Friday, July 01, 2016

Jakob Blaszczykowski comes out of shadows to inspire Poland

We have been enjoying Euro 2016 as our Slavic brothers exceeded all our expectations and the Tatra Gural who impresses us all from that Mittleeuropa part of the world is Kuba ...

As Poland wait in hope for Robert Lewandowski to find the sort of form he was expected to show at theseEuropean Championships, the nation has been embracing the sudden re-emergence of another national hero,Jakub Blaszczykowski, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder whose career appeared to have come badly off the rails over the past couple of seasons.
Poland’s Jakub Blaszczykowski celebrates opening the scoring against Switzerland in the last 16 of the competition.Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
Poland’s Jakub Blaszczykowski celebrates opening the scoring against Switzerland in the last 16 of the competition.Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
Kuba aka Jakob Blaszczykowski comes out of shadows to inspire Poland 

 via A Brilliant Blogger and A Mate - Israel Shel:

Like millions of people I was profoundly disturbed when I read Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. He looked at media and technology of 1970, thought about where it was going and painted a bleak future...  He coined the term “information overload,” and painted a picture of people who were isolated and depressed, cut off from human intimacy by a relentless fire hose of messages and data barraging us relentlessly. The future he was looking at in 1970 is now. And yes, we live in an era of data fire hoses and sometimes we all feel either overwhelmed or trapped. Technology is far more ubiquitous than Toffler could possibly have imagined. Hell, it’s probably more ubiquitous than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever imagined...
 
Alvin Toffler, the celebrated author of “Future Shock,” the first in a trilogy of best-selling books that presciently forecast how people and institutions of the late 20th century would contend with the immense strains and soaring opportunities of accelerating change, died on Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87.  Mr. Toffler was born in New York on Oct. 4, 1928, and raised in Brooklyn, the only son and elder of two children of Sam and Rose Toffler, immigrants from Poland. His father was a furrier.  At the NSW Parliamentary Library we only read the Playboy for its quality articles Mr Toffler's 1964 Playboy interview with the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov was considered one of the magazine’s best. In recent years, benefiting from hindsight, some critics said Mr. Toffler had gotten much wrong. Shel Israel, an author and commentator who writes about social media for Forbes, took issue with Mr. Toffler in 2012 for painting “a picture of people who were isolated and depressed, cut off from human intimacy by a relentless fire hose of messages and data barraging us.” But, he added: “We are not isolated by it. And when the information overloads us, most people are still wise enough to use the power of the ‘Off’ button to gain some peace.” Alvin Toffler, R.I.P.

John Hatton AO, The Preacher and Practicer, Says: The System Works


"Fact-checking needs to be there to stop the little lies before they become big lies. Prevention is better than antidote.” 
— Jason Reifler borrowing John Hatton's quote, University of Exeter, in Vox

 Leaders are those people that have specific qualities within them. These people are one the special ones. These special people are called Leaders because they possess abilities to lead a community and the people. Leaders are so influential that every person in the community salutes them. In Czech part of the world we had Vaclav Havel  and in the Antipodean part of the globe we have John Hatton AO  ... One often wonders ... How many leaders are we currently blessed with who walk the talk?

It's a strange thing, democracy. Different people have different roles in keeping it strong, because the essence of a good democracy is that there are checks and balances in the system to stop unhealthy concentrations of power and encourage ethical behaviour.

South Coast anti-corruption campaigner and former Independent MP John Hatton said the conviction of politician Eddy Obeid on corruption charges shows the system works. The former NSW Labor minister was found guilty of misconduct in public office by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Mr Hatton said there would have been a complete loss of confidence in the court system if Obeid had escaped conviction.
"He is one of the worst political criminals as I would call them in matters of corruption in recent Australian history," Mr Hatton said.
Mr Hatton said it underlines the need to properly resource the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). "Should be a big thank you to the ICAC and I am absolutely disappointed that the present government is cutting ICAC funding," he said. "Imagine what would have been happening in Wollongong right now if the ICAC hadn't done its job there."
South Coast anti-corruption campaigner and former Independent MP John Hatton said the conviction of politician Eddy Obeid on corruption charges shows the system works 


No one is immune to the history of transgressions that plague the halls of Parliament.
NSW, home of the old rum corps, has always had its seamy underbelly. In an earlier era, it was sly grog and illegal casinos which had hucksters cosying up to politicians like Askin – accused after his death of accepting cash bribes.
Before him, Labor premier William McKell had suspect associations with sly grog-runners.
These days, would-be hustlers turn instead to government contracts, licenses, rezoning decisions and property development, luridly exposed in the case of (Eddie) Obeid's   corruptly obtained coal licenses and ICAC's current inquiry into Australian Water Holdings.
"Wherever you have got broad official discretion and big private interests hanging on that decision, there is scope for corruption" Tiffen says.

Former NSW Independent MP John Hatton, says O'Farrell has failed to learn from history.  He argues that the strongest protection against vested interests will be to break the centralised power of the major parties Ghosts of past misdeeds
John Hatton circa 2012: The system of funding universities prevented us from getting it started at Wollongong University and I understand that that system is going to change.  Professor Stephen Hill knows more about that than I do. My frustration is how to get someone to take up those ideas and have some influence  A conversation with an Australian Living Treasure

John Hatton recalls ordeal of Winchester corruption case



Facilitation payments to foreign public officials are legal and tax deductible in Australia and New Zealand, within certain parameters. In light of increasing corruption in both countries, this study questions the reasonableness of allowing tax deductions for payments that are classified as bribes by many international bodies.
 

New ranking of how transparent the think tanks are

Research finds multinationals pay half statutory corporate tax rate



Infans economicus: Is There Something Disturbing About How Babies Respond to Incentives?
The Psych Report, 28/6/16. In an experiment by Yale psychologists Arber Tasimi and Karen Wynn, children preferred to accept a small reward in (graham crackers) from a fictitious person “Max” who is “always nice” than a reward twice as great from “Craig,” an “always bad” character. But when Craig offered more than twice what Max was offering, some of the subjects set aside their scruples and took the graham crackers from Craig.

On a lighter note: The Places We Live Jonas Bendiksen, Magnum Photos


"Inside the Taft Court: Lessons from the Docket Books." Law professor Barry Cushman has posted this interesting article online at SSRN.

TSA as Example of Privatization Playbook: Make an Agency Perform Badly By Underfunding It….
The TSA is a perfect target for privatization, since even at the best of times, it is not well liked. Who wants to be subjected to security theater like taking your shoes off? But this article provides an important overview of how various government functions are made incompetent by cutting their budgets without reducing their duties. That plays into the popular narrative that of course the private sector would be more “efficient” when the evidence is strongly supports the view that private sector contractors treat privatization as an opportunity for looting (contracting in the Iraq War was an extreme case, but there are plent of others, such as privatization of parking meters in Chicago and toll roads). Socialising Losses and Privitising Profits

“Facts are often biased against Donald Trump and should be used sparingly in reporting, if at all. ...Fact-checking is at best gauche and at worst treasonous. What is fact? Donald Trump speaks truth, which is bigger than fact.” — Alexandra Petri, humor columnist for the Washington Post  
As the world becomes more interconnected and national politics more complex, informed decision-making – in the corridors of Westminster and elsewhere — has never been more necessary. Citizens require political leaders who can lead: individuals who understand the importance of thinking ahead, accountability, consultation, deliberation and making decisions that are right even when they are not popular Britain's Bregret Offers Timely Lessons for Australian voters this weekend

Anxieties about democracy — the electorate is an ignorant and fickle mob — are as old as democracy itself. Mary Beard on the problem with people power... People Power Rocks ...



Book Review: Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing by Beth Simone Noveck
Democratic Audit UK, 12/6/16. The key terms that I believe best describe the spirit of the book emerge as ‘targeted expertise’, ‘crowdsourcing’, ‘experimental governance’ and ‘citizen engagement’. Instead of the traditional advisory committee model that mainly relies on stakeholder representation (missing the epistemic value of committee membership) and typically produces a report or a set of recommendations over months or even years, Noveck suggests that new technologies should allow us ‘to make consultation on a day-to-day basis and to strive for constant conversation with an engaged and knowledgeable public’

“All true culture … is an effusion of light and warmth,”Nietzsche wrote in his beautiful meditation on how to find yourself. But from the figurative radiates a reminder of the literal — human culture is and has always been inexorably connected to the ultimate source of light and warmth, the Sun. From the practicalities of our calendars to the psychoemotional orientation of our moods, our lives revolve around our star. We are earthly bodies locked in a celestial dance of which we are never more aware than when the seasons turn.

thePsychReport, 9/6/16. Building on the theory of self-concept maintenance, our findings suggest that the tendency cheat–but only to a limited degree–is robust across countries (at least, across the five countries studied). Around the world, it appears that people are mostly rule abiding–but will push the envelope to the extent that they can still view themselves as honest, upright people.
*Report - Cut From the Same Cloth: Similarly Dishonest Individuals Across Countries



Speaking of culture, it is so hard to come up with words of blessing and cursing, yet hoping to find in the end the Word Itself...



I remembered Richard Wilbur’s“For Dudley” (Walking to Sleep, 1969), which begins:
“Even when death has taken
An exceptional man,
It is common things which touch us, gathered
In the house that proved a hostel.”

Wilbur wrote the poem after the death of his friend Dudley Fitts (1903-1968), the poet, teacher and translator from the Greek. To honor the “exceptional” dead is a sacred trust. Their fate will soon be ours, for death is the truest democracy:

"All that we do
Is touched with ocean, yet we remain

On the shore of what we know."

For centuries, moral intuition and ethics were the domain of philosophers. Now evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists think they have better moral arguments. They're wrong... They're wrong...

Funny how the government sometimes regards our time as necessarily worth $15 an hour or more, and other times as worth far less [Coyote

Zach Graves, “Optometrists Push For State Laws Blocking Online Eye Exams” [TechDirt

Calif. man helps save trapped family, gets $143 bill CBS Sacramento. Neoliberalism in action.