Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Metadata: Living on the Edge


EFF – “On September 11, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to significantly expand both the number of people required to submit biometrics during routine immigration applications and the types of biometrics that individuals must surrender. This new rule will apply to immigrants and U.S. citizens alike, and to people of all ages, including, for the first time, children under the age of 14. It would nearly double the number of people from whom DHS would collect biometrics each year, to more than six million. The biometrics DHS plans to collect include palm prints, voice prints, iris scans, facial imaging, and even DNA—which are far more invasive than DHS’s current biometric collection of fingerprints, photographs, and signatures.  (For an incisive summary of the proposed changes, click here.)…”


Transitioning to the Next Generation of Metadata synthesizes six years (2015-2020) of OCLC Research Library Partners Metadata Managers Focus Group discussions and what they may foretell for the “next generation of metadata.” The firm belief that metadata underlies all discovery regardless of format, now and in the future, permeates all Focus Group discussions. Yet metadata is changing. Innovations in librarianship are exerting pressure on metadata management practices to evolve as librarians are required to provide metadata for far more resources of various types and to collaborate on institutional or multi-institutional projects with fewer staff.  This report considers:

  • Why is metadata changing?
  • How is the creation process changing?
  • How is the metadata itself changing?
  • What impact will these changes have on future staffing requirements, and how can libraries prepare?…”


I DON’T TRUST THE INTERNET OF THINGS:  This Hacked Coffee Maker Demands Ransom and Demonstrates a Terrifying Implication About the IoT.


Living on the edge: More than 4 in 10 households face serious financial problems during pandemic: POLL ABC


S.C. Teachers Sickout Strike – Georgia Teachers Walkout – Louisiana Teachers Threaten StrikePayday Report


Californians not sold on treating Uber, Lyft drivers as independent contractors, new poll shows LA Times


Popular Radicalism in the 1930S: The Forgotten History of the Workers’ Unemployment Insurance Bill The Hampton Institute


The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone. Refreshing the canon…. 


Hands On with Lexis+, New Premium Research Service from LexisNexisRobert Ambrogi has authored the definitive review of Lexis+. His precise and expert review of the site, accompanied by relevant screen shots, is a must read guide for legal researchers as they consider whether to transition to this new platform. Ambrogi states: “The basic experience of conducting legal research in Lexis+ is not all that different from Lexis Advance. But the added features that I described above — Search Tree, Missing and Must Include, Search Term Maps, and Ravel View — are valuable in that they give researchers more control over their searches and results without requiring them to be power researchers.”

Russian billionaire wants to buy cancelled Confederate statues

Nursing homes have new COVID-19 tests that are fast and cheap. So why won’t N.J. allow them to be used?

Where are the missing right-wing firms?  And Arnold.

The vaccine protocols.

The world forager elite.

An evidence-based return to work plan

The nasal spray, which will be entering clinical trials

On the Abraham Accords.

The Verge – ‘Face with spiral eyes’ is how we are all feeling: “This year has been hard. Wildfire smoke has engulfed the West Coast, hundreds of thousands are dead from an ongoing pandemic, and the US government is deadlocked to the point of illegitimacy, incapable of taking action against the economic, political, ecological, and medical devastation that threatens to engulf us. Even for those not directly affected, the perception of the ongoing crises has turned into a kind of psychic assault, challenging the limits of what we can express. Fortunately, a new crop of emoji has just been approved by the Unicode Consortium to help out. They probably won’t reach your phone until 2021, but they’re clearly influenced by the chaos of the year, whether it’s “face exhaling” (clearly exhausted), “face in clouds” (smoke?), or “heart on fire” (self-explanatory). I’m particularly taken by the “face with spiral eyes” emoji, submitted by Google emoji czar Jennifer Daniel…”

White-Collar Crime, No Punishment Project Syndicate

 ZDNet – Working from home requires a deliberate design and a focused mindset around your schedule, rituals and daily routines. “Working from anywhere can lead to breakthrough performance with simple adjustments to your approach. Let’s face it: Working from home can be exhausting.” Most of our social roles happen in different places, but now the context has collapsed,” says Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at INSEAD. “Imagine if you go to a bar, and in the same bar you talk with your professors, meet your parents, or date someone; isn’t it weird? That’s what we’re doing now. We are confined in our own space, in the context of a very anxiety-provoking crisis, and our only space for interaction is a computer window. Professor Petriglieri calls the problem “self-complexity” — where everything happens via video calls. Everything, it seems, except variety. All the more reason to establish routines, rituals, and boundaries and create separation in your home office, so that your online world doesn’t become a jumbled mess of insecurity and confusion. Or work days on end that seem never to end…”

Money laundering and tax evasion are costing Australian taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year. So why is the government dragging its feet?

The federal government’s glacially slow pace in delivering the tools to combat phoenixing and money laundering has delivered benefits to an unlikely constituency: organised crime.

Susan Ryan: a forgiving politician

It is difficult to exaggerate the significance of the movements, legislation and offices shaped or led by the late Susan Maree Ryan (Oct 10, 1942 – September 27, 2020). Continue reading 

White-Collar Crime, No Punishment Project Syndicate 

Nursing Homes Oust Unwanted Patients With Claims of Psychosis NYT 

The Political Donations of NBA Owners Are Not So Progressive The Ringer 

Trump Is Losing Farmer Support in Climate Crisis. Will They Swing the Election? EcoWatch

The Great Forgetting: How to Stop Tooth Decay

What My Sled Dogs Taught Me About Planning for the Unknown NYT 

This author argues that fighting climate change means focusing on ‘Earth repair’ The World 

California To Ban the Sale of Gas-Powered Cars in 2035 TreeHugger


The history of egg tarts: from savoury to sweet, from medieval England to Hong Kong, from short crust to flaky pastry SCMP


NSW council grant scheme ‘worked in reverse order’, inquiry hears

NICE IF YOU CAN GET IT: A senior NSWPS employee offered a council $90 million through the Stronger Communities Fund on the same day that council became eligible for the program.

Trump has paid no federal income taxes for much of the past two decades

Watch here Presidential Debate live circa 11 AM Sydney Time 

Don't miss a moment: Stay across every debate, never miss a live blog and get insights from life in America by joining ABC News on Messenger. Tap here to see more.

The first presidential debate of 2020 is tonight. It will be a big night for two men: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Check that. It will be a big night for three men. It’s also a big night for moderator Chris Wallace.

But while Trump and Biden hope to make a splash, Wallace is hoping for just the opposite. Wallace hopes he’s hardly noticed at all. During a TV appearance on Sunday on Fox News, Wallace said, “My job is to be as invisible as possible.”

Wallace wants the candidates to do most of the talking.

First Debate

Trump has paid no federal income taxes for much of the past two decades - Records Obtained by The Times After Years of Secrecy

  • “The Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump extending over more than two decades. It tells a story fundamentally different from the one he’s sold to the public – revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.
  • Mr. Trump’s finances are under stress, beset by hundreds of millions in debt coming due and an I.R.S. audit that could cost him over $100 million.
  • He paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and nothing at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he lost so much money.
  • The tax data examined by The Times provides a road map of revelations, from write-offs for the cost of a criminal defense lawyer and a mansion used as a family retreat to a full accounting of the millions of dollars the president received from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Together with related financial documents and legal filings, the records offer the most detailed look yet inside the president’s business empire. They reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base…”

  • See also 18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records – “Times reporters have obtained decades of tax information the president has hidden from public view. Here are some of the key findings…It is important to remember that the returns are not an unvarnished look at Mr. Trump’s business activity. They are instead his own portrayal of his companies, compiled for the I.R.S. But they do offer the most detailed picture yet available…”


    The New York Times’ bombshell report on the president’s taxes: How did they get it and why did they run it?

    Donald Trump speaking at a news conference on Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    In today’s never-ending news cycle, it’s easy to fall victim to hyperbole and call the latest news story a “blockbuster.” Cable news networks post “BREAKING NEWS” banners across their screens for stories that really are not all that breaking or newsy.

    But on Sunday, we really did see a blockbuster report — one of the biggest since Donald Trump became president.

    The New York Times got Trump’s tax returns.

    For more than four years, one of the biggest stories surrounding Trump was the pursuit of his tax returns. The only president in recent times to refuse to release his tax returns has called this pursuit a “witch-hunt.”

    But the Times got them. And they are a bombshell. Reporters Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire wrote, “The New York Times has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office. It does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019. This article offers an overview of The Times’s findings; additional articles will be published in the coming weeks.”

    This paragraph paints the broader picture: “The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public.”

    The report was stunning.

    Some of the details include:

    • Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and another $750 in his first year in office.
    • The Times wrote, “He paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”
    • He reduced his tax bill with “questionable measures, including a $72.9 million tax refund that is the subject of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service.”

    It’s a complicated and comprehensive story, as you can imagine, so I can’t go over every detail here. The Times published this piece, too: “18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records.”

    But, for our purposes here — a media newsletter — the big question is: How did the Times get this story?

    In a note to readers, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet wrote, “We are not making the records themselves public because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public.”

    One can assume then that the records were leaked to the Times. Baquet wrote, “The reporters who examined these records have been covering the president’s finances and taxes for almost four years.”

    The other question that Baquet addressed was whether it was appropriate to publish the president’s personal tax information. Baquet said the Times published the report “because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances.” Baquet also wrote, “... the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment allows the press to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained by reporters even when those in power fight to keep it hidden. That powerful principle of the First Amendment applies here.”

    This is an important story, and of course the Times should publish such information. This is the president of the United States. His business dealings and personal finances are absolutely a story. Is this even a debate?

    Worth a mention

    I found this quote from CNN’s Brian Stelter to be especially insightful in the wake of the Times’ story on Trump and his taxes.

    “I worked at The New York Times many years ago,” Stelter said on air. “A story of this magnitude does not get published without weeks and months of reporting, editing, and — here's the important part — legal scrutiny.”

    Trump reacts

    During a Sunday press conference that was held just as the Times story was blowing up, Trump called the story “fake news” and “totally made up” and criticized the Times, saying, “They only do negative stories.” When asked how much in federal taxes he has paid, Trump did not answer, and continued to criticize the media.

    On CNN, anchor Ana Cabrera said, “The president, of course, could solve all this by releasing his tax returns, making them public.”

    The role of the moderator

    Fox News’ Chris Wallace, seen here moderating the 2016 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP, File)

    The big media event of the week — well, as far as we know as of now — is Tuesday night’s presidential debate. Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate the first of three scheduled presidential debates. (There also will be one vice presidential debate.)

    So what is the role of a moderator? To ask good questions on a variety of topics and to keep the candidates focused on those topics. A good moderator also needs to make sure the candidates answer the questions asked if they try to pivot or duck.

    But is it their role to fact-check? No, according to Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair for the Commission on Presidential Debates. On his CNN “Reliable Sources” show, Brian Stelter asked Fahrenkopf if Wallace would be empowered to fact-check Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

    “When we choose moderators, we make very clear that there’s a vast difference between being a moderator in a debate and being a reporter who is interviewing someone,” Fahrenkopf said. “When you’re interviewing someone, if they say something that is in direct opposition to something they said a week ago, your duty is to follow up and say, ‘Wait a minute, you didn’t say that a week ago.’ But that’s not the case in a debate.”

    Fahrenkopf said if one of the candidates says something untrue or flip flops on a previous position, it’s the role of the other candidate to call it out. Fahrenkopf said that’s the whole point: to get the candidates to debate one another.

    “We don’t expect Chris or our other moderators to be fact-checkers,” Fahrenkopf said. “The minute (the debate is over) there are going to be plenty of fact-checkers at every newspaper and every television station in the world.

    The wrong substitute

    Getting ready for Tuesday’s debate, Wallace took the week off from moderating “Fox News Sunday.” Filling in was Brit Hume — a rather questionable choice. 

    Hume’s title is “senior political analyst.” That’s a title that allows him to have strong opinions, and he isn’t afraid to share those right-leaning opinions on both TV and Twitter. That’s fine, of course, but it seemed wrong for Hume to sit in the chair of Wallace, who has done a good job making “Fox News Sunday” a straight news program. Little about Hume suggests objective coverage on anything. Fox News had other, better options: Martha MacCallum or Bret Baier, for instance. 

    Now, Fox News could argue that Hume did ask Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy about Republicans possibly being hypocritical by refusing to have a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee in Barack Obama’s final year as president, but willing to confirm Trump’s nominee before the election. But Hume really didn’t push Kennedy, who essentially admitted that whoever is in charge — Democrats or Republicans — choose the rules.

    Oh yeah, this is big, too

    Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House on Saturday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Imagine how busy the news cycle must be that the nomination for a Supreme Court justice is not the biggest story of the weekend. But Trump did announce Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The choice is controversial on several levels, most of all because many think that the nomination should be left up to whichever candidate wins the presidential election.

    However, it appears Barrett’s confirmation could come swiftly. The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips has a helpful guide to what could happen next.

    Who is Barrett? USA Today’s Richard Wolf and Maureen Groppe have a good profile. Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times, has a look at Barrett’s record.

    And there are these opinion pieces too, both from The Washington Post: Kathleen Parker with “What Amy Coney Barrett Has in Common with Ruth Bader Ginsburg” and Robin Givhan with “Notorious ACB? No and No. Trump’s Nominee is No RBG.”

    The Los Angeles Times reckoning with racism

    In a detailed mea culpa, The Los Angeles Times addressed racism at their news organization on Sunday with “The L.A. Times Reckoning with Racism.” The package includes several pieces, including a letter from owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and a strong editorial titled, “An Examination of The Times’ Failures on Race, Our Apology and a Path Forward.”

    The editorial board wrote, “For at least its first 80 years, the Los Angeles Times was an institution deeply rooted in white supremacy and committed to promoting the interests of the city’s industrialists and landowners.” It then listed examples of racist behavior over the years.

    The lengthy editorial closed with, “On behalf of this institution, we apologize for The Times’ history of racism. We owe it to our readers to do better, and we vow to do so.” And the board added, “We make this pledge in recognition of the many journalists who battled over the decades to make The Times a more inclusive workplace and a newspaper that reflected the real Los Angeles in its pages. As we reorient this institution firmly and fully around the multiethnic, interfaith and dazzlingly complex tapestry that is Southern California, we honor their contributions.”

    Reds announcer resigns

    A month after he used a homophobic slur during a hot mic moment, Cincinnati Reds baseball announcer Thom Brennaman has resigned from Fox Sports Ohio. He had already been replaced by Fox Sports on the NFL.

    Thinking he was not on the air, Brennaman used the slur during a Reds game and, when informed he was actually on the air, he apologized and immediately left the booth. That was on Aug. 19.

    Evan Millward from WCPO in Cincinnati broke the news that Brennaman was stepping down. In a statement to Millward, Brennaman thanked the Reds, Reds fans and the LBGTQ community and said, “I truly regret what I said and I am very sorry.”

    He added that he hopes to return to broadcasting again. He closed with, “I am grateful for the forgiveness so many have extended to me, especially those in the LGBTQ community who I’ve met, spoken with and listened to almost daily over the last few weeks. With their continued guidance, I hope to be a voice for positive change.”

    Brennaman, whose father Marty Brennaman was a legendary Reds announcer for more than 40 years, had been calling Reds games since 2006.

    Media tidbits

    (Courtesy: CBS News)

    • Mail-in voting has never received more attention than this presidential election. CBS News has come up with a unique way to look at the data behind mail-in voting in elections since 1996: a collection of stamps. Now, to be clear, these are not stamps to be used. They are merely a different way to tell a story. It’s actually a pretty cool idea. Here’s an interview with one of the designers of this stamp/infographic.
    • A big change to Axios’ Sunday political newsletter, Sneak Peek. After authoring it for four years, Jonathan Swan is giving up the reins to return to daily reporting. Sneak Peek now will be written by Alayna Treene, a White House and congressional reporter, and Hans Nichols, who left NBC News earlier this year to join Axios.
    • As journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are on the verge of a strike, word came down Sunday that Post-Gazette reporter Michael Fuoco has resigned as president of the Pittsburgh NewsGuild after allegations of sexual misconduct appeared in a story written last week by Payday Report’s Michael Elk. Elk’s story said Fuoco “used his on-and-off-again position as an adjunct journalism professor at both Pitt and Point Park University to regularly prey on his college students. Guild vice president Ed Blazina takes over as president.
    • ESPN’s top college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit was supposed to be in Miami over the weekend to call the Florida State-Miami game, but instead called the game from his Nashville home after he said he came in contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Hot type


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Gangs, Labor Mobility and Developments

May yo seasons belong with endless green streets and permanent summer legs.

— “haiku (for mungu and morani and the children of soweto)” By Sonia Sanchez

What is the marginal cost curve like for gravediggers?

 66% herd immunity in the Brazilian Amazon?

An Uber-like service for hiring an eviction crew

Jonathan Dancy on Parfit

MIE: discontinued photographic film

Matt Y. on the Biden economic team

Gangs, Labor Mobility and Development

We study how two of the world’s largest gangs—MS-13 and 18th Street—affect economic development in El Salvador. We exploit the fact that the emergence of these gangs was the consequence of an exogenous shift in American immigration policy that led to the deportation of gang leaders from the United States to El Salvador. Using a spatial regression discontinuity design, we find that individuals living under gang control have significantly less education, material wellbeing, and income than individuals living only 50 meters away but outside of gang territory. None of these discontinuities existed before the emergence of the gangs. The results are confirmed by a difference-in-differences analysis: after the gangs’ arrival, locations under their control started experiencing lower growth in nighttime light density compared to areas without gang presence. A key mechanism behind the results is that, in order to maintain territorial control, gangs restrict individuals’ freedom of movement, affecting their labor market options. The results are not determined by exposure to violence or selective migration from gang locations. We also find no differences in public goods provision.

That is from a new NBER working paper by Nikita Melnikov, Carlos Schmidt-Padilla, and Maria Micaela Sviatschi.