Thursday, June 29, 2017

Value of Enigmas: Supreme Court Establishes A First Amendment Framework For Social Media

In every land, especially in the soil of Sydney, hardness is in the north of it, softness in the south, industry in the east, and fire and inspiration in the west ...

"The Saucy Sock Puppet of the Trump-Nominated Judge: An attorney up for a federal bench seat made his views plain while writing blog posts under a pseudonym." Eleanor Clift has this essay online at The Daily Beast

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Retired U.S. Tax Court Judge Sentenced To 34 Months In Jail For Tax Fraud Committed While She Sat On The Court

Qld ex-cop charged with 44 counts of database snooping

NSW police worker the seventh person to be charged over CTP fraud

Sweet 16 map

Costly, under-featured MyGov is just fine, says Oz national auditor

Five year march to One Login To Rule Us All still not over

​Government looking to digital identification for Australian SMEs

ATO public servants vote yes in a landslide

Australian Taxation Office attacking vulnerable small business owners

Story image for ato tax from The AustralianResearch and development tax incentives a dangerous hazard to ...
The Australian Robert Gottliebsen - 19 minutes ago

Unassuming extortion report in Sydney sparks downfall of global organised crime network

 “If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from, we will have failed,” Carl Sagan wrote a century later in his exquisite meditation on science and spirituality. And yet the longing for stable answers and thorough understanding — or, as Hannah Arendt memorably framed it,the propensity for asking unanswerable questions — might be one of the hallmarks of our species. 

It may be that the focus on creating and fulfilling a “bucket list” of experiences meant to make your life more meaningful has another significant facet:  “People seek extraordinary experiences—from drinking rare wines and taking exotic vacations to jumping from airplanes and shaking hands with celebrities. But are such experiences worth having? We found that participants thoroughly enjoyed having experiences that were superior to those had by their peers, but that having had such experiences spoiled their subsequent social  interactions and ultimately left them feeling worse than they would have felt if they had had  an ordinary experience instead. Participants were able to predict the benefits of having an  extraordinary experience but were unable to predict the costs. These studies suggest that people may pay a surprising price for the experiences they covet most.” Many our most extraordinary experiences are not planned but rather occur if we are aware and open to both giving to, sharing with and appreciating one another and the natural world.

    White House Goes DARK: The past is not prologue for the press

    CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller is famously fastidious with all presidential happenings. Ditto his Monday accounting of June press briefings: Five on camera, 10 off camera, three days with none at all. And now comes a development that's rather explicit in the headline of a piece by Celeste Katz of Mic: "Even Donald Trump's schedule has become a victim of a White House push against transparency."

    Her opus reminds one that Trump already parts company with the Obama administration by not making public White House visitor logs, having Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travel without a press contingent, holding more briefings without cameras and even threatening to stop holding briefings.

    "Some days, we'll have 'em; some days we won't," Press Secretary Sean Spicer said about cameras.

    Meanwhile, the president of India was in Washington and did not do the traditional press conference with his American counterpart. So did one of the leaders refuse to talk to reporters jointly? Spicer wouldn't say.

    The Obama administration didn't have a glorious transparency record. But Trump is making them look like apostles of full disclosure.

    For sure, there is a smidgen of press whining that can be a tactical mistake. The White House Correspondents’ Association keeps having meetings with "Sean" and "Sarah" (Huckabee Sanders) and others, finding solace in the most laughable small crumbs thrown their way. It tends to want to play nice, rather than tell a president's press flunkies (and him by default) to go screw themselves.

    In this particular instance, it's all about a White House protecting a mercurial president who forces his spokespeople to frequently defend lies. The stated rationale of "Sean" and "Sarah" in private meetings with the press has largely to do with claims that the on-camera briefings have become overly theatrical. That's a not altogether inaccurate reference to some (not all) TV folks.

    But the evolution of the briefing into a bit of a TV show obscures the larger reality here: This White House simply accelerates the unmistakable recent trend of administrations of both parties much preferring to operate in the dark

    ATO's'feared' anti-fraud squad knows the unassuming insiders who think they won'tget caught. It's not just flashy crims that anti-fraud investigators are watching. The risk of the trusted insider — officials rationalising bad behaviour by a self-assessment of being underpaid and undervalued, or seeking to protect others — is very real, yet the ATO has a very low rate of malfeasance. That's down to a solid corruption control plan.

    'Sausage machine':IBAC hears of alleged $2.2m TAFE scam

      The World’s Worst Countries for Workers The 2017 ITUC Global Rights Index. Handy map.
      Trumpmania Cools in This Pennsylvania Town Bloomberg (Re Silc). For Trump voters at the margin, he had to deliver. He isn’t. 
      How Turing’s ideas evolved over the course of his life as he tussled with this paradox is among the many profound and possibly unanswerable questions examined with enormous intellectual elegance in A Mad Man Dreams of Turing Machines, another thread of which explores how the mathematician Kurt Gödel shaped our ideas of truth. Complement this particular thread with Marcus Aurelius on mortality and the key to living fully, Mary Oliver on the measure of aliveness, and Oliver Sacks ondeath, destiny, and the redemptive radiance of a life well lived.

      Benton Foundation – Andrew Jay Schwartzman, June 21, 2017: “On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States used an unlikely vehicle to expand the scope of First Amendment protection for Internet users. In Peckingham v. North Carolina, speaking for five members of the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy started with the general principle that the Court has always recognized the “fundamental principle of the First Amendment … that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection, speak and listen once more.” Then, using soaring language that will surely be widely quoted in future cases, he said While in the past there may have been difficulty in identifying the most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views, today the answer is clear. It is cyberspace–the “vast democratic forums of the Internet” in general, and social media in particular. (citation omitted) The case arose as a challenge to a North Carolina statute that prohibits registered sex offenders from accessing social media sites. In 2002, Lester Peckingham, who was 21 years years-old at the time, pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a 13 year-old girl. He received a suspended jail sentence and completed a term of probation. Eight years later, Peckingham was convicted of violating the social media statute after a police officer saw Peckingham’s Facebook post joyfully announcing dismissal of a speeding ticket Man God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court cost, no nothing spent. . . . . . Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks JESUS! The Court unanimously found North Carolina’s law to be unconstitutional. This is the second important Supreme Court opinion addressing the role of the Internet in American life. The first, Reno v. ACLU, was issued in 1997, during the Internet’s dial-up era. Its depiction of the Internet as a medium deserving the same high degree of First Amendment protection as traditional print media played an essential role in the legal framework for the Internet’s evolution over the last two decades.”

      Caroline Scott’s article – “Data released by official agencies and government bodies provides transparency and insight, and can often highlight trends or anomalies that are in the public interest. However, some of these datasets are often difficult to access, while in other instances it is not clear whether they even exist, making it harder for journalists to find stories and collect information to provide the bigger picture. Enigma Public, a free tool built by data management and intelligence company Enigma, launched yesterday (20 June) with the aim of helping users find the data they need and learn how to improve their use of information. The 100,000 datasets from over 100 countries bring together information from international organisations and federal governments, and local and state governments in the USA, spanning subjects like building permits and fire inspection data, to things such as the contents of shipping containers, and financial contributions to political campaigns. Users get a description of the datasets, along with key use cases and related information

      “We wanted to provide an interface that enabled that information to be searched, discovered, and related,” said Marc DaCosta, Enigma’s chairman and co-founder. “All the data in Engima Public will be updated regularly, from online and offline sources, and is really a work in progress to grow and keep adding to it.”

      The site can be used in two main ways: to search for a specific topic, company or person and see the datasets related, or to browse through the collection and see what stands out to you individually. There are curated collections of datasets to help journalists, such as energy, health and sanctions, or they can simply work through the categorised public collections of data to find what they are looking for, and bookmark the sets they want to come back to later. Datasets can be filtered by keyword to help reporters find what they are looking for within the bulk of information, and they can be exported to save to a user’s computer…”