CA-Mountain View, JOB SUMMARY Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Investments, the Administrative Assistant supports a small and highly collaborative team that oversees and administers $8 billion of charitable capital. The Assistant is responsible for day-to-day administration of department workflow across numerous investment relationships, and serves as primary liaison between the foundationâs controller, co
Lufthansa Cargo emphasizes long-standing connections with Indian airfreight market
by Shrutee K/DNS
The Frankfurt-based air freight carrier Lufthansa Cargo has increased its freighter services to Mumbai. Since July, the airline operates four instead of three freighter flights to the Indian megacity. âThis change sees us strengthening our position in the regional airfreight marketâ, says Frank Naeve, Lufthansa Cargo Vice President Asia-Pacific.
Lufthansaâs cargo arm also serves the Indian metropoles Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, each with two freighter services a week. Additionally, the cargo capacity of 42 weekly passenger flights between various Indian cities and the hubs in Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna is offered by the German logistic company.
âWe are proud to have had long-standing connections with customers in the Indian air cargo industry since 1959. Our aim is to build on this in the futureâ, says Peter Gerber, Lufthansa Cargo CEO and chairman of the board. Two years ago, the Lufthansa Cargo emphasized this by renaming its McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 freighter with registration D-ALCJ âNamaste Indiaâ.
About Lufthansa Cargo AG : Lufthansa Cargo ranks among the worldâs leading air freight carriers. In the 2016 business year, the airline transported around 1.6 million tonnes of freight and mail and sold 8.4 billion revenue tonne-kilometres. The company currently employs about 4,500 people worldwide. Lufthansa Cargo focuses on the airport-to-airport business. The cargo carrier serves around 300 destinations in more than 100 countries with its own fleet of freighters, the belly capacities of passenger aircraft operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, and an extensive road feeder service network. The bulk of the cargo business is routed through Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly owned Lufthansa subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)
~A culturally enriching and riveting morning hosted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai~
by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 8, 2017 : In April 2017 in conjunction with the visit to India of the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sriâ Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) signed a MoU with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA). Taking this MoU forward, on the morning of August 8th, MPOC and Mumbai Dabbawalas flagged off an event to create awareness for Malaysian Palm Oil and its benefits.
The event took place at the Lower Parel Bridge, where Dabbawalas wore the T-shirts and topis branded with MPOC message. They then delivered the dabbas carrying a booklet of recipes of dishes that can be cooked in palm oil and the benefits of using palm oil. The Dabbawalas are in a unique position to promote MPOC and raise awareness to the positive nutritional attributes of Malaysian Palm Oil. This becomes particularly useful in Indian cuisine as most dishes are cooked in oil. Substituting for a healthier oil can do no harm, besides besides providing the added bonus of eating delicious food cooked in a healthy oil that is nutritious for the body.
To kick off this event, Dr. Kalyana Sundaram, CEO of MPOC, was present, encouraging the use of palm oil and showing appreciation to our Dabbawalas for their exceptional work. The morning was most enjoyable, entertaining and culturally riveting as some of Maharashtraâs best dancers performed the traditional Lezim Dance, a true delight to have watched! For those unaware of the Lezim Dance, it is a Maharashtrian folk dance performed to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kalyan Sundaram, CEO, MPOC, said, âIt gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. Dabbawalas have been an integral part of this city and they define what Indians stand for: hardworking, responsible and efficient. They work relentlessly with a smile on their face, be it rain or storm. Malaysian Palm Oil has been a very important part of the Indian diet and with this unique initiative we wish to create awareness for this wonderful oil and its several health benefits. Our association with the Mumbai Dabbawalas allows us to spread the message of healthy cooking to a large number of households and encourages a healthier cooking lifestyleâ
Mr. SubhashTalekar, Association Spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said âWe Dabbawalas unfailingly deliver thousands of dabbas to hungry people daily, they are undoubtedly the best people to directly reach out to households and create awareness about palm oil and the health benefits of using it. This is a very exciting new chapter, and we are glad to be partnering with MPOC.â
India is the worldâs largest importer of cooking oils. Palm oil constitutes about two-thirds of Indiaâs steadily increasing vegetable oil import. The price, in comparison to competing oils and the proximity of origin, Malaysia, has made Malayisan Palm Oil a highly preferred oil. Now the Dabawallas have taken it upon themselves, with the help of MPOC, to inform families about the benefits of palm oil and how exquisite food can be cooked in palm oil in alternative to other vegetable oils.
Amongst some of the benefits we came to learn about during the event was that palm oil is rich in natural chemical compounds essential for health and nutrition. It has a rich source of carotenoids that are rich in Vitamin A, a potent natural antioxidant, Vitamins D, E, K, fatty acids, and other important fat-soluble micronutrients that boost the human immune system. The health benefits from using palm oil are tremendous - it reduces chances of Cancer, protects against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and helps children with Vitamin A deficiency.
The oil is great for cooking; it is of vegetable origin, making it free of cholesterol and apt for vegetarians, vegans, and Jains. Furthermore, the oil has a neutral flavor - you neednât worry about changing tastes, it does not oxidize easily â making it perfect for frying food, and produces less gummy materials and helps in the cooking area maintaining a non-greasy surface; so, most bakers prefer to use a palm-based margarine for baking goods.
With people now more conscious about their health and food habits, palm oil is definitely the healthier choice to make whilst cooking and a step towards healthier bodies and practices. What better way to create awareness than directly reaching out to the households through our Dabbawalas.
Note to Editors:
MPOC is a Council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia. Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian palm oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.
The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world, mainly in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC) to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.
The plantation industry, particularly palm oil, is one of the main pillars of the Malaysian economy. The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export of raw commodity and valued-added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings for Malaysia and accounted for 33% of the worldâs palm oil production and 39% of total palm oil exports.
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact heâs listening to Americaâs generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isnât from China, Russia, or North Korea â it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'
'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them â thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.
National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nationâs top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power â political, diplomatic and cultural â require money too.
To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.
âThe issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,â he said, âbut rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.â
Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Roseâs article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "dupedâ policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'
Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Batesâ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAAâs âoperationalâ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Batesâ allegations.'
'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'
'Dr John Batesâs disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the âPausebusterâ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since âClimategateâ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a âtrickâ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.
Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.
Because of NOAA âs failure to âarchiveâ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.
Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of scienceâs most hotly contested debates.'
'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, âthere needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. Iâm hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community â a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesnât happen again.
Dr Bates said: âHow ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity â and failed.â '
'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards âto produce and preserve climate data recordsâ.
Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found âa much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 yearsâ. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.
In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a âhighly experimental early runâ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.
Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: âI learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.â
The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.
Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, âthere needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. Iâm hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community â a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesnât happen again.
Dr Bates said: âHow ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity â and failed.â
NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'
'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between manâs valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns âribaâ, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand âribaâ with âthe fire prepared for unbelievers.â Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn âghara.â The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.
Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the âGreat Satanâ and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.
..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.
The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.
It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.
The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..
We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'
'A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive.'
'This isnât Monte Paschiâs first state-aid rodeo. Italy bailed it out twice after the crisis when the lender failed stress tests, posted billions of euros of losses and creaked under a mountain of bad loans.
The bankâs track record has convinced some observers that it should be put into resolution, not bailed out. That would require a determination by the ECB that Monte Paschi is insolvent.
âA bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive,â said Lutz Roehmeyer, a fund manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment in Berlin. âPermanent rescues make it impossible to clean up the market and achieve risk-adequate pricing.â '
YouTube has over a billion users. Thatâs almost one-third of all people on the Internet. And everyday those users watch hundreds of millions of hours of video, racking up billions of views â which are now billions of opportunities to do good.
Weâre excited to announce a brand new tool that U.S. nonprofits can utilize â donation cards on YouTube! Donation cards make it even simpler to raise money for your cause by allowing your viewers to donate directly from your YouTube video. Even better â Google covers the processing fees, so your organization will receive 100% of the money donated. Donation cards on YouTube are currently available for U.S. nonprofits and creators, but we look forward to expanding into other countries, so nonprofits and creators can digitally fundraise across the globe.Â
Using donation cards, YouTube creators can also now raise money through their content to both support your cause and make their videos more impactful! Donation cards for creators in the U.S. enable their subscribers and viewers to donate directly from their videos. Creators can choose any United States, IRS-validated 501(c)3 public nonprofit organization.Â Your nonprofit will receive 100% of the money donated.
Want to see donation cards in action? Check out this video from Madison Beer.Â
Now itâs your turn. To help you get started, weâve put together anÂ outreach toolkitÂ â including email templates, social media templates, and fundraising best practices â to help your nonprofit share the news about donation cards with your supporters and other YouTube creators. With these tools, we hope youâll empower as many people as possible to learn about your nonprofit and fuel fundraising on your behalf.Â
To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the YouTube for Nonprofit Program, review theÂ Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofitâs story. Learn more and enrollÂ here.
If you are a U.S. nonprofit looking to add donation cards to your YouTube videos, learn moreÂ here. If you are a U.S. YouTube creator looking to fundraise for your favorite cause, learn moreÂ here.Â
GoFreeCredit.comare a credit report monitoring service. You can obtain FREE access to your credit report and even your credit score. You are are able to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of 3 credit reference agencies - Equifax, Experian and TrasUnion. However, getting your credit score is not as easy!
GoFreeCredit.com allow you sign up for a membership which includes the professional monitoring of your credit file and reports. You can sign up to receive automatic e-mails and text alerts should there be any activity whatsoever on your credit file. Perhaps an existing lender may have carried a credit search on you to see if you are eligible for a new mortgage or loan product. However, were you aware that excessive activity on your credit file can be detrimental to your credit score?
Did you know that identy theft costs millions of people and financial institutions billions of dollars every year! By having an efficient credit report monitoring service in place, you can detect the signs of identity theft early. Most people are blissfully unaware that someone may have stolen their social security number and their identity. Many thieves set about opening accounts either to launder money or borrow against your good name. This can take months or even years to notice and can ruin your good name and cost you plenty of money as well. NOT if you have access to a credit report monitoring service.
GoFreeCredit.com offer a free trial period for you to test their credit report monitoring service. Once you order your free credit report you will automatically be enrolled into your free trial of credit monitoring. You will then receive automatic notifications of any changes made to your credit report. Should you wish to continue using the credit report monitorng service once your trial period has ended you will be billed $14.95 a month. However, there is absolutely no obligation to continue using the service after your free trial period has finished - You can cancel your membership at any time.
AT&T recently announced that it has added 2.1 million net new customers during the second quarter of this year. Interestingly, almost all of the carrierâs new additions is attributed to strong sales of tablets, and to connected cars. As a matter of fact, AT&T has added one million new additions driven by tablets and connected cars in the period spanning April to June.
It appears that there is a visible shift in the makeup of AT&Tâs subscriber base, with a significant part of the new customer additions spurred by tablets and connected devices. Also, it seems that traditional subscribers -- i.e. those that use phones -- may be on the decline, at least in AT&Tâs case. It is also possible that such diminished growth from traditional phone customers for AT&T is connected to the increased pressure from competitors like Sprint and T-Mobile, who are only eager to usurp AT&Tâs place as the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States.
Earlier in July, T-Mobile had announced that it had added 2.1 million customers during the second quarter of this year. And just a few days ago, Verizon Wireless had revealed that it had gained over 1 million net new customers, and 1.1 million post-paid subscribers.Â
As for AT&T, it had added 410,000 post-paid subscribers, however the growth entirely consisted of 600,000 tablets. In the second quarter of this year, the carrier had lost about 200,000 basic phone subscribers. Still, AT&T was able to add 331,000 prepaid customers as a result of boosting its prepaid arm Cricket Wireless.Â
A new focus for AT&TÂ is in connected cars. The carrier is signing up with the largest number of automobile manufacturers in order to bring cellular connectivity to vehicles. But perhaps the more pressing question is -- will people actually pay extra money to connect their cars to a cellular network? The potential is there, but for now, it remains to be seen.Â
AT&T also managed to generate a profit in the amount of $3.04 billion, or $0.58 per share, during the second quarter of 2015. During the same period in the previous year, the carrier had a profit of $3.55 billion, or $0.68 per share. Not counting costs associated with its acquisition of two wireless carriers based in Mexico and its looming deal with DirecTV, AT&T managed $0.69 per share of adjusted earnings. Moreover, revenues increased 1.4 percent to $33 billion. As per data compiled by Yahoo, analysts predict, on average, revenue of $33.04 billion and earnings of $0.63 per share.
So you have a computer, but if it was infected with a virus, what would you do? Would you even know it was there? It is a well-known fact that over 32% of all computers in the world have malware of some sort. Today we will be talking about the infamous computer virus and what it is.
So let's start with something you all have probably heard of, Malware. Malware is a program made to infiltrate your computer, disable parts of it, and thus gain access to your hard drive, search history and such to aid with stealing information. However, there are other types of malware out there. Let's get to know them and how much of the 32% they infect.
At 57%, first we have the virus. This is a software that has the capability to copy itself and send itself into other folders. Then there is the "Trojan" at 21%. The Trojan is malicious software that hides on the internet disguised as some sort of program or free item, and ce you download it, you will soon discover it is malicious. But the Trojan has a brother at 7%, called the "Trojan Downloader". This type of virus does the same thing as the simple Trojan, but once on your computer it downloads more viruses and software, then begins to use those programs.
Then at 3% there is the "Exploit", which finds a glitch, bug or system error and uses that to hack into your computer. Next we have the "Worm" at 2%, this malicious bug works the same as a Trojan, but then copies and pastes itself across your computer network.
But not all viruses seem so bad when you get them, for instance the "Adware" at 3%. This type of virus infects your computer so nothing happens at first, but once you log into your web browser, then immediately your screen will be flooded with ads. There is also the "Monitoring Tool" with 2% of the 32% infected. This malware infects your computer and hides, not doing anything but monitoring your activity, (Search history, keyboard history etc.) and then sends those back to a remote server.
There is also one of the worst at 1%, the "Back Door". This virus infects your computer remotely, not allowing your anti-virus security to even detect it, but sure enough it does. And lastly we have one of the worst but luckily at a low percentage of 0.01%, "Spyware". This diabolically designed software infects your computer and takes the most important pieces of information it can find and sends it back to wherever it came from. This information is generally passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information. All of these viruses have devastating effects. Last year there were 27 million strains of malware made, which means 74,000 new viruses are created every day. The number of homes in the United States that experience spam is 24 million. The number of homes with serious viruses in the last 2 years is 16 million, and the number of houses that had spyware in the last 6 months is 6 million. But most devastating of all, over 1 million of all homes have lost money to spyware in the last year. Another devastating fact is that Viruses cost the world 4.55 billion USD every year.
So be safe, don't download anything you are unsure of, and be sure to have an anti-virus software. But most importantly learn how to detect these programs when you get them.
More than 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water and 2.6 billion don't have access to proper sanitation. For local water technology companies those numbers are a call to action and a major business opportunity.
SAI has been dropping for a few days and closed at 17.96 today. At under $18, it's a screaming buy, and at under $19, it's a good buy.
UpsideSAIC Report 8% Increase in ProfitsSAIC Stock buyback up to 40 million shares
Still new to the market, large potential increase in institutional holdings.
A good defense/homeland security play.
Winning lots of new contracts from government.
Options expiring soon (shares selling off).
$1.6 billion dividend to insiders.
SAI looks like it's going to hit rough waves in the near future, but after smoothing all those problems, it should sail smoothly higher in the long term. Its price is currently at a two-month low and seems to have support at high 17's. At under $18, it would make a very good long term position.
David Wallace-Wells has a long article in New York Magazine July 9, 2017, âThe Uninhabitable Earthâ.
The subtitles are âFamine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak, sooner than you thinkâ, and âWhen will the planet be too hot for humans? Much, much sooner than you thinkâ.
The author thinks that todayâs teenagers will see the catastrophic collapse.
One of the biggest dangers is sudden release of methane from permafrost.
In some parts of the world, it will not be possible for humans to survive outside. Their bodies just can cool fast enough.
Thereâs also the astonishing statement that the spurt in standard of living in the West really occurred only once, with the industrial revolution.
The author notes that it may be common throughout the Milky Way for civilizations to rise and fall. They donât survive long enough to have a good statistical chance of finding one another across light years. In the video above, Harvard professor David Kipping notes that methane degrades quickly and says that Wallace could be overstating the methane risk.
It may have been possible for Venus to host life more than a billion years ago, before a sudden catastrophe led to runaway greenhouse effects. Both Venus and Mars may be sites of tragedies and we donât know it yet.
Nev Schulman ("Catflish") shared this in his Facebook feed tonight.
These are the best songs from Mainstream Bollywood with some regional flavours. India, the land of more than 1 Billion people, who speak more than a hundred languages. This specific information means that there are more than hundred ways in which you say a thing. Along with this, every single nook and corner of this
While JK Rowling is mostly recognized as the writer behind everyoneâs beloved fantasy fiction series âHarry Potterâ, the authorâs achievements go far beyond wizards and muggles. JK Rowlingâ success story from being a jobless and penniless to becoming the first Billionaire writer in the world, itself isnât anything less than a fairy tale, however, behind
Advertising. Volkswagen Beetle Commercial I saw this commercial for the first time on YouTube after I had heard about it from my mom. It is one minute and three seconds long featuring the new VW Beetle. This Volkswagen Beetle commercial features a man in a ski mask picking out items in a convenience store/mini mart. While he is walking around, the customers inside are silently freaking out. When he gets up to the counter to pay, the clerk tells him he doesn't want any trouble. The man in the ski mask replies "I don't want trouble either." He then pays and walks out to his friends who are waiting in a convertible VW Beetle. There is snow all around and they are all wearing ski masks. When he gets in, the man in the driver seat points out that he forgot to take his mask off. They then hurriedly drive away to end the commercial. The only clue the viewer gets as to the brand for this commercial is right at the end. VW is end the commercial by saying, "now everyday is a top down day." The actors and actresses in this commercial are not celebrities because VW's focus of this commercial is not the actors/actresses necessarily but the fact that the new VW Beetle is a convertible and the weather is not convertible weather. The main actor, the guy in the black ski mask in the convenience store, does an excellent job in selling that he has completely forgot that he is wearing his ski mask still. While the customers are staring or hiding, he is nonchalantly walking around going about his business like normal. The music played during this commercial probably could not have been better. It leads up right to when he checks out and gives the mysterious feeling that we think hes going to rob the place, and then he doesn't. While he is in the convenience store, the persuasive technique could easily be hidden fear. No one wants to be in a store while it's being robbed or presumably robbed. But when that doesn't happen, it moves toward the direction of a myth. You assume that the story is some friends are out enjoying the new car with the top down. Since it's obviously winter, they decide to wear ski masks since the top is down. They get hungry, one guy volunteers to go in and pay and forgets to take his mask off. I have not seen other commercials quite like this one but there is a very good possibility that it has been modeled after one similar. I would definitely say that the target audience is the general one of whoever is in the market for a new car, but also those who love the outdoors, especially during winter with snow. Now there is a car that you can have the top down in the winter and enjoy the beauty. Personally I would not find this offensive and I didn't notice any stereotypes. This commercial I think could be a part of a new VW advertising that they have decided to go towards. Like the one with the Jamaican voice, this one is very memorable and keeps the audience engaged for the whole commercial because we are on the edge of our seats waiting to see what happens. The more I watched this ad, the simpler it seems to be, VW showed that you don't have to spend billions of dollars on special effects and celebrities to post a good commercial and have it become very popular. When i searched for this ad originally I came upon MSN's reply to this new commercial and I found what they had to say intriguing. What MSN has to say.
Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30%, making it a $2 billion industry by 2015. As medical treatment costs in the developed world balloon – with the United States leading the way – more and more Westerners are finding the […]
In the 1967 film classic The Graduate, a businessman corners Benjamin Braddock at a cocktail party and gives him a bit of career advice. "Just one wordâ¦plastics."
Although Benjamin didn't heed that recommendation, plenty of other young graduates did. Today, the planet is awash in products spawned by the plastics industry. Residues of plastics have become ubiquitous in the environmentâand in our bodies.
A federal government study now reports that bisphenol A (BPA)âthe building block of one of the most widely used plasticsâlaces the bodies of the vast majority of U.S. residents young and old.
Manufacturers link BPA molecules into long chains, called polymers, to make polycarbonate plastics. All of those clear, brittle plastics used in baby bottles, food ware, and small kitchen appliances (like food-processor bowls) are made from polycarbonates. BPA-based resins also line the interiors of most food, beer, and soft-drink cans. With use and heating, polycarbonates can break down, leaching BPA into the materials they contact. Such as foods.
And that could be bad if what happens in laboratory animals also happens in people, because studies in rodents show that BPA can trigger a host of harmful changes, from reproductive havoc to impaired blood-sugar control and obesity (SN: 9/29/07, p. 202).
For the new study, scientists analyzed urine from some 2,500 people who had been recruited between 2003 and 2004 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly 92 percent of the individuals hosted measurable amounts of BPA, according to a report in the January Environmental Health Perspectives. It's the first study to measure the pollutant in a representative cross-section of the U.S. population.
Typically, only small traces of BPA turned up, concentrations of a few parts per billion in urine, note chemist Antonia M. Calafat and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with hormone-mimicking agents like BPA, even tiny exposures can have notable impacts.
Overall, concentrations measured by Calafat's team were substantially higher than those that have triggered disease, birth defects, and more in exposed animals, notes Frederick S. vom Saal, a University of Missouri-Columbia biologist who has been probing the toxicology of BPA for more than 15 years.
The BPA industry describes things differently. Although Calafat's team reported urine concentrations of BPA, in fact they assayed a breakdown productâthe compound by which BPA is excreted, notes Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. As such, he argues, "this does not mean that BPA itself is present in the body or in urine."
On the other hand, few people have direct exposure to the breakdown product.
Hentges' group estimates that the daily BPA intake needed to create urine concentrations reported by the CDC scientists should be in the neighborhood of 50 nanograms per kilogram of bodyweightâor one millionth of an amount at which "no adverse effects" were measured in multi-generation animal studies. In other words, Hentges says, this suggests "a very large margin of safety."
No way, counters vom Saal. If one applies the ratio of BPA intake to excreted values in hosts of published animal studies, concentrations just reported by CDC suggest that the daily intake of most Americans is actually closer to 100 micrograms (Âµg) per kilogram bodyweight, he saysâor some 1,000-fold higher than the industry figure.
Clearly, there are big differences of opinion and interpretation. And a lot may rest on who's right.
Globally, chemical manufacturers produce an estimated 2.8 million tons of BPA each year. The material goes into a broad range of products, many used in and around the home. BPA also serves as the basis of dental sealants, which are resins applied to the teeth of children to protect their pearly whites from cavities (SN: 4/6/96, p. 214). The industry, therefore, has a strong economic interest in seeing that the market for BPA-based products doesn't become eroded by public concerns over the chemical.
And that could happen. About 2 years after a Japanese research team showed that BPA leached out of baby bottles and plastic food ware (see What's Coming Out of Baby's Bottle?), manufacturers of those consumer products voluntarily found BPA substitutes for use in food cans. Some 2 years after that, a different group of Japanese scientists measured concentrations of BPA residues in the urine of college students. About half of the samples came from before the switch, the rest from after the period when BPA was removed from food cans.
By comparing urine values from the two time periods, the researchers showed that BPA residues were much lowerâdown by at least 50 percentâafter Japanese manufacturers had eliminated BPA from the lining of food cans.
Concludes vom Saal, in light of the new CDC data and a growing body of animal data implicating even low-dose BPA exposures with the potential to cause harm, "the most logical thing" for the United States to do would be to follow in Japan's footsteps and "get this stuff [BPA] out of our food."
Kids appear most exposed
Overall, men tend to have statistically lower concentrations of BPA than women, the NHANES data indicate. But the big difference, Calafat says, traces to age. "Children had higher concentrations than adolescents, and they in turn had higher levels than adults," she told Science News Online.
This decreasing body burden with older age "is something we have seen with some other nonpersistent chemicals," Calafat notesâsuch as phthalates, another class of plasticizers.
The spread between the average BPA concentration that her team measured in children 6 to 11 years old (4.5 Âµg/liter) and adults (2.5 Âµg/L) doesn't look like much, but proved reliably different.
The open question is why adults tended to excrete only 55 percent as much BPA. It could mean children have higher exposures, she posits, or perhaps that they break it down less efficiently. "We really need to do more research to be able to answer that question."
Among other differences that emerged in the NHANES analysis: urine residues of BPA decreased with increasing household income and varied somewhat with ethnicity (with Mexican-Americans having the lowest average values, blacks the highest, and white's values in between).
There was also a time-of-day difference, with urine values for any given group tending to be highest in the evening, lowest in the afternoon, and midway between those in the morning. Since BPA's half-life in the body is only about 6 hours, that temporal variation in the chemical's excretion would be consistent with food as a major source of exposure, the CDC scientists note.
In the current NHANES paper, BPA samples were collected only once from each recruit. However, in a paper due to come out in the February Environmental Health Perspectives, Calafat and colleagues from several other institutions looked at how BPA excretion varied over a 2-year span among 82 individualsâmen and womenâseen at a fertility clinic in Boston.
In contrast to the NHANES data, the upcoming report shows that men tended to have somewhat higher BPA concentrations than women. Then again both groups had only about one-quarter the concentration typical of Americans.
The big difference in the Boston group emerged among the 10 women who ultimately became pregnant. Their BPA excretion increased 33 percent during pregnancy. Owing to the small number of participants in this subset of the study population, the pregnancy-associated change was not statistically significant. However, the researchers report, these are the first data to look for changes during pregnancy and ultimately determining whether some feature of pregnancyâsuch as a change in diet or metabolism of BPAâreally alters body concentrations of the pollutant could be important. It could point to whether the fetus faces an unexpectedly high exposure to the pollutant.
If it does, the fetus could face a double whammy: Not only would exposures be higher during this period of organ and neural development, but rates of detoxification also would be diminished, vom Saal says.
Indeed, in a separate study, one due to be published soon in Reproductive Toxicology, his team administered BPA by ingestion or by injection to 3-day-old mice. Either way, the BPA exposure resulted in comparable BPA concentrations in blood.
What's more, that study found, per unit of BPA delivered, blood values in the newborns were "markedly higher" than other studies have reported for adult rodents exposed to the chemical. And that makes sense, vom Saal says, because the enzyme needed to break BPA down and lead to its excretion is only a tenth as active in babies as in adults. That's true in the mouse, he says, in the ratâand, according to some preliminary data, in humans.
Vom Saal contends that since studies have shown BPA exhibits potent hormonelike activity in human cells at the parts-per-trillion level, and since the new CDC study finds that most people are continually exposed to concentrations well above the parts-per-trillion ballpark, it's time to reevaluate whether it makes sense to use BPA-based products in and around foods.
If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.
As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.
Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food crop, trailing only corn, wheat, and rice.
For 8,000 years, the humble potato has been a staple in the South American Andes, its homeland. Spanish adventurers encountered the New World crop roughly 500 years ago and brought various types back to Europe. Today, potatoes are cultivated not only throughout the Americas, but also from China's uplands to India's subtropical lowlandsâeven on Ukraine's arid steppes.
A testament to the potato's Western roots, production of this crop in the States and southward leads the world. Fully 40 percent of the 2006 potato harvest came from North America, with Latin American farmers contributing another 16 percent.
However, appreciation for this nutritious starch within developing countries outside of the Americasâespecially in Asiaâhas been growing steadily, with production of the crop in those regions climbing some 5 percent annually. Indeed, 2005 marked the first time in recent history that production of potatoes in the developing world exceeded that in developed nations.
Although most people think of potatoes as a commodity, in fact, more potatoes are processed to make fast foods, snacks, and convenience items than are sold fresh in the market place. Today, China is the leading producer of spuds, followed by the Russian states and India. International trade in potatoesâworth $6 billion annuallyâhas also been growing within developing nations.
You might then ask why, with all of this pre-existing global interest in potatoes, the UN feels compelled to devote a year of workshops, research contests, and other focused attention on this one particular food. And the reason, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization argues, is that much of the spud's potential to feed the poor remains untapped.
For instance, although Asians eat nearly half of the world's potatoes, per capita consumption even in Asia remains modestâjust 25 kilograms per year, or roughly 45 percent of U.S. consumption and just 27 percent of what's typical in Europe.
Even were potatoes to win greater respect for their nutritional attributes and ability to serve as industrial feedstocks, they couldn't necessarily make a big contribution in new regions of the world without significantly more research. The tubers are vulnerable to a host of major diseasesâlike the one that set off Ireland's 1845 potato famine. Some varieties of potato are especially resistant to particular diseases, but may not grow well in new regions of the world or taste that yummy.
That's where potato scientists come in. They can identify the climate, soil types, day length, and native diseases with which any new potato crop would have to contend. Then they'll cross lines of wild or cultivated spuds to develop ones with traits that will allow them to thrive outside the Americas. The good news, the UN program notes: "The potato has the richest genetic diversity of any cultivated plant." So there's plenty of potential to tailor a new cultivar to meet the needs of farmers in most places on the globe.
But the potato's biggest advantage, according to the International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, is that it yields more food, more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop. Up to 85 percent of the plant is edible, compared to only about 50 percent for cereal grains. Moreover, the Center notes, potatoes "are ideally suited to places where land is limited and labor is abundantâconditions in much of the developing world."
To help get this word out to agricultural agencies in parts of the world not already turned on to spuds, and from them to farmers, the International Potato Center will be sponsoring a March 2008 meeting: Potato Science for the PoorâChallenges for the New Millennium (http://www.cipotato.org/Cuzco_conference/). Those who attend will have the opportunity to explore the possibility of cooperating to fine tune existing potatoes into higher-yielding varieties.
The International Potato Center's gene bank safeguards the largest biodiversity of potatoesâ7,500 different varieties, of which 1,950 are not cultivated. Research on spuds, especially studies aimed at fostering food security and the alleviation of poverty, have become a focus for the center.
With all of this talk of potatoes, are you hungry yet? The UN program has so far identified 172,000 web pages containing recipes for using potatoes. Stay tuned, it says: "We will gather the best of them" and share them on the Year of the Potato website.
If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.
International Year of Potato (IYP) Secretariat
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
International Potato Center
Apartado Postal 1558
Gorman, J. 2000. Novel sensing system catches the dud spud. Science News 158(Nov. 25):341. Available at [Go to].
C. Graves, Ed. 2001. The Potato, Treasure of the Andes: From Agriculture to Culture. Lima, Peru: International Potato Center (208 pp). Available at [Go to].
Raloff, J. 2005. Food colorings: Pigments make fruits and veggies extra healthful. Science News 167(Jan. 8):27. Available at [Go to].
______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].
______. 2004. Coming soonâSpud lite. Science News Online (June 19). Available at [Go to].
______. 2003. How olives might enhance potatoesâand strawberries. Science News Online (May 24). Available at [Go to].
______. 2002. AcrylamideâFrom spuds to gingerbread. Science News Online (Dec. 14). Available at [Go to].
______. 1998. Taters for tots provide an edible vaccine. Science News 153(March 7):149. Available at [Go to]
and based on your adept and saavy business acumen, this is why you too run a multi billion global corporation? Apple knows their pricing and their market. First the arugment was if they made a headless imac, i'd buy it. delivered. Then it was but it doesnt run windows. delivered. then it was it was, now if theyd just put an intel chip in it, delivered. now its well it could be cheaper and needs to have this this this and this and this before me and others like would buy it. I have a better idea; get a job, dump or get off the pot and just get one. if not, ok, but read the article and move on. i tire so much of people that know more than the beleagured apple thats been slowly dying and going out of business and making missteps against MS and others since 1990.
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that 99,500 fires occurred in non-residential buildings in 2014, resulting in 60 fatalities, 1200 injuries, and over 2.6 billion in dollar loss.Â The best way to prevent these deadly fires from occurring is by eliminating the possible fire hazards.Â You are responsible for fire prevention at work for your safety […]
For this exercise, we will make certain broad assumptions, discounting exceptions and outliers. We will try to figure what's happening statistically when two people fall in love. We will also place our exercise in an Indian social and cultural context.
Let's start with the potential "universe" of people one can possibly fall in love with. We will start with the total population, and reduce for mutually exclusive groups. India has 1.2 billion people. ~50% for the opposite sex -> 600 million. India's median age is 27 years (50% population less than 27 years of age) . For this exercise, assuming that one intends to get married in the age range of 24-32, an 8-year span (our math won't vary much if we increase this window on either side by a few extra years, there is a bulge below this range), we are down to ~80 million.
It gets a little tricky from here. Remove for some semblance of economic backgrounds and we are down to ~8 million (80 lakh). Now from this, remove for religion & caste preferences (I am looking at you Brahmins), dietary preferences (no onion no garlic anyone?), height & weight preferences (taar bijli se lambe humaare piya), complexion preferences (it's only fair, right? Lovely), educational preferences, language barriers and north Indian and south Indian and Gujju and Mallu and Kashmiri and Jat preferences. And so far we haven't removed for people already married or in love with someone else who is not you. And after you have removed for all of the above, you need to be with a person with whom when you spend time, your emotional response to them lies between "surreal" and "I can stand this person" on a scale of butterflies, and the other person's emotional response also lies somewhere in the same ballpark. And whoever you are left with, you haven't even begun to find him/her yet. Given your life experiences of school, college, workplace, pubs, bars, travels, tinder and what not, and the count of people you potentially meet through these life experiences, what are the fuckin' odds.
I had always believed that the concept of "the one" does not hold. But given the odds, and given that there exists atleast "a" one, you are probably better off with a the. Two people falling in love with each other is a statistical miracle.
[from Watchmen] Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event...; ...and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it's you - only you - that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos. It's like turning air into gold. A miracle.
I hear "everything is great, but I am not so sure" ever so often that it's fuckin' unbelievable. I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would break up. You met someone and liked, and they liked you back, and you loved each other's company, and then you eventually started driving each other crazy and "it didn't work out"?! Huh?
For people who are single still, I feel sorry for you. The odds are stacked against you and there is little hope for you (lol). Live, is all, and maybe, just maybe lightning will strike (in this case, twice). And for people who are married or with someone and in love, go hug your Significant Other really hard right now right this moment, take a good look at them, smile, hold their hands, and know that they are your one in a million. You have witnessed a miracle.
------------ Note 1: Hello, and welcome to the annual edition of my pretending to understand how the average-age-55-years-white-American-old-men vote to find the best movie of the year! It's almost like how the new Pope is picked. Almost.
Note 2: Post 3.0 is going to be awesome, just like my previoustwo posts. Also, this year, a bunch of us got together to make an AWESOME app for Oscars - Award Street. Check it out! ------------
This year is pretty much going to be Boyhood vs. Birdman. A lot of people are going to get their predictions wrong this year depending on which way The Academy leans, unless your prediction is that a movie whose name starts with the letter 'B' is going to take home the grandest prize, and you can be sure about nailing it. Personally, I want to be screaming "It's a boy!" when it's announced. That man, Linklater, deserves a trophy by now. He got nominated for the last 2 movies of the 'Before' trilogy, and has made cult classics like Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, and School of Rock. He might just walk away with 3 trophies in his hands this year and that would be AWESOME. If The Academy leans towards Birdman instead of Boyhood, it will be sad, and them trying incredibly hard to be cool. Boyhood is an achievement, period. A movie event we are going to be talking about for a long, long time. It will be fitting if Boyhood is announced for the Best Picture, and this plays:
I don't wanna be a big man
Just wanna fight like everyone else
No major controversies with the nominations, although no love for Nightcrawler, The Lego Movie, and no cinematography nod for Interstellar broke my heart a little. But then, what's an Oscar without a little heartbreak, right?
I think this category isn't even a contest. Boyhood is by far the best movie on this list. Also, instead of the standard Film/Director split the Academy is known for doing, I think this year is going to see a Film/Writing split, between Boyhood and Birdman.
'You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.'
The chills Rosamund Pike gives you! Goodness. I wish she won this one, but she won't.
From Gone Girl: 'I'm the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter, I'm that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I'm it.'
Please. Starting to feel a little bad for Mr. Anderson though. Maybe Mr. Anderson is destined to be seventh time lucky another year.
'I finally figured it out. It's like when they realized it was gonna be too expensive to actually build cyborgs and robots. I mean, the costs of that were impossible. They decided to just let humans turn themselves into robots. That's what's going on right now. I mean, why not? They're billions of us just laying around, not really doing anything. We don't cost anything. We're even pretty good at self-maintenance and reproducing constantly. And as it turns out, we're already biologically programmed for our little cyborg upgrades. I read this thing the other day about how When you hear that ding on your inbox, you get like a dopamine rush in your brain. It's like we're being chemically rewarded for allowing ourselves to be brainwashed. How evil is that? We're fucked.'
Miss. IÃ±Ã¡rritu, Birdman. Oh well. Another year, bigger movie, Linklater!
This is going to be a close call, but I think Birdman will pull through in the end. Also, if it does, the Best Picture announcement is going to induce double the nervousness. Writing/Film split seldom happens. The last time this happened was with Argo (2012), and Million Dollar Baby (2005) before that.
From Boyhood: 'I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like a whale? Yoy know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?'
'You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it.'
A lack of Theory of Everything here was a little bit surprising.
'I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she's exceedingly lovely.'
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Zimmer's score made Interstellar more grandiose than it already was. Just 1 win for him from 9 nominations, I think he can use another win, and deservedly so. Theory of Everything has a good chance of taking it away.
'Those aren't mountains, they're waves.'
Miss. Grand Budapest Hotel. This movie is on a roll tonight! Desplat deserved a win, nominated for 2 movies this year, and 7 before this.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Australia is probably one of the most obviousÂ countries in the world to buildÂ a large scale adoption of solar energy. The endless burning hot sunÂ is just waiting to be harnessed. Weâve seen innovative energy systems from Australia before, but this time Australia impresses with size. A massive solar farm and battery project will be built later this yearÂ in the Riverland region in South Australia. According to the Guardian, the facility will cost one billion dollars and should be operational by the end of the year.Â The huge undertaking is financed by investors and built on privately owned land. The developer of the…
The Netherlands is where nearly $1 billion from Australia was sunk into two companies liquidated three years later. Alex de Haas/flickr, CC BY-NC Michael West, University of Sydney Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has engaged in a series of paper transactions to create a A$936 million loss in Australia. It is, for all intents and purposes, a […]
Tama the stationmaster was a well known sight to visitors at the Kishi railway station in Western Japan. Hired in 2007, she was appointed as stationmaster in 2007 and received her very own stationmaster's uniform - a cap and a jacket. Sitting quietly at the gates to Kishi railway station, she would greet and see off passengers to the station diligently everyday like most stationmasters would.
But Tama was no ordinary stationmaster - she was a cat. Her "service" to Kishi railway station soon became world famous.
Legend has it that Tama drew in enough curious tourists and passengers to the station that her employer went from near-bankrupt to profitable. Tourism flourished and even the local economy in Tama's town felt the effects of her popularity.
On 22nd June last Sunday, Tama passed away in hospital of heart failure. After her death, Tama's employers held a short Shinto-style funeral at the station where she served, where Shinto priests elevated Tama to a "goddess".
Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima thanked the cat for her "service", and said Tama would be enshrined at a nearby cat shrine next month.
âTama-chan really emerged like a savior, a goddess. It was truly my honor to have been able to work with her,â Kojima said in eulogy to the cat.
During her tenure, Tama had contributed an estimated 1.1 billion yen ($8.9 million) to the local economy.
Kojima said that when he visited Tama at an animal hospital the day before she died, the cat woke up and reached out to him with her paws, as if asking for a hug, and looked straight into his eyes. He said he told Tama to get well so they can celebrate the catâs upcoming 10th anniversary as a stationmaster, and said the cat responded with a âmeow.â
Tama had climbed the corporate ladder from stationmaster to âultra-stationmasterâ and vice president of the company before receiving the additional title Sunday of âhonorable eternal stationmaster.â
She will be succeeded by another calico cat, Nitama, now an apprentice stationmaster.
More than 3.8 billion controlled medications, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, Valium and Adderall, are dispensed by pharmacies annually in the United States. It has been estimated that only about 30 percent of these drugs are used by the people for whom they were prescribed. The remaining 70 percent represent a large surplus of controlled medications that could be abused or sold to others for abuse.
Both barns have outside lights, but the lower barn has one right at the doorway (who put that there, duh). Â When I do my late barn checks (I just did one at 11 p.m.), there are about 88 billion bugs on the door and flitting about. Â Ugh. Â I hold my breath and cover my face
Semakan Wang Tak Dituntut WTD Di Jabatan Akauntan Negara |Anda dah buat semakan Wang Tidak Dituntut (WTD)? Betul ke Wang Tak Dituntut kita boleh dapat balik? Apa yang dimaksudkan Wang Tidak Dituntut? Mungkin ramai yang belum tahu lagi mengenai Wang Tidak Dituntut, dimana anda boleh buat permohonan Wang Tak Dituntut dengan menyemak akaun anda di semua pejabat JANM seluruh negeri.
Isu ini mula hangat diperkatakan apabila seorang pengguna FB, bernama Idah Basri mendakwa mendapat RM14,000 selepas membuat semakan WTD miliknya. Dikhabarkan dari kementerian sebanyak RM5.8 billion Wang Tak Dituntut dari lebih 55 juta rekod termasuk akaun simpanan. Banyak tu beb??? Rugi bagi anda yang tidak menuntut wang semula yang ada baki di dalam akaun bank.
Apa Itu Wang Tak Dituntut (WTD)?
Sebelum saya cerita lebih lanjut tentang cara-cara semak Wang Tak Dituntut, apa salahnya anda tahu lebih dahulu apa sebenarnya WTD.
Wang Tak Dituntut adalah wang yang sepatutnya dibayar kepada pemilik asal akaun dalam satu tempoh masa tidak kurang setahun. Ianya boleh datang hasil daripada majikan anda seperti gaji, upah, komisen atau bonus.
Selain itu, WTD juga boleh jadi wang dalam kredit sesuatu akaun yang tidak lagi dikendalikan oleh pemilik akaun itu dengan apa cara sekalipun dalam tempoh masa tidak kurang dari tujuh (7) tahun. Tidak kiralah sama ada akaun anda akaun simpanan, akaun semasa atau akaun tetap.
Semakan Wang Tak Dituntut di Jabatan Akauntan Negara
Untuk buat masa sekarang, anda tidak dapat buat semakan WTD secara online. Dimana anda boleh membuat semakan Wang Tak Dituntut di semua pejabat JNAM negeri di seluruh negara. Anda perlu membawa kad pengenalan masing-masing dan IC dorang akan detect. Maka, anda boleh tahu akaun dari institusi kewangan yang mana duit korang masih berbaki.
Jika ada baki yang boleh dikeluarkan, anda perlu mengisi Borang Permohonan Bayaran Balik WTD untuk membuat tuntutan semula wang anda. Dan perlu disertakan beberapa dokumen berkaitan termasuk salinan IC, surat pengesahan bank berkenaan, bank statement atau buku bank yang aktif untuk tujuan bayaran balik melalui bank in terus. Lepas dokumen dan borang diisi siap lengkap ke Pejabat Jabatan Akauntan Negara. Duit akan masuk secara bank ini terus ke akaun anda dalam masa 30 hari sahaja.
Kalau nak check bagi ahli keluarga yang uzur, sila bawa surat pengesahan kesihatan dari klinik atau hospital dan surat sokongan menyatakan hubungan anda dengan pesakit. Manakala pula yang ingin menuntut wang semula bagi ahli yang meninggal dunia, sila bawa sijil kematian asal ataua surat kuasa (sekiranya ada) atau juga surat pertalian (surat beranak@ sijil nikah asal).
Untuk makluman anda, kini Jabatan Akauntan Negara Malaysia (JANM) sedang membangunkan satu portal online untuk membuat permohonan dan semakan Wang Tak Dituntut. Dijangka sistem online ini akan dibuka pada tahun 2018. Dengan adanya sistem ini anda tidak perlu lagi beratur panjang di kaunter JANM.
Bagi anda yang belum lagi menyemak WTD jangan tergesa-gesa pergi ke kaunter JANM, dimana semakan ini tidak mempunyai tarikh luput. Untuk dapatkan maklumat lanjut, anda boleh layari ke laman web ANM di alamat www.anm.gov.my.
Semoga perkongsian ini dapat membantu mereka untuk membuat semakan Wang Tak Dituntut dengan mudah. Selamat maju jaya. Mohon share kepada rakan-rakan anda yang belum tahu tentang info ini!!!
I can see it already, see the news casters explaining in their school-grade English and fake smiles that âSpartacus is back, with his first blog post in six monthsâ. I can hear the fake excitement, can see the drab backgrounds and cheap suits.
As I write this, I know what people will think.
The second they hear that Iâve made another post, theyâll flood to the Spectrum, expecting to hear tales of gallantry, of daredevil antics. Tales of heroism, bravery, and unabashed awesomeness.
Theyâll expect some vids of me, swooping the Hershaw in and out of enemy fire, twin badger repeaters turning Cutlassâ, Hornets, Gladii to slag, the gleam of their shattered hulls a dull red, superheated metal twinkling in the void of space.
But thatâs not what you get. Not today anyway.
Today you, my dear reader, you and every other of the 1.5 billion readers of this blog are in for a treat; for something truly special.
Today Iâm going to talk about taxes.
Iâm sure the rest of you are having problems as well. Iâm here to tell you that youâre not alone. I have problems too. So does Edwin Charles, whose new film âGlory Hornetsâ is fantastic, by the way. Go see it.
Heâs got problems too this tax season. And he and I arenât alone, either.
Maxine Waters, three-time winner of TTC â Terraâs Turtle Cup â you wouldnât believe the problems sheâs having this year, with her fleet of MISC Razerâs.
What it all comes down to is Fawkes. I know, dirty word, I apologize.
The UEEâs Fawkes system is a joke. A complete, total, utter, miserable joke. It doesnât work. At all.
Hell, here I am with only three ships â the Hershaw, the Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bowie, and the bloody Fawkes system is taxing me as if I had 13.
And somehow theyâve listed them too.
Here, hereâs their listing. You all know my ships. Letâs see if you can spot the errors in this list.
MISC Gladius â What? How do they evenâ¦ RSI Aurora â Do people even still own these?Anvil Hornet Ghost â Yeah, sorry Fawkes, Iâm not that much of a loser.MISC Prospector â No, though one might not be a terrible ideaâ¦Drake Buccaneer â Thereâs the Nebu at least.MISC Gladius â Again? Really Fawkes?RSI Constellation Phoenix â Thereâs the Bowie at leastâ¦MISC Freelancer MIS â No. Just no.Drake Cutlass Blue â Ha. As if. MISC Gladius - â¦ Iâm speechless.Consolidated Outland Mustang Beta â Sadly, I do not own a Banginâ Wagon.MISC Gladius â Fawkesâ¦MISC Gladius - *Facepalm*Anyone notice something missing?
Yeah. They didnât even include my freaking Hershaw.
And seriously, letâs take a little aside here, but MISC Gladius? Who even coded this system? How do youâ¦ Iâ¦ I am speechless. Literally speechless.
And do you know how much they expect me to pay in taxes for my ships? 33,000 credits.
Thirty. Three. Thousand.
It should be downright illegal.
But can we fight back against it? No. Call the âsupport lineâ all you get are automated response. Itâs literally impossible to talk to a real person.
And sure, Iâve got the money to pay for an Accountant to properly file forms XP23-C, and to fill out and file form XD42-A through CU.
But not everyone does.
So Iâm using my pulpit. And Iâm calling you out, UEE. Fawkes is a joke.
Get rid of it. Trash it. Start with something new, something better.
Itâs the right thing to do.
The Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) today launched civil proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that the Commonwealth Bank failed to comply with the law on 53,700 occasions.
The allegations follow an AUSTRAC investigation into the CBA's use of intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) between November 2012 and September 2015.
The maximum penalty for each of the 53,700 contraventions is up to $18 million.
The potentially massive penalties would dwarf a $45-million fine imposed on Tabcorp earlier this year for failing to comply with anti money laundering and terror financing lawsâ¦..
The transactions in question had a total value of around $624.7 million.
The Commonwealth's allegations about the extent of the breakdown of CBA's legal obligations are breathtaking.
Reading between the lines in the statement of claim, it would appear Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigating at least four money-laundering syndicates discovered Austrac had no transaction records on those they had under surveillance.
In August 2015, CBA provided authorities with details on two of those missing transactions. Clearly, that caused panic within the bank. For just a month later, it sent Austrac details of a further 53,504 transactions dating back three years where $10,000 or more had taken place.
At least 1,604 of those late filings related to criminal gangs. Even more alarming, a further six filings related to five customers the bank itself had identified as posing a terrorism risk. But, incredibly, it didn't report them.
That is not the end of it. According to the statement of claim, the bank continued to facilitate transactions for drug syndicates even after being alerted by the AFP.
Even as late as January this year, 18 months after the breaches were first discovered, it is accused of failing to report suspicious transfers totalling $320,000 over five days.
The calamity is being sheeted home to the installation of whiz-bang new machines, intelligent deposit machines.
These accept cash or shares, count the money and then deposit it into a CBA account. From there, it can be sent almost instantly to anywhere in the world. And the neat thing, from a criminal or terrorist viewpoint, is that you do not have to be a CBA customer to do it.
Not only that, they would take up to $20,000 at a time. The machines may be intelligent but, sadly, no-one at the bank seemed to give a second thought to the reporting duties, either around the $10,000 limit or to look out for "structured" transactions â those attempting to fly just under the radar with slightly smaller amounts.
When they were first introduced in 2012, they proved popular. Almost $90 million went through in the first six months. That has since risen to around $1 billion a month.
As the debacle unfolded last week, the other banks â all of which have introduced similar machines â were keen to distance themselves from the drama, even if ANZ boss Shayne Elliott lamented that all would suffer.
Each said they had removed "non-compliant machines", whatever that means. For it is not the machines that are at fault. It is the oversight that has failed.
Interestingly, each of the CBA's three main rivals were keen to emphasise that their machines would accept a maximum of $5,000. In effect, that means no single transaction would ever come close to the reporting limit, thereby letting them off the hookâ¦â¦
The odds on a royal commission have now shortened dramatically, for the Turnbull Government's resolve to resist one must now be spent.
Not only that, the banks have lost any moral ground they may have thought they had in opposing the Federal Government levy.
If recent history is anything to go by, the bank and its leaders merely will attempt to pretend it is all a media beat-up and it is business as usual.
There will be the usual contrite statements, the promises of improving systems to ensure there is no repeat, an internal inquiry no less, most likely as early as this week when Mr Narev unveils a $9.8 billion profit.
This time, however, the attack will not be so simply to parry. It is not an angry but disorganised customer base baying for blood. These are issues of national security and the prospect of a concerted legal assault by the Australian Government solicitor.
Hold the bonuses? The fallout is likely to be somewhat larger.
Commonwealth Bank response to media reports regarding AUSTRAC civil proceedings
Friday, 4 August 2017 (Sydney):
Commonwealth Bank of Australia notes the media coverage of the civil penalty proceedings initiated yesterday by AUSTRAC for alleged non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Finance Act 2006. The matter is subject to court proceedings. We are currently reviewing AUSTRACâs claim and will file a statement of defence. We will keep the market informed of any updates in compliance with our disclosure obligations.
The ABC Four Corners program âPumpedâ which was screened on 24th July has illustrated how important scrutiny of the establishment is to the rule of law in our democracy. It also illustrates why the ABC is under threat from many politicians and other powerful players who see any effective scrutiny of their operations as an intolerable threat to their way of doing business, a way that is against both the general community interest as well as the national interest.
The outrage from the revelations of water theft and other illegality by big irrigators in the northern NSW area of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) has increased over the days since the program was screened. Politicians have been left scrambling and forced to change tack following the strength of the reaction and the condemnation of the inadequacy of their initial responses.
In NSW the Nationals Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, was forced to change from an internal inquiry conducted by his department to an independent inquiry. Blair was excessively optimistic in thinking that such an internal inquiry would be acceptable given that Four Corners had revealed a questionable relationship between Gavin Hanlon, his departmentâs Deputy Director General (Water), and big irrigators in the upper MDB. In addition there was the important question of why the department had failed to act on departmental compliance officersâ reports of licence breaches and meter tampering. And there were questions about the role of the former water minister Kevin Humphries in dealing with the large irrigators.
The NSW Opposition has also taken action referring both the former Nationals water minister Kevin Humphries (Member for Barwon) and a senior bureaucrat (presumably Gavin Hanlon) to ICAC.
The Federal Government reaction was initially almost dismissive. The Minister for Water Resources, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce, as well as attempting to downplay the water theft by comparing it to cattle rustling, claimed that it was a matter for NSW and that there was no need for Federal Government involvement. Billions of dollars of taxpayer funds have been used to buy back water for environmental flows and instead of being used for this purpose this water has gone to the big irrigators in the upper Barwon-Darling. Presumably the taxpayer funds had come from the Federal Government. This would surely make it a matter of very great interest to this government which, seeing it is so concerned about budget repair, would surely be appalled at the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.
Joyceâs totally inadequate initial response was compounded shortly afterwards with what he said in a speech to irrigators in a hotel at Shepparton, a speech which was recorded by one of those attending.
Joyce said, "We have taken water, put it back into agriculture, so we could look after you and make sure we don't have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door, and that was a hard ask.â
"A couple of nights ago on Four Corners, you know what that's all about? It's about them trying to take more water off you, trying to create a calamity. A calamity for which the solution is to take more water off you, shut more of your towns down."
Even a dinosaur like Barnaby Joyce should have been aware that anyone carrying a smartphone has the capacity to secretly record what others are saying. In the political sphere we have seen how damaging this can be in the cases of Christopher Pyne and One Nationâs James Ashby. The Shepparton recording has certainly damaged Joyce and has added volume to the calls for him to be sacked from the Water portfolio. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as the Prime Minister has enough problems in his own party without alienating Joyce and the Nationals.
By Sunday 30th the scandal became a matter that the Federal Government had to act upon despite Joyceâs earlier labelling it a state matter. The Federal solution was for the Murray Darling Basin Authority to carry out an independent basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use. The Authority is to report by 15th December 2017. The Government saw this review as complementing the other investigations of the Four Corners allegations.
However, this is a case of far too little too late. The MDB Authority is scarcely a body able to conduct an independent review of what has obviously been happening under its watch. Furthermore a cynic would see the reporting date of 15th December, just before the Christmas holiday season, as a typical government move to ensure that the review report would receive minimal attention and be forgotten about over the holiday break.
The Federal Opposition, like its NSW state counterpart, has also taken action on the scandal. It requested that the Auditor-General expand his current audit of the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The Auditor-General will now include how the federal department is monitoring the performance of NSW under the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the MDB relevant to the protection and use of environmental water.
Unsurprisingly, the South Australian Government, which has long been concerned about the lack of water reaching the end of the Murray-Darling system, was outraged by the allegations. It is calling for a judicial inquiry, a much stronger investigation than those arranged by NSW and the Federal Government. SA senators from Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Party and the Conservatives have joined their state government in calling for a judicial inquiry.
This scandal has a long way to run yet. There are major questions to be answered about the National Party â both state and federally - and its relationship with the big irrigators and its apparent indifference to the needs of other irrigators further down the system. There is also the question of its influence on the workings of the NSW Department of Agriculture. And just what role has it had in limiting the effectiveness of â perhaps even of sabotaging - the Murray Darling Basin Plan?
For both Federal and NSW state Liberal leaders there is the question about the advisability of having resource management portfolios in the hands of Nationals and of putting both Agriculture and Water in the same portfolio. Each of these governments has a very poor environmental record. What has been happening on the Barwon-Darling reinforces the view that keeping âin goodâ with the Nationals is far more important for the Liberals than ensuring that environmental policies are in the best long-term interests of the state and nation.
 Gavin Hanlon joined the NSW Department of Primary Industries in December 2014. Prior to this he had been Managing Director of Goulburn Murray Water since 2011.
 The water portfolio was removed from the Environment Department and allocated to Joyce as a result of the agreement with the Liberals in 2015 following Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister.
Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com dot au to submit comment for consideration.
This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Partyand its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018.
Current committee membership is as follows:
Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
* Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
* Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal) is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
* Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.
A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.
It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.
Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.
Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.
This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:
The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.
It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communitiesâ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.
The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?
Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributariesâfor example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.
The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.
The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?
Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.
The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.
While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:
As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood ModelâUpdate 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.
The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.
There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood ModelâUpdate 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.
The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.
The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area Newson 2 March 2017:
HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of waterâ¦.
The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the communityâ¦.
Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.
The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.
According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin.
âWe have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,â Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.
Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said itâs time the scheme is looked at again.
âIt provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,â he said.
âIt also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.
âThere is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.â
Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.
âSome of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,â he said.
âThey were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.â
âWe need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.â Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.
Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?
Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there.
The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?
Mr ANDERSON: Yes.
The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.
Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.
The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?
Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.
The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.
Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.
The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.
Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates andâ
The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.
Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.
The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?
Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?
The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?
Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.
The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?
Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 floodâI guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.
The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?
Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week periodâquite distinct flood events.
The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.
Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.
The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?
Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.
The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?
Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.
The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?
Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-waystreet of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.
Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermenâs Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).
the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.
After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.
The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.
If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.
Your worst internet nightmare could be on its way to becoming a reality.
A newly discovered patent application shows Facebook has come up with plans to potentially spy on its users through their phone or laptop camerasâeven when theyâre not turned on. This could allow it to send tailored advertisements to its nearly two billion members. The application, filed in 2014, says Facebook has thought of using âimaging components,â like a camera, to read the emotions of its users and send them catered content, like videos, photos, and ads.
âComputing devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets increasingly include at least one, and often more than one, imaging component, such as a digital camera. Some devices may include a front-facing camera that is positioned on the same side of the device as a display. Thus, during normal operation, a user may be looking towards the imaging component. However, current content delivery systems typically do not utilize passive imaging information. Thus, a need exists for a content delivery solution that takes advantage of available passive imaging data to provide content to a user with improved relevancy.â
This is the US patent application to which the article is referring.
Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery are described. In one embodiment, for example, an emotion detection component may identify at least one type of emotion associated with at least one detected emotion characteristic. A storage component may store the identified emotion type. An application programming interface (API) component may receive a request from one or more applications for emotion type and, in response to the request, return the identified emotion type. The one or more applications may identify content for display based upon the identified emotion type. The identification of content for display by the one or more applications based upon the identified emotion type may include searching among a plurality of content items, each content item being associated with one or more emotion type. Other embodiments are described and claimed.
Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery are described. In one embodiment, for example, an emotion detection component may identify at least one type of emotion associated with at least one detected emotion characteristic. A storage component may store the identified emotion type. An application programming interface (API) component may receive a request from one or more applications for emotion type and, in response to the request, return the identified emotion type. The one or more applications may identify content for display based upon the identified emotion type. The identification of content for display by the one or more applications based upon the identified emotion type may include searching among a plurality of content items, each content item being associated with one or more emotion type. Other embodiments are described and claimed.
Users of computing devices spend increasing amounts of time browsing streams of posts on social networks, news articles, video, audio, or other digital content. The amount of information available to users is also increasing. Thus, a need exists for delivering content a user that may be of current interest to them. For example, a user's interests may be determined based upon their current emotional state. Computing devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets increasingly include at least one, and often more than one, imaging component, such as a digital camera. Some devices may include a front-facing camera that is positioned on the same side of the device as a display. Thus, during normal operation, a user may be looking towards the imaging component. However, current content delivery systems typically do not utilize passive imaging information. Thus, a need exists for a content delivery solution that takes advantage of available passive imaging data to provide content to a user with improved relevancy.
According to CBINSIGHTS this patent would; automatically add emotional information to text messages, predicting the userâs emotion based on methods of keyboard input. The visual format of the text message would adapt in real time based on the userâs predicted emotion. As the patent notes (and as many people have likely experienced), it can be hard to convey mood and intended meaning in a text-only message; this system would aim to reduce misunderstandings.
The system could pick up data from the keyboard, mouse, touch pad, touch screen, or other input devices, and the patent mentions predicting emotion based on relative typing speed, how hard the keys are pressed, movement (using the phoneâs accelerometer), location, and other factors.
Calls for Victoria to stand up to NSW water guzzlers
Environmental groups, farmers and Indigenous leaders today called on the Andrews government to respond urgently to claims on ABCâs Four Corners that New South Wales irrigators are engaging in âillegal water useâ at the expense of Victoriaâs rivers and farmers.
Environment Victoria Acting CEO Dr Nicholas Aberle said:
âVictoria is being cheated out of water and the Victorian government needs to stand up to these greedy cotton growers who are guzzling billions of litres meant to flow downstream for our environment.
âVictorians deserve to know exactly how much water has been lost and how this will affect Victoriaâs water supplies and the health of our rivers.
Below: Map showing how alleged illegal water use upstream in NSW affects Victoria
âThe worst part is the New South Wales government has been rigging the rules to let these big irrigators get away with it. This shows utter contempt for the health of Australiaâs rivers â an attitude that has no place in a government that shares responsibility for delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,â said Dr Aberle.
Last nightâs Four Corners program exposed major issues in the NSW water industry, including claims of illegal water use and tampering with water meters.
âThe actions of the NSW government are leaving downstream users and the environment quite literally hanging out to dry. This means thereâs less water for Victoriaâs farmers, communities and our precious rivers and wetlands.
âWe need the Victorian government to take a leadership role in fixing this mess and to make sure this never happens again. The whole plan relies on accurate measurement, tracking and compliance. Based on the revelations last night, it seems clear we canât rely on big upstream irrigators just to do the right thing.â
Environment Victoria, together with the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Environmental Farmers Network, has written to Victoriaâs Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, asking her to:
Launch a full investigation into how much water has been lost by changes to water sharing rules in NSW since 2012, and how much damage this has done to Victoria and South Australia.
Implement the Basin Plan in full so all its objectives are met, including finding smart ways to recover the remaining 450 gigalitres (GL) of water to protect Victoriaâs rivers and wetlands.
Lead the development of Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council protocols on water integrity to make sure this type of rule manipulation in favour of vested interests never happens again.
âGovernments across Australia urgently need to re-establish trust in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the environmental restoration it is designed to achieve. Victoria can and must play an important role in leading this process,â said Dr Aberle.
This call was supported by Rene Woods, Chair, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations & John Pettigrew, Water Spokesperson, Environmental Farmers Network.
George Osborne has complained to his fellow European finance ministers that they're wasting time debating a financial transaction tax because he believes pensioners will pay for it rather than bankers.
Good to see our Chancellor fighting the cause for pensioners. He's always got their interests at heart. Like when he changed the rate of indexation from RPI to CPI costing pensioners on average between Â£2,250 and Â£2,500 per year and wiping off Â£75 billion off the value of private sector pensions. Not to mention the millions of public sector workers his government are currently seeking to make work longer and pay more for less pension.
It is somewhat galling therefore that he seeks to reject a progressive tax that would raise Â£30bn to fight poverty by painting himself as some kind of defender of pensioners.
He doesn't see the point of discussing it as it will not be unilaterally agreed. He ignores a report by Bill Gates that cites that the tax would work even if it wasn't agreed by all countries. He ignores faith leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope and Desmond Tutu, and he ignores a global movement of more than 220 million people who are calling for it to help the world's poor and allow the banks to atone for creating the current financial crisis.
France, Germany and Brazil among others can hold their heads up high in the knowledge that their government's back this tax. I for one am ashamed that my government doesn't just not support it, but out-rightly seeks to disingenuously undermine it.
Again, Osborne is out to protect the interests of the wealthy few rather than the millions suffering from poverty.
The Robin Hood Tax campaign does a good job of refuting Osborne's bias against the tax on their website.
Philanthropists don't always go heavy on calling for taxation but campaigners calling for a financial transaction tax received a huge boost today after Bill Gates backed the idea.
Gates will present a report to the G20 when they meet in Cannes this November to recommend that a Robin Hood Tax would raise substantial revenue for aid and development.
A critical part of his findings as far as the UK government are concerned is that he says such a tax would work whether it was implemented unilaterally or by a small number of countries.
As Larry Elliott points out in today's Guardian this blows a hole in George Osborne's theory that the levy would need to be globally agreed to be workable.
This has been our government's main excuse against backing other leading European countries calls for the tax. Gates's report should make it harder for Osborne to wriggle out of it now. Let's hope so - hundreds of billions of dollars a year could be raised from it.
I shouldn't read Richard Littlejohn's weekly diatribe of hate but every now and then I get copied into one of his more repugnant observations on life. This week he chimes into the economic debate with "More tax? we'd all be better off on benefits." He roundly condemns Lib Dem plans to make the rich pay more tax. Well, I'm told Littlejohn earns something in the region of Â£750,000 a year for his column so it's no wonder he's not keen on the idea. I mean not everyone can be as fair minded and benelovant on the issue as Warren Buffett. However, what I find deplorable is his insistance on having a go at the most vulnerable people in our society to make his point.
His rant about paying more taxes is basically an excuse to have a go at benefit claimants and asylum seekers.
"Weâd all be better off on benefits, except there wouldnât be anyone left to pay for those benefits. Vince Cable favours a âmansion taxâ on homes worth more than Â£2âmillion. Will that apply to the Somali asylum seeker who has just taken up residence in a Â£2âmillion house in West Hampstead." Of course we would Richard. I'd like to see you survive on Â£67.50 a week. In fact, I'd pay more tax myself to see it happen. Better still, I'd like to see him experience first-hand what it's really like to be an asylum seeker.
We could put him up in Colnbrook immigration prison where three asylum seekers have died since 2 July or have members of his family detained in Yarl's Wood where one child spend 166 days in detention before her third birthday.
These are the people who really don't have a voice. It's a shame those that speak the loudest like Littlejohn see them as easy fodder for their bigotry. Maybe it's because he knows they can't talk back.
Selamat Hari Guru Buat Kesemua Guru kami dan Guru kepada anak - anak kami. Yang masih hidup dan berkhidmat, Moga diberi sebillion kekuatan, kesabaran dan kewarasan serta kebijaksanaan sebagai pendidik buat anak - anak zaman kini dan mendatang. Buat yang tiada, moga limpahi rahmat ke atas roh kalian dan diampun dosa - dosa kalian semasa hidup.
Yang pertamanya nak terima kasih buat guru pertama yang melahirkan dan membesarkan kita. tentulah mak abah kami sendiri En. Yahya bin Dikin dan Pn. Hamidah bt Supaat Yang mengajar jatuh bangun sebagai manusia, yang mengajar kendiri diri seawal usia. terima kasih mak dan abah.
Buat guru - guruku: Selamat Hari Guru Cikgu Uteh (tadika abim 1987- 1988) Almarhum Cikgu Ain (Tahfiz ABIM 1990 - 1991) Cikgu Kursiah, - SKSB Cikgu Zaharah - SKSB Cikgu Nong Zaharah SMK Meru (cikgu asal ghanu yang tak pernah makan sukun). Cikgu Norhayati - SMK Meru Pn Nagamal - SMK Meru (cikgu lukisan kejuruteraan. maaf cikgu, saya failed subject cikgu masa spm tapi end up belajar CNC machine *CATIA & AutoCAD masa amik Diploma Metal Fabrication) Cikgu Khalidah Adibah - SMK Meru yang selalu nasihat suh lembut sikit. Ok dah cikgu. dah jadi mak ni lemah lembut dah sikit. Cikgu Rosmawati - Cikgu Add Math (terima kasih cikgu sebab bagi foundation study math buat saya. Kbat sekarang semua macam add math) Ustazah Siti Asturas : terima kasih cikgu sebab menjaga kebajikan anak - anak murid. Pada Allah sahaja yang dinilai. Penilaian manusia belum tentu lagi. ada kisah sedih sepanjang karier beliau, tapi aku yakin doa adalah senjata orang - orang mukmin tika itu. Guru Kelas aku masa form 4 : Pn Istiqamah rasanya kot?! sapa ingat mintak betulkan. pun sangat baik. sampai berkali - kali terserempak kat mana2 di kampung kami, masih dia yang menyapa mesra anak murid. bukan sebaliknya. beside, dia tak judgemental. anak murid pndai ke tak, kaya ke tak, dia layan sama. xde beza - beza, takde anak emas, anak perak, tembaga segala bagai. Cikgu Roslan - annoying tapi dia contoh cikgu yang buat kita rasa berani nak menyuarakan sesuatu. risk taker gak cikgu ni bab motivate student dia termasuk la aku. Almarhum Sir Rosman (you make me feel speaking in broken english is so awesome for 'anak pencari besi buruk ni')
Madam Zilia - moga pedoman hidup dan ilmu yang dicurah memberi manfaat pada semua. Almarhum Madam Hayati - moga Allah cucuri roh Mu selalu Madam. Almarhum Sr. Ali - akan selalu dikenang sepanjang hayat. takkan ada yang patah tumbuh berganti buatmu, Sir. ( Aircraft Welding : Airframe & Powerplant; MARA NORTHROP RICE, Jasin, Melaka) buat semua Sir dan lecturer masa kat Northrop /UniKL Miat dan Unikl MFI: Haji Shadid, Haji Megat, Haji Hashim , Almarhum Haji Sofri, Haji Rashid, HajiHaris Podilah Abd Ghani, En.Mohd Nor, En. Zam (barang yang lepas jangan dikenang, apa diharap padi seberang.), En.Bad, En. Mahfuz, En. Nizam , En. Khairuddin, En. Aziz.
Madam Tuan Salwani - tq Madam. tak tahu nak cakap apa, tapi kalau tak dipecahkan ruyung...takdelah kalut sangat ajo anak2 kami math zaman sekarang.
Madam Anne - hmm.. transfer credit dapat B. tapi semangat nak belajo english sebab Madam memang precise gile.
En. Azizul (kot) - Masuk kelas french memang terasa european la sangat. end up dpt ape yek french? b- ke c- ke d? lupa.
boleh kot nak kata kami pndai 4 bahasa? - melayu tentulah - english tentulah level c dan d, french? tentulah dah e sekarang.tu pun byk dibantu dengan google translate. dia macam bahasa arab sebenarnya.. dan jawa. yg ni dah karat lansung. paham boleh. nak balas dah tak cantik. so susah la sikit, kalau terjumpa PDI kat mana2, boleh pasang telinga.
Terima kasih Semuanya.
Buat Kesemua Guru Anak - Anak kami:
Pn. Zaidatul Rakkaya : terima kasih atas ilmu math (nombor kaya, nombor or miskin, pola nombor, tambah berganda , tolak berganda. nampak kecil, tapi besar maknanya buat anak seperti Aqil Al Islam). Moga maju jaya terus di sekolah terkini.
Pn. Emi Marlina : terima kasih teacher atas perkongsian ilmu setiap waktu dulu. moga terus cemerlang di sekolah terkini.
Ustazah Syafiqah : terima kasih sebab mengajar Aqil Al Islam dari tahun 1 sampai sekarang. Mengaji dan Bahasa Arab. terima kasih sebab selalu beri dorongan buat anak yang pemalu dan cemerkap tu.
Ustazah Akak aka KB : terima kasih sebab ajo aqil mengaji dan tajwid. moga dengan alam pekerjaan sekarang peroleh manfaat dan memberi manfaat kepada yang lain.takkan ada yang sama seperti kamu buat aqil.
Nana aka Student Master Comm English: Terima kasih dik atas petua dan teknik belajar english kepada Aqil. banyak yang akak belajar dari kamu. mudahan di pagoh nanti, kamu berhasil lulus cemerlang. xkan ade yang sama macam kamu.
Ustazah Sharifah : walau sekejap, tapi tiap kali belajar bm, nama ustazah jua yang disebut aqil.
Ustazah fatimah azzahra : terima kasih atas perkongsian.
Buat semua guru - guru Aqil Al - Islam di SraiSC :
Ustazah Hamidah, CIkgu Herly, Cikgu Basmah, Cikgu Junaidah / Junida / Junaihah , Ustaz Azlan, Ustaz Wan, Ustaz Iszham, Cikgu Nor Haizam, Ustaz Hafiz, Cikgu Murni, Ustazah Rahimah, and few others maaf kalau lupa sebut nama. Terima Kasih banyak - banyak dan Selamat Hari Guru.
Buat Semua Guru - Guru Qurratu'aini Al Zahraa' (Ara) di Sri Al - Huda :
Teacher Asra , Ustazah Pauziah, Ustazah Rabiatul , Ustazah Wan Sufiah, Ustaz Naim, Ustazah Niza, and few others yang lupa dan belum berapa kenal serta tak lupa Ustazah Nurul Aini (guru iqra) : Selamat Hari Guru dan Terima kasih sebab mendidik Ara sepanjang 5 bulan pertama ni.
Akhir sekali buat semua teacher kat Educare yang pernah didik, jaga dan cebok berak kencing Aqil dan Ara :
To gain practical skills for sustainability management,Â join us at the COMMIT! Forum in DC October 11-12 2017 By Gina-Marie Cheeseman There are over seven billion people in the world and every one of them needs to eat to live. Feeding a growing world population means that crop yields have to be improved. Fertilizers are important […]
The fact that businesses and job creators can make such a phenomenal showing after years of regulatory uncertainty and continued political intervention reminds us of the power of the free market and that the best successes come from the work of the individuals, not collectivists in the public sector.
Perhaps the best reminding of what the last eight years brought us was President Obamaâs infamous 2012 campaign speech âIf you've got a business, you didn't build that.â Throughout the course of his administration saw a creation of routine legislative and executive actions that were designed to both micromanage business and supposedly âcreateâ jobs. Unfortunately, none of this had the intended success.
Most prominently among the actions from the executive administration while Obama was presidents include significantly increased regulations. Among these have included the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), Dodd-Frank, the stimulus package, and, most spectacularly of all, Obamacare. All of these added a large interventions and onerous barriers in the economy that failed to achieve their stated goal.
Outside of simple regulation, there was also so called âjobs creationsâ programs that were supposed to create jobs the President did not think businesses could such as the stimulus package. The program was sold as a job creation plan that would keep unemployment below 8 percent for the low price of $830 billion.
However, policy alone does not explain why there has been high profit growth for the last two quarters. As the Wall Street Journal article admits, health care legislation and tax reform have been stalled in the senate. This has caused a climate of uncertainty which businesses have not been happy with.
Nevertheless, they have instead moved on from Washington and instead remained focused on doing business. Political events seem to have taken a backseat to actual business as the number of S&P 500 companies have mentioned the President or his administration during conferences is down by a third as the research firm Sentieo found out. To be blunt, the involvement of Washington and government policy is not driving the current profit growth and the lack of involvement may actually be increasing it.
For a better example of how reduced involvement can improve the economy, look no further than the Depression of 1920. At the time, war time debt had exploded, unemployment peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921, and inflation rates jumped above twenty percent. It had the potential to be even more catastrophic than the Great Depression that started in 1929.
However, the policies pursued were entirely different. The federal budget was severely reduced from $18.5 billion in FY 1919 to $3.3 billion for FY 1922. Taxes at the same time were cut by about 40 percent.
As a result, unemployment dropped to 2.3 percent by 1923 and a crisis had been averted. This was accomplished not by bailouts and and overregulation but by getting the government entirely out of the way. This is a radically different approach than was pursued during the financial panic of 2008 or even the Great Depression.
As history and current events have shown time and time again, the best results come not from government involvement and micromanagement, but from the hard work of free individuals in free markets. More and more, the adaptability of businesses to their consumerâs demands and their ability to whether adversity in the marketplace has always been more efficient than the micromanagement the state perceives. As a result, sometimes the best thing to do is to have the government do nothing so that those who can make the economy better will.
Of course, the elite of the country have not seemed to notice the problems their citizens are facing. Accusations fly of the leaders of Venezuela living luxurious lifestyles despite the recession. Unsurprisingly, reports have the daughter of Venezuelaâs last President Hugo Chavez at a networth of $4.2 billion.
So the big question is: why is Venezuela falling apart? The simplest answer is government mismanagement as it started taking over the economy. Under the watch of Socialists Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, the socialist leadership in the country has greatly increased its influence in economic affairs, resulting in decreased investment, business failures, and scarcity.
Over the past decade and a half, the Venezuelan government has nationalized multiple industries, including oil, agriculture, finance, steel, electricity, and telecommunications. Unsurprisingly, this led to significant ruin in the various industries it controlled, especially oil. Case in point, the Chavez regime largely underfunded the investment necessary to bring about increased oil production.
Large portions of oil revenues were transferred to generous social programs but there was lackluster reinvestment to make sure that more oil was produced to keep revenue flowing. As a result, oil production starting dropping consistently after 2007 which saw a major decline in revenue (and helped lead to the debt that caused hyper inflation). Additionally, Chavez demanded more money from oil companies investing in the country and the ones that refused saw their assets seized. With such a clear lack of respect for human rights, it should come as no surprise that foreign investment has been on the decline recently in the country which is also hurting business and revenue.
To make matters worse, many workers were fired and replaced with government loyalists. In one case, a company that had never created an oil well was hired to create several since it had ties to the government. The lack of experienced workers unsurprisingly has also added to the decline of the oil industry that was a huge part of the governmentâs revenue.
Venezuela has also added newer regulations and laws to improve the economic situation of its country that had the opposite effect. Case in point, the minimum wage was increased recently by 50 percent despite the fact overall wages still decreased by 17 percent. Other reports have increased labor protections actually hurting business while price controls that were implemented to reduce profits and keep prices low also helped to reduce food productions which also helped cause the food crisis. With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the number of businesses in Venezuela has gone down from 800,000 in 1998 to 230,000 in 2016, a decline of 570,000.
For more evidence of how the government does not care about its people, look no further than its human rights records. The Maduro government has been seizing power by stacking the courts with supportive justices and then met the protests against that with violent crackdowns on dissenters. Meanwhile, accusations of sham elections are now flying in the wake of an election referendum to give him the power to rewrite the countryâs constitution. In the end, the increase in power has come to the detriment of the people backed by phony promises.
As is always the case, the promise of helping the people through government intervention completely falls apart. Just like with China and Russia, the result is always economic ruin with the well connected few reaping the benefits. Unfortunately, the US is not free from these mistakes as states like Connecticut or cities like Seattle implementing their own interventions in the economy that results in disaster. If the US wants to head down the path same economic path as Venezuela that leads to destruction and corruption, it will inevitably end there.
The fix is in. Did you know, corporations like General Electric Co. (GE) spend more money on lobbyists than they pay in taxes?
The federal government currently taxes corporations at 35 percent. While many argue the rate is too high, you donât hear companies like GE complaining about it. Thatâs because they arenât paying it.
Over the past 15 years, GEâs federal income tax rate averaged only 5.2 percent. General Electric paid no federal taxes in 2010, despite earning $5.1 billion in U.S. profits. Instead, the company claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
Meanwhile, GE executives awarded themselves more than $75 million in compensation and paid lobbyists a total of $39 million that same year- all while laying off their own employees.
How was this possible? It was an inside job. General Electricâs tax planning team includes former employees from the Treasury, IRS, and congressional tax-writing committees. GE doesnât have a tax compliance team, it has a tax defiance team.
This is how the revolving door of power works in Washington. Entry-level staffers move to our nationâs capital and work as âpublic servantsâ for a few years. They learn the rules of the game, then cash out in the private sector to help lobbying firms and corporations like General Electric manipulate the system.
And the door spins âround and âround ...
No wonder Fortune 500 companies are so quiet on the sidelines while grassroots America fights to reform the tax code. Theyâve already cut a deal behind closed doors.
With a Republican-led Congress and White House, there is a serious opportunity for tax and welfare reform in 2018. Itâs time to finally level the playing field. Any serious GOP entitlement reform effort must begin with corporate welfare reform.
Everyday families canât afford entire teams of lawyers and lobbyists dedicated to avoiding taxes. We work hard, and play by the rules. Political insiders and corporate America should do the same.
The American people arenât being heard by government because the game is rigged. Washington isnât broken. Itâs âfixed.â
On behalf of FreedomWorksâ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote on amendments offered to the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, H.R. 3219, in the manner prescribed on each amendment below. As is always the case, FreedomWorks reserves the right to key vote any amendment brought to the floor for a vote.
NO â Amendment #2: Sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), this amendment would prohibit funds provided by H.R. 3219 from being used to âpropose, plan for, or executeâ another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). A 2013 report by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) estimated that the first four rounds of BRAC save approximately $8 billion annually. The 2005 BRAC is saving nearly $4 billion annually. This amendment against a new round of BRAC would prevent further cost-savings from becoming a reality.
YES â Amendment #19: Sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), this amendment would eliminate the CBOâs Budget Analysis Division. The amendment transfers the authority of the division to the Director of the CBO.
YES â Amendment #20: Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), this amendment would make a 1 percent across the board rescission to the spending levels provided by H.R. 3219, with exemptions for Capitol Police and other security-related accounts.
YES â Amendment #26: Sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), this amendment would reduce the appropriation to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) by more than $25.4 million.
YES â Amendment #39: Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), this amendment would make a 1 percent across the board rescission to Division D of H.R. 3219 â the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
YES â Amendment #40: Sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), this amendment would save taxpayers money by prohibiting inflated prevailing wage requirements established by the Davis-Bacon Act.
FreedomWorks will count the vote on these amendments to the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, H.R. 3219, on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard and reserves the right to score votes for amendments not listed above. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
On behalf of FreedomWorksâ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Creating and Restoring Equal Access To Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, S. 974 and H.R. 2212. This bill would lower prescription drug prices by crushing illegal, anti-competitive, and monopolistic practices by the biggest pharmaceutical companies.
Prescription drug prices have soared above general inflation rates for years, a telltale sign of lacking producer competition. Large moneyed pharmaceutical companies abuse a loophole in the FDA Amendments Act of 2007 that allows them to bar potential competitors from entering the market. They do this by refusing to provide drug samples and safety information that new producers need for medical research required in the FDA approval process of generic drugs.
Without these samples and safety procedures, new producers never earn FDA approval. Meanwhile, existing producers establish monopolies and hike prices.
This especially harms the emerging market for âbiosimilars,â innovative remakes of biologic drugs. Biosimilars are often much cheaper to produce than name-brand biologics, reducing costs for millions of Americans.
The CREATES Act would grant relief in court for generic and biosimilar competitors seeking FDA approval. This would clear the pathway for new drugs to enter the market, drastically reducing prices through increased competition. The cost savings stemming from this legislation could reach between 15 percent and 50 percent of current prices for impacted drugs.
Such legislation would reduce both the federal deficit and national debt. Decreasing prescription drug costs would lessen the financial burden on Medicare, saving taxpayers up to $5 billion annually.
As you know, FreedomWorks fights for free markets and smaller government. The CREATES Act would lead to a freer market, less cronyism, and cheaper medication. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the CREATES, S. 974 and H.R. 2212.
Perpetually increasing prescription drug prices ravage everyday Americans. Specifically, name-brand prices outpace inflation by about 50%, largely due to government-protected market power. A beacon of hope for reducing drug prices are the generic and biosimilar drug industries, which produces existing brand drugs and biologics drugs through distinctly cheaper methods. But big Pharma doesnât want competition, so it does everything it can to block generic and biosimilar innovation. The CREATES Act, H.R. 2212, solves a loophole commonly abused by big pharmaceutical companies for unlawful market advantages in the emerging generics and biosimilars markets.
Existing drug companies exploit the Food and Drug Administrationâs (FDAâs) Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) requirements for FDA approval of competitive generic and biosimilar products. This is an unlawful tactic to increase market-power. Biosimilars are a type of biologic drug â drugs manufactured from living cells â that mimic both the composition and the function of an existing biologic drug but employ cheaper production processes. Tragically, established producers prevent aspiring competitors from completing ANDA.
To complete a generic or biosimilar approval process, applicants must acquire sample drugs from existing producers. This allows medical researchers to demonstrate that the functions and properties of the original brand drug and the new generic or biosimilar are, in fact, equivalent. Sadly, many brand companies refuse to provide samples to potential competitors, preventing them from gaining approval. Thus, innovative generics and biosimilars hit the market less frequently, trapping consumers with fewer options and higher prices. While this practice of abusing distribution networks is illegal, there are no enforcement mechanisms preventing it.
Remember the damnable pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, who raised the price of a biologic AIDS drug Daraprim by over 5000% in one night? One of his profit-protection methods was to deny competitor applicants the samples they need to earn FDA approval. Competing with losers like Shkreli would be easy it if werenât for this loophole. High school chemistry students reproduced Daraprim for less than $2 a pill compared to Shkreliâs $750.
A similar monopolistic scam employed by entrenched pharmaceutical companies involves exploiting shared Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) procedures. Producers of existing brand drugs are sometimes required by the FDA to establish safety protocols that protect consumers from safety risks. The FDA encourages companies to share, or streamline, their REMS procedures for maximum safety and congruency among user experiences. If a person taking biologic drug X switches to biosimilar drug X, the shared procedure is supposed to ensure that there are no major differences in how this person safely consumes the drug. In a similar fashion to denying samples, big pharma often refuses to share REMS procedures. When a REMS program has previously been required, FDA cannot approve a generic or biosimilar until a shared REMS has been negotiated or the agency has been given sufficient evidence to waive the requirement. This imposes redundant and costly burdens on biosimilar producers, and ultimately delays market entry for far less expensive but equally safe drugs.
Both of these tactics, refusal to share samples and failure to fairly negotiate shared REMS programs, establish de facto monopolies for original drug producers, but theyâre easily fixed by the CREATES Act. Under the CREATES Act, generics and biosimilar manufacturers will be able to seek injunctive relief in court against companies that withhold samples or REMS information. This will improve competition with new generics and biosimilars, reducing prescription drug costs possibly as much as 40%. It will also help sustain Medicare Part D, the national deficit, and debt, by reducing government drug expenses by up to $5 billion per year.
Congress should end illegal monopolies and help Americans afford their medications by passing the CREATES Act, all without increasing the size of government.
Over the past several months, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a step back on federal justice reform efforts, regressing to purportedly âtough on crimeâ stances. From advising increased penalties for nonviolent offenders to more recently promising an increase in the use of civil asset forfeiture by the federal government, Sessions has been doing everything in his power to give the Department of Justice (DOJ)âs full support to 80s-era policies from which many conservatives have abandoned in favor of evidenced-based practices that reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.
A study from the Urban Institute found that increased penalties were at best mixed in reducing crime with other factors beyond incarceration driving down the incarceration rate, no evidence it drove down drug crime, and the use of imprisonment as a deterrent to be very costly. As of 2015, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world at 25 percent while the total number incarcerated has increased by 500 percent over the last forty years.
Meanwhile, the recidivism rate within three years of release increased by five percent between 1983 and 1994, highlighting a failure of harsher sentences to reduce both incarceration and reimprisonment. Keeping in mind that over-incarceration costs taxpayers at all levels of government around $80 billion each year, and those costs are only rising, it comes as no surprise that the âtough on crimeâ mindset has become both costly and unpopular after failing to get tangible results.
One such reform was pursued in the state of Kentucky. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed SB 120 into law, which would eliminate a blanket ban on getting a job license and instead transfer it to a licensing board which will review each case. This will open up opportunities for previous offenders to now get jobs which will make it easier to reintegrate into society.
The state legislation comes at a very important time for both the country and the state of Kentucky. A report from Reason magazine highlighted that prevention from getting a license due to a criminal record can increase the recidivism rate. There have been repeated cases where individuals have had problems getting licenses because blanket bans like the one in Kentucky have prevented them from getting jobs.
A study by Arizona State University economist Stephen Slivinski found that recidivism increased by a whopping 9.4 percent in states that had blanket bans for former offenders while in states where it was easier for them to receive licenses it decreased by 4.2 percent. In addition, it was found that âbetween 60 and 75 percent of released prisoners remain unemployed one year after getting outâ which is a problem since a Manhattan Institute Study found that employed individuals are more likely to return if they do not find a job relatively soon to release. Overall, a job is more likely to get people out of crime and reintegrated into society so reform like that in Kentucky will be a step in the right direction.
For Kentucky, especially at the moment, this will help address problems it is facing. At the moment, Kentucky is failing to fill 110,000 job openings and ranks as having the 47th lowest job participation rate in the country. Getting reformed offenders into the job market will reduce that rate and help get new applicants for the jobs it is failing to fill.
Similar concepts have also been pursued in the state of Illinois. As the Reason magazine article also notes, Illinois had passed a law in 2011 to ban all licensed healthcare professionals with a previous criminal record. This had initially been done since sex offenders had somehow managed to get licensed as doctors and nurses, but the problem is that the law was far too broad, applying to all former offenders as well.
This included one Carlos Romero, who had left prison in 1993 and had been working for two years as a respiratory therapist with no legal issues after release until his license was revoked in 2013 because of the 2011 law. Romero and several other individuals who had not committed a legal wrong after release had lost their licenses. In response, he worked with State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) to create an appeals process that would allow him and others with a previous conviction to make an appeal to get their license back. In 2016, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law, allowing Carlos and countless others a chance to get their jobs back and remain proud contributors to the economy.
This is not the only reform the state of Illinois has pursued. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a bill to add burden of proof requirements to the policeâs use of civil asset forfeiture, a tool that allows police to seize from accused individuals who have not been convicted. Though the bill has not yet been signed by the governor, it has veto proof majorities in both houses. Considering the fact that Chicago Police Department has acquired $150 million in assets from low income and minority neighborhoods and it has included âthings like flashy jewelry, flat screen TVs, and a copy of the Call of Duty: Ghosts video game,â this reform is clearly needed.
Kentucky and Illinois are not the only states have pursued reforms. In Nebraska, State Sen. Laura Ebke (L-Crete) is pursuing the same reforms as Kentucky, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has implemented civil asset forfeiture reforms in Arizona to allow for more transparency, the state of Louisiana passed ten new laws on various justice reform topics this year, and many, many, MANY other states have done similar work. It would appear that across the country, states doing everything to find new and smarter ways to address and reduce crime in ways that drive down recidivism and restore rights.
The DOJ is continuing to pursue âtough on crimeâ policies, but the states continue to believe it is better to be âsmart on crime.â Increased penalties have been tried for decades and there is lackluster evidence that it has accomplished its goals at a reasonable cost. Meanwhile, states are pursuing newer, fairer, smarter, and better ways to reduce crime, protect rights, and promote outreach. With trends the way they are now, the country will like continue down this path with the states continuing to lead the way on justice reform.
Perhaps one of the most important components of the budget is that it begins the reconciliation process for fundamental tax reform. There are also reconciliation instructions for 11 House committees to find roughly $200 billion savings or reforms in mandatory spending.
The FY 2018 budget resolution isn't on the calendar for the week. It's unclear if House Republican leaders will bring it to the floor.
Additionally, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, H.R. 2997, introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) could come to the floor for a vote this week. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and reforms the United States' out of date air traffic control (ATC) system. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in support of the 21st AIRR Act.
On Monday, the House will consider 17 bills on the suspension calendar. Most of the bills on the suspension calendar related to veterans or active military issues. There are three bills on the suspension calendar that relate to small businesses and investment. The House will also consider the Intelligence Authorization Act, H.R. 3180, sponsored by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on suspension.
There are three bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday, including the Medicare Part B Improvement Act, H.R. 3178, sponsored by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and a yet-to-be-numbered resolution that will impose sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
For the balance of the week, the House will consider at least four more bills on the suspension calendar. The Make America Secure Appropriations Act, H.R. 3219, will also come to the floor. This is the consolidated appropriations bill, or "minibus," for the Department of Defense, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Water. Like virtually every other bill to come to the floor this year under "regular order," the Make America Secure Appropriations Act is subject to a rule to limit or prevent amendments from the floor.
On Thursday at 10:00 am, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled "The Need for the Balanced Budget Amendment." The witness list for the hearing has not yet been announced. Twelve constitutional amendments have been introduced in the House that would require a balanced budget. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the sponsor of two of them, H.J.Res. 1 and H.J.Res. 2. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the primary sponsor of H.J.Res. 15, is among the House conservatives who have introduced a balanced budget amendment.
The committee and subcommittee schedule for the week can be found here.
Presumably, the Senate will vote this week on the motion to proceed to the House-passed version of H.R. 1628. It's still unclear on what happens next. A vote to proceed to the House-passed version has always been the first step. The next step will be for an amendment to the bill that will substitute the language of either the Better Care Reconciliation Act or language similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, now called the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act. FreedomWorks' key vote on the motion to proceed applies only if the base text that will be substituted is similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill.
The Senate still has several nominees to consider and, on the legislative front, the FDA Reauthorization Act, S. 934; the National Defense Reauthorization Act; and the debt ceiling are among the items awaiting action.
Separately, Senate Democrats are rolling out their "better deal" economic agenda today, which is a rehashing and repackaging of virtually every leftist policy proposal in recent years. The agenda is Democrats' attempt to find a message after a string of special election losses around the country.
The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.
That’s right, Matt the Web Guy has added the club to Facebook.Â If you are a Facebook user head over there and likeÂ our page! Since there are a billion people using Facebook, having a page there is another great way for … Continue reading →
2 nominations. See more awardsÂ Â» Plot:Â Two losers from Milwaukee, Coop & Remer, invent a new game playing basketball, using baseball rules. When the game becomes a huge success, they, along with a billionaire’s help, form the Professional Baseketball League where everyone gets the same pay and no team can change cities. Coop & Remer’s team, […]
Obama and Biden appeared on MTV today in a very refreshing interview with Sway about Thursday's debate and what the Obama policies mean to the younger generation. Obama addressed his treatment of American voters, the problems facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and the effect of the economic bailout on our generation. It's not often that you see a politician target an audience with such success.
Obama reigns when it comes to character. He obviously went the diplomatic route when Sway steered the questioning towards who won the debate, explaining the point wasn't to win, but rather to inform the American people of the differences between the two candidates. But even though Obama is still rowing a political boat, I believe that he's trying to arrive at a humane and decent destination.
"I think the pundits and the press, you guys are looking at tactics. What the American people are looking at is they might lose their job ... they might lose their house...What's relevant is the substance of this thing, which is people out there are hurting, and John McCain has promoted the same policies of George Bush, and people know they're not working. They understand we can't continue four more years of doing the same thing."
But the instance that I was most excited about (and I hope it excited any other half-interested person under the age of 25) was Obama's explanation of the $700 billion bailout and what is happening in the economy. My happiness came partly because I've spent most of my morning on the internet, trying desperately to figure out what exactly is going on in the economy and how it got this way. I've been reading The Guardian, a short history of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an Economic Times article on the recent re-structuring of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Wikipedia pages for "bailout," the SEC, and GSEs, and I even called my father to try and understand what the fuck is happening and whether it will affect me. And after reading all of that and slowly coming to grasp just the smallest crumb of understanding, it was lovely to hear Obama's rationalization of the economic crisis:
"If the credit markets collapse, what it means is banks aren't lending businesses money. Businesses then can't invest in plants and equipment and make payroll, so they shut down. And that means the suppliers of those companies, they shut down. Over time what happens is you get the whole economy coming to a standstill. That's what happened during the Great Depression," he explained. "And at that time, it was just banks that were in charge of capital. Now you've got all different ways that money flows ... but the bottom line is, that if money freezes up, businesses can't do business, and you get an enormous contraction of an economy. And that, ultimately, will affect that 20-year-old, because that 20-year-old is going to be looking for a better job after he gets out of school. ... If our businesses aren't creating jobs, they're not creating tax revenues â now it's harder for government to finance that college education or to build that new university. So it has a ripple effect."
His explanation is a little basic, but that's actually what our generation needs. We're the ones who grew up inside a nearly virtual system of currency. Most young people have no idea how to balance a check book, let alone have a detailed understanding of how banks work or how to invest in the stock market! Obama understands this, and I think that he's being honest and straightforward about the effects of the economic crisis on our future. The bottom line is, I trust Obama. I trust that he will bring a good change to this country. I trust that he will make decisions with his electorate's best needs at heart. I trust that he is in this presidential race to spur forth America's progress, not to make himself a powerful figure in history. I trust his judgement, I trust his humanity, I trust him.
Betsy Devos,Â an unqualified billionaire with a knack for destroying education in her own state, has been confirmed as the country’s new Secretary of Education. Many are wondering whether the strategic Republican marketing of “school choice” has any leg to stand on. “Public sc...
The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide GBP 1.5 billion (EUR 1.92 billion) for investment by National Grid plc across its national electricity transmission network. This new support for connecting new power generation, upgrade ageing assets and improve network resilience to climate and security risks represents the largest ever single loan made by Europe's long-term lending institution. The new long-term loan will include capital investment by National Grid reinforcing infrastructure...
Europe’s long-term lending institution, the European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 200m (Ksh 23 billion) to support the Lake Turkana Wind Power project. The EUR 620 million (Ksh70 billion) scheme will transform supply of renewable energy in East Africa and benefit from additional financial support from the European Union, through the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund and a broad range of international investors.
As the largest single wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa th...
Subsidies for nuclear and fossil fuels distort competition between different energy sources and increase the overall cost to society of electricity generation, the European Commission states today in a series of non-binding documents on state intervention in energy markets.
"EU taxpayers gave over EUR26 billion to fossil fuels in 2011, the documents show. It is disappointing to see the figure of EUR35 billion subsidy to nuclear energy being removed by the European Commission prior to...
Brussels, Belgium -
European leaders meeting on 23 May to discuss how to achieve growth despite massive budgetary challenges must turn to wind energy for immediate job-creating and economic benefits.
Every EU citizen is paying more than EUR 700 for energy imports and this is increasing as prices climb and domestic resources deplete. But wind energy replaces imported fuel - saving EUR 5.7 billion in 2010 alone - while creating growth.
In 2010, the wind energy sector's growth rate was twice that of EU ...
Hair metal is a loose term, as loose as the women in your average hair metal video (this kind of wit is prevalent throughout this blog, so pat yourself on the back, wise reader, for choosing to read this). But it's a term that usually garners at least a giggle from those who remember back in the day. These are the same giggles reserved for skyrocketing bangs, mullets, pink suit jackets with the sleeves rolled up, hoop earrings and thinking "Knight Rider" was a great show. Hair metal deserves better. I'm here to give it to you. We shouldn't have to be embarrassed about it. Take me. I have some culture in my music tastes. I've played Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mozart in symphony orchestras and Miles Davis in jazz bands. I've listened to many of the kings and queens of jazz and own many of their records. I have the box sets of Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and Led Zeppelin. And yet I'm an unabashed fan of metal. Metal forever and metal for life and whatnot. That includes hair metal, which, despite its wild success at its peak, probably gets teased more than any other era of music except perhaps disco. And as a result I expect exactly two people to read this until the end, including me. But here you go. The top 25 hair metal songs of all time. I did have to leave out Hall Of Fame bands such as Iron Maiden, Dio, Dream Theater, Helloween, Queensryche, Metallica, Grim Reaper, Armored Saint, Judas Priest, Chastain (obscure band but one of my favorites, probably worth a blog post at some point) and Savatage because they're not really hair metal. They're not glam metal. They're not even hard rock. They are metal, and even if I preferred those bands growing up, that's not the point of this post. If there's any point to this post at all.
I tried not to repeat bands. That probably means leaving out a lot of great songs, but I was able to find a signature hit, at least in my opinion, from many key bands from the Spandex Era.
I also didn't put them in order. Maybe I should, but just to make this list is an honor. About as big an honor as a Grammy, I'm pretty sure. Speaking of Grammy, er, grammar, I have made the bands plural even though a band is a single entity. It's much easier to read that way. I apologize in advance.
Let's get to it:
â¢ "Live Wire" By Motley Crue â Motley Crue was the first hard rock/metal/hair metal band I ever got into. My neighborhood kid friends brought me a tape one day, and I listened to it with a sense of wonder, excitement and fear. The tape was "Shout at the Devil." It seemed kinda evil, and I remember, late at night, becoming a little scared at what bringing this group into my life could mean (I was, unfortunately, kind of a deep kid who overthought far too many things. You MAY be able to see the resemblance to the adult me now.) In fairness, I was in like fifth grade, and this group at the time had just opened for Ozzy Osbourne, who bit the heads off doves and bats and drank their blood like lemonade (at least that's what I heard). My parents didn't take us to church, but that pentagram and the lyrics "Shout at the DEVIL" still made me worry that I was going to want to sacrifice small, cute animals after listening to the tape.
Of course, I also remember thinking Metallica, when I first heard "Ride The Lightning," was just various recordings of coyotes. Fortunately I got over my pansy ways. Motley Crue was my first step.
I discovered "Live Wire" later, when you fall in love with a band and check out its older albums. Motley Crue has had many great songs. The first track off their first album remains their best, especially the remix that helped take out some of the sludgy production of the original.
Shit, this may be a long post. That was a lot of description.
â¢ "Foolin'" By Def Leppard â Def Leppard's "Pyromania" was one of my first hair metal albums, after the Crue's "Shout at the Devil." I got it in a six-pack of tapes I got from those music clubs that gave you 12 for a penny if you agreed to buy six more at regular (inflated) prices and sacrifice small, cute animals. My other tapes were The Police, Duran Duran and a bunch I can't remember, so you can see where my mindset was at the time. I think "Pyromania" is a nearly perfect hard rock album, and it's by far Def Leppard's best. Def Leppard was at one time a band that sounded like AC/DC, only with catchier melodies and a better singer, and it's a shame that they castrated themselves a bit with "Hysteria," a fine record with far too many ballads and the most overplayed song in history, "Pour Some Sugar on Me." The fact that I've heard that song approximately 40 billion times and my parents' radio station (KUDL, pronounced "cuddle") could play it because it was soft enough and catchy enough not to offend the menopause crowd and yet hard enough to make the station seem "edgy" eliminates the song from my top 25. It was hard to pick between "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages" and this one, but I remember adoring this song when I was younger, and so it wins, even if the other two songs are probably better. Yep, this post will be long. Sorry.
â¢ "You Shook Me (All Night Long) By AC/DC â The OTHER most overplayed song in history, besides "Sweet Home Alabama," and there are many other AC/DC tracks I personally like better, including "Hells Bells," "Highway to Hell" and "It's A Long Way To The Top," but I believed this was the one song I could not leave off the list regardless of my personal feelings for it. It's proof that "hair metal" is a loose term because these guys were pretty much the OPPOSITE of a hair metal band. They were ugly guys who dressed like factory workers, save for Angus, who wore a schoolboy outfit that would probably get him arrested if he went anywhere but a concert hall. Yet this song helped kick off the catchy, radio-friendly-yet-hard-edged hair metal era because of its wild success. Basically every band tried to copy it. The band also featured a smoking hot blonde in the video. I can STILL see her riding that mechanical horse.
As an aside, KISS' "Rock and Roll All Nite," which compares favorably with this song in many ways (classic band, overplayed song loved by everyone, catchy as hell), is NOT on the list. It's a great song, but it's really not from the era. And the hair metal era, which boosted the careers of many older bands that actually got their start in the 70s (such as the Scorpions, Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, AC/DC and perhaps even Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) almost destroyed KISS. The band took off its makeup and made mostly forgettable records filled with songs like "Crazy Crazy Nights" and "God Gave Rock and Roll To You" that really sounded like a desperate uncle trying to fit in at one of his nephew's fun parties. Still...
â¢ "Heaven's On Fire" By KISS â This song was a glorious exception. It's my favorite song by KISS, and I really do love KISS. It's stupid as hell but even catchier.
â¢ "We're Not Gonna Take It" By Twisted Sister â I was trying to think of perhaps the worst hair metal band in the era simply in terms of ability. I came up with Krokus, Danger Danger and Britney Fox, but I still think Twisted Sister was probably the worst. "Stay Hungry" sounds as if it was played by a bunch of fifth-graders. And yet it's not only a good record, it's a classic. Why? The power of songwriting. Dee Snider was simply a great songwriter. He wrote "I Wanna Rock" and "Stay Hungry" and "The Price," and he wrote this insanely catchy number too, filled with attitude and one of the best choruses ever for a rock song. My DAD liked this one for God's sake. Dee was also a great metal singer. He didn't resort to the "balls in a vice" falsetto that so many other singers had to abuse to fit in. They had a good look, and their videos were hilarious. They didn't take themselves too seriously, a lesson I wish more metal bands learned. â¢ "Rock Me" by Great White â A nightclub fire, as horrible as it was, shouldn't mean we overlook this band. Yes, Great White was a ripoff of many better classic rock bands, and yes this song took pieces of a half-dozen Led Zeppelin songs and glued them together, but that still makes for a great song. This band was a bit more no-nonsense than most in the era and would have fit comfortably in the 70s. It has a solid greatest-hits collection, including three off "Once Bitten," the band's biggest album, and that's far more than most hair metal bands. I also liked "Desert Moon" a lot. â¢ "Rock You Like A Hurricane" by The Scorpions â The Scorpions are proof that hair metal or pop metal could be really good if a great band played it and wrote it. The Scorpions didn't need the hair metal era to be popular, though there's no doubt they benefitted from it, and here's exhibit A: This song is one of the best songs of the 80s, with perhaps the best opening riff of all the hair metal songs. It's so simple, too: Da-da-da, dudu, dududa, dadaaa. It's also heavier than you remember, and the video is almost kinda scary, not just the band writhing around a hot girl. The centerpiece from "Love At First Sting," a classic album. The Scorpions weren't flashy, attractive guys, but they had at least a dozen great songs, were a great live band (they were the best, I thought, when I saw "Monsters of Rock" with Van Halen and Metallica) and deserve a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. â¢ "Out of Love" by Blue Murder â Who? Yeah, I know. Blue Murder was a trio led by John Sykes, who actually played guitar on Whitesnake's monster album, not the pretty boys in the videos. This album shows just what a good guitarist (and singer) he was, and it, quite frankly, rocked. This is a sappy ballad, but it's probably my favorite hair ballad ("Still Loving You" and "Home Sweet Home" are the only ones that come close; I really wasn't much of a fan of ballads). This band put out two albums (that I know of), but the self-titled one, the debut, is still worth owning. â¢ "Modern Day Cowboy" by Tesla â Tesla opened for Def Leppard on the Hysteria tour, and it was one of those glorious, rare times when I got my socks knocked off by a band I didn't know. They kicked Leppard's butt, and I bought the album the next day. It's still one of my favorites, and it ranks up there with "Appetite for Destruction" as a debut album by a hard rock band. This is the best track on an album full of great ones, including "Little Suzy" and "Comin' Atcha Live". â¢ "Down Deep Into The Pain" by Stevie Vai â Marginal hair metal, but Vai played on Whitesnake's "Slip of the Tongue" and David Lee Roth's debut and therefore had a big role in the hair metal era. This is Devin Townsend's debut as well, as far as I can tell, and he's a big name in metal today. I always liked Vai's "The Audience Is Listening" too. â¢ "Lights of Heaven" by Joe Satriani â Speaking of instrumental guitarists, here's the best, ever. He performed in this era, so I put him here. Satriani is famous for "Surfing with the Alien," but I think the album that spawned this track is better, and this is his best song. â¢ "Wild Child" by W.A.S.P. â I love W.A.S.P. Blackie Lawless was a strange dude, almost too strange, as the band's antics and acting as Tipper Gore's thorn overshadowed the fact that Lawless not only had a terrific metal voice, he wrote a TON of catchy, hard tunes. This is my favorite track, but there are many other great ones, including a song, "Helldorado," that the band released in 1999 (!). â¢ "Panama" by Van Halen â One of my best friends who enjoys this kind of music and is probably the biggest Rush fan ever says Van Halen was a hair band. I have passionately disagreed, but I'll give him this point: "1984" was basically a hair metal album, and so I've included what I think was the best track here. Man, "1984" was a great album: "Jump," "Hot For Teacher," "I'll Wait" and this song. Was "1984" Van Halen's best album? I think so. â¢ "Cherry Pie" by Warrant â I was not a fan of Warrant, just like I wasn't a fan of many of the marginal glam hair bands that played pop metal more watered down than a free casino drink. But Warrant redeemed itself with this outrageous, horrible hunk of cheese that just happens to feature one of the catchiest choruses in the history of hair metal. One of the best videos, too. I mean, at one point, the band hoses down the incredibly hot blonde. You know, cause she's SO HOT. Get it? I thought you might. P.S. I just watched the video. Yeah, it holds up even less than I thought. I really didn't think that was cool at one point, did I? â¢ "In My Dreams" by Dokken â If you overlook the fact that magazines loved to focus on the fact that George Lynch and Don Dokken hated each other, and if you maybe ignore the fact that Don Dokken had the personality of a moldy sponge, you'd be left with a pretty damn good hair metal band. Dokken was a terrible live band. You really could see why the guys hated each other, as there was no chemistry at all. Don, who I think was a lot older than he let on, came out for Dokken's Monsters of Rock gig, the same one I saw in Kansas City, and said "Hey, I smell some DOOOOOBAGE," and it went downhill from there. Even so, Jeff Pilson, the bass player, could sing, Don had a good hair metal voice and Lynch could really play. They also wrote some great songs. They would have a nice greatest hits collection. "Kiss of Death" is a close second. â¢ "Youth Gone Wild" by Skid Row â Skid Row holds a special spot somewhere in my cold metal heart not only for this killer, killer, killer song but for the fact that the band was set up to have a nice, long, cheesy career. The opening track of their debut was "Big Guns," a song about a woman's...never mind. Anyway, the band followed up with a second album, and it was the heaviest I'd ever heard from a supposed hair metal band. Seriously, some pretty fierce power metal bands couldn't match that guitar crunch, and Bach could always scream with the best of them. I'm convinced it destroyed their career, but I admire them for sticking to their roots and not putting out a featherweight product because that's what the label (and unfortunately probably the public) wanted. â¢ "The Final Countdown" by Europe â Abused by many sports teams now, this song featured the best keyboard riff in a hair metal song, like, ever. It's a good example of a riff really acting as the chorus, since there wasn't much of a chorus. They just sang the song's name over that sweet riff a few times. It worked, just as it did for "Layla." Unbelievably, Europe, not a great band by any stretch, did have another great song, this one on their first album, called "Wings of Tomorrow." Check it out. â¢ "All We Are" by Warlock â Warlock was heavier than most hair metal bands, but I still count it because the video for this song is candy-corn corny. Here's a secret: I really have a thing for metal chicks, and Doro was the metalist chickiest of all. Her pipes were as amazing as her blonde hair that went down to her waist. â¢ "Addicted to that Rush" by Mr. Big â Mr. Big hit it big with "Be With You," a pretty awful hair metal ballad that sounded like a ripoff of "More Than Words," Extreme's big one (which is a much better song, but it won't make this list either). But this song leads off their lesser-known debut album, and it's a shredder, something Racer X might have played (and I just looked it up, and sure enough, the band's guitarist, Paul Gilbert, played in it). Mr. Big also had Billy Sheehan and therefore had more chops in the cushions of their couch than even most power metal bands. â¢ "Cryin' in the Rain" by Whitesnake â I was a bigger fan of Whitesnake than the band probably deserved, though David Coverdale could really sing, and they had some good songs even before the monster self-titled album was released ("Slide It In," "Slow 'N' Easy" and "Love Ain't No Stranger" are three of the best). Yes, this album had many whoppers, but I always thought "Still of the Night" was too much of a Zep rip-off, and I never really forgave Whitesnake for releasing a remixed, poppier version of "Here I Go Again." So this is my pick, which features an incredible solo by John Sykes and some tour-de-force vocals from Coverdale. I really would have liked to have seen Tawny slither (see what I did there?) to this one. Whitesnake gets a lot of derision these days, and I have two theories as to why. The first is simple: The band name sucks. The second, I think, comes from the fact that many people love to make fun of this era, as I've said before. I can't blame them. This era, like Disco, really makes you wonder what the fuck we were all thinking. But like Disco, this era put out a lot of great music that's unfairly judged because of all the costumes and hair and overall silliness. Whitesnake absorbs quite a bit of that today because they weren't quite Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Guns and Roses or Motley Crue, bands that people still love today without shame. But Whitesnake was bigger than most other bands such as Quiet Riot, Cinderella and probably even Ratt. They already were a fairly established band when "Whitesnake" was released, and that album sold millions and was huge. HUGE. So people remember them as much as Def Leppard, but they don't carry the same nostalgia as Leppard does and therefore people don't mind throwing darts their way. Whitesnake is probably the Village People of the hair metal era. We can be honest, though: Rudy Sarzo probably didn't need to lick the neck of his guitar in those videos quite that much either. P.S. After Tawny kinda wigged out and beat up her baseball husband, it took away a bit of the luster of her on that car, didn't it? Bowling For Soup's "1985" video nailed the parody. â¢ "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns and Roses â I honestly couldn't decide between this one and "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" and "Rocket Queen" and...I think you get the point. What an amazing album. It still holds up today: Pull out the CD (oh don't lie, you do TOO still have it) and give it a whirl. I chose this song because Slash's solo is one of the best on any song, ever. Slash was hair metal's Jimmie Page, a guitarist who could play solos that matched the songs rather than tossing some fast scales and tricks around for 30 seconds. â¢ "Cum On Feel The Noize" by Quiet Riot â Yeah, it's a cover, but really, does anyone associate Slade with this song? (Slade had a big hit of its own. Remember "Run Runaway"? I do.) Quiet Riot proved it could write their own song with "Metal Health," but this by far their best single. Even the verses sounded as good as the chorus. I remember seeing them on the TV show "Solid Gold," and to their credit, they actually chose to play their song live, rather than just lip synch it like 95 percent of all the other groups. â¢ "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi â I didn't really get Bon Jovi, even if I thought "Runaway" was a good song. Bon Jovi seemed like a bunch of pretty boys that had zero good songs (besides "Runaway"), and yet all these girls wore their shirts and thought Jon Bon Jovi was dreamy. Then I heard this song and instantly loved it, and I could not BELIEVE it was Bon Jovi. So I sighed, bought the album, popped in the cassette and...wow, ticked off the hits, one by one. Sure enough, "Livin' On A Prayer," "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Never Say Goodbye" (yuck) followed. Classic record. Easily one of the best from the era, and eventually that alone will put this band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one day. I was sorely tempted to put "Livin' On A Prayer" in this list too but I wanted to follow my rule. I find it interesting that this band still seems to have major credibility. I realize Motley Crue and Def Leppard still tour, but I don't think there's any doubt that most people who go to those shows are there to see them sing their classic hits. Most other hair metal bands only tour small clubs or package themselves with other hair metal bands to land bigger concerts. But Bon Jovi is still seen as more than a nostalgia act and draws big crowds on its own. It had a big hit, "It's My Life," many years after this era (even though the song sounded like it came from the band's hair metal days). â¢ "Prime Mover" by Zodiac Mindwarp â What a name, right? Sometimes a band that has no business even making a record drinks some really good gin or smokes a magic mushroom and writes an incredible song that is far catchier than it should be. This is that song, a messy masterpiece that even manages to avoid many of the trappings of the hair metal era and therefore could honestly be on the radio today without too many giggles. â¢ "Round and Round" by Ratt â If you forced me to pick a favorite song out of this whole list, this might be it. There's some serious nostalgia here, as this was the first hair metal song that truly hooked me after I discovered Motley Crue and became more comfortable with listening to heavy metal, and the video STILL cracks me up. But it's still an incredible riff, terrific chorus and a great duel guitar solo. Perfect song. Ratt, like W.A.S.P., was a touch underrated. They had almost as good a catalogue as Def Leppard. Seriously. "Lay It Down" is another monster, and there are a dozen others, like "Way Cool Jr.," "Wanted Man" and "You're In Love." But Ratt never had one of those sappy ballads that drew in the girls, and the guys in the band had a bit of a creepy look to them. It seemed to me only the more serious hardcore metal chicks (and I dated a couple) really liked Ratt, whereas everyone, even the cheerleaders, liked Def Leppard. Whatever. That's what made me like Ratt even more.
I suggested the last thing you would think of when you think of Las Vegas. I suggested a hike in the desert.
Everybody walks in Vegas, but that's only to get from one fantasyland to another, not the scrubby reality of cacti, a blistering wind and enough rocks to stub your toe with every step. And yet on Facebook for the #WPBT, I said there was a hike I'd like to check out, the Oak Creek Loop in the Red Rock Canyon.
The fact that I would suggest this surprised no one, even if I wouldn't have suggested it a few years ago for fear of not fitting in. The fact that almost 20 people wanted to tag along shouldn't have surprised me either. That's just the way it's gone the last year. â¢ â¢ â¢ I was just reading over the post from my first #WPBT trip. That was in 2007. In 2007, we had no hash tag, we went by our poker names and we all set the world, or at least the IP, on fire. I went because I loved poker, I wanted to meet a bunch of people whose writing I admired and I thought it would be fun. I also went for a much bigger reason: I wanted to change.
I was not the kind of person who could plop himself in the middle of a group of 100 and feel comfortable. I never had been able to light up a room. I preferred to stay in the shadows. I wanted to let loose a little bit. I even had this weird desire to fit in. Did it work?
Read on. It's long, I know. But so's the journey. â¢ â¢ â¢ When Bad Blood contacted me a couple years ago for some advice on running, I remember feeling excited about the chance to finally get to pay it forward. John Drohan is now a good friend, someone who understands me as well as anyone, but back then, he was just one of my favorites from the WPBT because we shared two common interests besides poker: working out and heavy metal. I hate the term pay it forward, but it applies here because of my own journey with running. Here's my backstory (this works better if you start playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" in your head):
Back in 2005, I knew nothing about running. I was working on a story, one of my favorite ones ever, about a runner who wanted to continue his streak of running in all the Bolder Boulders despite a rare form of blood cancer. I went to his intervals practice. Some of the runners knew me a little bit from my articles about climbing 14ers â active people are active people in all respects â and they said it was fine if I watched, and it was OK if I talked to them, but to get a true sense of the story, I needed to run with them. I did. I thought it was stupid to run for only, say, six minutes at a time, hard and fast. But by the end of the workout, even though I was climbing 14ers every weekend, I was whipped. I loved the fact that it was hard. I went back the next week.
When the story ran, I came back, shy and unsure, which is always my mojo, and I began to warm up on the track, careful not to talk to anyone, almost hoping they wouldn't notice me. One of the runners pulled up beside me after a bit and asked me if I was now a member of the group. I guess, I answered. Well, she said, it's nice to have you here.
Those same runners waited for me to catch up on our Wednesday night runs around Greeley in the cold winters once intervals were over for the season. They answered my questions about shoes, tempo runs, and whatever the hell a "long" run was (they all seemed long to me). Running is now a lifestyle for me, in the same way that climbing 14ers was before I finished them and could no longer afford the time away as much because of my kids. My time running outside keeps me sane. Literally, I'm pretty sure. I have those people to thank for it. â¢ â¢ â¢ So Bad Blood - I still like to call him that - wrote me about a bet he made, something about running a 10K in 48 minutes or so. I told him what the group told me many years ago. Tempo runs, intervals, and a long run. I was happy to do it, not knowing where it would lead. I found myself enjoying the coaching, such as it was. And because he was a hard worker, I knew my efforts would not go to waste. My instincts are not always right. They were there. â¢ â¢ â¢ This will sound very silly, but back then, for my first WPBT, the one without the hash tag, I thought of some people as rock stars. Silly, yes, but it made sense if you knew who I was. I was, and remain, a professional writer, and some of these people could really write. Some had really successful blogs, like Iggy and Pauly, and many others got paid to write, and yet some wrote for the hell of it and were better than me. And even some others wrote even though they never thought they could write, but they did, on their blogs, and they were STILL better writers than me. I admired all of them.
Plus you heard stories. Their names get bantered around. It sort of reminded me of high school, how some people had status. I was never really one of those people in school. I also guess I never did get over that. I won't go into details, but let's just say, mean people suck.
One of the people who I thought of in that inner circle was Otis. He had the I Am Legend stories of mischief â he once ate Keno crayons on a bet for hundreds of dollars â and he was a terrific writer. I thought he wasn't like me in many ways, but then again, no one at the WPBT was. That's why I liked them. (Let's be honest: A WPBT with a bunch of people like me wouldn't really be that much fun). â¢ â¢ â¢ Bad Blood enjoyed running. I thought he might, and he didn't want to give it up after he killed his 10K. He liked the training and seeing how it paid off. My instincts were right: He was a lot like me. He later decided to try a half marathon, and I sent him a plan and stayed in touch with him when he had questions. He killed the half, too, of course. As it turns out, his friends, the G-Vegas crew, began to notice.
I can't tell you what possessed them to get the idea to run the Vegas Half Marathon. Maybe they'd all run out of crazy things to do in Vegas, and this was something new. All I know is, Bad Blood and maybe me prodded Otis and later G-Rob and Doc and Marty to give it a shot. I felt self-conscious when Otis began exchanging e-mails with Blood and I. That sounds silly, as I said, but it's the truth. As it turns out, I was wrong about him. Otis was a lot like me in a lot of ways too. He had doubts. He had many, in fact, about wanting to do the half marathon, even after a successful mud run with Blood and the crew. He wasn't sure he could do the training, if he had time for it or if his body would hold up.
When you get down to it, aren't all doubts the same? I knew all about doubts. We exchanged many e-mails, but I didn't offer as much advice as I did the reassurance that he could do it. I knew how much that meant too. I needed to reassured many times in my life. As much as I hate to admit it, I still do. â¢ â¢ â¢ I remember walking through the Aria with Otis walking beside me. Part of me was wishing on a good race for him and the rest of the crew, but I was also getting ready to feel pain and even some misery, and more importantly, getting ready to enjoy it. And then I saw a group of WPBT folks waiting to cheer us on.
I find running fascinating, but let's face it, many people aren't me. It can be pretty boring. People can appreciate the pure, electric power it takes to sprint 100 meters, but rarely do they have the patience to watch a marathon. So I was a little stunned that people who came to party in Vegas were ready to watch us race. I can't honestly think of anything more boring than watching a race, and in Vegas there's about a billion things that are more fun to do. And yet these people were coming to watch us.
I knew they weren't there to see me, not really. They were there to celebrate Otis' transformation and see this new sport that Blood had fully embraced. But it still felt good. When Blood, after the race at a private poker game, told me, "You're one of us now," I agreed with him.
It took far more for me to agree with him, because of who I am, than for him to say it. I felt like I was stepping out of a shadow, and the light felt pretty good. â¢ â¢ â¢ I honestly thought that would be the end of it. I figured Blood and I would continue to talk about running, and in fact I already knew that he was planning to run his first full marathon, something only I knew at first. I figured maybe Otis would run another race or two.
I didn't understand what was happening until I made plans to come out to South Carolina in October for Mastodon weekend, and I didn't truly grasp it until I got there. I knew that a couple people were running the half marathon, but these were people who had run before (Grange) or were such good athletes that they'd handle it with ease (Drizz). Many of my old favorites from the WPBT were there. Only they were running. Huh? Yep. Some ran the 5K, and some ran the half marathon. I was running the marathon. I initially entered it because it was a cheap marathon, and it was time to do another. But part of me wanted to be there for Blood, as this would be that first marathon for him. And part of me wanted to show all these beginners what was possible.
The whole weekend, rather than talk about how many shots they'd done the night before or what craps game they'd played, many talked about running. Yes, we played poker until 3 a.m. the first night, and yes, some drank heavily. Things hadn't changed completely. But come Saturday, they all lined up to run their events. The night before, Otis cut things off at a party at his house at 9 P.M. 9 p.m.! It was a wonderful and yet odd weekend for me in many ways. Many times I heard thanks that weekend for inspiring them. I usually just said your welcome, but that's because I honestly didn't know what else to say. Otis gave a generous speech thanking me, in part, for teaching him how to run.
You could take this whole post as a big, bloated humblebrag, and if you do, you are rolling your eyes into your cerebrum at this point. As I said, this is a personal journey. But I hope this doesn't sound like false modesty. It was wonderful to hear those words from Otis. And it was even better to hear it individually from so many others. By the end of the weekend, it was as if I was some guru, and I tried like hell to not let it go to my head. My ego, to be blunt, did not need the extra calories. But I don't think I'm the one who inspired them. I'm certain that Blood's initial hard work inspired G-Vegas to get involved, and then Otis' pull with the WPBT, and his successful first half marathon, is what inspired 25 or so to try something new, exciting and difficult.
Beyond that, I think the sport inspired them. I think their own will inspired them. I think we are getting older, and at our age, you begin to look for new adventures, and I think that inspired them as well. I also know, most of all, they all inspired each other because I was inspired by them. I always run for my family, and my inner circle of friends here who I've trained with for thousands of miles. But at mile 21, when the first cramps hit, and I knew my body, worn out from all those hills, not only wasn't going to match the pace I had hoped to achieve, I was going to be lucky to get in without walking. I thought about all those people who had pushed themselves beyond what they thought was possible. I knew they were waiting for me. I even felt them rooting for me. That's why I continued to run and just prayed my legs wouldn't explode, even if they felt like that was a real possibility.
I wish I could have seen them finish. Instead, I'm left with two images. The first is obvious, and that's my first pupil, Bad Blood, the one who really started it all, finishing his first marathon, with his son running him in. Awesome. The second was hearing the cheer as they announced my name as I entered the stadium, and then running by the lot of them and giving them more than a few dorky fist pumps. It was, aside from my wife surprising me at the end of my first marathon, the best greeting I'll ever get at the finish line. I was glad I had a good walk back to reach them once I crossed the line. I didn't want anyone to see me tearing up. â¢ â¢ â¢ The wonderful weekend at Mastodon came with a price, and one of them was a much more mellow WPBT than we've ever seen. There were more noteables not there than those who did attend. Pauly wasn't there. StB wasn't there. Speaker wasn't there. Iggy. Falstaff. Al. Change100. Betty. My G-Vegas crew from last year, save for Marty, who I saw for all of five minutes before the tournament. Dawn Summers. Heather. Kat. The list goes on.
And yet, Mastodon stuck with me in so many ways, even if most of the participants weren't there. I played poker with a sense of aggression I hadn't found before. As a result, I took fifth in the tournament. Getting premium hands most of the afternoon and evening helped (let's be honest, it's a big reason why I went deep), but I also absorbed three horrible beats near the end that probably cost me from winning the whole thing. Yes, I actually had a shot to win, which still boggles my mind. I paid for my hotel room and my flight with my winnings from the four days. I'm even itching to play online again (that won't last).
I also misplaced the aggression. I ran the race, rather poorly, as it turns out, despite some sign wavers that saved my tired butt at the end. I PRd my 10K and my 10-mile split was better than last year's huge PR, but then some fierce winds and my weakened spirit from going out too fast made me run a 30-minute 5K, and I finished in 1:44. I was disappointed at the end even if I did finish 600 or so out of 22,000 runners. As always, I had a great time with some constant, close friends. I don't like naming people because they know who they are, and I inevitably leave some people out. This isn't really meant to be a trip report. No one wants to read those any longer.
What this is, instead, is an ode to a hike, and how 20 or so people wanted to spend some precious Vegas time with me in the wilderness. When I posted the hike on Facebook, it seemed like a crazy idea. Then again, having a bunch of initial degenerates buy into the idea that running a 5K, a half marathon or, hell, a full marathon was a good idea seems crazy too. What's even crazier is almost everyone on the hike weren't the ones who ran at Mastodon. I came to my first WPBT event with the idea of maybe being a different person, at least for a weekend. That's why everyone goes to Vegas, right? But I wanted it to carry over. I wanted to change who I was, at least a bit.
And yet, it seems to me, this group of people who I've come to know over the years responded to me the most when I shared what was most important to me. When I showed them exactly who I really was, well, some could not relate to it, but all of them not only respected it, they seemed to like it. I can't really inspire anyone to climb a mountain, hike a trail in the desert or run a race. You have to do that yourself. But maybe you can read my story, and I can inspire you to show the world your true self. It's hard to do that. It's even painful. I'm still learning. But lace up your tattered sneakers, and we can walk the rocky path together.
Hospitals still give me the creeps, the kind that raise goosebumps on your arms, and that, like many things, can be traced to my childhood.
Every year for a number of years, since I was small, I had to have tubes put in my ears so they would drain properly. It was a 10-minute procedure. I had this done five times. I always got sick from the anesthetic. But the reason I think I'm still afraid of hospitals isn't because of the tubes. Not one of those operations traumatized me nearly as much as the time I got my tonsils out.
I was 5, and I think the gas mask was the worst of it. They strapped me down to the bed, which was really a cage with sheets, and held the mask over my face as they wheeled me into a room filled with stern faces, alien-bright lights and a lot of cold steel. Now, remember, I was 5, and as far as I knew, they were going to do all kinds of horrible experiments on me, the kind I did to one of my teddy bears a couple months ago, because no one had told me any different. No one explained anything to me, in fact. That book I got explaining the surgery and how I was going to get to eat dump trucks full of ice cream after it was over? LIES. So I fought. Nurses, back then, were all sized to be NFL linebackers, and they were about as mean, and they sat on me and held me down, scowling at my tears. Then they put the mask over my face, again, and a thorny python wrapped a dizzy body around me.
"I feel funny!" I screamed, and one of the doctors laughed, which sounded evil at the time, and this horrible blackness swept over my eyes, as if I was being thrown into a pit.
When I woke up, kicking and hollering, because, remember, I was being tortured when I fell asleep, I cried for Mommy, and one of the linebackers came over, grabbed my legs and strapped my arms to the bars on the side of the bed. Then I noticed my throat felt as if it had been torn out.
Then I threw up blood that night.
Needless to say, when we learned Jayden's tonsils looked to doctors like the size of beach balls - some of the biggest ones he's ever seen, one told us later - I was dreading the day they would have to come out.
That day was last week.
Jayden was in tears as I pulled in the garage from an eight-mile run with our new dog. I told him I would meet him there. I needed to shower. I also didn't need him to see me. I would pull it together in the shower, I told myself, and put on a brave face for him. But now wasn't a good time.
â¢ â¢ â¢
When I walked into his waiting room a half-hour later, he was dressed in blue spaceman scrubs, which looked cozy, and watching Elmo on a TV that came with the bed, which looked like a bed, not a cage with sheets.
And yet his emotions were the same as mine 35 years ago.
"Daddy," he said. "I'm scared."
Well, I'm glad you can tell them that, I said. It's OK to be scared.
Three times, a nurse, a doctor and the guy putting Jayden to sleep came in and explained what was going to happen. Apparently medical people have figured out that most kids, just like most adults, do better when they know what's going to happen to them. They've also figured out Elmo helps as well.
Sleepytime Doc came in later, heard that Jayden was nervous, as he told everyone, and said he could give Jayden something for that. Jayden said sure. Doc brought back a cherry-flavored liquid. Jayden gulped it down because, hey, it looked good, and it WAS good, and five minutes later, he was loopy, like he'd had a few too many shots. Jayden, apparently, is a happy drunk.
The doc wouldn't tell me what it was. I don't blame him. I could make a killing on the street. Give me that before a marathon, and I'm qualifying for Boston.
Then a nurse came in two minutes later and had Jayden try on the mask. Ah, the dreaded mask, I thought to myself. There's no sugarcoating this.
Jayden took a sniff.
"Yum," he said.
"Yeah," the nurse said. "The gas smells like Skittles."
Are you kidding me?
I turned to Jayden and used a cliche. I rarely use them. But this time it was appropriate.
"Jayden," I said, as I hopped off the bed, right before they wheeled him away, "this is not your father's tonsil operation."
â¢ â¢ â¢
They called me in a half-hour later, one of the very few times that Jayden's wanted me over Mommy, and Jayden was in bed with an orange popsicle in his mouth. It was his second one already. He was not strapped down. His nurse didn't look like an NFL linebacker. She looked a little plump, a little cute and very sweet.
"You'll see some blood on his hands or face. Don't let that worry you," a nurse said.
"Cool," I said.
I'm big on battle scars. I always liked to bring home a small gash after climbing a mountain. We called them souvenirs. Besides, there had to be something from this operation that made me squirm.
After his third popsicle, the nurse told Jayden she could move him to another room. There was a TV in there. He could watch a movie. They had "The Incredibles." She offered him a slushy. Blue.
"I have a secret recipe," she said.
Of course she did.
â¢ â¢ â¢
Lest you think I was hoping my son would suffer, of course I didn't want that. But HOLY COW I couldn't help but feel a little, well, jealous of how much better the experience was. It made me feel proud that our country actually has evolved in some areas. We CAN make improvements on procedures and things other than cell phones. Technology does have a purpose beyond Angry Birds. But it also made me feel old. My operation seemed like from another time, like it was back during World War II or something.
That was, until we brought him home.
We've been up every night at least a couple times since that night. The third night, when we moved him back to his room from our bed, he woke up screaming and shaking the pain was so bad. We haven't been up this consistently in the middle of the night since the girls had their first birthday. Just the last couple of nights have been better. When he does get up, it's briefly, and after some medicine, he goes back to sleep. He doesn't demand slushees around the clock now. His scabs appear to be healing a bit. But if I ever did get tired of his whining and was tempted to tell him to suck it up a bit, all I had to do was look at the gaping holes in the back of his throat. â¢ â¢ â¢
Technology has helped us as well as Jayden. We have a ice treats machine that I relentlessly teased my wife for buying a year ago â it seemed to me to be like a salad shooter, an appliance invented just because our basic needs were so met that we think we need something that can fire a radish across the kitchen â that's now, I think, the best thing we've ever bought. It makes one of those slushys in two minutes, and when it's 2:30 a.m. and your boy is hollering from the pain upstairs, it's a lifesaver. I wish they had one for breast milk about five years ago. It would have saved us a lot of sleep. He's spent a lot of time on his Nintendo DS. Super Mario, like Coedine, tends to numb the pain. I don't remember much beyond the hospital after my tonsil operation, but I do remember that first night. Dad stayed up with me most of the night as I tried to cry my pain and sickness away. Despite the cushy parts, this hasn't been easy. We've made about a billion of those slushees now. Jayden is so sensitive that he wants one of us to sit next to him at night at all times, especially when it's time for him to go to bed. He's been nasty and sad and sometimes he's still been our first baby despite the fact that he's 6. He needs us now.
Technology will never replace parenting. At least I hope not. If Jayden doesn't have to go through these rough patches with his own kids I'll be jealous again. Only I'll also be a little sad for him.
A deal with the International Olympic Committee to give Los Angeles a $1.8 billion contribution and other incentives likely means the city will play host to the 2028 summer Olympics, a deal that reflects a changing dynamic for host negotiations after a slew of cities dropped out of bidding this time around.
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Sergio Barbarino, research fellow of P&G Research & Development organization, about the Physical Internet.
Procter & Gamble is the largest international consumer goods company. Their products are marketed in more than 180 countries around the world and used by over 4 billion people every day. In order to improve the lives of the worldâs consumers P&Gâs aim is to innovate sustainably â and is thus very interested in turning the Physical Internet from vision to reality.… Read more
Didn't even take a full decade to forget this loser.
Today will either be the best or worst day in the history of college football. Either we all get to hoist Mark May onto our shoulders while celebrating the Ohio Buckeyes falling short in yet another national championship game, or we're forced to live in a Godless world where the most undeserving fan base in the country gets to be happy. Unfortunately I have a feeling the Fuckeyes win this one convincingly. You don't dominate Bama in that fashion and then not show up in the title game. Since today will definitely be about Ohio winning a national title or choking on a gaggle of duck dicks, we're going to live blog this one and just let the inmates run wild in the comment section. A tried and true formula that always delivers. Don't forget to LOL at Fat Face Troy SMIFF Young one last time before we kick things off.
8:09 - Doran Grant looks like a horse. And Ezekiel Elliott's face looks like he's having an allergic reaction to shell fish. First impression...Ohio has the advantage in ugly shit birds.
8:11 - Listening to Lee Corso makes me wonder how much longer ESPN is going to let this guy float slowly into insanity in front of our eyes. One day he's gonna show up in just his underwear holding a spatula in one hand and a dead cat in the other.
8:16 - EXPERT PICK TIME! Desmond Howard should make some more friends in Ohio by picking Oregon. LOL. David Pollock hates women's rights but likes the Ohios. And Corso gives his patented curse to the Buckeyes...after accidentally spitting on himself and almost losing consciousness.
8:20 - "REMEMBER MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE FOR CENTURIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIES!!" Can't wait to hear this fucking song a billion times tonight. Prime's musical heroes are annoying.
8:24 - How did Urban Meyer make it out of the tunnel without his heart exploding? Lotta flashing lights and loud noises for a guy with heart problems.
8:27 - Mother of mercy! Joey Bosa's nose needs its own zip code.
The Bosa brothers having some family fun
8:28 - That National Anthem would have been way better if done by Total Recall, IMO. Something to think about next year, guy in charge of booking that job.
8:31 - Two minutes before kickoff seems like a good time for sideline interviews. Get the fuck off the field, losers. And someone kill Tom Rinaldi, please.
8:34 - KICKOFF!! Oregon ball at the 25.
8:35 - Hey, guys. Can anyone tell me if Oregon's offense goes fast? More responsible journalists would probably alert the people watching at home to such important information. It looks like it's Thomas Tyner's personal mission to fucking truck every last defender for the Buckeyes. FUMBLE!!!! Oof. What a lucky bounce. Jesus, ANOTHER FUMBLE!!! Check that...knee down, Oregon keeps it. What a crazy start.
8:43 - Oregon TD. Uh oh....that was really fast and easy. Probably a lot of sweaty Buckeye sacks out there right now. 7-0 Oregon.
8:48 - Ohio Buckeyes turn to respond. Already a critical drive for them with 12 minutes to go in the 1st quarter. Good Lord...Cardale Jones is a fuckin load. Good run by him for a first down. Well that didn't last long. Punt.
8:53 - That Taco Bell commercial where the dick wad kid can't decide whether or not to pay for parking so he can shove diarrhea in his mouth is stupid as fuck. Just use the drive thru, dipshit. Oregon ball at the 10. Buckeyes need a stop in order to keep this game under control...and they do on a dropped pass.
9:01 - Buckeyes pinned deep and Oregon nearly gets a safety. The advantage of Cardale Jones. The guy could probably squat on a live grenade and be fine. Huge first down for Ohio. Hell of a catch by Marshall followed up by one of the gayest things I've ever seen...
9:04 - That's a pretty bad spot for Ohio on that 4th down...doesn't matter. First down Buckeyes...touchdown Buckeyes. This is exactly what they needed to do to keep this game from getting out of control. 7-7.
9:13 - Oregon keeps bailing Ohio out with dropped passes. Punt. And apparently Oregon doesn't want to tackle anyone today. This game has officially swung in the favor of the Buckeyes. Missed tackles, missed tackles, missed tackles. 14-7 Ohio on a tough run by Elliott.
9:24 - Oregon continues to hang themselves after such a promising start. Another punt. Buckeyes trying to rip this open in the LONGEST FUCKING QUARTER IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL.
9:31 - First big mistake in this game...Oregon gets it back on a fumble and good thing, too. Ohio was about 5 minutes away from jamming another TD up Oregon's asses. Prediction time: Tyner is going to get a concussion before this game is over. Dude is looking to nuke anyone who wants a taste. Oregon red zone. Oregon turnover on downs after some questionable play calling, IMO. Take the 3, bruh.
9:41 - Buckeyes deep in their own territory again...Elliott bails them out again. This fat faced, big mouthed fuckin nerd came to play. Deep pass by Jones....FUMBLE!!!!!!!! That one hurts if you're the Buckeyes. They were about to step on Oregon's neck with their stilettos. The only thing that's been more entertaining than this game is watching my college buddy absolutely fucking meltdown on Twitter. He's called this game over about 14 different times tonight. I don't think he's going to survive the evening. Oregon does nothing with the turnover gift and punts again.
9:52 - I'll never understand how people allow Devin Smith to catch deep bombs. You would think defensive coordinators would make it a point to make sure the guy who leads FBS in YPCatch doesn't do that in a championship game. Three plays later and Ohio is in total control with another TD. 21-7 Ohio. Should be more like 35-7.
10:00 - Oregon needs points here...any points...or this one could be over with Ohio getting the ball first in the 2nd half. I'm still trying to figure out why a guy who only threw 3 INTs isn't throwing every down. But that's none of my business. This could be the second college QB the Buckeyes ruin for the NFL draft. #KenDorsey Oregon gets a FG to make it 21-10 and Oregon is in deep shit. It isn't often a team has 2 turnovers, is up 11 AND getting the ball first in the 2nd half. Ouch, babe. Halftime after a really moronic trick play.
10:31 - Tim Tenor went the entire halftime show without shouting out RibFest or The MoneyShot once. Pretty rude, IMO.
10:41 - Second half starts with Tom Rinaldi's stupid face. Why is he still alive? Buckeyes ball and Elliott picking up where he left off. This game is probably over if Ohio scores here. Buckeyes driving again and Jones picks up the first on 4th down because he's a fast, giant dinosaur. Jesus...a 3rd fucking turnover for the Buckeyes. Maybe they're trying to set the record for most turnovers in a win. Don't worry, Mariota is already mentally broken. Don't expect much on this next drive.
10:50 - Nevermind. TD Oregon on first play from scrimmage. 21-17 Ohio. Uhhhh...wut? Under review??? Oh Jesus Herbert Christ. You have got to be shitting me.
10:52 - All bias aside...Ohio got screwed on that call. That ball was coming out before the ball broke the goal line. Which brings me to...STUPID FUCKING DUMB FUCK SHIT FOR BRAINS COCK LOVING DICK FUCK! I'm stunned this behavior still happens at any level of football. How many fucking times are idiotic dumb shit WRs gonna do that diva shit at the goal line before they realize how stupid it is?! If I'm Helfrich, Byron Marshall is running sprints bright and early tomorrow morning until he shits and pukes at the same time.
11:00 - Another. Fucking. Turnover. That football is coming out like it's covered in Peter King's belly lard. Ducks in the red zone but only get 3. Four turnovers and only 10 points to show for it. Ohio's red zone defense making those bone head turnovers hurt less than they should. 21-20 Ohio.
11:11 - Let's see how Ohio responds after their 4th turnover. The game plan from here on out for Ohio should be Elliott infinity carries until the clock reads zero. Oregon doesn't have an answer for him. Touchdown Elliot. 28-20 Ohio, end of the 3rd.
11:21 - Hey there! Hold onto your dicks! A Disney movie about cross country. Hoo boy, that one should be a gas! Early Oscar nominee!! LOL. Get the fuck out of here. No one wants to see some bullshit movie about running.
11:22 - Marcus Mariota's brother Matt looks like the fat, nonathletic kid that is sure to be an incredible disappointment to his entire family. He probably eats a lot of ham and Oreo sandwiches. Oregon punts again and this game is about to be over as long as URBZ takes my ELITE advice and just pounds it with Elliott.
11:32 - Another long drive for the Buckeyes resulting in another TD by Elliott. He's a dumb, black, queer and I hate him. But he's been unstoppable and Ohio doesn't win this game without him. Hopefully he does something really black, like rapes a white girl with a giant bag of coke, in the off season and gets kicked off the team.
11:38 - If I'm Mark May, I'm really thinking about deactivating my Twitter, quitting broadcasting, moving to a log cabin in Montana and changing my name to something inconspicuous like Travis Wilkins. Mariota gets hurt because Bosa is a cheap bitch. This game is really over now if Mariota can't make it back. Who am I kidding...this shit is fucking over regardless. Ohio gets the ball back with a chance to slam the door. Nope.
11:55 - One last shot for Oregon. Not even close. Game over. 42-20 Ohio Turd Suckers.
Well, eat it up assholes. You did it. No one can say this isn't hands down the best team in college football. They fought back from a horrid Virginia Tech loss at home and beat all the teams everyone said they couldn't. You're all faggot cunts and I hate you all but the playoff system worked. We have an undisputed national champion, the best team won, you guys got the SEC monkey off your back and you made Mark May eat large quantities of his own shit. Nowhere to go from here but down. The shock of the night had to be Cardale Jones not sounding like a total buffoon during his post game interview. I'm sure people nation wide were cringing as that mic was jammed in his face. I was CERTAIN that a guy behind the infamous "didn't come here to play school" Tweet would sound like a bigger dipshit than Jameis Winston. Sadly, he didn't. That's it for me. All you Ohio fans can eat shit covered dicks. Especially Cakes.
To help lower operating expenses, companies must consider the total cost of ownership when purchasing new equipment. By purchasing slightly more expensive gear that is more efficient, manufacturers can save massively on electricity costs over the years.
Name a technology humans have developed that they haven't used. I can't think of any. So we can work on this for sure. But we are in this dilemma: Once we do develop this technology, it will be tempting to use it.
The article skirts the question on who makes this decision. Maybe the United Nations after some unlikely agreement among major powers. But what if the UN doesn't act and some billionaire decides to fund a project?
As computer scientists we start to face these questions as software in our hyper-connected world starts to change society in unpredictable ways. How do we balance privacy, security, usability and fairness in communications and machine learning? What about net neutrality, self-driving cars, autonomous military robots? Job disruption from automation?
We have governments to deal with these challenges. But the world seems to have lost trust in its politicians and governments don't agree. How does one set different rules across states and countries which apply to software services over the Internet?
All too often companies set these policies, at least the default policies until government steps in. Uber didn't ask permission to completely change the paid-ride business and only a few places pushed back. Google, Facebook, etc. use machine learning with abandon, until some governments try and reign them in. The Department of Defense and the NSA, in some sense industries within government, set their policies often without public debate.
What is our role as computer scientists? It's not wrong to create the technologies, but we should acknowledge the ethical questions that come with them and what we technically can and cannot do to address them. Keep people informed so the decision makers, whomever they be, at least have the right knowledge to make their choices.
In a NYTimes op-ed yesterday, Al Gore noted that the same steps can heal our economy, our planet, and our national energy security. He's not the first to say it, but it is eloquent and if the former VP says it can be so, who are we to say it can't?
It's may be too late already -- we may have already entered a feed-forward loop that will massively alter the ecology of the planet and it make it much less pleasant for humans to live here. But in case we haven't, we must take these steps now. There is no time to waste.
What follows is a five-part plan to repower America with a commitment to producing 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years. It is a plan that would simultaneously move us toward solutions to the climate crisis and the economic crisis â and create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced.
First, the new president and the new Congress should offer large-scale investment in incentives for the construction of concentrated solar thermal plants in the Southwestern deserts, wind farms in the corridor stretching from Texas to the Dakotas and advanced plants in geothermal hot spots that could produce large amounts of electricity.
Second, we should begin the planning and construction of a unified national smart grid for the transport of renewable electricity from the rural places where it is mostly generated to the cities where it is mostly used. New high-voltage, low-loss underground lines can be designed with âsmartâ features that provide consumers with sophisticated information and easy-to-use tools for conserving electricity, eliminating inefficiency and reducing their energy bills. The cost of this modern grid â $400 billion over 10 years â pales in comparison with the annual loss to American business of $120 billion due to the cascading failures that are endemic to our current balkanized and antiquated electricity lines.
Third, we should help Americaâs automobile industry (not only the Big Three but the innovative new startup companies as well) to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run on the renewable electricity that will be available as the rest of this plan matures. In combination with the unified grid, a nationwide fleet of plug-in hybrids would also help to solve the problem of electricity storage. Think about it: with this sort of grid, cars could be charged during off-peak energy-use hours; during peak hours, when fewer cars are on the road, they could contribute their electricity back into the national grid.
Fourth, we should embark on a nationwide effort to retrofit buildings with better insulation and energy-efficient windows and lighting. Approximately 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States come from buildings â and stopping that pollution saves money for homeowners and businesses. This initiative should be coupled with the proposal in Congress to help Americans who are burdened by mortgages that exceed the value of their homes.
Fifth, the United States should lead the way by putting a price on carbon here at home, and by leading the worldâs efforts to replace the Kyoto treaty next year in Copenhagen with a more effective treaty that caps global carbon dioxide emissions and encourages nations to invest together in efficient ways to reduce global warming pollution quickly, including by sharply reducing deforestation.
Of course, the best way â indeed the only way â to secure a global agreement to safeguard our future is by re-establishing the United States as the country with the moral and political authority to lead the world toward a solution.
Looking ahead, I have great hope that we will have the courage to embrace the changes necessary to save our economy, our planet and ultimately ourselves.
Do you think a bag of jellybeans should come with a warning label: âSTOP NOW or youâll keep eating until theyâre gone?â Seriously â itâs pretty darn hard not to love those little nuggets of sweetness that come in multitudes of colors and flavors and get stuck in your teeth! Of the 16 billion jellybeans […]
On December 17, Governor McAuliffe announced his state budget proposal.Â The 2-year, $109 billion budget lays out the stateâs priorities, which include critical investments in our public services, such as mental health, home care, quality education and secure retirements. Thatâs why ...
"Inception" is at once the best movie you'll see all summer, yet the most flawed as well. The movie boasts a wildly imaginative concept that's executed to near perfection from a storytelling point of view. However, the visual tableau in which the plot moves forward falls flat in a few places. The movie's ideas are intensely cerebral, but it lacks much of the necessary presentation to compliment it. At the very least however, this is a thought provoking and fast moving flick that is definitely guaranteed to kick your brain into overdrive for two and half hours. If "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" can claim the same, we'd be more than a little shocked.
The basic overarching plot is deceptively simple: it's a heist movie. Leonardo DiCaprio and a gang of thieves dive into the mind of a powerful industrialist in order to dissolve his energy company and thereby better the welfare of his competitors and humanity as a whole (hey, why can't we do this with BP?) But the way Leo accomplishes it and the manner in which it is explained and performed cinematically is what catapults this movie on to another level entirely. The movie unfolds on a level that we, as moviegoers, haven't had the pleasure of experiencing until now.
In order to pull off the heist, DiCaprio's character Cobb recruits various specialists and then plunges head first into the dream. The underlying science behind is left intentionally unexplained, which is OK with us--this is more of a fantasy movie than a sci-fi one. Cobb's plan is to plant the suggestion to dissolve his empire in the billionaire's head by plummeting into three consecutively deeper planes of his dream state and using the target's deep rooted father issues as leverage. Things go wrong when the team arrives in the dream to discover that the target has prepared for this mental invasion by "militarizing his subconscious" (best. line. ever.) and then the rest of the flick becomes a frantic scramble spanning around multiple layers of consciousness, some scenes constrained by gravity, some not. "We have to go deep" is a common refrain throughout the film, as Cobb's tenuous grip on reality grows shakier the deeper he travels.
Three nested levels of dreaming, unfold simultaneously at different paces, with characters running around about on each level. Each level's time progresses at a different speed. Absolutely nothing like this has been put on film before. Watching it all intricately unfold, crumble, and finally synchronize up again, we can't help but assume that Nolan played his fair share of three-dimensional chess in his younger days. The heist is absolutely brilliant, it occupies two thirds of the film, and the idea alone is well worth the $10 ticket price for this movie. Words simply can't do justice to the complexity that unfolds before your eyes. The movie is a testament to what cinema can convey.
The big problem is the visual execution. The gritty urban realism that director Chris Nolan perfected in his Batman movies doesn't serve him as well in a surreal movie about dreams. More than anything else, this is a movie about big crazy ideas, and either you're willing to forego normal cinematic conventions in order to get your brain tickled for two and a half hours or you're not. Rickey was cool with it, but some of you might not be. Don't get Rickey wrong, this is a terrific movie--easily the best of the summer, but it could've been even better if it took a bit more of an artistic leap.
At one point, Rickey said to himself, "hey, this is a dream, so why don't they just grow wings and fly around?" Sure, it sounds silly at first, but think about it. We're in the dream world here, so why not venture into the realm of the fantastic? When we dream, can't most of us do a little better than dreary Chicago in the rain? Isn't there more most of us could dream up than characters chasing each other around a dimly lit hotel? To it's credit, the movie pays scattered homage to other great dreamers such as Escher and Kubrick in many shots but when it comes to the third level of the mark's subconscious, a wintry snow scene, Nolan completely dodges the obvious shout out: Hitchcock and Salvador Dali's collaboration on the ski run scene in "Spellbound." Instead, we are bombarded with a James Bond style shoot out featuring fireballs and snowmobiles. Not quite as profound...
The obvious explanation for this restrained (and arguably unimaginative) take on dreams is that asking the audience to delve even deeper into the realm of the imaginary when they're already tracking three concurrent dreamlines is pretty demanding. Warner Brothers didn't spend $200 million to completely alienate their viewership and create more of an art house flick than a summer tent pole movie. We get that. Still, Rickey was ready to make the leap with them on this one and was left wanting when the visuals didn't match the trippy ideas the film traffics in.
But these are minor issues given the overall wonderment and awe this movie provides. And then there's the film's ending, which will probably go down in history as one of the most polarizing to date. "Inception" is very much a movie that asks you to make a decision about what you've just seen. Rickey's leaving this review purposfully light on spoilers, but for people who saw it, we'd love to discuss what you thought of the film's final shot in the comments section.
The Durham-Orange project was rate âmedium,â the minimum needed to advance
On Friday, the Federal Transit Administration informed GoTriangle that the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project could move into the next phase of the application process for a federal grant, with one important caveat: "Please note that the President's Budget for [fiscal year] 2018 proposes no funding for new projects," reads a bold-typed paragraph from FTA regional administrator Yvette Taylor, "and thus GoTriangle acknowledges that it is undertaking additional work at its own risk which may not receive Capital Investments Grants funding." Since the federal grant comprises half of the project's financesâ$1.2 billion of the $2.4 billion project cost, not including interestâthis is the ballgame.â¦
So far this year, up to November 14th, $548 billion worth of leveraged loans have been issued, which is more than the $535.2 billion issued in 2007, the previous peak year. Thatâs not alarming. What is alarming is that more than half of this yearâs issuance has been âcovenant-lite.â Thatâs more than double the 2007 peak year level.
Itâs easy enough to see why the worldâs largest private equity company, after spending close to $7.5 billion amassing a portfolio of 40,000 foreclosed single-family homes it intends to rent, wants to get money out of the âtrade,â as Reuters calls the deal.
Polo is being cross-marketed to a cross-section of the global population. And, while the usual high-end brands are big sponsors, middle-market and economy-brand sponsors and advertisers want in on the good life gravy train.
A new report by the Prison Reform Trust, supported by the Bromley Trust, shows the system under significant strain with fewer staff, worsening safety and fewer opportunities for rehabilitation.
A new report by the Prison Reform Trust, supported by the Bromley Trust, shows a prison system under significant strain with fewer staff, worsening safety, and fewer opportunities for rehabilitation.
Unprecedented cuts to the Ministry of Justice budget, due to total Â£2.4 billion by 2015-16, are creating a race to the bottom in prison conditions and the warehousing of people in super-sized jails, according to the Prison Reform Trustâs new report Prison: the facts.
Further measures are planned to drive down costs to levels claimed by the new much criticised private sector establishment HMP Oakwood, which is reported to cost around Â£15,500 per place and holds nearly 1,600 men.
Despite evidence suggesting smaller prisons are safer and more effective than larger establishments, holding people closer to home with a higher ratio of staff to prisoners and more emphasis on resettlement, the government plans to build a super-sized prison in Wrexham holding 2,000 prisoners.
Over 40 per cent of prisoners are now held in prisons of 1,000 places or more and nearly two-thirds of prisons in England and Wales are overcrowded by to the prison serviceâs own definition, holding 2,687 more prisoners than they were designed to. In the last two weeks prison numbers have swelled by over 500 â equivalent to the population of a small prison.
Strict controls on recruitment and high levels of staff sickness, the closure of 15 prisons, the transfer of a further two prisons to the private sector and a 23 per cent reduction in the number of prison officers employed in publicly run prisons since March 2010 have created a system stretched to its limit. Reductions in staffing levels impact on safety and the amount of time prisoners are able to spend their time engaged in purposeful activity. Nearly half (46 per cent) of adults are reconvicted within one year of release, rising to 58 per cent for those sentenced to 12 months or less.
The number of occasions Prison Service Gold Command, (the national group convened during serious incidents and disturbances), has been opened over the last three years has increased by 153 per cent since 2011-12. In 2013-14 it opened on 81 occasions. There has also been a 14 per cent rise in serious prisoner-on-prisoner assaults between 2010 and 2013 , and the number of deaths in custody last year was the highest on record.
According to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, both âthe quantity and quality of purposeful activity in which prisoners are engaged [has] plummetedâ in 2012-13, reporting the worst outcomes in six years. In over half of prisons results were judged to be not sufficiently good or poor. He also warned in 2012: âResources are now stretched very thinly [...] there is a pretty clear choice for politicians and policy makers â reduce prison populations or increase prison budgets.â
This report comes only a month after the Prison Reform Trust found evidence that the new Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme, which includes a ban on prisoners receiving books and other basic items, is eliciting a strong sense of injustice in prisons and undermining opportunities for effective rehabilitation.
Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust said: âThese latest figures reveal a prison service having to cope with unprecedented strain. Ministers must heed the warning signs. Rising assault and suicide rates, fewer staff and less constructive activity, call into question the governmentâs commitment to safety and decency. Slashing prison budgets and introducing harsher regimes while warehousing ever greater numbers overseen by fewer staff is no way to transform rehabilitation.â
What better way to educate oneself around the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility, than to listen to panel discussions with some of the most informed thinkers in this sphere representing global (UN Global Compact), public sector US (EPA), corporate (Dupont, Orange Telecom, SAP, Jones LangLaSalle and Bank of America), and academic (Harvard University Kennedy School of Government) perspectives.
I know that James Governor, Thomas Otter and Dennis Howlett had received an opportunity from James Farrar to hear from and about Transparency International back in November in Berlin and I was sorely grieved to have missed that event because of my TechEd travels.This invitation was ample compensation and a real learning opportunity.
The event provided the audience of about 130 business leaders with fodder for thought around the following topics:
What does sustainability mean to companies around the world?
What are they doing well and where is more action required?
Does sustainability pay and how much does it matter?
Can this build shareholder value?
Business and government, markets vs regulation
What it the role of business
Where does that role stop
Vijay Vaitheeswaran, correspondent, for the Economist chaired the conference and I found him exceedingly adept at moving the panel discussions along by asking provoking questions, engaging the audience with the speakers and allowing each of the featured panelists to present their unique perspectives.
Each session easily warrants a separate entry, but I will try to summarize just one speaker of one discussion here.
A big takeaway came from a surprising source:
The title of the blog entry is a quote from Mark Vergnano, Group Vice-president of DuPont Safety and Protection. âCollaboration isnât an option, itâs a requirementâ. Pretty compelling (actually disruptive and disturbing) to think of Dupont as a force for sustainability.Vergnano described Dupont as a company viewed in the past as one of the largest polluters in the world.For me such companies are still tainted with the specter of Union Carbide and the tragedy of Bhopal (synonymous with chemical and industrial disasters) hovering.The images of Bhopal are lingering ghosts that haunt and inform our sensibilities about that particular industry.Perhaps the Dupont story is so compelling for the very reason that it was difficult to think of Dupont a chemical company partnering with BP resulting in attaining sustainability goals and reducing carbon footprint and yet, Dupont claims to not only have accomplished its goals but to have saved billions of dollars.As a number of the speakers pointed out, if the company had been âBen and Jerryâsâ or Timberlake, the impact of the sustainable growth mission of Dupont, a top-down driven, gunpowder company, would have been less dramatic.
Vergnano spoke of science as an enabler and collaboration as an imperative. If Dupont has indeed harnessed science and partnered with BP in order to get government on boarded with bio-fuel usage and has managed, as it declares, to have turned waste to energy and taken the unique science of two companies and through collaboration, succeeded in its goals, it is an interesting story indeed.
All the major television networks are preparing their dog-and-pony shows for advertisers at this yearâs upfront presentations as they look to sell $9 billion worth of commercial time for the upcoming season. However with viewership continuing to become more fractured, the industry has grown concerned that falling ratings over the past year will lead to […]
Cinema operators gathered in Las Vegas last week to attend the annual CinemaCon trade show where they were able to preview upcoming film releases and learn about some of the new technology on offer for their theatres. Naturally, box office was a big topic with global ticket sales (barely) hitting a record $38.6 billion. Even […]
Last weekend, in a sudden and unexpected deal, telecommunications giant AT&T agreed to buy the media conglomerate Time Warner for $85 billion. As its current offerings become more commoditized AT&T is looking to add content to its portfolio through picking up Time Warner, a company that counts among its assets networks such as HBO and […]
This week's Apple earnings call revealed that the company has an absolutely mind-boggling cash hoard of over $261 billion. If Apple were a country, its cash reserve would rank 11th in the world, ahead of Singapore and Germany. As we steadily march closer to a future where corporations and CEOs are universally more influential than elected officials, artist Jade Dalloul is answering an importation question: what would currency actually look like if Apple, Google, or Microsoft ruled the world?
Clearly inspired by the design of the Euro and British pound, Dalloul rendered impressively believable bills baring the likenesses of tech leaders like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as other corporate big shots like McDonald's franchisor Ray Kroc and Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson.
The result is a stack of bills that seem at once absurd and yet completely believable, with company logos and imagery dotting the background of the currency and appropriately heroic portraits of their most influential leaders.
"I took brandâs missions statements as if they were states Mottos, used the picture of companiesâ founder as if they were intellectual and political figures, and displayed up strong brand icons the same way regimes had highlighted ideologies," Dalloul explains on his website. "Doing so, I also tried to root legitimacy of these brands in putting places related to their history, like the first gas pump for Shell, or the new Apple campus."
Whether it's Apple Pay, Android Pay, or sending money to friends on Facebook, every major tech company seems to be dabbling in payments these days. This project is an interesting reversal of that, and while we probably won't ever see the likes of Steve Jobs on our cash, it's interesting to wonder "what if?"
In a widely expected move, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, laid out a regulatory plan that would allow consumers to use the set-top box of their choice to access television. Naturally, pay television providers werenât happy since they earn $20 billion annually by forcing their customers to rent such equipment. […]
Comcast announced last week that it would acquire Dreamworks Animation for $3.8 billion, taking another step toward transforming themselves from a cable giant into a full fledged media conglomerate. Meg James, a corporate media reporter for the Los Angeles Times, join us to discuss how, though the deal may not have been anticipated, it makes […]
Description: The fear that was originally brought to players in Resident Evil Revelations on the Nintendo 3DSsystem returns redefined for home consoles and PC complete with high quality HD visuals, enhanced lighting effects and an immersive sound experience. This latest version of Resident Evil Revelations will also deliver additional content including a terrifying new enemy, extra difficulty mode, integration with ResidentEvil.net and improvements to Raid Mode. Raid Mode, which was first introduced to the series in the original version of Resident Evil Revelations, sees gamers play online in co-op mode or alone in single player taking on the hordes of enemies across a variety of missions whilst leveling up characters and earning weapon upgrades. New weapons, skill sets, and playable characters including Hunk, take the Raid Mode experience to new depths. The critically acclaimed survival horror title takes players back to the events that took place between Resident EvilÂ®4 and Resident EvilÂ®5, revealing the truth about the T-Abyss virus.
Enhanced for consoles: The fear that was brought to players in Resident Evil Revelations on the Nintendo 3DSsystem returns redefined complete with high quality HD visuals, enhanced lighting effects and an immersive sound experience.
Classic survival horror gameplay returns: The campaign modeâs single player experience sees gamers investigating a range of different locations including the dark confined spaces of a cruise ship and the treacherous snow covered mountains. With limited ammo and weapons, fight off infected enemies that lurk around every corner.
Hell just got hotter: Infernal Mode, a new difficulty mode for console versions, is not just more challenging than Easy and Normal modes but also remixes enemy and item placement, so even those familiar with the game will discover new terrors.
Meet the Wall Blister: A brand new enemy , the Wall Blister is a mutated creature borne from the T-Abyss virus that spreads through water, adding to the horrors that lurk around every corner
Residentevil.net support: Resident Evil Revelations will take full advantage of Residentevil.net with content available to users once the game launches. Earn weapons and custom parts and use them in-game, collect figures that can be used in dioramas and check your stats through the online web service.
Improved Raid Mode: New weapons, skill sets, playable characters including Rachel and Hunk and enemies exclusive to this mode are added for the this latest version.
1. Unrar by clicking the exe file for this is a self extracting archive. 2. For further instructions and to avoid installation mistakes, strictly read the nfo file here 3. Support developers by buying the software you enjoy!
DOWNLOAD ANY PARTS ON FILE HOST OF YOUR CHOICE
YOU MAY ALSO DOWNLOAD IN UploadCore or Tusfiles TO SUPPORT US
Free Download PC Game COD 4: MW Full Version - The new action-thriller from the award-winning team at Infinity Ward, the creators of the Call of DutyÂ® series, delivers the most intense and cinematic action experience ever. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare arms gamers with an arsenal of advanced and powerful modern day firepower and transports them to the most treacherous hotspots around the globe to take on a rogue enemy group threatening the world. As both a U.S. Marine and British S.A.S soldier fighting through an unfolding story full of twists and turns, players use sophisticated technology, superior firepower and coordinated land and air strikes on a battlefield where speed, accuracy and communication are essential to victory. The epic title also delivers an added depth of multiplayer action providing online fans an all-new community of persistence, addictive and customizable play.
Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/Vista
Processor: Pentium 4 @ 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon 2600+ or any Dual Core Processor @ 1.8 GHz
Memory: 512 Mb
Hard Drive: 8 Gb free
Video Card: nVidia 6600 / ATI Radeon 9800Pro
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
DVD Rom Drive
Recommended System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/Vista
Processor: Any Dual Core Processor 2.4 GHz or faster
Memory: 1 Gb
Hard Drive: 8 Gb free
Video Card: nVidia 7800 / ATI Radeon X1800
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
DVD Rom Drive
Update Link Download (14-05-2013) Mirror via PutLocker
Installation 1. Unrar 2. Open the .iso file with a program that can mount it (PowerISO, Daemon tools, Alcohol for example) 3. Mount it. I don't have that autorun option turned on, so i have to go to My Computer and open it from the cd-drive. 4. Install it. When it asks for the cd-key, minimize the installer and open rzr-cod4.exe, then generate the cd-key and copy it to the installer.
***Some antivirus propgrams may tell u that that rzr-cod4.exe is a virus of somekind. IT'S A FALSE POSITIVE! It's perfectly safe. The antivirus program thinks its a virus, but it isn't.***
5. The installer will also ask if u wan't to install punkbuster. I installed it, don't know if it matters. 6. When it's done installing, copy or move iw3sp.exe to the game folder (where u installed the game). 7. Launch the game by opening iw3sp.exe and it should work. 8. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
Info 1. PL, UPa, CL, BU Interchangeable Links 2. Total part: 10 / 700 GB 3. Total file : 6.32 GB
Free Download PC Game FIFA 2013 Full Version - captures all the drama and unpredictability of real-world football. This year, the game creates a true battle for possession across the entire pitch, and delivers freedom and creativity in attack. Driven by five game-changing innovations that revolutionize artificial intelligence, dribbling, ball control and physical play, FIFA 2013 represents the largest and deepest feature set in the history of the franchise.
All-new positioning intelligence infuses attacking players with the ability to analyze plays, and to better position themselves to create new attacking opportunities.
Make every touch matter with complete control of the ball. Take on defenders with the freedom to be more creative in attack.
A new system eliminates near-perfect control for every player by creating uncertainty when receiving difficult balls.
The second generation of the physics engine expands physical play from just collisions to off-the-ball battles, giving defenders more tools to win back possession.
Create dangerous and unpredictable free kicks. Position up to three attacking players over the ball and confuse opponents with dummy runs, more passing options, and more elaborate free kicks.
Compete for club and country in an expanded Career Mode that now includes internationals. Play for or manage your favorite national team, competing in friendlies, qualifiers and major international tournaments.
Learn or master the fundamental skills necessary to compete at FIFA 13 in a competitive new mode. Become a better player, faster, no matter what your skill level. Compete against yourself or friends in 32 mini-games perfecting skills such as passing, dribbling, shooting, crossing and more.
Earn rewards, level up, enjoy live Challenges based on real-world soccer events, and connect with friends. Everything within FIFA 13, and against friends, is measured in a meaningful way.
Access your Football Club identity and friends, manage your FIFA Ultimate Team, search the live auctions and bid to win new players.
500 officially licensed clubs and more than 15,000 players.
Release NOTE: It internal because the DRM is bypassed using a loader. The game works, but itâs not how we would usually release a crack.
Installation 1. Unrar. 2. Burn or mount the image. 3. Install the game. 4. Copy the cracked files from the \Crack directory on the disc to the \Game directory, overwriting the existing exe. 5. Before you start the game, use your firewall to block all exe files in the game's install directory from going online. Use the game setup before starting as well. It can be found in the following directory:\Game\fifasetup 6. Play the game. While in game, avoid all of the online options. If you have Origin installed, it may start it up. If that happens, ignore the prompt, play offline, and don't login. 7. Enjoy!
Free download PC game 2013 Mars: War Logs Full Version - In the destroyed world of Mars, two destinies mingle together. Two beings searching for their identity travel across a broken planet, constantly facing bloody political conflicts which tear the old colonies apart. Often divided, sometimes fighting the same enemies, both are the source of the advent of a new eraâ¦
Mars: War Logs is a sci-fi RPG action game that innovatively merges character development and light and rhythmic fights. it takes you on a journey deep into an original futuristic universe and presents you with scenarios dealing with difference, racism and environment.
Take on the role of Roy Temperance, a multi-talented renegade, and surround yourself with companions with real personalities.
Choose from the numerous dialog possibilities and influence the destiny of your people.
Personalize your fighting style through a dynamic and developed combat system, for entirely different approaches depending on the choices you make.
Personalize your development by choosing from dozens of skills and numerous additional perks!
Modify and create your own equipment with our craft system.
RELOADED group telah merilis update pertama untuk PC game God Mode. Info changelognya dapat di bawah, dan bagi teman-teman sekalian yang sudah mendownload PC Game God Mode-RELOADED yuk langsung di patch gamenya biar lebih enak di mainin.
Desynchronization: Network optimizations were made to stop the desync issue during games which also led to non-progressions.
FPS Cap: The FPS cap can now be removed via the game.cfg file. Add the option "LockFps = 0" under the Video section. Note that removing the FPS cap may cause issues depending on system configuration and network quality.
Disable voice chat option: You can now disable all incoming sounds via the options while still having the ability to chat via Push to talk.
Push to talk voice chat: To enable chat while in-game, parties or a menu press the ` (tilde) button (can be reconfigured).
Minigun ammo clip upgrade: Fixed the issue where users were not seeing the clip properly upgraded.
Graceful error handling: Better message boxes and debug text appear when issues occur to give developers better visibility.
Crash at Voting Screen: A fix was made to the crash that occurred while voting for a map.
Crash when connection to Steam is lost: Launching the game when Steam is offline will launch into LAN mode instead of crashing.
Alt+Tab Crash: Fix to the crash when users Alt+Tab out of the game.
Overall game stability: Optimizations were made increase game stability.
God Mode Executable compatibility: Steam DRM has been altered from Standard to Compatibility. This change will help users experiencing crashes while booting the game.
Memory Allocation Fix: Optimizations were made to game memory allocation.
Note: We recommend players install the patch before launching God Mode. Not installing the patch could lead to connection compatibility issues.
Installation 1. Unrar God Mode Update 1-RELOADED.rar > Next Unrar rld-godupd1.rar 2. Install the update. 3. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory to your game install directory. 4. We recommend not allowing the game to go online with your FW. Select LAN from partygame settings. 5. Play the game. 6. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
RELOADED group kembali lagi dengan rilis update terbaru untuk PC Game Resident Evil 6. Pada update ke 4 kali ini terdapat penambahan fungsi option baru untuk pencarian, serta improvisasi performa SLI untuk graphics cards NVIDIA. Nah, bagi teman-teman sekalian yang sudah memiliki pc game Resident Evil 6, monggo langsung di amankan filenya.
Added new options to the session search function
Improved SLI performance with NVIDIA graphics cards
Installation 1. Unrar. 2. Install the Update. No other updates are needed for this release. 3. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory to your game install directory. 4. Play the game. 5. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
Free download PC Game Day of the Zombie Full Version - This game made by Groove Games. Basically the exact same thing as Land of the Dead but with a new single player and a few new features.
story mode is funner and set up better than lotd too, though the story is kinda weak and stupid. you play as 3 different people: a college student looking for his lady, a college janitor trying to save his school (thinks it's all student pranks), and an army soldier (trying to find civilians i guess).
Minimum System Requirements
Operating system: Windows Â® 2000/XP/Vista
Processor: Pentium Â® 4 or AMD Â® Athlon â¢ with a frequency of 2.0 GHz or faster.
RAM: 256 MB.
Free hard disk: 1.5 GB.
Video card: compatible with DirectX Â® 9.0c (ATI Â® Radeon Â® 9600 or
NVIDIA Â® GeForce Â® 4 Ti 4600 with 128 MB) or more powerful.
Sound card: compatible with DirectX and Windows Â®.
Free download PC game Post Apocalyptic Mayhem Full Version - lets you race and battle heavily-modified vehicles through numerous breathtaking tracks and lay waste to other racers in over-the-top vehicular mayhem. You can use special vehicle abilities to cause spectacular destruction to enemy cars as you fight and speed to victory. Youâll experience remarkable speeds, hilarious and violent weapons, reinforced vehicles and various exhilarating tracks.
Note This version includes the vehicles: Kitty, Nucloid and the Veteran and tracks: Death Area 8, Airplane Cemetery and Abandoned Sawmill. Also it includes the Chaos Pack DLC. Game version is 1.03.272.
FREE Download PC Game F1 2012 Full Version - Racing presents F1 2012, the next game in the BAFTA-winning series featuring all the official drivers, teams and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. Learn the basics and master the challenge of driving the best machines on the planet in the Young Driver Test Experience the next generation in weather system technology where storm fronts move across the circuits, soaking specific areas of the track, as well as racing around the all-new Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, home of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Two new quick fire game options: Season Challenge, a complete Career in just 10 races, and Champions Mode Scenarios, where you test your skills against the very best, complete an exciting line up of gaming options which also includes a 5 year Career, Co-op Championship, 16 Player Multiplayer & Time Attack Scenarios.
Formula One returns to the USA in 2012 at the all new Circuit of the Americas, located in Austin, Texas, and players can drive on the circuit ahead of the track?s debut in November.
Gamers will be introduced to the world of Formula One and learn the nuances of how to drive a Formula One car by taking part in the all-new Young Drivers Test at Abu Dhabi?s Yas Marina.
Codemasters? Formula One series has set the standard for weather in racing games and players will be able to experience new enhancements that will raise the bar further in F1 2012
F1 2012 will feature all-new lap walkthroughs from Formula One test driver and Codemasters technical consultant Anthony Davidson.
Expected to attract 120,000 fans on race day, the Circuit of the Americas will be a spectacular addition to the Formula One calendar and will be recreated in full high definition in F1 2012
Free download PC game God Mode Full Version - Is set in a twisted version of Greek mythology and the afterlife. The player is a descendant of an ancient God whose family has been banished by Hades from Mt. Olympus and turned into a mere mortal. To avoid an afterlife of eternal damnnation, the player must battle through this purgatory known as the Maze of Hades against an army of the underworld.
God Mode combines non-linear gameplay, fast and frantic shooting, hordes of on-screen enemies, and a fully functional online coop mode. Matches rarely ever play out the same, as dozens of in-game modifiers can significantly alter the gameplay on the fly. Characters are fully customizable, both in appearance and equipment, which continually evolve. Gold and experience is constantly accrued and used to unlock new satisfying weaponry and unique powerful abilities, both of which can be further upgraded.
Installation 1. Unrar. 2. Burn or mount the image. 3. Install the game. 4. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory on the image to your game install directory. 5. Before you start the game, use your firewall to the game exe file from going online. 6. Play the game, change party settings to LAN. 7. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
Info 1. PL, UPa, BU Interchangeable Links 2. Total part: 6 / 300 MB 3. Total file : 1.77 GB
Say youâre Vladimir Putin, and you did a deal with Trump last
year. Whether there was such a deal isÂ being investigated.Â But if you are
Putin and you did do a deal, what might Trump have agreed to do for you?Â
1. Repudiate NATO. NATO is the biggest thorn in your side â the
alliance that both humiliates you and stymies your ambitions. Trump seemed
intent to deliver on this during his recent European trip by bullying members
about payments and seemingly not reaffirming Article 5 of the pact, which
states that any attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. (Heâs backtracked on this since then, under pressure from Congress.)
2. Antagonize Europe, especially Angela Merkel. Sheâs the
strongest leader in the West other than Trump, and youâd love to drive a wedge
between the United States and Germany. Your larger goal is for Europe to no
longer depend on the United States, so you can increase your influence in
Europe. Trump has almost delivered on this, too. Merkel is already saying Europe
can no longer depend on America.
3. Take the United States out of the Paris accord on the
environment. This will anger Americaâs other allies around the world and
produce a wave of anti-Americanism â all to your advantage. Youâd also love for
the whole Paris accord to unravel because you want the world to remain
dependent on fossil fuels. Russia is the worldâs second-largest exporter of oil
after Saudi Arabia, and biggest exporter of natural gas. And the oil and gas
industry contributes about half the revenues to your domestic budget. And, hey, thereâs also all those Arctic ports that are opening up now that the earth is warming.Â Trump has
delivered on this.Â
4. Embark on a new era of protectionism. Or at least anti-trade
rhetoric. This will threaten the Westâs economic interdependence and loosen
Americaâs economic grip on the rest of the world. Trump is on the way to
delivering on this one.
5. End the economic sanctions on Russia, imposed by the United
States in 2014. Oil production on land is falling so you want to tap the vast
petroleum and gas reserves offshore in the Arctic. In 2011, you and
ExxonMobilâs Rex Tillerson, signed a $500 billion deal to do this. But the
sanctions stopped it cold. Trump has promised to lift them, but he hasnât
delivered on this yet, because he has got to cope with all the suspicions in
America about his deal with you. Once it dies down, heâll end the sanctions. In
the meantime, heâll give you back the two compounds that were seized by the
Obama administration when the U.S. intelligence discovered youâd interfered in
And what might you have agreed to do for Trump in return?Â
Two things: First, youâd help him win the presidency, by hacking
into Democratic Party servers, leaking the results, sending millions of fake
news stories about Hillary to targeted voters, and tapping into voter
Second, after he was elected, youâd shut up about your help so
Trump wouldnât be impeached and convicted of treason.
other words, if you did a deal, you
both still have every incentive to fulfill your side of it. Thatâs the art of
Thereâs some good news and some bad news from the State Comptrollersâ office. The stateâs nearly $200 billion pension fund is doing well, thanks in part to the booming stock market, but there are some worrisome signs for the future of New Yorkâs finances. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the pension fund is up this quarter by 2.9 percent, and has increased 11 and a half percent from last year. DiNapoli says he likes to think that he and his staff have invested wisely, but he says a major factor is the booming stock market. âThe stock market rally continues,â DiNapoli said, in an interview with public radio and TV. â Itâs been going on longer than most people would have ever projected, but weâre benefiting from that right now.â But thereâs a drop in the stateâs finances. The Comptrollerâs monthly report finds collections of personal income taxes are down around $1.2 billion from the same time period last year. DiNapoli says Governor Cuomoâs Division of the Budget has already revised down
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]... and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, which former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also attended in June 2016. They met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya , whom Trump Jr. said ultimately did not provide the promised material on Clinton. In the emails, Trump Jr. corresponds with publicist Rob Goldstone , who represents the son of an Azerbaijan-born billionaire who has also done business with the Trumps. Trump Jr. forwarded the thread to Kushner and Manafort Loading...
One Syracuse mayoral candidate has a vision for the cityâs west side to address poverty and improve education. Syracuse native Alfonso Davis is seeking the Democratic Party nomination. Davis has made a priority of easing socio-economic troubles in poorer neighborhoods, coming from poverty himself. He empathizes with frustrations people on the west side might feel. âOne of the large cries from people on the Westside, coming out of the Westside, is jobs. They feel as thoughâ¦this city, no one cares about them and what goes on on the Westside.â Davis says greater economic opportunity is key not only to easing poverty, but for reducing violent crime in poor neighborhoods. If elected mayor, he hopes to enact a Community Benefits Agreement, or CBA. It would require that public works projects hire local workers instead of having contractors bring in crews from outside the city. Davis says the I-81 replacement is a perfect exampleâ¦ involving billions of dollars over a 7- to 10-year build time.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting involved in New Yorkâs Congressional races. At a rally with House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, he vowed to help defeat the stateâs republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year. House Democratic Leader Pelosi introduced Governor Cuomo at the rally of union workers at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. âWe will remove you from office on November , 2018,â Cuomo shouted. â And we are telling you those are not just words, you can bet your political life that New Yorkers will do just that!â While Cuomo says heâs working to defeat all of the stateâs GOP congressional representatives, the governor directed his ire at Western New York Congressman Chris Collins and the Hudson Valleyâs John Faso. The two angered Cuomo earlier this year when they successfully included in the House repeal of the Affordable Care Act a plan to force the state to take over billions of dollars in county Medicaid costs.
With the recent share retirements, the current TTCM OS is 1.77 billion shares outstanding (NOT 3 billion as stated in the article) making the market cap $35 mill @ Friday's 0.0199 closing price.
Also, as of today 19-Dec-2016, 1.28 billion shares have been retired. That leaves 92.6 million shares remaining to be retired.
Reports last week that Beverly Hills mega-talent agency WME/IMG has raised $1.1 billion from two international investors to buy out some of its UFC minority partners stirred some speculation that UFC President Dana White might be leaving the company.
âIâm not going anywhere, brother,â White told...
BERLIN, (Reuters) – A 400-billion euro ($554 billion) project linking solar power produced in the Sahara to energy users in Europe and North Africa is a ‘win-win’ for both continents and could also promote integration around the Mediterranean, a German minister said. Guenter Gloser, deputy foreign minister, told Reuters 20 gigawatts of concentrated solar power … Continue reading "Europe to be powered by the Sahara?"
A recent IowaWatch report reveals that many elderly people have become scammersâ easy targets and lost billions of dollars in the past several years. Take this news quiz and find out how much you know about financial scams that target seniors, and how to deal with them.
They are already going to pay themselves $70 Billion for their 2008 performance.
<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/17/executivesalaries-banking" rel="nofollow">http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/17/executivesalaries-banking</a>
New column on the AlwaysOn Network. It's on the potential downside of offshoring (the downside for the States, that is). For the next five days, see http://www.alwayson-network.com ; the permanent link is at http://tinyurl.com/4e4q4 . It got the ire of a lot of readers and a lot of views (I'm projecting nearly 500 in less than one day). The article which was the basis for my column is getting a lot of attention in the States. Worth reading.
Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs -- Part I
First, a bit of commentary. One thing all smart SIs (systems integrators) do is develop partnerships and alliances with ISVs (independent software vendors, i.e., software publishers/software companies in a broad sense). Of course, it's difficult to be the 1,000th entrant in the game and expect to get any traction/assistance from your ISV partner.
SIs in China ALWAYS use the approach of offering localization services and OFTEN offer to help push an ISV's product within the domestic market in China. Frankly, this is what the (usually American) ISV wants, too. Does this strategy work? Well, sometimes. However, even in the case of high profile alliances such as some of those Microsoft has in China (and I won't name names to protect the innocent), it's really nothing more than window dressing. Everything looks good on paper, but the reality is something quite different.
Regardless, this does NOT address the need and desire for SIs in China to build their market in the States. And when this issue becomes center stage, ISVs frequently respond with something bordering on contempt. Some ISVs are getting clued that their American channel partners absolutely need partners in China and other low(er)-cost development areas in order to win bids. Let's face it, it's all about closing deals. And if an ISV's competitors have channel partners which can put together winning bids, perhaps in part (and perhaps in LARGE part) due to an offshoring component with their channel partner's SI partner(s) in China, then the ISV with an indirect link to China has a competitive advantage. I don't view this as a sufficient condition to winning bids, but it's increasingly a necessary condition.
Clued ISVs want their American channel partners to have an offshoring option, but this requires that their channel partners have relationships with SIs in a country such as China. But ISVs tend to focus their channel development efforts on their American partners and might develop a couple/few relationships in China, but usually NOT tied to their channel development efforts in the States. Goofy and shortsighted, to say the least.
But how can SIs in China get traction with American ISVs, especially since they're almost always late to the game (in other words, the American ISV already has a well-developed channel)? The answer (or, at least one answer): Focus on servicing the needs of SMEs (small and medium enterprises, which is also referred to as "SMBs" -- small and medium businesses).
There's another reason this makes sense: Most of the SIs in China are already focused on servicing SMEs/SMBs in China. It might be nice to bag a large SOE (state-owned enterprise), but the reality is that most firms in China, especially the burgeoning number of privately-held firms, are SMEs by definition. Hence, the experiences gained by SIs in China is already within the same market, although I'd be the first person to warn than company size and even similar domains does not necessarily equate to directly transferable skills. Fact is, things in China are often quite different from the way they are in the States, especially in a "hot" ITO (IT outsourcing) market like financial services. More about this in a forthcoming posting. Bottom line: Give serious thought to targeting the SMB/SME market in the States. (Part II of this commentary might be a while in coming.)
Lots of tidbits this week.
Controlling project costs. My favorites: Scope creep, not understanding project financing, "big-bang" projects, overtesting (although I'm not sure I agree with this one), poor estimating. Good stuff, with recommended solutions. See http://tinyurl.com/6rfkg .
Challenges for China's SIs. Adapted from a Forrester report. For starters, how about: Improving account management (are there really any account managers in China, or at least any who can manage accounts with U.S. clients? ), moving away from technology-centric messages that often alienate business buyers (better yet, moving away from messages in Chinglish), investing in vertical-specific skills (how many times have I said this?) and becoming more multicultural organizations (yes, and let's start with learning English!). See http://tinyurl.com/4avfo .
Another challenge to conventional outsourcing and offshoring "wisdom." "Services-driven development models, such as the one at work in India, broaden the global competitive playing field. As a result, new pressures are brought to bear on hiring and real wages in the developed world - pressures that are not inconsequential in shaping the jobless recoveries unfolding in high-cost wealthy nations. For those in the developed world, successful services- and manufacturing-based development models in heavily populated countries such as India and China - pose the toughest question of all: what about us?" For more, see http://tinyurl.com/4acm4 .
Forget the Golden Triangle. How about China + India vs. the world (or, sans the world)? "Newspaper headlines portray China as the world's manufacturing base for low-cost goods, like clothing and shoes, and India as the global IT monopoly-to-be. Unfortunately, media outside Asia have failed to acknowledge the growing partnership between the two giants." "Given the complementary nature of their economies and the size of their markets (nearly 2.2 billion people in total), the nascent cooperation between the two holds the potential to dramatically alter the world trade balance. A perusal of the Shanghai technology corridor reveals a hint of the countries' industrial interconnectedness. Walk through one of the main complexes in Shanghai's Pudong Software Park, and you will see a prominently displayed sign for Infosys, one of India's most respected IT firms. The same complex also holds Satyam, the first of India's software service companies to set up offices in Shanghai. Nearby are the headquarters of the largest software services company in Asia, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which currently runs an outsourcing center for GE in the town of Hangzhou. TCS is owned by the Tatas, one of India's most prominent business families. Across the river is NIIT, the principal software training center in India's private sector. NIIT, operating in China since 1998, now runs an extensive two-year course in 25 provinces, training around 20,000 students to be software professionals. There is widespread speculation that Wipro, India's only giant IT firm without a presence in the city, will establish a Shanghai office very soon. It is no surprise that Indian software companies are setting up in China. They, like everyone else, sense great opportunity in one of the largest, fastest-growing economies in the world." (Bold is my emphasis.) All true, and they even forget MphasiS. See one of my must-read sources, YaleGlobal: http://tinyurl.com/6ltaz .
Business creativity 101. "A new book from Wharton School Publishing, The Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind and Colin Crook prompts you to rethink your mental models and transform them to help you achieve new levels of creativity. In this book, the authors give a set of guidelines on how to see differently." Examples: Listen to the radicals; embark on journeys of discovery; look across disciplines. See http://tinyurl.com/6fvo8 .
The innovator's battle plan. "Great firms can be undone by disruptors who analyze and exploit an incumbent's strengths and motivations. From Clayton Christensen's new book Seeing What's Next." GREAT stuff (although John Dvorak won't like it). What about asymmetric warfare theories applied to the realm of corporate innovation and creativity? Just a thought ... See http://tinyurl.com/6mbcy .
In this posting, I'd like to address something that is seemingly a bit mundane: ERP in China.
Two articles in the current issue of the Communications of the ACM(CACM) caught my eye. The first, titled "Why Western Vendors Don't Dominate China's ERP Market" is a good read. (See http://tinyurl.com/27w9d .) After reading this article, it's safe to say that Bamboo Networks (especially with their .NET ERP solution, which is something even Microsoft doesn't have), Kingdee, UFSoft and a few other domestic ERP vendors don't have much to fear from the "globals" -- although SAP and Oracle collectively hold about 25% of the market, which isn't bad. Textbook blunders on the part of (mostly American) software vendors. To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/28eat .
The other article is titled, "ERP in China: One Package, Two Profiles." (See http://tinyurl.com/2r45p .) According to this paper, more than 1,000 Chinese sites had an ERP system by the end of 2001, costing billions of dollars. Nearly 300 were on SAP. (The figures differ slightly from the above cited CACM paper.) ERP sales in China are projected to triple in five years from a US$1 billion base in 2002. (Note: I'm not sure if the author meant through 2007 or 2009.) A good quote regarding partnering opportunities: "With China's accession to the World Trade Organization, many multinational enterprises are rushing to establish operations in China and/or interact with Chinese business partners." (My emphasis.) For those on this list attempting to attract foreign direct investment, read the part which says, "establish operations in China."
The paper noted that although ERP projects in China rarely hit even ECO/ECN-adjusted delivery schedules, they rarely exceed the planned budget. (In contrast to the States where ERP is almost always late AND over budget. In the States, taking on an ERP project is akin to playing Russian Roulette.) The article goes on to mention eight differences between ERP projects in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private ventures. The findings demonstrate that when it comes to ERP projects, private ventures in China are very similar to private ventures in the States. SOEs act like, well, SOEs: Bureaucratic nightmares galore. To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/2eve2 .
There is another good article in the July issue of CACM: "Demystifying Integration," which includes a listing of and brief take on dozens of domain-independent and -dependent standards and specifications for application integration. Good stuff for a systems integrator. To request a copy of this article click on http://tinyurl.com/3ysvx .
Tidbits on Enterprise Software
What does the CEO of a systems integrator dream about? How about being one of the first companies to partner with a BEA or Siebel? (When I thought about this, all choices seemed rather awful!! )
Need some help finding the next BEA? Turn to the AlwaysOn Network 100. For perspective, see http://tinyurl.com/23p3u . Last year's winners included several companies that IPO'd (including Salesforce.com, Opera), companies in line to IPO (including Google, RightNow) and several other hot companies. Frankly, their record so far is the best I've seen (albeit it's still a bit too early to draw any firm conclusions). For a listing of this year's winners (to be announced this upcoming week at Stanford -- Go Cardinal!), see http://tinyurl.com/25j9s . If I had the time (which I don't), I'd go through this list with a fine-tooth comb. IMHO, it's better than the listing of presenters at Enterprise Outlook or DEMO ... although the DEMO companies are a lot more fun!!.
Another list worth reviewing is Forrester's selection of the best Web design firms. (See http://tinyurl.com/3bq5z .) Critical Mass, AGENCY.COM and SBI.Razorfish take top honors. Everyone tends to look toward the top 500 systems integrators in the States for partnering opportunities. However, don't discount the elite among the U.S. Web design firms. Many compete in an extremely cost conscious environment where much less expensive Java programming from a partner in China could be a win-win for all three parties: The SI in China, the Web design firm in the States, and the U.S. client.
One of my favorite industry trades, Computerworld, recently published a special report on business intelligence (BI). (See http://tinyurl.com/2w8j2 .) As regular readers of this blog know, I'm hot, hot and hotter on BI. Not only are BI apps booming in their own right, but BI also provides an open door into other structured data apps (e.g., ERP and SCM). Also, there is a burgeoning number of apps requiring both BI and knowledge management (KM) solutions, providing a host of new opportunities. (For now, think of BI for structured data and KM for unstructured data. But the lines between KM and BI are blurring.)
Embedded BI. "Over the next four to six years, BI systems will become embedded in small, mobile devices, such as manufacturing sensors and PDAs in the field, which in turn will be linked to more centralized systems." -- Erik Thomsen, distinguished scientist, Hyperion Solutions Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif.
PB DM (petabyte data mining). "Within three years, companies and governmental agencies will be able to successfully run analytics within a centralized data warehouse containing 1 petabyte or more of data -- without performance limitations." -- Dave Schrader, technology futurist, Teradata, a division of NCR Corp., El Segundo, Calif.
HPC to the rescue! "Within the next two to three years, high-performance computing technology used by scientific and engineering communities and national R&D labs will make its way into mainstream business for high-performance business analytics. This transition will be driven by the growing volume of complex data and the pressing need for companies to use forecasting and predictive analytics to minimize risk and maximize profit-generating opportunities." -- Phil Fraher, chief operating officer, Visual Numerics Inc., San Ramon, Calif.
BI meets AI. "In the near future, business leaders will manage by exception, and automated systems will handle significant loads of routine tasks." -- Mike Covert, chief operating officer, Infinis Inc., Columbus, Ohio
Visualization. "Over the next two to three years, BI systems will automatically suggest appropriate visualizations, which in turn will dramatically increase the use of visualization and our understanding of complex relationships." -- Erik Thomsen, distinguished scientist, Hyperion Solutions
BI + BPM + BAM. "Businesses need more than a rearview mirror to drive their business forward into the next era. A new category of intelligence tools will emerge over the next two to three years that combines business process management, business activity monitoring (BAM) and business intelligence to enable the "actively managed enterprise." This will combine the scorecards and rearview-analysis capabilities of BI with the real-time, event-driven analysis of BAM and feed that information into automated business processes for on-the-fly steering of the business towards scorecard goals. This will exponentially elevate the speed at which businesses are able to operate, adapt and make critical decisions." -- Tim Wolters, chief architect of business activity monitoring solutions, webMethods Inc., Fairfax, Va.
Bottom line: Go to a BI-related ACM or IEEE CS conference and you'll hear a lot of presentations on all of the apps described above. It's where the rubber meets the road: This stuff is real!! However, it's important to differentiate "real" BI with much more simplistic reporting software (like a good "chunk" of the so-called BI solutions provided by Business Objects, Cognos and even Microsoft -- via their recent acquisition of ActiveViews).
A BI Site to Review
Last week I came across a paper published in the current issue of the Journal of Intelligent and Fuzzy Systems. In this paper the project called "Data Mining and Decision Support for Business Competitiveness: A European Virtual Enterprise" (SolEuNet) is used as a case study and "the source of lessons learned." The paper provides a link to the SolEuNet Web site (see http://tinyurl.com/3x5vo ); at the SolEuNet site I found a wealth of case studies with supporting technical documents on leading-edge BI apps (see, for example, Workpackage 7 on "Combining Data Mining and Decision Support with Information Systems" at http://tinyurl.com/yqkqm ). Remember, strategy consulting isn't merely about comparing product specs (regardless what the IT advisory services may say).
The Gartner Conference on BI
I got my hands on three i-banking analyst reviews of the Gartner BI conference. The Morgan Stanley report (dated 27 April) noted that customer activity levels appeared to be strong and "many seem to be taking a more strategic approach to BI, resulting in the emergence of larger transactions." (My emphasis.) Corporate performance management (CPM) is driving some of the larger deals, with Cognos and Hyperion taking the lead. Evidently, systems integrators (SIs) are getting religion and developing collaterals around CPM messaging. RBC Dominion Securities produced a more in-depth report (dated 29 April) and noted the following:
Gartner expects the market to accelerate in 2004.
The ETL (extraction, transformation, and load) market will flatten (finally).
CPM is hot. "Hyperion, Cognos, and SAS appeared to be the best positioned non-ERP vendors to capitalize on the CPM market opportunity." However, "(they) believe that SAP is the best-positioned large enterprise software vendor to execute in both the BI and CPM market ..."
Finally, the Gartner BI conference itself was hot, with 973 attendees, an increase in attendance of 70% over last year.
UBS chimed in with their own report (dated 30 April), which in some ways was a bit more technical than the other two reports cited above. UBS noted that heterogeneous environments require independent tools (e.g., it is very difficult to get heterogeneous data into an ERP data warehouse <DW>). Gartner's rule of thumb is that an ERP-derived BI/DW solution should be on the short-list only if more than 60% of an organization's BI data resides within that single app vendor. UBS also noted that the importance of BI is leading to the formation of BI competency centers. They also believe that SAP and Microsoft remain significant long-term threats to the independent software vendors such as Cognos and Business Objects. BTW, all three reports seemed a bit down on Business Objects.
Another Computerworld feature on BI
Sometimes advertorials can be a good thing. A case in point is the 26 April issue of Computerworld which provides a link to a new, six page Computerworld White Paper on BI. The paper is titled, "Charting the Course: A Guide to Evaluating Business Intelligence Products"; it's a good, practical read. Tactical, product spec advice and guidelines, but still a good read. The PDF can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2gt3d .
Recent Tidbits on BI
The New Straits Times (Malaysia) via Asia Africa Intelligence Wire reported on 24 June that SAS "expects the BI market in Asia to register double-digit growth for the next five years. (Don Cooper Williams, director of marketing and alliances for SAS Asia-Pacific) cites a recent report from research house International Data Corp, which predicts that BI software market in the region (excluding Japan) to grow by 12 per cent this year, up from 7.5 per cent in 2003." Note to SIs in China: BI isn't just hot in the States; leverage your skills for serving the U.S. market and the domestic market.
From the channel, India Business Insight (also via Asia Africa Intelligence Wire) on 31 May announced that "Business Objects has entered into a long-standing systems integrator agreement with Wipro Infotech (WI) to provide business intelligence (BI) solutions to customers." Note to SIs in China: Don't be left without a dance partner.
Additional Articles for Review
I did a quick scan of trade lit and found a few articles worth reading. First, the March-April issue of Financial Executive talks about CPM -- Corporate Performance Management -- as it relates to BI. The May issue of Insurance & Technology takes a vertical look at BI (rather basic apps), as does the April issue of Business Credit. Always think verticals.
A Final Wrap (or Should I Say, "Rap"?)
Back to Computerworld. More specifically, see the 29 March issue of Computerworld. According to a survey conducted by IBM Business Consulting Services, BI is a high priority on the plate of C-level execs. In a Computerworld poll, 39% of IT executives listed business intelligence projects as their most critical IT projects. By 2005, market research firm IDC projects that the worldwide market for business intelligence software will total about $6 billion -- up from $2.5 billion in 2003 -- signaling a major increase in business intelligence projects. IT executives say the skills they need on business intelligence projects include systems integration, data modeling, database administration, data standardization and project management.
A quick recap on IT spending trends from three recently published Smith Barney surveys. The three reports are the May and June editions of their CIO Vendor Preference Survey and the 6 June issue of softwareWEEK. Tom Berquist, my favorite i-banking analyst, was the lead for all three reports. I have a backlog of blogs to write, so I'll use as many quotes as possible and add context where necessary. (I'm mostly extracting from my smartphone bookmarks for these reports. Warning: I may have coded the May and June issues incorrectly, but the quotes are correct.) NOTE: Highlighted items (e.g., items in bold, like this sentence) are MY emphasis.Items in red are my commentary.
Starting with the Survey editions, "(t)he strongest areas of spending appear to be software (apps, security, storage, and database) and network equipment/apps (Gigabit Ethernet, WLAN, VPNs)" and regarding software, "larger and more well known vendors continue to dominate the list in each category with vendors such as Microsoft, SAP, IBM, Veritas, Symantec and Computer Associates getting significantly more mentions in each of their groups than the remaining vendors did." However, the report admits that their sample group might be biased. Yes, vendors matter -- and so do vendor partnering strategies. However, I'm a bit skeptical about CA and I don't particular care very much for Veritas orSymantec. Not my part of the universe.
"Applications again stand out as a clear area of strength." "Within applications, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI) all showed extremely well ..." Well, this is the first sign that a recovery may be in the making for SCM. However, I'd emphasize BI and ERP, followed by CRM; don't count on a lot happening in the SCM space just yet. Some other key surveys do NOT validate that SCM is in recovery. "In terms of specific vendors, Microsoft, Symantec, Veritas, SAP, and Adobe were the top beneficiaries of CIOs intentions to increase spending." The report continues that only SAP showed statistically significant results, both in ERP and SCM. "Results were more mixed for best-of-breed vendors in this area, suggesting that horizontal applications vendors are having a tough time competing with the large ERP vendors even as vertically-focused vendors continue to have some measure of success on this front." For the more adventurous SIs in China, SAP presents a lot of opportunities. Tread carefully, though. And "Adobe's enterprise strategy appears to be gaining momentum. Adobe was a clear standout in content management ..." "Survey results were also positive (though somewhat less so) for other leading content management players, notably Microsoft and IBM." Another "win" for Microsoft. Funny that none of the traditionally leading content management players were mentioned. A take on Linux: "Linux continues to garner mind share, but large enterprises remain the main adopter. Interestingly, nearly 83% of our respondents stated that they were not currently moving any applications to Linux. Of the 17% that said they were moving applications to Linux, only one company under $1.0 billion in revenue was making the transition to Linux confirming our views that Linux is primarily being used by large companies to shift Unix applications to Linux on Intel."
"Among CIOs who indicated a higher level of consulting spend, IBM was the clear winner, followed by Accenture as a distant second. Unisys was also mentioned as a vendor being considered, but it was a distant third. However, we note that Unisys being mentioned ahead of a pure-play consultant like BearingPoint (a low number of mentions, which included mentions of decreased spending) or EDS is positive, given that Unisys chooses to focus in 2 specific verticals, including one-public sector-that was not in the survey." "Over two-thirds of CIOs indicated that they do not use IT outsourcers. Most of the rest said they were unlikely to change the level of outsourcing spend. IBM, ACS and CSC were the only vendors explicitly mentioned as likely to get more outsourcing business." The "two-thirds" figure will likely change in favor of outsourcing. This trend is fairly clear. See a BCG report at http://tinyurl.com/2muy8 , although the report takes a relatively broad perspective.
From softwareWEEK, "(t)he CIOs were also very focused on rapid 'time to market' with purchases. None were interested in starting projects that would take greater than 2 quarters to complete." "This requirement was not a 'payback' requirement, but rather an implementation time frame requirement. The CIOs did recognize that payback times could be longer, though the payback times on IT utility spending were much shorter than on applications or emerging area spending."
"In terms of spending, the CIOs all used a similar methodology for making decisions that essentially divides their IT spending into one of three categories: 1) sustained spending on their 'IT utility' (i.e., infrastructure such as network equipment, servers, storage, databases, etc.); 2) new project spending on applications (business intelligence, portals, CRM, etc.); and 3) investment spending on select emerging areas (grid/utility computing, identity management, collaboration, etc.) It was pretty obvious that the CIOs recognized that business unit managers were more interested in spending on new applications/emerging areas than on the IT utility ..." "(S)ome of the CIOs were experimenting with grid/utility computing initiatives to try to increase their utilization of storage/servers and reduce the amount of new equipment to be purchased. In one example, a CIO showed their storage/server utilization around the world and many regions were in the 50% or worse bucket for average utilization. Their goal was to use grid computing architectures and storage area networks (along with faster communication links) to better share the pool of resources." Yes, this is it!! Take this to heart!! If you think grid and utility computing are Star Trek stuff, think again.
"In terms of new projects, the CIOs mentioned they were spending on business intelligence, portal/self-service applications, CRM, and collaboration. Collaboration was a heated discussion, with all CIOs commenting that this was a big problem for them and there was no clear solution on the market. While it wasn't completely clear to the audience what the CIOs were looking for in a collaboration solution,the elements that were described included: more intelligent email, corporate instant messaging, web conferencing, integrated voice over IP with instant messaging (so that a conversation could quickly shift from typing to talking), and collaborative document editing (spreadsheets, presentations, publications, etc.). Within the business intelligence arena, business activity monitoring was discussed as was building of enterprise data warehouses/data marts. The portal/self-service applications being built or deployed were primarily for customer and employee self-service (remote access to email, applications, and files was a big deal for all of the companies). On the CRM front, the discussion from one CIO was around their need to increase revenues and manage channel conflict better." [I'll be posting to this blog a bit more about collaboration opportunities over the next week.]
"While vendors were not discussed in any detail during the panel, the CIOs did say that they remain open to working with smaller vendors (public and private) as long as they have plenty of relevant references (in their industry, particularly with close competitors) and they offer a compelling value proposition versus larger vendors. One CIO stated that they get called by 20 startups a week to sell products to them, but most of them cannot articulate the value proposition of their product. Nonetheless, the CIO does take 5 meetings a month from startups because some of them are working on things that are interesting to the business."
Whew ... Lots of good materials. To reiterate, all highlighted items are my emphasis. Bottom line: The market is heating up. Get your ISV relationships in place. Pick your verticals (see the "Tidbit on Microsoft" which follows). Pick your apps -- and the apps I like the best are content management and BI, although ERP is looking good, too. Collaboration can be a major source of revenue if the SI can provide a truly effective solution.
Tidbits on Microsoft
A quick update on some happenings in the Redmond universe. (See http://tinyurl.com/36xgu ; the article is titled, "Microsoft focuses on its enterprise-applications business".) First, app areas that are of particular interest to MS include those for manufacturing and life sciences. So, how about a MS build-to-their-stack strategy focused on either of these two verticals? Second, MS is moving beyond purely horizontal offerings to very specific functionality. Their Encore acquisition is an example of MS moving in this direction. Finally, new releases of all four of Microsoft's ERP product lines are due for this year. Not surprisingly, MBS marketing is up 20% from FY04. Hmmm ... ERP spending intentions are strong and MS is a key player in this space -- with several updated offerings scheduled for release this year. Another opportunity?
Tidbits on Infosys
Infosys formally enters the IT strategy consulting biz. (See http://tinyurl.com/2xxlo .) Yes, it was inevitable. In April Infosys Consulting, Inc. was formed and, "(i)t's no secret that the winning model will be high-end business consulting combined with high-quality, low-cost technology delivery done offshore," according to Stephen Pratt, the head of Infosys' consulting unit. The Infosys Consulting unit now has 150 employees in the States and plans to expand to 500 within three years. Note to SIs in China: You need more -- a lot more -- IT strategy types And you need people in the States (at least on an "as needed" basis) in order to capture -- and serve -- new accounts.
Sasol shares on-site footage at petrochemical workforce strategy meeting alongside BASF, Ineos, Shell, Turner Industries, Fluor, Jacobs Engineering S&B Engineers & Constructors, State Workforce Commissions, schools, colleges and the U.S. Department of Energy.
By Joann Santiago MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) — The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board on Wednesday approved Php 17.9-billion worth of new projects. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary...
Valero Energy stockholders take note: Valero on Monday declared a regular cash dividend on common stock of 40 cents a share. It will be paid on Sept. 2 to holders of record at the close of business on Aug. 4. Valero’s board also approved an incremental $2.5 billion share repurchase authorization. Valero has approximately $400
[IB Publisher's note: As much as Trump may not wish a nuclear exchange with Russia, he seems quite amenable to turning North Korea into an ashtray. World War III may begin in Guam and relay to Hawaii on its way to the US mainland. Here in Hawaii it may mean Duck and Cover!]
In Nevil Shute's book "On the Beach" the US submarine captain says;
"We've all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you're never ready, because you don't know when it's coming. Well, now we do know and there's nothing to be done about it."
He says he will be dead by September. It will take about a week to die, though no one can be sure. Animals live the longest.
The war was over in a month. The United States, Russia and China were the protagonists. It is not clear if it was started by accident or mistake. There was no victor. The northern hemisphere is contaminated and lifeless now.
A curtain of radioactivity is moving south towards Australia and New Zealand, southern Africa and South America. By September, the last cities, towns and villages will succumb. As in the north, most buildings will remain untouched, some illuminated by the last flickers of electric light.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
These two lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears. The endorsements on the cover said the same.
Published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War when too many writers were silent or cowed, it is a masterpiece. At first the language suggests a genteel relic; yet nothing I have read on nuclear war is as unyielding in its warning. No book is more urgent.
Some readers will remember the black and white Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck as the US Navy commander who takes his submarine to Australia to await the silent, formless spectre descending on the last of the living world.
I read On the Beach for the first time the other day, finishing it as the US Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world's second most lethal nuclear power. There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.
The "sanctions" are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.
Their main aim seems to be war - real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-5 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.
The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies - the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indo-China, which President Reagan called "a noble cause" and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an "exceptional people"He was not referring to the Vietnamese.
Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. "Listen up," he said. "We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom."
At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.
A lobotomy is performed on each generation. Facts are removed. History is excised and replaced by what Time magazine calls "an eternal present".
Harold Pinter described this as "manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis [which meant] that it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."
Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously "the left" are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.
Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for "liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics", wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man - not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system - beckons great danger for all of us.
While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.
On 3 August, in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a "Soviet agent"), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia. Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was "clearly unconstitutional".
A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.
This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the "national security" managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them "the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today".
They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to instal an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia's "borderland" - the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people. Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.
In response, "partnership" is a word used incessantly by Vladimir Putin - anything, it seems, that might halt an evangelical drive to war in the United States. Incredulity in Russia may have now turned to fear and perhaps a certain resolution. The Russians almost certainly have war-gamed nuclear counter strikes. Air-raid drills are not uncommon. Their history tells them to get ready.
The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The US has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China's economic lifelines.
The admiral commanding the US Pacific fleet said that, "if required", he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute's fiction.
The urgency has plenty of precedents. In my film, The Coming War on China, John Bordne, a member of a US Air Force missile combat crew based in Okinawa, Japan, describes how in 1962 - during the Cuban missile crisis - he and his colleagues were "told to launch all the missiles" from their silos.
Nuclear armed, the missiles were aimed at both China and Russia. A junior officer questioned this, and the order was eventually rescinded - but only after they were issued with service revolvers and ordered to shoot at others in a missile crew if they did not "stand down".
At the height of the Cold War, the anti-communist hysteria in the United States was such that US officials who were on official business in China were accused of treason and sacked. In 1957 - the year Shute wrote On the Beach - no official in the State Department could speak the language of the world's most populous nation. Mandarin speakers were purged under strictures now echoed in the Congressional bill that has just passed, aimed at Russia.
The bill was bipartisan. There is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The terms "left" and "right" are meaningless. Most of America's modern wars were started not by conservatives, but by liberal Democrats.
When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America's longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings - murder - by drones.
In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the "reluctant liberal warrior", dropped 26,171 bombs - three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day. Having pledged to help "rid the world" of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.
Trump is a wimp by comparison. It was Obama - with his secretary of state Hillary Clinton at his side - who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the "deporter-in-chief".
One of Obama's last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.
Buried in the detail was the establishment of a "Center for Information Analysis and Response". This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an "official narrative of facts" that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war - if we allow it.
Image above: HART rail guideway car photo-op over Farrington Highway at Leokane Street near Waipahu Sugar Mill. From Civil Beat article below. Photo by Cory Lum.
I hope the neighbor island folks reading this message are ready to fight the Legislature to help stop the biggest fraud ever perpetrated upon our people since statehood, the Honolulu rail boondoggle.
Why should any of you help pay for this fraud? The state uses the argument that it helps other counties with [reasonable and legal] public projects so why not require other counties to help with this illegal and fraudulent one to continue the fleecing of our people and continue to cause irreparable financial harm to the people of Hawaii for another three or more generations, all to protect the profits of the wealthy, power elite?
When will the people wake the hell up and rebel against our crooked and corrupt city and state government, the most corrupt in the USA, and stop this abuse of power?
Public testimony will be accepted however, please avoid repetitive and duplicative testimony.
With a special session set for the end of August, the Hawaii Legislature will lay out several funding options for the public at a briefing next week.
Hawaii lawmakers are weighing five options to provide funding to complete Honoluluâs over-budget rail line from Kapolei to Ala Moana, including a statewide increase in the general excise and hotel taxes, according to a state Senate presentation obtained by Civil Beat.
The Legislature plans to hold a special session later this month to try again to reach a deal on how to pay for the 20-mile, 21-station project, which is now estimated to cost $10 billion.
Key House and Senate committees have scheduled a joint public information briefing Monday morning at the Capitol. The new options to fund the project, along with the choices under consideration before the Legislature adjourned in May, are expected to play a central role in the negotiations.
The draft 52-page presentation, provided by a state senator Monday, lays the groundwork for a case to have Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties help fund Honoluluâs beleaguered project. It notes that Oahu subsidizes harbors, airports and highways on the neighbor islands.
The presentation includes options to extend the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for Oahu; increase the GET surcharge for Oahu; extend the GET surcharge for Oahu and increase the hotel tax for Oahu; or establish a statewide GET surcharge and hotel tax increase.
The Federal Transit Administration is kicking in $1.55 billion for the project. It could withhold some of those funds, particularly if the rail line has to stop short of its plan to go from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. The project was expected to cost $5.2 billion just a few years ago.
House Speaker Scott Saiki has said the cityâs latest figures project a nearly $1.4 billion shortfall from now to 2024.
The two chambers ended the session far apart. The Senate left with a bill to extend Oahuâs 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for 10 years, until 2037, to help complete the rail project.
Thatâs the option Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the tourism industry supported.
The House pushed a bill that would have allowed the GET surcharge to be levied for just one additional year, to 2028, while increasing the stateâs 9.25 percent transient accommodations tax for 10 years.
âIn spite of our impasse during the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature understands the importance in crafting a legislative solution that will provide the City and County of Honolulu a dedicated revenue stream,â said Senate President Ron Kouchi in a press release announcing the public briefing.
The briefing starts at 10 a.m., Monday, in the Capitol auditorium. The special session is set to run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.
See the draft presentation, which a state senator said was created by the Senate Ways and Means Committee at link below.
Whether one is Pro-Rail or Anti-Rail, thereâs something virtually everyone in the state agrees about â the cost of building the Honolulu Rail is getting out of hand.
Not only that, serious questions have been raised about how well the funds already invested in this project have been spent.
Law professor Randy Roth, who has a long history advocating for the public good, appears on E Hana Kakou with Dr. Akina to discuss why it is time to hold our government leaders responsible for the progress of the Rail.
ThinkTech Hawaii streams live on the Internet from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm every weekday afternoon, Hawaii Time, then streaming earlier shows through the night. Check us out any time for great content and great community.
Our vision is to be a leader in shaping a more vital and thriving Hawaii as the foundation for future generations.
Our mission is to be the leading digital media platform raising pubic awareness and promoting civic engagement in Hawaii.
Rail Cost Spirals Out of Control
SUBHEAD: Watch short video and sign the petition here to require a forensic audit of the rail.
Video above: Group seeks to audit the Honolulu rail project with "Where is our Money Going?" From (https://youtu.be/X8Fa2qr2djg). Longtime journalist Mark Coleman talked recently with ThinkTech Hawaii host Tim Apicella about his recent Grassroot Institute of Hawaii article titled âHonolulu rail clearly a fiasco,âand suggested that now would be a ideal time to subject the over-budget, behind-schedule project to an independent forensic audit.
In particular, Coleman suggested that the state legislators use their upcoming special session to order such an audit, which would allow them to avoid extending or raising any state taxes until they have better information about why the cityâs rail project has veered so far off track â while yet so much of it remains tobe built.
The timing is apt, he told Apicella, because the City Council just approved selling bonds to fund construction of the rail through to next year, thus taking pressure off the Legislature to consider anything before it starts its regular session in January 2018.
Coleman said transportation experts warned city officials years before the rail project was even started that it would be a âgigantic white elephant,â and by now itâs clear that just about everything that could have gone wrong with the project has â though nobody has a definite explanation as to why.
Has HART committed federal crimes?
SUBHEAD: Is falsification of federal documents, lying to officials to get $1.55B HART a crime?
The people of Hawaii seek Congressional, DOJ, & FBI investigations into the following allegations against Mayor Caldwell, City Council, HART, Developer DR Horton, construction unions, Pacific Resources Partnership (PRP), DLNR, regarding the Honolulu rail project:
Systemic fraud, waste, and abuse of power, violations of public procurement codes, violations of the Hawaii State Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine, violations of basic ethical and moral principles, perjury, deliberate falsification of Federal documents / lying to Federal officials, deliberate misrepresentation of facts, deliberate fraud, bribery, racketeering, malfeasance, graft, conspiracy to defraud, and criminal offenses directly related to obtaining $1.55B in federal funds for the Honolulu rail project.
Those advocating for a forensic audit & investigations include former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, retired UH Law Professor Randy Roth, UH Civil Engineering Professor, Panos Prevedouros, President of Grassroot Institute and OHA Trustee, Dr. Keliâi Akina, former Army War College faculty instructor, retired Col Al Frenzel, retired businessmen, 2 attorneys, an accountant, and concerned citizens.
Dr. Keliâi Akina submitted testimony to the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads regarding these issues.
All major newspapers and TV networks around the country have been notified about the dire situation in Hawaii.
It is argued that the City is jeopardizing its credit rating and solvency over this project and someone has to stop the bleeding, stop the irreparable hard this rail project is causing our people today, and for the next 3 generations, and folks in Washington seem to be turning a blind eye to this matter.
In lieu of reviewing rail-related documents online, I request a formal meeting with a Honolulu FBI agent to discuss this urgent matter, a meeting to include those advocating for these investigations.
Others have written to FTA, OIG, GAO, and Congress, and spoke to some officials. One high ranking official stated to one individual that perjury to obtain federal funds for rail appears to be involved.
The Honolulu rail is likely a massive government cover up similar to Watergate, but called HARTgate.
Please help us. This dire situation is reaching critical mass.
Messages sent to Washington and FBI. The city deliberately falsified federal documents, lied to federal officials, and lied to the public. I encourage everyone to submit a request to the FBI to conduct an investigation.
Image above: More than 380 tribes around the world came forward to stand with the water protectors. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov.From original article.
On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for authorizing the construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline. Just over a year later, the project has been completed and carries crude oil from North Dakotaâs Bakken oil fields to an export terminal in Illinois. The case is still pending, and continues to be the tribeâs last hope to protect its water and land.
The lawsuit alleged that authorization of the pipeline violated the Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately conduct an efficient environmental assessment and skipping an environmental impact statement (EIS) altogether.
âIf history is to repeat itself, it doesnât look good for us,â says Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II. âBut that doesnât mean we donât have hope.â
The lawsuit has now been joined by the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Yankton and Oglala Sioux tribes, but at its heart, the case remains the same since its initial filing, said lead attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux on behalf of nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice.
Heâs been arguing that the $3.8 billion energy project ignores treaty rights and needs further environmental review. The goal is that U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg will rule in favor of an EIS and pause pipeline operations indefinitely, and, ultimately, stop them completely.
In December, pipeline opponents almost secured the EIS under former President Barack Obama when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would prepare the statement and not permit the pipeline to cross beneath the Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, an area of cultural, religious, and spiritual significance to the tribe.
It was a near victory. With the EIS secured, the court shelved the lawsuit, but there was more bubbling beneath the surface. Dakota Access launched a counter lawsuit once the Obama administration requested the EIS, and Donald Trumpâs presidential inauguration loomed on the horizon. The lawyers, the tribe, and even the court knew the situation could change drastically.
âThe court was pretty explicit that this could be undone,â Hasselman said. And it was.
Trump rescinded the EIS and issued the final easement across Lake Oahe in February. Immediately, the attorneys amended their initial complaint to include the final easement. Things moved along quickly from there, Hasselman explained. For the first time, the tribe had something concrete to contest, not something they were asking the courts to prevent.
âWe were finally able to put those environmental review issues and treaty issues up front and center,â Hasselman said. Until then, the case was essentially in âpause mode.â
Then in June, Judge Boasberg found that the Corps had not sufficiently considered the pipelineâs environmental effects or environmental justice impacts when issuing its permit, and remanded the case back to the EIS process to reconsider its analysis. This is the first time Earthjustice is aware of such an environmental justice ruling.
Boasbergâs recent decision offers DAPLâs opponents hope, but a favorable outcome is anything but assured. A pipeline has never before been stopped with a lawsuit, Hasselman said. âThe legal and regulatory infrastructure is badly broken.
You just donât have the big overarching federal permits for a crude oil pipeline that you have in a lot of other contexts.â Unlike natural gas pipelines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates a pipelineâs terms and conditions of transport, but not its actual construction and operation.
Earthjustice didnât take up the case because it believed the court held the answer but, rather, because it recognized the political power such a case could build. To that end, it has surpassed expectations.
âWhat I had in mind was substantially more modest than what happened,â Hasselman said. He had hoped that 50 people would show up to court and theyâd end up on the evening news. He wasnât expecting the iconic fight for indigenous sovereignty that Standing Rock has become.
The Dakota Access pipeline is now a matter of global interest. More than 380 tribes around the worldâfrom New Zealandâs MÄori to the Ecuadorian Amazonâs Kichwaâcame forward to stand with the water protectors. âThatâs a very significant time in history: when the tribes come together collectively and unite and say, Enough is enough,â Archambault said.
The tribeâs effort became a movement with the support of spirit and prayer camps outside the reservationâincluding the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin campsâand a 1,500-mile run to Washington, D.C., in which about 30 Native American youth delivered a petition with more than 140,000 signatures to the Army Corps headquarters demanding it halt the pipelineâs construction.
Although this attention hasnât influenced the lawsuit, Hasselman said, it legitimized the movement. Once the world set its eyes on Standing Rock, it could no longer ignore that the historic violent treatment of indigenous people isnât a thing of the pastâit continues today.
Now? Hasselman thinks they have a shot. âWe have an uphill struggle in persuading the court to shut down the pipeline while the remand process is underway, and we have an uphill struggle persuading the Army Corps to do a legitimate and appropriate analysis on remand, but weâre all working 24/7 to make that happen,â he said.
Judge Boasberg is set to decide in September whether to pause pipeline operations while the Corps continues its review, and court proceedings are ongoing as both parties make their arguments. Until then, the tribe will see its challengers in court.
Image above: Firemen fighting the recent Bridge Coulee Fire in the High Plains.Photo by Bureau of land. From original article.
Itâs peak hurricane season, but the nationâs worst weather disaster right now is raging on the High Plains.
An intense drought has quickly gripped much of the Dakotas and parts of Montana this summer, catching farmers and ranchers off-guard. The multi-agency U.S. Drought Monitor recently upgraded the drought to âexceptional,â its highest severity level, matching the intensity of the California drought at its peak.
The Associated Press says the dry conditions are âlaying waste to crops and searing pasture and hay landâ in Americaâs new wheat belt, with some longtime farmers and ranchers calling it the worst of their lifetimes. Unfortunately, this kind of came-out-of-nowhere drought could become a lot less rare in the future.
âThe damage and the destruction is just unimaginable,â Montana resident Sarah Swanson told Grist. âItâs unlike anything weâve seen in decades.â
Rainfall across the affected region has been less than half of normal since late April, when this yearâs growing season began. In parts of Montanaâs Missouri River basin, which is the droughtâs epicenter, rainfall has been less than a quarter of normal â which equals the driest growing season in recorded history for some communities.
âItâs devastating,â says Tanja Fransen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Serviceâs office in Glasgow, Montana. Just six years removed from 2011, one of the regionâs wettest years on record, eastern Montana is now enduring one of its driest.
âWeâre at the bottom of the barrel,â Fransen says. âFor many areas, itâs the worst weâve seen in 100 years.â
In a matter of weeks, the area of Montana in drought conditions has expanded eightfold.U.S. Drought Monitor
Wheat production worries
The drought already has far-reaching effects. In eastern Montana, Americaâs current-largest wildfire continues to smolder; the 422-square-mile Lodgepole complex fire is one-third the size of Rhode Island. Itâs Montanaâs largest fire since 1910.
Across the state, 17 other large fires are also spreading. âWe havenât even hit our normal peak fire season yet,â Fransen says.
Recently, as the climate has warmed and crop suitability has shifted, the Dakotas and Montana have surpassed Kansas as the most important wheat-growing region in the country. The High Plains is now a supplier of staple grain for the entire world. According to recent field surveys, more than half of this yearâs harvest may already be lost.
The economic impact of the drought and related fires may exceed $1 billion across the multi-state region by the time the rains return. Donations of hay for beleaguered farmers and ranchers have come in from as far away as West Virginia.
Farmers in the region are also worried because the Trump administration has targeted a key federal crop insurance program for hefty cuts. The governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana have all declared states of emergency to speed aid and open some normally protected areas for livestock grazing.
Droughts are often thought of as creeping, slow-motion disasters. They usually donât grab headlines like hurricane landfalls, even though they represent the costliest weather-related catastrophe worldwide.
But this drought is an anomaly, a âflash drought.â It essentially came from nowhere. It didnât exist just three months ago.
The frequency of these rapid-onset droughts is expected to increase as the planet warms. A recent study focusing on China found that flash droughts more than doubled in frequency there between 1979 and 2010.
Droughts like these are closely linked to climate change. As temperatures rise, abnormally dry conditions across the western United States are already becoming more common and more intense. And as evaporation rates speed up, rainfall becomes more erratic, and spring snowmelt dries up earlier each year.
On Whitney Klasnaâs ranch in Lambert, Montana, the spring rains âjust didnât come this year.â Klasna has already seen 60 to 80 percent crop losses in her fields, and now sheâs making calculations about which of her cattle she can afford to save. She and her crew are working to drill an additional water well and install a pipeline to keep as many alive as possible.
Now theyâre worried that, if the rains do come, theyâll lead to flash flooding; the ground has essentially been transformed into concrete.
Klasna calls the drought a âperfect storm of bad luckâ and expects its impacts to last for years.
The drought in western North Dakota is now just as severe as Californiaâs was at its peak. U.S. Drought Monitor
Further west, near where the Lodgepole complex is burning, Sarah Swanson runs a John Deere dealership, one of the biggest businesses in her community. She hears heartbreaking stories from across the region, with many farmers and ranchers working together to fight the fire with their own equipment.
âRight now, I donât think anybody has time to feel scared,â Swanson says. âI think the emotions will probably start once they have time to get the fire out in a week or two.â
Last week, Swanson wrote a personal letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a Montana native, asking him to ease grazing restrictions on a nearby wildlife refuge. Two days later, he did so.
âWeâll be able to continue on,â Swanson says. âI wish I could say that for all the Main Street businesses in eastern Montana, but I donât think I can. The effects are already being felt by restaurants and retail shops and gas stations, and there will be some that canât sustain this.â .
Image above: Jeong Young-hee is a Korean tangerine farmer in Gangjeong village on Jeju island. Like many residents, she strongly opposes the newly built South Korean naval base just two miles from her farm. Photo by Jon Letman. From original article.
In August, 1945, as Japan smoldered in the ruins of war, the question of what would become of the Korean peninsula after 35 years of Japanese occupation and a Soviet army advancing southward spurred the hasty selection of an artificial division along the 38th parallel drawn by two American officials as a border between US and Soviet "zones of occupation."
That line, never intended to be permanent, hardened like stubborn mud before the newly liberated Korea ever had the chance to form an independent, unified and democratic nation. Today 38Â°N still marks a potentially catastrophic flashpoint between North and South Korea.
The DMZ -- demilitarized zone -- despite its name, is one of the most militarized places on the planet. This hyper-militarization, in fact, extends south across the peninsula and today, 64 years after an armistice halted (but never formally ended) the Korean war, South Korea remains peppered with scores of US military installations -- at least 80 by the Pentagon's own count.
US bases, and the 28,500 US troops and joint military exercises they support, are not only opposed by North Korea; many South Koreans see them as a problematic construct that perpetuates the likelihood of war.
Despite frequent media coverage of North Korea's highly choreographed military parades, increasing missile launches, and Kim Jong-un's threats to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire," far less attention is paid to South Korea's tireless, well-organized peace movement opposed to militarism on both sides of the DMZ.
South Korean civil groups and NGOs like People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions are skilled at forming coalitions with peace activists and religious groups opposed to a military buildup, which they see as increasing tensions with the North and militarization across Northeast Asia.
Your Old Farm Is Our New Base
Image above: Candle light protests have been held outside the Seongju County office nightly since the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system was announced in July 2016. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
With the bulk of US bases concentrated in and around Seoul and within range of North Korean artillery, the US is in the middle of a major realignment of its forces as it consolidates bases, moving tens of thousands of troops, their families and civilian contractors to US Army Garrison Humphreys in the city of Pyeongtaek, 40 miles south of Seoul.
In 2002, when the US announced its plan to triple Humphreys in size, Pyeongtaek residents living around the base organized fierce protests that raged for five years.
Thousands of police were deployed, citizens were arrested and villages were demolished. In the end, however, the base's walls were pushed outward, and Camp Humphreys grew from just over 1,000 acres to more than 3,400 acres, making it the US's largest overseas military base in the world.
Image above: A representative of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions holds an anti-THAAD banner at a demonstration in Soseong-ri, Seongju County, South Korea. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
The Humphreys expansion is slated for completion by 2020 and will eventually be home to up to 46,000 military and civilian personnel living and working behind razor wire-topped walls and gates.
The $10.7 billion expansion, the US's largest-ever peacetime military construction project, is being paid for overwhelmingly (around 90 percent) by the South Korean government. In 2016, Gen. Vincent Brooks (now head of US Forces Korea) publicly stated that it's cheaper to station US troops in South Korea than in the United States.
The Humphreys expansion does have supporters in the community, and many businesses have come to depend on the US military's presence.
Pyeongtaek's city government, unable to refuse the influx of thousands of US forces, has done its best to promote Humphreys' expansion as an opportunity to court non-military business and infrastructure investment and push for internationalization through increased cultural exchanges with military personnel and their families.
Still, many residents view the base as an unwelcome intrusion on Korean sovereignty and a source of crime, pollution and noise from military aircraft like F-16s, A-10 Thunderbolts, Chinook and Apache helicopters.
Image above: Demonstrators march toward the former golf course in Seongju County where the controversial THAAD antimissile defense system is being deployed by the US. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
Since 2002, Kang Song-won of the Pyeongtaek Peace Center has been working closely with residents from communities affected by Humphreys, particularly those who were forcibly relocated from the villages of Daechu-ri and Dodu-ri. Kang works with volunteers to monitor military incidents and accidents around the base.
Beyond the noise and inherent danger, he told Truthout the most harmful impact of Humphreys' expansion has been the deep divisions sown in the community between base supporters and opponents.
Giving up, however, is not an option. "Even though we lost the fight against the US military, I think it is still necessary to keep fighting ... against the problems of the US military base," Kang said.
Island of Peace, Tides of War
Image above: US Army Garrison Humphreys is a helicopter base in what will soon be the the United States' largest overseas military base. Just beyond the fence are small farming villages. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
An hour's flight south of Seoul is sub-tropical Jeju island. Home to nine UNESCO Global Geoparks and a World Heritage site, the volcanic island is renowned for its natural beauty and biodiversity both on land and sea. Jeju has also been heavily developed for tourism. On the south coast, in Gangjeong village, is the site of a new Korean naval base.
Muddying its primary purpose, the base is sometimes called the Jeju Multipurpose Port Complex and is touted as having a (future) dual civilian-military function, but for now it's strictly a Korean naval base and headquarters for the South Korean Navy's Mobile Task Force Flotilla-7, which includes Aegis warfare destroyers, KDX III helicopter destroyers and a submarine force command.
Like the expansion of Camp Humphreys, the 2007 announcement of the Jeju naval base sparked widespread outcry from residents opposed to the militarization of what was dubbed "Island of Peace" in recognition of Jeju's horrific April 3 massacre (1947-54).
In that massacre, as many as 30,000 island residents were killed by Korean forces over a seven-year period beginning in 1947 during the US military administration that occupied the southern part of the Korean peninsula immediately after the August 1945 defeat of Japan.
As in Pyeongtaek, Jeju base protesters clashed with the police for years. Base opponents, including the former mayor, were arrested and heavily fined but in the end, the base was built.
Image above: Many of the residents protesting against the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system are elderly farmers who don't want their remote mountain village to be militarized. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
Tangerine farmers Jeong Young-hee and her husband Kang Sung-won have been growing Jeju's famous citrus varieties for 30 years in greenhouses less than two miles from the base. Young-hee and Sung-won are concerned about the environmental impact of the base, especially the effects on the sea -- including soft corals, sea urchins, abalone and other marine life -- and the destruction of what was a sacred lava rock coastal field called Gureombi.
Construction on the base is not yet complete. Young-hee and Sung-won worry that as it grows, if a future exclusion zone (a zone that would restrict new construction) is declared, it would surround their farm, almost certainly driving down land values.
Peeling one of her sweet hallabong oranges, Young-hee explains how the base has caused a rift between friends and family members. The base has also divided many citrus farmers and Jeju's famous Haenyeo free divers. "Our relationship was destroyed," says Young-hee, who joined her male counterparts in shaving her head as a gesture of protest against the base.
Image above: Retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon holds a daily mass along along a roadside site that doubles as a protest against the Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
In the early days of the struggle, when base opponents pointed fingers at the US accusing it of pressuring South Korea (also known as the Republic of Korea), South Korean officials denied that the base would permanently host US warships.
This year, in March and June, US warships made their first visits to the Jeju base with short, inconspicuous port calls similar to what was recommended in a 2013 US Army War College strategy research project. Last January, US Pacific Command's Adm. Harry Harris suggested the possibility of deploying the US's newest, most lethal stealth destroyer, the USS Zumwalt to Jeju waters.
The Jeju navy base became operational in February 2016. Resistance continues daily, with activists gathering each morning in front of the entry gate to perform one hundred bows as a nonviolent, meditative protest.
Nearby, in a roadside tent chapel, retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon leads a daily mass, before joining protesters who gather with flags and banners playing raucous music outside the base.
The mood of the protesters is defiant and the message is serious: they want a shift away from militarization of the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia.
This week (July 30-August 5), for the eighth year since 2008, apeace march is underway, in which activists are walking from the Jeju naval base around the island to raise awareness of the continuing struggle and to call for peace.
In Defense of Who?
Image above: Guards look out from behind a razor wire fence surrounded the new South Korean naval base on Jeju island, South Korea. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
South Korea's latest struggle against militarization began in July 2016 in rural, traditionally conservative Seongju County 135 miles south of Seoul.
Residents of Seongju and neighboring Gimcheon were caught off guard when the central government, under deposed President Park Geun-hye, offered Seongju to the US as a location for the US antimissile defense Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
For more than a year since that announcement, daily protests have been taking place in Seongju and elsewhere around the country. In June, an anti-THAAD protest of several thousand people briefly and peacefully surrounded the US embassy in Seoul.
THAAD manufacturer Lockheed Martin says the system is intended to defend "US troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against short and medium range ballistic missiles."
Seongju residents and Koreans across the country, however, recite a litany of reasons they are opposed to THAAD, from environmental and health concerns to the lack of a democratic process to ever-increasing deployment of foreign weapons, as well as economic repercussions and tension with its neighbors China and Russia.
Image above: Korean Army personnel stand guard at the Demilitarized Zone/Joint Security Area outside the Military Armistice Commission buildings along the tense border. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
Two weeks before South Korea's snap election on May 9 this year, the US, citing North Korean threats, hurriedly began the deployment of THAAD in what had been a golf course outside a small village called Soseong-ri.
When South Korea's newly elected President Moon Jae-in learned that his own Ministry of Defense had failed to notify him of the presence of an additional four THAAD launchers, Moon called for a temporary suspension of THAAD to conduct an environmental assessment.
That suspension, however, is being reevaluated now as South Korea considers deploying additional launchers in response to a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile test last week.
Like other aspects of the military alliance between the US and South Korea, THAAD is supported by some South Koreans and reviled by others. And like the communities in Gangjeong village on Jeju and Pyeongtaek near Seoul, the people of Seongju and Gimcheon are divided.
Speaking at a candlelight vigil outside the Seongju County government office on May 30, three local women were eager to share their thoughts with Americans.
On this 310th day of consecutive protests, the women told Truthout they wanted their lives back the way they were before THAAD.
They said their community was being torn apart -- even relations between parents and children were being strained by strong disagreements over THAAD.
Some of their neighbors have given up opposition to THAAD, either accepting it as unavoidable or simply focusing on other matters.
These women, however, refuse to give up and say they feel a responsibility to attend nightly demonstrations against THAAD. They also admit feeling a growing resentment toward what they see as an unequal alliance.
"We are starting to have anti-American sentiments even though we don't hate Americans," a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Kim said.
"To be honest, I want the US military to go home," said a second woman, who also goes by the name Mrs. Kim, adding the English phrase, "Yankee, go home."
The Truth Is Very Powerful
Image above: Demonstrators perform 100 bows for peace six days a week as a protest against the South Korean Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
Even as new bases are built, old bases expanded and more weapons imported, what fuels South Korean peace movements in the face of overwhelming power?
In Seoul, Jungmin Choi who works with Durebang (My Sister's Place), an NGO that provides counseling to foreign women working in bars and clubs near US bases, says those women are living witnesses to the impact of military bases.
Choi calls the impacts of the bases "indescribably huge" and both tangible and intangible, but insists, "we believe this fight cannot be defeated â¦ we will fight in a creative way with a long-term view."
On the other side of the country, Jeju base opponent Choi Sung-hee says that even though the Jeju base is operational and US warships have started visiting, the protests must continue.
Not only does the military know it is being watched, but protests build solidarity with other anti-base movements across South Korea and internationally, in places like Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines and Hawaii, particularly among women.
Image above: A protester is blocked by a security guard as he sits in silent protest outside the entry to the South Korean naval base on Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.
"That's the role of people ... we should constantly demand: we do not need arms, we do not need THAAD, we do not need more military bases," Choi says. "If the people's movement is strong, I think it can also influence the decisions of the South Korean president."
Nearby, in the St. Francis Peace Center, Father Mun carves messages of peace into wooden boards after each morning's protest. Nearly 80 years old, Father Mun has been a peace activist for decades in Pyeongtaek, on Jeju and elsewhere acting, in his words, as "a witness for truth."
When asked why he continues to resist in the face of overwhelming power, Father Mun declared, "The truth cannot be thrown away. The truth will stand up some day. The truth is very powerful. So, I believe the truth is going to win all enemies."
Image above: Sign on an unidentified Amazon building. From original article.
It wonât be long now. During the last 31 months the stock market mania has rapidly narrowed to just a handful of shooting stars.
At the forefront has been Amazon.com, Inc., which saw its stock price double from $285 per share in January 2015 to $575 by October of that year. It then doubled again to about $1,000 in the 21 months since.
By contrast, much of the stock market has remained in flat-earth land.
For instance, those sections of the stock market that are tethered to the floundering real world economy have posted flat-lining earnings, or even sharp declines, as in the case of oil and gas.
Needless to say, the drastic market narrowing of the last 30 months has been accompanied by soaring price/earnings (PE) multiples among the handful of big winners. In the case of the so-called FAANGs + M (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft), the groupâs weighted average PE multiple has increased by some 50%.
The degree to which the casinoâs speculative mania has been concentrated in the FAANGs + M can also be seen by contrasting them with the other 494 stocks in the S&P 500.
The market cap of the index as a whole rose from $17.7 trillion in January 2015 to some $21.2 trillion at present, meaning that the FAANGs + M account for about 40% of the entire gain.
Stated differently, the market cap of the other 494 stocks rose from $16.0 trillion to $18.1 trillion during that 30-month period.
That is, 13% versus the 82% gain of the six super-momentum stocks.
Moreover, if this concentrated $1.4 trillion gain in a handful of stocks sounds familiar thatâs because this rodeo has been held before.
The Four Horseman of Tech (Microsoft, Dell, Cisco and Intel) at the turn of the century saw their market cap soar from $850 billion to $1.65 trillion or by 94% during the manic months before the dotcom peak.
At the March 2000 peak, Microsoftâs PE multiple was 60X, Intelâs was 50X and Ciscoâs hit 200X.
Those nosebleed valuations were really not much different than Facebook today at 40X, Amazon at 190X and Netflix at 217X.
The truth is, even great companies do not escape drastic over-valuation during the blow-off stage of bubble peaks.
Accordingly, two years later the Four Horseman as a group had shed $1.25 trillion or 75% of their valuation.
More importantly, this spectacular collapse was not due to a meltdown of their sales and profits. Like the FAANGs +M today, the Four Horseman were quasi-mature, big cap companies that never really stopped growing.
Now Iâm targeting the very highest-flyer of the present bubble cycle, Amazon.
Just as the NASDAQ 100 doubled between October 1998 and October 1999, and then doubled again by March 2000, AMZN is in the midst of a similar speculative blow-off.
Not to be forgotten, however, is that one year after the March 2000 peak the NASDAQ 100 was down by 70%, and it ultimately bottomed 82% lower in September 2002. I expect no less of a spectacular collapse in the case of this cycleâs equivalent shooting star.
In fact, even as its stock price has tripled during the last 30 months, AMZN has experienced two sharp drawdowns of 28% and 12%, respectively. Both times it plunged to its 200-day moving average in a matter of a few weeks.
A similar drawdown to its 200-day moving average today would result in a double-digit sell-off.
But when â not if â the broad market plunges into a long overdue correction the ultimate drop will exceed that by many orders of magnitude.
Amazonâs stock has now erupted to $1,000per share, meaning that its market cap is lodged in the financial thermosphere (highest earth atmosphere layer). Its implied PE multiple of 190X can only be described as blatantly absurd.
After all, Amazon is 24 years-old, not a start-up. It hasnât invented anything explosively new like the iPhone or personal computer.
Instead, 91% of its sales involve sourcing, moving, storing and delivering goods. Thatâs a sector of the economy that has grown by just 2.2% annually in nominal dollars for the last decade, and for which there is no macroeconomic basis for an acceleration.
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Yes, AMZN is taking share by leaps and bounds. But thatâs inherently a one-time gain that canât be capitalized in perpetuity at 190X.
And itâs a source of âgrowthâ that is generating its own pushback as the stronger elements of the brick and mortar world belatedly pile on the e-commerce bandwagon.
Wal-Martâs e-commerce sales, for example, have exploded after its purchase of Jet.com last year â with sales rising by 63% in the most recent quarter.
Moreover, Wal-Mart has finally figured out the free shipments game and has upped its e-commerce offering from 10 million to 50 million items just in the past year. Wal-Mart is also tapping for e-commerce fulfillment duty in its vast logistics system â including its 147 distribution centers, a fleet of 6,200 trucks and a global sourcing system which is second to none.
In this context, even AMZNâs year-over-year sales growth of 22.6% in Q1 2017 doesnât remotely validate the companyâs bubblicious valuation â especially not when AMZNâs already razor thin profit margins are weakening, not expanding.
Based on these basic realities, Jeff Bezos will never make up with volume what he is losing in margin on each and every shipment.
The Amazon business model is fatally flawed. Itâs only a matter of the precise catalyst that will trigger the realization in the casino that this is another case of the proverbial naked emperor.
Needless to say, I do not think AMZN is a freakish outlier. Itâs actually the lens through which the entire stock market should be viewed because the whole enchilada is now in the grips of a pure mania. Stated differently, the stock market is no longer a discounting mechanism nor even a weighing machine. Itâs become a pure gambling hall.
So Bezosâ e-commerce business strategy is that of a madman â one made mad by the fantastically false price signals emanating from a casino that has become utterly unhinged owing to 30 years of Bubble Finance policies at the Fed and its fellow central banks around the planet. Indeed, the chart below leaves nothing to the imagination.
Since 2012, Amazon stock price has bounded upward in nearly exact lock-step with the massive balance sheet expansion of the worldâs three major central banks.
Image above: Comparison of stock values of G3 Central Banks and Amazon Corp. From original article.
At the end of the day, the egregiously overvalued Amazon is the prime bubble stock of the current cycle. What the Fed has actually unleashed is not the healthy process of creative destruction that Amazonâs fanboys imagine.
Instead, it embodies a rogue business model and reckless sales growth machine that is just one more example of destructive financial engineering, and still another proof that monetary central planning fuels economic decay, not prosperity. Amazonâs stock is also the ultimate case of an utterly unsustainable bubble.
When the selling starts and the vast horde of momentum traders who have inflated it relentlessly in recent months make a bee line for the exits, the March 2000 dotcom crash will seem like a walk in the park. .
Image above: Detail of Bic advertisement celebrating the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Bic lighter. From original article.
Greens often exaggerate in inviting people to save energy and be happier by staying in the dark and eating insects. However, it is also true that sometimes wastefulness goes a few notches higher and becomes truly a scandal. It is the case of the ordinary disposable lighter.
Bic alone produces almost a billion lighters per year and has produced some 20 billions of them in the past 30 years. The whole world production is probably of a few billion per year. A good example of a successful product, but is it a good product?
The disposable lighter is surely practical but also, if you think about it, a very bad deal. It contains some 5 cc of butane, that you pay, typically, more than $1. That means around $200 per liter, or $800/gallon.
You wouldn't be happy to pay that kind of money when you refill the tank of your car. And, being powered by a fossil fuel, butane, every time you light up one you add some CO2 to the atmosphere, some of which will stay there for tens of thousands of years.
Then, the disposable lighter doesn't contain just non-renewable fuel but plastics manufactured from fossil fuels and also polluting. Then, it contains metals such as cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, praeseodymium and more.
These metals are classified as "rare earths;" they are not so rare as the name seems to imply, but they are not so common, either. And the lighter is thrown away after use and it will never be recycled. The rare earths it contains will be lost forever.
Is all that enough to qualify disposable lighters as "the worst product ever marketed"? Well, everything can be questioned, but if you line up the characteristics of a bad product as;
uses rare and non-renewable resources,
is not recycled and not supposed to be recyclable,
is manufactured on a large scale,
it has non-polluting and less expensive alternatives, there are few examples other than lighters for which you can tick all the four boxes.
I can hardly think of anything so wasteful to set something on fire, no matter whether you are a professional arsonist or simply an ordinary smoker.
After all, what was so wrong with using the old matches? Matches contain only recyclable materials: wood, paper, phosphorous, sulfur. I can't see anything that can be done with a lighter that cannot be done with a match, except that a lighter can burn steadily for a longer time.
But if your purpose is to light up a cigarette or a kitchen burner, it makes no difference. And, by all means, there is no way that a lighter would cost less than a match, at least if manufactured on a comparable scale.
So, disposable lighters are all an example of how a combination of financial factors and government regulations can push a bad product to dominate the market. It is, after all, what has happened with fossil fuels, still gathering large government subsidies, despite the damage they are doing to all of us.
In the case of lighter vs. matches, the playing field has been made unfavorable to matches from the beginning, because they have been traditionally taxed by governments (also lighters, in some cases, but not always).
Add to that the rapid expansion of the cigarette market during the past decades, with some six billion cigarettes sold worldwide every year, and growing, some large companies saw their chance.
They engaged in the large scale manufacturing of lighters and they crushed the match manufacturers, mainly small companies that couldn't match (indeed!) the financial power of large corporations.
The advertising power, too, played a big role, with the appeal of colored and fashionable items that could also be collected. And it was world domination for the disposable lighter.
Could we reverse this demonic trend? Maybe there are signs of an inversion of the tendency and, not long ago, I saw again courtesy matchboxes appearing in an Italian Hotel.
Maybe it was because finally (in 2015) the Italian government decided to abolish the tax on matches, a good idea that, unfortunately, arrived at least 50 years too late (the French Government did that in 1999).
Whatever the case, it is high time that someone realizes that some ideas, such as disposable lighters, are evil to the bone. And that the mythical "free market" cannot turn evil into good.
They are a solid state alternative to propane lighters in the same way as photovoltaic energy is a solid state alternative to fossil energy. In the picture, you see one of these super hi-tech lighters in the hands of my daughter, Donata.
Image above: Donata Bardi holds solid state spark lighter. From original article.
So, eventually, we learn what's the good way to do things. Too bad that it is almost always too late.
I'll only be 53 on my next birthday in late July, yet it already seems like I've lived a tiring amount of history. Only 20 years ago, the world saw the meltdown of Soviet-style communism -- and many observers, largely neo-conservatives, interpreted that as an ideological culmination, "the end of history." There was even an influential book written with that title. (Does anyone remember that author now? And, does he want to remember that book? Yeah, I know -- Francis Fukuyama.)
It appears that reversals of fortune can happen quickly. Now it looks like the allegedly venerable ideology of "free-market" capitalism is on the ropes, and in serious danger of going down. Who would have thought it?
Die-hard Marxists did. I've never been one of them, even as a long-ago radical all of 23 years old. I still know three people who have continued to call themselves Marxists in total defiance of dismissal or ridicule, and they are probably gloating a lot now. The economic train wreck they kept dogmatically predicting finally seems to be in front of us.
But even as America sleepwalked through our Second Gilded Age (circa 1981-2005), I grew skeptical of the Marxist vision. "Historical inevitability" always sounded like a religious tenet, without the pure superstition; and Marxism itself, a sort of quasi-religion for embittered atheists.
We should be as cautious about awarding hard-line socialists a victory here, as much as "we" (in the editorial sense) should have checked for our wallets the minute Reagan started talking about trickle-down and Phil Gramm started talking about deregulation. The past century should have taught us that the answer lies in between.
Starting with the excesses of laissez-faire: America has, for the past 30-ish years, seen the roller-coaster ride that happens with that sort of economic policy. An elite grows very rich, a minority near the bottom slips much further down, and most people tend to stagnate in the middle.
There are cycles of boom and bust. The booms are good for most people, but especially good for a few. The latter group inevitably forms a "Why Should I Have To Pay Taxes?" lobby and gets bonanzas from lawmakers eager to please. And since these are the people of ostentation and material success, their influence is great among fashionable "thinkers" of the day.
Now the big bust is upon us. It's a bit like 1933 all over again -- not as grim or total in devastation, but it's likely to get worse. President Barack Obama has warned us that this is so.
But history, with its entire lesson, should be heeded, and it seems like Obama is one who will do so.
There were very good reasons for the meltdown of the Soviet empire 20 years ago. Contrary to right-wing mythology, Reagan and his military buildup had little to do with it. Post-Soviet Russian economists recall the problems as internal, and any intellectually honest person knew what they were. There's no need for me to recite the litany here -- Americans heard it all for decades.
But, let's face it, die-hard socialists out there -- state-run enterprises have a poor track record. The employees seem to lack incentives to produce. Cooperatives tend to degenerate into personal conflict, power struggles and chaos. And as for the concentration of power in the hands of "vanguard revolutionaries" -- the horrors and enormities of that have been abundant just in the past century.
I don't think it's hard to argue for a sense of balance and measure. In America, it seems like the compromising wheeler-dealers -- the FDRs, the Trumans, the LBJs, the Ted Kennedys -- got more done for working Americans than any of our homegrown radicals ever did.
But there is little doubt that there's been a sea change, and it's been back toward socialist thinking. The Nobel Prize committees have not been known for their sympathy toward socialist-leaning economists, yet Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has more or less come out in favor of the nationalization of U.S. banks. That would be a major step toward socialism of some fashion. Why not? We've just given the bastards $700 billion in taxpayer money to keep them in business. Here's a link to the interview with Stiglitz.
And, it appears that such state power would be the only thing to force the shameless swine who run these enterprises to behave themselves. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., made a speech on the Senate floor about the Wall Street oinkers who had themselves awarded $18.4 billion in bonuses while their enterprises got in on the aforementioned $700 billion, because of reckless and disastrous mismanagement. Here's another link to reports on this issue, and to a video of McCaskill's speech. Be patient, the video seems very rough.
So, what should be the ultimate American destination, in an era of "capitalist" meltdown? The Swedes, with a hybrid socialist-capitalist system, don't seem to do badly, with avowed Socialists predominantly in power since 1929. Their booms are smaller, but so are their busts. Their people don't live in fear of homelessness or inability to afford basic health care. Right-wing humorist P.J. O'Rourke, when asked about the Swedes' seeming happiness with their stable system, said that they are all insane -- but that their insanity is distributed equally among the people.
It's a funny line. But there's nothing funny about facing a mortgage foreclosure, or about the welfare rolls shrinking even as joblessness is rapidly expanding. With a growing U.S. underclass, it may be time to take a second look at the socialist mind-set -- despite the old Marxist baggage. Nobody requires us to go to extremes.
There is so much fog and uncertainty -- much of it intentionally injected into the debate -- about the different moving parts of the Stimulus Bill. But some of the broad outlines are arresting and straightforward.
We're hearing all this talk about the staggering size of the bill. And it is a staggering amount of money. But according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the amount of demand that the financial crisis is pulling out the economy is likely to be between $1.1 and $1.2 trillion this year (and that is not a controversial estimate). The Stimulus Bill (which, remember, is $800+ billion over two years) would try to compensate for that drop off with about $400 billion of spending and tax cuts. How efficiently the money is spent, how quickly and so forth -- all very good questions. But judged in these terms you start to see how the real question is whether any bill of that size is enough. David Kurtz and Baker discuss the issue in today's episode of TPMtv.
We have infrastructure spending in the Democrats' proposed stimulus package that, while admirable, is far too meager to have much of an impact on the nation's overall infrastructure requirements or the demand for the creation of jobs.
The big danger is that some variation of the currently proposed stimulus package will pass, another enormous bailout for the bankers will be authorized, and then the trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits will make their appearance, looming like unholy monsters over everything else, and Washington will suddenly lose its nerve.
The mantra (I can hear it now) will be that we can't afford to spend any more money on the infrastructure, or on a big health care initiative, or any of the nation's other crying needs. Suddenly fiscal discipline will be the order of the day and the people who are suffering now will suffer more, and the nation's long-term prospects will be further damaged as its long-term needs continue to be neglected.
We no longer seem to learn much from history. Time and again an economic boom has followed a period of sustained infrastructure investment. Think of the building of the Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Think of the rural electrification program, the interstate highway system, the creation of the Internet.
We're suffering now from both a failure of will and of imagination. I remember the financier Felix Rohatyn telling me, "A modern economy needs a modern platform, and that's the infrastructure."
History tells us the same thing.
And if you're still not persuaded, consider this: Mitch McConnell would give his left nut to kill the stimulus. What more reason do you need to support it?
The Congressional Progressive Caucus just released a memo that offers a worthy counterpoint to our discussions today about the Republicans' baldly misleading message on the stimulus.
The Progressives have rounded up elements of their proposed $1 trillion stimulus that ended up making it into the Democratic leaders' final bill, in part or in whole. It's a list that's worth remembering while tax cuts seemingly dominate the airwaves.
The highlights of the memo are after the jump: â¢ Unemployment benefits (UI) extension. Cost = at least $12.7 billion
â¢ Anti-hunger provisions
* SNAP - 20% temporary increase in maximum food stamp level above the FY2009 level for two years. Cost = approximately $24 billion and increase in funds for state food stamp administrative costs Cost= $250 million;
* WIC - increase funding to make up for shortfall not covered in the current Continuing Resolution. Cost = $450 million and increases for management information system and related infrastructure improvements. Cost = $50 million;
* School meals - provide a 15% increase in funding for breakfast and school lunch programs. Cost = $1 billion;
â¢ Medicaid payments to states (FMAP). Cost = at least $15 billion
â¢ LIHEAP assistance to provide low-income Americans relief from higher energy costs. Cost = at least $5 billion
â¢ Job creation via down payment on rebuilding America's infrastructure and schools, starting with massive investment in commercialization of green technologies and related job training that promote environmental protection and energy independence. Cost = at least $100 billion
** In general:
â¢ No funds for Iraq or Afghanistan wars and no funds for defense procurement.
â¢ Prevailing wage to be paid for jobs created and upholding of Davis-Bacon Act
These are, of course, just a downpayment on the long list of repairs to the New Deal and Great Society needed after three decades of repug destruction.
But if these provisions remain in the final bill and President Obama signs it by Darwin Day, then I'd say we're well on our way to recovery.
One the most important principles of economics is âtrade-offs.â That is, that using resources for one thing means that they cannot be used for something else. When you drop $100 on a family trip to the Calgary Zoo, you do not have $100 to spend on groceries or to sack away into the car-replacement fund.
Letâs start with federal income tax: in 2011 â the most recent year the Canada Revenue Agency has provided stats for â Albertans paid $18.4 billion, while B.C. residents paid $13.7 billion. Quebecers: $21.7 billion. Thatâs $4,511 for every Albertan, $2,980 for every B.C. resident and $2,658 for every Quebecer.
Using the updated numbers from the 3rd Quarter Fiscal Update, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) projects that the Redford government is on track to post a $3.5 billion deficit this fiscal year, bringing Albertaâs debt up to $8.7 billion.
Faceboook turned 10 this week and has essentially changed the way more than a billion people connect with each other via the Internet. But what's to be done when one of those people is an employee who is sharing harmful workplace information?
The $17 billion rainy-day Sustainability Fund is virtually depleted, and the province is on track to finish the fiscal year with an $8.7 billion debt. In fact, Alberta is projected to take on an additional $4 billion in debt, every year. By the time the next election rolls around, Alberta will be a full $17 billion in the hole.
On New Yearâs Eve, billions of people made billions of Champagne-fueled promises to themselves for self-improvement in 2014. Here is some unsolicited advice for what Premier Alison Redford should consider for her belated New Years resolution.
Recently, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released a 39-page report titled, Responsibly Rebuilding Alberta. The report estimates that Albertaâs current deficit will spike from $5.1 billion to approximately $8.1 billion as a result of the flood.
With the floodwaters receding and families picking through the ruins of their homes, Albertaâs government has pledged at least $1 billion in disaster relief. It will come as a surprise to everyone if the final bill isnât a lot higher than that.
Canadaâs auto finance market is worth $120Billion annually.That means there are a lot of us that, for one reason or another, cannot afford to pay cash for a car purchase.Cost of living being what it is, it can be quite difficult to save up $30,000+ required to buy a new car outright.For a good late model used vehicle it can be the same story, with a total cost in excess of $20,000.Not many of us have that kind of cake just lying around and if we did, we probably would find better things to invest it in other than a new car (or at least I hope we would).
That puts many of us in a position where we need to borrow money to purchase a car and then pay that money back over a predetermined term.Breaking up the cost this way over time can make a car purchase more affordable since you only pay a small percentage of the overall price on a monthly basis (or whatever your payment frequency is).
There are some pitfalls to this though â the major one being negative equity.Also known as being upside down or underwater, negative equity is when your car is worth less than the remaining balance of your loan.If you have financed a new car in the last three to five years, chances are you owe more on the car than what you can expect to sell it for.Cars depreciate fast, and unless you applied a hefty down payment to your purchase, youâre going to experience some negative equity.And generally speaking, the longer the term of the loan (regardless of the interest rate), the more upside down on the vehicle you can expect to be.
This really isnât too big a deal if you plan on keeping a car for a very long time, especially beyond the term of the loan.By the time you go to sell the car (or scrap it), you wonât owe more than what itâs worth.At the very least, you can break even.However, if something comes up and you need to get rid of the car, it may be too cost prohibitive to make sense.
For instance, when I went back to school I was unable to apply for a Government sponsored student loan (and was therefore ineligible for a number of bursaries and scholarships) because I was deemed to have too many assets that I could potentially sell to finance my education.One of those âassetsâ was my car (another one was my house, but the thought of selling a house to become eligible for student debt is so ludicrous that Iâm not even going to go into it here).However, because I had only purchased the car a year ago, even if I had sold the vehicle for top dollar to the biggest sucker on the planet I still would have owed thousands to my lender.And this was at a 0% APR.Therefore, I calculated that even if I got the loan AND some of the bursaries I would have been eligible for because I was able to secure a loan, I likely wasnât going to recoup the costs of selling the car â let alone have any money left over to apply towards school.
Yeah, some asset that is.Thanks, OSAP.
So whatâs my point?Well, there is an alternative to going into debt for a new or late model used vehicle but itâs not for the faint of heart: buy an old car for cash.
There are tons of decent vehicles out there that are perfectly serviceable and will get the job done for a wide range of driving needs.Plus you can get them for less than the cost of a new sofa set.
Iâm referring to your late 1990s to early 2000s grandparent mobiles that can be picked up for a song and still have lots of life left in them.They have names like Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Mercury are often big, well maintained and beige.And, if you play your cards right, they will be the best financial decision you ever made.
Generally speaking, the cost of ownership is very low on these vehicles.Chances are you can buy it for less than $3000, your insurance costs will drop significantly and the parts will be cheap and plentiful.Over the course of a couple of years, if you add up the costs of new car ownership vs Grandmaâs beater ownership, you will likely find yourself ahead a few grand.
What if the car breaks down?So what? Every car breaks eventually.And letâs say youâve driven your newer car out of warranty.Youâll be on the hook for any repairs that car needs anyway, plus you may still have payments on top that.Youâll be stuck in a situation where you have to pay potentially thousands of dollars because youâll be so financially committed to the vehicle that you really have no other option.In a worst case scenario with a cheap car â i.e. the repair is way more than what your car is worth â you can just sell the car on to the next person and pocket a few hundred dollars.Best case scenario, you can get the parts cheap and do the work yourself.
What about maintenance costs?All cars need tires, brakes, hoses, spark plugs, fluids, suspension components and filters to keep them running happy and safely.Sure youâre older car will likely be at the stage in its life where it will be due for new examples of many of these components.Granted, this will cost more money on top of what you already paid for the car.It may even get you to that point where what you have into the car is more than what it is worth.However, remember that your financed vehicle will need many of these components replaced at some point as well.Will you still be dolling out regular payments when these maintenance items become due?Probably.Will you owe more on your car than what itâs worth AND have to pay more money to maintain it?Likely.
When you total it all up, would you rather be spending $1200 a year on maintaining and fixing a car you owe nothing on or paying $1200 a year on maintaining and fixing a car your spending thousands of dollars a year to repay?What are you out at the end of the year?What are you out after 5 years (or even as much as eight or nine years depending on the term of your loan)?Even if you have to go through a couple old cars in the same time you would have paid for a new car, you will still be further ahead in terms of money saved.
There is a downside to this though.You do need to have enough knowledge of the mechanical aspects of cars in order to be able to pick out the gems from the crud.It also helps if you are mechanically inclined enough to do as much work yourself as possible.This is time consuming and can be stressful if your car needs a repair and you need to be somewhere the next day.Therefore, this strategy is admittedly not the best idea for folks who commute to work every day and need to have the most reliable transportation possible.Statistically speaking, like any machine, new cars are generally more reliable than older cars.
Also, if you absolutely need to have the latest tech and gadgets you may never be satisfied driving an older car.Furthermore, newer cars are usually more fuel efficient and produce fewer emissions than older cars.So if youâre environmentally inclined, you will probably have some ethical concerns about driving an older car â then again, maybe the fact that youâre reusing an older car makes sense on that front given the resources required to produce a new car?Maybe you just like that new car smell?
There may be many reasons why an older car doesnât work for you.At the end of the day, you need to make the right decision for yourself.If you can swing it though, the financial rewards can considerable.
Finally, here are some tips Iâve used/wish I had used when checking out an older used car (or any car for that matter):
1.Low mileage isnât always an indicator of low cost.Lack of use can be just as bad as over use, especially for things like gaskets, electrical components and hoses.I bought a low mileage car that been sitting for a while and had to put more money in repairs than what I paid for it within the first 10 months.While this meant I got on good terms with the local mechanic, I really could have saved a ton of cash if I had just purchased something that had regular use and a little higher mileage.Personally, I aim for something in the 5,000 â 10,000 km a year range (about 3k-6k miles).Not over used and not neglected.And food for thought â how many miles do you think a poorly maintained car will last for?Itâs a good bet that high mileage car in clean condition has been well loved and properly maintained.
2.Be thorough in your inspection.Check the frame/sub frame, body panels, floors, trunk, doors and all seams for rust and rot.These may be obvious holes or subtle paint differences.Also, make sure the all of the body panels line up and have consistent gaps. If these things donât check out, it could be an indication that the car was in a collision at some point in its history.While this isnât necessarily the end of the world, you should be aware of it.
3.Check the brake and fuel lines.Replacing these could be big bucks, so make sure they are in good shape.
4.Make sure the tires are in good condition/match.Tires can be expensive to replace.If the car is otherwise perfect, a new set of tires is not going to break the bank.However, if there are other repairs required, the costs can add up.
5.Check to see all of the features of the car work (heat, AC, cruise, lights, etc.).
6.If the car has a scan port, bring a scanner with you to see if there are any MIL codes or if the test cycle is incomplete (which would indicate a code has recently been cleared).Again, depending on the code, not the end of the world, but all good things to know when buying.
7.Take the car for a drive.Make sure it runs well, there are no weird noises or fun colours of smoke coming out of the tail pipe (or other areas).Make sure the exhaust isnât blowing out of a hole somewhere in the system (especially the catalytic convertersâ¦ pipes and mufflers are cheap to replace, exhaust manifolds and cats are not).Make sure the car shifts smoothly.Make sure the brakes stop the car.Make sure the steering wheel steers the car.Keep an ear out for bumps and clunks in the suspension and differentials.
8.When driving the car do some hard acceleration and braking tests.See if there are any problems with the engine bogging down, the transmission responding to throttle input, dead spots in the power band, etc.Make sure the brakes donât fade quickly, that the ABS works (if so equipped), peddle feel is good, etc.
9.Do some steering tests to make sure the suspension and steering components are in good order.Go to an open parking lot or something and do some full lock turns both left and right.Then do some figure eights.Listen and feel for clunks, shudders and other anomalies.This could indicate that some suspension components are worn or broken and need replacing.
10.Research the car beforehand.In the age of the internet, thereâs no reason why you canât know pretty much everything there is to know about almost any car.Between online databases, YouTube videos, forums and consumer reviews, there is probably more information online about the car youâre interested in than you can ever read.Pay particular attention to the carâs trouble spots, how to do common repairs/maintenance and the cost/availability of parts.
While this isnât an exhaustive list it will certainly give you an idea of what to look for.And if at all possible, bring the car to a trusted mechanic to give it the once over.Theyâll be able to effectively advise you on the carâs overall condition, and likely for less than $100 (or the cost of a tow).Good piece of mind, I say.
To sum up:
1.New and late model used car loans can be financially debilitating.
2.Paying cash for an older car in good condition can save you thousands of dollars every year.
3.Do what makes sense for your situation.
4.Inspect and research any potential vehicle purchase.
Iridium CommunicationsÂ plans to launch the third batch of 10Â Iridium NEXTÂ satellites on Sept. 30 aboardÂ aÂ SpaceX-builtÂ Falcon 9Â rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The scheduled launch would bring the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space to 30 as part of a potential $3 billionÂ program to replace an existing constellation with 75 new communications satellites […]
Tesla unveiled its much ballyhooed Model 3 to an invite only crowd and via live stream this past Thursday.Looks like it will be a winner because as much as I want to hate it, I really want to drive one.And thatâs right, I said ballyhooed!
The unveiling started out like any other with Teslaâs CEO, uber-techy Elon Musk, being introduced by the carâs design boss Franz von Holzhausen (who has the dual distinction of not only being the lead designer on what could be one of the most ground breaking vehicles in history AND the owner of perhaps the most German sounding name EVER).Musk stalled the big reveal by discussing how weâre killing the planet and poisoning ourselves with exhaust fumes.He also reviewed his master plan for shifting the paradigm of sustainable personal transportation â and how their new big factory will be making a lot of batteries.Seriously, like, all the batteries.
But letâs take a moment to look at Muskâs presentation style.Itâs relatively unpolished and full of little self-deprecating jabs at the companyâs history of production issues.This must make him pretty approachable because the audience felt free to yell stuff at him fairly frequently.It all helps cement Muskâs public persona as a young, plucky, success-by-the-skin-of-his-teeth type that contrasts against the publicâs idea of what automotive executives are like at those other car companies.However, he is 44 now and it does seem somewhat man-childish.But he also has a net worth of over $13 Billion, so what the hell do I know?
He also went over the minimum specs:
0-60 in under 6 seconds.
Seating for 5 adults.
A trunk and a frunk offering more storage capacity than any other four door sedan.
215 mile range per charge.
Supercharging capabilities (for the battery, not for the motor).
5-Star safety rating in all categories.
Sounds good to me.Also, keep in mind that the batteries in these things sit on the bottom of the car, essentially making up its floor, so its centre of gravity is lower than 700lb dwarf and more evenly distributed than the soul deadening sorrow experienced by a Burger King night shift crew.So yes, it will likely out handle your C-Class, 3 Series or A4.Soundly.
Now letâs finally get to the car!The reveal happened just like any other new car debut, thumping beats, flashing lights, a vague but captivating intro video and three examples rolling onstage to thunderous applause.Overall, I would say it has the looks to back up its impressive specs.
It has a nice compact exterior somewhat reminiscent of the Mazda 3.It sports some serious multi-spoke wheels shod with low profile tires that wouldnât look out of place on a BMWâ¦ or the afore mentioned Mazda.In fact, may I be so bold as to say the new Model 3 could pass as a slightly less swoopy sibling to the Mazda 3?
Is it also a coincidence that both cars have essentially the same name??
Mazda 3 = Model 3
Now take away the words starting with âMâ.
3 = 3
And now a side by side, paying particular attention to where the C-Pillar meets the quarter panel:
Also, while reading about this car it was pointed out by at least one observant automotive commentator that the trunk probably should have been designed as a hatch instead of a notch.Why boast about segment leading storage capacity and then limit access to it with a tiny opening?!!?Why!?!?It would be like boasting how the plumbing system you designed can flush a whole watermelon but then throwing a standard sized toilet on it.Sure it can accommodate the problems associated with a binge night of double cheese pizza and all you can eat Indian buffet, but only in theory.
Another thing.What the hell happened to this things face?Tesla, you forgot the grill.I know itâs an electric car and it doesnât NEED one.But the car is designed like itâs supposed to have one and they just didnât put it on.Like they got to that point in the design, took a break and when they came back they all got sidetracked and moved on to something else.Itâs the most off-putting thing Iâve ever seen on an otherwise acceptably attractive vehicle.
Thatâs right, off-putting.For example:
Or even more disturbingly:
See what I mean? Ken doll syndrome.
Ok, so I know it wonât have any effect on people buying it.Hell, they already have almost a quarter million orders for the thing.But why was it saddled with this loose end??The prototype designs that hit the internet all had grills.The Model S has a grill, right?So what the frack?!
To be honest Iâm only acting harsh to this thing because itâs so awesome.If I had $35K to spend on a car, I would likely get this one.But I donât, so Iâm going to complain about it so I feel better.
But damn if that beak isnât freaky. So like a 24 hour marinated T-Bone, I would say this car needs to be grilled up STAT.
So Iâve been quite the lazy blogger.Iâm hoping I can turn this around soon, but Iâve been pretty busy with a million things going on... also Iâve become addicted to the Panther Forum Iâve joined (grandmarq.net).Iâve had a good time meeting a bunch of folks online who share my (newly developed) obsession with full-sized 1980âs Fords. For a primer as to why this has happened, check out my last post. However, my car world still extends beyond 30 year old blue ovals.Letâs see whatâs caught my eye today...
You may be saying to yourself, âSean, how can I get in on this cheap vintage car craze?âWell, there are lots of cheap old goodies listed online.Jalopnik recently posted a list of stuff thatâs been put on ebay forunder $10,000.Of course, for me thatâs a huge budget, but thatâs not big money for getting into the old car game.Iâm thinking my favourite of the list is the Saab Sonnett.Not the greatest sports car ever, but itâs certainly a classic that you donât see every day!
Good news for Lincoln!Apparently Fordâs investing $5 Billion over the next few years intoimproving the brand.Personally, I think this is great.For too long Lincoln has been putting out rebadged Fords.While they typically look prettier than their blue oval cousins, Iâve had a hard time reconciling the thought of paying huge premium for a tarted up Ford.The big news is a new platform that will hopefully result in a rear-wheel-drive sedan!This will position Lincoln to compete more directly with other premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, and historical rival Cadillac.
Speaking of rear-wheel-drive, Iâm a big fan of pony cars.The Chevrolet Camaro is certainly a great example of the breed.And all great pony cars deserve a high powered halo example to lead the charge into the dreams of the car buying public.The ZL1 is the high ranking Camaro that happily takes this on this task, motivated by a 580hp 6.2L V8.If youâre like me, youâll probably never get the chance to drive one.Check out these editor notes from Autoweek for some great impressions onhow this car drives.Not anywhere close to as good as actually driving the car, but at least it will provide some fuel to fire up your imagination the next time you play make believe behind the wheel of your daily driver. Vroom-vroom!!
In other news, back on the home front weâve been tempted lately by Silverados.Our neighbours recently acquired one and my uncle did too shortly after that.They both went with 5.3L 4x4âs, black on black.They are pretty sharp.I know I wanted to stay away from pick-ups, but lately Iâve missed having a vehicle with some utility.And towing capacity.Hereâs a TFL review of the big threeâsfull-sized truck offerings... well more of a 0-60 competition rather than a review.But itâs 0-60 towing 5,000lbs!I canât think of a better piece of info than who has the best hustle under load (well, I can, but this is still good to know... and fun)!
Bookended by two charts â one showing the recent drop in natural gas prices and the other provincial revenues from natural gas â Finance Minister Iris Evans delivered the bad news to Albertans: the provinceâs debt is now pegged at $6.9 billion.
Sometimes it's good just to go over what's happening in the automotive world. Today's post is a bunch of links to some interesting stuff going on right now. So, without further ado... The first thing I think we should take a look at is Alex Dyke's detailed write up on ZF's 9 speed automatic transmission. Yeah, that's right, 9 speeds. It sort of boggles my mind when I think that my Buick and my Pontiac only have 4. This ZF unit has over twice as many forward gears! What could they possibly need with so many?!
Well, it all comes down to fuel economy and making efficient use of the engine's power. But, please, don't let me bore you with the details. This article will do that nicely without any further input from me.
I think right now all it's in currently is the Jeep Cherokee and the upcoming 2015 Chrysler 200, but I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of our 9 cog friend.
Jalopnik featured a good comparison piece on the new Volvo V60 wagon vs the XC60 Crossover. They make a compelling argument for the V60... unless space is the ultimate deciding factor in your vehicle needs. Then you may find the Volvo wagons a little snug, despite its other inherent benefits. However, if you're looking for a fun premium vehicle with good utility and decent fuel economy, the V60 is a really solid contender.
And this popped up in the ridiculous files. The Dubai police have taken delivery of a Veyron police car. Apparently they have a whole slew of supercars in their fleet. But it makes sense if you think about it. All those billionaires tootling about in their exotic sports cars will at some point (probably every 5 minutes) make a traffic violation. Now imagine being the poor schmuck who has to chase him down in a crappy impala! Now, the police should be able to run down any perpetrator regardless of their awesome wheels.
And just so everyone knows, Subaru as debuted a redesigned Legacy at the Chicago Auto Show. There's new interior and exterior styling and now both motors come solely paired with a CVT. This has boosted the vehicles fuel economy numbers (hopefully not at the expense of performance). I personally think the car looks great. Even though I'm a fan of the current model, this one looks like a big improvement in terms of refinement and style. I can't wait to try one out.
It's no secret the Alberta government literally lost billions of taxpayers' dollars in the 1980s and 90s through loans and loan guarantees to private companies. Thankfully, during the Klein revolution of the mid-1990s these corporate welfare programs were ended. Unfortunately, a few recent moves by the current Alberta government have raised the spectre of a return to these corporate welfare days.
Putting aside the merits - or lack thereof - of carbon-capture technology and public transit, the provincial government's recent commitment to spend $4-billion on these projects signals an important reversal of government policy and the return to ad hoc spending.
The Stelmach government has numerous times touted their policy for unanticipated surpluses: one-third to new infrastructure, one-third to infrastructure renewal and maintenance, and one-third to savings.
Being that most Albertans are engrossed with the provincial election (ok, maybe 'engrossed' is a bit of an overstatement) it should be no surprise the Alberta government's third quarter financial snapshot was released recently to little fanfare or attention. The recent announcement of yet another large surplus ($4.2-billion) likely didn't even raise an eyebrow, considering we haven't had a deficit budget since 1993-94 in Alberta.
German carmakers and politicians are meeting in Berlin at an "emergency diesel summit" this week to try to shore up eroding market share amid concerns over pollution in Europe's major cities. They also hope to put to rest a major scandal over the manipulation of emissions testing data. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that the two sides are expected on Wednesday to agree to lower emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in Germany's 15 million diesel vehicles. Soraya says that in the lead-up to the summit, manufacturers and the German government haggled over reducing emissions by improving auto software, something that would cost several hundred million euros. Alternately, hardware fixes would be far more expensive â estimated at around 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion). In either case, much of the cost would be absorbed by the companies. Germany is Europe's leading car manufacturer, and Volkswagen â the company at the heart of the faked emissions testing data â is among the world's
Since Stephen Harper and the Conservatives took office in January 2006 taxpayers have no doubt noticed some changes on the taxes paid to Ottawa. Most noticeably, and welcomed, was the reduction in the GST from 7 percent to 6 percent, to now 5 percent. This tax reduction will put $10-billion back into the pockets of Canadians each year.
10. This protection of Canadian rights and diversity did not emerge overnight. Back in 1971, the elder Trudeau declared the new Canadian multiculturalism policy.
11. Four years earlier, in 1967, Pierre Trudeau uttered these famous words: âThere's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,â when he decriminalized homosexuality in sweeping changes to the criminal code.
12. It took Canada until 2005 to legalize same-sex marriage, being the first nation outside of Europe and fourth in the world to do so.
13. However, while things were eventful under Pierre Trudeau they were also turbulent. He suspended civil liberties during the âOctober Crisisâ in 1970, when he invoked the âWar Measures Actâ after a provincial cabinet minister was kidnapped by separatist militants.
14. He also enacted the National Energy Program in the 1980s which effectively federalized revenues from energy resources in Alberta, creating long-term hostility towards the federal Liberal Party in the years to come in Western Canada.
15. Trudeau was also an antagonist to separatist ambitions in Quebec, delivering two fiery speeches, one in 1980, and another in 1995 to thwart referendums for independence.
16. All in all, the elder Trudeau served for 15 years but he wasnât the longest serving Prime Minister. That would be William Lyon Mackenzie King, who served for 21 years.
17. In second place was the founding Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, who served for 18 years â and who also had a bit of a drinking problem.
18. When Canada was founded in 1867, there were only four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
19. In fact it was not until 1949 that the last province, Newfoundland joined Canada, and that was only after a barely won referendum.
20. Canada also has three Territories: the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavat, the latter being formed in 1999.
21. The country is extremely âbigâ, the second largest in the world with over 2 million lakes, among other things.
23. This may be one of the reasons why the U.S.-Canada economic relationship is the largest in the world, estimated to total US$630 billion in 2016 alone.
24. Close to 30,000 trucks cross the border every single day between the two countries.
25. While things are rosy today, it wasnât always so. During the War of 1812, the Canadas, as the British colonies were known then, went to battle with the U.S., ultimately burning down the White House on August 24, 1814.
26. War was quite frequent back then due to competing French, British, and American ambitions. After fierce fighting, the 1763 Treaty of Paris essentially gave the British control over much of French Canadian land.
27. In addition, one cannot forget that much of Canadian land belonged to the First Nations, who have been marginalized, ostracizied, occupied and colonized throughout much of Canadian history.
28. During Canadaâs first years, a group of people called the Metis who were ethnically mixed between First nations and European descent, rose up in rebellion, ultimately establishing a short-lived provisional government in 1870.
29. The leader of that rebellion Louis Riel was ultimately ranked as the 11th Greatest Canadian.
30. That battle was only one of many for the acknowledgement of the rights of First Nations. One of the worst stains on Canadian history was the residential school system that at one point put a third of all First Nations children under the care of the state.
31. Thousands of students died, and many more were subject to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
32. While today, people acknowledge some of these aspects of history, the fight is not over. One of the scandals that was a campaign issue for Justin Trudeau, was the plight of up to 4,000 missing or murdered aboriginal women.
Have you ever made a wish that's come true -- because you made the wish? Until now, making a wish, whether at the sight of a shooting star or when blowing out the candle(s) on your birthday cake or when breaking a wishbone, has not yet been scientifically proven to actually work, as far as I know. Yet, in the spirit of hope, I am making 10 wishes at the beginning of the New Year. And as is always the case, as a Muslim, I speak on behalf of 1.5 billion people. So here goes...
1. People no longer confuse me with ISIS.
My name isn't ISIS. It's not even Islamic State. In fact, the words Islamic or State are not actually in my extended name. Nevertheless, time and time again, I keep getting requests to respond to the group's actions. I swear, ISIS or ISIL or IS -- none of them are in my family tree; they're not some distant cousins of mine. In 2016, I just want people to stop confusing me with ISIS. I really don't know what ISIS is thinking and why they do what they do. It's not like the State Department is asked for comment because of the State-to-State connection. As a postscript, can ISIS stop using the word Islamic?
2. Muslims stop killing Muslims for being Muslim. Somewhere, along the way over the last couple of decades, Muslims started killing other Muslims for being Muslim in the wrong way, or at least took it to a whole new level. There's a whole ideology out there built around takfir or essentially "declaring Muslims as kufar or unbelievers" for failing an evermore peculiar litmus test. Imagine if death squads emerged killing Black people for not being Black enough. Originating in some of the philosophical exhortations by scholar Ibn Taymiyyah 700 years ago, the criteria by which you are deemed "takfir-ed" and permissible to be killed has reached insane if not idiosyncratic levels. It would be funny if the situation weren't so deadly. Even barbers were caught in the crosshairs and were being assassinated in Baghdad in the 2000s.
3. Death and destruction in the Muslim world have a timeout. From Yemen to Iraq, Libya to Somalia, and from Afghanistan to far beyond, civil strife is rife in too many parts of what is defined as the Muslim world. Autocrats, militants, extremists and terrorists, don't care who they kill: men, women, children -- everyone is fair game. I wish this would stop. Into this toxic mix, the last thing needed is more killing coming into these countries from the outside; the 2003 invasion of Iraq proved that. I wonder if Russia will hear that message?
4. We all get comfortable with the "other." What a difference it was in 2015 between Trudeau and Trump in the North American political cycle. The world needs more Trudeaus and less Trumps (Donalds that is). The fear of the "other" is starting to define Western politics and it is not just about Trump. The rise of right-wing political parties in Europe from Hungary to Denmark is a poignant reminder of the breadth of this phenomenon. Yet, outside the West this fear of the other also permeates and often dominates. In Turkey, we are seeing a renewed vilification of the Kurdish population. Further afield in Burma, the Rohingyaare cast as outsiders. In Malaysia, Christians are prohibited from using the Arabic word for God. And, in nearby Brunei, Christmas was simply cancelled. In some of the war zones in the Middle East, Christians are on the verge of disappearing. The world would be a lot better off if we weren't so afraid of the bogeyman of the other.
5. The Muslim world deals with its taboos. Speaking of an aversion to the non-orthodox, there's a whole set of taboos that many Muslim countries and societies need to start dealing with. A lot of them relate to sex. Sometimes the Muslim world acts like it has one big case of the cooties. There have been attempts by some to break through these restrictions. Wedad Lootah in the UAE comes to mind. Shereen El Feki's Sex and the Citadel is another. This is not an issue to take lightly, especially in societies where 60-70 percent of youth are under the age of 30. Bombarded by sexualized imagery from modern and digital media, these youth then live, essentially, in an austere second world that is their reality. More importantly and tragically, rape and sexual assault are simply not talked about; child abuse is an even worse curse hidden under the rug. Finally, at some point Muslim countries - and the clerical establishment -- will need to come to terms with the fact that gay Muslims exist.
6. Somewhere, over the rainbow, democracy and Islam go steady. Let's be honest, a lot of people have tried to set up democracy with Islam for a relationship. Sometimes it has been a surprise blind date (e.g. Iraq in 2003). Other times, it was a relationship that grew from blind passion (e.g. the Arab world in 2011). Often, the sparks of love eventually turn into animus and things quickly go south. In the Arab world, Tunisia is carrying - with some fragility -- the banner of democracy. Many Muslim-majority countries that used to be counted as democracies now suffer from authoritarian syndromes (e.g. Turkey, Malaysia, and Bangladesh). In other cases, democracy in its infancy quickly devolved into score settling or majoritarian mafias (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt). Perhaps Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country is our hope that can breathe life into this wish.
7. Averroes comes back in style. Averroes -- or Ibn Rushd -- was a man's man. He schooled his way into Raphael's The School of Athens. The polymath kept alive ancient Greek philosophy, paving the way for much of Europe's modern intellectual movements. Back in the day, in Andalusia, he was a big deal (Biden-style). And, why not? He vociferously argued for the co-existence of secular and religious thought in a posthumous debate with the Abbasid scholar Al Ghazali. Ultimately, Ibn Rushd lost the debate to the detriment of the Muslim world, but his arguments culminated with the work, The Incoherence of Incoherence, which I think would be a great riposte to all ISIS ideologues and their friends. If Ibn Taymiyyah came back, then let's bring Averroes back too.
8. Flying while Muslim is no longer a thing. They say that flying while Muslim is the new driving while Black. I guess if you're a Black Muslim, this really sucks, especially if you drive to the airport for your flight. So my wish maybe can be two-pronged: getting rid of both 'driving while Black' as well as 'flying while Muslim.' What is flying while Muslim? Well, it often starts with a casual stare or two from across the way. A timid approach then ensues: "Excuse me sir." This is normally followed by a more forceful: "Please follow me." It can then get quite aggressive, with clothes falling by the wayside. It normally ends with your belongings in disarray, your belt on backwards, and you fast-walking without turning back in the hope that no one thinks twice about you boarding your flight. Oh, and don't watch the news while on the plane. I hate flying while Muslim.
9. Trump presides over a Muslim beauty contest. Was 2015 the year of Trump? You have to hand it to Trump; he sure knows how to grab the spotlight. Unfortunately, he's used that spotlight to spew increasingly populist venom targeted at Muslims (and others). Maybe, we need to better appeal to Trump's core interest: beauty pageants. There are a few lists circulating online for potential Muslim contestants (for Men: click here | for Women: click here). Yet, I think we should make this a mipsters pageant and turn this whole thing on its head.
10. Peace comes to Syria. This Muslim (me) -- speaking on behalf of 1.5 billion people around the world -- has 10 wishes for 2016 but if only one of them came true it should be this one. No country has been more ravaged in recent memory than Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed as gangsters, terrorists, and dictators fight for supremacy. The surrounding region, instead of trying to promote a solution, has sent in weapons, fighters, and incitement. The world, instead of trying to mediate, has sought to settle old scores. All the while, the people in Syria live in lifeless limbo amidst daily death and destruction. If I had only one wish it would be that the violence in Syria would come to an end.
This wish list is non-exhaustive. I think I may have missed a few...