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The hypocrisy of the NFL: Reward racism while avoiding real and meaningful change.....

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
CC Weekly Insight

Last off-season, Philadelphia Eagles wide-out, Riley Cooper was at a Kenny Chesney concert and infamously uttered the word "nigger" at some black bouncers that had denied him backstage access at the concert.

The incident was caught on video (see the video below) and if that imagery had never been brought to the attention and consciousness of the American people, there is no question we would never have heard about it.

As a result of the incident, the Philadelphia Eagles "excused" (not suspended by the way) Cooper for two days from team activities and also required him to undergo counseling (please don't laugh). The video surfaced in July 2013 and by August 6, 2013, Cooper was back with the Eagles as the counseling session had obviously done its work (please don't laugh still).

Cooper went on to have a great season and was rewarded today with a five-year contract reportedly worth $25 million. Wow! Guess it pays to be a racist!

It is quite revealing what the NFL and its owners do put their emphasis on, obviously. If Cooper had done what he did in a business or other professional setting, he would have been fired and would probably have a hard time getting a job somewhere else.

That the NFL continues to reward wife beaters, drunk drivers, gun-runners, racists and other social deviants with fat contracts, while denying a homosexual (who just wants to play football) the right to earn a living, is indeed mind-boggling.

It should not matter how "good" Riley Cooper is, what should matter is his character and ability to relate both on and off-the-field with a diverse group of players and other professionals in his chosen field of work.

That video (that surfaced in July 2013) told us enough about his character or lack thereof.

What is even more insulting is the NFL now seeking to play grammar police by trying to penalize the use of the so-called "N" word on the field of play, by black players. Are you kidding me? A white person using the word "nigger" does NOT and will NEVER carry the same meaning as when it is used by a black person.

The word "nigger" has been used and still continues to be used by some whites as a term of degradation and denigration. When used by some whites, particularly in the United States, it suggests that its target is extremely unsophisticated, with the usage becoming unambiguously pejorative, as a common ethnic slur usually directed at blacks of Sub-Saharan African descent.

What blacks have however done is take away the negative and demeaning power of that word and use it as a term of endearment among themselves.

That the NFL would even attempt to do this while one of its professional teams still goes by a racial slur to native Americans, is at best "laughable".

The NFL has become a joke, particularly under Roger Goodell. Rather than focus on the continued under-representation of blacks and other minorities in the front office of its teams, as well as the general welfare of its players by guaranteeing a greater percentage of the players' contracts and their health care (during and after football), Roger Goodell and his band of marauders continually resort to incendiary diversions, aimed at taking the focus away from what actually ails the league.

The Philadelphia Eagles should be ashamed of themselves for rewarding a racist with a long-term contract and it does not matter that he (Riley Cooper) "apologized" for the incident.

What is sad is that he never paid a price for his actions and the wrong message has been sent both across the NFL and the entire nation.


As I Lay Dying singer Lambesis pleads guilty to murder charge

Tim Lambesis
CC Legal Brief   

Tim Lambesis, the singer for the metal band As I Lay Dying has pleaded guilty to attempting to hire an undercover agent to murder his estranged wife.   

The singer, who initially denied the charge, could face nine years in prison for the attempted contract killing.  

Lambesis, who formed As I Lay Dying in San Diego in 2000, has sold more than a million albums. 

He remains free on $2 million bail until he is sentenced 2 May in Vista Superior Court, California. 

Lambesis had asked a personal trainer at his gym to help him get rid of his wife Meggan, claiming she had restricted his visits with their three adopted children after they separated in September 2012. 

He was arrested in May 2013 after prosecutors said he met with a sheriff's deputy posing as a hit man, dubbed "Red", and handed over $1,000 along with his wife's address and front door security code.

The undercover agent, San Diego County Sheriff's Officer Howard Bradley, testified last year that Lambesis met him at an Oceanside bookstore in May and said he wanted his wife "gone".
Bradley said he asked Lambesis directly if he wanted his wife killed, and the singer replied, "Yes, I do."
As I Lay Dying have released six albums, including 2007's An Ocean Between Us, which reached number eight on the Billboard charts.
This is obviously an unfortunate insight into the troubled life of an extremely talented singer, who must now face the music, one that could mean the end of life as he has always known it.

Hezbollah vows to respond to "Israeli air strike"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
CC Global News

Hezbollah has said it will respond to an alleged air strike by Israel warplanes on one of its bases on the Lebanese border with Syria on Monday.  

The militant Shia Islamist movement described the attack as a "blatant assault on Lebanon, and its sovereignty and territory", al-Manar TV reported.  

It would "choose the time and place and the proper way to respond", it warned. 

Israel has not officially confirmed that it carried out the air strike, near the Bekaa Valley village of Janta. 

But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that his government would "do whatever is needed to protect Israel's security".

"We will not say what we're doing or what we're not doing," he added.
One senior Israeli security official told Time magazine that the warplanes had targeted a convoy carrying surface-to-surface missiles from Syria.
The missiles could carry warheads heavier and more dangerous than almost all of the tens of thousands of missiles and rockets Hezbollah had in its arsenal, the official added.
Hezbollah's statement said the air strike caused material damage, but denied that it targeted any artillery or rocket positions or caused any casualties. Local reports had said four members of its military wing, the Islamic Resistance, were killed.
"The attack confirms the nature of the Zionist hostility and requires frank and clear position from all," Hezbollah added. "The Resistance will choose the time and place and the proper way to respond to it."
Israeli jets have bombed areas on the Syrian side of the border several times since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad three years ago, but if confirmed this would be the first Israeli air strike inside Lebanese territory in that time.
Eyal Ben-Reuven, a former deputy head of the Israeli military's Northern Command, said he doubted Hezbollah would retaliate since it was too busy fighting alongside government forces against the rebels in Syria.
But he warned that it was imperative that Israel maintain its ability to operate freely in the skies and in the seas, and block more sophisticated weapons from reaching Hezbollah.
"Israel has always stayed as the main objective for Hezbollah and Iran,'' he told the Associated Press. "A terror organisation gets these kinds of capabilities not for deterrence, but for acts."
Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in 2006, during which Israeli warplanes bombed Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon and in Beirut, while Hezbollah fired about 4,000 rockets at Israel.
More than 1,125 Lebanese, most of them civilians, died during the 34-day conflict, as well as 119 Israeli soldiers and 45 civilians.

Playing god: Keshi rules Villarreal and Super Eagles stalwart Ike Uche out of Brazil 2014

Ikechukwu Uche
CC Sports Headline

Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has opened up on why in form Spain-based attacker, Ike Uche wouldn't make his Brazil 2014 World Cup squad.

Keshi, who only last week dubbed the Villarreal hit man an undisciplined player said he can't call up a player who would refuse to play to instruction.

He noted that Ike Uche almost stopped Nigeria from breaking her 19-year old Nations Cup jinx in South Africa with his "big boy" approach to the game.

Keshi told that Ike Uche simply refused to play to instruction in the final match against Burkina Faso, a situation which almost cost Nigeria the trophy.

Keshi's words: "Ike Uche's problem is that he wants to dictate how we play in Super Eagles, he wants to tell us the systemwe're playing is not good. Uche has a very bad habit, that if you put him in the game he is not playing to instructions and he did that in the final of AFCON against Burkina Faso, he almost cost us.

"Again he did that against Zambia, in the second match when (Efe)Ambrose was given a red card. What we told him to do, he was doing the opposite. And if you don't respect your team mates and you don't respect the team, then there is no point. I know he cannot do that in his club, then why do it in the national team?I don't think I need a player like that in the team."

Uche has been one of Nigeria's reliable goal scorers and had scored 12 goals this season for Villarreal.

On Monday night, the striker returned to action after he was sidelined by injury for two weeks.

He last featured for Nigeria in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations against Burkina Faso and it was in-fact a rebound from his goal-bound effort that ultimately led to the game winning goal for Nigeria.

It is rather sad but not suprising that Keshi is once going down this path of always squabbling with professionally established players in a national team set-up.

He did the same thing with Togo as he and Emmanuel Adebayor literally almost came to blows over what was said to be the latter's refusal to allow Keshi "be his agent".

The same thing happened with Mali as he again clashed with Mali's established stars, including former Barcelona star Seydou Keita.

Having been unceremoniously fired from those two jobs, Keshi has fought with just about every established player in the Super Eagles set-up (never even mind Osaze Odemwingie who on his part has a history with coaches); including the likes of Joseph Yobo, Mikel Obi, the Uche brothers (Kalu and Ike), Victor Anichebe. 

The players he has not fought with, he has chosen to play god with their international career and essentially froze them out of the national team while parading average players that were thoroughly exposed at the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The truth is that Keshi views the Nigerian national team as his "personal property" much like he did when he was a player.

Keshi must remember that if the legendary Clemence Westerhoff had also chosen to play god with his (Keshi's) international career, he would not have had the opportunity to play at the soccer global showpiece in 1994. 

Nigeria must do well in Brazil 2014. For that to happen, we need our best players both at home and abroad and this should not be an opportunity for a coach or other members of the technical crew (including the NFF itself) to be complicit in a process where unproven players are being chosen based on parochial, ethnic, business or other sentiments.

If Keshi can't manage the complexity of personalities within the national team, then he needs to find another line of work and not expose Nigeria to ridicule (as he did at the Confederations Cup in 2013) on the world stage.

Sanusi takes the issue of his suspension before the courts

Sanusi Lamido
CC Insider

ABUJA - Embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday, went before a Federal High Court siting in Abuja to challenge the powers of President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend him from office.

In the suit he filed through a consortium of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Kola Awodein, Sanusi, told the high court that his purported suspension was as a result of some discrepancies he discovered in respect of amounts repatriated to the federation account from the proceed of crude oil sales between the period of January, 2012 and July, 2013.

He maintained that his sin was that upon discovering the financial anomalies, he had cause to inform the National Assembly considering the fact that the revenue of the federation and the national economy was directly affected.

He further insisted before the court that his purported suspension by President Jonathan was aimed at punishing him for the disclosures he made with regards to how revenue that accrued to the federation was being mismanaged.

Sanusi contended that the President did not approach or obtained the support of the Senate, saying his discussions with several lawmakers including Senator Bukola Saraki, confirmed that the decision to oust him from office was unilaterally taken by the Presidency.

Consequently, he urged the court to restrain President Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, from giving effect to his purported suspension from office as the CBN Governor, pending the determination of his suit.

Besides, he begged the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing,disturbing, stopping or preventing him from in any manner whatsoever from performing the functions of his office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office of the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

In an affidavit he deposed in support of the suit, Sanusi averred: "I have been informed, and I verily believe the information given to me by senator Bukola Saraki to be true and correct that the senate did not give the President any support for my purported suspension and removal from office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria".

Sanusi told the court that his interlocutory application was necessary considering the issues raised in the suit, saying delay would entail irreparable and serious damage and mischief on him in the exercise of his statutory duties as the CBN Governor.

He urged the court to exercise its discretion in his favor by granting the interlocutory injunctions as the President's continued unlawful interference with the management and administration of the apex bank, unless arrested, poses grave danger for Nigerian economy.

It was his prayer that the court should order the maintenance of status quo ante bellum, which he said should be that he should return to his office as the Governor of the CBN.

Sanusi further averred that the actions of the President in suspending him from office was contrary to provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act relating to the appointment and removal of the CBN Governor.

He said his purported suspension, "amounts to unlawful interference in the administration and management of the apex bank and is therefore illegal, null and void."

He said it would be in the interest of Justice for the court to grant all his prayers.

Meanwhile, the suit, dated February 24, is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.


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Sanusi's appointment was a "huge mistake" - Pat Utomi

Professor Pat Utomi
CC News

As controversy rages over the suspension of Nigeria's Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido, a renowned economist, Professor Pat Utomi has berated the tenure of Lamido as a Central Bank Governor, describing his original appointment as “a huge mistake”
Reacting to the suspension of the controversial apex bank chief in a chat in Abuja, the Director of Lagos Business School, said Sanusi should never have been appointed as a Central Bank Governor in the first place, declaring “it should not have happened”
Utomi joined two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana and Chief Mike Ozhekome who had issued legal positions on the suspension of the apex bank chief. While Falana blamed Sanusi for not resigning when so directed by President Goodluck Jonathan, Ozhekome cited alleged infringements of extant rules to justify Sanusi’s suspension.
Utomi, however, faulted the nomination and appointment of Sanusi five years ago on the ground that the suspended bank chief lacked certain qualities of a Central Bank Governor
Utomi said: “It should not have happened. Sanusi’s appointment was ill-advised in the first place. He was not suitable for the job. Apex Bank leaders all over the World are men of great discretion in actions, pronouncements and deeds.”
One can't however help but wonder exactly what Pat Utomi's agenda is on this matter. For the record, Sanusi is one of the most respected bankers in the world (not just Nigeria or Africa) and his antecedents speak to a proclivity for being upstanding and forthright, one might say, to a fault.
That Pat Utomi, who on his part, has always attempted to play the role of the "ultimate citizen of conscience", to have kept quiet about recent issues of impropriety that have dogged Jonathan's presidency and now claim the moral imperative on a senseless act of executive over-reach by the president, is quite troubling.
One can only hope that Professor Utomi is not trying to curry favors from a corrupt administration by taking a shameless dig at Sanusi, that may not be unconnected to the PHB Bank N27 billion ($164.2 million) fraud case brought against his (Utomi's) close friend, former Managing Director, Francis Atuche
Politics and in this case, avaricious greed, sure do make strange bedfellows.

Sanusi Lamido tells his story.....

Former Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido
By Gbenga Oke

In the beginning

As at the time I came into office, several things had collapsed. From banks to stock exchange, they had crashed. Inflation was at 15.6 percent three months before I became Central Bank Governor; there was already instability in every sector of the economy. 

When I look back, I thank God for the people who supported us and criticized us as well because criticism has made us stronger. Also, when I look back, I can point to several things that have changed after our arrival and till date.

Keeping inflation down

For the first time in a long while, we have been able to keep inflation at about 7 percent since January 2013 and it is still like that up till this moment. As far as instability and exchange rate is concerned, we have worked tirelessly to ensure things work out well for the economy.

We also introduced cash reduction in the system. Although most people didn't like it because they felt it will add more problem to the exchange rate because people want to buy dollars but against all odds, the cashless policy has worked and it's still working today.

On the face-off between CBN and NNPC

On the face-off between CBN and NNPC, I must say that we are not EFCC. What I have been talking about is the areas that affect my job which have been a dwindling in the money that comes into the Federation Account. Let me make it clear, the disputed $20 billion may be gone. And what some people want is the continuity of this; that stealing of public funds should continue.

On his suspension

I must say that there was no time when the CBN received any letter from the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria. At no point were we given any letter to respond to over any financial allegations. Also, nothing in the letter declared that I did anything wrong. I can tell you that CBN does not operate the way it's been presented because all facts and statements of account are there for everybody to see. They said we spent N1.2 billion ($7.3 million) on the police – even if that is true, is that corruption? Did I set up my security outfit and pay myself? I want to repeat that I have had my last day in office. I have achieved everything I set out to achieve. Looking at the suspension letter, I was not given the benefit of doubt to respond or explain myself.

Court order

However, I have a court order now enforcing my fundamental human right because once they seize your passport, you don't know the next step they will take. I took an exparte motion to court to ensure I am not harassed.

On the allegation that he is partisan

When I was in King's College, I was in Form 2 when Bukola Saraki came into Form 1. He has been my friend since we were 11 years old. Also, El- Rufai has been my friend. I never knew I will be CBN Governor because I had wanted to study law, also Bukola Saraki never knew he would become a politician because he read medicine. These people remain my friends and, with all sincerity, every one of us has friends across political divides. These are things some Nigerians categorize and accuse me of being a politician. 

Also, I had known Governor Fashola and Bola Tinubu since I was in First Bank. I am a Lagos boy as well and my children were all given birth to and groomed in Lagos. When Nasir El- Rufai heard what happened, he decided to come to the Lagos airport so that if I am going to be arrested, it will be in the company of some of my friends. He never came to the airport as an APC member but as a friend. I am not a politician but people think I am one.

What next on NNPC

It is not my responsibility anymore but I can comment as a Nigerian. I can talk if I feel like. I believe nobody will challenge me that I did not speak out when I was supposed to as CBN Governor. If the next CBN Governor wants to pursue the missing funds matter or the National Assembly wants to go ahead, they are free of do so. Can you imagine a sitting Minister on national television saying they spent money without appropriation. In any other country, such minister has sacked herself. To me, if that is not financial recklessness, then I don't know what is.

Let me simply ask, if the Nigerian Constitution says don't spend money without appropriation or says don't pay subsidy and the Minister went ahead to pay, is it not a political problem? Technical problem is what we deal with at CBN, we deal with CRR and other issues.

In this kind of situation of investigation going on, you are supposed to either keep quiet as a wise man or walk away. But as you can see, I am not a wise man.

Donation of N100 million ($608,000)

It is called principle of donation. During the Ikeja bomb blast explosion, the CBN Governor then, Joseph Sanusi, gave N10 million ($61000). So I was not the first person to do that. This is contained under Corporate Social Responsibility. The blast in Kano did not affect Kano citizens alone, SSS offices, police stations were attacked and these are federal offices which have several people from the South working there. I can tell you that 80 percent of the victims of that bomb attack are not Kano citizens, there were several Christians from the South involved and I gave N100 million ($608,000) to their families. What is bad in that? Why are people not complaining about the N500 million ($3.042 million) I compelled the Bankers Committee to give to flood victims in Benue State and other places? What is wrong in it? With CSR, you cannot do everything in all the 36 States of the Federation; you will do the little you can.

Mint printing!

This is one area that we have been able to cut down on spending. In 2012, CBN spent N38 billion ($231.2 million) on mint printing down from the N49 billion ($298 million) spent in 2011. In 2013, we spent N35 billion ($213 million) and in my 2014 budget, my plan was to spend N30 billion ($182.5 million). So we have been bringing down the cost of printing.

Under the Fiscal Responsibility Act of the CBN, we contribute 80 percent into the Federation Account. In 2008 before I became Governor, CBN contributed N8 billion ($49 million) into the Federation Account. 

In my last year, we gave N159 billion ($967.4 million). In 2012, we gave N80 billion ($487 million); in 2011, we gave N60 billion ($365.04 million). In the first four years of my term as CBN Governor, we gave government about N279 billion ($1.7 billion). The National Assembly called to commend me. 

We have been able to give N600 billion ($3.7 billion) from surplus alone and the money is made from prudent finance, cutting down currency expenses, every over headline has gone down. So I can say, with all sense of humility, that the last thing anybody can accuse me of is financial recklessness.


NSA allies in Australia spied on American law firm

More headaches for U.S. President Barack Obama
CC Global Report

According to a 2013 document obtained by the New York TimesAustralian spies tapped a U.S. law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute with the United States. 

Previous allegations of Australian spying on Indonesia has led to worsening ties. 

The alleged documents have been leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. 

Last month, Mr. Snowden alleged that the NSA conducted industrial espionage. 

In an interview with Germany's ARD TV channel, the former contractor said the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with U.S. firms. 

The February 2013 document says the Australian Signals Directorate monitored a U.S. law firm used by the government of Indonesia for trade talks, according to the New York Times (NYT).

The Australians said that "information covered by attorney-client privilege may be included" in the intelligence they offered to share with the NSA, it says.
It is not clear which trade talks were involved.
Indonesia has recently been embroiled in a number of disputes with the U.S. - one over the U.S. ban of clove cigarettes, another centering on the exports of prawns which the U.S. alleged were being sold at below-market prices.
Chicago-based firm Mayer Brown was identified by the newspaper as having advised the Indonesian government at the time. The firm has not commented, nor has the Indonesian government or the NSA.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to confirm the alleged document, adding that intelligence-gathering was used "to protect our citizens and the citizens of other countries".
"We certainly don't use it for commercial purposes," Mr Abbott said.
In November, Indonesia suspended coordinated military co-operation with Australia amid an ongoing row over reports that Canberra spied on Jakarta officials, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The suspension included operations to stop people-smuggling, joint military exercises and intelligence exchange.
The NSA is prohibited from targeting Americans inside the U.S. without warrants, but it can intercept the communications of Americans if they are in contact with a foreign intelligence target abroad.
In August last year, Russia granted Mr. Snowden asylum for one year, after he leaked details of U.S. electronic surveillance programs.
The U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Earlier this week he said he has "no chance" of a fair trial in the U.S. and has no plans to return there.


George Zimmerman says not haunted by his killing of Martin, sees himself as a victim.....

CC Monday Insight

George Zimmerman, the US man controversially acquitted of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin, said in an interview aired Monday that he is not haunted by what happened.

Zimmerman also told CNN he sees himself as a victim and scapegoat and that the only judge he has to answer to is God.
The Sanford, Florida, neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in February 2012 as the unarmed African American high-schooler was walking home with iced tea and candy.
Zimmerman insisted he had been following Martin on suspicion that the youth was involved in a robbery, and that he shot him in an act of self-defense following a violent struggle.
An initial decision by Florida investigators not to press charges set off widespread protests, with Martin's supporters alleging racism and pointing to the fact that the teenager was unarmed and had no criminal record.
A national outcry led to a jury trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter in June that ended with Zimmerman's acquittal -- and more protests.
When asked by CNN if he felt haunted by that night two years ago, Zimmerman simply answered "no."
When asked about the victim, Martin, he said: "No, I certainly was a victim when I was having my head bashed into the concrete and my nose broken and beaten. I wouldn't say I was not a victim."
He added later that he saw himself as a "scapegoat" for the government, the president and the attorney general.
Faith in God kept him from doubting himself, he said.
"I know that ultimately he's the only judge I have to answer to. I know what happened, he knows what happened. So I leave it up to him."
Zimmerman, in other remarks, said he wants to become an attorney and that he receives death threats.