Sunday, June 30, 2013

(Sports) UFC Interview: Anderson Silva interviewed by From All Angles

Check out the insightful interview of Anderson Silva on From All Angles.

(Business) Blackberry: On The Verge of Demise?

The chips are clearly down for Blackberry as the company reported a loss and saw a massive sell off against its stock and a plunge in its share price which means not only are the chips down for the company but they are cold and wet. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

(Politics) Brazil Protest: Brazilian Discontent In Numbers

We all have seen the images of Brazilian discontent towards their political representatives and the perceived corrosion of public services as Brazilians took to the streets in records number across major cities. The spark for this show of solidarity was a rise in bus fare which may seem trivial but it was clearly the final straw that broke the camel's back as discontent among Brazilians  has been a notable trend. According to a poll published by Gallup, public protests should shock nobody as Brazilians since 2010 have been less than impressed with the state of public services such as healthcare and schools with public satisfaction in schools sinking from 57% in 2010 to 48% in 2012 and a 16% (41% in 2010 and 25% in 2012) drop  in public satisfaction with healthcare in the same period.

The Brazilian public have also fallen out of love with the country's infrastructure with public satisfaction in transportation falling from 56% in 2010 to 48% in 2012 and public satisfaction with roads and highways dropped from 53% in 2010 to 44% in 2012. 

However, the most damning and important trend in the Gallup poll was the the Brazilian public attitude towards its government while 61% approved of their political leaders job performance 2010, only 47% could say the same in 2012. What's also interesting is the percentage of the Brazilian public who think their government is corrupt. while an astonishing 61% of Brazilians thought their government as corrupt in 2010, just two years later, that number shot up to 71%. 

What is shocking about these numbers is not that they are so high in a country considered a stable democracy, but they are part of a consistent trend of over two-thirds of the country see their government as corrupt. However, their view of their government is justified by a number of high profile scandals involving political officials such as the Mensalao scandal involving the former chief of staff former to ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In sum, Brazil are a number of factors that have lead to the record breaking turnout across the country as the people of Brazil are now prepared to confront a government they have suspected of being corrupt for so long. They are no longer willing to accept the current state of affairs which were masked by the country stunning growth in recent years which is only now starting to stagnate. Finally, Brazil is a country with problems  that could rip it apart such as its well earned tag as one of the most unequal countries in the world and discontent towards members of its political class but these numbers in tandem with the protests should remind Brazil's leaders that a government that does not serve it people serves its demise. 


(TV) Serial Killers On The Loose

This season networks launched the prequels to two well known serial killer movies. Both A&E and NBC launched the prequels to Silent of the Lambs ‘HANNIBAL’ and Hitchcock’s Psycho ‘BATES MOTEL’. So which one killed it?!

To start it is known that both series Bates Motel and Hannibal were picked up for a second season. Both shows achieved high ratings. For A&E Bates Motel was the most successful launch to date. After the success of Dexter, series about serial killers have become more popular than ever. It is smart to use a franchise like the Hannibal movies and build on that already existing viewership.

In Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter supposedly helps FBI profiler Will Graham. Early on the viewer sees how Hannibal manipulates Graham and instead of helping him causes his downfall. 

In Bates Motel Norman has moved to an isolated town with his mother to start a new life. His mother bought a rundown hotel. Even though the series is set in our time, the old hotel and Norman’s clothes gives a seventies feeling to the series. 

Visually Hannibal looks more sophisticated than Bates Motel. The conflicted mind of protagonist Will Graham is presented by nightmare visions and gruesome hallucinations. The writers use Graham’s hallucinations to portray his inner thoughts and the minds of the killers he steps into. 

Both series shine with a great cast. Hannibal is played by Mads Mikkelsen. Without question no one will be able to fill Hopkins’s shoes. But Mikkelsen gives a great performance nonetheless. His portrayal and challenging dialogues easily give you the chills.

In Bates Motel the main characters are well cast. Vera Farmiga gives a great performance as the neurotic mother.

The series writer aim for mind game dialogues between Hannibal and Will Graham .
In Bates Motel it is the mother, who is the main cause for young Norman’s conflicted mind. Putting him constantly under pressure and wanting more from him than a normal mother should.

Bates Motel explores the role the family plays in Norman becoming a serial killer. Clearly his conflicted mother is the main point of conflict, causing his psychological problems. Yet she herself is portrayed as a victim of domestic violence. It seems like an endless circle of family drama, ending in Norman the killer. 

Hannibal on the contrary focusses on mind games. Understanding different serial killers and their motives.

I question if both series rely on the famous movies that they are based on. Both stories would work without it and would give the writers more freedom to develop their own characters and endings. 

Without question for marketing it helps to use established and beloved, or shall I say feared, characters. Yet for a long running series, this leaves the writers with little freedom. 

Both shows don’t have the appeal a series like Dexter has. Both shows make you question how long the writers can come up with a believable storyline. Norman can’t continue killing without people getting suspicious. Or are both stories too predictable to keep the viewer hooked? The viewer knows where both characters are headed. It is no secret that Norman will eventually kill his mother and turn into a complete killer. We also know that Hannibal will be caught in the end. So is it the how the characters turn into those killers that has the most appeal?

No doubt both shows are great and have the potential to run for more than two seasons, if the writers come up with a way that will make the storyline not too predictable. Yet Hannibal shows more potential. Bates Motel is too much of a family drama. Will we really want to see a crazy mother for more than two seasons? Hannibal is more murder cased based and it is the character of Hannibal Lecter, which a series of successful movies have proven, offers enough material to keep viewers wanting more. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

(TV) Dexter Season 8 trailer: last season of Dexter to play out on Sunday on Showtime

Check out the trailer for the 8th and final season of the criminally brilliant Dexter set to kick off on Sunday on Showtime.

Monday, June 24, 2013

(TV) True Blood Season 6 Episode 3 "You're No Good" Sneak Peek

(TV) Falling Skies Season 3 Episode 5 "Search and Recover" Sneak Peek

(TV) The Killing Season 3 Episode 6 "Eminent Domain" Sneak Peek

(Politics) Edward Snowden: Snowden affair gone from Whistleblower to mystery

Edward Snowden, the EX-CIA whistleblower has now become the George Kaplan of international politics but the problem with Snowden is that he actually exists. While it is always an asset to be elusive especially when you are a fugitive of a superpower with the largest spy network on the planet (he should know being ex-CIA and all), it doesn’t lend well to the status he gained among liberals as a hero as the US government is doing its best to make Snowden look like a common criminal afraid to face justice for his “crimes”.

While US Secretary of  State John Kerry may label Snowden  a traitor despite there being no evidence of him selling America’s secrets to its enemies, he is definitely not doing himself any favours as while running makes  sense given what has happened to whistleblowers who have leaked information to the press in the past, making a round trip to Hong Kong then Russia ,who of late have been following a foreign policy of sticking a finger in the eye of American power whenever the chance presents itself , is not so easy to fathom.

While his trip to Hong Kong was strange, his trip to Russia was perplexing considering the fact that he criticised US officials for secretly keeping more of a closer eye on US citizens that he and many others are comfortable with yet leaves Hong Kong for a country that not only watches it’s citizens like a hawk but destroys the ones it doesn’t like.

The US, none too pleased about Hong Kong (after getting an OK by China) allowing Snowden to make his trip to Russia after sending and extradition request, have turned their attentions to Russia stressing that Snowden’s escape from Moscow would be a blow to their relations as if Russia’s decision to back the Syrian government wasn’t enough of a smack in the face.    

NSA director Keith Alexander may pretend that Snowden has “damage(d)” the US, it would be a solid wager to suggest that the news that the US security apparatus was spying extensively on its own citizens as well as other nations was not news to anybody.  

Any suggestion that Snowden is a criminal for exposing the further corrosion of the fourth amendment at the hands of the executive branch is ridiculous as he did not reveal the US’s bevvy to secret bases or out a CIA operative a la the Bush Administration. His only crime was not sticking around to suffer a fate much like Bradley Manning revealing the darker and gruesome dimension of American power.

In sum, Edward Snowden may have to live somewhere in South America for the rest of his life for revealing the extent of how American power is being used against its own citizens to the detriment of the fourth and potentially the first amendment and the George Kaplan of international for a while longer but what is the real problem is that he will never step foot in US soil without cuffs. 

Can Andy Murray Win Wimbledon In 2013?

BBC Sports may have given Andy Murray the 'kiss of death' heading into Wimbledon this June. The two-week long championships at the All-England club start today and most of the BBC's pundits have picked a 'fresh' Murray to win his second career Grand Slam and first at Wimbledon.

If Murray does manage to become the 2013 Wimbledon champion, he will be the first British man to succeed since Fred Perry won the tournament in 1936.

The 26-year old has risen to the number two ranking in the world with some fine performances in the past year. He suffered a heart-breaking loss in the Wimbledon final last year against Federer, but then got the Grand Slam 'monkey' off of his back winning the US Open. He followed that success up with a positive start in the 2013 season battling through to the Australian Open, where he lost in four sets to Djokovic.

Murray missed the French Open due to injury. However, reports indicate that he is at full health and he played pretty well winning his main warm-up event at Queen's Club in the past couple of weeks. 

It might be a little far-fetched to suggest that Murray is 'fresh' compared with the competition. There are certainly fitness concerns surrounding Nadal given his recent injury struggles and the strain put on his knees by a tough 2013 French Open. 

There also some reasonably significant doubts about Federer and his game. The 31-year old is a seven-time Wimbledon champion and a seriously dangerous player on grass. However, the evidence continues to pile on that the powers of the biggest Grand Slam winner in the history of men's tennis are waning. The fact is that Federer hasn't really played badly at all in the 2013 season. He just hasn't been able to make a serious impact.

Murray also avoided the potentially tricky quarter-final draw that is Nadal. So perhaps it is understandable that the Brit is being so heavily favoured.

The problem of course is that none of this really considers Djokovic, the current world number one. It's worth noting that Djokovic took hold of the top ranked position of world's tennis. It wasn't given to him. He had one of the best seasons in the history of tennis in 2011. He wasn't too bad in 2012, in fact he was pretty good. This season Djokovic has arguably been back to his very best. He pushed the greatest clay court player of all time to five sets (and a long fifth set) in the semi-final of the French Open.

Djokovic is hungry, has a great grass court game and should be pretty fresh. He also has the sort of draw that should allow him to move through the rounds smoothly building himself up. Djokovic is the man to beat at these championships.

Heart-Breaking Champions Trophy Loss Is Lesson To England

England appeared to be on the cusp of an unlikely Champions Trophy victory on home soil. They were placed at 110-4 with more than two overs remaining and with Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan at the crease, batting well and already having posted a 64-run partnership.

It truly looked like England's long wait for a first ever 50-over international trophy was over. Ishant Sharma was bowling and had just been dispensed for a six by a Morgan who looked like he was just finding his stride.

Then what Morgan scooped a slower ball bouncer to mid wicket. It was a poor shot and a poor decision. However, it still felt only like a mini hiccup. The talented Jos Buttler came to the crease, and this is a team with a later order that includes some useful bats in Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and James Tredwell. Not to mention that Bopara had been looking imperious on 30 not out.

Next ball banished that comfortable feeling in an instant. Bopara - slightly unfortunately - nailed Sharma straight to square leg. Suddenly, India felt that they were back in the game and England looked on seriously shaky ground.

The next over confirmed most people's fears when Buttler fell first ball played an ugly shot and missing Ravindra Jadeja. Bresnan was then inexplicably run out and at 113-8, it always looked like there was a little too much for the remaining bats to do. Broad and Tredwell managed to add 11 runs. England had lost by five runs.

Alastair Cook expressed the team's devastation in post-match interviews. There's no doubt that this loss is a significant blow to an ODI team that is trying to develop ahead of the 2015 World Cup and a significant blow to England ahead of the summer's Ashes series.

It should be remembered of course that this was a strange tournament for England in many ways. They struggled earlier in the summer against New Zealand. However, victories over New Zealand and Australia in the group stages assured them of qualification for the semi-final stage.

A difficult match-up against South Africa was negated by a superb bowling and fielding effort led by James Anderson and Tredwell. They held the Proteas to a weak total and chased it down comfortably.

Against all the odds, England were somehow in the final against the team most consider to be by far the best ODI outfit in the world: India.

Things didn't go well initially. Rain delayed the start of play and reduced the game to 20 overs per side. With a top order featuring Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root, England were hardly perfectly prepared for a shortened game. However, they bowled and fielded well to restrict India to just 129 off their overs.

The fact is that winning big tournaments is very much about dealing with pressure and playing well in tight situations. England may have been fortunate to get where they did. However, they were in perfect position to seal a confidence boosting Champions Trophy triumph.

In future tournaments, this England core will need to utilize the lessons learned at Edgbaston on Sunday. If they do, then they've shown that they are figuring out how to be successful in ODI cricket.

(Business) Nationwide and The Co-operative: Britain's best known customer owned banks in capital shortfalls bad news for mutual customers

While it shouldn’t be surprising to find out that banks are low on capital relative to their outstanding loans, the news in recent weeks of customer owned banks such as Nationwide and The Co-operative Bank having capital shortfalls running into the billions was clearly a shock. An awful lot of banks are undercapitalised and banks like the Co-operative Bank and nationwide are considerably less so than their commercial competitors but it does put a dent into the notion that customer owned banks are exempt to the laws of modern capital.

It is not looking good for the cooperative as banks of their nature that look to get listed on the stock market do not fare very well as going public is often a sign that things are going to plan as the process of going public is notoriously strenuous. The history of “demutualised” banks has been a tale of woe as the fates of banks such as Northern Rock and Halifax begs the question that is it wise to “think that thestock market is the answer for Co-op Bank?[1]

The answer is clearly no but for a bank in trouble, it’s clear that the co-operative Bank have no choice. Having suffered a downgrade of it’s debt at the hands of Moody to “junk status”, The Cooperative would find it harder to pay their debts as the downgrade will see the cost of their debt go up[2]. All in all, it’s not been a fantastic 2013 as the bank revealed a £600m loss and embarrassingly had to back out of purchasing “632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group”[3].

And it look like it might get worse as the banks looks set to enter the risky and reputation destroying unsecured loan market which could see the bank pick up a number bad loans or loans that the borrower cannot pay back which may lead to an increasing the chance of borrower defaults[4].

While Nationwide’s troubles are no way near as deep as the Co-operative Banks, the news of a capital shortfall did raise eyebrows especially with the state of the Cooperative’s Banking arm. While Graham Beale, Nationwide Chief Executive, may rue the Prudential Regulation Authority determination of its capital shortfall as he suggests that new rules would “unfairly penalize lower-risk lenders like building societies”[5] and ignores other factors that might affect the capital shortfall, the bank still plans to “raise up to 500 million pounds through an issue of so-called core capital deferred shares”[6].

In sum, it hasn’t been a great few weeks for best known customer owned banks as both have capital shortfalls and one of them has listed itself on the LSE in order to raise capital, which is not good news in any sense of the word for the customers and soon to be shareholders of the Co-operative Bank. 

[1] P.Collinson, 2013, The Co-operative Bank Bailout is a blow to mutuality,
[2] R. Neate and J.Treanor, 2013, Co-operative Bank rushes to Reassure customers after downgrade,
[3] Ibid
[4] N.Goodway, 2013, Troubled Cooperative Bak unvieils rescue plan to plug £1.5bn hole in balance sheet,
[5] S.Williams, 2013,  Nationwide Boss Hits Out at Regulator’s New Measures,
[6] Reuters, 2013, Nationwide draws up plan to plug 1 billion capital hole-report,

(Sports) Poyet live TV sacking: Brighton Manager Fired on Live TV

Being fired is never a great so finding out that you lost your job on live television must be the worse feeling in the world

Thursday, June 20, 2013

(TV) James Gandolfini: The man who helped change TV for the better

James Gandolfini’s death at 51 from an heart attack while in Italy is a tragedy for his family, friends and admirers of his work but this moment also serves as a opportunity to look at a great career of great actor who was an integral part of The Sopranos , the show that changed TV for the better.

It’s strange that Gandolfini, an actor with a accomplished career in both TV and cinema would be held in high esteem for his epic portrayal of an violent and adulterous Jersey mob boss with very few redeeming qualities but with closer analysis, it is easy to see why his portrayal of Tony Soprano will always be remembered.

Tony Soprano in another actor’s hands would have been one of the hardest characters in TV history to like never mind watch for his brutality, prejudiced views and almost pathological adultery but lucky for us, Gandolfini, with his towering performances, made us all have sympathy for the devil. Gandolfini was not alone in making The Sopranos the excellent TV series that it was but it is hard to see The Sopranos reaching its height of acclaim and cultural significance without him at center of the mayhem that was typical of the show.

In sum, James Gandolfini accomplished career maybe defined by his contribution to the The Sopranos but smarter observers of the actor’s body of work knows just exactly how great Gandolfini was. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 13 Season Finale "In Care Of" Sneak Peek

(TV) Season 6 Episode 2 "The Sun" Sneak Peek

Will Phil Mickelson Ever Win The US Open?

Second place and its value is often debated in sporting circles. Is being the second best in an event that is at the pinnacle of your sport something you should celebrate, or are you just 'the first loser' as so many call it?

Perhaps it would be wrong to paint it as a total dichotomy, but few cases can encapsulate the ultimate value of winning compared with consistent success than Phil Mickelson and the US Open. A man who has achieved more than most golfers enjoying a superb professional career (which he is still building upon at the age of 43), has won four majors and has been consistently competitive.

He has been consistently competitive at the US Open as well. Mickelson entered last weekend having finished runner up on five occasions and still searching for the Major title that he would perhaps most cherish.

For much of the four days it looked he would finally break his goose egg. On a course that completely defied all expectations of potentially record scores and actually turned into one of the most challenging, difficult and poor scoring tournaments of the 2013 season so far, Mickelson looked comfortable and at home for three days.

The 43-year old led the field through three days of action and entered the final day knowing that a solid outing would secure him that fifth Major and his first at Merion.

Unfortunately for Mickelson he shot a 74 and Britain's Justin Rose shot through in the final round to take a two-shot victory and his first ever Major championship.

32-year old Rose and his exciting talent broke through for an important first Major. Many tip the South African born Englishmen to enjoy prolonged success on the tour over the next decade or so.

It's so often the case with golf that one man's break through is another man's heartbreak. That was certainly the case for Mickelson. Phil has an impressive record of six second-place finishes at the US Open. That record is symbolic of a player who has maintained a place among the game's very best for a prolonged period. A man who deserves to be recognized as one of the top golfers from his era. Still, listening to Mickelson this weekend and seeing Mickelson this weekend, it is pretty clear that he would swap all of those second place finishes for one title.

Maybe being second is better than being the 'first loser', but it's obvious that you can finish second and feel very much like the loser.

Woods Fails Again

Tiger Woods entered the US Open as favorite and promptly disappointed with a weak performance. He was never really in the competition and finished up with an appalling +13. The world no.1 may be playing his best golf in quite some time, but he doesn't look like a man ready to end his major drought, which now dates back five years.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

(Politics) Privacy rights: public in US and UK support violations of their right to privacy

With reports in the last few weeks of the NSA breaching the privacy of millions of Americans as well as the revelation of the Prism program that entailed privacy breaches with the help of a host of tech and internet companies, there has been much discussion about the growth of executive power, the failure of the legislature and the judiciary but not much about what people actually think as it may provide a shock for those among us who favour their right to privacy over security interests.

According to poll published by Pew Research Center, 56% of Americans support the NSA’s monitoring of phone records in the interest of “investigat(ing) terrorism”[1].While there is a “substantial minority” of 41% who would beg to differ, 62% favour the government pursuing threats “even if that intrudes on personal privacy”[2].

It appears that number doesn’t change much when political affiliations are concerned as an incredible 69% of Democrats favour the government threats even at the expense of “personal privacy”, a point that republicans (62%) and independents (59%) also concur with[3].

This trend of the public support of the government investigating threats at the expense of their privacy is not exclusive to the US as the British public also are prepared to have their rights breached in the interest of stifling security threats. According to a poll published by YouGov, only 19% of the British public  feel that privacy rights should be “protected” even when it limits “what the security forces can do  when combating terrorism”[4]While only 19% think that privacy right trump the security interests of the state may worry privacy rights advocates, what might terrify them is the astonishing 42% of the British public feel  that security forces should have more powers than they already have “even if this means the privacy or human rights of ordinary people suffers”[5].

While these polls reveal that most people across both sides of the pond are prepared to see their rights violated in the interests of security, what these polls don’t cover or ask is what the government will do with the information gained from their investigations or even if those “investigations” in question are borne from probable cause or an actual crime.  The polls focus extensively on the question of privacy rights with regard to terrorism rather than what the government or state security forces will do with the information.

There is a long and extensive history in the US of the government targeting individuals it didn’t like or suspected of foul play from civil leaders, including Martin Luther King to public figures of the American political left. Even when considering the use of information gleaned from secret surveillance being used catch or use against suspected terrorist s in court, the evidence is useless as it cannot be used in court because, you’ve guessed it, its secret.  

Another reason why secret obtained information useless, is that the government is often less than forthcoming with how it is obtained as it will reveal a serious breach of rights the US governments is not prepared to disclose in an open court.

In sum, while people may be prepared to have their rights breached in the interest of countering terrorism, the sacrifice may turn out to be pointless as any information extracted through the state monitoring it citizens on a large scale gives suspected party a way to escape prosecution as it at once undermines the very rights the government are trying to protect while empowering the very people it claims it is trying to stop.

[1] Pew Research Center, 2013, Majority Views NSA Phone Tracking as Acceptable Anti-terror Tactic,
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[5] Ibid

Ashes 2013: Australian Discipline Problems Continue

Every single Ashes series between England and Australia is intense, every single series is hyped and valuable. It's possible that the 2013 Ashes will be the least hyped in recent memory. That has perhaps been best revealed in recent weeks where the biggest story-lines have circulated around ill-discipline and off the field issues, rather than being focused on the match-up.

It's perhaps a little surprising that this series isn't receiving more media attention. England have shown signs of fragility in their past series drawing with an inexperienced New Zealand during the winter and then beating them this spring, but showing signs of significant weakness as well.

Still, there simply isn't a lot of belief that the young Australian team can upset expectations. England have won three of the past four series including a remarkable whitewash in Australia in 2010/11. In many ways Australia have only become weakened as a team since that series with many of the country's great players departing including Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.

The Australian line-up is full of inexperience, it isn't necessarily especially inspirational with unlimited levels of talent and for most of the touring party, this will be their first ever test match series in England.

Perhaps the discipline discussions are reflective of the dismissal of this Australian team as a serious threat in the upcoming test series. Australia pioneered the transformation of international cricket into a highly professional and disciplined professional sport. They were able to dominate for more than a decade thanks to the development of talent, the grittiness to the line-up and the ability of the cricket board's organisation to drive through and absolutely maximize the talent at their disposal.

Incidents like the one that occurred this week when David Warner was accused of punching an England player (believed to be Joe Root) in the face during a night out in Birmingham. Warner was dropped for the Champions Trophy match against New Zealand and faces a disciplinary hearing.

This isn't the first problem with discipline that Australia have had. Vice-captain Shane Watson and a group of other players were suspended for a test match during the recent test series in India after failing to complete a piece of 'homework'. The concept of completing homework as an international cricketer may seem ridiculous, but the incident absolutely reflected the breakdown in this team.

The 2013 Australian Ashes squad has a lot of talent. They have some world class players including the currently injury plagued captain Michael Clarke, who has arguably been the best batsman in the world over the past two seasons. England have also shown themselves very capable of 'losing' a series. However, people can perhaps be forgiven for not hyping up this series right now considering the disarray in the Australian camp.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

(Politics) Why Government Privacy Breaches Have Very Little To Do With Privacy

While most Americans may experience shock and anger upon reading news stories that inform them of the extent that their fourth amendment rights have become obsolete, it would confirmed what more informed parties among the American populous have been witnessing for 12 years and even longer. For all the breaches of the fourth amendment under the Bush Administration and the Obama rhetoric promising his regime will avoid following suit, the Obama Administration  not unlike many other issues, has largely continued and even escalated policies started under the Bush administration to the point that it has become a fair question to ask whether the president is at the helm of a car or express train.

The president has stood up and defended the mass data collection of millions of his fellow citizens and argued its legality which must gall constitutional law professors across the nation that one of their own is actually arguing in favor of one of the biggest fourth amendment breaches ever.

However, what makes the recent stories in the press detailing privacy breaches by the executive branch so interesting is not the breaches of the fourth amendment, as it should be, but the ongoing struggle and debate over where executive power begins and corporate power ends as the reality is that there is no beginning or end to both as the split is arbitrary and metaphorical.  

The Obama administration has been clearly demanding that corporations (most of them in the tech field) should give their vast store of data for analysis and many, despite some denying such actions, have cooperated and in the case of Verizon, have been forced by secret court orders to give up information of their customers. Many in the press have been arguing that these companies should put the privacy of their customers before anything else but what they don't seem to realize is that despite the talk of corporate power, corporations have to acquiesce when the state asserts itself.

In sum, for the last two to three decades, we have often heard of  the diffusion of power or the end of the state power which has been true for the most part with regards many issues but as last week showed, not where it counts.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Justin Gatlin Impresses Again Beating Usain Bolt

The Golden Gala Diamond League event was hyped as the first major 100 metres race of the season with Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt both featuring on the start line. It may have only been Bolt’s second race, and he may stillbe recovering from injury, but Gatlin’s victory – by a 0.01 margin – wasanother impressive performance for the American who has started the 2013 seasonextremely brightly.

Gatlin has now won three 100 metre races in Diamond League competition this season. He ran 9.97 seconds in Doha, Qatar and then 9.88 in Oregon, USA last weekend.

His form has looked good and he appears to have regained a lot of the power from his prime in the period when he won the 2004 Athens Olympics 100 metres. That was the height of Gatlin’s career before he was hit with a four-year ban following a positive drugs test.

The 31-year old made a significant comeback at last summer’s London 2012 Olympics running an impressive 9.79 seconds to win the Bronze medal behind Jamaicans Bolt and Yohan Blake. Several people are already tipping Gatlin as a significant challenger to Bolt in the World Championships in Moscow this August.

Gatlin doesn’t have the raw speed to seriously challengeBolt or even Blake in terms of pure performance. However, he has always shown the sort of tough character and clutch performance to race at his very best in the big events. This makes him a serious threat to Bolt and Blake.

Gatlin will also know that at the age of 31, his opportunities to win another title or even more medals are growing slimmer. The form and fitness he has shown this season could be a sign that 2013 is the best shot he has at competing at a major championship.

Bolt’s camp won’t and shouldn’t be too alarmed. The 26-year old is still clearly building himself up after an early season hamstring injury. It looked like a sprinter in very early season form. The fact that he only lost by 0.01 seconds despite the relative race practice that he and Gatlin have had should be encouraging.

It feels like just about everyone is waiting for the six-time Olympic champion to fall off of his pedestal. Many felt it had happened mentally when Bolt was disqualified at the 2011 South Korea World Championships. However, last year’s Olympics showed that Bolt shouldn’t be under-estimated and that he has enough raw ability to dominate the global sprinting stage for as long as his body holds out and he remains willing.

Gatlin has mounted the early season challenge and his running impressively. Maybe that’s the inspiration that Bolt needs. Whatever happens, the competition is great news for Athletics fans.

Has Roberto Martinez Already Made A Mistake With Champions League Promise?

The writing was pretty much on the wall two weeks ago, but it became official earlier this week that former Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez would take on the challenge of replacing David Moyes at Everton. Martinez started his time off as Everton manager with a bang promising that his side would seriously challenge for a Champions League place. Has the 39-year old made an early mistake in his new higher profile position?

The touting of Martinez's talents has always exceeded his on-field achievements, at least before Wigan won the FA Cup this spring. He finished 16th, 16th and 15th in his first three seasons before finishing 18th and getting relegated last season.

Expecting more would probably be harsh considering the budget constraints that Martinez has had to deal with. Injuries played a major role in the struggles of the team this season. Martinez also brought the FA Cup to the club for the first time in its history.

He was committed to an exciting and pure brand of football. Wigan played attractive football even as they got relegated. That style sets them apart from the majority of teams playing in the English Premier League's lower half.

However, ultimately Martinez's results are not exceptional. He has done enough to suggest he can be a successful manager in the EPL, but assuming that he can guide Everton to the Champions League based on his performance to date seems far-fetched.

Martinez also faces a tremendous challenge trying to replace David Moyes. The Scot asserted himself as a figure of absolute stability at the club and coached a different brand of football compared with the incoming manager. Moyes exceeded all expectations with Everton establishing the club as a regular in the top flight and even leading them to the Champions League one season.

Everton has significantly more wealth than Wigan, but they won't tolerate a bottom half finish after the standards set by Moyes. Martinez has a great opportunity to prove himself at Everton and to enjoy success. However, in a league where Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool all wield significantly higher spending power, finishing in the top four is no easy task. Perhaps Martinez would be better served establishing himself and getting the feel for his current situation before making huge promises.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Movies) Trailers: The Family Official Trailer 2013

Check out the Trailer of The Family starring Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Pfieffer. 

(TV) Game of Thrones:Show Producers Explain the "Red Wedding" of episode 9

With many still recovering from the shock and anguish of watching Robb and Catelyn Stark meet their grisly end, Show producers David Benioff and DB. Weiss explain the red wedding scene at the end of episode 9.

(Business) Youth Unemployment: no country for young men (or women)

Last year the carnage report published an article entitled “the kids are not alright” and detailed the plight facing may students the US and elsewhere and nearly a year on, the trend has continued. While last year’s article focused mostly on the growing student debt crisis in many countries, this article will address the very real problem of youth unemployment which many government have failed or avoided completely to address.

While Greece has many problems that are well documented in the press, the real that could really bring the country to its knees and keep them there for generations is its ridiculously high youth unemployment rate that sits currently at an incredible 64.2%[1] Unemployment rates like these can only spell trouble as the future generation of Greece currently studying and dreaming of a prosperous and secure future may find that their goals are unattainable in their country of birth.

This may lead to a feared “brain drain” that is already happening in Greece as immigration shot up with 40% departing Greece to Germany [2]. The youth unemployment in Greece is just a reflection of what is happening in the Eurozone as a whole as nearly 1 in 4 young adults are currently unemployed with crisis hit countries such as “Spain (56.4%), Portugal (42.5%) and Italy (40.5%)” posting the highest rate of youth unemployment and not surprisingly, political unrest[3].

While the Eurozone crisis has had a large part to play in the fortune of many of the countries directly involved, in the UK it has become clear that the problem of youth unemployment was prevalent “before the recession began”[4]. They have chosen to focus on young people on people who lack skills or the experience required by employers by focusing on “training” despite “mixed results”[5]. This is because other factors that may influence the high level of unemployment are not addressed.

Youth unemployment also has other effect other than the societal as youth unemployment cost Britain nearly £5 billion and the wider economy “in lost output”[6]. If current trends are uninterrupted, it could cost the government “approximately £28 billion”[7]. While this may cost the government only a fraction of it current QE program pumping money into financial institutions, the greater effect is that unemployment will create a generation without faith in its country’s future and may end up living a life deprived of real opportunity.

Any adult who has been unemployed can testify to the crushing feeling accrued through a sustained spell in unemployment and one can only imagine the effects it is having on many young adults across the globe.

In sum, youth unemployment is not issues to avoid as it will not go away and can end up destroying a generation in terms of earning potential and even mental and physical health. Finally, governments must  act now as if they don’t act, a generation will grow poorer and with a clear ambivalence towards a government that ignored them.

[1] M.Lowen, 2013, Greece’s young: Dreams on hold as fight for jobs looms,
[2] Ibid
[3] S. Croucher, 2013, Eurozone Youth Unemployment Rises as Debt Crisis Deepens,
[5] Ibid
[6] ACEVO, 2012, Youth Unemployment:the crisis we cannot afford,
[7] Ibid


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