Daily Archive: 07/08/2014

Jul 08 2014

2014 World Cup: Semifinals Brazil – Germany

We are down to the Semifinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In today’s match, it’s the home team Brazil faces off with Germany; tomorrow Argentina meets the Netherlands’ “Red Devils.”. Coverage of today’s game begins at 3 PM EDT on ESPN.

From The Guardian here’s what to look for in this afternoon’s game:

1) Brazil’s mind

Earlier in the tournament Luiz Felipe Scolari had fears for tears. The overwrought emoting of many of his players seemed to be sapping their energy and focus. [..]

2) Replacing Neymar

Brazil’s second task is, of course, to figure out how best to replace their stricken idol. Minus their leader, they need to operate better as a collective. [..]

3) Strikers with a point to prove

One gets the impression that the next worst thing that could befall Brazil fans after being deprived of Neymar would be for Argentina to go on and win the World Cup at the Maracanã. But it would also be supremely galling if Brazil were prevented from making the final by a goal in their own backyard from Miroslav Klose, who would thereby surpass Ronaldo as the tournament’s all-time leading goalscorer [..]

4) Time to see more of the wizardry of Özil

“If Löw is bold, he’ll say: ‘I will not play with only 10 people'” – that is the verdict of the former Bayern Munich left-back Paul Breitner, who has joined the chorus of German voices calling for Mesut Özil to be dropped for the semi-final [..]

5) The man in the middle

Referees are the subject of an unfair amount of attention in football and no one could reasonably criticise Marco Rodríguez for missing Luis Suárez’s bite when he took charge of the Italy-Uruguay match earlier in the tournament.

The Neymar injury and the Spanish referee are still very much in the news.

No Punishment on Neymar Hit

By The New York Times

World Cup 2014: FIFA Won’t Act on Neymar Hit Due to Referee’s Ruling

And since the referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo of Spain, did not issue a yellow card or red card incorrectly – or any card in this case – there also was no “obvious error” for the disciplinary committee to correct, FIFA said.

The disciplinary committee also dismissed the Brazilian federation’s appeal of a yellow card issued to Thiago Silva during the Colombia match. The yellow card, Silva’s second of the tournament, meant that he would be suspended for Tuesday’s semifinal against Germany.

2014 World Cup Neymar Injured photo 08BRAZIL-master495_zps01144091.jpg

Coutesy Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Tell can’t tell me that Zúñiga should not have been red carded. Neymar is fortunate that he wasn’t injured more seriously. It only takes 40 pounds of lateral pressure to severe the spine.

It’s also given the Cup’a theme to end world racism a black eye:

Neymar’s Injury Sidelines Effort to End World Cup Racism

By Simon Romero, The New York Times

After an episode in Peru earlier this year in which Peruvian soccer fans subjected a Brazilian player to racial abuse by imitating the sounds of monkeys, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil swiftly pledged a “World Cup against racism,” declaring, “Sports should be no place for prejudice.”

Yet when Brazil’s top player, Neymar, broke a vertebra when he was kneed in the back during a match on Friday by a Colombian player, the torrent of racist insults against the Colombian, Juan Camilo Zúñiga, showed how far the host of the World Cup remains from achieving that goal.

Expressing fury over Neymar’s injury, which sidelined him for the rest of the tournament, some Brazilians took to social media, including Twitter and Instagram, to express their rage against Mr. Zúñiga with racial slurs. [..]

Brazil’s government issued stern warnings against racial insults or other discriminatory behavior during the tournament. Even before the match between Brazil and Colombia, players from both teams held aloft a banner declaring, “Say No to Racism,” a slogan promoted by FIFA, the organization that oversees the World Cup.

Yet Brazil’s racial divide has also come into greater focus since the tournament began in June. Reflecting high ticket prices in a country where blacks still generally earn far less than whites, a poll by the Datafolha polling company suggested that fans attending games were overwhelmingly rich and white.

The press is also underplaying the protests and riots that have been taking place all around Brazil over the inequality of the mostly poor black population many of whom have not only been priced out of being able to attend any of the games but where displaced from their homes around the venues, much like what happened in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympic village. You won’t hear about any of this on ABC or ESPN.

Before the World Cup Ends, Will the Media Tell the Truth?

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter was strutting like a rooster over the weekend about the absence of mass protests during Brazil’s World Cup. “Where is all this social unrest?” he asked in mocking snark that, along with bribery and corruption, has become his trademark. Then Blatter waxed rhapsodic about how “football is more than a religion” in Brazil, as if that explains the absence of millions of people marching on his “FIFA quality stadiums”. Similar, sentiments were expressed by Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Sports Luis Fernandes, who said that “during the World Cup, the passion for football has taken over.”

This position has been echoed continuously in the US media. The Washington Post has carried headlines that have read, “In Brazil,smiles, parties have replaced protests” and “A nation’s haves, have nots unite for a common cause.” No need to pick on the Post, as this has been “the line” in multiple media outlets over the last several weeks.

As is often the case with the mainstream media, they have started with an indisputable truth and then have chosen to draw conclusions that match their own embedded perspective: a perspective shaped by Sepp Blatter, his broadcast partners and a blinkered reality of hotels and black SUVs. It is certainly true that the million-person protests have not taken place during the World Cup, as they did during the 2013 Confederation’s Cup. But the conclusion that now everything is awesome and “parties have replaced protests” is simply not true. I recently returned from Brazil and saw a different reality. The fact is that there are protests, strikes and battles with police happening every day. In the favelas, there are demonstrations against the police occupations that are happening because of the Cup. (Here is a terrific photo essay by Andalusia Knoll that shows images from all the World Cup protests that are not happening.)[

Jul 08 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: Germany and the Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is obviously too low. So is the Democrats’ proposed increase to $10.10 an hour by 2016. If the minimum wage had merely kept pace over time with inflation, average wages or productivity growth, it would be between $11 an hour and $18 an hour today.

It would also be higher if it kept pace with what other advanced economies are prepared to pay.

Last week, the lower house of Parliament in Germany voted to set a nationwide minimum wage of 8.50 euros an hour, about $11.60, effective in 2015. The upper house is expected to approve the measure this week. [..]

In a global economy that has long relied on low wages to lift profits, a relatively high minimum wage in Germany would also reflect a growing consensus there that a high-wage, high-productivity economy is, in fact, an advantage in stabilizing the nation economically and socially.

Malte Spitz: The NSA, the silent chancellor, and the double agent: how German ignorance left us vulnerable to the US spy game

To credibly demand change from the Americans, Merkel’s government must come clean about its own mass surveillance

The German-American relationship has long been like a bad, never-ending break-up. Germany, especially under the conservative leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, saw the love of its life – intimate, trustworthy, for better or for worse, with no secrets but plenty of denial. The US was always a more sober and suspicious lover – in it for the affair, whenever it had the free time.

Now that a German intelligence official has been arrested under suspicion of passing secret information back to America – potentially concerning an NSA investigation, and reportedly under direction by the CIA – finally the Merkel government is admitting that the long honeymoon is over. Tap my cellphone, shame on you; fool me with a double agent, shame on an ignorant nation.

If a young employee of the German foreign intelligence agency (BND) was indeed passing secret information to the Americans for more than two years, that is certainly a direct attack to the heart of Merkel’s conservatives – no matter how low-level the employee, and especially if he was spying on the German Bundestag’s spying investigation. The security apparatus was always their domain, and an invasion of their system would be a blow to their fight for enhancing surveillance inside and outside of Germany

Robert Sheer: Hillary Clinton Flaunts Her Surveillance State Baggage

Who is the true patriot, Hillary Clinton or Edward Snowden? The question comes up because Clinton has gone all out in attacking Snowden as a means of burnishing her hawkish credentials, eliciting Glenn Greenwald’s comment that she is “like a neocon, practically.”

On Friday in England, Clinton boasted that two years ago she had favored a proposal by a top British General to train 100,000 “moderate” rebels to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, but Obama had turned her down. The American Thatcher? In that same interview with the Guardian she also managed to get in yet another shot against Snowden for taking refuge in Russia “apparently under Putin’s protection,” unless, she taunted, “he wishes to return knowing he would be held accountable.”

Accountable for telling the truth that Clinton concealed during her tenure as secretary of state in the Obama administration? Did she approve of the systematic spying on the American people as well as of others around the world, including the leaders of Germany and Brazil, or did she first learn of all this from the Snowden revelations?

Dean Baker: The Good News About Obamacare in the June Jobs Report

Many people touted the 288,000 new jobs the Labor Department reported for June, along with the drop in the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, as good news. And they were right. For now it appears the economy is creating jobs at a decent pace. We still have a long way to go to get back to full employment, but at least we are now finally moving forward at a faster pace.

However there is another important part of the jobs picture that was largely overlooked. There was a big jump in the number of people who report voluntarily working part-time. This figure is now 830,000 (4.4 percent) above its year ago level.

Before explaining the connection to the Obamacare, it is worth making an important distinction. Many people who work part-time jobs actually want full-time jobs. They take part-time work because this is all they can get. An increase in involuntary part-time work is evidence of weakness in the labor market and it means that many people will be having a very hard time making ends meet.

Richard Seymour: Ahmad Chalabi: the pariah who could become Iraq’s next prime minister

Even for the Bush administration, Chalabi was too untrustworthy. That the White House now needs him is a sign of its despair

If any confirmation were needed of the disintegration of Iraq and the failure of US policy, then surely it must be the second coming of Ahmad Chalabi. Once persona non grata in the US embassy in Iraq, he has been welcomed back into the fold, cited in the New York Times as a serious contender to replace Nouri al-Maliki, endorsed by Paul Wolfowitz, and talked up as a saviour by sections of the Iraqi government.

The US wants a replacement for Maliki, but why Chalabi, who has negligible grassroots support in Iraq? He is said to be able to unite the different factions, but has any figure done more to play off one against the other? The answer comes down to Chalabi’s considerable skill in elite manoeuvring. Never particularly interested in or adept at mass politics, he is exceptional at twisting arms and wooing behind the scenes.

Jul 08 2014

The Breakfast Club 7-8-2014

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg

This Day in History

Jul 08 2014

On This Day In History July 8

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 176 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1951, Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.

Origins

The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, but later Gallicised to Lutèce. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.

The collapse of the Roman empire and the 5th-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of “Paris” towards the end of the Roman occupation.

The Paris region was under full control of the Germanic Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century. Repeated invasions forced Parisians to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité; one of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was sacked and held ransom, probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris was elected king of France by feudal lords, and the end of the Carolingian empire came in 987, when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more.

Jul 08 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 4, Le Touquet-Paris-Plage / Lille Métropole

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

As predicted a sprinters’ race with Marcel Kittel picking up his second stage victory and the teams of Giant-Shimano, Cannondale, and Omega-Pharma QuickStep dominating the final kilometer.  Peter Sagan wasn’t able to put much pressure on Kittel and was in fact losing ground to Mark Renshaw at the finish.

In the General Classification Vincenzo Nibal continues to lead with no less than 20 riders a mere 2 seconds behind after the 3rd Stage.  In the points competition Peter Sagan leads with 117, followed by Marcel Kittel at 90 and Bryan Coquard with 88.  Their next nearest rival is 41 points behind.  No climbing points were awarded yesterday so the leader in that contest is still Cyril Lemoine with 6, Blel Kadri has 5, and Jens Voigt and Nicolas Edet are in a 2 way tie for 3rd with 4 each.  In team results Sky, Astana (-00:12), and BMC (-00:14) are in front with only NetApp-Endura and Trek within a minute of the leaders.  Peter Sagan, Roman Bardet, and Michal Kwiatkowski are in a 3 way tie for the youth championship.

Today’s 102 mile stage starts in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage with is a Channel coast resort town and not anywhere near Paris Paris.  It’s flattish, but not nearly as flat as yesterday with 2 category 4 rated climbs.  Lille Métropole is just outside of Belgium where tomorrow’s racing will be.  It’s likely to be another day for the sprinters with the intermediate Sprint Checkpoint shortly before the day’s second climb.  It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Marcel Kittel will pick up his 3rd stage victory in 4 days since Giant-Shimano seems very highly organized and the ability to position your sprinter for the final kilometer more than almost any other factor seems to be determining element in the sprint stages so far.