Monday, July 13, 2015

George Orwell, human resources and the English language

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of human resources’. All issues are human resource issues, and human resources itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
OK, that’s not exactly what Orwell wrote. The hair-splitters among you will moan that I’ve taken the word “politics” out of the above and replaced it with “human resources”. Sorry.
But I think there’s no denying that had he been alive today, Orwell – the great opponent and satirist of totalitarianism – would have deplored the bureaucratic repression of HR. He would have hated their blind loyalty to power, their unquestioning faithfulness to process, their abhorrence of anything or anyone deviating from the mean.
In particular, Orwell would have utterly despised the language that HR people use. In his excellent essay Politics and the English Language (where he began the thought that ended with Newspeak), Orwell railed against the language crimes committed by politicians.
George Orwell, human resources and the English language

Saturday, July 04, 2015

4th of July - We have a lot to learn from corporate America

Yes, America’s birthday is coming up, and you’re probably thinking about ways to get a head start on the celebration. However, before wishing your country a happy 2015th birthday on social channels, you might want to make sure you know precisely how old the country is. Because 2015 is… not the right answer US Independence

Bernard Salt - What are the largest and most powerful corporations in Australia and what does this list say about the nation and its people? Are the most powerful corporations in Australia much the same as they are elsewhere?

We have a lot to learn from corporate America

In a review of Why Men Fake It, Jonathan M. Metzl wrote:
It’s hard to be a man these days. For years, men enjoyed the trappings of hegemony unencumbered by guilt, reproach, or self-loathing. Men smoked like Don Draper, drank like Foster Brooks, and drove like Jimmy Dean. The world was theirs, and they paved American roads as pathways to their enjoyment. Men worked hard and dallied even harder. A plate of meatloaf, Lassie, and a chipper nuclear family waited dutifully at home until they returned.
Now, however, it takes a lot of work to keep things in order. This is not to say that the system is not set up for male privilege—indeed, the system slants in men’s favor like never before. But a growing group of men apparently feel persistent anxiety that things are not as they werethat a golden age is lost. These men are being encroached upon by politics, public health, and a society that wants what they have.
Jonathan M. Metzl, Sequester This!: The Perils of Masculinity and the Truth About Sex | Public Books

It’s always worth it to revisit Tony Porter’s Call to Men.
The Mansplainer could be part of the gender typology mapped by Laura Kipnis. But such a chapter would have probably been redundant considering there’s already Rebecca Solnit’s excellent, often-cited Men Explain Things to Me

Over beer in an Oxford pub, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis talked torture, Tertullian, bores, odd place names, and the revitalization of Christian intellectual life ...

Friday, July 03, 2015

Scrutiny: MPs Not Above the Law

Vote early and often?

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley released a statement on Friday afternoon, indicating Ms Hay, a longtime ally of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi during their time in Parliament, would remain a member of the party until any specific evidence against her came to light. "I have today discussed with Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay an investigation into her office by the Australian Federal Police. During our discussion, Ms Hay offered to stand aside as Opposition Whip pending the outcome of the investigation," he said.
Noreen Hay stood down

The electoral office of NSW Labor MP Noreen Hay has been raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over enrolment fraud  allegations ...

AFP raids office Noreen Hay

Via local -

Like Tony Abbott, Noreen Hay was born in London into a working-class family of practising Christians.
NSW Opposition Whip Noreen Hay resigns from her factional position as allegations over her connections to a Chinese company emerge. Not So Shiny Ways

Other Stories from the Bear Pit: The NSW Baird government has risked its relationship with Fred Nile by telling parents that ethics classes may be available as an ­alternative to religious education.
Reverend Nile, who holds the balance of power in the upper house and will be needed by the government to pass most of its legislative agenda, headed a ­committee that recommended ­religious education receive prom­inence on the forms parents complete to nominate what class they want their children to join Mike Baird faces balance-of-power tussle 

  • "May 28, 2015: Julie Bishop quotes that official's evidence to deflect Labor attack about why the Monis letter didn't raise red flags ..."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office knew Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had misled Parliament about Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis three days before the government eventually owned up to the mistake. The delay in correcting the parliamentary record until the end of a sitting fortnight meant the government faced no scrutiny in question time over its handling of the case.
The newly released, heavily redacted documents show Mr Abbott's office knew Ms Bishop had relied on false evidence to defuse Labor's line of attack about why the letter from Monis to Attorney-General George Brandis had not been taken seriously.
And further story f the rom Canberrean Sandpit

The Australian arts sector held a crisis meeting in Sydney on Thursday night. More than 120 arts leaders from around the country attended to discuss what to do about one of the gravest threats to Australian culture in decades. Meanwhile, I received an email from a commissioning producer at a Melbourne performing arts centre. “Dark days,” he wrote. Several of his friends in small performing arts organisations are being laid off.
George Brandis and the arts funding crisis: one hell of a one-man show

The numbers don't tell the whole economic story

NSW wants financial services taxes made competitive with AsiaThe NSW government is targeting the export of financial services as a key driver of future budget surpluses and wants Canberra benchmark tax settings with other financial centres in the region to ensure Sydney is able to compete and grow jobs.

Victoria Thieberger   As policymakers and economists try to gauge the pace of rebalancing in the economy, they are hamstrung by a lack of surveys and data that track services, which account for 70 per cent of economic activity.

Growth in the Australian economy is concentrated in a small number of inner-city and resource-rich locations, while 35% of locations are effectively in recession, according to research from PwC released today.

Public Private Partnerships: Global trends
This report explores some of the more promising developments in both mature and developing PPP markets, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Asia and the United States. The review highlights a number of key international trends to be considered in the Australian context.

A hard slog ahead for households
Business Spectator, 19/6/15. Australian wage growth has fallen to its lowest level since at least the early 1990s recession. Increased spare capacity, a lower terms of trade and an unsustainably high real exchange rate help explain why this has occurred.
Nevertheless, the fall in wage growth has been larger than simple historical relationships suggest, and it could have important implications for Australia’s next recession.

Qing Dynasty measured some 14.7 million square kilometers in 1790…The two biggest countries in western Europe were under 0.7 million in the late eighteenth century.
That is from Philip T. Hoffman’s new and interesting Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, here is the book’s home page.  Hoffman does note, however, that if we count empires the Spanish empire was during that time larger than China.

 Humour in courts
 Kagan on spider man patent case

And from recent House hearing on the subject: “OPM chief ducks blame for data breach, pins it on ‘whole of government'” [Washington Examiner]