Friday, May 31, 2013

About The Carnage Report


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(Business) Tesla Motors: on the up?





The last few years have not been kind to the electric automaker as noted in The Carnage Report article published last year titled “Tesla Motors: revenge of the electric car” but with the news of Tesla Motors posting their first profit since its inception and a vastly improved performance in the stock market have had many thinking that Tesla may just make the electric car work.

Tesla have also managed to buy back a huge loan they took out to keep them going in 2010 nearly a decade earlier than planned which is great news as there is signs[1]. This is great news as it looks like the company can pay for itself. Tesla is now growing to a point that it is now eclipsing established carmakers with its share price now above Fiat[2].   

While the difficulties noted in an carnage report article written a year ago have not abated, Tesla are clearly following the right strategy if they are going to make the electric car a mainstream mass product for a wide range of consumers. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk yesterday announced the company’s plan to expand its number superchargers across the US which would help deal with one of the main weaknesses of the electric car; that it needs to recharge thus affecting long distance travel[3].

However, for all its progress, it still is not making money from it main business activity, namely, “designing, building, and selling the Model S all-electric luxury sport sedan”[4]. It has been making its money by selling “Zero-Emission Vehicle credits”… to other automakers”.  While Musk and Tesla Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja may contest this point insisting that their “financial planning assumes that revenue from selling emission credits would fall to zero by the end of the year”, it does reveal the fact that current profits are crucial to its continued growth[5].

It quests to make its main profitable may hit a snag as it has run up against state laws which dictate “how its vehicles can be sold”[6]. Tesla Motors direct selling business model online and elsewhere has seen the company fall foul of car dealers and politicians at state level as many states require “manufactures to sell their vehicles through dealerships” rather than cutting out dealers and selling to customers directly. This conflict between Tesla and car dealers reveal a major weakness in Tesla as they have been out-muscled politically by the car dealer who used their lobby groups to act against Tesla direct selling model that cuts them out of the equation.

In sum, it has been a long road to profitability for Tesla Motors and they have finally reached it its goal but it cannot stop as they must continue their long term strategy of making their models affordable and accessible to the mass market but they now may have to increase its political influence as it faces challenges from state level politicians and auto dealers who threaten to thwart its long term business model.





[1] R. Koronowski, 2013, Tesla Motors Pay Back Energy Department Loan 9 Years Early,  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/22/2051671/tesla-motors-pays-back-energy-department-loan-9-years-early/
[2] Agence France-Presse, 2013, Tesla Motors now more valuable than Italian auto giant Fitat
[3] Reuter, 2013, Tesla Motors CEO says supercharger network to triple by end of June, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/30/teslamotors-musk-idUSL3N0EB0YS20130530
[4] J. Voelcker, 2013, Tesla Motors made a preofit in Q1, but not on it electric cars, http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2013/0529/Tesla-Motors-made-a-profit-in-Q1-but-not-on-its-electric-cars
[5] Ibid
[6] Fox News, 2013, Tesla Motors’ cut out the middleman approach could spell trouble in North Carolina, http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/05/25/tesla-motors-cut-out-middleman-approach-could-spell-trouble-in-north-carolina/

(TV) Hannibal Season 1 Episode 11 "Roti" Sneak Peek



Thursday, May 30, 2013

(Politics) Michelle Bachmann: TYT bid farewell the congresswoman and her husband



(Business) China: Tapering off?




China have long been tipped to overtake the United States as world’s largest economy and premier superpower however of late China has experienced a notable slowdown underlined by the unexpected growth shown by the Philippines as the nation beat into second achieving 7.8 per cent growth to china’s 7.7 in the first quarter[1]

This compounds a less than fantastic week for the country as yesterday the IMF reduced it forecast for china’s pointing to the slowdown in exports[2]. While this may appear to represent not much in the way of decline, a trend is clearly developing as while China is at a solid  7.7 percent, it was 7.8 just a year ago which was “its slowest rate for 13 years”[3].

While China’s current slowdown owes largely to the current state of the global economy, China has experienced a slump in its manufacturing, which has been at the heart of China growth over the last three decades as “factory activity had contracted for the first time in seven months”[4].

However while its economy has experienced a slight decline, its growth is still strong in comparison counterparts in the west however China, if not careful, could end up making the mistake many nations, especially in the west, have made in failing to deal a job market  that at once cannot match its demand and favours experience over youth.

China has not escaped the global macro trend of the world becoming no place for young men and women looking to succeed and support themselves as it job market has slowed. Reuters’ Didi Tang chronicles the struggle of chemistry graduate Jiang Wenying who may have consider other options having “sent out more than 1,000 job applications, netting no more than 10 interviews and not a single job offer”[5]. This can only be bad news for China down the road as Jiang is one of the nearly seven million graduates who “are leaving universities and graduate schools to seek their first job” only to find that it may not exist[6].

This trend can have real political implications as it has in numerous countries who have paid no attention to creating a job market that’s friendly to the young as many of the graduates are the sons and daughters of China growing urban middle class which have started to find its voice.

In sum, China may end up becoming the world’s biggest economy as its rate of growth has been one of the highest in the world for two decades straight but as faces a number of problems owing to the state of the global economy and number of problems with labour policy and job market which could have political as well as economic implications, it may have to wait a little bit longer.  




[1] K.Lema, 2013, Philippines’ surprisingly strong first-quarter growth eclipses China, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/30/us-philippines-economy-gdp-idUSBRE94T06E20130530
[2] BBC News, 2013, China’s growth forecast cut by IMF,
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] D.Tang, 2013, China’s biggest graduating class enters what looks to be tightest job market as growth slows, http://www.therecord.com/news/business/article/941611--china-s-biggest-graduating-class-enters-what-looks-to-be-tightest-job-market-as-growth-slows
[6] Ibid

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

French Open Early Exits Show Heather Watson and Laura Robson Have More To Learn

After just one round of action the British interest in the 2013 French Open is already over. Andy Murray wasn't able to enter the tournament due to an injury and the interest in the women's side of the draw was ended on Wednesday when Heather Watson lost in three sets to Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.

Earlier in the week both Laura Robson and Elena Baltacha lost in straight sets during first round losses. A bright group of young British tennis players have come up short on clay in the French Open.

Murray is carrying the baton in men's tennis for Britain. The future looks very bright on the women's side of things as well. However, the early French Open losses, particularly for Robson and Watson, show that the young rising stars of British tennis still have plenty to learn.



Watson's loss to a similarly ranked player was particularly disappointing. The 21-year old hadn't played since April after contracting and recovering from glandular fever.

She spent six weeks recuperating at her home in Guernsey and then returned to the practice court for the past few weeks preparing for Roland Garros. In Watson's defence, it was clear that she was struggling to find her game and lacked recent match practice. Rain delays meant that the match originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday was actually played on Wednesday. Watson struggled right off the bat dropping the first set 6-4 in a scrappy affair. In the second set she showed her overall superiority tying the game up at a comfortable 6-2 victory. Watson's play uncharacteristically dropped again in the third set. Her first serve struggled tremendously and she really struggled to get on top of her opponent getting worn down and eventually losing the third 6-4.

Watson will return to the UK for the grass court season hoping to make an impact, but knowing that she will need to find her match groove again if she is going to make an impact at Wimbledon.



Robson is perhaps as much a victim of her own superb performances this season as anything else. The world number 35 entered the first round of the French against Caroline Wozniacki (world number 10) widely being tipped as a good favourite to cause a major upset. In the end it would take Wozniacki just one hour and 11 minutes to wrap up a straight sets 6-3 6-2 victory. The 19-year old was facing an opponent who had lost five straight matches, but she didn't find any sort of rhythm and several of her bigger, attacking shots simply didn't come off.

Both of Britain's young talents had impressed in the first Grand Slam of the year reaching the third round of the Australian Open. Each has also claimed big scalp victories since then as well.

The good news is that the next Grand Slam isn't far away and it is the tournament where British players receive tremendous support. Murray is expected to compete in that tournament and the crowd will be looking at last year's finalist to break through and win a second Grand Slam. That should provide good cover, at least early on, for youngsters Watson and Robson who should learn important lessons from their French failures.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

(Sport) Froch v Kessler prediction: Close and Tough Fight Between Two Warriors But Carl Froch Has It In The Bag





Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler stare down at pre-fight conference


It's very unwise to make predictions about a Boxing match due to the fact that everything can change with one good punch and even more foolish to predict the result as both Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler are power punchers who can do a lot of damage but with that said, it's very hard to look past the Nottingham man.


While Kessler will fight to the finish, it is hard to see how he will beat Froch as he has home advantage which always counts in Boxing no matter how much Boxers and their trainers like to dismiss its influence during a match. 


Froch has fought more since they both locked horns in their barn-burner in Denmark three years ago and fought tougher opposition. He has also overcome some real odds especially the Lucian Bute fight where Froch ripped the Canadian to shreds to the point that the former IBF champion hasn't look the same since. out of the two fighters, Froch has the stronger stamina which will count in this fight because if you're expecting a one round knockout, you clearly haven't seen the first fight or any of the media buzz that has surrounded this fight since it was arranged. 

In the first fight, Kessler won the fight largely on heart, determination and a expected generousness provided by fighting on home ground. The Dane fed Froch a series furious right hands all match as the Nottingham man went on the attack which put Kessler in control in the earlier rounds. Team Kessler have been confident that it may be more of the same but I suspect that Froch, who with his long time trainer Rob McCracken, would have learned from their the mistakes in the first fight and pursue a strategy that will see the current IBF title holder get closer to Kessler, who does have the dangerous habit of swinging rather than hooking his punches which may allow a dangerous and determined Froch inside to do maximum  damage.

In sum, whatever happens tonight, fight fans across the world are guaranteed a spectacle that will stay long in the memory as neither fighter are looking to survive or preserve a long held record but to fight and fight hard to the finish. While I think Carl Froch will be the warrior who will have his hands raised at the end of the night, you can bet it all on Kessler  going out in a blaze of glory as it is quite clear that who loses this fight may well have to quit boxing. Finally, Whatever happens  tonight, it going to be one of the best fights you'll see for some time on British soil. 

(TV) Hannibal Season 1 Episode 10 "Buffet Froid" Sneak Peek



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sergio Garcia Should Be Punished After 'Fried Chicken' Insult Against Tiger Woods

Too often sporting bodies fail to take the necessary action when issues like racism come up. It has happened in football time and time again where bodies like the FA and UEFA have turned a blind eye, or at least absolved themselves of the responsibility to punish, when racism has been the issue. Golf is in danger of going down the same route in the wake of Sergio Garcia insulting Tiger Woods with a blatantly racist remark early this week.

At a recent dinner in London, Garcia was asked by a reporter whether he would have dinner with Woods following the pairs recent feud. Garcia jokingly responded that he would happily have him for dinner every night and would serve him 'fried chicken'.



Garcia quickly apologized for the incident at a press conference with European chief executive George O'Grady and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem reportedly accepting that an apology was enough. Woods has publicly stated that he was extremely hurt by Garcia's jibe and has also reportedly rejected attempts from Garcia to apologize personally.

The fact is that Garcia's comments were extraordinarily offensive and racist. The failure of Golf's governing bodies to act in any serious way should be a major concern and is symptomatic of professionals sports that all too often fail to act on serious issues. 

To be clear 'fried chicken' as a remark directed at African Americans is extremely offensive. Fried chicken is a common food from the American south. It was eaten by black slaves in the south because chicken was virtually the only source of meat. Such a remark made towards Woods with those clear connotations are a disgusting disgrace and made in any context must be acted against.

Woods and Garcia have had a long time feud and dispute ever since a 19-year old Garcia publicly challenged the then dominant Woods. Garcia has never lived up to his potential as a golfer and somehow he and Woods have always managed to end up in the headlines in public spats.

The most recent of those occurred in the wake of Tiger's Players' Championship victory with Garcia accuses Woods of gamesmanship and calling him a liar, while Woods labelled Garcia as a 'whiner'.

 

The war of words carried over to this week when Garcia's final comment went far beyond the realms of appropriateness and acceptability. 

It may seem like an apology is enough, everyone should move on and no punishment should be handed out. However, that really misses the point. Garcia and any professional golfer are representatives of the sport. They need to think about everything they say. In this case, it wasn't a careless or poorly worded comment, it was a designed attack made without thought.


More must be done. Golf must take a firm stance against racism. It must be clear that its leaders cannot get away with such blatantly racist comments made so flippantly without punishment. An apology isn't enough in this case. This is not about targeting Garcia. It is about ensuring that sport is a leader against discrimination. 

(News) Woolwich Attack: Killer Explains and Justifies Murder In Broad Daylight


Warning:

The images in this video are graphic.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gareth Bale Staying With Tottenham But Could He Be Successful Elsewhere?

After much speculation all season long and especially this weekend, it appears that Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale is staying put. Latest reports suggest that he has agreed terms to be paid £130,000 per week and has a get out clause next season should a team put in an offer of £50 million or more. Based on recent speculation it seems very possible that one of the bigger European clubs would tender an offer of that size. It seems like blasphemy to suggest that Gareth Bale is over-rated, but there are genuine reasons to question whether the 23-year old could be truly successful playing for the world's bigger clubs.

During the 2010/11 season Bale burst onto the scene earning superstar status. He exploited Maicon - generally regarded to be one of the world's best right backs - time and time again scoring a hat-trick at the San Siro.



Since that day Bale has been considered a de facto superstar and has often been attributed as the single force behind Tottenham's consistent stay among the better teams in the English Premier League.

However, the statistics - at least until the 2012/13 season - don't reflect that story line. Even in 2010/11, the season where Bale appeared to arrive as a world class talent in October. He ranked just 77th on the list of goal-scorers in the EPL.

In 2011/12 Bale did step up his game finishing sixth in the league in terms of assists (playing with Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe who were on fire). However, he was once again extremely erratic and inconsistent scoring nine goals, but frequently going six, seven and even eight games without a goal.

This season's dominating 21-goal EPL season form has been something to admire. Add to that the fact that Bale was on fire for a spell of 10-12 games after Boxing Day. He undoubtedly has fantastic game-breaking ability and he has been crucial to Tottenham's Champions League challenge, though ultimately Spurs fell short.

Consistency has been a problem for Bale and that should be recognised. He has benefited from being the centrepiece of Andre Villas-Boas' attack. If he produces another superb season in 2013/14 then maybe his few remaining critics will be silenced.

However, Bale is being linked with some of Europe's biggest and best clubs. Real Madrid and Manchester Utd were the favorites to gain his services this summer and if he is likely to be available then expect those two teams to be in the running again along with Manchester City, Barcelona, Chelsea and perhaps even Bayern Munich.

Is Bale really ready for that step up? Can he be a big fish in a big pond? Or is he better off being a big fish in a medium-sized pond? The best thing that Bale has going for him right now is his youth. At just 23 he is still developing. Perhaps at least one more season with a promising and developing Spurs' squad wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

(TV) Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9 "The Rains of Castamere" Sneak Peek



(TV) Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 8 "Second Sons" Review





Game of thrones episode 8 was just as slow as the last two episodes before but as per usual with this show, there was no lack of of intrigue or any slack in the high standard of writing, acting, and directing. 

Arya and The Hound

We begin with what is already developing into one of the better relationships in the show between the vengeful Arya and the the Hound as Arya is greeted with the opportunity to bash the hound's skull with a rock but a threat from the fire-kissed soldier to break the young Stark's hands if she fails to do so soon puts paid to her murderous intentions.   

We later catch them riding on horseback in one of the sweeter scenes in the episodes as the hound offers Arya food. She still hates the hound but sees that he is not as bad as first thought when he rightly reminds her that she could run into men worse than him and tells her that he plans to return her to her family for pretty much the same reasons the Brotherhood Without Banners were going to, the gold.

Dany and the Second Sons

Dany continues her quest for power by sealing the services of the 2,000 strong Second Sons, a revered mercenary army led by the Titan's Bastards, an unpleasant brute of a leader  (lot of that around in the seven kingdoms) who set about endearing himself to the mother of dragons by telling her to "show me your cunt" as he clearly wasn't aware of who he was talking to. However it was not going to end well (it almost never ends well for unrepentant brutes on this show, even the honorable ones) for the leader of the Second Sons as his handsome left-tenant Daario Noharis saw to it that he and his number two lost their heads and pledged his allegiance to Dany, who has clearly has taken to the Second Son.  

Gendry, Stannis, Davos and the Red Lady 

Anyone who has watched this show for some time would have learned by now that there is going to be few happy endings in the magic ridden Hobbesian nightmare that is the Game of Thrones and with Gendry being sold to Melissandre AKA 'The Red Lady' by the Brotherhood Without Banners, we all suspected that the maxim that defines the show was going to be proved true once again. We were not let down as the red lady introduces Gendry to his uncle, who in his usually icy and unhappy way, studies his nephew gripping his face before Mellissaddre sends him away to talk about killing lambs with Stannis.

While we see that Stannis is clearly not sold on the idea of killing his nephew and using his "Kings blood", as usual with Stannis, we only see his humanity in the flicker of his dead cold eyes as he questions the cloak and dagger methods employs by the red lady as he is not one for illusions or hope. The only time we really get a real glimpse at  Stannis's humanity is his scenes with Davos (the only man in seven kingdoms probably capable of befriending him) as they discuss the morality of killing Gendry. He releases the Onion Knight on the proviso that he doesn't try to kill the red lady and reveals his faith in the lord of light after a series of scenes suggesting his doubt.  

The Red Lady carries out her plan to extract 'kings blood' after seducing and tying up poor gendry who had clearly been clearly waiting for the other shop to drop from the moment the red lady told him "you will make kings rise and fall". However the extraction of kings blood from Gendry didn't end in his death but with blood sucking leeches places on his and his nether regions as we found what she meant when she said he would be responsible for the death of kings.

Tyrion and Sansa's Wedding

Tyrion and Sansa have not had the best time of late despite being born into wealth and power as this weeks episode main focus was the misery of both as neither want to marry each other with Tyrion feeling the toll of keeping commitments that are not his own. From the outset, it is clear the strain the arrangement is having on the relationship between Tyion and Shae as  she has to play handmaiden to the girl that her man is being tasked to marry and the pain is clear as Tyrion as for privacy.

One of the better scenes of this episode was Cersei threatening lady Margery after rebuffing her usually chummy approach by gently reminding her of the fate of house Reyne that crossed her father then punctuated her veiled threat with a direct one when she threatened to have her strangled in her sleep. The wedding itself was a tawdry affair with the lecherous King Jofre showing at every turn in every scene why he is one of the most hated characters in modern television. He starts his campaign of humiliation against the already uneasy Tyrion and Sansa by escorting Sansa down the aisle reminding her of the absence of her father then taking away a stool for Tyrion making the act of 'cloaking' his soon to be wife difficult as much as it was embarrassing.

At the reception, while the Queen of Thorns  made fun of the strange intermingling between house Tyrell and Lannister, we see Tyrion drinking his sorrow obviously trying to forget as much as possible but Tywin saw to it that he was reminded of his duties to house Lannister and his hardly concealed dislike of his son. Jofre continued his campaign against Sansa and Tyrion as he threatened to rape and impregnate the young Stark right before calling for a 'bedding ceremony' which means exactly what it says on the tin. Drunk and furious with the whole affair as much as Jofre, Tyrion objects angrily by planting a knife into a table promising the boy king that he will rid him of his meat and two veg if he dares leaving the room silent with fear and intrigue as to what will happen next.

After a moment of complete shock, the boy king asked him what he said seemingly with him just a misplaced word away from making Tyrion's head joins Ned Stark's on a pike, Tywin, seeing where this was heading advised Jofre that Tyrion was clearly drunk with Tyrion, realizing he overstepped the mark, laughed off his rage retreating to self deprecating humor and takes Sansa by the hand.

He and Sansa have nervous and awkward conservation where Tyrion drunkenly compliments her on long neck. with both parties clearly not wanting to "make it official", Tyrion spares Sansa the agony of taking off her clothes and tells her that he would only sleep with Sansa if she wanted to topping off a stressful and painful day for both.

Sam and Ghee

Sam and Ghee are one of the few people in the show that come close to innocence and we once again find out how useless Sam is at starting a fire as they discuss boy names. However the scene heats up at the end as episode 8 is the episode were we finally learn of the significance of the knife Sam poached earlier in the season and definitely came in handy when he used it to kill a stray Whitewalker heading towards Sam and Ghee's direction after it sent Sam flying into the snow.  In any other show that would have been the end of their ordeal but they had to escape a Hitchcock inspired nightmare as a clan of raven descended on the young couple as the episode 8 ended.

Cannot wait for episode 9 as things look like they're going to heat up!!!



    
    





  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

(TV) Hannibal Season 1 Episode 9 "Trou Normand" Sneak Peek



Get a sneak peek of the next episode, "Trou Normand", for the truly chilling Hannibal TV series.



(TV) Nashville season 1 episode 21 Finale "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" Sneak Peak



Take a sneak peek at the drama filled season finale "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" of the always brilliant Nashville.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

(Politics) CIA: Agent Capture in Russia Tops off a Nightmare Few Weeks For Company



After letting the Boston Bombers "fall through the cracks" and have their secret bribes outed by it main recipients in Afghanistan, the CIA could have done without the embarrassing news of having probably the most incompetent spy in CIA history apprehended in Russia for trying to turn a Russian spy.


(Politics) Department of Justice: News of the DOJ targeting AP for spying should be no shock to anybody, especially AP






There has been an uproar across the media with the news of the Department of Justice running a secret investigation on the Associated Press in which the DOJ had  “secretly obtained the phone records of journalists at the wire service’s (AP) news-gathering operations”[1]. The investigation was spurred by a series of ‘damaging’ leaks which led to US Attorney General Eric Holder hiring US attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.  to investigate the news organisation due to its apparent leak of  “classified information about a foiled terror plot in Yemen”[2].

In light of the public reaction to the secretly conducted investigation into AP, Holder has done his best to deflect responsibility from himself citing the role of his deputy James Cole in signing off on the investigation and his decision to recuse “himself early on in the investigation”[3]. However his efforts to quell the criticism of himself and the DOJ were quashed as AP sought to offer their public response.

AP president Gary Pruitt was less than pleased as he right admonished the DOJ opting to investigate in  secret “rather than talk to us in advance…”[4]. Pruitt was also critical of the usual rationale of “national security” offered by governments when caught red handed when point out that “They (DOJ) say this secrecy is important for national security. It is always difficult to respond to that, particularly since they still haven’t told us specifically what they are investigating”[5].

Republicans in response have made haste in admonishing Holder with Reince Priebus, Head of the RNC, stating the importance of the first amendment and that must be respected[6]. If past events are to count for anything, Holder could face White House pressure to resign as the government was quick to distance itself from Holder and the DOJ  as Whitehouse Press Secretary Jay Carney stated that “president is a strong defender of the first amendment” as if he was speaking in response to Priebus’s remarks[7]. However for all of the talk offered about the violation of the first amendment, what really should be up for discussion is the daily violation of the fourth.

Just last week, the DOJ came in for criticism after a report came to light that the DOJ  and the FBI were of the position that “they don't need a search warrant to review Americans' e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files”[8]. What this means in practice is that the DOJ and FBI can obtain private information without a warrant and a subpoena is enough “ to obtain nearly "all records from an ISP”[9].

To do this the DOJ  has been flouting a court ruling made three years ago that deemed “warrantless access to e-mail violates the Fourth Amendment” with the FBI instructing its agents that they "may subpoena" e-mail records from companies "without running afoul of" the Fourth Amendment”[10].

While US lawmakers have paid much lip service about doing something about constant violation of the fourth amendment by the DOJ, Congress has largely helped usher in laws that undermine the right to privacy, starting with the still controversial 2001 Patriot Act, which was the brainchild of the DOJ .

While Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and others has expressed his “concern” regarding the DOJ and the FBI stance and use of “warrantless searches” and the need to make amendments to the 27 year old Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Udall and others had been more scornful of the IRS recent breach of the Fourth Amendment in a signed letter stating their belief that the IRS’s “… actions are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures"[11]

US companies have been more forthcoming with their reservations about the DOJ wanton violation of the Fourth Amendment a number of companies  “including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, eBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Twitter, as well as liberal, conservative, and libertarian advocacy groups” have been asking for changes current laws that ensure that “ law enforcement needs a warrant to access private communications and the locations of mobile devices”[12].

The cruel irony of  the use of warrantless searches and seizure violating the Fourth amendment is that it provides an avenue for the very people used to justify them to weaken the cases prosecuting them. This is happening in a case against two brothers who embarked on a failed terror plot as the evidence against them was obtained “through the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 mass surveillance program” which would be fine if it didn’t mean that the “constitutionality of the NSA’s surveillance methods would be scrutinized”[13]. This has huge ramifications as this can lead to “legal challenges” upon whether the methods used obtain the evidence in question was constitutional triggering appeals to the Supreme Court[14].

In sum, While there has widespread surprise and anger towards Holder and the DOJ, what happened to the Associated press was just the symptom of a much larger cancer that ailed the United States for more than decade and has made a mockery of  the Fourth Amendment. This case bring into play an old but still relevant date between the compromise between liberty and security however a brief study of what has happened over the last decade will make clear for anybody willing to see that this debate has now become obsolete.    


[1] J. C. Timm, 2013, Justice Department seizes journalists’ records,
[2] Ibid
[3] Fox News, 2013, Holder says AP proble handled by deputy after he recued himself, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/14/holder-recuses-himself-from-doj-probe-associated-press-phone-records/
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid
[8] D. McCullagh, 2013, DOJ: We don’t need warrants for e-mail, facebook chats,
[9] Ibid
[10] Ibid
[11] D. McCullagh, 2013, Senators demands DOJ, Fbi seek warrants to read e-mail, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57583743-38/senator-demands-doj-fbi-seek-warrants-to-read-e-mail/
[12] D. McCullagh, 2013, DOJ: We don’t need warrants for e-mail, facebook chats,


[13] N. Lennard, 2013, New York terror suspect case could challenge NSA spying, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/13/new_york_terror_suspect_case_could_challenge_nsa_spying/singleton/
[14] Ibid

(TV) Mad Men Season 6 Episode 8 "The Crash" Sneak Peek



Monday, May 13, 2013

Thoughts On Tiger Woods Player Championships Victory

The story of the 2013 Golf season, as often is the case, is Tiger Woods. The 37-year old continues to be Golf's most recognisable figure and it seems that every casual Golf fan is desperate to see Woods back on top.



The past weekend will have given those people some serious hope. Woods secured his fourth win of the season winning The Players Championships at the Sawgrass course in Florida.

Woods played strong golf throughout this tournament holding his range game together and putting well. It looked like he was in for an extremely tough finish in competition against Sergio Garcia. The two players appeared to be headed towards a playoff before Garcia blew his chances putting a pair of tee shots in the water on the 17th hole.

In the end, Woods finished the tournament by hitting a round of 70 on Sunday and with a -13 score across the four days. The Players Championships is generally considered to be the PGA Tour's 'fifth major' in the US.

Tiger's victory this weekend is perhaps more significant for those hoping for the return to greatness for Woods. His previous three wins of the season had all come on courses where he has traditionally succeeded anyway. He won at Sawgrass in 2001 and 2013 was only Woods' second victory at The Players Championships. This isn't a course where he has done particularly well throughout his career and he played well throughout the weekend. Woods once again proved that he is possibly the best front runner in the game.

It appears that Woods' aura has returned as well. Garcia clearly felt the need to go for more on a tough 17th hole, which ended up costing him his chances of forcing a playoff hole. Woods was able to hold his nerve and took one of the bigger tournaments in the US.

Many have already tipped The Players Championships victory as the beginning of Woods' resurgence and a possible sign that he is ready to seriously challenge and win a Major Golf tournament again.

More is still needed for Tiger. Winning a Major remains a hard psychological barrier. The win at Sawgrass was certainly a big boost, but he was gifted the title by Garcia's errors in the end.

When Woods finally does win a Major assuming he does, then talk can return to 'his return'. Until then 78 PGA tour titles, which is just four short of Sam Snead's record, is a pretty good mark for Woods to reach.

Written by Sebastian Egerton-Read - you can follow Seb on twitter @Seberead

(Politics) AP Phone Records Seized: Justice Department Under Fire



Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies in defense of the Justice Department

With increasing opposition amid the recent privacy laws passed in the last couple years, it seems that such a controversy could not have arisen at a more pointed time. In fact, the Justice Department of the United States Government has just recently been in the spotlight for extending big brother’s arm – just a little bit too far. The JD surreptitiously has obtained over two months of phone record information from journalists on staff at the Associated Press in what AP execs are calling a “"massive and unprecedented intrusion.” Why AP was targeted, and for what reason the specific duration – April and May of 2012 –was sought after still remains a mystery.

The records, albeit detailed, really only track incoming and outgoing phone calls, the phone numbers involved, the length of each telephone call, and personal and general phone numbers for AP staff members across the United States; namely, in New York, Washington, and Connecticut. Even still, the Justice Department snagged over twenty different phone lines from various journalists who had reported numerous stories and incidents concerning debatable governmental issues last year. Hence, it appears the aforementioned journalists were, in fact, targeted for a specific reason.

Nevertheless, the Associated Press is vehemently fighting back in what they believe is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of speech and the right to privacy. President of AP and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt stated: “the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation.” Pruitt is challenging the government to return all records obtained and the phone numbers therewith. Although the two month period seems relatively short, Pruitt is vexed by the fact that even such a small duration could easily expose intercourse with confidential sources whereby AP garnered many of their inside news stories. Such exposure would compromise the Associated Press’ entire proceedings of gathering information about the government.

In a response letter to Pruitt, the government revealed no information about how the information was obtained, and offered no explanation as to why the records were usurped as well. The records were, however, speculatively gathered in order to investigate specific reporters who supposedly leaked confidential information back in May of 2012. Even still, there was never any evidence that such obtained phone calls were ever monitored by the government. All such information, even still, is sheer conjecture.

What is known, however, is the story which was so highly contested by the government, back on May 7, 2012. Written by AP journalists, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman –along with contributions from Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram – these journalists exposed covert CIA action in Yemen, and their attempt to stop a supposed attempted terror bomb plot. The story shed a glimmer of light on some of the secret operations of the CIA, and how heavily involved the military is in the Middle-East and Africa regardless of what the main-stream media is propagating to the contrary. All of the aforesaid journalists who worked on the May 7 story were among the reporters who had their phone records seized by the Justice Department.

The Carnage Report // http://thecarnagereport.blogspot.com // 2013

Brent McCulley on Twitter // http://twitter.com/brentthewalrus

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