Category: News and Media


Less than three years ago, U.S. President Barack Obama drew up national plans to bring  U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan back home.

In a war that has threatened the rights of people in the Middle East and the safety of the Americans since the tragic day of 9/11, clashing promises have been made to fight the “War on Terror” and bring troops home.

Until December 2009, Obama fully asserted to withdraw over 180,000 soldiers servicing in Iraq & Afghanistan by 2014. Throughout his presidency, he has been following up with his plan but current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta advised and supported a plan that about 3000-4000 troops remain in Iraq- A figure which commanders say is not enough.

Regardless of numbers, any potential decision to let soldiers stay past the deadline may contradict the strong promise Obama made as president.

“”As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing. We have brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office.” said in a weekly radio address back in August 2010.

As of now Obama has witdrawn troops to fewer than 50,000 now from more than 140,000 in January 2009 according to the New York Times but is now pressed to follow instructions from Panetta. The Secretary of Defense said such a plan was necessary due to rising car bombings  and violent Al-Qaeda attacks that have caused instability in Iraq. With the deadline for removal of troops in Iraq approaching the end of 2011, Obama will have to make a tough choice.

 ANALYSIS: Actually, this issue with troops  is a no-brainer. As of June 2011, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press states a majority 56 percent of Americans say that US troops should be brought home as soon as possible, while 39 percent favor keeping troops in Afghanistan until the situation has stabilized. Well of course, a war that has been going on for almost eight years will have a negative impact on people and resources for any country involved.

With the 2012 Elections coming around, Obama is not the popular candidate this time around. Others are looking to challenge him vigorously. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says “Obama doesn’t have a clue.”  He also added his 59-point plan for the economy will create 11 million jobs.

If Obama wants to keep his bid for president, he has to start by sticking with his guns on crucial policies. As a president who feels strongly about the environment, I was disappointed with him after he decided to back down from Republican pressure and halt a planned increase in clean air standards

I also came accross a  survey from the Washington Post and ABC News stating approval ratings of Obama had fallen to 43 percent, while for the first time a majority of 53 percent disapproves. This is due mainly to his wishy-washy attitude on issues and the economic downturn regarding the debt ceiling, recession, and unemployment rate nearing 13 percent. In addition ABC also reported a shocking 77 percent of polled Americans feel the country is “heading in the wrong direction.”

No doubt, Obama is having a lot of crisis to deal with and is doing poorly as a president. He got a lot of things wrong with the economy plus the stimulus package had little impact. It created jobs but as not as much as people would like or need. Overall the economy was a gamble but one thing he can help is seeing out his promises. So falling back to the issue of  US troops- if Obama said he would have all troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan by 2014 without having any detrimental effects on the US or Middle East, he should see to it and tell Panetta to shut up.

In the midst of the London riots, the media has continued to surface over the issue for some time now. Social commentators and news anchors have interjected their opionions and assertions about the rise of crime.

Until now, none of these comments have been racially misguided and prejudiced as historian David Starkey’s claim that the “whites have become blacks” and have been subdued to the criminal culture of Jamaicans and so forth.

What’s worse is that I can’t believe such bigotry was allowed on a prominent news source such as BBC. Starkey an “educated” man may have advocated that Blacks are the main cause and reason for the riots but here’s what London comedian Nabil Abdul Rashid had to say.

Microsoft’s Xbox Live network reached 35 million subscribers worldwide according to a report from Game Informer. Microsoft Xbox Live marketing manager Robin Burrowes stated, “Our audience growth is up to 35 million people globally across those 35 countries on Xbox Live itself.”

Subscriptions are up five million from numbers released last year and Burrowes also announced that revenues came from features which fans enjoys such as purchases of games, DLC, and other digital items rather than subscriptions.

But what I really wanted to know was how Microsoft’s numbers stacked against Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN). Unfortunately, The article left that piece of information out. But As of April 19, 2011, PSN has 77 million registered online accounts according to the Playstation Network and Qriocity, which is a lot more than Xbox Live’s new claim.

This obviously makes a lot of sense because PSN is free compared to Microsoft’s paid subscription of online entertainment,  but Xbox Live users claim they get what they are paying for and are yet to suffer from a network outage.

While countdown nears to an unprecedented national default, Congress members are still dragging out a debate on the debt-ceiling crisis that has not led to any resolve for the past three months.

When the United States hit a statutory debt limit of $14.3 trillion in May, President Barack Obama stated a need to raise the debt ceiling but the GOP wouldn’t jump onboard unless they could hold onto as many spending cuts  and a budget amendment plan.

As of now, the White House and congressional leaders are making a last-ditch attempt to reach compromise to avoid said disastrous government default that’s due for Aug. 2nd

As US Treasury experts put it, a default could lead to financial “Armageddon” if both parties fail to increase the national debt limit. This will also result in a loss of America’s AAA credit rating, rising interest rates, a declining dollar, a stock market plunge and the public could even lose out on their social security checks.  Both political parties know what is at stake but are failing to reach a bipartisan decision due to their personal and financial agendas regarding the 2012 elections.

Democrats are desperate for tax and revenue increases but the GOP are also vying for their spending cuts- a financial tug- of-war that has been going on for too long.

Fortunately, party leaders are working hard to come up with plans to ward off the financial doomsday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner came up with new plans to increase the debt limit after previous rejections from the House and Senate respectively.

According to CNN, Boehner’s plan, which has since been revised, proposed generating a total of $917 billion in savings while initially raising the debt ceiling by $900 billion. He also pledged to match any debt ceiling hike with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. Meanwhile, Reid’s revised version favors  reduced deficits over the next decade by $2.4 trillion that raises the debt ceiling by a similar amount. It includes $1 trillion in savings based on the planned U.S. withdrawals from military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ultimately, whatever deal or compromise both political factions come up with, I think the most important thing that Congress should do is listen to the American people. According to the CNN/ORC  International poll, 64 percent of respondents to a July survey prefer a deal with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. It’s probably easier said than done but as President Obama put it “we are running out of time” and Congress needs to come up with a financial plan that is beneficial for the American economy.

 

Hollywood may be an entirely different planet where the biggest movies come to life and celebrities live as over-glorified human beings. But Hollywood didn’t come to such a powerful status without having influencing society in America in several ways.

The historical evolution of the biggest film industry in the world is too broad to pinpoint but it probably starts from an era where Hollywood came to explosive prominence and solidified its place as an American landmark of tradition during the 1920-40s. During this time, Hollywood became very good at three things–entertainment, influence and profit.

The main objective and goal of Hollywood has always been to entertain and it has done so for decades. Throughout the course of black-and-white silent films of Charlie Chaplin to the 3D-rage that is bludgeoning theaters, we always gain some memorable experience (either good or bad) from watching production films or cinema blockbusters.  Throughout history, Hollywood has also given birth to some of the biggest entertainment studios such as Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures. Hollywood also brought us talented performers from musical geniuses Frank Sinatra to Oscar award-winning actors such as Gregory Peck and Michael Douglas. As a result, Hollywood consistently churned out many other celebrities who have become household names because they have given great performances that have entertained millions. Celebrities such as George Clooney have also created their own wave of influence and that is another reason why society looks up to Hollywood movie stars as role models, highly respected figures or people with crazy drug addictions. Point is, celebrities become a part of our lives in some way. Oprah anyone?

Apart from serving as a channel of entertainment, the Hollywood industry is one of the most powerful and influential enterprises in the world. Its voice is heard around the globe. From recollection of the Roaring 20’s and the Harlem Renaissance, Hollywood brought about trends that has impacted society heavily. Which other institution promoted smoking cigarettes as cool, attractive and “fashionable” and sent the tobacco industry laughing all the way to bank?

Icons such as Marilyn Monroe have even transcended a whole unique sense of fashion that people have copied for years. Because of Hollywood, there will always be parts of society that want to dress up or look like their favorite idols through make-up and work-out tips. In fact, Hollywood will always be an industry that can promote anything deemed stylish as a result of their influence. But fashion trends are not the only things Hollywood is known for but it has always been an industry that has created its own propaganda and political statements that affects governments, industry and communities.

It’s become a prerequisite for Hollywood to have some sort social responsibility. Labeled mostly as liberal-thinking syndicate, Hollywood has projected political messages of anti-war when George Bush opted to move troops to Iraq in 2003 after 9/11. Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Sheryl Crow and Martin Sheen made outspoken anti-war statements such as avoiding threats of nuclear warfare and pleaded with the US government to bring troops back. Such statements were also reiterated by every possible news outlet because of Hollywood’s extensive influence. Secondly, Hollywood can asks society to come to a call of action or engage in social responsibility. One simple example comes from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Celebrities and the Red Cross came together in a campaign to help victims of New Orleans and also pleaded with the public to make donations that helped in anyway. In summary, Hollywood marks itself as a great contributor to the American society that always voices its belief in political issues or worldly events.

Finally, despite its role as a leader in trends and a core landmark of influence, the most important thing that has always mattered to Hollywood is making money. Hollywood is objectively a business and a multi-billion dollar industry. The cost that goes into entire production of films is to just generate box office receipts in which you the consumers spend money on tickets that costs more than a Hanes T-shirts these days.

Currently, the American film industry is worth over $754 billion dollars, making Hollywood one of the largest and entertainment media markets to date. Thus its success marks a symbol of great capitalism and a free market which the American society greatly appreciates or can’t do without.

Ultimately, Hollywood’s impact on society is undeniable because of its ability to entertain, influence and continually make profits forever.

 

 

 

It all starts with a peaceful and justified revolution when Moammar Gaddafi overthrew a powerful monarchy to become Libya’s main ruler back in 1969. Unfortunately, human beings have a tendency to become the things they hate.

After his takeover, he established a socialist system where he nationalized all businesses under the government.

Since the 1980s, Gaddafi formed a strained relationship with the U.S. after he supported various groups considered terrorist in the West, including the IRA and various radical Palestinian factions.

The Libyan president has either politically assassinated or in the literal sense, anyone who has opposed him. In 42 years of “service,” Col. Gaddafi is now recognized as a tyrant suffocating the freedom of his people under his totalitarian rule.

However, the Libyan people have had enough. With inspiration from political revolutions happening in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans began to protest but Gaddafi responded with sheer violence and censorship.

Facebook and Twitter, which was used to jumpstart their successful uprisings, has been blocked in Libya. Phone lines have been tapped and blocked including Al-Jazeera, the international television network which is based in the Middle East.

In Feb. 2011, over 140 Libyan protestors were shot by snipers and overrun by tanks under Gaddafi’s orders in Benghazi. It was a ruthless and unnecessary decision on his part.

Fortunately, France with other leading organizations such as the U.N. and NATO ended diplomatic relations with Gaddafi and no longer recognized his rule as representative council of his people. NATO forces have also been deployed to protect civilians from his military regime. Barack Obama has also considered deploying US troops in Libya should the situation escalate any further.

Ultimately, Gaddafi is now a marked man and it is only a matter of time before his rule ends. Given the fall of other tyrants such as Saddam Hussein, you’d think the Libyan oppressor would concede to his people’s wishes. I guess history never fails to repeat itself.

 

Super injuction, my ass

What kind of web site has enough power and influence to end a politician’s career or start a unified movement against oppressing governments in the Middle East? Undoubtedly, Twitter has managed to establish itself as one of the most powerful tools of freedom of expression with 140 characters or less.

But shouldn’t there be regulations? That’s the best part, nothing is off limits. However, people should be ready to deal with whatever results after their use of social media.

A British footballer from Manchester United tried to prevent his extra marital affair from being exposed with a super injuction. Thus the press couldn’t reveal his name but that didn’t stop 75,ooo individuals from tweeting his name in a trending topic. Consequently, ordered another  court order in British High Court to demand Twitter reveal the identities of users who had posted the tweets but that’s where legal system’s reach ends. This is the Internet, any source of informatio is available to any user and at their disposal.

Trying to police the public from posting the truth or facts about a certain matter is virtually impossible and even  an infringement on free expression. You can not censor it.

After Rep. Anthony Weiner posted shameful photos of himself on his Twitter account, much controversy and pressure from the media followed with his resignation soon afterwards. Twitter allows the right to post whatever you want even at your own risk. Thus Weiner’s resignation was his own doing but I’d never have guessed it would come as a result of social-networking.

Social media also serves as a vehicle for people to voicebtheir grievances and protests against oppression. This has also been an increasing trend in Facebook and Twitter in parts of the Middle East. During the revolutions in Egypt and the uprising of people against President Gaddafi in Libya, governments cut access to internet in an attempt to censor activists. However freedom of speech would not be denied. The need for social media rose to 155 million tweets a day on Twitter. “Hacktivists” looked for alternative ways to bypass the government shutdown to access the internet and still voice their protests on Facebook or Twitter.

As a result, their story has been told worldwide through themedia, world leaders President Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have pleaded with these governments to stop censoring their own people and people have become more aware of the struggles in the Middle East. Because of that social media  should be as free as ever, without regulations to allow people to express whatever they want- whatever the consequences.

Gamers and tech heads were shocked when DirecTV permanently dropped the best video gaming network G4TV in Nov. 2010. However, DirecTV’s refusal to sign for another extension was G4’s own doing but now the game channel can make a strong comeback on Zuffa- the host network of UFC TV. Zuffa is looking to buy G4 from Comcast and add its tech based shows to its lineup of MMA action.

This presents a great opportunity for G4TV to get back on its feet after suffering from low ratings for so long. After losing out on an extension with DirecTV, they lost a staggering 40 million viewers and it’s been downhill ever since.

In 2009, G4TV cut down its lineup of shows in order to focus more on their two top carriers X-Play and Attack of The Show. Consequently, this also led to layoffs. In an attempt to raise viewer ratings, they discontinued original gamer shows like Cheat, a show on video game tips and cheats and replaced it with a show with a different kind of cheating.

The abrupt changes to the network’s programming unleashed an apocalypse of negativity from faithful G4 fans. Viewers eventually got sick of the mind-numbing reality marathons of COPS and cheating spouses. As ratings went down, it was apparent that the channel strayed from its gaming and technology roots. The sad thing about this is that none of these changes made sense. G4TV made a horrible mistake of fixing something that isn’t broke.

All things considered, the deal will be beneficial for both networks and will add variety to their respective lineups. In addition, the huge following behind MMA will propel G4TV’s miserable ratings.

If all goes well, we’ll be watching nothing but video games and intense caged fights on TV. What more could gamers ask for?

Another sex scandal

Politicians and sex scandals go together like a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Except peanut butter and jelly can do no wrong.

It’s safe to say we can add Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to the list of powerful men behaving badly. The representative
had been questioned after exposed photos of himself were posted directly from his Twitter account. Weiner, like all other public figures, denied everything. He claimed he had been “hacked” and outright lied to the public.

Weiner eventually buckled. After a long week of avoiding relentless pressing from the media, the political speaker finally admitted and revealed he had online relationships with six women in the past three years- relationships that occurred before and after his marriage.

This is not unprecedented. There have been so many counts of respected public figures who are involved in sexual scandals throughout history. This year alone has its handful including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 10-year affair with a maid who mothered his child. Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs was also caught up in an eight-year affair with his brother’s wife, which was also exposed via Twitter last May.Frankly, the ability to uphold high moral standards and show ethical excellence has been diminishing with these men for a long time. Thus, I’m not surprised by Weiner’s incident I am rather shocked at the fact that Weiner still wants to retain his position. What makes him think that he isn’t going to resign after such an incident? Having affairs with possibly underage women won’t help him or his party in any upcoming elections for sure.

After declaring that he wouldn’t resign, it’s a good thing Minority House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed an ethics investigation upon his case. There is no way such behavior should go unpunished. I’m looking forward to his resignation. Now cue some more juvenile headlines and puns around the web.

AC Liberty radio is a podcast on everything soccer from the MLS, English Premier League to your own local soccer teams. It’s all just fun and critical discussions of the beautiful game. Today’s episode features controversial calls by refs in the EPL on some of Manchester United recent games. Are Man U getting a taste of their own medicine or have they’ve been unfairly singled out? Also, Vice Captain Greg Adejinle from Liberty University comes on the show to promote his intramural soccer team AC Liberty.