Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Plain Bohemian Of Leadership: Both sides are spoiling for a fight

This year marks the 2,500th anniversary of fake and alternative media dragon news. That, at any rate, is how the more malevolent critics of Herodotus would put it. Two and a half millennia ago, the ancient Greek writer commonly called the Father of History—but not infrequently condemned as the Father of Lies—was born in Halicarnassus, on the Aegean shore of what is now Turkey
Is it time to completely rethink fact-checking?

A big issue in international and maritime law: control over the South China Sea. [Instapundit]

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Here’s how to tell if you’re dating a sociopath

Why do developers who could work anywhere flock to the world's most expensive cities?
 Politicians and economists lament that certain alpha regions — Sydney, SF, LA, NYC, Boston, Toronto, London, Paris — attract all the best jobs while becoming repellently expensive, reducing economic mobility and contributing to further bifurcation between rich and poor .

Joy, Peter A. and Evans, Adrian and Cody, Anna and Giddings, Jeff and Noone, Mary Anne and Rice, Simon, Australian Best Practices – A Comparison with the United Kingdom and the United States (February 2017). Chapter 10 in: Australian Clinical Legal Education, ANU Press (February 2017); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2943605
“This chapter, from the book “Australian Clinical Legal Education” compares efforts in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to establish best practices or standards in clinical legal education and the resulting best practices that were developed. The material in this chapter may aid faculty teaching clinical courses in other countries as they consider whether to develop their own best practices in light of their cultures, legal institutions, and systems of legal education.”

St Petersburg Russia explosion 1917 - 2017

China, which claims most of the resource-rich region, has carried out land reclamation and construction on several islands in the Spratly archipelago, parts of which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The warning came Thursday from Chung Ku-youn, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
Well, to be fair, the experts’ track record hasn’t been that good lately.

WHY IS CANADA SUCH A CESSPIT OF SEXIST BRUTALITY? Man’s Cardiac Arrest Death Linked to Workplace Bullying. “Eric Donovan loved his job of 17 years at a Canadian nonprofit agency that runs group homes and programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. But during the final years of his life, that love turned to stress as Donovan felt he was being bullied by Nadine Hendricken, his supervisor at Queens County Residential Services. . . . Donovan’s co-workers also testified that Hendricken was known as a bully, while Donovan was known as ‘helpful and generous’ to his colleagues and “conscientious and compassionate” with group home residents. Per his widow, things got really bad after Donovan injured his back during an attempt to restrain an aggressive client on Sept. 30, 2013. Lisa alleges that Hendricken had called Donovan a ‘wimp,’ in front of his co-workers, prior to the incident, and that when he returned to work after his medical leave, she “berated” him as ‘weak,’ again in front of colleagues.”

Blair-Stanek, Andrew, Crises and Tax (March 27, 2017). Duke Law Journal, Vol. 67, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:https://ssrn.com/abstract=2941772
“How can law best mitigate harm from crises like storms, epidemics, and financial meltdowns? This Article uses the law-and-economics framework of property rules and liability rules to analyze crisis responses across multiple areas of law, focusing particularly on the Internal Revenue Service’s numerous actions to battle the 2008-09 financial crisis. Remarkably, the IRS’s tax-law responses to that crisis cost more money than Congress’ higher-profile bank bailouts...

Both sides are spoiling for a fight The Times

Vladimir Lenin Loved Literature, And That Shaped The Russian Revolution

“In April of [1917], he broke with Russian social-democratic orthodoxy and, in a set of radical theses, called for a socialist revolution in Russia. A number of his own close comrades denounced him. In a sharp riposte, Lenin quoted Mephistopheles from Goethe’s masterwork: ‘Theory, my friend, is grey, but green is the eternal tree of life.'”

Marble Framework WikiLeaks. Bill B: “‘Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.’ This is why attribution is a lost cause despite the assurances of security vendors and government spies. Operational signatures can be mimicked, attacks staged, and forensic artifacts forged. All to the greater glory of U.S. foreign policy objectives. Welcome to the wilderness of mirrors.”

Staying Rich Without Manufacturing Will Be Hard Bloomberg

Like or loathe Donald J. Trump, you have to give him this: He’s done more to shine a spotlight on the loopholes and fundamental unfairness of the tax code than any other American president.

Immigrants and Innovation in US History

Career Corner. How to Get Ahead: Learn to Deal With the Critical Voice Inside Your Head (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern). First: don’t tell HR that you are hearing voices in your head.

Low, Kelvin, Fiduciary Duties: The Case for Prescription (2016). Trust Law International, Vol 30, (3-25), 2016; Singapore Management University School of Law ResearchPaper No. 6/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928472
I addressed that debate in my article, The Parable of the Talents (August 15, 2016). UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 16-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2787452, in which I come down on the prescriptive side

A new paper by  and  appears to confirm many of my worst fears. They've summarized the paper at the Harvard blog:
In Is the American Public Corporation in Trouble?, we examine the evolution of U.S. public corporations over the last forty years by comparing snapshots in 1975, 1995, and 2015.

How the baby boomers destroyed everything Bruce Cannon Gibney, Boston Globe (PU). A review of a new book by Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby (born in 1959)

Nothing he says about writing is particularly new but these are the points that struck me as more worth remembering than most:

"You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself."

"The scariest moment is just before you start."

"You should have settled on a daily writing goal. As with physical exercise, it would be best to set this goal low at first, to avoid discouragement. I suggest a thousand words a day."

King himself aims for two thousand words a day and he confesses that:

"On some days those ten pages come easily; I'm up and out doing errands by eleven thirty in the morning ... More frequently, as I grow older, I find myself eating lunch at my desk and finishing the day's work around one-thirty in the afternoon. Sometimes, when the words come hard, I'm still fiddling around at teatime. Either way is fine with me, but only under dire circumstances do I allow myself to shut down before I get my 2000 words."

He explains that:

"Once I start work on a project, I don't stop - and I don't slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don't write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind - they begin to seem like characters instead of real people. The tale's narrative cutting edge starts to rust and I begin to lose my hold on the story's plot and pace. Worst of all, the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade. The work starts to feel like work, and for most writers that is the smooch of death. Writing is at its best - always, always, always - when it is a kind of inspired play for the writer."

He also quotes advice he received form a mentor called John Gould:

"When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story."

To this King adds, "Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open".

Stephen King, On Writingl

The world — whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence, or embittered by its indifference to individual suffering, of people, animals, and perhaps even plants, for why are we so sure that plants feel no pain; whatever we might think of its expanses pierced by the rays of stars surrounded by planets we’ve just begun to discover, planets already dead? still dead? we just don’t know; whatever we might think of this measureless theater to which we’ve got reserved tickets, but tickets whose lifespan is laughably short, bounded as it is by two arbitrary dates; whatever else we might think of this world — it is astonishing.
But “astonishing” is an epithet concealing a logical trap. We’re astonished, after all, by things that deviate from some well-known and universally acknowledged norm, from an obviousness we’ve grown accustomed to. Now the point is, there is no such obvious world. Our astonishment exists per se and isn’t based on comparison with something else.
Granted, in daily speech, where we don’t stop to consider every word, we all use phrases like “the ordinary world,” “ordinary life,” “the ordinary course of events” … But in the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.
Twenty years before she received the Nobel Prize, Szymborska explored how our contracting compulsion for knowing can lead us astray in her sublime 1976 poem “Utopia,” found in her Map: Collected and Last Poems (public library):

The Man Who Discovered That Hemingway Spied For The Soviets

“I was a traditional product of the Cold War. … There was little sympathy for Communism in our house. So I felt like le Carré’s character George Smiley, who learns of yet another betrayal: I felt like I had taken an elbow deep in the gut.”

William O’Rourke Clarifies: What I Meant By “Fatal Lack Of Talent”

Let us be reasonable here. I am too old and have published too much to be thought ignorant enough not to be aware of the objections put forward by the miffed 13. But, I contend, writers who publish are always writing at the top of their form. No one writes down. It’s difficult, almost impossible. Writers cursed with too much “talent” are unable to stoop to conquer
Poynter: “For the first time, The Associated Press now permits journalists to use “they” as a singular pronoun. The AP announced the style change Friday at the American Copy Editors Society conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. The change follows years of questions among copy editors, reporters and editors about the use of language specifically about people who are non-binary and don’t use gendered pronouns. The change is in effect online and will be in the print edition of the 2017 AP Stylebook on May 31. The new edition includes 200 new and updated entries…”

The End of History is among the best known and least understood books of the past 25 years. Far from disproven, Francis Fukuyama deserves credit for his clairvoyance

“In business, government, philanthropy and the arts, and all over the globe, these men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same. Read more about our fourth annual list Fortune – World’s 50 great leaders.” 

`The Most Enlightening Guide'

In America Comes of Middle Age: Columns 1950-1962(Little, Brown and Co., 1963), Murray Kempton includes a piece titled “Castro’s Cuba Today,” dated Feb. 21, 1960. Thirteen months earlier, the Communists had taken over the country. In Havana, Kempton meets a young Communist poet who asks him to help with some lines in English he wishes to insert into a new poem. A sample: “Do you hearing me, Mr. North American . . .” And: “I am a new man.” Kempton comments: “What could be sadder than to think of yourself as a new man when the first words you write are a Spanish translation of Jack Kerouac, whom you have never read and yet to whom you are bound by a sort of telepathy of the demi-talented?”

Kempton, unlike many American observers in the early days of Castro’s reign, admits his ignorance of Cuba, past and present. Then he says something interesting that I would like to believe is true:

“I have no hope of understanding Cuba. The only way to understand a country is to read its novels; I should not suppose there is such a thing as a Cuban novel.”

The final phrase is not fair, though it may have been when Kempton was writing. The Cuban novelists I read long ago are José Lezama Lima, Alejo Carpentier, Guillermo Cabrera Infante and Severo Sarduy. All did much of their work after the Communist takeover and none is memorable. To varying degrees they have been lumped together as part of the multi-national Boom in Latin-American writing and the blight of so-called magical realism.

What interests me is Kempton’s other observation: “The only way to understand a country is to read its novels.” Is this just another empty phrase tossed out by a journalist or would-be intellectual? With adjustments for time and place, it carries some respectable weight. Most of what little I know of nineteenth-century Portugal I owe to the novels of José Maria de Eça de Queiroz; and of nineteenth-century Spain, Benito Pérez Galdós. And so on from Balzac and Melville through Musil, Joseph Roth and V.S. Naipaul. Almost thirty years after the Cuban column, in “As the World Turns,” published in New York Newsday on Dec. 10, 1989 (annus mirabilis) and collected in Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events (1994), Kempton writes:

“The most enlightening guide I have found to Central America is not the product of a social scientist’s research butNostromo, the novel Joseph Conrad published in 1904 when his direct experience with the neighborhood was nearly thirty years past and had never extended beyond a tarrying or so in ports when he had sailed as a schooner deck officer in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Kempton continues, narrowing his vision:

“Yet, here as nowhere in the reports of embassies and the monographs of researchers, is the El Salvador of last week where, in Conrad’s words,`the cruelty of things stood unveiled in the levity and sufferings of that incorrigible people.’”

And concludes:

“We must look to the novelist if we hope to understand. His is the matter of fact. Social science and intelligence reports are the mere poor stuff of an unadorned imagination.”

Dwight Garner on Camille Paglia: "Reading this book is like being stranded in a bar where the jukebox has only two songs, both by " ... Jozef or Brett Imrich 

David Jones was a soldier at the Somme, a poet, and an artist. He saw his mission as rebutting the corrupting of culture -- what he called  The Break