Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Legislative Profits As lawmakers ride the gravy train, state's residents pay the freight
Paul D'Ambrosio of the Asbury Park Press led a team of Gannett New Jersey reporters in studying state legislators who profit from public service, finding that "New Jersey's laws, regulations and patronage practices provide state lawmakers with a grab bag of financial rewards," including no-bid contracts, larger pensions and government jobs. A third of state lawmakers and a quarter of their spouses hold another public office, boosting their retirement pay, while legislators receive full pay for the second job even while the legislature is in session. Lawmakers operate almost free of ethical scrutiny because there are virtually no laws to prevent conflicts of interest in the state Senate or Assembly. A member who could profit from a bill can absolve himself by simply sending a note to the secretary of the chamber saying he can still cast a fair vote.
The papers combined for a six-day series and also posted the lawmakers' personal financial disclosure forms online.
· Lawmakers operate almost free of ethical scrutiny [via TheScoop]
Howard Bashman Shock! Horror! A judge's ideology can affect the outcome of cases!
We have studied thousands of votes by federal appellate judges, who are randomly assigned to three-judge panels, which then make decisions by majority vote. According to our research, judges appointed by Republican presidents show more conservative voting patterns, while Democratic appointees are more liberal.
· Even in ideologically-charged areas many cases are resolved by application of precedent rather than ideology... [How Appealing]
Go to interview
They come into his office and break down in tears -- small-business owners who have lost everything to scammers and crooked employees. Their stories differ, says Robert H. Silbering, president of New York City-based Forensic Investigative Associates (FIA), but all made the same mistake: None investigated that seemingly stellar investment opportunity or merger proposal with the diligence it deserved. Same with employees, whose sparkling resumes may be tissues of lies concealing all manner of dark secrets, from past firings to convictions for fraud.
· Dark Secrets [BusinessWeek ]

Monday, September 29, 2003

Negative gearing back on agenda
Australia suffers from a massive misallocation of resources into investment properties and the losers are young people who are not in the property game.
If we care about equity we should be outraged by the massive redistribution of wealth from the young to those already in property and who don't need any further leg up. ...
Negative gearing is boosting property prices and therefore rentals. It wanted negative gearing ended even though advocates say it increases the supply of rental housing stock and therefore keeps a lid on rents.
Those trying to rent units in many capital cities will wonder what the tenants union is talking about, because it is not easy to find tenants prepared to pay a rent that gives an adequate return on the escalated property values.

· Gears [ Australian]
· Homes bust 'within three years' [SMH ]
Negative Credits?
· Economists too thick to be accountants [SMH]

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Granted, it's made the problem worse
The First Home Owners Scheme has been this Federal Government's greatest single act of economic mismanagement. The figures are staggering.
In the three full years since it was introduced in July 2000, $3.8 billion has been paid to 482,228 people.
Under the scheme, a first home buyer gets a tax-free $7000 gift from the Government. In 2001 this was temporarily increased to $14,000 for those building their first house. Why the increase? Needing to cut his losses at the Ryan by-election and win the following federal election ...

· John Howard simply bribed a hefty part of the electorate [Telegraph (AUST)]
· Home Not a Sweet Deal [NewsDay(US)]

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Poking fun
The political stoush over tax increases on one-armed bandits has been added entertainment.
· armless bandits [SMH ]

You've been warned: blitz on cash economy ahead
The last few years have been good ones for tax cheats. With the Tax Office preoccupied with getting the new tax system up and running, cheating the system has been a bit like playing Russian roulette with an unloaded gun. While the big bad wolf may have huffed and puffed about compliance, audit activity was low and the odds of being picked up were slim. Tax barrister Michael Inglis is one who isn't taking these threats lightly. In a recent speech to the City of Sydney Law Society seminar, Inglis was pushing the benefits of voluntary disclosure. He said taxpayers at risk of being caught by the new compliance program should do a prudential audit of their tax affairs now and voluntarily disclose any shortfalls. In most cases, he said, this would reduce the penalties by 80 per cent and remove any risk of prosecution.
· 80% [SMH ]

The Tax Man's Tale
In West Haven, you can't fight City Hall--even when you are City Hall.
When you are the tax collector, for example, you expect to be in charge of collecting taxes.
But in West Haven, the mayor calls the shots. All the shots.
Testimony in a suit against West Haven and its private tax collection agency shows that Mayor Richard Borer:
: hired the agency, JER Revenue Services, without competitive bidding and over the objections of Tax Collector Art Gilbert;
: decided to let JER charge delinquent taxpayers a whopping 15 percent fee on top of their back taxes and 18 percent interest--again over Gilbert's objections;
: behind Gilbert's back, broke an agreement and let JER unleash its dogs on taxpayers who were as little as three months behind.
Then Borer's henchman tried to get Gilbert fired for refusing to knuckle under completely.
But wait. They couldn't fire Gilbert. He was elected by West Haven taxpayers.
Did he stand up to the mayor, tell the public what was going on?

· Nah... [NewHeavenAdvocate]
Expert stresses ethics
There's been a serious erosion of ethics in recent years and it represents a great danger because what is today foreshadows what will be tomorrow.
Corporate wrongdoers were punished swiftly in the 1930s and "being ruined meant something," Bowman said. Today, however, "the mention of business ethics draws a laugh," he said. We as Americans have lost our sense of outrage.

· Outrage lacking over wrongdoing [Daily Mail]
No New Panther Under Sydney Sun
Penrith Panthers, (Sydney, Australia) the state's biggest club, is the focus of an investigation amid revelations that its chief executive, Roger Cowan, has charged the club millions of dollars for services provided by his family company over the past 30 years.
· Panthering... [SMH ]

Friday, September 26, 2003

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Current Distractions: Online Opinionbarometer ...

The Web's Multi-purpose Nature = Power
Vietnamese journalist An Nguyen, currently at the University of Queensland, Australia, has published a paper on First Monday http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_9/nguyen/ about online news. It offers profiles of the online-news environments in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, drawing on studies like Eurobarometer What makes the web even more powerful than television of the 1960s is its multipurpose nature. The Internet is not just for entertainment and the news but is already a crucial part of today's daily work; and a more dramatic dependence on this medium is a matter of course in the future.
· An Nguyen [First Monday ]
Magic? House swapping: a solution for would-be-buyers

Australia's property boom means prices are growing faster than people can save leaving many house-hunters looking for any leg-up they can get to enter the market. A potential solution, known as house swapping, allows would-be-buyers the opportunity to use the tax system to their advantage.
Investor costs are also $18,000, minus $12,000 in rent. But because of negative gearing, those costs are tax deductible, meaning the real figure is just $3000.
Just take a look at the difference, Claire is up for $12,000 while the investor is up for $3000 to own exactly the same property..

· Logic Prevails? [Current Affairs]

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Tax Office enlists public to fight black economy
A new Tax Office crackdown on the black economy will target households using under-the-table cash deals to avoid paying the GST on services such as building work, cleaning and child care.
· Black Current [SMH]
· Comrade, Little private deal: Socialising Loses [SMH ]
These Are Historic Times: Is it to be Lincoln or Sisyphus?

Like Sisyphus, we have pushed our terrible rock nearly to the top of the hill. We need only a few dramatic final and critically symbolic shoves — either the capture of Saddam Hussein, proof of bin Laden's demise, textual or material evidence of WMDs, or the finalization of a legitimate government in Baghdad — to go over the top, showing the discontented at home how far we have come. But just as Sisyphus was forever doomed to start pushing his rock anew — once it cascaded back just as he reached the apex — so shall we too have to start all over again should we lose our nerve with the summit now within sight. And such large boulders roll faster and in deadlier fashion downhill than during the slow and arduous push up.
· So will we — if we do the same and push our rock over the top [ NationalReview]

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Insolvencies: Blight of the phoenix
The chairman of a joint parliamentary inquiry into insolvency laws and phoenix activities, Senator Grant Chapman, says he expects laws will be tightened in response to concerns about repeat phoenix offenders, companies that trade while insolvent, and the behavior of administrators. But he warns that the tightening of laws needs to go hand in hand with a stronger enforcement regime to deter would-be offenders. Bruce Carter, the president of Insolvency Practitioners of Australia, warns that previous inquiries into such issues have made recommendations but nothing has happened. "We don't want to see this happen this time," he says.
· Phoenix [BRWPublished in Business Review Weekly - Indexed on Sep 18, 2003]
· Prefer COLD Fact To ANGRY Fiction [TruthOut ]
SHOSHANA ZUBOFF Capitalism's Next Revolution

As you shop for new classes this week, consider this: the pandemic of corporate narcissism, greed, rigidity and sheer cluelessness that you have been reading about all summer is a sign of the ripening conditions for economic revolution. We are facing a once-in-a-century opportunity for wholesale innovation and extreme creativity comparable to the rise of mass markets and mass production nearly 100 years ago. It is a time for a new generation—yours—to reinvent capitalism for our times. Your fresh insight and heart can ignite the next wave of wealth creation capable of carrying the global economy to new heights of prosperity and community. Here is why.
We are living in a period of “disruptive capitalism,” because we have changed more than the companies we depend on as consumers and employees. Today, we have all become history’s shock absorbers, struggling to reconcile our new needs with the demands of an exhausted business model. A chasm has developed between organizations and us. It is filled with our stress, outrage and frustration. Anxiety is widespread and most people feel that they are being forced to fight over an ever-shrinking pie. How did we get here? ....

· Life Model [The Crimson]

Monday, September 22, 2003

Fair & Balanced Water Reserve

Real Estate agents are holding auctions for rental properties, forcing prospective tenants to bid against one another. Dam of greed is likely to burst sooner rather than later...
· Successful Failure [ Jim Soorley]
· Two incomes, more debt? [Christian Monitors]
· Reserve::Nowhere to Run [SMH ]
· My ExtendedFamily [WereRich Family]
· Family Stories [Forbes ]

PSsssssttt... Do not mention the
· GST [Australian]

At some point, just before oblivion of the sound of trees falling in the forrest takes us, someone will finally utter these fateful words:
eBooks are not so much different to paperbacks...

I have to brag about this! If you do a Google search for Cold River this site comes out at number 3 and 4 of about 2 million. That’s pretty good eBook surfing ...
The Open eBook Forum, www.openebook.org, suggests that Online reading, once viewed as a refuge for the nerds and as a faintly disrespectable way to read book, is rapidly becoming a fixture of publishing life for readers of all ages, backgrounds and interests.
I view this as a logical and inevitable move that more and more readers will make in the near future. I await the day when eBooks growth is routine, and no longer newsworthy. Reading will never go completely virtual, but readers have certainly noticed that with better quality Palm eReaders they can move towards saving space and creating less dust on shelves at homes and offices.

According to New Farm Organic Price Index, Organic farming makes up a fraction of farming in America, the industry is growing about 25 percent a year. Organic retail food sales in the U.S. reached $7.8 billion in 2000, up from $6 billion in 1999.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Low-pay workers enjoying tax break

Some of Australia's lowest-paid workers are thousands of dollars better off because of generous salary sacrifice arrangements - once a tax lurk reserved only for executives.
· Only about 30 per cent have taken it up so far [SMH ]
Tax-defaulting barristers get back to business

Another barrister with tax problems went down this week but, as Michael Pelly reports, six are back at the bar, more than two years after a Herald investigation.
· Bar [SMH ]

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Imposts, excises, and, in general, all duties upon articles of consumption, may be compared to a fluid, which will, in time, find its level with the means of paying them. The amount to be contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be regulated by an attention to his resources. The rich may be extravagant, the poor can be frugal; and private oppression may always be avoided by a judicious selection of objects proper for such impositions.

Tax Now
Taxation is not the easiest subject to understand even if you’re an Einstein. But A Tax Policy Blog for tax profs, policy wonks, and other shameless tax nerds is making our taxing life on earth easier...
· The rich may be extravagant, the poor can be frugal [Taxing Blog]
So It Is Written: Books Are Memory

Once a year, when I was a Hebrew-school student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Morningside Heights, our class would visit the seminary's rare-book library, which houses one of the great collections of Judaica in the world. Despite our antsy, adolescent irreverence, there was something about those books that commanded immediate attention, even a kind of awe.
It's easy to see old brittle books and wonder at their fragility. But encountering them later in life one wonders: What are 20 years to a book that survived the Inquisition? I, meanwhile, am more than twice the age I was when I saw it last. I am married, I have children and I am mourning my father, who died this year. I can't help thinking that part of the dread I felt seeing those fragile books as a teenager was unconscious anticipation of the moment when I would see them again as an adult and realize that I was the ephemeral one.

· Of Books And Mortality [The New York Times 09/19/03]

Banned Books
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Banned Books Week. Observed in America since 1982, the annual event reminds us not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.
Many bookstores and libraries across the nation join in the celebration with displays and readings of books that have been banned or threatened throughout history. These include works ranging from the Bible and Little Red Riding Hood to John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

· Libraries Memories [ALA]
· Virgin Palm Digital Media Edition

Friday, September 19, 2003

A Life Worth Reading
For the past few weeks, since I began this weblog, I've been struggling to figure out just why people would ever want to post their day-to-day lives on the Internet for the masses to read. I've been grazing among the blogs and chewing that question like a tough mouthful of cud.
It seems to me that we all want a life worth reading, a life worth remembering. Nowadays to accomplish this, we turn to the great plains of the Internet. And the net IS a lot like the plains. Ages ago, early pioneers left the confines of their narrow cubicles in search of a new life. They found it in the fertile grounds of the World Wide Web. But what once was a heartland is now overgrazed and us bloggers are like dustbowl farmers planting tiny seeds of hope in a field of sand.
We’re hoping someone might take interest in our miniscule bit of life. That someone might stop, if just for 30 seconds, and acknowledge our existence. We're counting on some way to add significance to our lives, to be remembered and to be reassured that the hell we went through during puberty wasn’t for nothing!

· Ages ago, early pioneers left the confines of their narrow cubicles in search of a new life [ CowboyX]
TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Daily Kos: Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation
This Modern World
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall
Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things
Scripting News
MaxSpeak Weblog
USS Clueless

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

States Join IRS to Combat Tax Evasion

The Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday a new partnership with state tax administrators aimed at cracking down on tax evasion.
· Black Economy [NYTimes via Taxing Blog]
· Bush taking all the credit for the coming poverty, illness, and ignoranceCon Taxes[NationalReview viaTaxing Blog]
The corporatist idea that elected representatives are merely representing interests has led them to apply pressure directly on the politicians. The result has been a remarkable growth of the lobbying industry, which has as its sole purpose the conversion of elected representatives and senior civil servants to the particular interest of the lobbyist. That is, lobbyists are in the business of corrupting the people's representatives away from the public good.
John Ralston Saul

Deflation 2004 AD Drifting Bubble
It's time we woke up to the contradiction at the heart of individualistic capitalism.
· there are no economic problems that a Great Depression wouldn't cure [SMH]
· Destination will be tears [SMH ]
Selling the Public Square

Government institutions and public-minded nonprofits are increasingly accepting corporate money to make ends meet. While most of these partnerships are touted as win-win deals, many also blur an important line between private and public interests.
· Editorial [CSMonitor]
· Ashcroft Bars the Doors to Democracy: This is what democracy really looks like [Common Dreams]
· Under Blair, Britain has ceased to be a public square [ Guardian]

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The Yes Minister website
Sir Humphrey: You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don’t want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?
Bernard Woolley: Yes

· Definite Maybe [Yes/No]
Imagination...has its wise men and its madmen...Those gifted with imagination are more at home with themselves than the prudent...It cannot make madmen wise, but it makes them happy.
- Pascal

Sweatshops On Our Shores
A seamstress and member of the Chinese Progressive Association says sweatshops are sweatshops, whether in the garment industry or high-tech.
· Trade Testimonials [TomPaine]
· The big companies are following a new business model : Pay Chinese wages, but charge U.S. prices. [ Seattlepi]
· New York's New Beggars [NYPost ]

Can You "Celebrate" Diversity?
We Celebrate birthdays, sporting victories, jubilees. We do not celebrate diversity. To do so is to misuse language. 'Celebrate diversity!' is a vacuous exhortation, yet it has become the rallying cry of a depressing number of muddled, though presumably well-meaning, participants at library (and other) conferences across the nation.
· Google generated 320,000 hits when I entered the term 'workplace diversity' and 16,500 for 'celebrate diversity.' [Library Journal]
· 'Brick Lane': A Village Girl in London [NYTimes]
· Booxie Reviews [Boox]

Monday, September 15, 2003

Flat Tax for the Left

A simplistic and yet apparently common-sense policy occured to me the other day. I call it market communism, though it may as well be a flat tax of the far left, as it is undoubtedly too simple to work well. And yet, I find it compelling.
It works like this. First, a cap is placed on all salaries, everywhere. No one can be paid more than four times the amount paid to the lowest-paid employee. Any time the top-paid folks want a pay raise, they have to raise the salaries of all of the lowest-paid by 25% of their desired raise.

· Market Dreams [Misnomer ]
Sweatshops On Our Shores

A seamstress and member of the Chinese Progressive Association says sweatshops are sweatshops, whether in the garment industry or high-tech.
· Trade Testimonials [TomPaine]
The New Amateur Journalists Weigh In
Which is not to say that 90 percent of news-related blogs aren't crap!
After two years of reading Weblogs, my short list of favorite news commentators in the world now includes an Air Force mechanic (Paul Palubicki of sgtstryker.com), a punk rock singer-songwriter (Dr. Frank of doktorfrank.com), a twenty-four-year-old Norwegian programmer (Bjorn Staerk of http://bearstrong.net/warblog/index.html), and a cranky libertarian journalist from Alberta, Canada (Colby Cosh).

· Breathing in Blogworld [OJR ]

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Granting Manhattan

Edward Wyatt and Joseph P. Fried of the New York Times report that more than a third of the emergency grant money intended to help small businesses in Lower Manhattan survive after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack went to investment firms, financial traders and lawyers." Almost $200 million of the $539 million World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant program went to those businesses, while "far smaller amounts went to restaurants, retailers and other small businesses, many of them dependent on the foot traffic that largely disappeared from Lower Manhattan after the attack.
· Empire State Development Corporation [NYTimes ]
A charity by any other name…

Last month, the Government released a draft Charities Bill, 2003 to define ‘charity’ for taxation purposes and asked the Board of Taxation to consult over its wording. While welcoming the broad direction of the Bill, the ACOSS submission recommends: removing restrictions on advocacy; modernising the definition of ‘Public Benevolent Institutions’; and establishing a Charities Commission.
· Public Benevolent Institutions [Australian Council of Social Service]

Friday, September 12, 2003

Those Taxing Years, Decades After

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was grief, sorrow, anger, and a heightened awareness of the sacredness of life and connection. In tribute to the dead, many of us vowed we would never forget the perspective this tragedy gave us. Beliefnet's coverage explores the spiritual impact two years later--with comments, prayers & reflections by Beliefnet members, clergy, 9/11
· Survivors! Still Shaking as we are reading this... [Belief Net]

There are Few Flawless Victories
The Second World War in Europe began in defense of Poland's freedom against Nazi tyranny. It ended in a tremendous Allied victory, but left Poland subject to an alternate despotism.
· Victories [NYPost]
· 9/11 [TNR]
World Trade Center

Some Czech guy named Pavel Havla unwittingly recorded both planes going into the World Trade Center and the New York Times is writing about it only now...
They did not even see the pale fleck of the airplane streak across the corner of the video camera's field of view at 8:46 a.m. But the camera, pointed at the twin towers from the passenger seat of an S.U.V. in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, kept rolling when the plane disappeared for an instant and then a silent, billowing cloud of smoke and dust slowly emerged from the north tower, as if it had sprung a mysterious kind of leak.
The S.U.V., carrying an immigrant worker from the Czech Republic who was making a video postcard to send home, then entered the mouth of the tunnel and emerged, to the shock of the three men inside the vehicle, nearly at the foot of the now burning tower.
The camera, pointed upward, zoomed in and out, and then, with a roar in the background that built to a piercing screech, it locked on the terrifying image of the second plane as it soared, like some awful bird of prey, almost straight overhead, banking steeply, and blasted into the south tower.
His boss, a Russian guy, told him if he ever sold the tape, he'd never work for him again.

· Tower Downstairs! [NYTimes via(http://nicmoc.crimsonblog.com/ NicMoc)]
· September Stories[ForeignPolicy]
· Eastern European Stories [Guardian(UK)]

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Like Sisyphus, those who would tell us how latte tax evolved have an uphill quest: once on top, theories (fat or otherwise) tend to teeter and roll down again...

On the nose
Investors were left high and dry when the Tax Office watered down Reynolds's convoluted tax minimisation scheme. A rural spruiker, a Bond flunky, a serial tax schemer, a disgraced lawyer and a top winemaker ...
Peter Hedberg, a viticulture consultant and lecturer at the University of Sydney's Orange campus and a grape grower in his own right, and Stephen Doyle, an award-winning winemaker, who had been one of the first to see the potential for viticulture in the Orange district, had been asked along by Poolman to give their expert advice.
The death knell for the grand scheme sounded early last month when the Australian Tax Office ruled nearly it was owed $18 million, forcing directors' to call in administrator, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

· Little Boomey went Bust [SMH]

Friday, September 05, 2003

Blogging Lawyers

It’s not unusual for law offices, inside the government or out, to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more on · knowledge management systems that wind up as failures. They often fail because they are too complicated. The training necessary to become proficient is too time-consuming.
· Blogs may work better than more expensive systems because they are more user-friendly
· Privacy Under the FOIA vs. Historians/Journalists Need to Access Data[LLRX ]

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Eleven plus: life chances and family income

This long-term study tracking children born into low and high-income families reveals some families remain trapped in poverty despite a decade of economic growth in Australia. The report is the sixth stage of the Brotherhood’s Life Chances Study, which has followed a group of children since 1990. It combines statistical data and qualitative analysis with insights from the children's perspectives on their own lives aged 11 and 12. A detailed summary is available online. The Brotherhood of St Laurence is calling for the federal government to ensure adequate incomes and access to education for all families.
· Trapped in poverty [Brotherhood of St Laurence]

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Tax Reality Czech Bites the Fortunate 400 -- redistribution

Joel Slemrod recently published a remarkable article -- The Fortunate 400.
It examines the 400 individuals with the highest adjusted gross income each year and how much of that income is capital vs. ordinary, what their effective rate is compared to the rest of us, how fluid the group is from year to year, and so on.

· Redistribution Fortunate [Slemrod viaTaxingBlog]
· Featuring of tax systems as they relate to redistribution [ ]
· Tax Reality Czech Bites [Tax Analyst]
· Good TaxPolicies [TaxAnalyst ]
Pushing further into the book How Breakthroughs Happen......here’s quote: The pursuit of innovation changes dramatically when the goal shifts from invention to inventive recombination, from pushing people to think outside of the box to helping them think in other boxes.

Seeking a greater depth of knowledge
I've been writing and talking about weblogs and news feed readers to the point that folks think of me as some sort of "blog nut." By writing this column, I risk perpetuating that notion, but this is too big of a deal to keep quiet.
· Your Life [ CNN]

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Irony of corporate welfare

We do hope and trust here at the MD that the irony of corporate welfare is not lost on our readers.

A Little Irony in North Carolina

US Airways is one of the largest airlines in the world. It had more than $8 billion in sales last year. TIAA-CREF is a retirement fund for educators with more than $250 billion in assets. What do these two business giants have in common? They are likely to receive $5 million in sales tax incentives from the state of North Carolina.
· Incentives [TaxAnalyst ]
· Roger Brittain, Tax Accountant, has what would appear to be a very good deal from taxpayers [SMH]

Monday, September 01, 2003

Workplace pursuit of happiness

It's time to bring to the workplace the principles of democracy, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Working In America Jobs Without Power

This is the first of a series of bi-weekly columns by Jonathan Tasini called "Working In America."
For at least half their waking hours, the American people live in a dictatorship. At home or in public places, Americans enjoy a measure of freedom and liberty envied by most people around the world: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association (true, John Ashcroft is trying to change all that but that's another story). But, the moment Americans walk through the doors of their workplace, they enter into a world that strips away all their basic rights. Within the walls of the workplace, the whim of the corporation is more powerful than the

· American workers live in a dictatorship. [TomPaine ]
Croissants and a litre of vodka? No sweat

The old Australian tradition of the sly-grog shop has re-emerged in modern-day Sydney, with grocery stores across the city selling alcohol without a liquor licence.
Bottles of potent rice-based vodka, with an alcohol proof of up to 56 per cent, can be bought from unlicensed shops in Haymarket, Cabramatta, Strathfield and Campsie.

· Black Market [SMH]
Hal Abelson, MIT: Do not succumb to illusion that the public good is best served by forcing the strict alignment of practices with policy.

Political Donors @ the Peppercorn City.

One of Australia's biggest and most successful privatisation scheme.
· Taxpayers [SMH ]