Monday, July 30, 2012

(Book Review) A New Book "Don't Say I Do! Why Women Should Stay Single" Says Single Women and Unmarried Women Can Benefit More Than Married Women

There are plenty of books in this world you can read, books that can excite, anger, provide insight or give a new perspective on a topic you thought all had been said and done; however, DON'T SAY I DO! Why Women Should Stay Single by Orna Gadish manages to do all of the above at the same time.

DON'T SAY I DO! is a powerful book that challenges the institution of marriage and  its restrictive effect on women, and proposes new forms of relationships, and alternative family settings, with the sole aim of empowering women with choices and opportunities in an age where there are so many.

Author Orna Gadish genius lies in her deconstruction of marriage as a choice among many, not a mandate from god or state that women are consigned to obey. According to Gadish, women can choose to enter various types of relationships and family settings, or actively decide not to. Social expectations for Gadish are a distant second to the freedom of choice of women across the globe.

However, this book is not so much about marriage as about the choices now open to women realizing that their marital status does not have to define or confine them.  Thus, the real achievement of DON'T SAY I DO! Why Women Should Stay Single is not its strong arguments against women limiting their choices with regards to the form of relationships they enter, but the trends in modern culture that make such choices viable.

We live in an age where choice is widespread for women with regards to work and relationships, yet, it looks like the same arcane social expectations are guiding us today. DON'T SAY I DO! serves as a well-argued reminder, that social expectations are what you make of them. A woman can marry, stay unmarried, be in a relationship with a man or not, bear a child, raise a child, adopt a child, and live together or apart from her partner with or without a child, if that is her choice.

Motherhood options are also abundant today to women without marriage. And marriage is definitely not a prerequisite for creating a family nest today. According to Gadish, there is a sea of options for single women, unmarried women, unhappily married women, and divorced women, where marriage need not be perceived as the best choice, but rather as one of the choices for women, for [post]modernity offers no limitations at all.

Despite its suggestive title, DON'T SAY I DO! should not be read as a book against  the institution of marriage or a militant feminist tract, but a heartfelt letter to women suggesting there's more than one road to happiness and success. Therefore, the arguments made in DON'T SAY I DO! are commonsensical in light of the high divorce rates and frequent infidelities in the global age that lead to  question of the necessity and efficacy of matrimony in the face of the modern changes.

With all statistics and facts in place, DON'T SAY I DO! smartly challenges marriage as the first choice for unmarried women today; asking if marriage is really the most  feasible option among many others that may make more sense to a woman's particular situation in regards to her busy lifestyle, career, motherhood, friendships, and family needs.

In sum, DON'T SAY I DO! Why Women Should Stay Single is a well  written and well-argued book, which in light of the damning facts about marriage, dares to ask not only sensible questions about the institution of marriage, but those necessary that might save it

(Video) Don’t Say I Do! Why Women Should Stay Single (NHP, 2012) Reveals the Benefits of Remaining Single and Unmarried for Today's Women.

More and more women today are opting to remain single and unmarried. According to Orna Gadish, M.Sc., author of Don’t Say I Do! Why Women Should Stay Single, there are various alternative relationship, dwelling, motherhood, career, and family options for modern women which are great substitutes for marriage. A powerful read for women and men who want explanation as to why marriage is on the decline today.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

(Video) Marco Tempest: The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla

Vince Cable on the economy, George Osborne and his own ambitions

(Opinion) Celebrities: Watch your tweets!

With the news of a Greek medal hopeful being kicked off the Olympic team hours before the open ceremony  because of controversial tweets on her personal account, public figures must realize their tweets don't exist in a digital vacuum where free speech is unfettered.

From the controversies of the 'choc ice' tweets to the poorly executed attempts at humor by  premiership footballers and Hollywood actors, public figures have not grasped that there are responsibilities as well as rights when comes to free speech and careless tweets are cannon fodder for news coverage. Unless public figures realize this , they will be subject to controversy likely to affect their careers and the public perception of them.

However this is bound to happen as the twitter format doesn't exactly encourage thoughtful debate. It's quite difficult to clearly articulate  your position on a given issue in 140 characters. it serves as a reason why most twitters seek to be clever rather than succinct as they only have a limited amount of words to express themselves. It encourages the skills needed to write good ad copy rather than reasoned debate when addressing the public.

In sum, Public figures end up in controversy as they see twitter as a just social forum when it more than that. Twitter however, doesn't encourage reasoned debate as public figures need more than 140 characters to articulate their positions on any given event.

It encourages skills required for ad copy than addressing the public explaining why most controversies on twitter have come from public figures poorly executed attempts to be ironic. Public figures have rights to free speech, but in an age where the words they speak are under scrutiny by the media and wider public alike, their responsibilities with regard to free speech are just as important.

(Opinion) Afghanistan: Why the 2014 Date For Exit May be Extended

It is always good advice on a personal level to put a date on your goals, but in politics however, this advice is poisonous. The Obama administration plans to leave Afghanistan  while handing security duties to the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) looks to be failing to the point where the Department of defense has conspicuously tampered with the evaluation tools used to assess the progress of Afghan security forces.

 According to a report by the GAO, the DOD changed the highest level of capability of afghan forces from 'independent' (meaning the ANSF can carry out a given mission "without the assistance of coalition forces" ) to 'independent with advisors' (meaning that the ANSF could execute a mission successfully but required the support of the Coalition forces. 

This gave the false impression that the capability of the ANSF was increasing, however the progress was sluggish at best as only "7 percent of army units and 9 percent of police units" had reached 'full' capability. Another Problem cited in the report is the fact that the Afghan government, at least without donors, cannot sustain the army proposed by the United states and other NATO members.

There are major skill gaps within the ANSF, which contributes to the reliance on coalition forces for support as the grim truth is that the best fighters are probably with the Taliban or local warlords. the United States plans for exit are also hampered by age old problems of poor or weak governance and corruption as the government departments that oversee the military and the police either lack the 'expertise' or the will required. 

In sum,  Afghanistan is the longest war the United Sates has ever been involved in and unless it wants another decade of Afghani hospitality, It must address the ever pressing problems going forward. 

Read the GAO report on Afghanistan here:


(Opinion) George Osborne: How Many Enemies Can One Man Have?

"George Osborne has got no business experience. He has never worked outside politics. He is doing surprisingly well for a Chancellor on work experience. But really in a torrid time like this, I think we do need absolutely the best people available."

Read more:

With the news Britain's economy contracting  0.7 percent, you'll never see the knives come out for a government minster like this ever again. Everybody from the Lib Dems to the CBI (shock, horror!) have criticized George Osborne's handling of the economy, and even some have calling for his head. 

While the criticism is widespread, it's not exactly unfair. the coalition government have stuck to a hard nosed austerity programme cutting hard and fast on spending in education and health while devising no strategy for growth. Vince Cable was trotted out on Newsnight to give a full-throated defense of Osborne and ended up talking about what the government would do rather than the plans the chancellor of the exchequer has for tackling a sluggish economy.

What is clearly notable is the lack of response from the prime minister or indeed any other conservative as one of their most prominent members is taking a real beating in the press.Even the defense offered by Cable seems strange as Cable clearly would like his job. 

Osborne can kiss goodbye any plans for leadership of the conservative party as polls indicate he is as unpopular as his policies, making him unelectable. Osborne was always a strange pick for the head of Treasury as he is a competent strategist and is a big reason why the conservatives are even in power.

In sum, George Osborne would be well advised to watch his back, sides and front as the knives are out and the wolves are closing in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(Opinion) Colorado Theater Shooting: It's Time to Talk about guns

While it's a popular ethos in politics to never let a crisis go to waste, politicians are idle when a real one comes along. this is why it's no shock that availability of guns and ammunition isn't really high on the national agenda as even when a member of congress was gunned down in broad daylight, the debate quickly morphed from a  discussion about guns to a discussion about the tone of public figures when participating in public discourse as it disappeared from the news cycle. 

Now with the recent shooting in Colorado, dodging a tricky discussion about guns is going to be really difficult because the number of deaths involved. While there is a legitimate fear of politicizing the issue to guns, that usually comes with job of being politician, it doesn't excuse inaction in a country that regularly records five figures in gun deaths. 

while the Obama administration has proved it won't enter tough fights, it should at least fight the good ones on an issue that involves changing, to a degree, american culture.  However this unlikely as Obama is currently running for a second term and has for the last four years shown he's not the type to rock the boat. 

In sum, for all the pain and trauma caused by one deranged man with access to tools of war , expect little from the Obama administration or congress  to push for stronger gun control laws and the media to discuss gun control laws.   

Monday, July 23, 2012

(Opinion) Romney tax returns: The Heat Is On!!

It's official, according to Gallup polling, 54% of American want Mitt Romney to release his tax returns, so do  53% of independents. Democrats, who have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity when it came to attacking republicans, now have hit the major shows piling pressure on the Romney campaign to respond with denials.

(Video) Mitt Romney: 'tax haven' candidate?

(Opinion)Tax Havens: 13 trillion reasons why inequality is worse than we thought

While it has always been known that the rich have done their best to outwit the taxman, we now know to what extent. Thanks to well paid experts in tax law and accounting, the rich have successfully hidden 13 trillion, which, according to the guardian,  is the GDP of the United States and Japan Combined. 

Unaccountable rulers have also been at this as they have diverted funds to private accounts Luxembourg and Switzerland confirming just about every assumption anyone left of Noam Chomsky have made about the super rich.  

This finding will mean all published statistics on income inequality may have to be revised as they have been based on misleading data and governments across the globe will have to take a more aggressive stance against tax avoidance as there has never been greater demand for something to be done. 

right wing politicians now face being laughed out of the public debate if they dare make a defense of tax havens, a problem Mitt Romney and the republicans are finding out in the most painful manner possible. However the political ramifications are nothing compared to fate of governments who don't take action and continue to lose much needed revenue.

In sum, Marx may have talked about class warfare being the only the working class to increase their lot, but failed to detail a major caveat, the rich at much better at it, which the last 30 years have proved conclusively.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

(Opinion) North Korea: Signs of Change?

We all accept the world's in flux and change is the new constant  but for the last 60 years or so there has  been a corner of the globe that has bucked the trend, and it goes by the name of North Korea. Kim Jong-Un, North Korea's new leader, is really shaking up the way things are run in a country notoriously resistant to change as he has sought to gain control over the economy from the military.

He has sacked a military chief appointed by his father Kim Jong-Il, and appointed a new military chief as the young leader seeks to surround himself with new faces, some as young as his. It was revealed in the guardian that the reason for the recent changes undertaken by new regime were in light of conflict over plans to weaken the control the military has over the economy.

The recent shake up has commentators in the west speculating that Kim Jong- Un could be a catalyst for much needed change as the military's handling of the economy as been poor to say the least. While minor but
necessary economic reforms are possible, don't expect branches of mickey D's and Burger King to pop up in Pyongyang anytime soon.

However signals indicate Kim Jong-un will be his own man guided by people he has handpicked. He seems to have have a vision for where the country could be, possibly following the example of china, a nation they can count as an ally.

In sum, while it's hard to predict what will happen in the future, what we can take from the last few months of Kim Jong-um reign  is that change through reform is a possible outcome.

(Videos) Versus Hip Hop on Trial Debate

Friday, July 20, 2012

(Opinion) Really?, Mr. President !!!

President Barack Obama shares with CBS his biggest regret in office.

(Video) All God's Plan?

George Zimmerman invokes god when asked about whether he regretted the events that led to the death of Trayvon Martin.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

(Opinion) Five ways to avoid being hated (politicians and bankers pay attention)

No 1: Be an open book

Nothing implies guilt than secrecy, a lesson Mitt Romney is finding out to his detriment

No 2: make the right friends

There very few things that could get you in hot water quicker than an old friends or acquaintance with a past or a sheet longer than Yao Ming wingspan, so make sure the people you pick as your friends don't know where the bodies are buried because they put them there. 

No 3: avoid being self righteous

While no one likes a hypocrite, everybody hates a self righteous hypocrite. People gorge in the stories of those who promoted themselves as pro family while having two mistresses on the side, anti gay while being spotted in a gay club or law abiding while hatching the crime of the century. People like consistency, you should like it too

No 4: Do not wrong the innocent

this is a crucial rule as the backlash of phone hacking scandal involving Newscorp might not have been so fierce if the Newscorp owned news of the world hadn't of broken it. 

While nobody batted an eyelid at the lurid stories of the phone hacking and surveillance of celebrities and politicians, the walls came crashing down when reports detailed the News of the World's hacking of Murdered schoolgirl Milly Downer's phone,  which gave false hope to the downer family of the teenager being alive.

Bankers are still feeling the heat from the wrongdoing before, during and after the financial crisis of 2007-2009 with many citing their lost of trust in banks. Nobody likes being wronged, but everybody likes injustice on a wide scale less.

No 5:  Don't lie!!

This is the most important rule as you will be found out and nothing is worse than being found out in the public glare. Politicians , bankers and journalists aren't maligned because their bad at their jobs (though a lot of them are), it's because they lie  as they hold important positions in society and the truth is the number one threat to it despite the truth being the only thing that might quell the anger towards these professions.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

(video) Get a Job !

Republican congressman bill young reaction to minimum wage

(Video) Krugman on Newsnight

The Nobel Prize winning economist argues his case on newsnight

(Opinion) government inefficiencies bad, Private sector inefficiencies wors

While there have been many failures to lie at the door of government, its failures are nothing compared to the failures of the private sector. For the last 30 year or so, we have been subject to a very successful campaign extolling the vices of government citing horror stories of government waste, failed policies and personal tragedy while at the same time deifying the marketplace.

However the arguments that would have ended pretty quickly any debate on the reform of the marketplace have fallen by the wayside as they have been disproved in the most dramatic fashion. The last five years have confirmed just about every argument made for reform or even the abolishment of the marketplace as the never ending drive for growth has led to the collapse and concentration of banks in a bid to survive the biggest crisis since the great depression.

We have been exposed to the folly and the outright deception of respected financial institutions as they risked their reputations to increase profits and ended up causing market failure on a grand scale. The recent LIBOR scandal involving Barclays is another example of what happens when profit motive is the only motive involved in the market sector, as banks actively shirk their responsibilities to their clients and customers in the pursuit to make money.

While the government cannot escape a large portion of blame for economic difficulties of the five years as it has failed in its task of regulating the activities of Banks as even  regulatory bodies have been subject to widespread logic that dictates that in order for markets to flourish, government intervention must be minimal or avoided altogether.

This logic, despite all the events in the last five years that have damaged its credibility beyond repair, still holds strong among those endowed with the power to craft a new financial regime based on sustainable polices as the world has just found out just how finite the possibilities of the marketplace really are.
This can explain why most of the regulatory reforms are mostly weak and allow banks to use the same practices that caused the collapse in the first place. Regulating the financial system is going even more difficult as banks, due to government forced mergers, have become an even bigger liability than before as if there should be another market failure, the ‘too big to fail’ arguments for government intervention will be untenable.

In sum, the arguments against government agency in the marketplace were part of an effort to glorify the market in the interest of those who sought to benefit from a weak government which has now collapsed under the weight of events of the last five years. Regulating the financial marketplace will be even more difficult as banks have become even more concentrated due to forced mergers. Government official must make reforming the financial system a top priority as due to the banks being concentrated, the taxpayers maybe be able never mind willing to fit the bill.

(Opinion) medals for drone pilots?

While there are more pressing issues to write about, the US military plans to give medals  too drone pilots seems really crazy. Military medals are usually doled out for service in war and bravery displayed in the battle but to give medals to drone pilots, who never sees any action, is like giving the medal of honor to Scooby and Shaggy.

while the skills of drone pilots are vital in war, to give medals to them is a slap in the face of those injured, killed or risked life and limb in the field of battle and ultimately cheapens the other medals the military gives to its most deserving soldiers. This can be seen as the introduction of the culture of giving medals based on participation rather than on merit into the military, an institution, probably more than any other, is built on the concept of merit. 

In sum, the military simply cannot give medals to drone pilots as the only danger they face is thumb blisters and a dead leg, an injury that can easily be topped by accident in the field of battle. beside the obvious differences with regard to the proximity to danger, it is contrary to the reason why medals are handed out in the first place as medals are a recognition of the contribution and sacrifice demonstrated by those who chose to serve, not a recognition of participation. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

(Opinion) Wisdom in unlikely places

Fox news and Washington post contributor Charles Krauthammer may be a staunch conservative and has come up with ideas with regards to foreign policy that would make the hair on your skin stand on end, but has today proved wisdom has no political affiliation. Krauthammer today has cut through the rhetoric and has got to the truth about the Arab Spring: its a transition of one Political idea for another.

While Krauthammer largely points to the danger of the transition of political Islamism for military Pan- Arabism, his points are spot on.  He points out the rather thin liberal base and the popularity of political Islam. this reality is reflected further in the polls as two thirds of Egyptians would like Islam to play a greater role in politics. however, there is a great drop in Egyptians who would like a closer relationship in politics as before the Arab spring, more than 80 percent wanted Islam to play a greater role in politics, which, depending on your viewpoint, represents progress.

Krauthammer notes a potential cause for this demand by citing the military in many countries in the middle east rather brutal suppression of any dissent, especially from political Islamists during 60's onwards. This suppression led to a radical change in tactics from opposition groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood who turned to acts of terror in Egypt to get their message across and led to the Islamic revolution in Iran which still stands strong.

This will  lead to some serious ramifications for the US in their efforts in creating stability in the middle east as they are largely unpopular in countries most affected by the Arab spring as the policy of containment used by the United States during the cold war is largely responsible for the repressive regimes which gave cause for protest in the first place.

(Video) when they were young...

 some of your favorite politicians (if you have one) before they got old and political.

(Video) Manholes...brought to you by KFC

The Young Turks report on what happens when you cut from state spending.

(Opinion) Romney has picked a horrible time to run

If timing in politics is important then the political climate, especially when running for office, is vital. This a lesson Romney has ignored as while the current incumbent of the presidency has horrible job approval numbers and morale sapping economic indicators, this is nothing compared to the fact revealed by Gallup polling that 1 in 5 Americans are less likely to vote for him because of his wealth. However, this is just the peak of an election destroying iceberg.

The Obama campaign, realizing the economy will probably decide whether Obama gets a second term or has a one term presidency, have attacked Mitt Romney's past in business, releasing attack ads pointing to Romney 'job killing' activities at Bain Capital hoping to capitalize on the nationwide ambivalence to corporate types on and off wall street.

The Obama campaign hope to point to Romney's involvement in an industry that has helped bring about the current economic realities that has subject many Americans to a high debt, low income financial regime.While Obama has performed quite poorly with regards to the economy, this is nothing compared to the problems mitt Romney has in tackling claims that outsourced jobs rather than create them , and the Obama campaign knows it.   

Even during the primaries, Romney's fellow Republican candidates Rick Perry and newt Gingrich in particular, attacked him for his past in 'vulture capitalism', just like the Obama campaign, attempting to capitalize on the potent anger towards the financial sector. 

In sum, there are many problems with the Romney campaign, with questions Romney's credibility and the general indifference towards him from his own base demonstrated during the Republican primaries, but none of these problems compare to the claims his opponents can throw at him that the industry that made him rich mad other anything but. While Obama is beatable, he still has a wider base of voters that Romney cannot reach due to his parties' stance on a variety of issues, which can be perceived, at least by liberals, to be anti women and immigrant.         

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dirty Pharma

(Opinion) Who Would Be A High Street Bank?

Who, in their right mind, would really want to part of a high street Bank with Banks ranking in the top five on the shit list of Politicians, taxpayers, mortgage payers, investors and even other banks! Now, lets not act that such notoriety hasn't been earned.

Banks are responsible for the current economic malaise many find themselves in made up of low income and and sky high debt, Joblessness and an overall lack of credit in the economy starving fledgling business the capital required for expansion just because bankers got bored of taking care of money and wanted make it.The Libor scandal currently dominating the newspapers is another addition in a long line of instances indicating stringent reform of the financial system is required, starting with  smashing the concept of too big fail to pieces and putting the more sensible edict too big to exist in its place. 

Its a shock banks still have customers with the horrid numbers reported by YouGov as 82% of the British public think the banks have not improved (since the 2007-2009 crisis) , two thirds not trusting high street banks outright and a majority think banks are dishonest and incompetent.Imagine if any other business had these kind of numbers they'll be out of business faster than you can say liquidation. 

The only reason banks probably still have business is because of  the lack of choice between them due two decades of constant acquisitions and mergers between banks and a knowledge of how important they rare to people and the economy as a whole.

In sum Banks maybe hated by everybody, but that's only because they screwed everybody and paid themselves royally for the pleasure. 

(Opinion) A plague on both your houses

It has for the most part been a thankless job being a politician in Britain, but the current couldn't be worse,. maybe we have reached the conclusion , just like George Orwell did 60 decades earlier, that our political class aren't really up to much. you just have to look at the numbers in relation to government performance and the story becomes clear.

 According to a poll conducted by YouGov, two thirds of the British public think the economy is being handled poorly, only 15% think chancellor of the exchequer  George is doing a good job and only 22% think that the government strategy towards boosting the economy is working or will work. However, the Labour opposition  fail to escape the general malaise as despite the woeful job approval numbers stated above, the British public still George Osborne would make a better than shadow chancellor than Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

Many still blame Labour for the current state of the economy  which can explain why despite George Osbrone unpopularity, Ed Balls is regard as less competent due to his close alliance with Gordon Brown during reign as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This recent poll however has not reflected in Labour's poll numbers as they have recently gained three points, recovering from a recent slump

In sum, being in a country where an unelected, powerless monarch polls higher than any politican across the land for nothing but turning up and waving, Being a politician in old blighty was never going to be picnic in Hyde park, but lets not like they do themselves any favours.


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