Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sydney Morning Revisiting Solidarity of the Fifth Estate: The Mob with Money Wins Over Democracy

Mr Hanly said he saw Harrison's bank account details after logging into the Commonwealth Bank website with Harrison's username and password. However, Harrison claimed various confidentiality obligations prevented him from explaining the origins of his wealth.
~Bathroom Quote

"This is not about the right or left of politics but the erosion of the democratic voices of local government by the bullies of the NSW state government. Under this 'job application' who gets to decide who remains as a councillor until the next council election and who has the right to do so? Councillors are elected by the people," said Miriam Gutman-Jones, an independent on Waverley Council. Amalgamation Saga

Thousands of empty homes in Sydney housing crisis land banking

Sydney map for tourists and locals

Philip Harrison, a Brisbane's Tewantin tradie, could not explain to the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Saturday morning how he acquired a $596 million bank account, with another $1.56 billion worth of property. Queensland bricklayer has $590m in bank account

How would I make billions in drugs without being caught? My investments, my ideas in cars, apps, trade, I sold them overseas, have been for years "I didn't lie about that. It's $1.2 million in land, the rest in shares, ASX. I own the ASX 200, I'm in control of it..." Richer Brickie than  MEdia Dragon 

We are  struck by how underrepresented the ABC and Fairfax issues and topica are in our Twitter feed:

'It’s absolute chaos with the restructure and now this' - Fairfax Media metro journalists strike in solidarity

*Fairfax at odds with quality journalism claims

A marathon session of the Senate as it debates changes to voting laws, the Grand Prix, and anything else that happens between now and Monday will not be covered by Fairfax’s union journalists, after the vast majority of the company’s Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra journalists walked off the job yesterday afternoon, vowing not to return till Monday.
In fiery meetings in Melbourne and Sydney, the company’s union journalists voted overwhelmingly for a wildcat strike, after the company surprised them by sending an email at 11am on Thursday saying about 120 full-time journos in news and business — or their equivalent in other cost cuts — was being sought from the The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review. Some staff out the Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, the Illawarra Mercury, Brisbane Times and WAToday have also gone on 24-hour strikes in solidarity, as have almost all the editorial staff at real estate portal Domain. [Fairfax journos go on strike]
Management has responded to the strike by telling workers it will dock their pay (as it is legally obliged to). In an email sent out yesterday afternoon, editorial director Sean Aylmer said he was very disappointed that strikes had occurred so early in the consultation process:
Journalists with their hands raised, voting to strike, fill a newsroom.  
This strike action is unlawful. When employees take unlawful industrial action we have no choice but to dock their pay.
No one should feel pressured to take industrial action at any time. And it’s wrong for anyone to pressure someone else to take unlawful industrial action.”
Striking Fairfax staff hold protest rallies over proposed job cuts
Fairfax job cuts plan prompts mass walk out as staff 'take a stand'

As the financial pressures on news organizations continue to mount, resources for this kind of high-impact reporting are dwindling. Do you see a way forward for this kind of journalism? Are you fundamentally optimistic or pessimistic when you look at the future of news? Is the future of social justice journalism still bright?

Steve's decided to give up blogging. I understand and respect his reasons, but I will still miss his clarity and perception

Florence Nightingale, data nerd

Among the other factors contributing to the Rebels leadership shake-up included the death of sergeant-at-arms Simon Rasic in 2014, the patch-out of enforcer Ricky Ciano and the pending deportation of an alleged chapter president Shane Martin.
Exiled Rebels boss leases clubhouse for $130,000 while club infighting continues back home

Brian Leiter takes the UC Berkeley law students to task:
This is really disgraceful for a bunch of alleged adults and lawyers, to call for the firing of a tenured faculty member based on a university investigation and a complaint, the latter of which is obviously not an adequate basis on which to base any conclusions.  I agree that the university investigation should have been sufficient to remove him from his role as the Dean, but the demand that he be fired from Berkeley "in any capacity" is shocking.  (The letter states:  "As long as Choudhry remains at Boalt or the University of California in any capacity, we cannot in good conscience contribute financially to Berkeley Law or to the University."  Ordinarily, everyone would recognize the inappropriateness of alumni making financial threats unless tenured faculty are fired.) Social justice warriors don't care about due process, even the law student variety

Britain: following collapse of lengthy Operation Midland law enforcement inquiry into a fantasist’s wild tales of abuse (did senior Tories murder rentboys for fun?) vindicated officials and their families wonder where to turn to get their reputations back [Dan Hodges/Telegraph (citing Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe’s favorable reference to a second official’s statement that “The presumption that a victim should always be believed should be institutionalized”); Matthew Scott/Barrister Blogger, Richard Bartholomew]

Never know who’ll benefit: supersedeas appeal bond limits, sought by tort reformers, may now save Gawker from ruin [WLF, earlier] Plus a Florida appellate court ruling on newsworthiness, and other reasons the scurrilous media outlet is hoping for better luck on appeal if it can get past the bond hurdle [Politico New York]

What is statistically the most improbable thing that has happened to you? That is a question posed by Robert H. Frank in his forthcoming book Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy.  The main point of this book is to illuminate the major role which luck plays in our lives and then to flesh out the social and policy implications of that fact

Lord Mayor reveals CBD surveillance plan 

These 25 Companies Are More Powerful Than Many Countries Foreign Policy (resilc). Amazon is ranked higher than Google, now Alphabet? Ditto Nestle? I think readers will have a party with this list…

China’s struggle for a new normal Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Is China Exporting Its Environmental Problems? Bloomberg

Map of Central Europe 1000 AD to present day YouTube. In just over three minutes! It then runs again much slower for those who want to see more detail 

Hungary’s central bank is the latest to go negative Telegraph

The Economist's Schumpeter column tackles the emergent love affair of business with team production:
Companies are abandoning functional silos and organising employees into cross-disciplinary teams that focus on particular products, problems or customers. These teams are gaining more power to run their own affairs. They are also spending more time working with each other rather than reporting upwards. Deloitte argues that a new organisational form is on the rise: a network of teams is replacing the conventional hierarchy ..
Pardon me for being somewhat skeptical. We have, after all, been here before. Back in the late 1990s I wrote several articles on the purported tension between hierarchy and team production, perhaps most notably in Bainbridge, Stephen M., Privately Ordered Participatory Management: An Organizational Failures Analysis; available at SSRN: Back then I concluded that:
According to conventional academic wisdom, perceptions of procedural justice are important to corporate efficiency. Employee voice promotes a sense of justice, increasing trust and commitment within the enterprise and thus productivity. Workers having a voice in decisions view their tasks as being part of a collaborative effort, rather than as just a job. In turn, this leads to enhanced job satisfaction, which, along with the more flexible work rules often associated with work teams, results in a greater intensity of effort from the firms workers and thus leads to a more efficient firm.
*The Economist's Schumpeter on how business has fetishized teams

Laura Tingle had an interesting piece on political memory. in Quarterly Essay recently, and my response (over the fold) was published in the latest issue (paywalled)>. Tingle is the most insightful observer of Australian politics writing in the mass media, but she has always taken the inevitability and desirability of market liberal reform for a granted. I detect a bit of a shift in the latest piece, but that may be wishful thinking on my part Memories ...

Via WIPO –  Geneva, March 18, 2016 PR/2016/789 – “Amid the roll-out of hundreds of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .GURU, .NINJA and .NYC, trademark owners filed 2,754 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with WIPO in 2015, an increase of 4.6 % over the previous year. Videos: HighlightsVideo/YouTube | Press ConferenceVideo/YouTube. Cybersquatting disputes relating to new gTLDs accounted for 10.5% of WIPO’s UDRP caseload in 2015, which covered a total of 4,364 domain names.  Among these names, .XYZ, .CLUB and .EMAIL were the most common

For Chronic Low Back Pain, Mindfulness Can Beat Painkillers NPR (David L). This is two-decade old news, but not surprising that this has taken so long to get mainstream attention

The water around Williamtown RAAF base near Newcastle may look clear and clean, but it's brimming with noxious chemicals - and both local residents and fishermen are scared. Chris Ray investigates why this contamination is becoming a test case for other communities across Australia What is happening to the water in Williamtown

SFO in court defeat over boiler room scam money laundering