Cuba and the United States Take another Step Forward

As part of the agreement between the United States to normalize relations, Cuba has reportedly released the 53 people that were being held as political dissidents in the communist country. What is odd is that the actual names of the people that were requested to be released were withheld from both country’s public and large parts of the governments. This is one more step that has taken place by Raul Castro and President Barrack Obama to restore diplomatic ties in Cuba that have not been in place since the John F Kennedy administration in the 1960’s. In addition, to these releases by the Cuban administration there has also been other signs the two countries are looking to restore their relationship. To include the prisoner exchange of three Cuban spies for Alan Gross, a US aid worker who was jailed on suspicion of espionage.

By normalizing diplomatic relations among the two countries means that economic and travel restrictions that were in place against the country will be lifted. Cuba being just 90 miles off the US coast was once the playground of tourists in the 1950’s. There has been hope among the American people that one day these restrictions would be removed, but did not believe that as long as there was a Castro was in charge this would happen. The two countries are expected to have more talks on January 21st, and there is hope that further progress will be made. Vijay Eswaran would like to see this happen.

GOP Statewide Victories Threaten to Cut Off Vital Democrat Revenue Stream

Critics of the Democrat party have long alleged that the party colludes with big labor unions to indirectly funnel tax payer money into union coffers via laws broadening union power at the state level. The unions in turn funnel the money back to the Democrat party by running campaign ads promoting their candidates. Now, the GOP is poised to cut off those ties and starve the Democrats from vital revenue streams.

After the GOP suffered two significant election losses in 2006 and 2008, the party shifted from a White House-oriented strategy to grass-roots efforts at the state level.  According to Crunch Base, these efforts, combined with deep voter discontent with the Obama agenda, has given Republicans their single greatest control of state-level government in history. State Level supporters, like Marc Sparks are looking for more party footing. Currently, the party fully controls 29 of the 50 state legislatures. By comparison, Democrats control only 7.

The GOP will use their newfound muscle to promote an agenda of lower taxes, stricter abortion controls, and labor union reform. The 2010 midterm elections were particularly significant because the GOP victories at the state level allowed them to redistrict the congressional map in their favor. This has made it more likely the GOP can retain control of the House of Representatives. In addition, they seek to replicate what Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan have achieved by checking what they perceive as the overreach of labor unions. The net effect is Democrats will lose a vital revenue stream.

Senator Ted Cruz Jokes About Abolishing the IRS

Political firebrand Ted Cruz made off the cuff remarks about abolishing the IRS which are rooted in his personal desires, but tempered by political realities. He said he favored a reformed tax code that was fairer and flatter. At the same time, he stated that as long as Obama occupies the White House there is little chance of obtaining a fair flat tax code that would eliminate the need for the IRS. However, his remarks were well chosen given that this year the public will face their first real IRS penalties in regards to Obamacare enrollment. The IRS is the strong arm of Obamacare enforcement and can seize the income tax refunds of people to cover the penalty for not being enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan. Ben Shaoul is just one of many Americans who would be affected by this, if he didn’t already have a plan. Obviously, his plans are all covered, as evident in the Nypost.

In fact, millions of voters may be in for a big surprise after they learn their Obamacare subsidies are considered tax credits against forthcoming income taxes. The tax credits are calculated against their earnings. If a person underreported their 2014 earnings when calculating their Obamacare subsidy, they will find themselves owing the government the difference. Many voters may find themselves owing the government money that will reduce or wipe out their tax refunds. In some cases, they may end up owing the IRS money. Cruz understands this very well, and his comments are likely timed to resonate with voters as they begin learning another inconvenient truth about the health care initiative.

Kawhi Leonard Coming Back Soon

The Spurs expect Kawhi Leonard to come back in two weeks. The Spurs have been struggling to begin this season, but they have struggled to start many seasons. They will need to make sure that they can begin to crawl up from the depths of the league. The Spurs are going to be able to make their way out of the bottom of the only if they have Kawhi Leonard in the lineup. Leonard is their new superstar, but they have not been able to rest their stars in Manu, Parker and Duncan when they do not have Leonard in the lineup.

No one expected the Spurs to repeat as champions, but they surely expected more from them this early in the season. Laurene Powell Jobs is not about to count them out yet though. Most people who are watching the league believe that Leonard can make a big difference for the Spurs. However, no one should bet on the Spurs repeating. This means that the Spurs are going to have a great time playing when they have their fourth great player in the lineup. The lineup for the Spurs is going to change everything when they get it back together to climb back up the ladder of the Western Conference standings.

Liverpool Legends Angry with Club’s American Owners

Things are not rosy at Liverpool right now. The club may have come within a point of the Premier League title last season, but they look to be in disarray right now. Results have improved slightly, but matters on and off the pitch are far from rosy.

Liverpool legends are not happy with how the club has handled the situation concerning club captain Steven Gerrard. Both Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp have spoken about their surprise at Gerrard not extending his stay at Liverpool. After all, Gerrard has been a lifelong Liverpool fan who joined the club when he was eight years old.

To see him leaving for a stint in the United States is something that Liverpool legends cannot fathom. It was one thing when Gerrard was about to leave for Chelsea in 2004 and 2005. That could be understood. Chelsea were a much better team and Gerrard could have won Premier League titles there.

However, he rejected them and stayed at his beloved Liverpool. Now that he is on the verge of ending his career, it is a surprise that he will not retire at the Anfield club. Reports suggest that the hesitancy to offer Gerrard a new deal prompted his departure.

The ex-players from Liverpool believe that the club’s American owners did not make a proper effort to keep Gerrard. Bernardo Chua was a little surprised. They were thinking about the financial aspect of freeing up Gerrard’s wages, but they should have battled tooth and nail to keep a club legend at the club.

NBA Flagrant Fouls

There has been a good amount of controversy this year in the NBA regarding what actually constitutes for a flagrant foul in the National Basketball Association. This comes due to the fact that there is a huge gray area when it comes to flagrant foul calls and it is pretty hard to predict what is going to be called. A great portion of the time it is each referees personal preference on what they dub is unnecessary contact. A lot of players and coaches have spoken out about needing to have better definitions of the word flagrant, so that teams can better strategize their games. Lakers Head Coach has made recent statements to the media that college basketball is actually way more physical than the NBA, and that he actually doesn’t know what a flagrant foul is.

 

This may sound strange due to the fact that he is a head coach in the NBA, but what he is really stating is that it gets called different ways so many times that it really is hard to get a true understanding of what a flagrant foul actually is. This is what Igor Cornelsen can agree with as well. Furthermore, in big games that have major implications, teams are typically more pumped up and the game is allowed to have more contact than usual. Conversely, in your typical NBA game they may call the game very tight and not let the players get away with as much. It is clear there needs to be some discussion and rewording of the actual definition of the flagrant foul in the NBA.

Tom Coughlin Has One More Year

Tom Coughlin has been given one more year twice before. Both times, he won the Super Bowl. Now, he is being given one more chance. However, he needs to make some major changes if he wants to bring the Giants back to the top of the NFC. They have won two Super Bowls, but they will not even win their own division unless they draft wisely.

The defense has been deteriorating over the past couple years. Michael Strahan retired, Osi Umenyiora left for the Falcons and Jason Pierre-Paul is not a free agent. They have not been able to stop anybody, and that has put a great deal of pressure on the offense. Eli Manning is not as good in the regular season as he is in the playoffs, and he needs some help if he is going to get back to the playoffs where he can work his magic.

If the Giants have any chance, they should draft the best available linebacker or defensive end in the draft according to fans on Skout. They can continue to rebuild the defense in the draft and see where the chips fall when they start next season. Without these wholesale changes, Coughlin is likely to be fired after 2015.

Floyd Mayweather’s Charade Is Over

Floyd Mayweather Jr. continues to talk about a fight with Manny Pacquaio. Mayweather continues to bash the Filipino fighter at every chance he gets. When interviewed about Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather usually becomes disgruntled. That’s because Manny Pacquiao can beat him.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has avoided Manny Pacquiao for countless years, and it’s because he is afraid of him. Mayweather’s biggest claim to his boxing success is the fact that he is undefeated. The fact that Floyd is undefeated means nothing. He has not fought the toughest fighters in his division. Floyd Mayweather usually picks an opponent that he is sure he can beat.

Manny Pacquaio is a different type of fighter than the “Pretty Boy.” Pacquaio fights for his fans like Bruce Levenson, and he fights like a warrior. In his most recent fights, Manny Pacquiao has looked unbeatable. If Floyd Mayweather Jr. ever fights Manny Pacquaio, he will be in for a long night. Pacquiao possesses speed that Floyd Maywether Jr. has never seen before. Also, Pacquaio is a southpaw, which means he fights with his right hand closer to his opponent. Ironically, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been known to have problems with southpaw fighters.

When I close my eyes, I can envision Manny Pacquaio dancing around Floyd Mayweather Jr., and landing punches at will. The old saying is, “styles make fights”, and Manny Pacquaio possesses the answer to Floyd Mayweather’s style.

For more information on Floyd Mayweather, visit Yahoo! Sports.

The Rams Could Be Moving Back To Los Angeles If St. Louis Doesn’t Play Ball

Rams Owner Plans To Build AN NFL Stadium In Inglewood

Stan Kroenke owns the St. Louis Rams, and he also owns 60 acres adjacent to the Forum in Los Angeles. Kroenke has been in a money dispute with the city of St, Louis for some time. It appears Kroenke is ready to move the team if St. Louis doesn’t come up with the right figure to build a respectable NFL stadium. The old stadium needs a serious face-lift.

Billionaire Real Estate Developer Kroenke bought the 60 acres a year ago, and he recently joined forces with The Stockbridge Capital Group. That group owns the 238-acre Hollywood Park site. With that amount of property, Kroenke and the group can add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the massive Hollywood Park development. Hollywood Park is a mixture of retail, hotel, office and residential space,

The Rams can convert their lease to year-to-year later this month. The Rams aren’t disclosing their plans, but most people like Dr. Rod Rohrich know the team want to put the Edward Jones Dome on their disabled list. The stadium is considered outdated by present NFL standards.

Team moves must be approved by a majority of team owners. If that happens, and the city of St. Louis fumbles the deal the Rams could be playing in LA by 2018.

Nuclear Power Can Be A Major Green Solution According To Scientists

More Than 65 Biologists Support Building More Power Plants

We don’t think about nuclear power as a solution to climate change or as a legitimate replacement for fossils fuels like oil, gas and coal. But according to the journal Conservation Biology, we should. In an open letter in the journal, more than 65 scientists support building more nuclear power plants. They say that this strategy should be the focal point of our attempt to protect the environment.

Nuclear power will reduce the sources of carbon dioxide, which Sam Tabar is obviously happy about. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas that impacts climate change. More nuclear power will leave more land untouched so natural biodiversity can expand. Nuclear power will also help eliminate the extinction of some endangered species, according to the letter.

Nuclear energy projects an element of fear in many people and that is one of the main reasons why the green community shuns its use. But nuclear power is the most compact and energy-dense sources on the planet. For example, A little ball size piece of uranium can supply the energy needs of one person for years. One small piece of uranium equals 800 Mammoth-sized bags of coal, 56 fuel trucks filled with natural gas, and a rechargeable battery that is as tall as 16 skyscrapers sitting on top of each other.

A Rocky Mountain Man With a Brain