Archive for January, 2016

Case Study: Business

January 30, 2016









General Motors (GM) is based in Detroit, Michigan and was ranked as the largest global manufacturer of trucks and cars back in 2002. At this time, the company employed approximately 355 000 employees and its vehicles were sold in about 200 countries. It was affiliated to 14 000 dealers with manufacturing operations in about 30 nations. In the previous year, the company had sold about 8.5 million trucks and cars globally and this accounted for 15.1% of the global vehicle market, as well as $ 177 billion worth of sales. GM also boasted of 70 final assembly plants alongside hundreds of facilities from where manufacturing of sub-assemblies takes place (General Motor 4).

GM’s Canadian and US competitors included DaimlerChrysler and Ford, whereas it was also sharing the global market with other major players from Western Europe and Asia. Targeting at increasing its global presence, the company adopted a growth strategy that involved acquiring Saab and also forming alliances with Isuzu, Fiat, Suzuki, and Subaru. It also collaborated, in terms of technology, with Honda and Toyota, as well as entered into vehicle ventures with Renault and Toyota (General Motor 4). At this point, it operated two segments, one involving the auto-related businesses namely designing, manufacturing, and marketing of automobiles, car financing, and in-vehicle services such as telematics. The other segment entailed non-auto-related businesses including financial services such as mortgages and insurance, and Hughes Electronics Corporation (General Motor 4).

Major Enterprise Architecture Issues

  • Business Process, Policy & Procedure; these include customer process, precisely expand its focus from high-quality productions to preferences and tastes of the customers and to create a balance between the products and the customers that it served
  • Data, Information & Knowledge; the major issue here is exceeding inventory, owing to long replenishment time, as well as the unpredictable production
  • Information Technology; existing information system had become obsolete such that it could not support the effective integration of the flow of GM

Analysis of the Major Enterprise Architecture Issues

Since the 2000s, the increasing demand from customers, the global market, along with the uncertainty in the economic trends has created significant problems for the automobile manufacturers. Specifically, the manufacturers are faced with an imbalance between the demand and supply sides, which ultimately affects the satisfaction of the customers. Additionally, the emergence of the Asian automakers especially in Japan and South Korea has made the issue essentially complex (General Motor 8). GM has to face such problems by seeking to intensify its stake within the competition realm. The company entered the US market and was commendably successful. This can be confirmed by the high market share it commanded. The key reason for such success was the shift of the consumer preferences towards small automobiles, which were fitted with quality options. Such automobiles were non-existent in the US there before. GM recognized the need to set up an effective strategic relationship with different stakeholders including the suppliers, dealers, and the competitors. In doing this, the aim was to satisfy the expectations that the US customers had.

            The company had achieved immense success by 2002, digitizing through the various parts of the entity including those related to the customer and the supply chain. The success was visible through a number of outcomes. Such included many returning customers and the supply chain registering reduced delivery lead time. The success was also witnessed given that there was increased reliability in the replacement process. While this was the case, GM was required to assess and arrive at a decision on the initiatives that it had to support to ensure that it was adopted by others in the industry as a benchmark (General Motor 11).

            As a common trend in the industry, GM only laid its emphasis on raising the level of sales to ensure that the company’s capital intensive plant assets and unionized labor force were used to their ultimate capacity. In effect, the costs attributed to maintaining the dealers’ large inventories, which did not reflect the preferences of the consumers, increased drastically. Consequently, the company experienced lowering levels of profitability. Therefore, it sought to identify working solutions to the problem. The company evaluated and established its competencies through three core areas namely; the supply, customers, and the IT realms (Inkpen 25).

Business Process, Policy & Procedure

Regarding the customer process, GM identified that it needed to expand its focus from high-quality productions to preferences and tastes of the customers, as well. The company found out that it had to create a balance between the products and the customers that it served. In this regard, it was of central importance for it to do not only rapid, but also sensitive responsiveness to the market and thereby allow a greater satisfaction among the customers (Fogel, Randall and Yeung 87). It had to do this by enhancing its technologies and internal structure. The company had implemented a multi-divisional structure, which lacked effective integration between the GM’s segmented parts and the customers (General Motor 7). The cause was the tendency of the GM’s branches to seek and maintain their own customers rather than sharing them. This, as a result, ensured the establishment of a non-loyal customer base. In order to resolve the uncertainty in demand along with the unnecessarily long delivery time, the company maintained a huge level of inventory by letting the prospective customers feel, touch, and engages with GM’s production. While this was the case, unwanted costs arose (Inkpen 26). To alleviate these, the company identified the need for creating new sales and delivery channels through negotiating among dealership including supermarkets and internet dealers.

Data, Information & Knowledge

The second area was the supply side in which the key issue was also exceeding inventory. The long replenishment time, as well as the unpredictable production was the major causes of the inventory issues. The company had prioritized excess inventory as a form of buffer and at the same time, to secure against uncertainties. The company also used inefficient, manual models of communications including fax to the community with the supply chain partners. On top of this, the company’s inbound and outbound operations were essentially complex.

Information Technology

In the case of IT, GM identified that the existing information system had become obsolete. It had become very old such that it could not support the effective integration of the flow of GM (General Motor 9). To solve such an issue, the company opted for standardized computer systems to connect the segmented infrastructure (Inkpen 29). The company expected that the proposed system would improve efficiency and drive costs down. Further, the company would be the very first company to become a self-digitalized organization. Towards setting such a pace, the company saw it essential to integrate the customer and the supply chain systems. It also established a digital loyalty network, which was meant to drive new value through the new technology. Through the new technology, the company leveraged the customer data, differentiated the customer responses, harnessed the power of e-commerce through developing a web-based channel, and set up direct links to customers by installing telematics.


Analysis of the Current Status of the Organization

GM, in the recent years, has faced immense issues. The most critical has been those that have been surfaced by the global crisis. These tend to affect all the business processes, and these include the customer and supplier courses. The company has continued to lose customers and avails its products at a high price. Indeed, in the period between 2008 and 2009, the company was almost declared bankrupt. However, due to the role it played in the US economy, GM was rescued. Also, in 2007, the company experienced issues with the labor unions. This led to significant losses. A further issue that the company is currently facing is weak competitiveness. These issues mean that the company has to come up with new offers, as well as new agreements in order to prevent further problems with the workers and prevent adverse consequences owing to economic difficulties. This far, it has attempted to solve the issue by attempting to lower its expenses ((Fogel, Randall and Yeung 89).


From the above analysis, it is without a doubt that GM is facing critical times. If the issues that it is experiencing continue in the absence of any significant restorative measure or solution being implemented, it is likely that the company will go under. Even if it continues to survive, there is a high chance that it will not be competitive as it was before. The company’s production requires new technological competencies and products. In addition, the marketing support should be strong. The essence of this is to ensure that there is increased awareness about the brand. Moreover, it is often determined that the word of mouth is among the most essential and powerful marketing tools. If customers become dissatisfied, they might express their experiences with the company to others, including the prospective buyers. This is damaging as the customer base will be eroded, and thereby adversely affect the financials of the company. The risk of bankruptcy might even emerge again. General Motors has to look into the possibility of this issue. Also, if the company maintains a higher level of prices for its products, there is a risk of the raw materials becoming more expensive. This is detrimental as the profitability levels are lowered. It also lowers the potential to deliver sufficient production (Fogel, Randall, and Yeung 103). Any new technology would help in reducing the operation costs, something that would serve as a strong basis for reducing the prices. Lastly, into the future, the gasoline engines will be phased out in an attempt to fight global issues such as climate change. This might present yet another challenge to GM and its competitors.


  • One way that the company should go so as to increase its competitiveness is through adopting a new marketing strategy, as well as approach to production.
  • It is also recommended that the company improves its management of customer service (Inkpen 30).
  • It is recommended that the company should make extensive efforts to make the green technology process a major one as the entity has done to the engine oil production.









Work cited

Fogel, Kathy, Randall Morck, and Bernard Yeung. “Big business stability and economic growth: Is what’s good for General Motors good for America?.” Journal of Financial Economics 89.1 (2008): 83-108.

General Motor. Building a Digital Loyalty Network through Demand and Supply Chain Integration, Knight Way, Stanford, CA: Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.

Inkpen, Andrew C. “Learning through alliances: General Motors and NUMMI.” Strategic Direction 22.2 (2006), 25-29.



How Sensor Nodes Work for Protecting Border from Intrusion

January 28, 2016


Governments in the world are faced with the task of ensuring safety of their citizens. Consequently, they have prioritized border security to control entry and exit of terrorist, illegal migrants, drug lords and drug dealers. Several mechanisms have been put forward to aid in ensuring birder security. Such include construction of physical fences, physical patrol on the border and many other techniques. Despite the use of such techniques, they have numerous shortcomings, hence not effective in controlling the border. To complement the shortfall, technology is being harnessed to ensure the border is secured top prevent entry and exit of the illegal migrants, terrorist and the drug lords. In this regard, wireless sensing technology has been embraced. The use of wireless sensor networks creates virtual fence that extends the working capability of border patrol. This technology relies on sensor nodes to collect data to a central processing area where it is analysed. This paper focuses on the working mechanisms of sensor nodes, there benefits and their shortcomings.




The traditional border control techniques are inefficient in detecting intruders. The use of surveillance technologies not only makes border control and patrol efficient but it also ensures high accuracy and minimizing of human support. There are multiple surveillance technologies used to monitor the border. In spite of this, the technologies are used together to complement each other. The most important surveillance technology used in monitoring and controlling the border is the use of wireless sensor networks.

By definition, a wireless sensor network is a network made of various sensor devices interconnected in an ad-hoc mode with an aim of sensing physical phenomena like temperature, movement etc (Karl & Willig, 2007). Basically, a wireless sensor network’s functions is to facilitate information exchange between the sensor nodes and an application platform (Alkhathami & Alazzawi, 2015). The information exchange takes places wirelessly. A wireless sensor network is made up of various components. Such components include a gateway, relay nodes, leaf nodes sensor/actuator nodes. This paper will explore the sensor/actuator node component (Alkhathami & Alazzawi, 2015).

Types of Sensor Nodes

A sensor node can be defined as a component in a network of sensors that that collects data about the surrounding environment and then sends the data for processing via a network. There are various types of sensor nodes (Iyengar & Brooks, 2012). The categories of the sensor nodes are based on there working mechanism (Raghavendra, Sivalingam, & Znati, 2006). The various kinds of sensor nodes commonly used in intrusion detection are: infrared (Thermal) sensor nodes, accelerometer (seismic) sensor nodes and ultrasound sensor nodes (Elkateeb, Alkhathami, & Alazzawi, 2015). Below is a description of each type of sensor and its working mechanisms.

Infrared (thermal) Senor Nodes

An infrared sensor, common referred to as Passive Infrared sensor, detects motion by measuring the light radiating from object that are within the vicinity of the field of view. The functions of this type of sensors does not need generation or radiation of energy, hence referred to as passive sensor (Emary & Ramakrishnan, 2013). The working mechanisms of such sensors to detect movement is such that it “learns” the ambient temperature of the environment and then, when there is movement, detects the temperature change due the objects presence. The use of such sensors has benefits of lower installations costs, and furthermore, it is not affected by change in illumination (Sun, Wang, & Vuran, 2011). The main disadvantage of such sensors while in use in border control systems is it’s because it can be triggered by such things as moving animals hence giving false information. Furthermore, the such a sensor has inability to detect stationery people/objects (Edgar & Callaway, 2003).

Ultrasound Sensor Nodes

This is an active sensor node. It works by emitting ultrasonic sound energy into an area under surveillance. The sensor detects motion by reacting to the change in the pattern of the reflected energy (Emary & Ramakrishnan, 2013). The working principle of this device is based on the on frequency shift technique in the reflected energy to detect motion. The ultrasonic device is equipped with mechanism that transmit ultrasonic sound. The emitted ultrasonic sound uses air as its transmission medium and travels in a wave like manner. The transmitted wave is reflected and the device is able to “hear” the characteristics of the transmitted energy (Raghavendra, Sivalingam, & Znati, 2006).

Accelerometer (Seismic) Sensor Nodes

This are sensor nodes that produce a signal basing on the vibration, acceleration and shock of a body. Basically, accelerometers are used in border control system to determine the position of a body, its speed, its orientation and shock (Emary & Ramakrishnan, 2013).

Sensor node architecture

As earlier connoted, a sensor note is mandated to collect data and send it via a network for processing. Consequently, a sensor node has various components. These components include sensors, memory, processors, GPS, radio transceiver, and a power source the immediate previous section has described some of the sensors (Dargie & Poellabauer, 2010). The processing units of a sensor node is mandated to process and disseminate data (Sharma, Kumar, & Kishore, 2013). The various components of a sensor node are as illustrated in the figure below;

Deployment of Sensor Nodes

In the deployment of the sensor nodes, it is important to consider network topology. Topologies are vital since they aid in minimizing constraints, such as latency, limited energy and computational resources. There are various topologies used in deploy net of sensor nodes within a wireless sensor network. Such topologies include Star topology, mesh topology, and tree topology. However, each of the mentioned topologies have benefits and shortcomings.

The selection of a given topology is dependent on various factor such as self-organization and scalability, energy efficiency, and reliability. Thus, to utilize the benefits of the various network topologies, a hybrid network topology is usually preferred in deploying sensor nodes.




Alkhathami, M., & Alazzawi, L. (2015). BORDER SURVEILLANCE AND INTRUSION DETECTION USING WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS. International Journal of Advances in Engineering & Technology, 17-29.

Dargie, W. W., & Poellabauer, C. (2010). Fundamentals of Wireless Sensor Networks: Theory and Practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Edgar, & Callaway. (2003). Wireless Sensor Networks: Architectures and Protocols. New York: CRC Press.

Elkateeb, A., Alkhathami, M., & Alazzawi, L. (2015). Models and Techniques Analysis of Border Intrusion Detection Sytems. Global Journal of Researches in Engineering, 1-11.

Emary, I., & Ramakrishnan. (2013). Wireless Sensor Networks: From Theory to Applications. New York: CRC Press.

Iyengar, S. S., & Brooks, R. R. (2012). Distributed Sensor Networks, Second Edition: Sensor Networking and Applications. New York: CRC Press.

Karl, H., & Willig, A. (2007). Protocols and Architectures for Wireless Sensor Networks. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Raghavendra, C., Sivalingam, K. M., & Znati, T. (2006). Wireless Sensor Networks. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Sharma, S., Kumar, D., & Kishore, K. (2013). Wireless Sensor Networks- A Review on Topologies and Node Architecture. International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, 19-25.

Sun, Z., Wang, P., & Vuran, M. C. (2011). BorderSense: Border patrol through advanced wireless sensor networks. Ad Hoc Networks, 468-477.




Mass Communications

January 27, 2016


The current developments in the information and technology sectors of the global society have a significant impact in the human society. Media refers to the collective tools of communication used in the storage and delivery of information and data. The developments in media and communication technologies are exemplified by the globalization phenomena. The global society exists in a unified structure with a substantial level of interdependence that is facilitated by the growth in media.

Among the major impacts of media in the human society, the cultural impact is highlighted as a significant outcome. The transmission of information, attitudes and ideas from one person to another is an art that defines the sole purpose of media in the global society. Therefore, the media has enhanced the bridging of the geographical gap between the diverse cultures of the world. Consequently, geographically dispersed persons can share information, ideas and attitudes resulting in a substantial cultural influence. This paper focuses on evaluating the impact of media on the collective imagination of individuals in the global society.

Media Technology and Collective Imagination

The unified ideas, information and activities in the global society define the collective thinking. The impact of media is significant in the unified human attributes as indicated in the previous researches. A study by Poe indicates that the collective imagination in the human society is directly subject to media technology influence. This study evaluates the development of communication as an essential attribute of the human society. The study indicates the essence of communication in the human life through the evaluation of Plato, whose writings regarded the dialog rather than monologues. The ideas of Plato were founded on the assumption that monologue constrained the development of the intellectual potential in humans. Therefore, the idea of dialogue and written communication enhanced the propagation of ideas and information in the society enhancing the collective imagination.

Communication is highlighted as a critical factor in the social dynamics as conceptualized by Poe. A collective imagination is exemplified by the social transitions that took place with the society adopting new production means in the ancient times. The token system was founded on effective communication patterns. This system necessitated the appropriate communication strategies that enhanced a unified way of doing things in the ancient times. The system was further revolutionized to writing that further signified the social patterns. The pictographic writing and the information processing were essential discoveries that revolutionized the ancient communication patterns. With a significant impact on the social institutions, the developments in the communication tools of the ancient times are indicated to bring about a substantial pattern of collective imagination.

As conceptualized by Poe, the significant social dynamics that included the domestication of the food sources, development of the cities and villages, the development of the writing system and the institution of the priests and princes in the society were universal in the global society. The civilization process further signifies the collective imagination of the society that resulted due to the innovative communication instruments.

A comprehensive analysis of the views presented by Standage indicates a seamless agreement with the Poe’s views on the impact of technology on cultural elements of the global society. As discussed, Poe view on the manuscripts culture and the manuscript writing presents a significant impact on the culture of a society with a particular documented impact on the religion. Culture entails the various attitudes, ideas and perspectives of the natives of a particular location. These relay of information through the manuscripts presented a significant influence on the ancient developments in the social patterns and the changes in the social order. However, it is evident that Poe’s ideas were inadequate in substantiating the concise impact of media technology on the specific cultural changes. The ideas presented in the document necessitated a further research on the imperative needs for further technologies to augment the cultural changes. Poe’s perspective indicates that the dissatisfaction on the printed manuscripts brought about the need for new forms of information relay in the global society.

As discussed by Standage, in the Writing on the Wall article on The First 2000 Years, the relay of information was an essential element of the 19th and 20th centuries. Before then, information was horizontally propagated. The telegraph and the steam press enhanced communication and facilitated the innovative process in the global media sector. Standage appreciates the impact of media during the civilization period of the human society. The Standage perspective conceptualizes media technology as a critical factor in the enlightment period and during the industrial revolution.

The Technological Determinist Perspective

Carey’s assertion is a technological determinist. The ideas in the concept indicate that the media technology enhances the development of the society’s cultural values and the social structure. Through the analysis of the significance of the telegraph in the human society, Carey’s study indicates a determinist perspective with regard to media technologies. The evident impact on the social welfare indicates the importance of embracing media technology.

As conceptualized in the research by Carey, various forms of technologies complemented by the discovery of the electricity brought a significant impact to the social institutions such as the religion. Additionally, a substantial impact of the media technologies is identified on the essential social activities such as commerce. Carey’s assertion presents a significant appreciation of the impact of the media technology on the human society. Therefore, it is rational to argue that Carey’s perceptions on the media technologies indicate a deterministic technology perspective.

The Impact of Media on Culture in the 19th and 20th Century

Media such as Telegraph is among the product of the communication technology that facilitated the emergence of new cultural orders in the 19th and 20th century. The mass media factored in as a critical element in the management of intricate social issues. The media technology facilitated the re-writing of the American law also referred to as the telegraph war. This which was an innovative action that, however, failed to show the patent struggles. The telegraph also enhanced to the formation of the electrical industry which included electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and civil engineering. It rationalized the industry and enhanced solutions to of major problems in the modern engineering.

Mass media resulted in both positive and negative changes in the nature of language. On the positive side, media improved the social, moral, political and spiritual life of human being as indicated in the studies by Harari and Carey. For instance, good morals, values rules and regulations among others were well communicated through the media. This important aspect of communication presented a significant influence on culture in the human society. On the other hand, media was seen as a channel that led to trivialization and wastage of energy as seen by scholars Thoreau. Scientific language has replaced traditional literature that has enhanced rational decision making. The languages standardize and were used globally to enhance communication and socialization leading to changes in a culture where idea diffusion was evident due to standard knowledge.

The media, augmented by the improvement of transport and communication increased the speed and the volume of work being transacted. The new media technology had effects on structures of the organization. For example, new media technology that resulted from the innovation of computers facilitated a faster and efficient relay of voluminous information. Commercial issues concerning buyers and sellers and the production and distribution were addressed effectively. Therefore, the use of mass media greatly changed the economic attribute of the of the human society. The market size of the economy expanded. Different people were able to trade which lead to the exchange of cultural values, ideas and attitudes.

The world became more interconnected as compared to the past years. The globalization phenomena set in revolutionizing the global society into a global village. Modern technologies such as the use of computers and the internet are critical elements that present a myriad social change. Improvement of transport and communication brought people together in the whole universe changing people’s culture, for instance, their taste and preference. The way of dressing and perceptions towards the aesthetic value of the human phenomena signifies the media impact on the collective ideologies of the society. New ideas, enlightenment and progress among others were fruits of mass media. With globalization, people either left or adopted new cultures.

During the 20th and 19th century, paperwork usage was part of people’s culture but with the adoption of mass media technology, the new system was adopted which was cheaper and influenced statement of facts. Use of cables established a secure investment that was media technology through the use of the telegraph. Through media, detailed investigations were enhanced. Great awareness to people resulted due to the new dimension of standardization taken by the news.

Communication and transport were positively impacted sectors of the economy such as government, military, commerce among others. Uncertainties in prices and time were minimized through the use of new communication hence changing the culture or way of budgeting or planning. Adoption of strategies such as trading warranties helped in correcting imperfection in the markets. On the other hand, adoption of media technology such as railroads and dependency on local times had some setbacks such causing accidents that were brought about by the variety of local time. A solution needed to be found to cool down the angered public members. The adoption of standard time zones achieved through the use of computers helped to solve the problem. Microcomputers replaced watches and were very effective.


The human society is inherently defined by interdependence and a substantial aspect of the social relationship. Consequently, the global society is significantly founded on the effective communication patterns. As discussed, the transition of the society since the ancient eras of the hunters and gatherers was unified by the influence of the innovative communication processes and the discovery of the media technology. As discussed by various scholars, the established patterns of social change characterized by the homogeneous patterns exemplify the impact of the media technology in the propagation of ideas, beliefs and attitudes. In conclusion, media technology is therefore identified as a critical determinant of the collective imagination of the global society.

The endurance fight to conquer failure and earn money

January 27, 2016

Thick face black face is life-inspiring book by a Chinese writer. The writer begins by illustrating how a fellow Chinese writer Lee influenced his line of thought. This book has all the motivation that one needs to succeed in life. The writer does not dwell on his thoughts but triggers the reader to look at life at a different perspective. The writer borrows his title from the Chinese writer, Lee, his book Thick Black Theory. The writer intrigues the reader to be inspired by looking at his experiences and mastering the need to change their lives. Thick is defined as a state where one conceals their will from others, whereas black is when one imposes their will on another (Chu). The writer embarks on the journey of success by empowering the reader to soul search, and find their strength rather than fulfilling people’s expectations. The writer assures the reader that the book cuts across all sections of life and is used by all sorts of people in life, businesspeople, doctors, engineers. The book dwells on life motivation topics such as the magical power to endurance and the mystery of money. This book intrigues so much change in a person by dwelling on their inner state, and one will change their way of thought at the end of it.

Endurance is the ability to withstand stressful moments where one is at the verge of giving up. There are many trying moments in business. My goal in business is to be a leading international restaurant in dessert recipes. For any dessert to taste good, it needs good ingredients that are mostly costly. This in turn makes the purchase of good dessert expensive. Many restaurants today are failing in making desserts because of their expensive nature (Wright and Bligh). The major challenge that I will face is to convince customers that the dessert is worth their money. This is a tough task but worth a try. My weakness is that I do not have convincing power. To convince my customers I’ll need to hire salesmen. The salesmen will help out in convincing the customers. The SWOT analysis (fact) is vital in any business. Now that I am aware of my weakness, the salesmen will help me out on it. Once the customers are convinced that the dessert is worth it, then what will deter them from purchasing it? This will take quite a while, though, and will need tough moments of endurance. Thick face black heart will give motivation and all reasons to endure.

Thick face black heart inspires me not to give up. Self-believe is what is important. One needs to establish their goal and define it. This is what will lead them to success. I already have a goal and am determined to pursue it, and then success is own my way. The Pung bird has to fly up 90,000 kilometers so that its wings are supported (Chu). The bird never gives up even when it makes no visible progress. After six whole months, it achieves its goal and is now able to enjoy its surrounding. It never listens to the criticism of the other birds. This inspires me not to give up, my goal should be my motivation. No matter how long the business will take before it picks up, I should not give up. Just like the Pung bird, success is possible when one allows nothing to deter them from their goal, masters the courage to pursue it, does not give up and does not pay attention to negative criticism. The business will have a tough start, but that does not mean it will never pick up. Whenever am at the verge of giving up, Thick face black heart reminds me that endurance is the key to success.

Another challenge that the business will endure will be the highest initial cost and long periods of a non-profit. The beginning of a business is characterized by heavy advertisements and many promotions. This will cost much. The business will, therefore, have to undergo the long period of non-profit since it is a long-term investment (Wright and Bligh). For how long the non-profit period will last is indefinite. The aim of starting a business is making a profit along with other goals. A lot of endurance will be needed during this time. Thick face black heart will serve as my motivation. When I look at Abraham Lincoln, am reminded that I should not give up. Abraham Lincoln kept on failing and trying. He endured all the criticism that came his way. He endured the long period of struggle before his success but got success at last (Chu). The major key to success always turns out to be endurance. Just like any other successful person, I will endure. Endurance is vital when it comes to success and whoever masters it never goes unrewarded.

Another challenge that the business will face is keeping up with the demand once the business catches up and managing the funds. All this requires the inner and outward battle fought for money, in order to claim the reward for a fair exchange value and being gentle on the money (Chu). I am fighting my inner battle by refusing to be poor and using my talent of making dessert recipes by raising an income out of it. My greatest strength is determination. I was not a great performer in math (Personal testimonial). I was among the worst performers in my class. When I was tired of being the laughing stock, I worked so hard to improve my math grade. I worked closely with the performers and my grades did improve. The determination that I have to achieve my goal will help be win the inner battle with ease. The outward battle will need to be fought daily since the dynamics of business change (Wright, Scott, and Bligh Grant). For instance, when the business catches up, my plan is to embark on delivery orders. Many businesses rise to the top and crumble down after a while. Their downfall is mainly characterized by fund mismanagement. A perfect example is Ivan a, a businessman who embarked on business enterprises that rose to the top and he watched them crumble down (Chu). Ivan’s downfall was due to increased consumption as his income increases. In order to succeed, I’ll have to embrace great discipline on money and the Thick face black heart will help me to embrace this.

The mystery of money in Thick face black heart explains how money can be managed without losing its grip. Time will need to be sacrificed for the success of the restaurant. Am willing to spend less time with friends in order to bring success into the business. Thick face black heart will give me the technique to balance between my life and business. The excitement that comes with achieving success and getting money needs to be managed. My weakness is being a spendthrift. I indulge in heavy impulse buying. Increasing expenditure as income increases is a sure way to failure. A financial assistance will be needed to help in this. June who was employed by Bob lost her job because of her desire for money that she was unable to control(Chu). I will need to go easy on the money and have the wisdom to manage. Thick face black is the right tool to use, it affects all the knowledge on how to manage money and embrace discipline in the face.

Endurance is part of success. Enduring cuts across all corners of life, be it athletics, business, education, and religious life. For enduring to bear success, it has to be attached to a goal. The goal is the motivation to endure enduring. Endurance is like the wages to success. Only the brave master it and its only they that enjoy its fruit. Statistics show that 80% of the successful people today had to go through endurance moments. The targeted fruits of my endurance are money. The inner and outward battles that come with money have to be fought. It depends with how well a fighter you are. The more you fight the more fruits you bear but care has to be taken to avoid squeezing the money too tight because it will slip out of the hand. Success depends on how much will an individual has and the endurance he wills to put in.

In conclusion, for one to succeed in whatever sector of life then they have to master endurance in their life. Endurance is the key factor to achieve a well-planned goal with a definite strategy. While everyone desires to have wealth, learning to manage it becomes vital in order to experience the sweetness of success. No matter how much knowledge one is impacted with, the desire to implement the knowledge will only come from within, prior to that, one’s life will remain in the position.












Works cited

Chu, Chin-Ning. Thick face, black heart: The warrior philosophy for conquering the challenges of business and life. Hachette UK, 2010.

Wright, Scott, and Bligh Grant. “Niche marketing organic wines: ethical dilemmas and the importance of stewardship as the foundation of sustainable business.” Australasian Agribusiness Perspectives 19 (2011): 1-6.

Narrative Bibliography

January 27, 2016

Is Methotrexate (CMF) more effective in reducing tumors in early stages of breast cancer than is Paclitaxel?










The narrative bibliography is divided into four main sections. These sections include introduction, methods, discussion and conclusion. The narrative bibliography reflection on several references used in the research paper to determine between which drug is more efficient that the other between paclitaxel and methotrexate. The bibliography has eight sources and the entire narrative bibliography is divided into four main sections including introduction, methods, discussion and conclusion.




Keywords: Paclitaxel, Methotrexate, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Anthracyclines, Taxanes

Methotrexate and paclitaxel are very good medications for breast cancer. These medications are, however, different in their actions on medications of breast cancer. The drugs are from different classes but they differ in their mechanism of actions. Methotrexate and paclitaxel are both quite effective in the management of breast cancer. In combination, the differences change in the efficacy of the drugs. It is notable that when used in combination, paclitaxel is not preferred due to its adverse effects. Methotrexate does not have many side effects, but it does not have the same level of efficacy. This narrative bibliography discusses the references used in a research paper to determine between paclitaxel and methotrexate to see which is has more potency.


There are several databases that were used by the author in order to come up with the selected bibliography. It is notable that author knew how to get credible materials to back up his research. The use of professional journal databases is the best way to have materials that are peer reviewed and which have met satisfactory scrutiny for their benefits in a research. The research question is taken into consideration when the search for the material is conducted. It determines the choice of keywords to be used in the search.

The author has selected all the journal articles from the same professional medical journal database. Pubmed is the database selected. The choice of search words was also professionally done based on the research question. Two of the articles were selected based on the search words “paclitaxel early breast cancer” hence giving articles based on paclitaxel and their use in early breast cancer management. There were several articles relevant to the topic but only two of the articles were selected which includes result number two “Balancing activity and tolerability of neoadjuvant paclitaxel- and docetaxel-based chemotherapy for HER2-positive early stage breast cancer: sensitivity analysis of randomized trials” and result number nine “paclitaxel early breast cancer”.

The next search words used were “CMF early breast cancer” which also yielded a host of results. From those results, three articles were selected for use in the bibliography of the research paper. They included search result number eight “Withdrawn: Multi-agent chemotherapy for early breast cancer”, search result number four “Comparative benefit from small tumor size and adjuvant chemotherapy: clues for explaining breast cancer mortality decline”, and search result number two “Dose-dense sequential adjuvant chemotherapy followed, as indicated, by trastuzumab for one year in patients with early breast cancer: first report at 5-year median follow-up of a Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group randomized phase III trial”.

Once again, the author changed the search words of the topic to enhance access to more credible information. The new search words used for the selection were “early breast cancer Paclitaxel”. These search words were only a minor modification from the ones used in the first search. However, even the minor modification brought a little change in the search process and new sources were arrived at. The selection led to selection of one article which was the first search result, “Adjuvant chemotherapy for early female breast cancer: a systematic review of the evidence for the 2014 Cancer Care Ontario systemic therapy guideline.”

Although the author of this article understands the question of discussion and has great skills in research writing, he is also not very good with keywords for searching resources to be used in the article. For instance, the research question compares paclitaxel with methotrexate. It would have been logical for him to search for materials through search words with the two words together so that he can get materials with the two being compared for efficiency, efficacy or any other qualities. Articles with the two main topics being discussed together is beneficial because it helps the author in offering a clear discussion that offers to the reader information of the similarities of the two drugs as opposed to when the author has to discuss each drug individually since it is more demanding and hard to explain. Choosing the right keywords also helps the author in accessing more credible information which appears at the top page of the search results saving time for the research. However, it is important to note that although the keywords used in the research were poor, the author also was keen to ensure that the he did not select the first items on the search results but went over the search results keenly to identify those that gave the most relevant information about his topic. In fact, from the selection, the author was able to find articles which had both methotrexate and paclitaxel discussed together, which was beneficial for the eventual literature analysis of that topic.


Paclitaxel and Docetaxel are two drugs in the same class called taxanes. The author has discussed the combination of these two taxanes in a therapy for management of the early signs of breast cancer. Paclitaxel is seen as a very superior drug in dealing with early signs of breast cancer and it has great impact in lowering neutropenia (Carbognin et al, 2015). However, paclitaxel has a higher toxicity. The information is beneficial when reviewing the combination of paclitaxel with methotrexate as other elements of the drug can be analyzed to identify its toxicity levels compared to those of methotrexate. However, although this reference has been selected to discuss the effects of combination therapy and to determine whether paclitaxel is less effective in management of early signs of breast cancer, it does not have great significance in the research for two main reasons (Carbognin et al, 2015). First, the drug has been compared with another drug of its own kind, and, therefore, the toxicity levels of paclitaxel are not compared to those of methotrexate, but to those of its derivative. Secondly, the mechanism of action of paclitaxel is not known, and, hence it would be hard to explain its interaction with the breast cancer cells. In short, no comparison has been made with methotrexate. However, it is clear from the study that paclitaxel has a degree of effect on early breast cancer cells, and it could be useful in the management of the cancer.

From the information given by the comparison of the two taxanes, a foundation is laid on the potent of paclitaxel having an impact on early breast cancer cells. That information would be very important if it was also found that methotrexate also has a significant impact on early management of breast cancer as then the efficiency of the two could be discussed, either in combination or independently (Choi et al, 2015). A reference is made on the impact of paclitaxel on the microengineering of pathophysiology of the breast cancer cell. It is identified that to fight cancer effectively, paclitaxel interferes with the micro-environment of the breast cancer cells. The introduction of paclitaxel in the early cells of breast cancer showed a reduction in the cell proliferation as compared to those cells that did not have paclitaxel introduced into their internal environment. This discovery is of market importance in oncology, and it lays foundation in responding to the research question of the topic. The only catch is that the diagnosis of the cancer must be done early. It is very unfortunate that in many cases cancer is diagnosed when it is already too late, and, therefore, it is necessary that research be conducted on improvement of cancer diagnosis for benefits of paclitaxel to be realized in patients. The article, however, gives great insight and prepares the scholar on expectations required in the analysis of methotrexate.

Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group, in their article offer a detailed description of the action of methotrexate when used in polychemotherapy. The drug is used in combination with Anthracycline-containing regimens showing that when used in combination with such drugs, the survival rate of patient is improved up to 72% from the 69% that is there before a combination of chemotherapy is introduced (Clarke, 2008). By comparing the outcome with those of paclitaxel seen earlier, it is clear that the two drugs have great benefits they can render to each other when used in combination. It is also clear that when used individually, methotrexate seems to have more benefits to the patient. A combination of Paclitaxel and CMF, however, shows fewer efficacies as opposed to when each drug is combined with other chemotherapy regimens. This is important because it gives a certain insight into the two drugs. First, even though the two drugs have benefits in management of breast cancer, combining them may give fewer benefits. Secondly, paclitaxel is beneficial in early breast cancer cells as opposed to methotrexate, by CMF acts better when in all types of cancer cells regardless of the proliferation. It has been identified that, according to (Demicheli & Ambrogi, 2014) that CMF is also quite beneficial in early breast cancer management especially for small tumors. This bit of information helps in comparing the outcomes of CMF and paclitaxel.

A combination in which anthracyclines and taxanes such as paclitaxel are used show that paclitaxel is more potent than CMF when used in such combination because most of its toxicities are overshadowed by the benefits (Gandi et al, 2014). However, overall, CMF would be the best choice even in such combinations because of the fact that it does not have much side effects compared to paclitaxel (Schmidt, 2014). It is worth noting that side effects are undesirable as sometimes they may even be more dangerous than the prognosis of the cancer.


The essence of the narrative bibliography was to review the list of bibliography from the search process to their use in scholarly determination. The research question seeks to determine which drug between the methotrexate and paclitaxel is more beneficial in treatment and management of breast cancer it its early stage. The review of the articles used show different elements of the two drugs which help in coming up with the conclusion. It is clear from the analysis of these resources that methotrexate is better than paclitaxel because it has less side effects as compared to paclitaxel. The resources selected for the topic were overall good for the topic, and they can be used to form the basis of the research effectively.



Work Cited

  1. Carbognin L, Sperduti I, Nortilli R, Brunelli M, Vicentini C, Pellini F, et al. Balancing activity and tolerability of neoadjuvant paclitaxel- and docetaxel-based chemotherapy for HER2-positive early stage breast cancer: sensitivity analysis of randomized trials. Cancer Treat Rev. 2015 Mar;41(3):262-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2015.02.003. Epub 2015 Feb 9.
  2. Choi Y, Hyun E, Seo J, Blundell C, Kim HC, Lee E, et al.microengineered pathophysiological model of early-stage breast cancer. Lab Chip. 2015 Aug 21;15(16):3350-7. doi: 10.1039/c5lc00514k.
  3. Clarke MJ. WITHDRAWN: Multi-agent chemotherapy for early breast cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD000487. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000487.pub2.
  4. Demicheli R, Ambrogi F. Comparative benefit from small tumour size and adjuvant chemotherapy: clues for explaining breast cancer mortality decline. BMC Cancer. 2014 Sep 24;14:702. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-14-702.
  5. Fountzilas G, Dafni U, Papadimitriou C, Timotheadou E, Gogas H,et al.. Dose-dense sequential adjuvant chemotherapy followed, as indicated, by trastuzumab for one year in patients with early breast cancer: first report at 5-year median follow-up of a Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group randomized phase III trial. BMC Cancer. 2014 Jul 15;14:515. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-14-515.
  6. Gandhi S, Fletcher GG, Eisen A, Mates M, Freedman OC, Dent SF,et al Adjuvant chemotherapy for early female breast cancer: a systematic review of the evidence for the 2014 Cancer Care Ontario systemic therapy guideline. Curr Oncol. 2015 Mar;22(Suppl 1):S82-94. doi: 10.3747/co.22.2321.
  7. Schmidt M. Chemotherapy in early breast cancer: when, how and which one? Breast Care (Basel). 2014 Jul;9(3):154-60. doi: 10.1159/000363755.


Construction Market in Kosovo

January 27, 2016

The market size of the construction sector in Kosovo can be said to be medium. The industry is termed as one of the most significant sectors that bring much revenue to Kosovo’s economy. The sector is majorly financed via foreign aid and has so far built new homes and developed/rehabilitated the road infrastructure through foreign aid. The main thing that has contributed to the medium market size is the demand for both highway and road construction in the area.

There are many legal requirements of the construction market in Kosovo. The first one is the material certification that entails inspection of materials to be used in construction. The most common material to be certified is concrete. Twenty-eight days are required to complete the tests and receive a certification that the concrete meets all the requirements for the building code. Other products to be certified include asphalt, cement, polystyrene, and sand. The quality of construction materials is essential in the construction sector and EU standards. The certification process is part of the business that cannot be omitted. Another important requirement is distribution and importing of construction materials. Distributors have continued to expand their product offerings and have a greater depth and variety in response to a trend toward higher quality materials being demanded by consumers.

The Kosovo construction market can be said to have various barriers to new entries. The common barriers include internal and external barriers. The internal factors include the management constraints, innovation level and investment on technology. The external factors form a bigger part of the barriers in the construction of Kosovo market. The external factors are the presence of competitions, access to finance, lack of skilled labor, high corruption cases, and low innovation level and investments on technology. However, this does not imply that the government is oblivious to the good economic benefits it can get from new investments. What is happening in Kosovo is that the government is trying its best to make the market free to everyone. In one of the interviews with the Minister for Economic Development of Kosovo, after the pullout of an Austrian company, Austria’s Strabag, from Kosovo’s construction sector, Gashi (2015) found out that the market has the will to attract investors and make provide a free market economy. However, politics and corruption have acted as a curtailer to the government’s growth. For instance, Strabag claims that most government regulations tend to make construction companies to buy goods from the local market, which, by the way, are very expensive. Moreover, Strabag claims that the cost of investing in the sector is very expensive, and he returns are quite low.

Additionally, there is a company, AL Trade, which is owned by a businessman named Bajram Gashani. The company was interested in buying the quarry that Strabag had opted to sell but later reversed their decisions. The main reason for changing their decisions not to enter the market was that the cost of the quarry was too high. “I was interested in buying the quarry in Drenas, but this is not part of our business plan any longer,” said Gashani (Gashi, 2015). In insider information from the report by Gashi, companies that manage to be given large construction tenders in Kosovo are normally instructed on where to get their building materials, such as gravel and much more. In a nutshell, barriers to entry in the construction sector are so high. The other barriers include the lack of skilled labor, globalization, law and regulation, lack of access to finance, competition, and corruption. Lack of electricity has increased over the years. Most of the manufacturing business had setbacks concerning power outages. Struggling with outdated equipment is also another barrier experienced. Other barriers include slow overall business growth that affects the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME’s).

The wages in the construction sector of Kosovo can be said to be below par. According to Int’l Business Publications, USA (2012), when most employees in the construction sector say that their wages have slightly dropped after the execution of a new wage tax in the year 2002. The average monthly salary of a construction worker can be pegged at between 100 and 150 Euros. In the municipal government, the salaries average above 150 Euros and in the overall business enterprise, they average at 300 Euros. This implies that the wages in the construction sector are not very attractive, but people have to live by there is large unemployment is the area.

The best construction sectors in Kosovo are the production and the manufacturing sectors, with the retailing or trading coming closer. The confidence level in the above sectors is high. For anticipated future outcomes, one can say that the construction sector in Kosovo remains confident despite the few issues that it faces. Once a company enters the market, it becomes easier for it to adjust, especially once it is in one of the best-mentioned sectors. This is because the businesses tend to enjoy the fact that new entrants are fewer in the sector. The high level of competition in the area doesn’t count much given the fact that they’re an already set market, which assures them optimal profits and keeps them afloat in the market. On a general note, businesses in the construction sector seem optimistic about their opportunities for success in the coming years.

Some of the anticipated future demands in the sector include electricity, less government control, and new skill development. The increased competition calls for business to develop new products and skills that will make them gain the competitive advantage over the others. This will call for the engagement with other economic pillars, such as the local communities, the finance sector, the government and others. There is also need to push for economic policies that tend to encourage markets and spur growth. Corruption and civil instability need to be weeded out. Moreover, the current tax regulations need reviewing. This is because they are somehow high, and business needs an encouraging environment. Moreover, the barriers to imports and exports need to be reduced and encourage cross-border exchanges within the region and in Europe. This will open opportunities for market expansions. Technologically, there is a need to evaluate building materials that will provide substitutes to the conventional clay block and concrete. The alternatives should be seen to reduce the rising construction costs and improve employment. Besides, cheaper and more efficient building opportunities need to be adapted so as to provide substantial growth in the sector.

















Int’l Business Publications, USA. (2012). Business in Kosovo for Everyone: Practical Information and Contacts for Success. Intl Business Pubns USA.

Gashi, I. (2015). Austrian Construction Giant to Quit Kosovo. BalkanInsight.


January 27, 2016


Authoritarian regime can be defined as an organization that focuses political power to an authority that is not responsible for governing the people. This authoritarian system can be governed by a group of leaders or by one ruler. The authoritarian leaders mostly come from small groups of people like the aristocratic families and from highly ranked military officials. In this authoritarian rule, the people do not have free choice. The people are not allowed freedoms of religion, press, and speech. Minority rights are not protected and the majority rule is not followed. The leaders are the ones who decide on government decisions and the people must follow these decisions. This paper will entail a general discussion of authoritarian regimes in Syria and Bahrain. The paper will also involve theories that best explain why the regime has remained authoritarian for so many years.

Authoritarian Regime in Syria

Syria was one of the most dangerous ruled countries in the Middle East. The country was ruled by Hafiz al-Asad for almost thirty years, but his demise in 2000 led to his son Bashar becoming the president of Syria. Hafiz came from a minority ‘Alawi sect’ in Syria. On the day Hafiz died, the constitution was amended by the parliament in order to drop the age for legible presidential candidates. The security forces closed all airports and borders with Syria. In the next forty-eight hours, Bashar was promoted as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces (Stacher, 2011).

The Alawite sect, which is about 12 percent of the population in Syria, is comprised of Bashar’s, his family members and most of the government officials of Syria. The Alawite sect also controls all security forces machinery and the army. The authoritative regime in Syria is seen as hereditary. For a long time, the government of Syria has been made up of family members who are very loyal to their leaders. The people of Syria have remained under the rule of the Assads for more than four decades (HINNESBUCH, 2012).

The authoritarian regime in Syria lasted for a very long time. Even after an Arab uprising failed to overthrow the president, the government and the president were not shaken. The president of Syria claimed that his regime had offered nationalist steadfastness and stability of same values (ALLISON, 2013). Any possibilities that the protestors in the uprising had of bringing down the authoritarian regime were doused. The protestors wanted a transition from authoritarianism to democracy. However, this was brought down by the violent repression of Assad’s regime and, by the civil war. Syria has been described to have had the worst humanitarian disaster since the time when Rwanda had its disaster (Hinnebusch, 2014).

The authoritarian regime in Syria has remained in control for a lengthy time, mainly because of the focus of power from a single family belonging to the Alawites. The senior elites guided Bashar’s succession to the presidency. Various institutions supported the senior elites, which made the authoritative regime to be implemented. The theory of authoritarianism in Syria is concentrated on a leaders’ persona and his intermingle with the state institutions. This is why the single person rule is leading in the Middle East (Harris, 2014).

Authoritarian Regime in Bahrain

Bahrain is a country that gets more than half of its income from minerals and oils, which means it is an economically rentier country. Renter states can thwart any efforts of democracy by using their riches to fund institutions like the secret army. The ruling royal family is the al-Khalifa. Their strategic and personal interests push the hardliners who belong to the royal family, to preserve authoritarian power rather than give in to democracy (Husayn, 2015).

Bahrain is supported by other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia to preserve authoritarian rule and any other discriminatory beliefs. Nevertheless, the Khawalid members of the royal family have unfalteringly defended their own interests by means of authoritarianism. The Khawalid have possessed an aggressive history in the state and they are rivals of power with the crown prince and king of the country. They strongly resist any economic or political development because this will lessen the power and pre-eminence of the royal family (Husayn, 2015).

King Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalif, together with his son, the Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad allow citizens of Bahrain to have opportunities and liberties. The two are regarded as ‘western educated’ amenders. This though, has put them in conflicts – wishing to increase political powers while their own interests are maintained and, having to deal with the authoritarian hardliners (Al-Kwaja, 2014).

The authoritarian hardliners were victorious in increasing the tension in Bahrain. They ordered security personnel to use violence on the protestors. The violence caused many deaths in the country after the protests in February 2011. The state had not allowed any capital punishment on the protestors. This resulted into demands by the protesters to modify the authoritarian regime. The Crown Prince’s reconciliation program was put to a stop (Fürtig, 2007).

Dialogue efforts in 2011 between the reformers and the opposition parties were disrupted by the hardliners. The king and the crown prince of Bahrain, Hamad, and Salman respectively, started the process of negotiation with the opposing sides. They also negotiated with the security forces so that they could leave. The variety of protests and repression did not bring down the authoritarian regime (Fürtig, 2007).


From the authoritarian regimes in Syria and Bahrain, we have been able to see that monarchies still rule the respective states. They lack authenticity in their ruling and they still seek to be approved by their citizens. This form of seeking approval has led to the creation of parliaments and constitutions in their nation state. Bahrain is among the only six constitutional monarchies in the whole world (Heydemann and Leenders, 2011).


Syria and Bahrain are ruled by authoritative regimes, which make them be criticized for being non-democratic. In most countries of authoritarian regimes, the soldiers and security officers have loyalty to the rulers rather than the national independent government. The security officers and soldiers are chosen based on nepotism. They then become hard to agree with and consequently become tarnished by corruption (Abbas and Akhter, 2014).







Abbas Mirza, J., & Akhter Lashari, B. (2014). Revisiting the Middle East: A Case Study of Bahrain and Syria. Pakistan Horizon, 67(2), 101-110


ALLISON, R. (2013). Russia and Syria: explaining alignment with a regime in crisis. International Affairs, 89(4), 795-823. doi:10.1111/1468-2346.12046

Fürtig, H. (2007). The Arab Authoritarian Regime Between Reform and Persistence. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

HARRIS, W. (2015). SYRIA’S FIRESTORM: WHERE FROM? WHERE TO?. Middle Eastern Studies / Ortadogu Etütleri, 6(2), 8-26.

Heydemann, S., & Leenders, R. (2011). Authoritarian Learning and Authoritarian Resilience: Regime Responses to the ‘Arab Awakening’. Globalizations, 8(5), 647-653. doi:10.1080/14747731.2011.621274

HINNEBUSCH, R. (2012). Syria: from ‘authoritarian upgrading’ to revolution?. International Affairs, 88(1), 95-113. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2012.01059.x

HINNEBUSCH, R. (2014). THE TANGENT OF THE SYRIAN UPRISING. Middle Eastern Studies / Ortadogu Etütleri, 6(1), 8-26.

Husayn, N. (2015). MECHANISMS OF AUTHORITARIAN RULE IN BAHRAIN. Arab Studies Quarterly, 37(1), 33-53.

Stacher, J. (2011). Reinterpreting Authoritarian Power: Syria’s Hereditary Succession. Middle East Journal, 65(2), 197-212. doi:10.3751/65.2.11

An interview with the sponsor of Rural Healthcare Connectivity Act 2015

January 26, 2016

Who is John Thune?

John Thune is a United States politician currently serving as a senator for Southern Dakota. He was born on the 7th of January 1961 in the town of Murdo, South Dakota to Yvonne Patricia and Harold Richard. In 1979, he graduated from the Grand Jones High school and proceeded to Biola University where he graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in Business in 1983.

What is your history of political involvement?

My political career started when I first took the work of a legislative assistant for Senator James Abdnor between 1985 and 1987. In the year 1989, I relocated to Pierre Southern Dakota and served for two years as the executive director for the Republican Party. I later received the appointment of being Railroad director in Southern Dakota by Governor Mickelson George serving in 1991 to 1993. From then to 1996, I was made the executive director of the Southern Dakota Municipal league. In 1996, I decided to vie in the elective politics where he I was a candidate in the Southern Dakota’s House of Representatives lone seat, where I won against my competitor Rick Weiland. I first ran as a senator for South Dakota in 2002 but lost to the Incumbent, Tim Johnson and in 2006, I presented a political challenge to Tom Daschle; then United States’ leader of senate minority and I won the seat. Come 2010, no candidate contested the seat against me and I was therefore- elected with 100% of the votes. I have served in various positions in the senate like in December 6 2006, I was chosen by the republican senate as the deputy chief whip of the GOP’s.

What are your current political involvement, constituent groups, and number of terms in office, committee responsibilities, and other leadership experience?

In the senate, I am currently engaged with quite a number of bills such as; the bill aimed at increasing compliance with the food stamp laws, the bill aimed at protecting the motor vehicle safety whistleblower and also reward them financially. We have also been debating on the bill aimed at allowing diabetic testing supplies be sent through mails to individuals by the retail community pharmacies and the most recently is the Rural Healthcare connectivity Act of 2015.As I have mentioned before, I was first elected in the senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 which means I am serving my second term in office as a senator. In the senate, I have as well served in various committees of finance, agriculture, nutrition and forestry and the committee of budget. I have also served in the committees of commerce, science and transport and various subcommittees of the above mentioned committees .My presence in these committees, has made me get the opportunity to discuss and debate many bills both in the senate and the respective committees .For example in the finance committee, we had the responsibility of coming up with a bill to exempt from the income tax any monetary awards from the Olympic Games or the Paralympics Games, I have leadership experience and this is evident from the positions I have held both in the senate as deputy chief whip on GOP’s and as chairman of republican policy committee in my party. All this have given me a lot of experience especially on matters to do with governance in my political career.

What is your current policy agenda or judicial interest?

I stand with other republicans in their effort to stop Obama’s EPA carbon pollution standards and the jurisdictional clean water act. However, I would like to prioritize the congressional actions on national ambient air quality standards for the ozone


Who sponsored the rural healthcare connectivity act 2015?

It is me who has sponsored the bill in the senate.

What is the bill about and when was it introduced in the senate?

The bill was first introduced in the senate on August 3 2015 and it seeks the inclusion of skilled nursing facilities to serve as the healthcare providers under section 254(h) of the 1934 communication act. It is aimed at serving the persons in the rural or upcountry areas at the rates that are can be reasonably compared to those rates existing in the urban areas.

What is your interest in the bill?

It is important to note that we are in a country where every citizen should be treated equally and therefore it will be reasonable enough to make those in the rural areas also get health services as those in urban centres. The bill seeks to avail the services in the rural areas and that is my interest and happiness when the services are available to all regardless of where they live.

Do you think the bill will pass in the senate?

I am very confidence the bill will be voted and become law eventually. Though as we speak, few senate members seem to have not embraced it but I know they will especially members from the republican side.

In my view, the senator is a man of a vast leadership experience and is clearly evident from the various positions he has occupied and the bills he has sponsored in the senate. The rural healthcare connectivity act in my view is a good idea that needs to be passed into law because it will help many people in the rural areas and this will bring equality among the American people.


Gov Track, (2015), The S. 1916: Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015, Retrieved from, (2014), John Thune Biography. Retrieved from,




Financial Analysis of American Eagles Outfitters and The Buckle Inc.

January 25, 2016


One month ago, you assigned me the task of analyzing financial statements of American Eagles Outfitters (AEO) and The Buckle Inc. You indicated that we need to understand the companies’ balance sheet for the most recent year and to check whether the accounting equation balances. You also wanted to get information on how the company prepares its income statement as well as how they call it. This memo contains a summary of the analysis of the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows.


For the year ended February 2, 2014, Eagles Outfitters reported total assets of $ 1,756,053; total liabilities amounted to $534,866 and total shareholders’ equity of $1,221,187. The sum of the liabilities and shareholders’ equity are equal to the total assets, hence the basic accounting equation balances. The company calls its income statement a consolidated statement of operations. It reported net sales of $1,390,322 and net income of $232,108 for the same period.

In the statement of cash flows, capital expenditure had the highest outflows of $99,939, and sale of securities had the largest inflows of $15,279 for the year end February 2, 2013. For the financing activities, repurchase of common stock had the highest outflows of $173,554 and the highest inflows of $76,401 from net proceeds of from exercising stock option.

Ernst and Young LLP audited the financial statements, and they believe that the company maintains an effective internal control for the period under review. They indicated that the amounts reported by the corporation represent a true and fair view of the financial position and operations of the enterprise.

I also reviewed The Buckle Inc. financial statements for the same period, and I found out that they reported total assets of $ 477,974. The total liabilities amounted to $188,325 and total shareholders’ equity of $ 289,649. The sum of the liabilities and shareholders’ equity are equal to the total assets, hence the basic accounting equation balances. The company calls its income statement a consolidated statement of income. It reported net sales of $499,315 and net income of $164,305 for the same period.

In the statement of cash flows, purchase of the property had the highest outflows of $30,297. Sale of investments and maturities securities had the largest inflows of $37,294 for the year ended February 2, 2013. For the financing activities, payments of dividends stock had the highest outflows of $254,633 and the highest inflows of $5,609 from excess tax benefits after exercising stock options.

Deloitte & Touche LLP audited the financial statements, and they believe that the company maintains an effective internal control for the period under review. They indicate that the amounts reported by the corporation represent a true and fair view of the financial position and operations of the enterprise.


American Eagle Outfitters is more than three times bigger than The Buckle Inc. based on total assets and the net sales. Small businesses are usually exposed to more risks than larger ones, because they may lack resources to mitigate the risks. Although both companies’ return on investment is almost the same, American Eagles Outfitters is the best candidate, and I would recommend we invest in it. The company has the resources to open new stores in new markets sooner than The Buckle.


AEO is a big company with total assets of $ 1,756,053; total liabilities amounted to $534,866 and total shareholders’ equity of $1,221,187. The Buckle has total assets of $ 477,974; total liabilities amounted to $188,325 and total shareholders’ equity of $ 289,649. Additionally, AEO reported net sales of $1,390,322 and net income of $232,108 for the same period while The Buckle reported net sales of $499,315 and net income of $164,305 for the same period.















Lawler, E 2012, Financial reporting systems. Berrett-Koehler, California.



January 25, 2016

The withdrawal of the US troops in Afghanistan has led many to question whether the country is ready to assume the responsibility for its security without compromising the gains that were made by the US military. The US troops have made significant gains since its troops entered Afghanistan in 2001. Some of these gains include weakening the Taliban forces, developing social order, and training Afghan security forces to maintain peace in the country. The US has not fought in Afghanistan alone since it entered in 2001. NATO has also been involved in the conflict especially in training the Afghan military. Despite these gains, the problem in Afghanistan seems to be spiralling beyond the conflict with the Taliban into broader societal problems such as rapid urban growth, poverty, extreme weather conditions, the conflict between clans regarding resources, and informal insecurity amongst others. Considering all these challenges, many scholars have questioned whether the US withdraw from Afghanistan is properly timed. It is a fact that the US troops have spent more than 13 years in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and making significant gains in the society. Though the US troops have achieved most of the milestones, there are deep societal problems in Afghanistan that threaten these gains. The withdrawal of the US another forces in Afghanistan is now complete setting a new chapter in the security of south-west Asia. The Afghan government is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring security and governance in the whole country. Furthermore, the government is expected to collaborate with its neighbours regarding its security. Looking at all these challenges, it is clear that Afghanistan is not really to assume control of its security was there are not enough societal structures and infrastructure to uphold peace and the rule of law.


Insecurity and informality in central Afghanistan

The term “informality” is controversial because it denotes a form of regulation of a region’s economy characterised by the use of informal rules. Informality in Afghanistan is connected to the lack of alternatives and severe poverty conditions. Instead of looking at informality simply regarding whether available jobs within the country or social relations can be termed as informal or formal, informality can be used to define the livelihood strategy that is applied by urban Afghans to obtain security and income. Informality is one of the best ways to understand the social conditions than those living in urban areas to go through, or to put it, in other words, the survival strategy for the urban population. In Afghanistan, most people heavily rely on family and community relationships so that they can meet their security needs to varying extents. The outcome of this is an adverse incorporation or challenging inclusion, where those who are poor trade some form of short-term security while at the same time getting long-term dependence and vulnerability (Aras & Toktas, n.d.).


This type of informal security regimes effectively replaces any formal state or state-affiliated institutions that lack the capacity, interest, or enough resources to act in a transparent manner to represent the general interest of the poor. This forces local citizens to seek security from their community networks, in informal networks, or through client relationships. Such a scenario has been the case in Afghanistan where at least 81 to 91% of the economic activities have been classified as informal (Beloglazov, 2015). In the current Afghan situation, the formal state is far from offering any form of economic or social security for the poorest populations in the country. Due to the lack of social support from the state, most people have been forced to devise their means of ensuring security under very delicate conditions without formalising rights, resulting in the possibility of becoming vulnerable in a complex system based on informality. It becomes challenging to maintain peace, law, and order because most citizens are forced to access informal sources of livelihood so that they can meet basic household expenditures. Most individuals live in informal settlements where social security is almost exclusively offered by the family, the neighbourhood community, or the wider kin (Daugirdas & Mortenson, 2015).


This situation has been complicated by decades of long instability together with extreme drought conditions that have afflicted a large number of Afghans forcing them to live in abject poverty for long periods of time. Although growing urbanisation does not significantly affect large areas of the rural Afghanistan, unplanned urbanisation has become a characteristic of Afghanistan. All these dynamics enhance the informality based social system in Afghanistan and can be traced back to the conditions of poverty that have existed in the whole country and especially in Kabul. There are a lot of problematic areas in Kabul that have engulfed a large part of the city’s population putting the livelihoods of the urban poor at great risk. These conditions indicate that the government of Afghanistan is not ready to handle its internal security obligations (Kanji, Sherbut, Fararoon, & Hatcher, 2012).


Tenure insecurity (delete/social problems)

The majority of people living Kabul have survived through constructing makeshift camps of solid housing. In most cases, this does not come with any form of legal status, but rather, is the result of a struggle for more urban space in the wake of drought and conflict whose impact has been widespread as informal settlements. People have occupied public lands and established self-building housing instead of the government providing them with housing solutions. Around 80 to 85% of Kabul’s population live in this form of informal settlements with more than 75% of individuals living in city land areas. Due to the informality of urban settlements, most people are left with a high sense of tenure insecurity. The high sense of insecurity has left many people feeling excluded from service delivery. The problems of high insecurity of tenure come together with a great backlog of service provision due to lack of infrastructure development. Most of these informal settlements in Kabul do not have basic amenities such as safe drinking water, electricity, or adequate sanitation systems. Due to the lack of access to basic government services, most people feel insecure physically and health wise and do not have faith in the government’s ability to provide them with adequate sanitation standards anytime soon (Koehler & Gosztonyi, 2014).


There are fewer opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour in Afghanistan. Available jobs both in the private and the government sectors are irregular, and unreliable, and subjected to seasonal variance. Most people living in Afghanistan do not have access to opportunities. Most of these opportunities are highly limited to the heterogeneous sector (Motowani & Bose, 2015). Most individuals who live in Afghanistan experience many challenges in a life characterised by a lack of access to secure and constant sources of income. Income is slow, erratic, and at chronic low levels for most households. Some parts of Afghanistan such as Kabul experience extreme winter conditions. In Kabul, winter is one of the harshest time of the year for those who are poor. The price of fuel and food goes up during this time leaving children scavenging in the streets as they search for garbage that can be burnt in place of fuel. Due to the extremely cold temperatures and lack of enough shelter, those who are poor experience health risks and lack of job opportunities during the winter season (Rodriguez, n.d.). These problems are as a result of the government’s lack of capacity to provide basic services to those worked for in both urban and rural settings. The society in Afghanistan is largely made up of poor people who cannot afford basic amenities. This leaves them vulnerable to social instability, a risk factor in insecurity.


Poor urban governance contributes to insecurity in the country. The Afghan municipalities especially the Kabul municipality has been tasked with the responsibility of overseeing and planning the use of land, transport, and infrastructure, in addition to service delivery. Municipalities have the responsibility of coordinating health and education services, and housing. The challenge is that the urban planning system has malfunctioned and has become riddled with corruption, lack of commitment, and mismanagement of resources. This means that the poor urban dwellers are constantly facing severe livelihood risks pushing them further below the poverty line and forcing them to rely on informal arrangements (Seal et al., 2011). Livelihood strategies that have been used by people living in urban and rural areas are severely limited due to lack of opportunities. Insecurity of employment and tenure, seasonality of livelihood, being excluded from basic services, and poor urban governance have contributed to the social insecurity being experienced in Afghanistan. The government does not have concrete plans to deal with these issues.


The recent report released by the United Nations regarding the social conditions of Afghanistan show that even after years of American peacekeeping, Afghanistan has not developed as much as Americans and their western counterparts were hoping. Even after overthrowing the Taliban-based regime, the country is still torn by war and ranks between 173/178 countries regarding human development (Sedra, 2006). Afghans are still experiencing the same conditions that are being experienced elsewhere in East Africa by failed countries such as Somalia. The survey that was done by the United Nations shows that the country has not experienced any form of stability over the last two decades even after the intervention of the US because the Afghan government has done very little to improve the lives of the local people. There has not been any period of significant stability over the last two decades. The Afghan government has consistently neglected the local people both in urban and rural areas. The report released by the United Nations follows another one that was released in 1992 that reviewed the same atrocious conditions that are experienced by Afghan citizens. The two reports review almost the same scenario in Afghanistan meaning that very little has changed. Human development estimates at the beginning of the new century according to the National Human development report stated that Afghanistan is experienced a life expectancy of at least 45 years with the healthy life expectancy at birth being estimated at 34.4 years. One out of five children in Afghanistan dies before the age of six and at least one woman dies approximately every 30 minutes due to pregnancy-related causes (Thruelsen, 2011).


The country has some of the highest infant mortality and maternal rates in the world. The life expectancy of Afghans is 21 years shorter than neighbouring countries. 80% of child deaths of children under the age of six are caused by preventable diseases. Half of these children are physically stunted as a result of severe malnutrition with 10% of these experiencing acute malnutrition (Trani & Bakhshi, 2013). The report noted that only 25% of Afghans have access to clean water and sanitation. One out of eight children will die as a result of lack of access to water with one out of two Afghans being classified as poor. Furthermore, the report shows that slightly less than 20% of the total population consumes less than 2070 cal per individual every day. The country is only ahead of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger regarding literacy rates and the government is doing very little to change the situation as observed by independent researchers. For example, the maternal death solutions seem to come from outside instead of the government itself (Trani & Bakhshi, 2013).


The poverty rates in Afghanistan have been considered as a multidimensional problem according to the United Nations report. There are many inequalities regarding the access to social services and productive assets, poor health, nutritional status, and education. Also, there are weak social protection systems that leave Afghans vulnerable both to micro-and macro-level risks. These risks are considered both human and natural triggered risks. The United Nations report notes that there are high rates of gender inequalities, displacement of human beings, and political marginalisation. In most cases, the main victims of these challenging social, economic problems are children and pregnant women (Wills, 2014). About 310,000 children were part of the victims of the social unrest that has lasted for two decades. Most of these children were abducted and trafficked in Asia and some parts of Europe. Children trafficking has now risen to become the most challenging issue in modern-day Afghanistan and is continuously posing a big threat to the society. Most of this abducted children and of being forced into labour, prostitution, servitude, slavery, or worse, have their body parts harvested and sold. Women literacy rates are very low in Afghanistan. Only about 15% of women are illiterate with pregnancy -related deaths accounting for more than 60 times more compared to industrialised countries. There are an estimated 11 million landmines that are scattered all over Afghanistan making it the country with the highest number of landmines in the world. These landmines have posed serious problems for residents accounting for more than 300,000 deaths and disabling more people (Sedra, 2006). In addition to this Afghanistan is one of the countries where there are high rates of human displacement. It has been noted that at least one out of three persons is either internally displaced or is a refugee.


According to research done by Motowani & Bose (2015), most Afghans suffer from serious mental disorders as a result of the continuous fighting that has lasted for more than two decades. According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that at least 95% of the Afghan population has suffered some form of psychological disorder with at least one out of five persons suffering from serious mental health problems. According to a survey that was done in Kabul by Koehler & Gosztonyi (2014), 98.5% of residents in Kabul met the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, or major depression with more than 41% meeting the criteria for all these three conditions. Another problem that is currently challenging the potential stability in Afghanistan concerns the relationship between narcotic mafias, the state, and warlords. This is a delicate relationship often characterised by instances of short-term violence further adding to the level of psychological insecurity for the local Afghans. One person from Jalalabad was quoted as saying that the US supported Afghanistan government does not have any education policy, mental health policy, security policy, or environmental policy. He stated that the government is taking everything away from the citizen’s and giving nothing in return leaving the locals struggling not only to survive but also stay alive (Thruelsen, 2011).


Despite all these problems, there are several gains that have been realised after the US invasion in 2001. One interesting gain is that school enrolment has increased and especially amongst young girls. However, the problem is that not more than 2% of children are attending school at any time in Afghanistan in at least the nine provinces. In 10 Afghan provinces, more than 82% of girls have not enroled in school further lowering the literacy rates of future women who are expected to play a fundamental role in restructuring Afghanistan. Although the country’s gross domestic product has increased since the US invasion to stand at $4 billion from a low of $2.7 billion in 2000, the economy is not underpinned by strong infrastructure development. In fact, there is no major investment by the government in any sector including key sectors such as health and education. This further puts the country’s future security in a weak position. The country is yet to clear its negative image internationally to attract any significant investment apart from donor funding. Another element that further complicates Afghanistan’s economic security is the role played by its neighbours, particularly Pakistan (Trani & Bakhshi, 2013). Scholars have noted that the current situation in Afghanistan can directly be attributed to external factors including external interference and invasion especially after the 1970s. It is important to note that the present Afghanistan’s borders were only set recently towards the end of the 19th century went to great powers, namely, the Russian and British empires, fought to establish a buffer state between Russia and Britain. In 1978, a pro-Soviet regime was installed by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan also known as the PDPA only to be later followed by an anti-Soviet mujahedin guerrilla warfare that effectively invited USSR’s military activities into the country. This can be considered as the period that marked the beginning of more than 23 years of war in Afghanistan (Koehler & Gosztonyi, 2014).


Official UN documents failed to mention that Pres Jimmy Carter signed a secret pact with Islamic fundamentalist forces in mid-1979 just six months before the invasion of USSR. The president offered clandestine assistance to an Islamic fundamentalist outfit to keep USSR’s interests in Afghanistan at bay. This was acknowledged by Zbigniew Brezinski in 1999. He was Pres Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser who further noted that the president did not regret the secret operation as a bad idea. These double standards by Western countries did not end after Pres Jimmy Carter’s initial secret intervention. They have continued up to date. In fact, the majority of people especially in America and Europe have continued to question the legality of US troops in Afghanistan with most doubting the initial reasons that warranted the invasion in 2001. With all these stakeholders expected to continue to influence Afghanistan’s politics, it should not come as a surprise that the recent withdrawal of US troops in the country will only set the stage for longer periods of deeply divided politics that are likely to undermine further any gains that have been made in recent past (Rodriguez, n.d.).














Work Cited

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