Month: March 2018

Wider World created by Warner

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To be honest my elder brother sounded more sincere when he apologized in front of my parents after smashing my orthodontic brace-filled mouth 35 years ago. Dave Warner’s media appearance showed next to no contrition. Sure there were tears. References to the stress on his family and how he’d be lost without them. Indeed, had he considered his family before deciding to cheat then he’d never have to run a rearguard action to protect them. That doesn’t condone the actions of social media thuggery on family members but there was absolutely no surprise in the fast pace bouncers peppered at him from the press gallery, all of which he dodged with the same insincerity for someone whom apparently “only ever wanted to bring glory to my country!” Strange way of showing it.

At least in Steve Smith’s case he projected absolute authenticity in his admission of failure. Bancroft was just a startled bunny in the headlights. Warner seemed to be begging for forgiveness in that at some point might allow resumption to expand his property empire in Maroubra than pleading to restore the lost glory back into the ‘game.’

Warner typifies the ‘win at all costs’ mentality cultivated from the top of Cricket Australia. It isn’t just his two teammates that have worn this failure of leadership. Magellan has already pulled $20m in sponsorship, countless others will follow and the upper hand in negotiations over broadcast rights has all but vanished. That means that Cricket Australia will have $100s of millions less in the kitty to pay players, develop kids at tender ages to sustain the game in the future and draw crowds. Less for facilities, less for promotion, less for match bonuses. Less, less, less. Cricket Australia needs a total overhaul too.

Cricket to Aussies is like Rugby Union to Kiwis. It is on another level to other sports. Our hall of fame includes the likes of Bradman, Spofforth, Trumper, Woodful, McCabe, Morris, Simpson, Border, Waugh, Ponting, Taylor, McGrath, Warne…the list goes on. Were Buck Shelford, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jonah Lomu or Richie McCaw found guilty of bringing the All Blacks side into disrepute through blatant tampering they’d be publicly hung, drawn and quartered with their heads tossed into the mud pools of Rotarua. The New Zealand media would not be calling on people to give any cheater a ‘fair go.’ That is the irony. Most of these elite sportsmen have had way more than a fair go but it wasn’t enough. Otherwise there was no reason to cheat.

Some in the Aussie media now cry out for leniency. They made a mistake, apologized…all lessons learnt. Then again it isn’t any surprise that the media is also short on ethics much of the time. Go back to bed like it was just a bad dream. Talk about being ‘role models’ for kids?!? Most Aussie fans won’t view it that way. Talks of two years in the penalty box and then Steve Smith can resume the captaincy shows how shallow the thinking is. While he may have shown himself to be a sincere individual he most certainly proved he has no place leading the team ever again. He should refuse to take it on if he ever plays again.

One has to question whether the bowlers knew something was up. It is not a question of being complicit in the crime rather a fast bowler spends 6 minutes every over staring at the ball in his walk back to his mark, polishing one side on his trousers, checking the condition of the rough side to consider what type of delivery to bowl. Every. Single. Ball. A bowler usually has 5 to 6 overs a spell so at least half an hour to study the curious round object in his hands. Bat strikes leave particular types of marks as does the pitch and fence. So a sandpaper mark should look rather ‘manufactured.’ Certainly surprising that this would go unnoticed.

In any event, this is not the last we’ve heard form this fall out. Warner should never be able to play for Australia again. He neither represents the country, takes pride in the honour of donning a ‘baggy green’ and most certainly has a very weird way of bringing glory to his country. The only one that matters for Warner is himself.

35% of US households have no retirement savings plan – St Louis Fed

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According to the St Louis Fed:

Overall, 35 percent of U.S. households do not participate in any retirement savings plan.

Even among those households that do hold retirement accounts, many of them have low account balances. Figure 1 plots the sum of account balances of all IRAs, Keogh accounts and pension plans by percentile for various age groups. The median (50th percentile) household holds only $1,100 in its retirement account. Even the 70th and 80th percentiles of households have only about $40,000 and $106,000 in their retirement accounts, respectively.

This is literally before the sh1t hits the fan.

Then we wonder why Roseanne tops the ratings charts…

Truly inspiring

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The video speaks for itself. U.S. veteran Jason Zaideman, along with other veterans who work at Operation Combat Bikesaver volunteer their own time and money to put back the lives of other vets who’ve suffered trauma on the battlefield. Jason didn’t get to finish the bike he was building with his combat veteran father due to his death but mixed his ashes in the paintwork to make sure he was part of the finished product. Truly inspiring.

The sincerity of Steve Smith

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Two things were evident in his Sydney press conference. Three if you include the sick stunt pulled off by KIIS FM to mock Smith’s cheating as a distant second to a couple from Married at First Sight (MAFS). First, Steve Smith sounded sincere in his apology and his eyes looked like a man in utter distress. Second, we saw a man who was clearly intimidated by his deputy and let that get the better of him. Smith knows this will haunt him forever, as it should. At least he took ‘full’ responsibility.

Still for all of the millions these sports stars are paid, he buried his judgement and did something so monumentally stupid. How much Warner, the team ruffian, pushed him into accepting they would cheat is beside the point. The captain should have exercised his position there and then. Smith knows it was a catastrophic moment of weakness. Therefore why there is speculation he might have a shot at the position to be captain again in a couple of years is kind of pointless. He has shown he is well out of his depth in leading that team. It is a folly often made by groups to appoint the best performer as the leader.

With the bat, Smith has reached the top through sheer talent. No tampering has affected his ability to amass an average that is close to approaching the late, great Sir Don Bradman. That was his ability. Being at the top should have meant that he never needed to cheat. Still, greed acts in ways that makes people do foolish things. To think his golden goose has now been well and truly crisped. It is one thing to be sorry, it is another to willfully dupe others for considerable personal financial gain with the hope one isn’t caught red-handed.

It is fraud in any other language. In the finance industry one can go to jail for market manipulation. Should sports stars get more leniency than bankers? After all had ball tampering allowed the players to extract bigger match fees and bonuses over years isn’t that the same as rigging interest rates or insider trading?

After listening to Bancroft’s press conference, it was surprising no questions touched on the sugar in the pocket during the Ashes series. He claimed Newlands was it. Should it be found that the cheating has been going on for longer, then the bans set out for the perpetrators is way too short. The problem with lying is that the truth is easier to remember.

Crime in London – The Bill’s Feb 2018 snapshot isn’t pretty

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The Met Police in London has listed the following year on year trends in crime as at Feb 2018 as follows:

Murder: +42.4%

Robbery of personal property: +41.0%

Burglary – residential: +33.5%

Theft from Person: +32.1%

Burglary – commercial: +32.0%

Violence w/ Offensive Weapon: +32.1%

Rape: +20.3%

Motor Vehicle Interference/Tampering: +19.9%

Motor Vehicle Theft: +17.3%

Theft or Push Bike: +15.6%

Theft from Motor Vehicle: +15.4%

Fraud & Forgery: +13.7%

Common Assault: +9.4%

Sexual Assault: +8.5%

Violence causing grievous bodily harm: +7.7%

Drug Possession: -5.9%

A pretty sorry tale of crime rates in London. The trends since 2014 have been a reasonably steady upward climb. Last year, 891,507 crimes were logged by the police.

The Met has also listed a hate crime section on its website. The YoY stats vs Feb 2018 are as follows:

Anti-Semitic: -1.89% (+40.5% month on month)

Domestic Abuse: +5.8%

Faith Hate Crime: +20.1%

Gun Crime (Lethal Barrel Discharge): +14.2%

Homicide: +35.5%

Homophobic Hate Crime: +3.5%

Islamophobia: +34.4% (-39.0% month on month)

Knife Crime: +26.0%

Knife Crime (w/ injury): +11.7%

Where to avoid in London based on YoY figures?

Knife crime in the Borough of Enfield is +52.2%

Islamophobia in Westminster is +95.4%

Homicide in Southwark is +83.3%

Anti-Semitic hate crime in Harrow +228.6%

Taser Deployments year on year in Feb 2018: +8.7%

15% of the 2649 Taser deployments were in Lambeth and Tower Hamlets.

Is it a question of police being hamstrung from taking more heavy handed responses to crime by enforcing political correct responses or are they just too stretched?

From the London General Assembly:

“Since 2010-11, the Met’s general grant funding from the Government has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like-for-like basis. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will commit today to investing an additional £110million into the Metropolitan Police in the next year.

Budget cuts have led to the loss of a third of police staff posts, which are down from 14,330 to 9,985, as well as two-thirds of police community support officer (PSCO) posts, which are down from 4,607 to 1,591. In addition, there are now 114 fewer police station front counters and 120 fewer police buildings.“

There were 1146 Anti-Semitic hate crimes against a 168,000 Jewish population in London vs 1,741 Islamophobic reported hate crimes against the 607,000 Muslims living in the British capitol. So Jews, per head of population, are 2.3x more likely to face hate crimes than Muslims according to the Met’s statistics.

 

Who is bullying who?

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For all of the sanctimonious actions of the left can we be surprised by the surge of American citizens rushing to protect their constitutional rights? NRA members being labeled criminals and having blood on their hands by a bunch of kids shows how the loss of the lives of 17 youths has turned into a sick political circus. NRA members have not been responsible for any mass shoootings. Anyone with a pulse knows how sick mass shootings are. No one doubts the trauma caused. No one wants gun violence, least of all the NRA. It is never in their interests to have a shooting. Period.  Most people outside America can’t fathom why anyone needs a gun. Yet the adults corralling these kids are only too happy to back their martyrdom. They should know better than to use children this way.

Since the march on Washington we’ve seen defacto spokesman David Hogg be outed for lying where he was at the time of the shooting. He led the speeches, threw his defiant salute at the end and got the media’s praise. What wasn’t covered by the mainstream media was the fact that he hung up on the office of the White House in the middle of a call ahead of the event which showed his immaturity then allowed his fame to get the better of him by rattling off an expletive laden rant – “Sadly, that’s what we have to do with our government because our parents don’t know how to use a f***ing democracy so we have to do it.”

Hogg totally ignored the facts that could have prevented the tragedy. He glossed over the fact that automatic rifles account for less than 3% of firearm deaths. He overlooked the fact that 10% of schools in America have metal detectors and almost half have drug sniffer dogs. No words about the surge in single parent households and all of the psychological knock on effects of that. Of course it is the NRA’s fault as he aptly described them, “…The pathetic f***ers that want to keep killing our children, they could have blood from children splattered all over their faces and they wouldn’t take action because they all still see those dollar signs…”

Cuban flag bearing student Emma Gonzalez admitted she’d bullied the shooter Nikolas Cruz.  Yet adults around the world celebrate their bravery. The Democrats even had voter registration booths to take advantage of a day which was supposed to be about one thing – gun control. One Parkland survivor, Kyle Kashuv, showed how gun control is but a small part of the problem. In his view bullying of outcasts, single parent households and the 78 glaring oversights by the FBI and law enforcement over several years which might have prevented the tragedy are far bigger issues. Yet the media gives it next to no airtime.

Take cyber bullying stats from the Association of Psychological Science in the US. In 2015 more than 16,000 young people were absent from school daily because of bullying. 83% of young people say cyber bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 30% of young people have gone on to self-harm as a result of cyberbullying. 10% of young people have attempted to commit suicide as a result of cyberbullying. People who have been bullied are at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying. In the US alone, suicides per 100,000 head of population since 2000 are up 38% according to WHO.

There is no problem with protesting under the guise of free speech provided it is done respectfully and with fact. This whole episode completely dismisses the dead kids and pushes an activist agenda. The media is just as shameful. One can be pretty certain that if the NRA was able to have reasoned debates on solutions a far better outcome would occur than openly outing innocent civilians as silent killers.

The idea of possessing a gun is irrational to CM but the growing trend of trying to shut down open debate, free speech and demonization if innocent people is a growing trend around the world.

Deplorably delicious ratings for connecting comedy with real life

Roseanne is back on screens after 21 years. It is all about struggling working class Americans.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two episodes averaged a 5.1 rating in the key demographic coming in at 18.1 million viewers, making it the “highest-rated regularly-scheduled scripted show of the last few seasons, as well as the highest-rated sitcom in recent memory”.

So much for Trump haters, given she is portrayed as a grandmother who shares medication with her husband to save money, has a black grandchild, a son back from deployment in Syria while his wife is still serving on tour in the military. Their mid 40s daughter Becky is a widowed restaurant worker looking to become a surrogate mother for $50,000, so she can pay off her credit cards, put a deposit down on a home and buy a car. Roseanne’s sister protests her support for Trump calling her a deplorable.

It is amazing what happens when media companies cater to their audiences. Just like the ballot box, the privacy of one’s TV set allows people to express their true feelings. Real life transcends. Reminds of the success of The Office resonating with so many in the workplace with respect to horrible bosses, office romances and company politics.