Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Coverup Is Usually Worse Than the Crime,

new report from the Migration Policy Institute calculates that:
The US government spends more on its immigration enforcement agencies than on all of its principal criminal federal law enforcement agencies combined. In FY 2012, spending for CBP, ICE and US-Visit reached nearly $18 billion. This amount exceeds by nearly 24% total spending by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Secret Service, US Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) which stood at $14.4 billion in FY 2012.
In other words, the Federal government spends more on preventing trade than on preventing murder, rape and theft. I call it the anti-nanny state. It’s hard to believe that this truly reflects the American public’s priorities.

IRS Logo 2"Midge Rendell talks about life as a judge": This article will appear in Sunday's edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tax Analysts Blog:  The Coverup Is Usually Worse Than the Crime, by Christopher Bergin:

[D]o we have a coverup at the IRS? Has a crime been committed? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am deeply disturbed by all this.

Maybe it’s just sloppy record-keeping, which would be bad enough. Most of the government’s business is now conducted digitally, and those records need to be properly handled. Or is it worse? Is the IRS deliberately keeping things from the public? Excuse my cynicism, but the IRS’s penchant for secrecy is what led Tax Analysts, using the new Freedom of Information Act, to sue the agency in the 1970s to force it to release private letter rulings. There have been several subsequent lawsuits to pry records that should have been public out of the agency’s hands. ...
[T]he real problem here is that the IRS can’t make this story go away, and that starts smelling like a coverup. I know tax professionals who are now starting to think the worst and who are having trouble getting behind the IRS. And I am one of them. ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Matters of Character

Locavore, gourmet, artisanal Top ChefMasterChef: We live in an era of crazed oral gratification. Why? We’re homesick. Ron Rosenbaum explains.. Pirozky by Mum :-)
~ How to make hard choices?

Different time periods form different characters, as do different nations, because people born in those times and places have different experiences.  The more synchronized events are, as Newberry has noted, the stronger this is.  In a mass media society with relatively fast technological and social change it makes sense to speak of generations.  The character of people born 20 or 30 years apart in modern societies will be different, and within cohorts similar experiences will tend to create somewhat similar patterns of character.

Society is nothing except people and their creations and interactions over time.  Walk down an old neighbourhood one day, and look at the buildings, the road, the trees and think about all the people who made everything you see, and all the people behind those people.  Read the laws, and know that people made those, and enforce those Different Characters

 “I shall now appeal to authority by quoting a philosopher who agrees with my premise, thereby wrapping my argument in the wisdom of the ages.” How to argue: a sadly accurate description


In a recent episode of his new show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver featured Australia’s new-ish right wing prime minister, Tony Abbott, in a segment devoted to “Other Countries’ Presidents of the USA.” The show highlighted Abbott’s long history of verbal slip-ups, including his unforgettable line: “Jesus knew there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”  .... Why “American” Is a Bad Word in Australia

“War made the state, and the state made war,” historian Charles Tilly famously wrote. Why would kings and chieftains build roads and schools and fair legal systems for their people, or give their people property rights, when they could just plunder and pillage instead? Tilly’s answer: because of war. More productive citizens mean a richer country and more war-fighting potential. Gross domestic product wins wars and keeps the local top dogs on top Make good government not war

Sunday, June 22, 2014

These are the richest artists David Choe Jozef Imrich at al ...

INK BOTTLE“Everything that is thought and expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth; it all lacks totality, completeness, unity.”

~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Theories of the novel – whether all-encompassing or specific – struggle under scrutiny. Does the novel defeat the fox/hedgehog divide?...Cold/Hot Rivers

Who are the wealthiest artists?

Then there are a couple of names who are totally unknown to most people, even in the art world. These are the richest artists you’ve never heard of: graffiti artist David Choe painted the Facebook headquarters in 2007 and was rewarded with stock, which now makes him worth about $200m. The Welshman Andrew Vicari has made an estimated $142m from supplying portraits and paintings of horses, battle and genre scenes to Middle Easterners, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
The longer article, by Georgina Adam, cites the Thompson estimate that there are about seventy-five “superstar” artists who regularly earn in seven figures.  And here is the new Georgina Adam book Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century.

What can we learn from the odes ofPindar and Pelé? Sport isn’t about the athleticism of youth. It’s about morality ...
I was a digital best-seller
Art of the epigraph
Who needs poetry?
Word processing
Ancient Roman humor
Chris Hedges, plagiarist?
CIA and Dr. Zhivago
Origin of -ish
Humanities deathwatch
Pleasure of teh typos
Famous rejection letters
Penguin's penguin
Food for Bloomsbury
Literary insults
Missing smoke
Greenwald v. Kinsley

Putting Putin in Place: The Riot Act


Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina Are Determined to Bring Down Vladimir Putin

What Putin Wants

Respect, sure, but also money. How that shapes his relations with the West.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

In June - June's Milestone: XC

Congratulations on this  sweet McSweney milestone! 

Wishing you all of the life's best as you celebrate your 90th. 


90 isn't old. It's classic! You look fresh and young with every passing year.  And as the Slavic saying notes the older the fiddler the sweeter is her tune ;-)

Thank you for holding us together throughout our lives, thank you for giving a true meaning to our lives. 

NINETY IS ONLY 9 in Scrabble ;-)

Style of Blogging

We must be in the wrong profession.
Top style bloggers are earning more than $1 million a year in appearances, promotions and partnerships with corporate brands, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
Blogging in Style

A Worldwide Guide for Coffee Places where you can not only work but also think!

Thinking Global Styles

Here is a north, south, east and west of the hottest cafes in Sydney, from some of the best new openings of the year to our established favourites. Sydney's Trendy coffee spots

Friday, June 20, 2014

Beautiful Decay

 mike mellia's sentimental piece works along the lines of alienation and tension, however. It not only provides a glimpse into his father’s life but it also showcases Mellia’s hardships to accept his passing 

“In my photographs I negotiate and characterize the balance between my own vision and the unknown and often powerful potential given by each portrait’s subject. I am drawn to certain people for the simple reason that I know shooting them will give me an image I could never have created on my own, and because my camera can reveal something they may not have known was in themselves.  It becomes a synthesis of us both, captured in a single photograph. These connections with each subject are often too straightforward and immediate to be conscious, but rather they are something that is felt immediately, coming straight from the gut, which is the home of our instincts.”
Intensely personal portraiture shelly mosman

The mystery of human desire. Our Paleolithic libidos leave us in thrall to every unruly urge. How did we become such a downright kinky species?... LIterature tells us that our desires know no reason ...

Yardstick of history : ALP Malchkeon and Media 143829 ...

“A fool lifts up his voice with laughter, but a wise man scarcely smiles a little.”
"Ha Ha - Imrich 7:7"

All afternoon the leaves have scuttled
Across the sidewalk and driveway, clicking their clattery claws.
And now the evening is over us,
Small slices of silence
       running under a dark rain,
Wrapped in a larger.

Thornton Wilder’s Stage Manager observes in Our Town:
Y’know—Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about ‘em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts…and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney,—same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then.
So I’m going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now’ll know a few simple facts about us—more than the Treaty of Versailles and the Lindbergh flight. 

 Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Bishop, Marguerite Duras: How is it that these women, so very bad at living, were so very good at writing about it? Best revenge in life is living well ...

Sir Walter Scott popularized the clan tartan; Madonna the kaffiyeh. When is it OK to steal from other cultures?... Stealing Stories

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Slow Stories & Streams of Cold River

From T. C. Duncan Eaves and Ben D. Kimpel, Samuel Richardson: A Biography(Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), p. 599:
The length of his novels has probably done Richardson's reputation even more harm than his moralizing. It has kept Clarissa from being read. Or it has caused it to be read in a version which curtails those minutiae which, Richardson rightly pointed out, are the strength of his method. Or it has caused readers to sample Pamela and reject Richardson on the basis of that book. . . . If one likes to read, there is no necessary assumption that the sooner one gets through reading a book the better. In spite of Poe, it is our opinion that neither poetry nor prose need aim exclusively at sharp, simple effects--length itself, if the details are not dull and are so organized as to support each other, may contribute to an effect unified in complexity and gaining cumulative impact. Whether Richardson succeeds in making his details interesting and in unifying them, each reader must decide. Tennyson, speaking ofClarissa, told FitzGerald that he loved 'those large, still, Books'. It does not seem to us that 'still' is quite the right adjective, since almost every episode in Clarissa is written with considerable intensity. 'Slow' might be more accurate. Clarissa is long not because, like War and Peace & Cold River, it is rich and varied in incident and character, but because, like The Remembrance of Things Past, it wrings the utmost possible out of the incidents and characters it has.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Secret of Storytelling

Euripides, Imrich, Schiller, Umberto Eco, and ... Dan Brown? In the literature of the arcane, now as then, Conspiracy is the key / with a surname as Imrich there are no conspiracies

The Secrets Of Storytelling, According To Zadie Smith

“Did I really almost drift away, down that anaemic, intellectual path where storytelling is considered vulgar and characters a stain on the purity of a sentence? Dear Lord – almost.” 
 The Independent (UK)

Yes, It’s Just Fine to read Cold Rivers or Anything At All

“The best books fall into our hands serendipitously, and lead to conversation, debate, self-reflection, procrastination, even escapism.”

Reading Style

Jenny Davidson, Reading Style: A Life in Sentences.  Why do we fall in love with some sentences rather than others?  This book is consistently insightful into classic (and sometimes not so classic) fiction.  For whatever reason, I agree with her about various novels to a remarkable degree.  Here is Jenny’s daily read.  Here is her blog.  This book induced me to order Stephen King’s Needful Things, which I have never read.

Before Hitler came along who was cited as the embodiment of evil? One good answer is from Tim O’Neill:
People were generally very familiar with the Bible pre-1900, so the figures usually cited as the epitome of evil tended to be Judas Iscariot, Herod the Great or, most commonly, the Pharaoh of the story of Moses in Exodus. In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote: “No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April, 1775 [the date of the Lexington massacre], but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen Pharaoh of England forever.”  The Confederates referred to Abraham Lincoln as “the northern Pharaoh” and abolitionists in turn called slaveowners “modern Pharaohs”.  Americans also referred to all tyrants by comparing them to King George III and Napoleon was often cited as the ultimate bogeyman in Britain.  But generally it was Pharaoh who was used the way we use Hitler.
Did they have something akin to Godwin’s Law back then: “if you have to mention the Pharaoh, you’ve lost the argument!”  Somehow I don’t think so.  A link to the Quora forum is here.
Update: It seems Brian Palmer deserves credit for the information behind that answer.
 Via marginal revolution

Friday, June 13, 2014

Web of Debt

The web site contains details of a ‘proof of concept’ study of the Jubilee idea done by Professor Anthony Evans and his colleagues at The ESCP Europe Business School. The study used up to date figures from the IMF and the Bank of International Settlement (BIS) to see what would happen if Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain, Britain, France, and Germany simply cross cancelled all the foreign debt they owed each other – a Sovereign debt jubilee.  How to destroy the web of debt

In her new book, A Fighting Chance, Elizabeth Warren spent a little time explaining how Wall Street tried sabotaging her campaign for Senate. Scott Brown was their boy and they shoveled more money into his campaign than any campaign in the country. He was the #1 recipient of their political contributions. And they did all they could to demonize Elizabeth Warren and her pro-working families message-- something they have continued without pause
Wall & Washington

No one has reason to accept a scheme of cooperation that places their lives under the control of others, that deprives them of meaningful political participation, that deprives their children of the opportunity to qualify for better jobs, and that deprives them of a share in the wealth they help to produce.
T.M. Scanlon has a brief TED essay sharing some contractualist objections to inequality
Social media has been privatised. 
Why do we treat it as a public space. Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have essentially erected new borders where such borders did not exist before