Sunday, January 31, 2016

Read it. Read every word

INK BOTTLE“Unless one is already smitten with the author, one reads diaries, journals and collections of letters in search of small dazzlements or points of irritation.”
~ Patrick Kurp, “‘I Would Rattle His Pedestal’” (Anecdotal Evidence, November 25, 2015)

Story image for google symbol today from Search Engine Land
From Tolstoy to Bellow, Imrich to Roth, Kurp and Knausgaard, it's male authors who are the real romantics, portraying love as mysterious, physical, and beyond explanation... According to Cold River 

For three weeks in 1974, Werner Herzog trekked from Munich to Paris. "Walking on foot brings you down to the very stark, naked core of existence ..."

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!
polar bear family links
Which are the most successful “textbooks”?: Strunk and White are first, Plato is second, Cold River millionth ...

Fact-checking as a standalone journalistic feature has sprung up in media markets around the world over the past decade. The typical pattern sees several fact-checking operations being launched at varying levels of preparedness shortly before a national election. The model is usually borrowed from abroad: often the United States, but just as likely a strong regional fact-checker. When funding and media attention subside after the political campaign is over, some form of consolidation follows, with fewer organizations sticking to the instrument in the long run.
Fact-checking on TV: Australia’s ABC Fact Check 

The celebrated artist Judy Cassab was a true Hungarian. One thinks of the maxim, “A Hungarian behind you in a revolving door always comes out in front of you.” Or as film producer Alexander Korda opined: “It’s not enough to be Hungarian. You have to have talent too.” Portraitist Judy Cassab found fame and acclaim in Australia

The Dark Knight and Alfie actor, Michael Caine, told the Radio Times: "Without her I would have been dead long ago. I would have probably drunk myself to death. I was a bit of a piss artist when I was younger, I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day and I was smoking too, several packs a day.
"I wasn't unhappy but it was stress. You know, 'Am I going to get another picture? How am I going to do this part? How am I going to remember all those lines? I've got to get up at six in the morning and I hope the alarm works.' There was always some stressful thing.
"Meeting Shakira calmed me down."
In his biography, Caine said he first laid eyes on Shakira when she starred in an advert for Maxwell House coffee and he knew he had to meet her. He arranged for a mutual friend to phone her on his behalf and asked her out for dinner.
They were married in January 1973, in Las Vegas in a "no fuss" ceremony in the Little Chapel on the Green.
The 82-year-old added: "She's my right-hand man, my confidante. I tell her everything. I was famous when I met her, but I couldn't have got this far without her."
Caine and Haines had one daughter together, Dominique, and he now also has three grandchildren.
Promoting new film Youth earlier this month, he told The "I love my wife. I have three grandchildren. I am overwhelmed with happiness every day.
"They [grandchildren] come to us. Our house has got the swimming pool and the cinema.
"I have a happy family life, which is incredibly important to me, because I regard the family as the greatest thing on earth."

Roo links
We Are Surrounded by Cruel People 
For as Far as the Eye Can See by Robert Melançon (trans. Judith Cowan, Biblioasis, 2013):

“File folder, open books, a notebook,
some pencils, a floppy disk, an eraser,
a notepad, an ashtray, a pencil sharpener,
“a paper knife, a computer, a ballpoint pen,
a packet of cigarettes, a ruler, a cup;
the sun splashes this jumbled arrangement
“with patches of light, and its movement from right
to left marks the passage of happy hours.
Any table covered with objects randomly assembled
“is a still life that could be painted or described.
Towards ten o’clock, a line of shadows will pass
Across the dictionary, which contains all poems.”

A thoughtful paper introduces Google Votes, an experiment in liquid democracy built on Google’s internal corporate Google+ social network. Liquid democracy decision-making systems can scale to cover large groups by enabling voters to delegate their votes to other voters…Google Votes demonstrates how the use of social-networking technology can overcome these barriers…The case-study of Google Votes usage at Google over a 3 year timeframe is included, as well as a framework for evaluating vote visibility called the “Golden Rule of Liquid Democracy”.
Imagine this in place for a normal democratic election, what would we expect?  Groups unwilling to vote might be willing to donate their votes, so in essence the cost of voting has fallen.  Would they donate to those who:
a) best reflect their views? That probably helps the Democrats, since non-voters probably are more likely to go Democratic.
b) Those who can reach them most easily? That helps the party with the most money and best ground operation and most credibility with the donating groups.
c) Those who best reflect some of their (potentially non-electoral) expressive sympathies?  Imagine for instance a disabled person donating a vote to a charity or cause for the disabled.  They may wish to boost the lobby, without necessarily agreeing with the electoral choice of that lobby.  I find this to be the most interesting option.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

To Hell With You People ...

“Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

China’s slowing growth has crushed shipping rates to such an extent that hiring a 1,100-foot merchant vessel would set you back less than the price of renting a Ferrari for a day.

As Jonah Goldberg once said of the DNC-MSM, “To Hell With You People.”

Salim Mehajers days are numbered 

SalimMehajers unpaid 1m tax debt

Here’s What Ted Cruz Won’t Tell You About His Days as a Corporate Lawyer Mother Jones

Career Corner. Let’s Review: Deloitte Demotivation, Denim, Bad Managers (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern). You do not have to be mad to work for Deloitte but it sure helps ... Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen sent out a soulless email a couple weeks back and somehow it ended up in the inbox of Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times. Deloitte chief’s new year memo is a classic in demotivation [FT]. We've noted before that Punit Renjen sometimes says ridiculous things. And then keeps saying them. This time, he's managed to pen one of those classic empty CEO emails that embodies all kinds of horrible cliches that we're all accustomed to ...

The disaster in Flint, Michigan is being treated as an aberration but Werner Troesken’s excellent book The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster demonstrates that there is a history of such problems in the United States

Trump Is Unapologetically Aggressive On Taxes, Like Buffett And Bono. All the sort of folks who are happy to increase taxes, on other people.

Donald Trump Says He ‘Could Shoot Somebody’ and Not Lose Voters Time. The actual quote: “They say I have the most loyal people — did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters. It’s like incredible.”

As to the power dynamics, Lincoln, Cooper Union, 1860: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!'” So Tanden identifies with the highwayman. As does Operative K.

NSW police have greatly increased their use of roadside drug testing,sparking controversy over the potency levels detected. But fresh criticism has been levelled at the initiative with some suggesting police are targeting poorer people by not testing for cocaine, reports Fairfax.

Let’s face it: gossips get a bad rap. Smugly looking down from a moral high ground – and secure in the knowledge that we don’t share their character flaw – we often dismiss those who are obsessed with the doings of others as shallow. Indeed, in its rawest form, gossip is a strategy used by individuals to further their own reputations and interests at the expense of others. Studies that I have conducted confirm that gossip can be used in cruel ways for selfish purposes Gossip is a social skill – not a character flaw

Senator Elizabeth Warren Calls for Action to Root Out Influence of Money in Politics YouTube

A tax break that Wall Street cannot defend Financial Times. I managed to miss this. From last week. An editorial. Consistent with what I have been hearing from tax pros, that the carried interest loophole is on its last legs.

Should It Be Easy for Wall Streeters to Take Government Jobs? Gawker 

The man, 64, was arrested in front of his son and spent weeks in jail after allegedly pushing his former de facto partner in the shoulders with both hands, causing her to move backwards, reports the Adelaide Advertiser
Google doodle 41st anniversary of the mountain of butterflies

For its first Doodle of the year, Google is celebrating the 41st anniversary of the discovery of “The Mountain of Butterflies..

Why do we feel such a strong urge to share a juicy piece of gossip? 'Whisper' via  

New study sheds light on what happens to women who are denied abortions Ars Technica (CL).

Five of the world’s sneakiest animals BBC 

Exotic Dancers Are Employees - Exotic Island Enterprises v. Commissioner of Labor, ___A.D.3d___ (3rd Dep't. Jan. 14, 2016), raises a whole host of legal questions for which law review commentary is welcome. 

Why Imrich and Obama Have So Few Friends ...

George Soros: Donald Trump is doing the work of Isis Guardian

Terrorism Act incompatible with human rights, court rules in David Miranda case EM: “So a bunch of High Lords deem that Miranda’s ‘detention was lawful’ even though the law under which it was made is itself unlawful. Lord Kafka will be pleased to hear of this.”

Karyn Murphy works as the head of the NRL Integrity Unit and is responsible for determining the fate of crestfallen Sydney Roosters captain
The shocking Australia Day video that emerged this week involving Pearce is the most significant individual case Murphy has overseen since being appointed by the NRL last June, reports The Daily Telegraph. 

A ‘man-made disaster’ unfolded in Flint, within plain sight of water regulators LA Times. In the context of: (the Emergency Manager system (paying the bondholders)). This is a finance/Wall Street story, too

Governor Snyder: You Were Not Hired to Be Jerry Lewis emptywheel

Your job is about to get ‘taskified’ LA Times 

 Why understanding gut reactions is key to building powerful movements Waging Nonviolence

 American vs. German health care systems
In ancient Israel a court of 23 judges called the Sanhedrin would decide matters of importance such as death penalty cases. The Talmud prescribes a surprising rule for the court. If a majority vote for death then death is imposed except, “If the Sanhedrin unanimously find guilty, he is acquitted.” Why the peculiar rule?
In an excellent new paper, Too Good to Be True, Lachlan J. Gunn et al. show that more evidence can reduce confidence. The basic idea is simple. We expect that in most processes there will normally be some noise so absence of noise suggests a kind of systemic failure. The police are familiar with one type of example. When the eyewitnesses to a crime all report exactly the same story that reduces confidence that the story is true. Eyewitness stories that match too closely suggests not truth but a kind a systemic failure, namely the witnesses have collaborated on telling a lie.
- See more at:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Hidden Wealth of Nations and Virtual Worlds

How the rich have only got richer since 2000

One super-butler is John Deery, in his mid-40s and a native of Northern Ireland. Along with planning travel arrangements for his principal, a businessman, and valeting, serving meals, and making sure visas are up to date, Deery manages three of his employer’s properties. One is in the Balkans with 34 staff, there is a London residence with another 12, and a third is being developed.
There is more intel just talk to Antipodean Polish Thomas Mann  of interest throughout, and you will note many of the employers are funded by oil, so perhaps this market is slowing down at the moment.
This surprised me a wee bit:
Particularly for wealthy employers from Middle Eastern, Asian or Russian backgrounds, one of the attractions of a British butler is their knowledge of the nuances of the traditional English way of dining or formal dressing.
Note this:
The average age of a newly employed butler is 41, and 40% of the people placed by the British Butler Academy are women…
It is less surprising to me that many super-butlers are former actors.

The servants making $150,000 a year BBC. No, not neoliberal economics professors, silly! Butlers!

Adobe Shifts Hundreds of Millions Offshore, Revealing, Like PDF Documents, Its Profits Are Portable Too (Tax Justice Blog). For some reason, this only inspires the Tax Justice folks to do what’s failing more and harder.

Daniel Hemel (Chicago), What’s the Matter with Luxembourg? (reviewing Gabriel Zucman (UC-Berkeley), Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (University of Chicago Press, 2015)):
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is rarely the subject of international attention, much less the target of international opprobrium. With fewer than 600,000 inhabitants, it is less populous than the City of Milwaukee. With an area of under 1,000 square miles, it is smaller than the State of Rhode Island. Conquered twice by Germany and thrice by France, it is much more accustomed to the role of victim than villain. In the words of one New York Times writer, “Luxembourg is about as cuddly as countries come.”
MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Blow Up The Administrative State. “A smaller government would mean fewer phony-baloney jobs for college graduates with few marketable skills but demonstrated political loyalty. It would mean fewer opportunities for tax dollars to be directed to people and entities with close ties to people in power. It would mean less ability to engage in social engineering and “nudges” aimed at what are all-too-often seen as those dumb rubes in flyover country. The smaller the government, the fewer the opportunities for graft and self-aggrandizement — and graft and self-aggrandizement are what our political class is all about.”

French tax avoidance probe takes a new turn

Crickhowell: The Welsh town taking on Google, Amazon and Starbucks as it takes its business taxes 'offshore'

In Davos, a Chance for Entrepreneurs to Network With Top Leaders NYT. “Top leaders.”

The Israel Antitrust Authority has announced that nine tour operator executives have been arrested on suspicion of running a secret price-fixing ring that was aimed at artificially inflating the cost of trips to former Nazi death camps such as Auschwitz.
At least six tour operators are being investigated on suspicion of involvement in the alleged cartel. In some cases, the homes of company executives were searched and property confiscated. According to the publication Haaretz, one of those detained is also suspected of bribery.
pretty lizard
Bernanke: Don’t Worry, China’s $28 Trillion Debt is an “Internal Problem” Global Economic Analysis

BlawgWorld has selected and linked to 63 articles from the past week worthy of your attention such as 154 Google Tips From Google Itself

SmallLaw has selected and linked to 45 articles from the past week worthy of your attention such as Should We Kill Off the Term "Blog"?

TL Serendipity contains interesting stories.

Some Media Dragons are waving twitter arms, jumping up and down —- heck, doing everything but setting virtual office furniture on fire —- to draw the attention of the profit-hungry insurance companies that resist death benefit payout despite clear policy language
Embedded image permalink

PAM GELLER: The Nation That Gave the World the Magna Carta Is Dead

The P.C. Casting Call

The University of Louisville pulled back the curtain to expose an ugly law school secret

 "Judging a Bribe Is Hard If It's Unsuccessful": Online at Bloomberg View, law professor Noah Feldman has an essay that begins, "Who put the quid in the quid pro quo? Was it the same person who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong? The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it would consider a version of this eternal question in the appeal of Bob McDonnell, the convicted former governor of Virginia."

Kram iPants, call your office ... about HER MAJESTY’S “MOST SECRET” SERVER

New York Post editorial, Hillary Clinton’s Caymans-Tax-Dodge Hypocrisy
Now, the Israel Antitrust Authority has announced that nine tour operator executives have been arrested on suspicion of running a secret price-fixing ring that was aimed at artificially inflating the cost of trips to former Nazi death camps such as Auschwitz.
At least six tour operators are being investigated on suspicion of involvement in the alleged cartel. In some cases, the homes of company executives were searched and property confiscated. According to the publication Haaretz, one of those detained is also suspected of bribery.
- See more at:
Pro tennis player Andy Murray says more transparency is needed to fight corruption in the sport. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) 

The Australian Taxation Office has been quietly sending some of its work to the Philippines for several months as the Australian Public Service moves closer to operating in Asia on a large scale. The office insists the offshore "application development" by outsourcing giant Accenture is done in a secure facility and that no data on taxpayers is being sent to Manila. Outsourcing ...
HMRC wins 'goodwill payments' tax battle against Smith & Williamson  


My Electrician Drives a Porsche?: Investing in the Rise of the New Spending Class

What happens when a banking system shuts down?  A look at Ireland in the 1970s