John Kerry’s Warning on Syria

syria map

There have been talks going on in Geneva about the end of the hostile fighting occurring in Syria. In a heated late night phone call to a group of similar minded diplomats, Kerry said that it might already be too late for Syria to remain as one whole country for long. The agreements made to end the hostilities exclude Daesh and al-Quaeda because these two forces are not sovereign groups, but just a group of rampant thugs. The remnants of the Free Syrian Army have had alliances held with al-Quaeda and there is an odd mix going on between the fighters on the ground, each trying to overthrow their enemies.

Russia is also involved in this whole mess and allowed themselves to give humanitarian aid to half of the city in East Aleppo. What needs to happen with current elections coming up is to tone down some of the bombing of the people to not make room for more extremist recruitment tools.

Potential Future of Syria

A newly constructed state would be highly fragile and could follow a couple precedents that have happened in the world. The country could become similar to Afghanistan where the main government has weak control over the areas they have power in while they are engaged in constant insurgency fights in other regions and provinces in Afghanistan.

The idea of a breakup could be in the works but it is difficult to see if this would actually come to fruition. After all it was the breakup in the past century of the Ottoman Empire that spurred all of this dissent and inner tribal warfare in designated borders.

The powers in control or the ones that win this, if that is even possible need to think straight about if they will be able to do something that will not lead to this reemerging in a few years down the line or arising later.

To the east the Kurds have most of the control of the Hasaka province along with other local Arab allies. The Syrian Kurds need help against Daesh and have to worry about the Turkish coming in.  The main regime in power has been conquering the northern and western areas of Latakia, some of the largest urban populations. While in the meantime it still controls the majority of Damascus.

                                                        

Remnants of Daesh

Some of the first places taken over by Daesh were Raqqa and Deir al-Zur which is considered Daesh territory. The Iraqi government is working on taking back Mosul and isolating off Raqqa by denying them supply lines

What needs to occur then and this was Kerry’s main point is reconciliation between the winning powers so that something like this will not arise and they can begin to foster a sense of one full Syria. They can’t go on in this country without devolving into complete sustained chaos over the upcoming decade. The powers in control are already hammering away at the excuse that considers themselves their own nation. It’s up to the victors after the battle has ceased to win the true war.

 

A Profile of California’s Working Poor

cali poor

Although the state of California has seen great improvement when it comes to job growth and development, there is still the lingering issue with low wage workers of the state. These people are getting poorer, and more of them are living and working in the state. Of the millions of people living in California, 354,800 of them were working in a full-time, year round position, and still fell under the federal poverty limit. This information comes from the California Budget and Policy Center, which also determined this number is 3.1 percent of the overall state full-time workforce. How can the state help these working poor?

Low wage workers earn less

The working poor of California earn less than what the same worker would make just a few short decades ago. A Policy Analyst, Luke Reidenbach said that even if the economy in California grows, hourly wages might remain the same. The value of their wages decreases over time, causing low-wage workers to become even poorer. Individuals in San Diego and other parts of California are forced to figure out ways to get money to live. This might include getting government assistance for food and housing, taking out credit cards, getting a payday loan, or obtaining pink slip loans in San Diego. They will do whatever they have to do to provide basic necessities for themselves and their family. Just last year California created the Earned Income Tax Credit for eligible low income workers. A single Californian with no children, who earns less than $6,580 per year will qualify for the credit. When you add children to the mix, these individuals might earn more. Still, there are people who are single and making less than $7000 per year, and it makes you wonder how these people live.

Who might be considered the working poor?

Based on statistics from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, over half of low-wage earners working in California are Latino, and 40 percent were born outside of the United States. When it comes to education of these low wage workers, there was an increase in those with some college education from generations ago. However, over 50 percent of low wage workers only have a high school education, or less. Many of the working poor are cashiers, cooks, waitresses, housekeepers, and nursing aids. With such a low minimum wage, and high cost of living throughout the state, it is no wonder that the working poor is growing in numbers.

The life of some everyday low income workers

One Los Angeles resident, Fausto Hernandez Garcia, says that he only makes $9 per hour working at a car wash, and needed to figure out a way to make some extra money. On his days off, he will search for cardboard and scrap metal to sell for that little bit extra that might help him get by. Other low income workers who have a family struggle to make ends meet and live day to day. This means no money in savings and no money for their family’s future.

With this look at California’s growing low income workers, it is clear something needs to change.

Wild Leopard Wanders into Bengaluru School, Injuring Six

leopard

School employees were shocked and horrified to catch a glimpse of a massive male leopard roaming the halls of a wealthy suburban school in Southern India’s Bengaluru. Luckily, it all occurred during a holiday so there weren’t in children in the school at the time of the incident. But in the course of the ten-hour-long process to capture the leopard, six people were seriously injured by the frightened wild animal.

 

Security Cameras Capture 10-Hour Attempt to Subdue Lost Leopard

 

The school’s CCTV footage shows that the leopard entering through an open door at the Vibgyor International School at around 4 a.m. A security guard on duty saw the leopard enter the school on the security cameras and immediately alerted Bengaluru police. The arrival of officers on the scene frightened the leopard, who ran back out the door to hide in the landscaped bushes outside the school.

 

Shortly after, the leopard panicked again, and ran back into the school, looking for a place to hide. Several experts were called onto the scene to strategize the best method for capturing and relocating the animal.

 

But in the process, the leopard mauled several people in the school, including conservation scientist Sanjay Gubbi, forest department employee Benny Maurius, and a media photojournalist. Footage from the CCTV cameras show the leopard attacking a man who’d tried to corral the animal near the school’s gym swimming pool.

 

Leopard Tranquilized and Relocated to Nearby Rescue Center

 

Attempts to subdue the leopard lasted all day. The wild cat was injected with enough tranquilizers to render it incapacitated around 8:15 p.m. that night. After being checked out by a veterinarian staff, the animal was taken to a nearby animal rescue centre in the city’s Bannerghatta National Park.

 

All the injured persons in the leopard rescue efforts have been treated and are reported to be on the mend. Despite the unpleasant surprise of a wild male leopard finding its way into a school that’s normally full of unsuspecting children, environmental experts were not surprised that this happened.

 

Incident is Part of Rising Trend Resulting from Human Habitat Destruction, According to Experts

 

The school is on the edge of a range of forests, and experts say that the leopard likely wandered out of the forest, and became disoriented and frightened. This isn’t the first incident of wild animals, including major predatory cats, straying into populated areas on the fringes of the city of Bengaluru, most often in wealthy suburban areas.

 

Deforestation for farmland, suburban construction projects, and logging efforts have dramatically reduced the habitat for leopards and other wild animals throughout southern India. Reports of animals wandering into cities from forest edges are increasingly on the rise as human impact reduces their food sources and the animals are forced into populated areas.

 

Many disoriented animals like the leopard have starved, become injured in traffic, hurt or even killed humans, or have to be killed after they encroach into cities like Bengaluru.

The Zika Virus is “Ruining Plans” Across the Globe

The Zika Virus has caused a serious health concern around the world. The virus, which is spread via mosquitoes, can lead to serious illness. All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito for people to develop symptoms such as fever, joint paint, red eyes, and rash. And, while the virus rarely causes symptoms more severe than that, it has been causing concern as of late.

In fact, in May of 2015, the Pan American Health Organization released a statement and warning against the virus, confirming an outbreak in Brazil. The biggest concern is for pregnant women who contract the virus since it could cause birth defects and other problems in the developing fetus. As a result of the risk, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel alert, cautioning people against visiting areas where the risk for contracting the Zika virus is high.

Many people around the world, especially those who are expecting babies, are canceling travel plans as a result. And, unfortunately, this has put travel industry related companies, such as resorts, hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and more in a bind. They’re having to make tough calls about whether to credit or refund those who have booked trips but who now don’t want to risk making them.

It’s not just one or two areas that are being affected either. No, the Centers for Disease Control has issued warnings about 23 different parts of the world. This includes almost all of Central America, Samoa, and more. As a result, tourist influx in these areas is lower than ever. Even people who are not pregnant are worried about the risk of contracting a virus about which so little is known.

What’s even more frightening is that the World Health Organization doesn’t see an end to this outbreak anytime soon. In fact, it’s predicting that up to 4 million people will likely have been infected by the end of 2016. It is so concerned that it’s holding a meeting on February 1st to try and determine if the outbreak qualifies as a public health emergency.

And, while people may think they’re safe by staying inside of the United States, that’s not necessarily true. A case of the virus was recently recorded in Boston. However, it was contracted by someone who had traveled abroad, but the fear still remains.

The travel industry is also fearful at this time, unsure of how it will handle the hit and how long it will be affected. Most have reported large numbers of canceled trips. Some companies have even made the decision about how they will handle cancellations. American Airlines, for example, has decided to offer refunds to pregnant women and those traveling with them while Delta is offering various options on a case by case basis. Similarly, major cruise lines, including Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean are offering refunds and other options.

One thing is for sure, though. Until the Zika outbreak is under control, it is imperative that all travel companies come up with a plan for how to handle cancellations…and deal with the lost profits as well.

 

Sailors Detained by Iran

Sailor tying lighterman's hitch

Tuesday Iran’s capture of 10 United States sailors set off a firestorm for a lot of United States officials as they debated what happened and tried to get this figured out. Meetings in both Washington and Tehran were booming with anxious officials who wanted to make sure this incident would not affect the newest nuclear accord deal they had been fighting to finish and working on for quite some time. The accord is something that would prove to be of great worth between the two countries and cool down the hostilities.

It eventually came down to Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif who had been working together over the past few months to get the new agreement hammered out between the two countries. The two of them became close during that time in the close quarters of sliding this deal through. As both countries struggled to get the full details of the affair, the two men worked it out the best way they could.

Both of them spoke over the phone a reported five times. Meanwhile Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was investigating what happened and wanted to make sure it the U.S had entered their Iranian waters on purpose. There was multiple meetings surround this drama in both capitals. At the heart of all of this were the two men who had worked so hard to ignite a new relationship. They were not going to let this be undone by the incident.

Timing is Everything

The drama in the gulf was unfolding right before the annual State of the Union in front of Congress. Right away Kerry rushed to his room to deal with the fallout of this and spared no time in trying to fix a potential catastrophe.

Fortunately it was reported that the supreme leader decreed “After making sure there were no evil intentions from the sailors’ side, Leader Khamenei gave the green light for the release of sailors”

The sailors were released from the island and were unharmed, It was reported that there was no government to government apology from either side or to Tehran. During the capturing it was broadcast on Iranian television and one of the sailors apologized and said that it was just an accident for them entering the waters.

Repeated Incident

A similar incident like this one once occurred in March of 2007. Many might not remember but 15 British sailors were captured in Iran on the waters that were considered their territory. Instead of the 24 hours it took for the Americans to be released, it took 13 days before the President released these men under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s command.  They even had a British ambassador at that point stationed in Tehran yet the communication did not stick as well as the American’s did in 2016. There was a tense 40 minutes to the capture as it was reported a US plane was flying very low and close over the island. Luckily what Kerry and Mohammad had developed together was enough to save the situation.

 

Obama Closing Gun Show Loophole

obama gun

Gun control has become even more of a prevalent topic for debate. President Obama has made clear throughout his terms of being president that he wants changes made regarding gun control. Over the past several years since Sandy Hook, Charleston, S.C. shooting, and other violent domestic gun crimes it is clear something needed to be changed. President Obama could not agree more. He has made it clear he wants to tighten the current gun laws to ensure as much safety as possible without taking away the American citizen right to bear arms.

 

The NRA National Rifle Association and other firearm enthusiasts hold many gun shows throughout the year. At these gun shows one is able to easily purchase guns from private sellers. This enables anyone of those buyers to purchase a gun just based on the private sellers discretion. As long as the seller does not know or has reasonable cause to believe that the buyer would be prohibited purchase of a firearm then they can sell to that buyer. So in essence that would pretty much allow anyone to be able to purchase a firearm at a gun show. You can see why that doesn’t settle right with people. When purchasing a firearm at a store location or any other FFL (Federal Firearms License) holder it is a law that there must be a record kept and proper background check of the person purchasing the firearm. So why does this not include gun show sales. Well just like other systems there are always loopholes to be found. Unfortunately the loopholes here are regarding weapons.

 

Some states in the past year have taken it upon themselves and have initiated stricter gun laws. States like Connecticut and Washington, D.C. have gone above the federal law regulations when it comes to background checks. So what does this executive action initiated by President Obama change?

  1. All sellers of firearms are required to have a license and must complete background checks no matter where the firearms are sold. This is a way to keep guns out of the wrong hands by completion of proper background checks. More examiners will be hired to help with background checks. Having background checks available 24/7 and alert local police when someone who isn’t prohibited to purchase a firearm tries to.
  2. Intends to make communities safer from gun violence. Two hundred new jobs created to help with enforcement of gun laws. To help encourage and educate gun safety and laws surrounding it.
  3. Help increase mental health treatment with a proposed $500 million dollars. Since many of the mass shooting were blamed on mental illness by politicians Obama set up a plan.
  4. Ensure gun safety. Obama believes that with technology a decrease in accidental and intentional gun crimes would happen. Allowing the only person to unlock a gun for use is the gun owner themselves.

Many believe that these stricter gun laws are going to limit people and test the constitution. Many presidential candidates have said that if elected they would remove the executive action taken by President Obama. Of course the majority of those candidates are Republicans.  

 

Timothy McGinty: Who Is He?

What kind of prosecuting attorney persuades a grand jury to set the suspect free? I am so confused. I thought the prosecutor was supposed to present evidence to the grand jury to prove the suspect’s guilt in a murder case. Since when does the prosecutor have a heart for a killer? Was there reasonable doubt in the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice back in 2014? Thanks to video surveillance, the doubt was removed. America was able to witness exactly what happened. Cleveland, Ohio police officer Timothy Loehmann drove up onto a child playing with a plastic pellet gun in a park and, within a recorded two seconds, shot the child down dead. Prosecuting attorney Timothy McGinty believed Loehmann was within his right to kill the 12-year-old.

timothy mcginty

McGinty argued on behalf of Loehmann that there was no way the police officer could have known that the toy gun was not real. Loehmann explained that Rice looked older than 12 years old. However, in the state of Ohio if Rice was an adult, he would have been within his right to open carry his firearm in a park. Loehmann violated Rice’s rights and made the fatal error of not questioning the kid before killing him within those recorded two seconds. McGinty, a former county judge and probation officer before becoming a prosecuting attorney, told Cleveland Magazine back in 2012 that he believes it is very important to never lie to a jury. He stated they must know all of the facts, so that they will come to an informed decision. I am curious, along with millions of others around the country, what evidence did McGinty present to the grand jury for them to set Loehmann free for murdering a child captured on camera?

 

The NAACP is demanding the court transcripts. McGinty is possibly relieved that the state of Ohio prohibits the organization from attaining the information that was presented to the grand jury. The NAACP is determined to find out who was on that grand jury as well as get access to the court documents in Rice’s murder. While the grand jurors are understandably shaking in their boots concerned with their names one day being released to the public, protesters have found out where McGinty lives with his family and have staked out his home, picketing. The prosecutor clearly has been used to getting away with alleged unethical court practices. But now with video recordings available to the world, his alleged dealings are becoming a tad challenging to cover-up. America is not stupid.

 
The long time marathon runner who has gotten into feuds with radio personality Howard Stern in the past, does not seem to be at all concerned about his career. His arrogance is almost disturbing. Many believe he basically freed a man who killed a child on camera and is sitting back with a powerful grin. He knows that the law will protect him. America is struggling to understand why McGinty chose to fight for the suspect and not the innocent child lying dead in a cemetery. Something is not adding up. Was McGinty paid off? Prosecutors need their relationship with law enforcement. Was this a favor repaid? The public just does not understand who McGinty is and who is he fighting for? One thing we know for certain, he had no desire to fight for Rice. How many other child killers has McGinty set free for a favor or money?

Miss Colombia Should Capitalize?

miss columbia

It was every young girl’s fantasy while playing in her bedroom mirror to walk a runway, sparkling and waving to her fans, crowned a beauty queen. Using an old beach towel tied around her neck to represent her royal cape, a plastic diamond tiara cocked to the side, and wearing her mother’s high heels, she gives her speech to her audience of stuffed teddy bears, unicorns, Barbie dolls, and her pet dog about achieving world peace. Even at the age of seven years old, she understands being crowned Miss America does not compare to being voted the most beautiful girl in the whole universe.

The Miss Universe pageant is an accumulation of one beauty queen from each country. Though the program is not as highly publicized like it had been ten years ago, this past 2015 Miss Universe pageant sent the ratings skyrocketing for the first time in ages. Now that business mogul Donald Trump is no longer the host, the audience truly enjoyed comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey replacing him. However, Harvey made the mistake of all mistakes that could possibly be made during a pageant. When the event got down to the last two finalists, Miss Philippines and Miss Colombia, the viewers were on the edge of their seats, waiting for Harvey to crown the new Miss Universe.

 

Both Miss Philippines and Miss Colombia stood trembling anxiously in their evening gowns, waiting for the big announcement. The world came to a screeching halt as Harvey mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia. Miss Philippines stood shocked as if she knew he had made a horrible mistake. The mix-up almost caused the Internet to break! Harvey, a seasoned tough skinned comic, rolled with the thousands of tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook postings making fun of his error. He humbly apologized to Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines. Miss Colombia had to give up the crown of Miss Universe. I cannot even begin to imagine how that must have felt.

Taking the opportunity to dig the knife in deeper to everyone involved, former host Trump stated the mix-up would not have happened if he were still host. Seeing as how Trump has publicly expressed his feelings about immigrants moving into America, hosting a pageant filled with gorgeous women from every country in the world just does not seem like a good match. Trump was fired from his duties. Even though Harvey made the error that will go down in pageant history, he brought great ratings to the program causing millions of people to suddenly pay attention to the Miss Universe pageant.

 

Rumors circulated the media that Miss Colombia intended to sue Harvey for $5 million for her pain and social humiliation. My question is; why? Did Taylor Swift sue Kanye West for jumping on stage during her MTV Moonman award acceptance speech telling the judges Beyonce should have won it instead? No. Why? Because West’s actions brought international attention to the young singer who was new on the music scene. Her career took off to heights she probably would not have reached had the infamous incident not occurred. Swift thanked West all the way to the bank.

 

Miss Colombia is a household name now because of Harvey. Suing him for $5 million would be minute compared to the money she could possibly earn if she strategize and seizes this moment. With a good publicist and manager, the beauty queen could capitalize on the highly televised hiccup. Endorsements, movie deals, a book of memoirs, a cosmetic line, and the list of possibilities continues, Miss Colombia can come out on top anyway. Stunningly gorgeous and statuesque, the universe is still her oyster.

Howard Stern Renews Deal with Sirius XM for another 5 years

In a recent deal this year in 2015, Howard Stern has decided that he wants to renew a deal with Sirius XM for five additional years to host his radio talk show. He just recently signed the new contract. This ended a lot of speculation from people who thought that he would be leaving the satellite radio medium all together as he once did a long time ago, and possibly going into Internet radio.

NEW YORK - MAY 24:  Howard Stern attends the premiere of "Sex and the City 2" at Radio City Music Hall on May 24, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

The Contract

The new agreement will allow Stern to host “The Howard Stern Show” on the Sirius XM radio format for an additional five years. There’s also an added twelve year deal which develops a video-streaming service which has all of his past audio and video streams saved for further enjoyment and listening.

Howard Stern is 62 years old and still remains a major force in the broadcast industry. He is a household name and is reach is far and wide.

Stern’s previous five-year deal was expiring. There was no indication behind the actual numbers of the deal but some estimates by analysts put the figure at somewhere around $90 million a year up $10 million from his current contract.

In a statement Stern said, “I happen to think that its best days are ahead,” he then followed that in traditional stern style by saying “So, if you are not listening to SiriusXM and The Howard Stern Show, then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside. It’s as if you were still watching black and white television while shopping in actual stores on your way to the post office to fax a memo.”

Details of the Deal

Another aspect of the deal as touched upon earlier is the right to his archive of audio and video performances. These performances span his long career of three decades in the broadcasting industry. Chief Executive Officer James Meyer has said that they will leave everything up to Howard as usual, in what he called the “creative experience will be controlled by Howard.”

In his old contract Stern was doing three live shows each individual week. Liberty Media and John Malone, a fixture in the cable industry, control Sirius XM radio. They have a large following of people who use their service in their cars that is usually resigned to high-end vehicles. A lot of cars come equipped with this package. In 2006 satellite radio combined with XM and now have a good amount of subscribers, a number of 29 million of them to be exact. Meyer also said” I’d like to see Howard do his radio show 12 years from now.”

There will most likely be a future for radio here with Howard Stern because he is getting a lot of money in this contract and also the creative freedom to do what he wants and has always done. Not to mention through the medium he has a lot of people who not only can, but also want to listen to what he has to say over the radio.