Good morning, Monday! I trust everyone had a fine weekend. First, some numbers. There are 212 days left until January 1st ,2015 , and today is the first of five Mondays this month (!). This last detail seems like a bit of a drag, given that Monday’ is everyone’s least popular day of the week…no doubt its for months like this that coffee seems to have been invented.
click on image to enlarge
I was taking a look at some facts about coffee/caffeine consumption trends in the US and was surprised to learn that the US-per capita doesn’t even rank in the top-15 in the world and that even Canada finds itself higher up on the list. While today 83% of American adults drink coffee, and that number seems to be growing every year (according to the latest data), the truth is that coffee consumption in the states is less than what it was 65 years ago:
”U.S. coffee consumption peaked 65 years ago, then fell dramatically. From 1946 to 2005, it declined roughly by half, from 46 gallons per person each year to 24 gallons. And despite the abundance of new ways to consume caffeine, we still get most of our caffeine from coffee. Two recent surveys, one by the Food and Drug Administration and one for an industry-backed research group, show that coffee accounts for two-thirds of the caffeine in the American diet.
As coffee drinking fell, soft drink consumption surged, rising from 11 gallons per person annually in 1947 to 51 gallons in 2005. But, with their lower caffeine content, soft drinks have not replaced the caffeine we’ve dropped from our diets by drinking less coffee.”
Food for thought, no doubt, but Americans today are seemingly willing to pay more for their coffee than ever before, and the market for coffee is making phenomenal gains amongst the younger crowds, thanks not just to a more generalized move away from alcohol and recreational drugs, but because coffee is HIP and SEXY!
“Life is a beautiful and endless journey in search of the perfect cup.”
― Barbara A. Daniels
FIDE ELECTION TRAIL
Both the incumbent FIDE prez Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his challenger Garry Kasparov have been very busy as the final countdown approaches the August FIDE presidential elections in Norway. While both gentlemen have been spending millions of dollars trying to capture votes, there should be little doubt in anyone’s mind that Kasparov is still the under dog and remains so despite having started his election campaign late last year.
Last time around, in 2010, the Karpov-Kasparov duo lost terribly to the popular incumbent, amassing only 55 votes to Kirsan’s 95. In the 4-years since, Kirsan has not encountered any real scandal or annoying set back. Almost all of the top players respect his efforts and achievements. The reality is that the chess world finds FIDE running like a well oiled machine. Just last month the ‘official’ count was 55 countries supporting Kirsan and only 22 supporting Kasparov.
True, there is a conspicuous lack of interest from corporate sponsors for FIDE’s top events–and this is very painful–but this is also Kasparov’s reality and his being elected is not likely to change that at all. With the controversial experiences of INTEL and IBM in the 1990’s, Kasparov was not even able to find sufficient interest in sponsors for his match with Shirov. Today chess is a dirty word in corporate circles… while Kasparov has been successful in recent times in raising money from private sources for himself and his particular political agenda, socially-responsible corporate sponsors aren’t likely to want to get involved in controversy.
So where does this leave the Kasparov campaign today? Unless some major scandal strikes Kirsan in coming weeks and alienates him from his electorate, the incumbent’s lead over Kasparov will be decisive. In the past week there have been some signs that Kasparov’s supporters are wanting to take the gloves off, but no damage has been done. Mutual accusations of vote-buying and insinuations of the existence of millions of dollars of slush-funds are no longer the news-grabbing headlines of the past. Besides, two things are very certain: ONE, as the election will be a secret-ballot, there can be no way to be 100% certain of what one is buying, and TWO, Kirsan has deeper pockets than Kasparov and company.
How will Ireland vote in Norway? Kirsan was campaigning in Ireland a couple of days ago. This follows Kasparov’s April visit.
The FIDE president’s visit was not as well planned/organized as was his challenger’s, but Kirsan excells in low-key visits, portraying himself as a very different person from what his detractors like to do.
In Ireland Kirsan said that he was on friendly terms with Kasparov–and considered him a friend–but admitted that perhaps this was not a mutual feeling.
Puerto Rico swings away from Kasparov
The America’s are likely to vote overwhelmingly for Kirsan, probably even more than originally expected. Last month the number circulating was 29-5 in Kirsan’s favor, but with bad press and rumors of heavy-handed campaigning by Kasparov’s supporters, this was always a danger to happen. Just this past Thursday Puerto Rico voted in favour of supporting Kirsan.
Apparently Kasparov interrupted his campaign and flew to Puerto Rico to attend the decisive meeting. ”Kasparov arrived in San Juan in time for a General Assembly meeting of the National Chess Federation, during which the members of the Federation were to make the choice: which of the FIDE Presidential candidate to support in the upcoming election in Tromsø. The result: 66 – 42 for the incumbent FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov – a bitter defeat for Kasparov.
According to witnesses, the news of his defeat in Puerto Rico came as a harsh blow to the 13th World Chess Champion, who left the room in an extremely upset state, slamming the door behind him.”
So far this news has not been reported on Kasparov’s campaign website.
More on WCF taking FIDE to court
Stan Vaughan writes that the US Federal Court has set the following deadlines in the World Chess Federation, Inc (headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada) versus FIDE 5 billion US $ in potential damages lawsuit. FIDE has been given a deadline of July 7 to respond to the 163 page lawsuit as follows:
Time to Answer 7/7/2014/Deadline for Discovery Conference 8/6/2014/Discovery Opens 8/6/2014/Initial Disclosures Due 9/5/2014 /Expert Disclosures Due 1/3/2015/Discovery Closes 2/2/2015/Plaintiff’s Pretrial Disclosures 3/19/2015/Plaintiff’s 30-day Trial Period Ends 5/3/2015 /Defendant’s Pretrial Disclosures 5/18/2015/Defendant’s 30-day Trial Period Ends 7/2/2015 /Plaintiff’s Rebuttal Disclosures 7/17/2015/Plaintiff’s 15-day Rebuttal Period Ends 8/16/
FIDE is accused of attempting noncompete contracts attempting to prohibit FIDE World Cup participants from playing in WCF events; RICO activities, violation of Sherman and Clayton Anti-Monopoly acts; infringing on WCF trademarks, including attempting to market chess clocks as “official chess clocks of World Chess Federation” vioilating WCF’s Federal registered trademark 3695083 among other trademarks.
Jurisdiction was granted over FIDE due to FIDE attempting to register unlawfully trademarks in the USA that violate WCF trademarks. (For those interested in this historic lawsuit, you can download the text of the lawsuit, minus the 140 pages of exhibitions, HERE.)