January 14

The ‘Miracle Man’ Returns as Coach, But can he make a difference?

first_imgAs the Ebola Virus Disease continues to decline in the country and the normal activities get underway, it makes sense for the Liberia Football Association to put in place important measures to rebuild the national soccer teams of Liberia.The decision by the LFA to appoint ex-celebrated star James Debbah (Salinsa) as the head coach to rebuild the senior national team suggests interesting dimension in the development of players for the national team.Though other former national team players, including Thomas Kojo, Kervin Sebwe and Christopher Wleh received appointments, the FA did not announce how much these men would be paid. Have these newly appointed coaches handled a club for a competition?On his facebook account, the former celebrated player, and Miracle Man, Debbah noted that he is coming to the national team, not as a ‘messiah’ to save Liberian football, but rather as someone to impart discipline to his would-be charges.Truth be told, Debbah knows that Liberian soccer was having many problems, including players and administrative discipline before the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.Indiscipline was rife among players and administrators. For instance, due to the Liberian government’s apparent lack of interest in developing a good national team, critical funds are always not available. The failure to provide needed funds to get better results shows indiscipline of the owners of the team that can work against any determined coach; please ask Coaches Kaetu Smith, Thomas Kojo and Frank Jericho Nagbe about their experiences with the LFA and Youth & Sports.There are instances where players and officials travel on national assignments without per diems. Lone Star’s recent friendly trip to Equatorial Guinea and Junior Lone Star’s CAF return-leg trip to Abidjan are cases in point.At the time of writing, jerseys and other materials belonging to Jr. Lone Star are sitting somewhere in New Kru Town, since they were seized by the players. Their contention was and is that per diems promised them must be paid before the materials are returned to the LFA.Debbah should also understand that the failure of previous coaches, including J. Kaetu Smith, Frank Jericho Nagbe and Thomas Kojo as national coaches were not because they did not know their job. With all due respect Smith, Kojo and Nagbe possessed CAF recognized credentials.It would also be important for Debbah to investigate why those coaches could not make a difference. Interestingly Kojo and even Kervin Sebwe are part of the current appointed coaches and therefore they should tell him why things never worked on the coaching side as well as on the administrative side.Coach Kaetu Smith, without argument is one of the most disciplined coaches Liberia can boast of. Why, then did he not achieve much progress? It would be a wise decision for Debbah to talk to him.Since Debbah has consistently stressed that he would bring discipline to the team, how much discipline can we find in his character?  “Debbah is a changed man,” a friend who knows him well told the Daily Observer, “he has outgrown the things he did when he was young and actively playing in Liberia.”  Ok. But what are his credentials for such an important job? How much is the LFA prepared to pay him? Will his appointment benefits include a car and a residence? In a subsequent examination, we’ll find out how much discipline Coach Debbah has gained for himself to be able to give players that would be under him. While playing professional is one thing, to coach others is a different science altogether that only those who have prepared, are sure to make the difference that Liberian football is crying for and Coach Debbah has promised to deliver.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

December 21

As fans prepare for farewell to Pence, Blanco ponders future in baseball

first_imgSAN DIEGO–With little left to serve this season, nostalgia will be the dish of choice at AT&T Park next week.When Hunter Pence strolls to the plate, sprints to the outfield and jogs in toward the dugout, fans will stand and cheer his every move, knowing it may be their last opportunity to celebrate a leading figure of the Giants’ golden era.Pence has two rings, but no certainty.He hasn’t publicly stated whether he wants to continue playing baseball next season, but the pending free agent …last_img read more

December 16

Firefox Creative Lead Leaves to Launch Stealth Healthcare Startup

first_imgAza Raskin, the eccentric lead designer at Mozilla’s Firefox, announced today that he’s leaving his position to co-found a startup in the healthcare market with mobile entrepreneur Sutha Kamal and at least one still-unnamed co-founder.Already well funded by undisclosed investors, Raskin says the company, called Massive Health, will bring a User Experience designer’s sensibility to healthcare. “With health-case costs rising faster than inflation, a crisis is on the horizon,” he writes in a blog post announcing the move. “We need to apply cognitive psychology, the principles of design, and tighter feedback loops to our own health. Health care needs to have its design Renaissance, where products and services are redesigned to be responsive to human needs and considerate of human frailties.”Raskin is an accomplished technologist, having developed projects ranging from the Firefox Mobile concept to the original W3C Geolocation standard. A number of his projects never gained much traction, though; Ubiquity and Jetpack were Raskin-initiated Firefox technologies that never felt finished and didn’t seem to go anywhere.A frequent and fascinating public speaker, Raskin’s efforts to move into the much maligned health care sector could really shake things up. His move was first reported on TechCrunch, where Erick Schonfeld says they’ll be watching Massive Health closely once it launches. We’ll try to follow it more closely, here at ReadWriteWeb. See also: Your Memories Will Be Rewritten: Mozilla’s Raskin Says Product Placement is Coming Soon to Your Facebook Photos marshall kirkpatrick Related Posts Tags:#news#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

December 12

“The Lucas Effect”: When Filmmaking Creativity Goes Unchecked

first_imgAvoiding the Lucas EffectYou can avoid The Lucas Effect. You just have to be honest with yourself, and you have to be open to constructive criticism and be willing to collaborate with your department heads. When you go back to review your film script, you must be able to ask yourself “Is there too much going on here? Are there too many characters, sub plots, crazy ideas? Is it too ridiculous?” If so, how can you pare it down, trim the fat, and focus the story? Can you make the crazy ideas palatable for the audience? If it’s a sequel, are the characters and the story thematically consistent with the previous films in the series? Ask your peers the same thing when you hand them the script. Whatever you can’t make work, you have to cut. Whatever is too ridiculous — which will depend on the context of the main storyline — has to go. Be open to questions and criticism on set from your cast and crew.You have to be able to say “No” to your own ideas (or someone else’s, in Spielberg’s case), and your crew needs to feel comfortable constructively questioning and challenging your ideas.Cover image via Star Wars: A New Hope (Twentieth Century Fox).Looking for more articles on the filmmaking industry? Check these out.10k Vs 100k Vs 500k: Feature Film Budgets ComparedThe History and Power of Sound Design in the Film IndustryThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase TwoThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic UniverseBreakout Director Kat Candler on the Best Festivals for First-Time Filmmakers The original Star Wars trilogy crosses cultures and stands the test of time. So, what happened with the prequel trilogy? I call it “The Lucas Effect.”Let’s talk about Star Wars for just a moment. The original trilogy is arguably amazing. The deepest story? No. However, the groundbreaking effects and excellent sound design, a wide array of characters, beautiful action, and good character arcs make it an enjoyable and beautiful trilogy. And George Lucas was lauded for it — both critically and financially. And rightfully so!So what happened with the prequel trilogy? Well, an in-depth analysis is beyond the scope of this article, but in summation, what happened is what I call “The Lucas Effect.”Creativity UncheckedThe Lucas Effect is wild creativity with reckless abandon. It’s not knowing how to edit your story, not realizing when you’ve gone too far — or if you’ve crammed too many characters and subplots into one story. The Lucas Effect is not knowing when to say “no” to an idea that probably won’t work. This often happens when a creator is given too much freedom. Too much freedom can be happenstance, as in seemingly endless resources to do as much as you want, or self-imposed, as in refusing to take any criticism or refusing to collaborate with others.I think people sometimes forget just how George Lucas was involved in the original films. Many think he had complete control, but he didn’t. In fact, he only solely wrote and directed Star Wars: A New Hope. With other talented people in control, they took his marvelous, grandiose ideas and focused and refined them into something great.So, when Lucas comes back and says, “Hey, I’m gonna make those prequels now,” everyone is so excited that no one thinks he can do wrong. It’s bound to be a success. So, he got huge funding, and no one challenged his vision or ideas. However, I don’t think Lucas realized something very important about himself, and why the original series worked so well (despite its problems). In the previous films, he had a system of checks and balances (unknowingly) in place. Due to production issues and financial and technological limits, he had to step aside from directing and writing to be the producer, to ensure the completion of his story. So, he brought on other writers and directors to work with. For the prequels, he didn’t. He wrote and directed all three himself. No one was there to tell him “no,” to separate the good ideas from the bad ones. He had too much freedom, and he went off the rails with it. As a result, the films were critical failures. As film producer Gary Kurtz put it, “I think one of the problems . . . is the fact that [Lucas] doesn’t have more people who really challenge him.”Folding Under PressureYou can also see this in the Indiana Jones series. Steven Spielberg acted as the gatekeeper for Lucas’s grandiose — often absurd — ideas for the first three films. As the series grew, Lucas’s ideas got even crazier. Thankfully, Spielberg managed him, kept him in check, and was able to tell him “No.”For Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, however, Spielberg practically gave up and just let Lucas take control. “When I was done with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there was a reason I invented the shot of Harrison [Ford] riding a horse into the sunset,” says Spielberg, “because I thought that brought down the curtain on the trilogy, and then we were all gonna move on and mature into other aspects of filmmaking, and I never thought I would see Indiana Jones again . . . It was fine with me at the time. But there were some people it wasn’t fine with.” Spielberg “was done with this series. It was great! Let’s walk away!”Yet all through the ’90s, Harrison Ford, George Lucas, fans, and interviewers would continually badger Spielberg to agree to at least one more story. Finally, he gave in and Lucas said, “Hey, let’s do aliens.”“It was the idea of taking the genre,” said Lucas, “from the 1930s action adventure serials to the B science fiction movies of the 1950s.” Eventually Spielberg “humored George Lucas” and said fine, thinking that he “would never wind up directing this movie . . . we’ll get some young kid to come in and do this.” But he did, and he allowed Lucas to throw in a number of other wacky ideas. Spielberg had stepped aside as Lucas’s system of checks and balances, he had stopped challenging him, and the film suffered for it.As a pairing, Lucas is the imagination while Spielberg is the storyteller. Without the storyteller — the one who keeps the narrative grounded, within its means, coherent, and logical, we’re left with fun, cool ideas, with no solid structure.Beyond LucasThis isn’t something unique to George Lucas. A notable example of The Lucas Effect happened to the Wachowski’s and their Matrix saga. The first Matrix is marvelously done, balancing Hong Kong martial arts cinema, 90s cyberpunk, philosophical meditation, and anime. It takes just enough of each and blends them all together seamlessly. It works because each of those categories share a few common threads.However, when it came time to make the sequels, the filmmakers dove way too deep. Where once they let anime influence their action and visuals, they then tried to seemingly create a live action anime with ninety Agent Smiths fighting Neo and over-the-top characters.Fighting ninety Agent Smiths is like Fonzie jumping the shark. “Jump the Shark” refers to the show Happy Days, when Fonzie jumped over a shark while waterskiing. One could argue that because he jumped fourteen trash cans on his motorcycle in a previous episode, why can’t he jump a shark on water skis — while wearing his signature leather jacket? Yes, it’s possible, but it’s ridiculous. It’s also possible for Ewoks, basically violent teddy bears, to kill a bunch of Storm Troopers, but why? (In the Ewoks’ case, it was to sell toys.)Where once The Matrix had a strong, philosophical backbone, the filmmakers now spend what feels like hours mulling over philosophy, in long, confusing exchanges dialogue. It became a mess.They saturated the film with too many characters, too many subplots, too much anime and philosophy and Kung Fu wire action. Where the first film was focused on one main story, with a few excellent characters and clear ideas, the sequels went off the rails and just threw in every idea. Unfortunately, the Wachowskis carried this over to Jupiter Ascending. Jupiter Ascending had too many (ridiculous) ideas crammed into one film. It might have worked as a trilogy — if they had hired someone sensible to edit their script. The best way to explain just how convoluted and ridiculous this film became is with the Screen Junkies Honest Trailer of the movie.last_img read more

October 24

Longer Opening Hours for Licenced Bars – Golding

first_imgLicenced bars and similar establishments will soon be able to legally remain open for longer hours as a result of amendments, which are to be made to the Spirit Licencing Act. Making the announcement on Wednesday at the Jamaica House press briefing, at the Office of the Prime Minister, Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, explained that, “for some time the prescribed opening hours for licenced establishments have been a cause of confrontation and problems between bar owners, and patrons and the police.” “Representation was made from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) after meeting with bar owners in St. Thomas and other parishes for an adjustment to be made to the opening hours,” the Minister added. The present opening hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and on Sundays the hours for taverns are between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Hotels on the other hand, are allowed to open from 7:00 a.m. until midnight any day of the week. The proposal is to amend the Spirit Licensing Act to allow the Minister to fix the opening and closing hours of licensed establishments, by way of Order, which will be subject to affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. “The opening and closing hours will not be fixed in the legislation, but by way of Order which, over time, can be adjusted if necessary. Cabinet has approved the policy to inform the Order, which will allow establishments to be able on Mondays through Saturdays to open (from 7:00 a.m.) until midnight and from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sundays,” Minister Golding outlined. Opening hours for hotels remain the same and the criteria for licences will not be reviewed at this time.  Senator Golding noted that while an overall review of the spirit licensing regime is to be done, for now this amendment seeks to deal with a specific social problem, which was becoming a law enforcement issue.last_img read more

October 13

Hawaiis low unemployment rate masks underlying problems

first_imgHONOLULU, Hawaii – Are there downsides to a low unemployment rate? In Hawaii, which has the United States’ lowest jobless rate at a minuscule 2.1 per cent, the answer is yes.Employers are frustrated by their inability to find workers. And unfilled jobs may be slowing the state’s economic growth.A low unemployment rate is certainly better than a high one. And many employers are responding to the worker shortage by offering higher pay.Still, Hawaii’s experience serves as a cautionary tale for the nation as a whole: Low unemployment can mask underlying problems. Nationwide, the jobless rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 per cent, and economists forecast it could drop another half-point by next year. That would bring the rate to a half-century low.U.S. employers are already complaining about their struggles to find qualified employees. The number of open jobs nationwide reached the highest level on record in January.Like the rest of the country, Hawaii has an aging population, and its unemployment rate has been held down in part by retiring baby boomers.The state also has unique challenges, such as an economy long dominated by tourism. Many of Hawaii’s available jobs are in the service sector and don’t pay enough to cover the state’s high housing costs. And economists say Hawaii’s ongoing economic sluggishness could make it harder for the state to pay its public pension obligations in the future, and fund highways and other expensive infrastructure.U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat, cited the deceptively rosy jobless rate when she launched her campaign challenging a sitting governor from her own party in this year’s election.“We cannot wait as more and more of our young people, discouraged by the future they see for themselves here, leave Hawaii in hopes for better opportunities on the mainland,” Hanabusa said in January. A recent poll conducted for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser gave her a 20-percentage point lead over Gov. David Ige in the August primary.Hanabusa was pointing to a trend reflected in census data: People are moving away from Hawaii even as employers here clamour for workers.Last year, the state suffered a net loss of more than 1,000 people. On Oahu, home to Honolulu and major military installations like Pearl Harbor, the population declined an average of 11 people per day. The median price of an Oahu home tops $770,000.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 47 per cent of Hawaii’s residents spend more than a third of their monthly income on rent. That’s greater than any other state. About one-quarter of renters put half of their income toward housing.The personnel squeeze is forcing employers to offer incentives to attract workers.Maui Divers Jewelry, a retailer in the old whaling town of Lahaina, offers employees extra money to cover the cost of driving to its stores from Maui’s bigger cities.Star of Honolulu Cruises and Events has raised the hourly wage for servers on its boat cruises to $12 from $10.“They can be picky now, I feel like. The ball is in their court,” Sheridan Andres, the company’s human resources manager, said of job applicants. Star of Honolulu is also advertising for kitchen staff, boat maintenance workers, bus drivers and supervisors.Hawaii Pacific Health, one of the state’s largest health care providers, is pursuing a pilot program to train medical assistants at five public high schools so they’ll be ready to walk into jobs when they graduate. The company has 7,000 employees, along with 44 openings for medical assistants and more than 400 openings overall.The demand for labour is driven by a tourism surge that brought a record 9.4 million visitors to the islands last year. Strong hiring and income gains in the Western U.S. mean more Americans can make the trip. And Japan and Canada, where most of the state’s overseas visitors come from, also are experiencing solid growth.That’s led to an increase in low-paying hotel and restaurant jobs, which accounted for 60 per cent of Hawaii’s job growth in 2017, according to data compiled by Moody’s Analytics. Hotels and restaurants employ about one of every five workers in the state, double the proportion in the rest of the U.S.Adam Kamins, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, says the state has had little success in luring better-paying tech jobs from western states such as California or Washington, because of high housing and business costs. Tech firms are instead moving to cheaper states such as Utah, Colorado and Idaho.An economy with an unemployment rate as low as Hawaii’s should be growing about 3 per cent a year, said Eugene Tian, the state’s chief economist. Instead, it’s growing at about 1.5 per cent.“We don’t have enough housing. We don’t have enough trained labour. That’s limiting the growth,” Tian said. “They are connected.”Paul Brewbaker, an economist with consulting firm TZ Economics, said Hawaii’s growth rate has lagged the nation’s for the past decade. On average, Hawaii’s economy has grown just 1.6 per cent per year compared with the national average of 2.1 per cent since 2009.On a per-capita basis, gross domestic product in Hawaii was one-third higher than the national average 40 years ago, Brewbaker said. It’s now the same. The trend could have profound consequences for Hawaii in the long term.“Where do we go from here? If we’re on this road, how do we pay for the public employee retirement system? If we’re on this road, will we ever be able to build another freeway, not to mention a mass transit system?” Brewbaker said.___Rugaber reported from Washington.last_img read more

October 13

Cannabis company hopes to replace jobs lost in mill closure in small

first_imgMERRITT, B.C. — Arnold Meyer spent 40 years working at the Tolko Industries Ltd. mill in Merritt, B.C., but then he faced the reality of being laid off.The 62-year-old was one of about 200 employees who lost their jobs in 2016, crippling the economy of the small town in British Columbia’s southern Interior and prompting politicians to promise to restore the ailing forestry sector.Two years later, the province’s lumber industry is still facing challenges, but a new sector is revving up. A cannabis company hopes to build a grow facility in Merritt, replacing jobs, including Meyer’s that were lost in the mill closure.“It sounds good to me. They said they want me to be one of the first hires for when the plant opens up,” said Meyer, who held various positions at Tolko, where he mostly drove machinery.Emerald Plants Health Source Inc., or EPHS, purchased a massive chunk of land in the city and plans to build an initial 3,700-square-metre facility before building up to potentially more than 100,000 square metres.The facility would eventually employ more than 200 people in a range of jobs, from low-skill trimmer roles to higher-paid management jobs.Members of the company first learned about Meyer in a Canadian Press story on whether marijuana had the potential to revitalize small towns hit hard by resource job losses. In the 2017 article, Meyer said he hoped a cannabis company would create jobs in the community.“It just resonated with us as a group as we read that article, that this could really change people’s lives in Merritt,” said Jeff Hancock, executive vice-president of Emerald.“I think that’s really what Arnold Meyer symbolizes to us as a company.”Emerald also hopes to contact others formerly employed by Tolko. There are many transferable skills from mill work to cannabis and other skills can be learned, Hancock said, adding the company had good conversations with city staff and plans to put in its formal application soon.It aims to break ground in the second quarter of 2019 and plans to start production in the second or third quarter of the following year, he said.Newly elected Merritt Mayor Linda Brown said some younger Tolko employees left town to work at other mills run by the company or seek other employment, while some older employees found themselves retiring earlier than planned.Brown said she still has questions for Emerald, including whether the jobs will pay well, but she expects to support an application when it’s put forward.“We need industry. We need developments in there. That’s what I got elected on, was that kind of a platform, developing the city,” she said.The mill closure devastated the community and any company that wants to bring in jobs is welcome, said former mayor Neil Menard.“It’s a whole different industry for us. I don’t know much about it. I hope it would pay good wages and good benefits,” he said. “It can’t be anything but good.”Tolko did not return a request for comment but said in 2016 a lack of timber supply forced it to close the mill. The union that represented the employees declined comment.Emerald is a Health Canada-licensed producer that already has a facility in Montreal. Hancock and others with the company have energy industry backgrounds and have developed ways to reduce the energy costs associated with cannabis, he said.Merritt also provided the company with the “unicorn land” it had been seeking, in terms of zoning, size and energy assets, Hancock added.Meyer was skeptical when Emerald first contacted him but now he’s looking forward to meeting company representatives in Merritt soon, he said.Asked how it felt to be part of their inspiration for the project, Meyer laughed.“My chest got big and my head started to swell and I got a bunch more feathers in my hat,” he joked.— By Laura Kane in VancouverThe Canadian Presslast_img read more

September 18

Hierro reveals he was offered a Spain contract extension

first_imgFormer Spain manager Fernando Hierro, revealed that he was offered a contract extension until Qatar 2022 but he ended up rejecting it.The whole deal with Spain and Fernando Hierro during the 2018 World Cup in Russia was nothing short of surreal, he took the hot seat right after Julen Lopetegui got sacked and attempted to right the ship during the competition with little luck.Despite the evident poor performance by the Spanish national team during the competition after getting eliminated by the tournament hosts, Fernando Hierro revealed that he even got offered a contract extension to continue managing the squad until the next World Cup.The former manager recently offered an interview to ‘O11CE Metros’ magazine, where he revealed several details of his whole experience and also how the whole new contract offer took place.“I just turned 50 years old and I have never seen anything like it in my life, to live a situation of such magnitude just three days before the start of a World Cup,” said Hierro in a fragment of the interview picked up by Mundo Derpotivo.“My commitment and honesty took me to take the job as the manager. I understood that I had to do it then, my conscience is clear.”“I actually had a contract until the Qatar World Cup and I still think that the best solution was to step aside, for me and everyone else.”“I decided that I needed to give a chance to the younger generation. We have amazing players and manager, which is the case of Luis Enrique, who is a wonderful national team manager.”Gerard Pique, Neymar, BarcelonaLa Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…“I knew that the level of commitment was as high as anyone could imagine, but I needed to step up in a situation as complex as that one.”“I would like to thank the commitment from all the players and everything else, is just football, something you can’t really control,” he added.🇪🇸 Fernando Hierro, en la revista oficial de @afefutbol:➡️ “En mi vida había visto una situación parecida a la del Mundial, pero lo volvería a intentar”👇🏽 La entrevista íntegra https://t.co/hctDAuZgkI— El Partidazo de COPE (@partidazocope) December 24, 2018last_img read more

September 18

Burnley star signs new contract

first_imgBurnley youngster McNeil has signed a new contract with the club and has put paid to speculations over his exit from the club.The teenager signed his first professional contract at the club last April and has been in blistering form since he made his debut for the club last season.“A lot has happened in a short space of time and I’m happy to have signed a new deal,” McNeil Lancashiretelegraph.“I hadn’t really thought this far ahead but I’m just happy it’s come so soon.Burnley FC v Manchester City - Premier LeagueMatch Preview: Burnley vs Liverpool Boro Tanchev – August 30, 2019 Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to Burnley for the Matchday 4 of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.“The main aim was to sign it so I can focus on my football and I’ve done that now so I can focus and crack on with what I’m doing.“I think I’ve taken my opportunity well and hopefully I can build on that.“Hopefully I can stay in the team and really focus on this season. I think we’re doing well and we’ve got to keep that form going.“It’s a dream staying in the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world and you always want to stay and play in the Premier League.”last_img read more