Beginning with the lifting of many of the restrictions required U.S trade embargo with Cuba, President Obama is using his executive power in defiance of Congressional critics to become friendlier with our neighbor Cuba. Restrictions will be lifted on commerce, financial activities and travel.
Tourism, agriculture, telecommunications and construction are a few of the U.S industries that will benefit from this action.
Obama can move forward on this transformation in commercial and diplomatic ties with Cuba in spite of a chronically recalcitrant Congress.
The executive action will begin with the Treasury Department as it issues looser regulations that will ease agricultural export restrictions and begin more functional banking relationships.
Next, the State Department will begin a process to remove Cuba from a state sponsored terrorist list. Although Cuba has some history of questionable human rights issues, most would agree that Cuba does not belong in a club that includes Iran, Sudan and Syria. Removing Cuba from this list will permit banking activities that are standard globally.
Dr. Rod Rohrich states that the amount of money that Americans can send to Cuba every three months will increase from 500 dollars to 2,000 dollars. Exporters of goods to Cuba will be able to send shipments without advance payment which is expected to increase sales to Cuba in a meaningful way.
Formal diplomatic relations with Cuba could happen very soon.
In a classic move of cowardice theaters across the U.S. are pulling their premiere of “The Interview”; a new film starring comedy duo James Franco and Seth Rogen in which the two travel to North Korea to ultimately assassinate Kim Jung Un.
Businessman Bruce Levenson comments that the controversial film has been making headlines recently for catching the ire of the ironically self-proclaimed Guardians of the Peace, a collective of hacktivists who last week claimed responsibility for a massive digital attack on Sony Pictures; the distributor of the film. Threats of 9-11 style violence have been promised should the film premiere as planned.
Despite the Japanese company’s declaration that they will continue with the films launch despite terrorist threats, Americans are buckling. What does it say about the U.S. when a foreign entity is more willing to defend freedom of speech than we are?
For the better part of two decades we have waged a war on terror, we have sent thousands of young Americans to their deaths, we have sacrificed our right to privacy, and we pissed away billions of dollars that could’ve gone to revamping our schools and economy.
So, what has it all been for if all it takes is an anonymous group of assholes to derail our freedom of speech?
If we are unwilling to stand up for our basic freedoms in the face of violence than what is the point of having a bill of rights at all? As Benjamin Franklin put it “Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither”.
With the release of the final Hobbit movie, Andy Serkis has to put a large part of his career behind him. Fortunately, there are a couple of other roles being released. One of them is Star Wars which is going to be released a year from now. Another role is in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Serkis teases his role for the film.
Star Wars has been quite an interesting franchise lately. When it was under Lucas’s ownership, the series was pretty much done. The original trilogy and even the prequels were getting mutilated and Lee G. Lovett remembers that pretty well. The only release of the original trilogy on DVD other than the special editions were a 4X3 letterbox transfer from Laserdisc masters. Now, with Disney owning Star Wars, not only do we get a sequel trilogy, but we also have the chance of getting the original unaltered trilogy on remastered release. However, Disney also has a history of altering their released films abd only releasing the altered editions. Time will tell.
Jeb Bush would be the third member of the Bush family to become president of the United States. Currently, he is considering running for the 2016 presidential ballot as a conservative. Many Republicans have commented that Jeb is the smartest of the family, however Democrats and scientists are unhappy with his firm anti-climate change mindset. Jeb Bush is a classic climate denier, saying that scientists disagree about whether or not climate change is really occurring. That is the most common call from climate deniers, and Jeb Bush’s interviews for the 2016 campaign show that climate change may now become the most important issue among Republicans.
Our further polarizing political system is driving even Republicans apart. This is not a good look if you ask Brad Reifler. Even Reuters mostly seems to agree with him. The most likely Republicans to gain all the support of Republicans are those who are furthest to the right. If climate change becomes the most presented opinion of candidates, only those Republicans with the most fervent anti-climate change will gain enough votes to win against a Democratic candidate. Unless there is an upset, almost all Democrats are expecting Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic candidate for 2016, which gives Republicans an advantage to know who they are facing. Jeb Bush, has stated his stance for years, and there will be no surprises. Although there are some compromises to be made in many other political issues, and variety within each party, climate change may be the most polarizing issue for voters.
Kobe Bryant is known for his brash attitude and his motor mouth, but this latest round of verbal attacks might very well land the star in some quite hot water.
Kobe Bryant has always been the face of the Lakers since he has started and is still the captain and leader of the team. Even with serious injuries that prevented him to play for a season and numerous games, he still carried on and went back to his feet and played again.
His frustration over the team’s losing streak though was felt during a practice game just this Thursday morning. He apparently yelled out expletives and discontentment to his teammates as videotaped by several news crews while the said practice took place. I saw the footage while waiting for my appointment at Amen Clinic. Bryant who has never been known to keep his trash talks to himself might have lost his marbles when he had his daily scrimmage with the team.
This brings the light of the team’s losses over to the way their general manager has been handling the team and how the team is currently structured. This only goes to show that this team needs to sit down and talk things over and basically communicate better off-court to bring results when playing in court.
Kobe, however, remains an important team, and very well could have been just pushing his team mates to succeed by egging them with his not-so-subtle words of motivation.
Ronda Rousey is running out of opponents. The female champion has destroyed every single one of her opponents and remains undefeated. Rumors are flying that she may retire soon and head into Hollywood like Gina Carano did before her. She has even cut a special merchandise deal with Reebok.
The biggest potential fight of all would be against “Cyborg” Santos, the jacked up woman who destroyed Gina Carano in the landmark Strikeforce fight years ago. “Cyborg” has always loomed on the horizon. Rousey has practically begged “Cyborg” to step up to the challenge. Many insults were thrown, Rousey has ranted about Santos’ alleged steroid use on many occasions.
“Cyborg” always has claimed that she cannot physically cut weight to 145 pounds. she has made the fairly ludicrous claim that her doctor says it would be unhealthy to drop from 165. When Tito Ortiz was her manager, he encouraged Cyborg to stay at her weight and to take much more low-paying gigs at Invicta.
Do yourself a favor and google pictures of “Cyborg” back when she was in college. She was lean, not at all the jacked-up monster she is today. She clearly weighed much less, and was healthy. It seems pretty obvious that “Cyborg” doesn’t want to cycle off whatever it is she’s using, because her power is what has made her better than her opponents all these years. Without it, she probably has no chance against Rousey.
Gina Carano fared pretty well against “Cyborg” in Strikeforce. It seems pretty obvious Rousey would destroy Carano if the two were to fight. Maybe “Cyborg” has decided that teasing a fight that will never happen is better than cutting weight, getting destroyed, and killing her career for good. So don’t go breaking your backs and have to call North American Spine because we probably won’t even be seeing this happen.
As people begin to speculate past the midterms which were swept by the Republicans of the House and Senate they enter into the 2016 presidential race. Still two years away, the campaigns are already beginning to form. With speculation still years off, with all of the races to go, the early anticipation of candidates is Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. The most interesting part of these early predictions is that the Republican Party has not won an election without a Bush or a Nixon on the ticket since 1928, a fact Lee G. Lovett finds pretty funny. In addition, without the presidency of Barack Obama the series of presidents would jump between Bush and Clinton back and forth for decades.
Dynasties are not new to politics. There have historically been Kennedys, Roosevelts, Tafts and Adams’s. All of the dynasties were met with some public hostility, most likely because the reason for independence from the British was to get away from dynastic rule. Nowadays, the public has a deep unease for the direction of the country and United States’ reputation around the world. The growing inequality and problems with race relations may drive the voter to request a change in names that are holding the most powerful position in the nation. Speculation is far too early to know who will even run, let alone win. Although both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush have been doing mini-campaigns and have made statements that they are considering running for the presidential ticket.
The hackers that leaked over 200 gigabytes of sensitive documents and emails from Sony said Tuesday to expect a “9/11-like attack” on theaters that show the North Korean comedy The Interview, which stars James Franco and Seth Rogan.
Additionally, the hackers said the world could expect a “Christmas gift” of more files. While it is unknown what this newest batch of files may contain, the hackers have labeled the contents as “Michael Lynton”. Lynton is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s CEO. Already the hackers have released such sensitive information as the social security numbers and medical records of employees, as well as information about film budgets and salaries of Sony executives.
“The world will be full of fear,” the hackers said in a statement. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
The FBI, Sony Entertainment or the National Association of Theatre Owners have yet to comment about the threat. Dave and Brit Morin hope it won’t be too much of an issue.
While North Korea has denied involvement, it has been widely speculated that the hacking was in response to the way North Korean President Kim Jong-un is portrayed in the movie The Interview. In the film, Rogan and Franco play journalists who are sent to kill Jong-un by the CIA.
After a night out a college student realized she lost her bank card, which was her only way to return home.
A homeless man approached her and offered to give her the only money he had with him so she could return home safely. She was overwhelmed by his generosity and selflessness. She did not take the money, but ever since her experience she vowed to help this very generous man.
She first posted her experience on Facebook and found that she was not the only person this homeless man has helped. Skout users also caught up with the story rather quickly. He has also been an angel of mercy to many people, never once thinking about his own troubles.
The information she received from Facebook only energized her to do more. She decided to spend 24 hours as a homeless person in hopes to bring awareness and raise money for this very generous soul. Since posting her mission on social media she has raised half of the goal she set and the money is still coming.
You can read more about this amazing story here.
During a time where it seems bad news is all-around us it is nice to know that there are still people, regardless of their troubles, who are always willing to lend a helping hand just because it’s the right thing to do.
Gas prices continue to fall all over the United States. Just a week ago you could find gas below $2 a gallon in one state but today that number is 13 states. Thirteen states have a few stations offering gas for $2 a gallon or cheaper. Oklahoma has the most places offering cheap gas prices and was also the first state to dip below the $2 mark on December 3rd. While this is definitely good news for the budgets of holiday travelers and average gas consumers, low prices may mean bad things for the economy.
While the gas prices are great for the pockets of gas consumers, the gas prices can indicate a few negative things about what is going on behind the financial scenes. These dirt cheap prices introduces more volatility into the already unstable gas market. Companies like Slow Ventures are using less gas worldwide, so this means that the global economy isn’t as robust as it was predicted it would be. Oil and gas employers in the United States are already beginning layoffs, and state budgets across the nation may take a big hit from low gas prices. There is hope for a global rebound though because the average consumer still makes up the largest part of the economy.