Budget hurts Tories but doesn’t help Labour,
http://yougov.co.uk/news/2012/03/23/budget-hurts-tories-doesnt-help-labour/
[4] Quoted by P. Wintour and N. Watts, 2012, David Cameron’s right turn in cabinet reshuffle, http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/sep/04/david-cameron-government-reshuffle-cabinet?intcmp=239

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