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Daily Archives: February 12, 2017
Posted: February 12, 2017 at 7:48 am
POLITICS Zuma’s interventions will deal with white monopoly capital – Office of ANC Chief Whip
Moloto Mothapo |
12 February 2017
Reprehensible and deeply embarrassing conduct of opposition MPs at SONA deeply disturbing
MATTERS RELATING TO THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDDRESS
The ANC in Parliament welcomes Presidents Zumas plan for radical economic transformation as presented in his State of the Nation Address last night. The speech demonstrated commitment to fundamentally change the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.
As the ANC in this Parliament, we are poised to hold the executive accountable on the commitments it has made to the nation in relation to radical socio-economic transformation.
We are committing ourselves to thoroughly consult the people on every Act that facilitates radical socio-economic transformation, including those that have been referred back to parliament, such as the Expropriation Bill and the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act. We acknowledge that in some cases the NCOP has defaulted on ensuring meaningful public participation. We will ensure that that all our people are sufficiently involved in the law-making processes as they impact on their lives.
We welcome the new regulations that make it compulsory for big contractors to subcontract 30% of business to black owned enterprises which were gazetted last month. We further welcome the anticipation of new legislation which will among others address the need to have a more inclusive economy and de-concentrate the high levels of ownership and control we see in many sectors. These interventions will go a long way in dealing with white monopoly capital and ensuring that all South Africans are able to participate in the economy of our country.
On land, we note the need for parliament to speed up the process of the Expropriation Bill in order to pursue land reform and land redistribution. We further welcome the announcement of a draft Property Practitioners Bill which will be published by the Department of Human Settlements for public comment with the purpose of establishing a more inclusive, representative sector, towards radical economic transformation.
We are pleased with the announcement that this government will in the remaining years of this administration focus on relooking the NSFAS threshold of R122 000 to allow the poor and working class greater access to higher education.
The African National Congress in Parliament is deeply disturbed by the reprehensible and deeply embarrassing conduct of Members of Parliament which displayed itself last night in full view of the national and the international community during the occasion of the 2017 State of the Nation Address.
The annual State of the Nation Address presents an opportunity for government to account to the public on its performance and to present its set of priorities for the future. South Africans, the majority of whom are Black and poor, look forward to this important annual presidential address to hear how their government plans to continue to respond to their socioeconomic challenges and improve their conditions of life. For its part, Parliament is enjoined by the Constitution to enable a platform for the executive to report regarding its work and to conduct oversight over its performance.
When Members of Parliament connive in order to prevent the executive from accounting to the people, they are not only guilty of dereliction of their Constitutional function but they are also in violation of the right of South Africans to hear and hold their government to account. Public representatives should not be a barrier between the people and the government they have elected. Parliament is the uppermost representative body of the people that represents their democratic will, hopes and aspirations. Any attack on the institution or obstruction of its Constitutional function represents a direct onslaught on the people.
The happenings at Parliament last night are a national shame that, if not thoroughly and decisively nipped in the bud, will destroy the mainstay of our constitutional democracy. Blood, sweat and tears were shed for the attainment of this democracy, together with one of the best constitutions in the world, for it to be destroyed by unbridled acts of anarchy which show scant regard for the law, the rules, the Constitution and the people to whom Parliament belongs. The people of South Africa must rise up and speak out against this rampant anarchy and protect their public institutions.
The conduct of the EFF Members of Parliament last night, which involved blatant acts of criminality and intimidation, is the clearest indication yet that the Partys resoluteness to render dysfunctional and subsequently destroy one of the most important institutions of the people. When a party of few MPs violate the rules and procedures of Parliament at will, and even unleashes violence against those tasked with preserving and maintaining the orderly management of the House, then our national liberty is at stake. This cannot be allowed to continue.
As part of a clearly orchestrated plan to obstruct this years first sitting of Parliament, EFF MPs yesterday transgressed all rules governing joint sittings of the two Houses of Parliament. They rose in a synchronised chaotic fashion insisting on frivolous points of order which have no basis in the law or rules, unleashed a torrent of profanity at the President, the Presiding Officers and the House while demonstrating utter contempt for the public.
In the face of extreme provocation and vulgarity, the presiding officers displayed great restraint, patience and reasonableness delaying the Presidents speech for over an hour before correctly ordering the removal of the EFF MPs. EFFs response to this procedural mechanism provided for in the rules was violence: beating the parliamentary protection staff with fists and helmets and pelting them with water bottles and other objects. A number of staff members were injured in the process. We strongly believe that the violent attacks using water bottles and helmets calls for the tightening of the House rules to ensure safety of all MPs and staff.
The EFF MPs also left a trail of damage to parliamentary property, which includes the door of the ANC Chief Whips reception area. As the parliamentary staff was removing the disruptive MPs from the Chamber, we are reliable informed by eye-witness sources that a member of the EFF in the public gallery simultaneously threw a tear gas powder, which we believe was part of the well-orchestrated disruption. We are confident that the cameras of Parliament will be able to expose this individual, including identifying specific MPs responsible for the damage to property, so that they can face the full might of the law. Members of the parliamentary staff must be applauded for responding swiftly by pouring water on the substance to minimise its effect.
We condemn in the strongest terms the repulsive conduct of these EFF MPs and their supporters, whose intention was to collapse the most important sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, undermine the rights of South Africans, and to destroy the institution. The behaviour of these MPs warrants a criminal probe by the law enforcement agencies and a parliamentary investigation by the powers and privileges committee. A clear message must be sent to these individuals that peoples institutions cannot be attacked and be subjected to acts of criminality with impunity.
We equally condemn the opportunistic DA for partaking in the disruption through frivolous points of order in solidarity with its coalition partner. The DAs use of the painful and sad matter of the deaths of psychiatric patients in Gauteng for political posturing is shameful. The DA deliberately sought to use this tragedy as a tool for political grandstanding and disruption of Parliament.
If the DA was sincere about Parliament paying respects for the deceased, it would have followed the normal parliamentary procedure of alerting the presiding officers and all parties ahead of the sitting, as it is normally the case with matters of this nature. While the ANC in Parliament supports the remembrance of deceased by Parliament, the manner in which the DA sprung the matter was disingenuous, disappointing and disrespectful to the memory of the victims and the bereaved families.
The families of the deceased should not have been made to witness their deceased loved ones being placed at the centre of such deliberate disorderliness by the DA. If the DA respected the memory of the deceased as we do, and was sensitive to the feelings of their families, it would have treated the matter with deserved respect by consulted with all parties as dictated by procedure instead of using as a stepping stone for walk-out and disruption.
We have noted the announcement around the deployment of members of the SANDF to assist with law and order enforcement during the State of the Nation Address during the sitting of the House. We will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly for clarification on this matter.
Statement issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, 10 February 2017
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Posted: at 7:47 am
Palestine Israel Action Group
Amid a strong push by the Israeli government to increase construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank, the Knesset approved a bill on Feb. 6 that will retroactively legalize the construction of 4,000 settlement homes and the robbery of private Palestinian land. While the settler-colonial state of Israel is no stranger to land theft, this move comes just weeks after yet another UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction.
While the law states that the original landowners are compensated monetarily or with alternative land, they do not have to agree to concede their property rights. It is important to note that since the occupied Palestinian population does not have citizenship rights in Israel, they have no participatory role in the lawmaking process nor the ability to vote on Israeli policies.
Israel is an apartheid state in which the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza live under belligerent, military occupation. The passage of this law highlights the complete contempt and disregard that Israel has shown towards the Palestinian people since its formation. The law itself is illegal and will no doubt be challenged. Back in November of last year, even Benjamin Netanyahu recognized that the passage if this bill could bring Israel to The Hague, the city that hoststhe International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
Israels occupation of Palestine, its brutal treatment of the Palestinian people, its demolition of Palestinian homes, and its blatant disregard for international law has brought sharp criticism from activists and organizations all over the world. Last year, the Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform called out the complicity of the U.S. government in the oppression of Palestinians through its financial support to Israel, all while Black communities, schools and services in the United States remain underfunded.
We will not sit idly by while the Palestinian people have their land ripped out from underneath them. We will continue to stand in solidarity with Palestine and all nations suffering imperialist plunder. Long live Palestine!
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Posted: at 7:47 am
War on drugs in Kenya. (Photo: Courtesy)
The drug trafficking issue has made it to the news cycle yet again. This time it is driven by the extradition of Akasha sons to the US to face drug trafficking charges.
In the absence of solid data, anecdotal evidence ranging from the increase in arrests of traffickers to the magnitude of heists, indicates an increase in the volumes of drugs being transited through Kenya. Undoubtedly, this is a serious issue.
As a country, it seems that we speak and attempt to deal with the issue regularly, but often with little success. In my view, this status of events can be explained by the politicisation of the issue.
Gernot Klantschnig, an expert on social policy and international crimes, examined the War on drugs in Nigeria and showed how the efforts to deal with drug trafficking had been politicised. He examined the narrative on the governments efforts to deal with drugs and established that it was characterised by three core elements: crisis, correction and success. This seems to be the same case here in Kenya.
First, characterised as a worsening crisis, the drug issue is always presented in a highly sensationalised manner taking two broad dimensions. For one, the country is presented as inevitably heading down to become a narco-state, falling from its current respectable status. The most significant concern in this respect is that drug money is being used to attain positions of influence, particularly in politics.
This view appears to be somewhat validated by the regular connection of powerful individuals to the drug trade. Naturally this leads people to worry whether our law-enforcement agencies can adequately address the issue. The other dimension is the fear that drugs will wipe out an entire generation of youth and hence rob Kenya of her promising future. Senior leaders, including the President, have previously expressed concern that drugs, by ruining young lives, will deny our country a bright future.
ALSO READ: Joho opens up on drugs claims
These views are based on alarmist speculations of interested parties. Instead, the government approach to such an issue should be based on a solid base of evidence and analysis that helps shape the strategy of intervention.
The second part of the drug narrative is correction; communicating the idea that the government is doing something about it. In this respect, the government has on various occasions put drug dealers and traffickers on notice. The most recent of these statements was issued by the Inspector General of the Police, Joseph Boinnet, who said the State is determined to uproot the tree, the roots, the stem and the leaves.
This is often accompanied by threats, such as the one issued by the President recently that the State machinery would be used to cut off their operations and arrest key individuals involved in drug trafficking. On other occasions, the game is to name and shame as demonstrated by when the late Prof George Saitoti named suspected drug barons in Parliament when he was Minister for Internal Security.
Threatening people or naming and shaming them without arresting them and parading them in court opens the State up for criticism of politicising the issue. And often, the accused individuals respond to the claims, following a fairly standard script. Often, they start with denying the accusations and the proceed to indicate that they are good and responsible citizens even good Christians or Muslims – who are being targeted by their political and business rivals. As in the case of Joho last week, some of them dare the government to arrest them if they have evidence. The arrests are usually not forthcoming.
The final part of the narrative is success; often an indication that we are winning this war. Even in the absence of evidence, the government tries to demonstrate some form of success in their efforts.
However, whether it is destruction of drugs or extradition of suspects, or regular arrests of drugs and arrest of dealers and traffickers, these indications of success punctuate long durations of outright failure. To be fair though, such instance signals commitment on the part of government and demonstrate the competence of our law enforcement agencies that is often ignored.
Our limited success in these areas is demonstrated by the politicisation of efforts to deal with this vice ranging from over-emphasizing the importance of the issue, naming and shaming people without the evidence to charge them in court and celebrating small successes, without a view of how big victories would look like.
ALSO READ: Exposed: Secretive Akashas dynasty
Posted: at 7:47 am
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is changing his deadly war on drugs.
The change came after the killing last October of a South Korean businessman by Philippine police officers working on the drug war.
The police agency blamed for killing the businessman has been suspended from anti-drug efforts.
Duterte has put the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in charge of anti-drug efforts. Duterte said the Philippine military would also assist efforts to stop illegal drug selling and use in the Philippines.
The businessman, Jee Ick-joo, was picked up by police and quickly killed, according to news reports in the Philippines.
The news reports said police led his family to believe Jee was still alive for several weeks, as they continued to ask for ransom payments.
Police offered no evidence that the businessman had any connection to illegal drugs.
Choi Kyung-jin, left, widow of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, and their former housekeeper, appear before Philippine Senate Committee.
Duterte criticizes corrupt police
Duterte spoke this week to 400 police officers reportedly under investigation for corruption and other misconduct.
He said corrupt police would be sent for two years to a southern island that is a stronghold of Islamist militants.
Duterte also spoke about former Colombian President Cesar Gavirias recent column in the New York Times. The column was titled, President Duterte Is Repeating My Mistakes.
Duterte called Gaviria an idiot for warning that throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users does not work.
Gaviria wrote in the New York Times column that doing so is not just a waste of money, but also can actually make the problem worse.
Reuters news agency reported that Duterte said his war on drugs is different than Colombias because shabu, or methamphetamine, is the common drug choice in the Philippines. The drug damages the brain. Duterte said the effects of cocaine, the drug of choice by Colombias sellers and users, are not as bad.
Last week, Catholic Bishops in the Philippines wrote a letter that was read at church services. The letter called on Catholics to speak out against the violent drug war.
Let us not allow fear to reign and keep us silent, the bishops wrote.
Human Rights Watch has been critical of Dutertes war on drugs. The group says that more than 7,000 Filipinos have been killed in the war on drugs since Duterte became president in June of 2016.
Human Rights Watch has asked for the United Nations to investigate.
Phelim Kine, the Asian director for Human Rights Watch said that the Philippine police wont seriously investigate themselves, so the UN should take the lead in conducting an investigation.
Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by Reuters and other news sources. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page.
ransom – n. money that is paid in order to free someone who has been captured or kidnapped
misconduct – n. bad behavior
idiot – n. a very stupid or foolish person
methamphetamine – n. a powerful, addictive, stimulant that affects the central nervous system
cocaine – n. a drug that is used in medicine to stop pain or is taken illegally for pleasure
reign – n. to rule
conduct – v. to carry out
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Posted: at 7:47 am
I thank David Scharfenberg for writing thoughtfully about the need for prison reform (Free more criminals, Ideas, Feb. 5). I disagree, however, with the notion that the drug war is not the major problem behind Americas huge prison growth. While less than 20 percent of prisoners may be serving time for drug offenses, the reality is that most crimes are the result of drug prohibition.
As a public defender attorney and a former mental health clinician at a mens maximum security prison, I have worked with hundreds of people charged with theft, robbery, and other crimes resulting from drug addiction. Addiction in and of itself usually does not lead to crime; it is the laws prohibiting drugs that trigger law-breaking.
Why is it uncommon to see someone suffering from alcoholism robbing stores and yet common to see the person with opiate addiction doing so? Because the person suffering from alcohol use disorder can obtain alcohol for a small price compared with black-market opiates.
In addition, murders are too often committed in connection to drug warring.
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At the center of our disastrous drug policies are people suffering. We would all benefit from investing our money in prevention, rehabilitation, education, and employment opportunities rather than expensive cages.
Posted: at 7:46 am
Welcome MMA bettors, speculators, and gambling lurkers! Were back at it again for another week of comprehensive gambling analysis from your friends at MMAFighting.com. This weekend we have the first ever UFC womens featherweight title fight between two top-15 bantamweights.
For those of you who are new here or those who have forgotten, this aims to be an exhaustive preview of the fights, the odds, and my own personal breakdown of where you can find betting value. The number after the odds on each fighter is the probability of victory that those odds imply (so Holm at +110 means she should win the fight 48 percent of the time). If you think she wins more often than the odds say, you should bet it because there’s value in the line.
All stats come from FightMetric and all the odds are from Best Fight Odds. Net Value means how much money you would have made if you bet $100 on that fighter in every one of his/her fights that odds could be found for. Doubly as always, I’m trying to provide the most thorough guide I can for those who want to legally bet or who just enjoy following along. If you are a person who chooses to gamble, only do so legally, responsibly, and at your own risk.
Now with all that out of the way, lets go.
Holly Holm is predominantly an out fighter who relies on volume to rack up points. Though she made her name as a professional boxer, it is Holm’s kicking game that is a threat on the feet. Holm lacks real pop in her hands when coming forward because she doesn’t transition any weight into her shots, preferring to flick her punches out as set-ups for her left kick. When fighting on the counter, she is much better at sitting down into her punches and landing hard shots than pivoting out of the engagement, which makes her much more dangerous on the back foot.
Elsewhere, Holm is a competent fighter but somewhat reliant on her size and athleticism instead of a depth of technique. She has good positional awareness in the clinch and is very difficult to control, but she provides no real offense and mostly just looks to disengage. Shes an excellent defender of takedowns and can also wrestle a bit offensively, though she doesnt often look to do so. As a grappler though, she still isnt great and lacks urgency in getting back to her feet.
Germaine de Randamie is a big, rangy striker who likes to use her physical advantages to her best effect. Shes a former Muay Thai practitioner and her game looks like you would expect. She operates behind a heavy, thudding jab, which she follows up with sharp right hand. She also has ridiculous kicks and all of her strikes carry real power. Moreover, she is textbook sound in her technique and her footwork is some of the best in womens MMA.
De Randamie also has the clinch as an excellent secondary skill set. Her size and Muay Thai background make her a handful, and she also has excellent uppercuts to compliment her elbows and knees. Shes a solid defensive wrestler at range, but once she gets taken down, GDR offers very little off her back.
Many people are underwhelmed by this main event but its only because of the circumstances of the title fight. Were the specter of Cris Cyborg not hanging over this fight, everyone would be excited about the high-level striking match thats about to ensue. De Randamie is the better, more powerful striker, but Holm is more athletic and has faced a much higher level of opposition. Holm also trains out of a much better camp and can theoretically use other avenues besides just striking to engage GDR.
This fight is a question of tactics. If de Randamie keeps a long range, this fight instantly becomes a nightmare for Holm who isnt great at leading and will be walking herself into de Randamies power shots. If de Randamie chooses to pressure, Holms chances go up dramatically, as she is much better on the counter, attacking and angling out. It also depends on whether Holm is content to stay striking or whether she mixes things up. Holm was never getting dominated by Valentina Shevchenko, but she wasnt winning the rounds and her lack of desire for changing the theater of combat cost her.
So really its a question of whether de Randamies stylistic advantages are the controlling factors or whether Holms intangibles add up enough for a win. The confluence of Holms small edges in cardio, experience, athleticism, camp, and strength of competition make me genuinely unsure of this one but ultimately I will favor de Randomie to win a back and forth decision. As for a bet, I think the odds are close to right, though just a hair too much in favor of de Randamie here so a bet on Holm by decision at +250 is a decent value bet since Holm has never been much of a finisher.
To put it bluntly, Anderson Silva is old. Hes 41 years old and he hasnt officially won a fight in five years. At his peak, Silva was the best fighter in the world thanks to sniper accuracy, sneaky power, and unprecedented countering ability, but even then he was still known for curious instances of inactivity and disinterest that would show up between explosions of offense. Now that hes older, those lulls are even more frequent to the point that he often looks entirely defensive but for one or two salvos each round. When hes feeling it, though, he still poses a threat to anyone alive, as evidenced by the liver shot to Daniel Cormier in the third round at UFC 200 that badly hurt the light heavyweight champion.
Derek Brunson is an athletic, powerful fighter who is often too aggressive for his own good. He likes to pressure forward before leaping in with a big straight left. If he connects, the fight is often over, but his reckless leap forward also opens him up to counters, which is how Robert Whittaker took him out in his last fight.
Outside of over-explosive striking, Brunson is also a great clinch fighter and grinder. He works well with knees and punches in the clinch and he also can change levels to drop for takedowns. When he gets the fight to the floor, he is a punishing ground-and-pounder and defensively sound.
If this were a couple of years ago, Silva would be the prohibitive favorite, as the stylistic match up favors him a good deal. Unfortunately, its not 2015 and Silva appears to be on his last legs as an elite fighter and his chin is a major concern. If Brunson lands on him, that will probably be the end of the fight. The question is, can Silva snipe the overly aggressive Brunson coming in? I think Silva absolutely could do that, but Im not predicting it. In my head, I think Brunson understands the threat Silva presents and wont come out as ridiculously, chin-up aggressively as he did against Whittaker. I expect Silva to back himself up to the fence like he has done his last few fights, and from there, Brunsons clinch game is enough to neutralize the faded Silva and allow him to secure takedowns and landing punches inside. Silvas chin fails him and Brunson earns a TKO in the second round. Having said all that, I think Brunson should only be a -120 favorite, so a bet on Silva is not a bad idea.
Ronaldo Souza is, at worst, the second- or third-best grappler in the history of MMA. A multiple-time world champion jiu-jitsu practitioner who also possess elite athleticism and top level wrestling, there is a very good argument that Jacare is the best middleweight on the planet right now.
Everything about Souzas ground game is impeccable, but whats perhaps even more impressive is his success as a striker. He has an excellent pressure game and he cuts the cage well. He throws punches and kicks with big power. He doesnt have sensational cardio though, and his athletic window is closing at 37.
Tim Boetsch is a brute of a puncher with a power wrestling game to supplement it. This isn’t to say that he has no skills elsewhere they’re fine just that his success comes almost entirely as the result of his big-time power and a strongman style clinch game, replete with punches, knees, and elbows that do enormous damage.
Take a gander at Boetschs record as an underdog above. Tim Boetsch is the consummate spoiler, which means you should never count him out. That being said, this fight should be one-way traffic in favor of Jacare. Boetsch doesnt have great wrestling defense and Jacare is a great finisher of takedowns. While Jacare could do fine on the feet as well, I expect him to plant Boetsch on the mat and find a submission early in the bout. The pick is Jacare, and though I dont support a bet on him straight, parlaying Jacare Inside The Distance at -255 with somebody else isnt bad. Alternatively, you can play Jacare straight and offset it with Boetsch by TKO at +725 to basically guarantee a small profit.
Glover Teixeira has an excellent pressure game on the feet that is backed up by well-rounded offensive skills. Hes a meat-and-potatoes striker centered on a sharp jab, straight right, and a left hook. While not the most diverse attack, Glover’s pressure footwork, speed, and timing make it a highly effective one, and his power means he doesnt have to land a lot to win the fight. Hes a bit plodding, but he feints well enough to set up the big left hook kill shot, and not many people can eat that without falling down.
Where Teixeira really excels though is on the ground. Hes an excellent wrestler on the inside (though not much of a shot takedown artist). He chains snatch singles and doubles off of duck-unders to great effect, and once on top, hes a hellion, punishing and passing until he can lock up a submission.
Jared Cannonier is the inverse of Teixeira: a striker who prefers to use his exceptional reach to fight at a long range and would much rather avoid the ground. Hes works at a good clip on the feet and is an accurate striker, building everything off of his jab. He also is a good kicker, but his best asset is his sharp right hand, which packs tremendous power.
Cannonier isnt much for grappling. Hes a middling defensive wrestler but he is very defensively minded when taken down, constantly moving and looking to stand back up. Hes also got excellent cardio for the division but hes a small 205 pounder who has talked about eventually ending up at middleweight.
I think this fight is closer than the odds indicate. 2017 looks like it might be the year we start getting major turnover at the top of the higher weight divisions and Cannonier might be part of that trend. Hes much younger and looks to be coming into his own as a future light heavyweight contender, whereas Teixeira is 37 and coming off a violent knockout loss. Moreover, Teixeira needs to get inside to operate, and Cannonier has the power and mobility to deny him that. This fight comes down to the wrestling and whether Cannonier has improved enough to keep the bigger man from dragging him to the mat. I think we can expect some improvement in that department but ultimately not enough to save him. I expect Teixeira may have some early trouble but will eventually be able to clinch up with Cannonier and get the fight into his comfort zone. It also helps that Cannonier has been susceptible to a solid left hook in the past and that is Teixeiras best weapon. The pick is Teixeira by late submission but the odds here are much wider than I believe they should be and so I suggest no bet or a small value bet on Cannonier.
Dustin Poirier is a well-rounded fighter who has found his stride since moving up to the lightweight division. He is a good combination boxer who works well in the pocket and has big-time power. Hes still a lacking defensive fighter, but he’s been steadily improving his footwork and head movement, which has been a big part of his recent success. While Poirier is at his best when he is coming forward, hes also an improved counter puncher on the inside and keeps a high pace.
Poirier is also an excellent clinch fighter. He has good knees and trips from that range, and he has a really nice uppercut that he hides behind his own head before bringing it up the body to score. He has good defensive wrestling and solid takedowns. Once on top, he is a powerful ground-and-pounder with solid scrambling.
Jim Miller is a rugged southpaw who can do everything at well above average skill level. He is a serviceable striker with an underrated kicking game, decent defensive fundamentals, and a snappy left hand. Though hes fading physically, hes still a fairly durable guy as well.
Millers real talent lies in his grappling. Hes aggressive in hunting for submissions either from on top or on bottom and hes a great scrambler. Hes also a very solid takedown artist who has excellent timing on his shots. Defensively, though, hes not much above average as far as staying on his feet goes.
Miller is surprisingly on a three-fight winning streak after the Diego Sanchez loss, but that likely ends here. Poirier is a good enough wrestler to keep this on the feet and Miller doesnt really have the power to put him in danger. From there, Poiriers speed and power should give Miller fits, and I expect him to win a wide decision or possibly a late stoppage. Despite my confidence in Poirier here, though, theres not enough meat on this particular bone and you should pass on betting this one.
Randy Brown (-140/58%) vs. Belal Muhammad (+120/45%)
Randy Brown is a long, athletic striker who throws powerful combinations and a good jab. Hes enormous for the division and uses his length well, especially in the clinch, where he can use trips to compliment his knees and elbows. Muhammad is a sharp, technical striker who prefers to strike at range and at a high volume.
This seems like a tough row to hoe for Muhammad. He wants to fight at distance but hes giving up four inches of height and six inches of reach to Brown, who also has more power. Moreover, Brown is better in the clinch and can hit takedowns if need be. The pick is Brown by decision, and I like a bet on him.
Wilson Reis (-600/86%) vs. Ulka Sasaki (+450/18%)
This is a weird fight. Reis had a title shot until Demetrious Johnson got injured, and now hes fighting an opponent whos 2-2 in the UFC. Reis is a slick, dangerous grappler with explosive takedowns and fair striking. Sasaki is huge for the division and has a six-inch reach advantage. Hes also a good grappler and hes strong in the clinch as well.
Reis is a much better fighter than Sasaki and that should be enough to carry him here, but it wont be easy. Sasaki has a massive size advantage here and is a willing striker. He isnt a great defensive wrestler though, so I expect Reis will be able to land takedowns eventually and find his way to the back for the submission. The pick is Reis, but the odds are way off and you should definitely not have money down here.
Nik Lentz (+240/29%) vs. Islam Makhachev (-290/74%)
Makhachev is the long time training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and he fights like a guy who has been grappling with Khabib for most off his life. Hes a stifling wrestler/top control artist who excels in the transitions between the phases of the game. Lentz is also a grinding top control artist but one who also likes to scramble. He can strike a bit but that is definitely not his best facet.
Both guys want to grapple and, as Chris Wade found out, spending prolonged amounts of time on the floor with Nurmagomedovs lifelong grappling partner is not a winning strategy. On top of that, Makhachev is also the more dangerous striker and will have a slight size advantage. The pick is Makhachev by decision, but the line is high. If the line drops to -250 or so, he would be a fine parlay include though.
Ian McCall (-105/51%) vs. Jarred Brooks (-125/56%)
McCall is a grappler by trade with a variety of trips and takedowns and excellent scrambling. Hes also a solid, high-volume striker, but hes been out of action for two years and hes been open about his many injuries that have hampered him. Jarred Brooks is a hot-shot 23-year-old who is making his UFC debut on short notice. Hes a good wrestler and passer and a willing, powerful striker but hell be small for the division having competed at 115 pounds before.
I have no idea what to expect here. McCall, at his best, is several steps up in competition for Brooks, but hes also been out for a long time and is open about his close proximity to retirement due to injuries. The pick is McCall by decision based on his skill set and experience but theres no real confidence and you should definitely not bet this one.
Rick Glenn (-200/67%) vs. Phillipe Nover (+170/37%)
Glenn is a tall guy for the division who doesnt always use his length to his best advantage. He prefers to walk opponents down and maul them in the clinch, where he can use his long frame to great effect. Nover is an anomaly in that he can do everything decently, but he never seems engaged and his lack of urgency often costs him.
Nover likes to operate at range and Glenns game is built around denying his opponent space. I expect Glenns preferences will prevail here and he will overwhelm the stagnant Nover, earning a late stoppage. The pick is Glenn by TKO, but dont bet on this one.
Ryan LaFlare (-300/75%) vs. Roan Carneiro (+250/29%)
Jucao Carneiro is my BJJ coach and a friend, and as such, Im going to refrain from speaking on this fight. But I am very excited for the match-up and believe it will be a good one.
That’s all folks. Enjoy the fights everyone and good luck to those who need it. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew
(Editor’s note: All of this advice is for entertainment purposes only.)
Posted: at 7:46 am
ALBANY, N.Y. >> New Yorks transformation into one of the biggest high-roller gambling states in the U.S. is nearly complete, thanks in large part to Osama bin Laden.
The 9/11 attack on America masterminded by Osamas Al-Qaeda jihadist terror network opened the gambling floodgates in New York, with Gov. George Pataki pointing to a desperate need for revenues to fill the gap created by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
At Patakis urging, lawmakers held a special session the month after the attack to approve the biggest expansion of gambling in state history, approving plans for Indian casinos, VLT racinos and participation in the multi-state Mega-Millions lottery drawing. The first new casino opened in 2002 in Niagara Falls, where a disused convention center was turned into a gambling house.
The success that followed set in motion powerful forces that by 2013 resulted in Gov. Andrew Cuomos push to amend the state Constitution to permit up to seven Las Vegas style commercial casinos around the state.
At the time of the 2001 terrorist attack, there was only two gambling casinos in New York, the Oneida Nations Turning Stone casino near Rome which opened in 1993 and another opened by Mohawk Indians near the Canadian border in 1999. Both opened thanks to a change in federal Indian law.
Fast forward to 2017 and New York has opened three new commercial casinos in the Southern Tier, near Rochester and in Schenectady. A fourth, the $1 billion Montreign casino and resort, is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2018 in Sullivan County in the heart of the Catskills.
It really is a dream come true, Cuomo said at the ribbon-cutting of the $330 million Rivers Casino in Schenectady last Wednesday. We would be talking about this project some times and I would just say, its just too great. Its just too unbelievable that something this grand and powerful was going to happen. But it did.
At another ribbon cutting earlier in February, Cuomo praised the new Del Lago casino in Seneca County, calling it a magnificent monument of how intelligent the decision was to amend the Constitution and expand gambling.
The growth you are seeing now all across upstate New York is going to increase exponentially, Cuomo promised. So we are on our way. Lets cut this ribbon, and lets get to those slot machines.
The Montreign casino resort is expected to boost a once thriving Catskills tourist economy. The 80,000 sq. ft. casino is part of a 18-story hotel with 332 luxury rooms, which includes 12 penthouse suites, 8 garden suites and 7 two-story villas, designed to meet 5-star and 5-diamond standards, the owner Empire Resorts Inc. said in January when it announced a $485 million round of financing. The company also owns the Monticello Casino & Raceway, a successful racino.
When the constitutional amendment was up for a vote four years ago, Cuomo said it was necessary to keep gambling money in the state. Many gambling industry experts agreed, since the new rule of thumb for casinos is that much of the customer base comes from a 50 mile radius.
That has been proven to be true in New York City, which has been denied a commercial casino despite the size of the market. Instead, it has two racinos: Resorts World in Queens and Empire City in Yonkers. Together they accounted for 70 percent of statewide gambling revenue in 2015, the American Gaming Association reported in 2016.
The four new casinos are expected to produce $325 million in annual tax revenues, most of it going to the state.
The casino will compete with 11 Indian casinos now operating around the state, and nearly as many racinos where bettors play video lottery terminals (VLTs) that mimic casino slot machines and table games.
The state Gaming Commission says the state Lottery took in $9.7 billion during the 2015-16 budget year, producing more than $3.3 billion in tax revenue.
The Lottery marks its 50th anniversary in 2017. Until 1967, gambling was prohibited in New York for much of the 20th century apart from betting on horse races, bingo and charitable games.
The also-ran in New Yorks gambling explosion is horse racing. The sport took in about $1.5 billion in 2015, according to the Gaming Commission, with $884 million of that bet at racetracks and the rest at OTB outlets.
Racings future remains cloudy as bettors gravitate to other venues to spend their money. Cuomo has also kept racing at arms length while embracing other types of gambling. Since taking office in 2011, he has avoided going to Saratoga Race Course, the oldest operating sports venue in the U.S.
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Posted: at 7:46 am
News Financial Worldwide Gambling Win Totaled $385 Billion in 2016, Australia Biggest Loser
Worldwide gambling wins totaled $385 billion in 2016, and while the United States generated the lions share of that statistic, Australia once again led the way in terms of average net loss per resident.
No nationality loses more money per person gambling than James Packers Aussie constituents, but as far as the worldwide casino win goes, the US forks over the most cash. (Image: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
According to data obtained by The Economist, a weekly magazine headquartered in London that covers financial markets, the average Aussie lost $990 on gambling over the last 12 months. Thats considerably higher than runner-up Singapore, whose citizens lost roughly $650 per person.
In terms of per resident costs, Ireland is the worlds third-biggest loser ($500), followed by Finland ($425), and the United States ($420).
H2 Gambling Capital, a UK data and market intelligence firm that analyzes casinoindustries, assembled the worldwide gambling revenue report.
Regardless of the fact that Australia leads the way in individual per person gambling, the countrys relatively small population of just 24 million citizens keeps the big casino power companies away.
Australians lost a total of $18.3 billion gambling last year. And while thats a staggering sum, it pales in comparison to the United States and the $117 billion its citizens forfeited.
The majority of gambling losses incurred by Americans came at land-based casinos on slot machines and table games. Lotteries also played a substantial role.
What the H2 Gambling Capital study doesnt include is of course underground wagering. Sports betting remains illegal in the US, with Nevada being the exception. Americans are estimated to have bet $117 billion on sports last year, with the vast majority taking place through illegal outlets.
China didnt landin the top 15 in terms of gambling losses per resident, but the countrys massive population, the largest on planet Earth, spread out their damages. The Chinese saw $62.4 billion disappear from their wallets and into the hands of casino companies in 2016, the biggest loss behind only the US.
Its worth pointing out that India and its 1.3 billion population didntfall victim to gambling. The massive nationspent less on betting than much smallercountries including Sweden, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
Though Japan is only now considering legalizing land-based casinos, the Pacific Ocean island nation still managed to drop $24.1 billion. Pachinko parlors, horse and automobile pari-mutuel wagering, andthe wildly popular lottery grabbed the majority of bets placed in Japan.
With over 126 million residents, resortcompanies in the US are readying to make proposals to the Japanese government should it decide to permit the construction of casinos.
In December, Japans parliament passed the Integrated Resorts Promotion bill. The countrys legislators are now working to decide how many casinos will be authorized, as well as critical details such as tax rates and minimum investments from interested gaming businesses.
The stakes are astronomical. According to Hong Kong investment bank CLSA, if Japan were to legalize casinos nationwide, the market would be capable of producing annual revenues of $25 billion. That would put it behind only Macau as the richest gambling destination in the world.