Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Every breath we take: A Criminal Waste of Space

“ATO likes acronyms like your great-aunt likes porcelain cats”
-Overheard in the corridors of happy hour 

via NSW Parliamentary library: Goethe had an uneasy relationship with money, yet he anticipated the economics of the mid-20th century. Where markets are concerned, he realized, information is Power

Fish out of water are more common than thought Science Daily

Indonesia Is Fighting Illegal Fishing By Blowing Up Boats Motherboard 

"Blood, Breath and the Fourth Amendment": Law professor Noah Feldman has this essay online today at Bloomberg View

German nudists outraged at new rules ordering them to wear swimwear as refugee shelter arrives on lake Independent 

The Ghosts of Fukushima New Republic 

"[N]o amount of window dressing or pretence can disguise or conceal this unpleasant reality."

"Personally, I don't give a damn," he told the media in June 2014 after being found corrupt once again. He threw in for good measure that there was only a "one percent" chance he would ever be prosecuted for hiding his family's interest in lucrative café leases at Circular Quay. Kate McClymont on Eddie Obeid

In writing a lengthly book about a deeply corrupt politician whose tentacles extended throughout New South Wales, and beyond, Kate McClymont and Linton Besser have had to rely on assistance from almost every quarter of the nation. This includes a swag of sitting and former state and federal politicians who spoke to the prize-winning journalists on and off the record. HE WHO MUST BE OBEID

Fairfax Media can now reveal the legal wranglings behind the scenes that delayed Obeid's conviction, and the evidence that derailed his first trial. Lawyers for the corrupt former Labor kingpin worked furiously to shut down the trial, originally slated to begin on October 19 last year. In January, after the trial had been moved to February 10 owing to preliminary legal battles, Obeid asked the High Court to delay the trial yet again. ( Obeid’s suppressed High Court application )
His lawyers had advanced the surprising argument that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear a misconduct in public office case. They said only the NSW Parliament – specifically the upper house, where Obeid warmed the red leather benches for 20 years – could determine the case. They also argued Obeid, an upper house MP, did not hold "public office" for the purpose of the offence of misconduct in public office, and accordingly he could not stand trial for the offence. Those arguments were rejected by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Obeid's defence team sought a High Court order temporarily delaying the trial pending the court's decision on whether to grant special leave to appeal on the legal points.
Eddie Obeid: notorious life and times of a crooked ex-minister...

What the Eddie Obeid jury didn't hear

Eddie Obeid found guilty of wilful misconduct

 Verdict: Eddie Obeid found guilty of misconduct in public office:
"The way in which Mr Obeid would make sure he got his point across was to speak in quite colourful language. He would often swear. I do recall the language being strong," Mr Dunn said. 
Eddie Obeid has "much to lose" from his criminal trial but sympathy should not play any part in the jury's deliberations, the judge presiding over the case has said on the final day of the former Labor minister's three-week trial Eddie Obeid has much to lose from trial but sympathy should not guide jury judge warns

*Women Are Writing the Best Crime Novels - Amen:

They don’t seem to believe in heroes as much as their male counterparts, which in some ways makes their storytelling a better fit for the times.

Nellemann, C. (Editor in Chief); Henriksen, R., Kreilhuber, A., Stewart, D., Kotsovou, M., Raxter, P., Mrema, E., and Barrat, S. (Eds). 2016. The Rise of Environmental Crime – A Growing Threat To Natural Resources Peace, Development And Security

Note some of the thoughtful questions raised in the discussion paper, asking if these are enough or are there other ways of preventing the current ‘rorts’ that have become the centre of this national VET scandal. Continue reading 

If you are not already supporting organizations that are planting and replanting trees in cities and towns across the country, please consider doing so. I support Casey Trees here in DC and have also in the past obtained low cost young trees from the department of transportation to replant in areas where expanding highway systems have removed vast swaths of trees. In the spirit of encouraging you to think about how much trees mean to our lives and or ecosystem, here is a new study highlighting key actionable facts: Structure, function and value of street trees in California, USA

Sad News: Bill Cunningham, Legendary Times Photographer, Dies at 87 NYT

We only talk about people who are doing something in their lives, good or bad. If someone is living a plain boring life with no activity, we don't have anything to discuss. No gossip. So, only an unnoticed, uneventful life is not worth discussing.So, what wild  Oscar meant was that if there is nothing to talk about you, chances are you are living a boring, unworthy life that nobody thinks is interesting enough to talk about...

Jozef Imrich  (Via Kold Corpse ... ) The Real and Next James Bond:

Miranda Kerr Teaches Little Jozefs How to Nail the Perfect Australian Accent

Daniel Craig has said No Más – no more 007 – and turned down £68 million for a two movie deal. So save your money guys and watch The Night Manager – the best mini-series of 2016 to date. A John le Carré invention (much deeper than Mr Fleming’s plots and characters). Tom Hiddleston is the perfect Bond for Millennials. I'm 007Craig tells Bond movie bosses

“i would like to measure my breath in relation to the air between"

How Disney teaches contempt for dads. “Every 3.24 minutes, a dad acts like a buffoon.”

Alcohol makes people impulsive, vain, and uncharitable—and it just might help them maintain committed relationships.

Making a Killing New Yorker

“Trial lawyers’ pecuniary interests have shifted our focus toward termination decisions, instead of hiring and promotion practices” [Merrily Archer]

Speaking of billionaires with vendettas against speech: Tom Steyer of San Francisco pushes New Hampshire attorney general to join probe of wrongful climate advocacy [Mike Bastasch, Daily Caller, earlier here, etc.]

SHOULD REPUBLICANS “Man Up” On Fatherlessness?


15 Things My Father Taught Me

The War on Stupid People: American society increasingly mistakes intelligence for human worth
As recently as the 1950s, possessing only middling intelligence was not likely to severely limit your life’s trajectory. IQ wasn’t a big factor in whom you married, where you lived, or what others thought of you. The qualifications for a good job, whether on an assembly line or behind a desk, mostly revolved around integrity, work ethic, and a knack for getting along—bosses didn’t routinely expect college degrees, much less ask to see SAT scores. As one account of the era put it, hiring decisions were “based on a candidate having a critical skill or two and on soft factors such as eagerness, appearance, family background, and physical characteristics.”
The 2010s, in contrast, are a terrible time to not be brainy. Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement.
Austin launches sting operations against informal ride-sharing services

Nothing gets past the AP — in their Drudge-linked column, “DIVIDED AMERICA: Constructing our own intellectual ghettos,” columnist David Bauder suddenly notices that Americans like having choices where to consume their news and opinion:
In a simpler time, Albrecht and Dearth might have gathered at a common television hearth to watch Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news.
But the growth in partisan media over the past two decades has enabled Americans to retreat into tribes of like-minded people who get news filtered through particular world views. Fox News Channel and Talking Points Memo thrive, with audiences that rarely intersect. What’s big news in one world is ignored in another. Conspiracy theories sprout, anger abounds and the truth becomes ever more elusive.
I’m not sure if Cronkite is your go-to guy for a callback to a purer, better age, considering that at various times during his lengthy career as anchor at CBS, he claimed that Barry Goldwater was a crypto-Nazi, America had lost the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and that a new ice age was on the way. After he stepped down as anchorman, he gave yammered about one-world government and told Larry King on CNN in late October of 2004 that George Bush had Osama bin Laden on ice in order for him to dial-up speeches near the end of the election cycle, perhaps kept in the basement of the Ministry of Defense next to Austin Powers, Evel Knievel, and Vanilla Ice.
The month before Cronkite’s on-air meltdown with Larry King, his successor Dan Rather famously self-immolated over George Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service. But Rather also did his best at the start of his presidency to make it seem illegitimate:
“Florida’s Republican Secretary of State is about to announce the winner — as she sees it and she decrees it — of the state’s potentially decisive 25 electoral votes.”
“The believed certification — as the Republican Secretary of State sees it.”
“She will certify — as she sees it — who gets Florida’s 25 electoral votes.”
“The certification — as the Florida Secretary of State sees it and decrees it — is being signed.”
All the while claiming: media bias — who me?!
Fortunately, technology began increasingly to allow for alternatives. Alvin Toffler was writing about the “demassification” of mass media and how it might impact our culture during the very early days of cable TV in his 1980 book, The Third Wave. In 2006, I wrote an article for the New Individualist titled Atlas Mugged on how the Blogosphere was born due to bipartisan loathing of how newspapers and network TV news report the news.
As I wrote, neither side of the political aisle was happy with an “objective” media, which was a necessary fiction for radio and television to maintain for the first three quarters of the 20th century. This was a time when the first radio, and later TV networks were a massively expensive proposition, hence only three over-the-air national commercial networks. However, as a byproduct of their dramatic cultural influence, most cities were gradually reduced after WWII to only being served by a couple of newspapers. By the 1970s, the amount of news services producing content was remarkably small, despite an era that had no shortage of crises to report.
The arrival of first Rush and then in rapid succession Fox, Drudge, and the Blogosphere were a necessary and long overdue counterbalance to a left-leaning media posing as “objective.” Speaking of which, note that the AP still holds itself out as being objective, despite a howler such as this in Bauder’s column:
By 2002, Fox had raced past CNN to become the top-rated news network.
This was the beginning of a golden age of partisan media, though Rush Limbaugh had started a boom of conservative talk radio in the early 1990s.
There wasn’t anything to compare on the left, at least until summer 2006 when MSNBC host Keith Olbermann read about a speech where Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld equated Iraq War opponents to pre-World War II appeasers. The next night, Olbermann angrily denounced Rumsfeld. Olbermann half-expected his boss to fire him, but management instead saw viewers had responded.
“The next day he came into my office and said, ‘could you do one of those every night, buddy?'” Olbermann recalled.
His show became home for disaffected liberals in the Bush administration’s final years. MSNBC hired Maddow and eventually made the entire network left-leaning. It didn’t really stick: Low ratings forced a turn to straight news in daytime the last two years, but vestiges of partisanship remain.
“There wasn’t anything to compare on the left” – other than NBCABCPBSCBSCNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. Not to mention, by 2006 a host of leftwing magazines, Websites, blogs and Internet forums. Plus Air America, which ran from 2004 to 2010 and served as MSNBC’s farm team.
But wait, there’s more:
Liberals like Jeff Cohen, communications professor at Ithaca College, believe that conservatives will always dominate mass media because of corporate ownership.
“Conservatives…dominate mass media,” despite the fact that journalists have been a reliably monolithic Democrat voter block since at least 1964.
And speaking of posing as objective when you’re really a group of Democrat activists with bylines, note the headline on this post, which is also a favorite leitmotif of James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” column. It was an AP headline in June of 2008, Democrat propaganda pretending to be news. Perhaps if AP had truly been worried about  readers departing to “intellectual ghettos,” they wouldn’t have worked so hard to drive them away in the first place.

Mindy Alter of the Rebel’s article includes the audio of my interview with James Piereson on his essential 2007 book, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution. As she notes, Piereson’s book is worth reading both as a reminder of how the media switched immediately into “no evil on the left” mode to muddle the Cold War implications of Kennedy’s assassination, and the long term cognitive dissonance Kennedy’s murder caused for the left in general, which would be echoed again and again in birth of the “Truther” movement in the aftermath of 9/11, all the way to how the MSM and the Obama administration has reacted to the [REDACTED] shooter’s pledging allegiance to [REDACTED] in Orlando.

More older Americans – those ages 65 and older – are working than at any time since the turn of the century, and today’s older workers are spending more time on the job than did their peers in previous years, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of employment data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics

In an entry from June 30 of 1910, penned more than thirty years after his memoir of the search for meaning and less than five months before his death, he examines the redemptive requirement of living. Long before Holocaust surivor Viktor Frankl’s memorable assertion that“everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,” Tolstoy writes:
There is no evil. Life is a blessing. If it is not, then know that you are at fault. And you have been given time to correct your error, to have the joy (the highest blessing) of correcting your fault. That is the only reason for time. If you do not correct your fault, it will be corrected against your will — by death. Yes, life is a blessing. There is no evil. There are only our faults, faults in general and our personal ones, and we have been given the joy through time of correcting them. And there is the greatest joy in correcting them. 

The Baird government will spend $12.6 million spruiking the Sydney Metro to the public, signing contracts with five consultancy firms to manage community relations ahead of a wave of compulsory property acquisitions and demolitionsThe attempt to win public support for the disruption set to engulf the city and south western suburbs as it builds Australia's biggest rail project ranges from "classroom-ready" lessons for schools to traditional "spin" Bad governments love spin doctors

Three governments are currently consulting their constituents. Two are offering them a significant choice about future foreign policy: one is not. The US asks delegates to decide between a President Donald Trump who would expel Hispanics, bar entry to Muslims, and flatten parts of the Middle East, and a President Hillary Clinton who would take a tougher line against states which challenge the US. The UK has asked citizens to decide if Britain should separate from the European Union and, presumably, tie itself more tightly to the US. Australian leaders are asking voters almost nothing about what foreign policy initiatives would differentiate Prime Minister Turnbull from a Prime Minister Shorten ... via Dr Alison Broinowski is Vice-President of Honest History and Vice-President of Australians for War Powers Reform  Proccess or Policy Elections 2016

Two independent research firms have confirmed an assessment by the Democratic National Committee that its network was compromised by Russian government hackers. The firms’ conclusions come several days after someone going by the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” claimed responsibility for the hack in an apparent attempt to deflect blame from the Russian government. 

Renters Are Making More, And Landlords Get It All Bloomberg

Failure is not an option

Pleasure of diaries 

 Sex writing 

Is the brain training industry just a placebo?

Underneath Five-Star Veneer, High-End Restaurant Employees Get Worked Over American Prospect

Two US Air Force members and a number of Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have allegedly been recruited by international criminal syndicates attempting to smuggle goods into Australia. The United States airmen, Jarvis Cobb and Christopher Paul, were allegedly recruited by a Middle Eastern criminal syndicate last year. US Air Force members and Border Force officials allegedly involved in smuggling syndicates

Elite travellers skip the airport security line – for a price Bloomberg