Friday, April 22, 2016

Art of Last Budgets: Crime and Punishment

“You that seek what life is in death,
Now find it air that once was breath.
New names unknown, old names gone:
Till time end bodies, but souls none.
            Reader! then make time, while you be,
            But steps to your eternity.”
~ Bathroom Quote

Last night, I had a dream that I was at a funeral where no one cried for RM and HT and this morning I read about Prince dies soooo young ... Prince - so bloody young ...  US music superstar Prince, whose hits included Purple Rain and Kiss, has been found unresponsive at his Minnesota home and was later declared dead. He was 57. It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson has died,' publicist Anna Meacham said on Thursday. Another MD Prince dies at age MD Age of 57

Never before has a budget advertisement been prepared ahead of the budget itself. In fact, rarely before has a budget needed an advertisement. The leaked script read on Sky News is a bit like something for Seinfeld in that it is a script about nothing. All previous budget advertising campaigns have been about something specific, such as small-business tax breaks Budget 2016

Bill Shorten has written to Malcolm Turnbull demanding the public service briefings afforded to oppositions in election campaigns, because the prime minister has effectively named the election date – a tactic last tried by Tony Abbott when Julia Gillard “named the date” for the 2013 electioneight months in advance. Demand for pre election briefings

Australian Greens unveils AU$1.7b multinational tax avoidance policy, betting odds for the election, once again in case you don’t already know the site.

Breaking stories before they become news and memes ~ Media Dragons cannot marry Karel Chapek's robots ... "Houston lawsuit says man and machine is a marriage made in court": Gabrielle Banks of The Houston Chronicle has an article that begins, "Chris Sevier says he's being denied his right to marry -- his computer."

Airport sniffer dogs ‘failing to spot Class A drugs… but finding plenty of cheese and sausages.’

"U.S. Supreme Court won't review case of 76-year-old man serving life without parole for pot": Kent Faulk of The Birmingham News has this report

Mirabella says voting her out cost millions

"The Hollywood Hit-Job on Justice Clarence Thomas: I covered the confirmation hearings in 1991; HBO's movie heavily edits history to favor Anita Hill." Stuart Taylor Jr. has this essay online at The Wall Street Journal. You can freely access the full text of the essay via Google.

If anyone offers you a Dirty Bomb Martini, take a pass. MODERN COCKTAIL CULTURE: This Vodka’s 200 Times Hotter Than Sriracha, And It’s Only Getting Hotter

How to Make a DIY Water Balloon Cannon

Do we need more of “the slow professor”? 

Labor will rip up a key Coalition industrial relations policy if it wins July’s double dissolution election, the opposition has confirmed Labor to rip up key Coalition IR policy

Judges generally aren’t supposed to jail defendants over petty fines and fees they’re unable to pay, but many do anyway. How one Texas judge resists [Ed Spillane, Washington Post]

Child services hair-sample forensics: “This Canadian Lab Spent 20 Years Ruining Lives” [Tess Owen, Vice

“…the open, naked promise to use prosecutorial powers as a political weapon is a prima facie abuse of office. In a self-respecting society, every one of those state attorneys general would have been impeached the next day.” [National Review editorial]

Lefty foundations funded investigative report that kicked off the prosecute-climate-deniers push, and even funded the group that then gave an award to that ostensibly independent report [Jon Henke, earlier on Columbia School of Journalism role hereand here; Jillian Kay Melchior on Inside Climate News]

“Climate Investigations” website seeks to promote idea of giving private lawyers what could prove wildly lucrative contingent-fee role in crusade against climate deniers; note that such private lawyers not only drove tobacco Medicaid recoupment litigation from the start, but (a tale told in Chapter 1 of my book The Rule of Lawyers) helped shape the epic corruption of that tobacco caper;

Reactions by the targets: a statement from incoming CEI president Kent Lassman vows to fight; “Exxon Fires Back at Climate-Change Probe” [WSJ;AP/U.S. News via Virgin Islands Free Press on move to quash subpoena]

“Federal law makes it a felony ‘for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).'” It doesn’t exempt state attorneys general [Glenn Reynolds, USA Today]

“The main thing going through my head was, ‘I’m never going to get a job again.’” Public shaming as punishment [Suzy Khimm, The New Republic]

Judge Alex Kozinski publicly names prosecutors in Washington state he thinks may have violated a defendant’s rights [Matt Ferner, HuffPo]

“The food of the true revolutionary is thered pepper,” declared Mao, who liked his meals spicy. Turns out, he may have been on to something ... 

Maryland legislature passesamended version of asset forfeiture bill I spoke favorably ofat Annapolis press event in January [Tenth Amendment Center, background]

Russ Fox, Bozo Tax Tip #1a: They Shoot Jaywalkers, Don’t They? (Or Ignoring the FBAR!) “Millions of FBARs are filed each year. When I started in tax, filing an FBAR was a huge audit red flag; that’s no longer the case. There are just too many FBARs filed.”

In Making of Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle, Braude describes how savvy impresarios actualized an illusion of their own devising: Monaco as a glamorous oasis in which “sun-kissed lives played out on clay courts and under canvas sails.” Monte Carlo was a creation of modernity and myth. Braude writes early on that his book is about “how we create places largely through the stories we tell about them, and about how places can in turn be made to suit those stories.” The original casino-resort, which began to take shape after Monaco legalized gambling in 1855, depended on new forms of mass advertising — color posters “featur[ing] fast men and fast women doing fast things in fast machines” — to entice visitors and new rail routes to deliver them to the casino entrance. But as Braude wryly notes, the real Monte Carlo only began to resemble this fantasy land of careless pleasure when “enough people had passed through and lost enough money.” To tweak the famous line from Field of Dreams, if you pretend to build it, they will come.

Public service bosses' election nightmare comes true  

Feat First: New Findings on the Relationship Between Walking and Creativity  – Many cities in America offer regular opportunities to experience the benefits of daily outdoor exercise, an activity now universally acknowledged beneficial to mental and physical health. New Yorker Alan Rothman’s perspective on the positive experience of regularly walking in his city includes references to recent university research in fields that include physiology and engineering. So, walk on, and know that it is good for you in all manner of ways throughout your life.

When the Rules Change the Game Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books