Monday, February 06, 2017

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to rock first day of Parliament

Which Country Is America’s Strongest Ally? For Republicans, It’s Australia

What are the pros and cons of taking the human element out of recruitment, and how successful has this been in using computers to recruit a more diverse workforce? Read more

Cory Bernardi is set to upend centre-right politics in Australia and announce on Tuesday that he is resigning from the Liberal Party to head his own conservative movement in a stunning move that will rock the Turnbull government as Parliament returns for the new political year.
Fairfax Media has learnt that in recent days Senator Bernardi informed his staff of his decision to defect from the party he has represented in the Senate for a decade and will join the crossbench as an independent conservative senator for South Australia, fearing the rise of populist parties will continue if right-wing voters aren't given a viable alternative.
Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to rock first day of Parliament

Battat v. Commissioner - Tax Court Upholds President Trump's Authority To Fire Judges, 148 T.C. No. 2 (Feb. 2, 2017):
Ps filed a motion to disqualify all Tax Court Judges and to declare unconstitutional I.R.C. sec. 7443(f), which authorizes the President to remove Tax Court Judges “after notice and opportunity for public hearing, for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, but for no other cause.”

Alex Tabarrok was reminded today of the story recounted by Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago about how the great leader demanded applause:
At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.
However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?
The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter…
Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!
The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:
“Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”

Every day is a winding road. Especially Monday. Make sure your brain gets some exercise. Here are a few good brain exercises.

  1. Can the government do whatever it wants to you? Can it watch what you do in private? Can it get your friends to turn on you? What if your fears and reality start to merge?
  2. Members of the #NeverTrump movement aren't good guys: they're just different bastards with a bigger vocabulary. Here's your guide to the team.
  3. Fast food isn't known for its nutrition, but we might have an even bigger issue. The packaging for fast food is leaching chemicals into your burgers.
  4. Researchers figured out how to get a computer to delete rain from photos. Next up, people you don't like.
  5. Speaking of people you don't like, it turns out that the length of your fingers might determine how much money you'll make. Which leaves a lot of questions open about Donald Trump.
  6. Life under the aforementioned littlefinger getting you down? Try baking.
  7. Does buying a t-shirt make you a protester? It doesn't. Here's why.

Bonus round

Here are some fascinating facts about sports fans. Sports fans have... some odd ideas.

We tried to figure out how many of those "solidarity" safety pins have been sold on Etsy. So we asked the people selling them.

Wrongly accused of fraud and evasion by the ATO? Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi wants to know 

Alleged cocaine ring busted on the South Coast, one of the biggest in recent times