Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bureaucratic Insanity is Yours to Enjoy

“Taking the chance of making a complete fool of himself—and, sometimes, doing so—is the first demand that is made upon any real critic: he must stick his neck out just as the artist does, if he is to be of any real use to art.”
~ Randall Jarrell, “The Age of Criticism”

From Roger Parloff at Fortune, a slideshow of 30 of the top Donald Trump lawsuits and legal threats.Earlier, and generally

Stalin's henchmen. Vile murderers and treacherous cowards, they were also a musical bunch. They could have made a competent chamber ensemble... Cold River Memories 

Bureaucratic Insanity is Yours to Enjoy Club Orlov 

Are public bureaucracies really a fount of innovation? Not really, despite vogue for new Marianna Mazzucato book The Entrepreneurial State [Alberto Mingardi, EconLog]

Bernie’s greatest legacy: Suddenly, it’s OK to question capitalism! Salon

Dwain Downing, an attorney in Arlington, Texas, says he is suing a Mansfield diner that ran out of soup at 2 p.m. during a Saturday lunch special. The server and on-site manager told Downing that while he didn’t have to order the sandwich, two sides, and soup special at all if the lack of soup made it unattractive to him, the restaurant’s policy was not to discount the $7.95 price or offer a third side dish as a substitute. “Downing demands $2.25 – the cost of an additional side at Our Place – plus $250 in legal fees.” Why didn’t he handle it through an online review, calling the owner on the phone or simply not coming back? “‘I’m a lawyer,’ Downing said Friday by phone. ‘And lawyers write letters.'” [Marc Ramirez, Dallas Morning News]

Overhearing and repeating the wrong sort of evidence can land a parrot in a witness-protection program [Laurel Braitman, Digg]

College Life Before Facebook American Conservative 

Wood ducks links
Who dares speak freely in an election year?

When it comes to the great stagnation, don’t blame the engineers.  A very good post with lots of detail; I say fear the services

Grocery chain sued over dog bite: “Richard Spring claims Whole Foods did not do enough to protect him from the dog, which was leashed to a ‘tie-up’ station provided by the grocery chain.” [KATU]

A billionaire is willing to bring back public access to Martins Beach — for a price Los Angeles Times

How License-Plate Readers Have Helped Police and Lenders Target the Poor Atlantic  

"The sad truth is that the majority of people are speaking from a position of ignorance on this. They should stop being so sanctimonious and spend a year in banking to understand what the job actually entails and why it needs to incentivise so hard - yes, the pay is large, but to think that every banker sits at their desk thinking of new ways to rob the poor is asinine in the extreme. Every industry has unethical staff (see VW for just one) and 99.9% of us are normal, hard working people and pretty sick of being cast in with a few bad eggs."
By Dead Cat Bounce on US finance professionals face fresh pay crackdown

Psychologists Who Designed the CIA Torture Program Can Be Sued by Victims, Federal Judge Rules Alternet  

Big Food in health drive to keep share Financial Times. Problem is consumers know Corporate America’s “healthy food” falls short of what health-conscious types deem acceptable. They’ve seen them buy small producers with good products and degrade them. But making mass market foods less unhealthy is a step in the right direction.  

The millionaires leave cities, build fortresses failed evolution 

Stateline: “Cities and states have long had hotlines for reporting misuse of government resources. But mobile apps bring a new level of sophistication. They allow people to submit photos and videos in support of their claims; and in some cases auditors can use the app to respond and ask for follow-up information, all while maintaining a tipster’s anonymity. Sixty-four percent of American adults now carry a smartphone, according to a reportfrom the Pew Research Center. (The Pew Charitable Trusts funds both the Pew Research Center and Stateline.) Because reporting waste, fraud and abuse through an app is so easy, people are more inclined to do so, auditors say.”

EU Files New Antitrust Charges Against Google Over Android Apps NPR

Ruined Chernobyl nuclear plant will remain a threat for 3,000 years McClatchy

“In the early days of the Chernobyl disaster [April 1986], many still had faith in the Communist Party, but by late ’88, delusions about the Soviets were long gone. Fear of reprisals had receded with the deaths of strongmen Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov (known as the Butcher of Budapest after the 1956 Hungarian uprising). So when rumors started swirling about Communist officials evacuating their children while denying the opportunity to parents who wanted to do the same, the mood in Chernivitz grew mutinous. Parents ignored orders to stay put, and within weeks, the town emptied…”

Facial Recognition Service Becomes a Weapon Against Russian Porn ActressesGlobal Voices (guurst). Given that tons of people have been working on facial recognition technology for well over a decade, the industrial-surveillance complex has to have technology of similar capabilities. The fact that is hasn’t been released in the wild (yet) would lead on to think that the Humint types was to keep it as much under their control as possible. Separately, this is enough to make me consider wearing fake eyebrows and a fake nose on a regular basis.

HOW BADLY DID THE U. MASS SOCIAL-JUSTICE-WARRIOR PROTESTS BACKFIRE?So badly that people are talking about it in Australia

Friday, April 29, 2016

Kabbala and Inspirations

“You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love.”
Artist Louise Bourgeois on How Solitude Enriches Creative Work

Ruined Chernobyl nuclear plant will remain a threat for 3,000 years McClatchy

“In the early days of the Chernobyl disaster [April 1986], many still had faith in the Communist Party, but by late ’88, delusions about the Soviets were long gone. Fear of reprisals had receded with the deaths of strongmen Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov (known as the Butcher of Budapest after the 1956 Hungarian uprising). So when rumors started swirling about Communist officials evacuating their children while denying the opportunity to parents who wanted to do the same, the mood in Chernivitz grew mutinous. Parents ignored orders to stay put, and within weeks, the town emptied…”

Our irreceptivity to a certain light (E.M. Cioran 

“A good writer always works at the impossible.”

From Anathemas and Admirations. Translated by Richard Howard

Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules The Independent


The Aeneid plays an outsize role in the cultural literacy of the West. A reminder of the confusing anddisturbing pleasures of epic narrative... Wrong Kind of Kold  

alaksa bisons links

Amal Clooney lays the smackdown on Donald Trump, all without even uttering his name. Classy.[Vanity Fair]

“Andersen had the courage to write stories with unhappy endings. He didn’t believe that you should try to be good because it pays … but because evil stems from intellectual and emotional stuntedness and is the one form of poverty that should be shunned.” The Importance of Being Scared: Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska on Fairy Tales and the Necessity of Fear

Here's what we know: Shakespeare was buried on April 25, 1616. How did he die? Many theories - alcoholism, typhus - but little evidence... KaBBala 

What’s your favorite work byWilliam Shakespeare? Oxford University Press has created an infographic called Shakespeare and Religion.
The piece features references to several Shakespearean plays including Romeo & Juliet, Measure For Measure, and Henry VIII. We’ve embedded the full image below for you to explore further—what do you think? To learn more about the world’s greatest English playwright, follow these links to view infographics on “What Shakespeare Play Should I Read?,” “Shakespeare’s Reading List,” and “Shakespeare and Sex.” Click here to download a free digital copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
       At YouGov they offer Shakespeare 400 years on: every play ranked by popularity, as they surveyed 1661 adults and asked: "Which, if any, of the following Shakespeare plays have you ever read or seen ?" 
       Romeo and Juliet easily tops the list, the only play which more than half the respondents had seen/read;Hamlet is a somewhat surprising distant (31 per cent) fourth -- and I was very surprised that King Lear didn't even break the top ten. 
       (See also the full(er) survey breakdown (warning ! dreaded pdf format !). Among the observations there: Scottish respondents were less likely than the national average to have seen/read Macbeth -- and far behind Londoners; the only play male respondents were more likely to have seen/read than female ones was ... King John (3 per cent to 2), while several plays were far more likely to have been seen/read by women (notably Romeo and Juliet (62:40) and As You Like it(21:10)); and a far-above average (5 per cent) of Londoners answered 'Don't know' (9 per cent).) 

At the New York Times, David Brooks writes a thoughtful article on artistic inspiration, especially for writers:
Well, moments of inspiration don’t quite make sense by normal logic. They feel transcendent, uncontrollable and irresistible. When one is inspired, time disappears or alters its pace. The senses are amplified. There may be goose bumps or shivers down the spine, or a sense of being overawed by some beauty... 

Related: How eSight Works

Scientists now believe that language and music co-evolved to simulate the most abiding truths of nature. Indeed, for as long as we’ve been able to articulate the human experience, we’ve made music about the most inarticulable parts of it and then used language to extol music’s power — nowhere more beautifully than in Aldous Huxley’s 1931 meditation on how music stirs the soul, in which he asserted that music’s greatest potency lies in expressing the inexpressible. How Music Helps Us Grieve

"Dearly Beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing we call ‘Life.'” Prince 1958 – 2016."

“All great truths are obvious truths. But not all obvious truths are great truths.”

We watched 2004 movie Primer with barely any knowledge of it, which may be the best way to watch it. Shane Carruth wrote, directed, and stared in this detailed sci-fi story about four entrepreneurs who hope to make some kind of break-through on one of their garage-lab projects. When Abe discovers that a box they made does something unexpected, he tells Aaron and the two decide to pursue it. The scene below gives you a taste of the movie’s style while showing Abe and Aaron conducting their first experiment

Professor Paula Franzese of Seton Hall law school is something of a patron saint of law students. Widely known for her upbeat energy, kindness, and tendency to break into song for the sake of helping students remember a particularly challenging point of law, Paula has literally helped hundreds of thousands of lawyers pass the bar exam through her video taped Property lectures for BarBri.
Paula is such a gifted teacher that she won teacher of the year almost ever year until Seton Hall implemented a rule to give others a chance: no professor can win teacher of the year more than two years in a row. Since the rule was implemented, Paula wins every other year. She’s also incredibly generous, leading seminars and workshops to help her colleagues improve their teaching.
Paula recently wrote a book encouraging law students to have a productive, upbeat happy, and grateful outlook on life (A short & happy guide to being a law school student).
Paula’s well-intentioned book has rather bizarrely been attacked by scambloggers as “dehumanizing”, “vain”, “untrustworthy” and “insidious.” The scambloggers are not happy people, and reacted as if burned by Paula’s sunshine Happiness law students lawyers and scambloggers

Lot of complex things going on right now. Too complex to put into 140 characters
 The best all-purpose tweet, ever

Blanche and Alfred Knopf had a simple plan: “We would get married and make books and publish them.” Reality was more complicated - and interesting...RealPolitics

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Taxing Times: Panama Papers and Morality

Australian Taxation Office assistant deputy commissioner Michael O'Neill said that while the anti-avoidance powers cannot be used in some cases, there are a range of other powers including transfer pricing laws that it can draw on. He did not say what extra powers the Tax Office could be given to combat tax avoidance, but said these were under discussion with Treasury.

  “The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists will release on May 9, 2016 a searchable database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation. The database will likely be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them. The data comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the top players in the offshore world, and includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States. It links to people in more than 200 countries and territories. When the data is released, users will be able to search through the data and visualize the networks around thousands of offshore entities, including, when possible, Mossack Fonseca’s internal records of the company’s true owners. The interactive database will also include information about more than 100,000 additional companies that were part of the 2013 ICIJ Offshore Leaks investigation.

While the database opens up a world that has never been revealed on such a massive scale, the application will not be a “data dump” of the original documents – it will be a careful release of basic corporate information. ICIJ won’t release personal data en masse; the database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers. The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest. Meanwhile ICIJ, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which received the leak, and other global media partners, including several new outlets in countries where ICIJ has not been able to report, will continue to investigate and publish stories in the weeks and months to come. The Panama Papers investigation revealed the secret offshore dealings of world leaders and other politicians as well as criminals and celebrities. It exposed the role of big banks in facilitating secrecy and tax evasion and avoidance. And it showed how companies and individuals blacklisted in the U.S. and elsewhere for their links to terrorism, drug trafficking and other crimes were able to do business through offshore jurisdictions…” 
Anti-avoidance powers to hunt multinationals 'ineffective': ATO 

Jane Gravelle (Congressional Research Service) presents Policy Options to Address Corporate Profit Shifting: Carrots or Sticks? at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico

Hong Kong cabinet heavyweight caught up in Panama Papers row agrees on need for more transparency South China Morning Post

 The Taxcast, Edition 52, April 2016 - (YouTube/podcast) Tax Justice Network

The Panama Papers and Tax Morality, by Usman W. Chohan (University of New South Wales)

"In a stinging rebuke to Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan, the Federal Court has denied being in special talks about fast-tracking multinational tax avoidance cases.
A court spokesman said no private discussions about the timing of cases had occurred with the Australian Tax Office, contradicting comments made by Mr Jordan to a parliamentary inquiry. "There is no 'deal' being struck between the Court and the ATO about listing of cases, or any other matter," the spokesman said. "The Court is not, and has not been, in any private discussions with any party, including the ATO, about their cases." Fast tracking Justice Federal Court chides Tax Commissioner

Thin capitalisation and profit alienation were fingered by a UTS study last weekas the primary tools the foreign multinationals used to slash their Australian tax bills Multinational tax avoidance crackdown flagged by ATO

standing cubs links

Thanks to Delaware’s strict corporate secrecy laws, more than 285,000 companies are registered, for tax reasons, at a two-story building in Wilmington—more than any other address in the world. Among them are holding companies belonging toHillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Alex Tabarrok: "The Number of Publicly Traded Firms Has Halved

He observes that:
In the past twenty years [the] U.S. has lost almost 50% of its publicly traded firms [from 6,797 in 1997 to 3,485 in 2013, AT]. This decline has been so dramatic, that the number of firms these days is lower than it has been in the early 1970s, when the real gross domestic product in the U.S. was one third of what it is today. This phenomenon has been a general pattern that has affected over 90% of U.S. industries.
A rather stunning finding from Grullon, Larkin and Michaely.
The total number of firms has dropped far less than the number of publicly traded firms, so in part this is probably due to laws affecting publicly traded firms in particular such as Sarbanes-Oxley. But there has also been a small drop in the total number of firms (depending on year measured) and concentration ratios have increased which suggests that competition might have fallen. (I wish the authors had looked more closely at the entire size distribution). Have international firms risen to offset the decline of publicly-trade firms? The authors discuss but discount the role of globalization. I don’t see, however, how their findings of small effects on output competition are consistent with big labor market effects. Nevertheless the bottom line is that as concentration rates have increased so have profits, as a recent CEA report also argues.
Is this all the after-effects of the Great Recession? I hope so but the decline in the number of publicly traded firms is also consistent with the research on long-run declining dynamism (including my own research on regulation and dynamism) which shows that startup and reallocation rates have been trending down for thirty years

Chad: Tax Filing: IRS Needs a Comprehensive Customer Service Strategy and Needs to Better Combat Identity Theft Refund Fraud and Protect Taxpayer Data, GAO-16-578T

Specifically, OI investigates misconduct by IRS employees which manifests itself in many ways,” said Timothy Camus, a Deputy Inspector General with TIGTA.
Insider tax ID theft: Those IRS staff transgressions include, among other things, unauthorized access to taxpayer information and the use of that improperly obtained info to commit identity theft.
“Unfortunately, tax refund fraud and identity theft is not limited to unscrupulous individuals operating from outside of the IRS,” Camus told House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee members at an April 19 hearing. “There is also an insider threat posed by IRS employees who use their official positions and access to IRS information in furtherance of these schemes.
Camus cited “one of the most significant recent cases” in which an IRS employee stole the tax agency’s information on hundreds of taxpayers, and then used it to try to get between $550,000 and $1.5 million in fraudulent refunds.
That now former-IRS employee was able to successfully steal over $438,000 in fraudulent refunds.
This is a perfect example of why regulating preparers isn’t going to stop fraud. IRS employees are much more heavily regulated than preparers ever will be, and the IRS still can’t keep them from stealing identities.

One more scandal in the European Parliament the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens 

Tax benefits for top earners cost $11 billion  Surgeons, lawyers and finance managers the main beneficiaries of decision to leave negative gearing
Robert Wood, Startling Report Of IRS Tax Refund Frauds — Including Inside Jobs

Revealed: the tax haven firms cashing in on Scotland's PFI scandal  
 EU to draw up tax haven blacklist  
   Anti-tax evasion measures approved by EU finance ministers  
      EU Finance Ministers Urge Caution on Planned Tax Rules for Multinationals  
         New tax rules for large European funds  
          Australia Senate tax avoidance report missing vital reforms, says Tax Justice Network 
             More countries sign up to anti-corruption code  
UK 1000 wealthiest individuals and families now have a combined fortune of just over £547 billion 
  Don't be fooled by the 'super rich' falling on hard times – inequality in the UK is getting worse
      German finance minister objects to tax transparency proposals  
         Australian state hikes taxes for foreign property buyers  
           Tourist tax introduced to conserve popular Spanish islands  
               The case for a global tax body  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Financial and Crime Analysis

 Wall Street Journal, Goat Herd Helps Trump Lower Tax BiteDonald Trump has found a solution that cuts both his grass and his tax bill: Goats.

The goat critic in the mood to confess. Here a personal anecdote, there a self-deprecating aside, a pose of endearing amateurism. Enough absolutions ...

  • Are public bureaucracies really a fount of innovation? Not really, despite vogue for new Marianna Mazzucato book The Entrepreneurial State [Alberto Mingardi, EconLog]

Financial Institutions: Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures for Violations of Financial Crimes and Sanctions Requirements “Since 2009, financial institutions have been assessed about $12 billion in fines, penalties, and forfeitures for violations of Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money- laundering regulations (BSA/AML), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA), and U.S. sanctions programs requirements by the federal government. Specifically, GAO found that from January 2009 to December 2015, federal agencies assessed about $5.2 billion for BSA/AML violations, $27 million for FCPA violations, and about $6.8 billion for violations of U.S. sanctions program requirements. Of the $12 billion, federal agencies have collected all of these assessments, except for about $100 million.” GAO-16-297: Published: Mar 22, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 2016.

The City of London is so Criminogenic That It Boggles Even Its Banking Apologists  

Why is this technology so beneficial to lawyers? It simplifies and organizes the trial presentation process and provides information in a way that is easily digestible by jurors

The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn’t eating the world BoingBoing

Bernie’s greatest legacy: Suddenly, it’s OK to question capitalism and its protocols! Salon

ICAC raids given go-ahead despite lack of protocol 

Japan’s most salacious crime news — and the American who publishes it Washington Post 

To understand how fraudsters make themselves feel comfortable with their actions, accounting academics studied a year of official data on taxi rides to two destinations, Newark airport and Staten Island, primarily from Brooklyn.
Cheating by drivers of New York’s yellow cabs is helping to illuminate the psychology of white-collar fraud 

 Why I (Belatedly) Blew the Whistle on the SEC’s Failure to Properly Investigate Goldman Sachs: Two things struck me about Jim Kidney’s article below. One is that he still wants to think well of his former SEC colleagues. I know other whistleblowers and internal dissenters who wound up losing their jobs who initially blame themselves, than come to accept that the system in which they operated was fundamentally corrupt, that even if some people locally really were trying to do the right thing, it was bound to either 1. go nowhere, 2. be allowed to proceed to a more meaningful level if it was cosmetic or served some larger political purpose or 3. got elevated because the organization was suddenly in trouble and they needed to burnish their cred in a big way (a variant of 2, except with 3, you might have a something serious take place by happenstance of timing). Kidney does criticize corrosive practices, particularly the SEC stopping developing its own lawyers and becoming dependent on the revolving door, but his criticisms seem muted relative to the severity of the problems.
Number two, and related, are the class assumptions at work. The SEC does not want to see securities professionals at anything other than bucket shops as bad people. At SEC conferences, agency officials are virtually apologetic and regularly say, “We know you are honest people who want to do the right thing.” Please tell me where else in law enforcement is that the underlying belief.
By James A. Kidney, former SEC attorney. Originally published at Watch the Circus

The lead story at Bloomberg is George Soros’ dire warnings about China a speech yesterday. He is talking his book; he’s short the renminbi, and pumped for China to float the Chinese currency against a broader basket of currencies, which would also lead it to decline against the dollar. Soros made a doomsday call against Europe in 2012 that did not pan out, and he has been aggressive there in trying to influence policy, both on economics and on Ukraine. And he acknowledged that the timing of ugly end games is uncertain. Key sections from the Bloomberg story

 The Panama Papers and Tax Morality, by Usman W. Chohan (University of New South Wales Sydney)
Australia Senate tax avoidance report missing vital reforms, says Tax Justice Network 

Money Laundering Reaches $113B In Germany As Organized Crime Flourishes  

1MDB investigation: Singapore charges former banker with money laundering 

Ex-partners at Belfast KPMG office challenge tax probe   

Leaders celebrate climate treaty and sustainable development goals but have failed to deliver on finance 

Strategy targets improved cyber security 

The Human Subconscious and Taxation
5:4 Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law 1, 2016, Forthcoming. The field of economic psychology generally posits tax avoidance behavior as a conscious decision-making process of the taxpayer rather than as the fulfillment of subconscious desires. Here, Lacan´s three orders of the human psyche are analyzed to reveal the subconscious “desires” of tax avoidance behaviour.  

British spy agencies' secret mass surveillance revealed 

Brennan Center for Justice: Ames Grawert and James Cullen – “This analysis provides final crime data to update the report, Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis. It finds the same conclusions as that report (and its December 2015 update), with slightly different percentages.”
Summary of Findings: “The analysis examines crime in the 30 largest cities from 2014 to 2015, with 25 cities reporting data on murder through the end of 2015 and 22 reporting data on crime. Its findings:
•As shown in Table 1A, crime overall in the 30 largest cities in 2015 remained the same as in 2014, decreasing by 0.1 percent across cities. Two-thirds of cities saw drops in crime, which were offset mostly by an increase in Los Angeles (12.7 percent). Nationally, crime remains at all-time lows. The data show no evidence of a deviation from that trend.

The purpose of a summing-up in a criminal trial is to provide the jury with the assistance which it needs to perform its task. That task, simply stated, is to determine whether, upon the evidence presented, the prosecution has proved the guilt of the accused. Historically, the role of the judge in this respect had not been seen to be unduly difficult. Summings-up were short and to the point, and not overburdened by complex analyses of the law, or by commentary on the way in which the jury should approach the evidence.  Summing up in criminal trials - a new direction?

In the context of recent summung up article this case was referenced in Feb 2016, the summing up was unbalanced. His Honour inappropriately conflated the issue of whether the gun was fired before any struggle with the issue of when the shouting was heard. Additionally his Honour incorrectly informed the jury that the testimony of Harpreet Singh Chopra shone light on the sequence of events, when it did not. The argument which his Honour developed was to the effect that if the shots had occurred before the shouting, then this assisted the Crown case on the issue as to who had taken the gun to the Temple and initiated the incident, and on the issue as to whether the gun discharged accidentally during the struggle..

MEHER, Chanranjit - CCA, 21.10.2004
Wood CJ at CL, Buddin & Shaw JJ
Citation: R v Meher [2004] NSWCCA 355
Conviction appeal.
Wound with intent to murder; assault; use pistol without being authorised by licence or permit; possess pistol without being authorised by licence or permit.
An AVO had been obtained against appellant after his wife left with his 2 eldest children, followed by a 3rd child. They were subsequently divorced & the youngest daughter remained with her father. She left after alleging that he had sexually assaulted her, a charge of which he was later acquitted at trial. There was bitterness on both sides: appellant believed that his ex-wife had fraudulently disposed of joint property & the expense of defending the sexual assault allegations had made him financially unstable. The children & ex-wife believed the sexual assault accusations & resented having been disinherited by the appellant. The Crown alleged that on the day in question, appellant had deliberately entered the Sikh Temple at Revesby, knowing his family would be there. He carried a dark backpack containing a Ruger firearm. Documents contained in this bag included a will & citizenship papers. One of the victims (applicant's son) said that his father took out the gun & fired a shot at his mother as she ran, injuring her in the leg. When appellant & his son wrestled over the gun, the latter was elbowed in the stomach & the gun went off a 2nd time. No other witnesses saw the incident, although there was testimony from witnesses who heard the sound of shouting & shots. The son & 2 other children testified that their father had made previous threats. No forensic evidence was retrieved from the gun or from the hands or clothing of the appellant.
Trial judge's summing up to jury unfairly balanced in favour of prosecution - error in judge including factual arguments in favour of Crown not addressed on by either Crown or defence - trial miscarried by reason of judge's frequent references to appellant as a liar and that as a result his testimony might be unreliable.
Appeal allowed: new trial ordered. 

Charanjit Meher: Baldev Kaur, Amar Preet Singh et al 

TechDirt: “On [April 19, 2016], the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released some redacted versions of three previously secret FISA Court rulings. There are a few interesting things in them, but one notable point, found in a ruling from last November regarding the NSA’s 702 PRISM program, is that the FISC took advantage of the provision in the USA Freedom Act to appoint a public advocate to argue on behalf of the public. One of the big complaints in the past, is that the FISA Court is no court at all. Only one side — the government — gets to present its case, and then the judges decide

Kreag, Jason, Prosecutorial Analytics (April 12, 2016). Washington University Law Review (2017) Forthcoming; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 16-10. Available for download at SSRN:
“The institution of the prosecutor has more power than any other in the criminal justice system. What is more, prosecutorial power is often unreviewable as a result of limited constitutional regulation and the fact that it is increasingly exercised in private and semi-private settings as the system has become more administrative and less adversarial. Despite this vast, unreviewable power, prosecutors often rely on crude performance measures focused on conviction rates. The focus on conviction rates fails to capture and adequately evaluate the breadth of prosecutorial decision-making. We can do better by fully implementing analytics as a tool to evaluate the prosecutorial function. This tool has revolutionized crime-fighting ...

 Not Good Enough: UK Statement on the initiative for exchange of beneficial ownership information  

 Premature Self-Congratulatory Hype: Tax transparency progress hailed by Chancellor  

  David Cameron will not be investigated over off-shore trust and tax affairs by parliamentary watchdog  

 Apple should pay more tax, says co-founder Wozniak  

  First We Bailed Out Coutts, Then They Helped People Dodge Tax 

Dear George Osborneit's time to tackle tax dodging  

World Trotter: Steve Monaghan Born and Bred in Sydney

He warned us " I will be back" and this week Steve Monaghan is again walking the streets of the sunny Sydney ;-)

 Steve is sought after Speaker all around the world and Australia is hosting a number of knowledge based networking events this week ...
Steve Monaghan

Steve clocks as many miles in the air as Tyler Brûlé does, and needless to say Steve is better looking and much braver than Tyler ;-) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Slow Stlouhs and Strews

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
~ Trust Yourself: Emerson on Self-Reliance as the Essence of Genius and What It Means to Be a Nonconformist

Inside Higher Ed, 'The Slow Professor' (reviewing The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy (University of Toronto Press, Mar. 28, 2016), by Maggie Berg (Queen’s University) & Barbara K. Seeber (Brock University)) (interview):
New book argues that professors should actively resist the "culture of speed" in academe.
In 2013, the jobs website CareerCast named university professor the No. 1 least stressful job, unleashing a torrent of criticism that only grew after Forbes picked up the ranking. Professors -- those with tenure and without -- said the study ignored the changing dynamics of the university, namely the increasingly administrative nature of academic work, the emerging student-as-customer model, unrealistic research expectations and 24-7 contact with colleagues and students via email. Non-tenure-track professors also pointed out that they in many cases lack all job security.

SLOWER WAR: “German army forced to lay down weapons due to ‘overtime limits'” [Telegraph, U.K.]

FASTER, PLEASE: First gene therapy successful against human aging
All the Sad, Broke, Literary Men Helaine Olen, Slate


How many Walkmans did he bring?

Inside Higher Ed, How (Not) to Hide a Scandal:
Google “University of California, Davis.” What do you see? Who controls what you see?
Until last week, here’s what you wouldn’t see: images of a police officer, back in 2011, pepper spraying a group of student protesters. The students are assembled peacefully, sitting in a line on the ground, heads ducked. ...
Here’s the video of the incident, which racked up over a million views in the days after it was posted ...

The Coetzee archives. “All writing is autobiography,” he likes to say. But how much could he bear to reveal in his own papers?... Papers 

IT’S NOT SOCIAL MEDIA, IT’S BIOLOGY:Why Do Girls Have More Anxiety Than Boys?

Physics is not a discipline or a set of procedures. It's a way of thinking about the world: a scheme that organizes cause and effect  

March for Water: Thousands Protest Corporate Greed in Guatemala teleSUR

Speaking of Soviet Union, Leon Kamenev (meaning stone) came to Australia at the fall of the Soviet Union, looking to start an Empire of his own. And now… Leon Kamenev will finally build his palace. This week he was revealed as the mystery buyer who snapped up four harbour front Vaucluse properties, spending close to $80 Million, all to build his own private compound.

Got a Hot Seller on Amazon? Prepare for E-Tailer to Make One Too Bloomberg

I  suppose there is still somebody living who has not read or heard of Cold River: it seems inconceivable that it should be so, but queer things of this sort do happen ;-) Ataphorised 

Robert Wood, Startling Report Of IRS Tax Refund Frauds — Including Inside Jobs

Harvard Business Review  In their enthusiasm, marketers have overlooked some fundamental concerns about using nudges. A company that doesn’t understand these minefields could adversely affect its marketing. Nudges that are poorly thought out could be ticking time bombs waiting to explode and damage the company’s reputation and credibility among its loyal customers

Searching for Explanations: How the Internet Inflates Estimates of Internal Knowledge, Matthew Fisher, Mariel K. Goddu, and Frank C. Keil, Yale University. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 2015 American Psychological Association 2015, Vol. 144, No. 3, 674–687.
“As the Internet has become a nearly ubiquitous resource for acquiring knowledge about the world, questions have arisen about its potential effects on cognition. Here we show that searching the Internet for explanatory knowledge creates an illusion whereby people mistake access to information for their own personal understanding of the information. Evidence from 9 experiments shows that searching for information online leads to an increase in self-assessed knowledge as people mistakenly think they have more knowledge “in the head,” even seeing their own brains as more active as depicted by functional MRI (fMRI) images.”