Wednesday, September 28, 2016

We live in the best of times: smorgasbord of intellectual media

INK BOTTLE“People don’t resent having nothing nearly as much as too little.”
~ Ivy Compton-Burnett, A Family and a Fortune

“We live in the best of times where we have a smorgasbord of intellectual media.” ‘Fact Checking’ the Candidates at the Debate: Whose Job is It?

On front pages the morning after: ‘The great debate?’

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff, Jerry W. Mansfield, Lead Information Services Coordinator. September 19, 2016.

" people have to do something to regain some control over their integrity. Right now they’re being played for suckers by manipulators whose propaganda skills are vastly better than journalists’ apparent ability to do their jobs." —  Dan Gillmor in The Atlantic

"Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped." 

A profound ignorance of history and literature is also a precondition of believing in a free market utopia.
How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist Medium

“The UK is the most corrupt country on earth, anyone with a modicum of interest in corruption will tell you that the City of London is the biggest Laundromat of corrupt money and black money and drug money that there is.”
Alek Boyd, anti-corruption blogger, journalist and asset recovery specialist
Two recent cases highlight the role of the tax professionals' legal opinions in so-called tax shelters.  During the abusive tax shelter proliferation in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the linchpin to abusive tax shelters was tax professionals' opinion letters pronouncing that the tax benefits were "more likely than not" to be sustained if the IRS contested.  Those opinion letters -- being just tax professionals' opinions -- did not affect how courts would resolve the issue of whether the tax shelters worked.  They served solely to give the tax shelter "player" some basis to claim exemption from the penalties that might otherwise apply to aggressive tax reporting positions.  Relying on tax professionals' opinions might permit the taxpayers to claim § 6664(c)'s "reasonable cause" and "good faith" exception to the penalties in § 6664(c), here, or, possibly, a reduction in the penalty base for the substantial understatement penalty in § 6662(d), here (in an earlier iteration).  Many of the tax shelter players did not in the final analysis actually rely upon the promoted tax shelter professionals' opinions, but rather discretely had their own independent counsel advise them on the shelter.  As I understand it, many of these independent advisers gave roughly the following advice:  "No way the shelter will be sustained if contested, but at least the promoted tax professionals' opinions will give the taxpayers a pretty good shot at avoiding the penalty."  (Of course, for this to work, the taxpayer would have to successfully keep from the IRS or ultimately the courts, the substance of the independent adviser's opinion.)
Audit Lottery: "Nothing is written in stone until you're dead."

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer. John F. Sargent Jr., Specialist in Science and Technology Policy. September 15, 2016.

If it was in a movie, you wouldn’t believe it," Nixon marveled "When I die, I want my last words to be: 'I left a million dollars under the ...'" The Whistleblowers of Oz 

Michelle Cottle is a contributing editor at The Atlantic: “Because while some of Congress’s flashier oversight crusades reek of politics, the committees are in many ways doing the Lord’s work. It’s just that no one hears much about the not-so-sexy, not-so-partisan probes that actually seek to improve government. “No doubt there have been some abuses by some committees,” said Danielle Brian, head of the independent watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight   (more adorably known as POGO)

In a new poll commissioned by the British Institute for Government, 85 percent of respondents agreed that it is important for politicians to consult professionals and experts when making difficult decisions. A similar number agreed that decisions should be made using objective evidence. Someone didn't read the memo from Michael Gove.

WSJ bosses on working together and when to bring in food (always)

who the greatest living author was: Reluctant Habits | a cultural forum in ever-shifting standing.  

 The Problem with Wanting to "Change the World" | Foundation for Economic Education.

I’m certain that there’s a great deal in the world that could be changed for the better. But I’m equally certain that no such beneficial change will be achieved by social-engineering performed by politicians and other government officials.
The only contribution one make to improve the world is to present the world with a single improved unit — your improved self.

There’s no rhyme or reason to the way we are fed information at work. That’s why a news feed for work is incredibly useful.
Business feeds can deliver personalized information in an organized way, improving productivity and efficiency.
Lessons Learned From Social Media

The Washington Post Fact Checker turned nine and got a new section. (2) This post-fact thing has gotten out of control. (3) Twelve dubious claims from the Front National's summer festival. (4) Spain is not the most unequal country in Europe. (5) ICYMI, that fact-checking in real time video now has more than half a million views.

Better together: Why collaboration is key in today’s newsrooms

Here’s to fewer meetings and emails and getting more work done

Email’s the worst. How do you wade through your inbox?

10 ways to generate story ideas

"The reason so many people showed up at his funeral was because they wanted to make sure he was dead."
How to prepare for journalism jobs of the near-future 

'Science Vs' and the art of using humor to bust myths
The "Science Vs" podcast is reminiscent of other nerdy-skeptical radio shows like the BBC's "More or Less." But it also very much fits into a pattern – truer of radio and TV than of written media — of using fact-checking to comedic effect. Check out the profile of host Wendy Zukerman on Poynter.

Here’s why. The Daily Dot posts an article about the “best fact-checking sites” and divides them into “Non-partisan fact-checking” and “Partisan fact-checking.” Note to the Daily Dot: There is no such thing as legitimate “partisan” fact-checking.

This time, it's different, says Univision’s Jorge Ramos. The U.S. presidential election is not business as usual this year, argues the longtime television journalist, and debate moderators shouldn’t treat it that way. Here's why he's asking moderators to "please take sides."

Farewell to one of Europe’s leading thinkers, Leonidas Donskis (1962-2016) | The Book Haven