Big East Expansion: Time to Give Memphis a Chance
The Big East is on the verge of extinction and nothing it does might save it at this point.
It is expected to offer invitations to six schools in the next day or so to offset the slew of defections it has suffered this year.
First it was Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, then it was TCU -- which never even played a game in the conference -- to the Big 12, and now the conference's top remaining football program, West Virginia, is reportedly joining TCU in the Big 12.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto is hoping that Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Navy, and SMU can somehow allow the conference to keep its BCS automatic qualifier status and survive going forward.
It might work, it might not.
But even with the addition of those six schools -- it's not guaranteed all will accept the invitation -- the Big East still needs to add another school to reach its goal of 12 football schools.
Temple has emerged as the likely favorite to become the Big East's 12th school, though the Philadelphia school faces some resistance from rival Villanova.
Temple would be a fine choice for the Big East, but it's time for the slow-moving conference to make a bold move and finally invite Memphis into its arms.
Out of all the possible schools out there that the Big East could conceivably pluck, Memphis has the best basketball program, which should be all that matters for a conference that prides itself as the best basketball conference in the country.
The conference has already lost powerful basketball programs Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC -- a basketball-oriented move according to Rick Pitino -- and now could lose a strong West Virginia program to the Big 12.
If the Big East wants to continue to claim its dominance as the best basketball conference in the country, it needs to add a quality basketball program to offset inviting basketball dregs like Central Florida and Houston.
Why look anywhere else but Memphis?
Memphis flourished under former coach John Calipari -- the Tigers were a late Kansas three-pointer away from a national championship -- and are on a path to greatness with Josh Pastner.
Pastner, 34, has managed a 49-20 record at Memphis and looks prepared for a great season with all of the top-notch recruits joining the school. Pastner brought in a monster class in 2010 -- ranked the country's second best class according to Scout -- bringing in five-stars Joe Jackson and Will Barton into the mix.
Pastner's program is only going to continue to improve and would fit in well with the Big East's basketball rich tradition.
More importantly, it's ONLY Memphis' basketball tradition that should matter to the Big East.
Does Memphis have one of the absolute worst football programs in the country? Absolutely.
But it's not like Temple or any other available school boasts a Top 25 football program year after year.
Neither Temple nor Memphis would have any impact on the BCS' qualification statistics, thus the football component of the school should essentially be thrown out.
That thought might sound ludicrous considering that most of conference realignment has been about bulking up with football programs, but the Big East is already doing that with Boise State, Houston, SMU, and the others.
In addition to addressing the primary concern of bolstering its football programs, the Big East needs to remember that its basketball programs are the only relevant component it has right now. If the Big East is going to water down its best product with Central Florida, Houston, and SMU then it needs to bring in a quality team to offset the loss of prestige.
Sure Temple could help out, but it'd be foolish of the Big East to ignore a program that has a rabid fan base, some wealthy boosters backing the program -- FedEx's Fred Smith is the most notable -- and offers entry into a hotbed of basketball talent.
The Big East has been incredibly incompetent in its expansion efforts thus far so don't get your hopes up too high, Memphis fans.
But if the conference values its basketball as much as Marinatto claims it does, the only choice is for Big East to finally give Memphis a chance and offer it an invite.
Want to reach this writer? You can email John Talty at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @jtalty.
EUR/USD - 1.5094 Daily Market Outlook - Feb 28
Euro's retreat after rising to a record high at 1.5144 suggests a temporary top has possibly been formed yesterday and minor consolidation is seen, below 1.5050 would extend weakness towards support at 1.5018 before prospect of a recovery.
Above 1.5144 would extend uptrend to 1.5190/00 but loss of momentum should prevent strong gain beyond there and yield correction.
Gadhafi and Loyalists 'Executed': Who is Worse, the NTC or Gadhafi?
Moammar Gadhafi was killed by Libyan revolutionaries last week. While the actual cause of death is unknown, many speculate that troops reporting to Libya's interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), put a gun to Gadhafi's head and executed him in the back of a truck.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the U.S State Department are all demanding that an outside investigation commence into what actually happened in Sirte, Libya last Thursday.
With the rebels-turned-revolutionaries-turned-leaders of Libya prepared to start a new government and new political era, the world needs to know if that era will have begun with a war crime.
And if the death of Gadhafi, as well as the death of his son Mo'tassim, isn't found to be a war crime, maybe the mass graves full of Gadhafi supporters will be.
Libyan newspaper Qurynanew reported that the bodies of 267 Gadhafi supporters were found buried in a mass grave outside of Sirte. Additionally, HRW said they found 53 dead pro-Gadhafi soldiers in a hotel in the city. The men had their hands tied behind their backs and were apparently executed in the room where they were being detained.
We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gadhafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot, said Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director at HRW.
The evidence suggests that some of the victims were shot while being held as prisoners, when that part of Sirte was controlled by anti-Gadhafi brigades who appear to act outside the control of the National Transitional Council, Bouckaert added.
The soldiers were likely executed by anti-Gadhafi fighters using AK-47 and FN-1 rifles between Oct. 14 and Oct. 19. Among the bodies were former Gadhafi government official Ezzidin al-Hinsheri, military officer Muftah Dabroun, and at least two Sirte residents. If this is true, it will be a serious violation of international rules of war, one that could eventually lead to a criminal tribunal in The Hague.
Since this was the closing chapter of an internal armed conflict dating back to February, the situation was governed by the international laws of war as codified in the 1949 Geneva Conventions, former State Department official Michael Scharf wrote for CNN. Under these rules, it is a war crime to kill a combatant after he has been disarmed and taken into custody, except after a fair trial. Such a summary execution is to be distinguished from the killing of Osama bin Laden, which occurred during his capture and amid the fog of battle.
The killings have prompted some critics to say that the NTC has lost control, and that it is a dire foreshadowing of what might come next in Libya. Earlier reports that rebels tortured African migrants thought to be loyal to Gadhafi have made some ask: who is worse, Gadhafi or the revolutionaries?
Both allegedly committed heinous acts. During his 42 years in power, Gadhafi executed dissidents, banned opposition, assassinated critics, and both authorized the persecution and rejected the existence of the Berber people.
Gadhafi, as it is now well known, also sponsored a number of terrorist organizations. He had provided some financing for the Irish Republican Army, Italian Red Brigades and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and probably personally ordered the Lockerbie Bombing in 1988 and the 1986 Berlin night club bombing.
Gadhafi silenced, killed, extorted and tortured his own people, all the while saying that there is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet.
The Libyan rebels never lived in such a blatant and disgusting manner. They made it clear from the beginning that justice belonged to and would be done by them.
The NTC also hasn't legalized persecution, killing or oppression. From the beginning, Gadhafi used the rhetoric of exclusion, promoting first pan-Arabism, then pan-Africanism while detracting from minorities and the West. So far, Libya's new government has only used the rhetoric of inclusion, rebuilding and cooperation.
Of course, that doesn't legitimize extrajudicial execution. But, when comparing the NTC fighters who executed already captured men with Gadhafi, who institutionalized oppression and murdered in the name of democracy, one is clearly worse.
A similar argument is brought up when discussing the comparative evils of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. It is sometimes forgotten that Stalin killed nearly twice as many people as Hitler, when the number of people he ordered to be executed is combined with the deaths from famines caused by his policies, the Holodomor (the man-made famine in Ukraine), the Great Purge and those who died in Siberian exile.
(The actual figures are debatable. Hitler killed 11 million non-combatants during his rule. The general consensus is that Stalin killed 20 million, although some people say it's closer to 10 million, others closer to 40 million.)
So is Stalin clearly more evil?
No, because Hitler built a government based on hatred, uniting a population behind the violent enmity that led to World War II. The Nazi party was in part built on the idea of the inherent superiority of the German race, and the exclusion and murder of the Jews and other ethnic groups in Europe were a continuation of the rhetoric and politics of the country.
Stalin's violence, on the other hand, was not a targeting of enemies, but a blind rage and panic... it was not policy but the failure of policy, as the book The Road to Terror by J. Arch Getty and Oleg Naumov claims. It was also meant to be a secret, although most Soviets were probably aware of it, and therefore a blot on the new Communist design.
So when comparing Gadhafi and the revolutionaries who (might have) executed him, one is undeniably more evil. The National Transitional Council, so far, is building its government on true freedom. The apparent executions of Gadhafi and his supporters are wrong and are worrisome, but if Libya can be honest with itself and conduct a thorough investigation, they can put evil behind them.
Realest perspective on European debt solution shakes risk assets
After hoping for quiet week leading into the European debt front this week as a resolution was worked towards for the summit on the 23rd, some honesty and realest perspective from Germany spooked the market. But nevertheless, the chancellor reminds that the dreams that are emerging again, that on Monday everything will be resolved and everything will be over will again not be fulfilled, said Steffen Seibert, chief spokesman for Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The German Finance Minister also echoed these comments, with most probably the politicking on where the funds will be drawn from to underwrite the banks that take a haircut on Greek bonds a key issue as with the recapitalization of the banks. The markets previous optimism took a hit and so did risk assets, with the Euro following equity market down 1.6 cents to 1.3746 USD through the overnight sessions. The Australian dollar was down in tandem also dropping 1.75 cents, as a flight to the US dollar was the order of the night.
Industrial Production data in the States did nothing to override the European risk on fears, with a solid print of 0.2% in line with estimates. Equity markets in the US followed leads form Europe on the German damping of optimism. While looking at data so far this month in the States which has been positive, the Empire State manufacturing index which is a forward looking indicator of spending, hiring, and investment of manufacturers was a -8.5, the worst print for the Survey since November last year, which may give some rise to the organisations that are predicting recession for next year in the US.
The overnights session should not panic traders in the wake of the gains made over the last two weeks, with the Australian dollar still up 9.5 US cents in that period. And like any realest would have had a hard time seeing Europe determine a solution within 6 days like the G20 ministers had demanded rather than have a solution by their own deadline of 3-4 November. Overnight's negative session though does not lead in well to RBA monetary policy minutes which will hang on how dovish the comments are regarding rates direction and with Chinese data expecting to show a minor slowdown in growth. At the time of writing the Australian dollar is at 1.016 USD.
The new Cruise Collection for Swedish retailers H&M, designed by Italian fashion house Versace, has everything from resort-wear to fruity-print robes, sandals and accessories; the collection has been styled to encapsulate the holiday wardrobe. In addition, it is also meant as an instant style update for the spring season. The new Versace collection follows on the success of the first such collaboration between the Swedes and the Italians, offering summery shades and bold prints.
The women's collection is both light and feminine, with berries and butterfly prints on dresses, tops, negligees, dressing gowns and silk cashmere cardigans. The women can also flaunt white jeans, bikinis and summer accessories like charm bracelets, print bags, ballet flats and high heels.
The gentlemen will be treated to a collection based on fashion classics, like a leather-detailed wool blazer, jeans and denim shirts, alongside pleat-front shirts, either in cotton or denim.
The entire range is scheduled to be released on Jan. 19, and will be available as an H&M online exclusive.
For autumn we have looked back at the Versace archives with the iconic collection for H&M, and now we are looking forward, with a first feeling for the new spring season. As well as holiday pieces, there is also everyday wear, with lots of denim and print, all of it with a spirit that's classically Versace, OK Magazine quoted Margareta van den Bosch, the Creative Advisor at H&M, as saying.
Take a look at the collection in the given slideshow: