Monday, November 09, 2009

Sadly my brother in law, Eva's Franto passed away today and will not able to celebrate this year the fall of the wall ...

Exactly 20 years ago from today, on 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev crossed a former fortified border on Monday to cheers of "Gorby! Gorby!" as a throng of grateful Germans recalled the night 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall gave way to their desire for freedom and unity. Merkel lauds Gorbachev on Berlin Wall anniversary

The wall's 1989 fall remains a miracle Putin nostalgic for days as spy in East Germany but still not craving for truth
It's 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which split not only the city, but also the world and the KGB

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, says he feels nostalgia for the former East Germany, recalling with fondness his five years as a KGB agent in Dresden. Mr Putin said in an interview with the NTV channel on Sunday that he had good memories of his 1985-90 posting in the city that included learning German, excursions to the mountains and contacts with his East German counterparts.
I still remember this warmth and cordiality. I am very thankful for this. In this respect there is some feeling of nostalgia. feeling of nostalgia.

Putin Putting KGB first [ I saw the fall of the Berlin Wall; The Curtain Of Silence - If there is an element of truth in the saying that blood talks louder than words ... then I swam across the Iron Curtain ; Googling on the Wall ]
• · Remarks by world leaders and dignitaries attending the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall Wall Recalling ; The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 transformed not only Germany, but changed the world and put an end to fears of a nuclear holocaust between the then Soviet Union and the USA. Berlin was not the only city where celebrations were held for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
• · · Remembering 20th anniversary of Velvet Revolution Limerick felt exotic compared to rural Wicklow when I was growing up but then I went to Czechoslovakia ; After the Wall
• · · ·There was a universal demand for independent, reliable news and information. Everyone I met despised state-controlled propaganda. They craved truth. There are lessons in this for the promotion of human rights and democracy today. Berlin Wall's Lessons For Today; The 1989 revolution has its unforgettable images, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, and its famous figures - Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel and Mikhail Gorbachev. The man who opened the Iron Curtain
• · · · · Hammer-wielding souvenir-hunters Berlin's love affair with freedom ; The data from Freedom in the World, the annual report on the state of global freedom published by Freedom House, give vivid evidence of the degree of change. Lessons ;
In Praise of Unsung Heroes As a wet-behind-the-ears movie reviewer I discovered an obscure book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), by then-relatively unknown novelist James Agee. Non-fiction, utterly so, his 428-page magnus opus depicting realism was prefaced by soul-etching photographs of dirt-poor cotton tenant farmers in the Depression era as taken by award-winning Fortune photographer Walker Evans. Some there will be who have no memorial . . . But their righteousness hath not been forgotten

Sunday, October 25, 2009

British banks have just five working days to show they have "got it". On Saturday, they must submit to the regulator – the FSA – their planned bonus awards, widely estimated to total £6bn. Prince Andrew may have said in an interview that he regards this sum as "minute in the scheme of things", but, as the economy still falters and unemployment rises, it was clear last night that the banks will grant themselves their billions in an increasingly hostile atmosphere Stop the fat-cat bonuses! George Soros turns on the bankers

In an economic crisis like this, billionaires like George Soros can't just sit idly by
Chrystia Freeland, US managing editor, interviewed George Soros, the fund manager, about the state of the world economy, relations between the US and China, his investment performance and regulating bankers’ compensation. This is a transcript of that interview.

In an economic crisis like this, billionaires like George Soros can't just sit idly by Those earnings are not the achievement of risk-takers ... These are gifts, hidden gifts, from the government. Soros said there was a need to regulate payments to employees, even if that meant banks found it difficult to retain talented risk-takers...
That would push the risk-takers who are good at taking risks out of Goldman Sachs into hedge funds, where they actually belong, because hedge funds take risks with their own capital, not with deposits and not with government guarantees.
Soros also said he believed the decline of the U.S. dollar would be limited by its tie to the Chinese currency. "As long as the renminbi is tied to the dollar, I don't see how the decline in the dollar can go too far.
There is a general lack of confidence in currencies and a move away from currencies into real assets ... There is a push in gold, there's a strength in oil and that is a flight from currencies.
Soros said the rally in the U.S. stock market would continue for the rest of the year, but warned that the hope of a rapid recovery in the U.S. is misplaced.

Transcript: George Soros interview; [George Soros – one of the riches men in the world, the convicted insider trader, the man who single handedly brought down one of the biggest bank in Hungary, the man who back’s far left groups like MoveOn, the man who bragged that he bought the 2008 presidential and congressional elections – and heart throb of MSNBC, is mouthing off again – and this time about Wall Street Profits in the Financial Times. Soros gifts’ from the state; Google soros; George Soros Shares Latest Insights on Economics and Politics]
• • Former Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel will become an honorary citizen of Bratislava Havel & Blava ;Vaclev Havel To President Klaus: Don't Hurt Our Reputation = Vaclav Havel, man of words and unshakable determination, had a question Havel, Still a Man of Morals and Mischief

Monday, September 21, 2009

A New Zealand taxman smashed his car through the building where he worked for 25 years because he was fed up with "incompetent management and workplace bullying".
David Jerrold Theobald, 47, drove through two sets of glass doors and smashed a third at the Christchurch Inland Revenue building before coming to a stop. Taxman ; Different The round pegs in the square holes,

It began in the biggest bestseller of all, The Bible. Adam and Eve set up life in a tax-free earthly heaven called Eden The idyll memoir
It began in the biggest bestseller of all, The Bible. Adam and Eve set up life in a tax-free earthly heaven called Eden.

Two decades have passed since the publication of Peter Mayle’s international bestseller A Year in Provence . Translated into 22 languages, the book was adapted for the radio and, in 1993, turned into a BBC1 series with John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. Its effect was to establish memoirs of life in sunny idylls as an important literary genre. But how have such books fared since?

You never know who might learn from your story: Anne Frank's famous diary is one of history's greatest stories, and memoirs from icons such as Marilyn
But often our most significant moments are fleeting. So we rely on memories -- and the tradition of storytelling -- to keep them alive.
Life is full of unique experiences and memorable events
My Dog Ate My Nobel Prize: The Fabricated Memoirs of Jeff Martin

This book has almost no political content whatsoever Lance Allred
Emissary between the land of rice and beans and the land of cholent and kugel ; Reading this life is like gorging on a chocolate sundae
Here’s an unintended consequence of the proliferation of memoirs from “ordinary” people: We now run into characters from our favorite books in our own everyday lives. Last week, for instance, we had dinner at Delancey, a new Seattle restaurant with wood-fired pizzas, salads fresh from the farmers markets, and raspberry popsicles so bright and pretty my toddler cried when his was gone. The man behind the lovely little place is Brandon Pettit. We know and like him, in the same two-degrees-of-separation way we know a lot of Seattle’s food community. But we know him on a far different level - how he met his wife, the details of their first kiss, that he snores when he has a cold – through the eyes of wife Molly Wizenberg, chronicled in her bestselling memoir, “A Homemade Life.”
Real-life encounters with the stars of memoirs
So when is it best to write a memoir and when is it better to just write a novel “based on a true story?”

With Grit, Nothing Is Impossible Humour those accounts of roof-fixing [I have always despised bullies and - wait a minute - these people are public servants, not public masters They shouldn't strike terror into people's hearts, but they do.'; Nations are not monuments. They are not made of stone. They are works-in-progress made — and remade — each and every generation out of the hard work and hope of our men and women Save the World, Pee in the Shower! ]
• · Series of terse vignettes that recount the highlights of the rather extraordinary (Wentworth) It was clear within the first couple of dozen pages which ones had a story to tell, which had momentum and a compelling voice Impatient CEOs are all of a Twitter, but it doesn't work like that; Caroline Shahbaz, a self-styled ''white witch''
• · · CONFESSIONS OF ANOTHER BLEEDING HEART: Brumby’s speechwriter departs with a few bon mots for the comrades. It should come as no surprise that when a speech-writer quits that he would have a little bit to say. We really enjoyed long-time Labor staffer and current speechwriter to Victorian Premier Brumby Joel Deane’s parting email which he sent out to his brothers and sisters in arms in the Premier’s office and beyond today …Governments—unlike the timeless eternity of the public service—have limited life spans and need to behave accordingly: agitating for progress, focusing on defining issues and moments, and realising that, although politics may be, as Bismarck said, the art of the possible, that does not mean, as Havel pointed out, that we should stop striving for the impossible We all want our names in stone ; Transparency International – Czech Republic
• · · · The person most likely to rip off a business is a manager Who's the fraud suspect? Try the boss ; Ex-UBS AG banker Bradley Birkenfeld, who assisted U.S. investigators probing about $20 billion in taxpayer assets hidden overseas, was sentenced to more than three years in prison for conspiring to help wealthy Americans evade taxes. Taxes Italy begins to tighten tax screw= The wheels of the Italian tax system grind slowly. Sometimes they do not grind at all, if the country's reputation for tax evasion is any measure. But when the wheels do turn, they can grind exceedingly fine, as Sophia Loren discovered ; The Italian tax authority has opened an inquiry into allegations that members of the Agnelli family Best of the Web: Italian tax authority drives Fiat family probeSix beers of separation

• · · · · Ms Jennie Granger has recently commenced in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as Deputy Secretary, Office of the Co-ordinator General, on secondment from her role as Second Commissioner of Taxation. Ms Granger has extensive experience in implementation and service delivery from her distinguished career in the Australian Taxation Office, which will be invaluable in her role of oversight of implementation by the States and Territories of the Government’s nation building package Ms Jennie Granger ; I am not a politician, and there is a limit to how much of the political game I am willing or able to play. Hopefully, if the citizens of Connecticut are not ready to abandon capitalism and can embrace a candidate who represents a real change, then I think I have a chance.Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry is pushing for the Australian Taxation Office to take over all taxes, fees and charges imposed by every level of government to improve the efficiencyof Australia's $350 billion tax system as a
key reform of the Henry review.; It has often been said that tax evasion is a national sport in Italy, but now financial inspectors have announced a purge that has millionaires quaking on their yachts and in their seaside villas
• · · · · · 'Investigative journalism at it's best' is the tagline for the ABC's Four Corners. If the reaction on Twitter is anything to go by this weeks edition 'Fear in the Fast Lane' fell spectacularly short in it's expose of internet related crime Four Corners reveals first-hand how wireless connections are an invitation to thieves ; Fast Lane - We Warrior
CODA FOR the first time in its history, advertising on pay-TV failed to show significant growth in the first six months of the year

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This would have been considered parliamentary coincidence especially in the NSW Parliament ... it is my Godson's birthday today Happy Birthday Alex - Olek ... and the newspapers are filled with godfathers of a different kind!

Producers of real crime television hit Underbelly have approached the NSW Parliament for permission to shoot scenes for the new series within the Legislative Chamber. The Daily Telegraph has learned that representatives of the show approached the parliament last Friday, the day that Michael McGurk was murdered. The new show will cover the period of the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the NSW Police force Underbelly producers ask to film new series in State Parliament ; THEIR timing is impeccable

Best government money can buy Point of Order: When someone like John Hatton shares with you something of value, you have an obligation to share it with others
The plot is worthy of a master storyteller like Frederick Forsyth.

On a September night, a businessman is gunned down at point-blank range outside his luxury mansion as he gets out of his black Mercedes carrying a bag of groceries. The stench of corruption and talk of explosive secret tapes in the wake last week s murder of standover man Michael McGurk, has brought back bad memories for many people, especially those who have worked for the bear pit, sandpit, of NSW Parliament during the roaring 80s and 90s.
The parliamentary inquiry into the murder of lender of last resort' Michael McGurk holds dangers for Kevin Rudd because it could spread its tentacles to the federal arena. Labor Party figures are being smeared every day and the stain is steadily spreading, forcing NSW Premier Nathan Rees to decide three days ago to hold an inquiry, despite previously saying such a move would be absurd'.

The parliamentary inquiry into the murder of lender of last resort; Michael McGurk [Mr McGurk had many involvements in the property development industry, and for several years was closely associated with Bob Ell, the man behind Leda Holdings, which had a proposal before Shoalhaven City Council to extend the Stockland Nowra shopping centre. Shoalhaven City Council ; 'The man in black' or Johnny Cash, as friends call him was wearing his customary designer black threads as he chatted business at -J the Chop House in Bligh Street Sydney and Wild Men of it]
• · John Hatton stretched the limits of the role of an Independent Member of the New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Assembly further than any politician preceding
him. John Hatton; John Hatton, Independent South Coast MP, raised matters of police corruption in the NSW Parliament for many years, leading to the Royal Commission.; Stateline
• · THE captain of the Socceroos, Lucas Neill, and the former NSW planning minister Craig Knowles, have been caught up in the aftermath of the murder of Sydney bagman Michael McGurk. Michael Rushford flew to New Zealand via Fiji and returned with a new passport and a new identity - Michael Loch McGurk A murky past with many identities - Michael Loch McGurk was a man with a lot of enemies ; The life of Michael McGurk made him an ideal victim for an Agatha Christie mystery. Except it was all too real. Kate McClymont and Vanda Carson look below the surface. He'll go to his grave with a lot of secrets AMONG Michael McGurk's more unusual business interests was a shareholding in Doughboy, a pizza company run by former premier Neville Wran and Mr Wran's long-term business partner Albert Wong. Gold How a quiet bush block turned into a goldmine ; Wran connection ; Sea of links ;
• · · THE developer Ron Medich stands to gain millions from a western Sydney site he bought 13 years ago for a pittance from the CSIRO, confidential documents obtained by the Herald show. Mystery Widens ; Google Hunt for clues;
• · · · As John Della Bosca faced the press gallery at Macquarie Street yesterday, the story threatened to become as much about what was said as what was not ... THE woman whose affair with John Della Bosca led to his resignation yesterday has been named as comedy writer Kate Neill ; Ms Neill was named by Channel Seven and Channel Nine as the woman at the centre of the controversy. They showed footage of Ms Neill appearing on a television show, apparently under the pseudonym 'Harmony'. Invoke Fatal Attraction's Glenn Close character for a creepy version of payback for their ugly parting. Feminist Eva Cox said it was understandable the woman had wanted to protect her privacy Why would she want make her identity known?" Professor Cox said. "The Labor Party would herd her out of NSW ; Fatal Attraction's Glenn Close character
• · · · · Barry O'Farrell looks destined for glory but he's playing his cards cautiously. David Marr caught up with the Liberal leader. O'Farrell resides within his electorate at Roseville with his wife Rosemary O'Farrell and their two young children. His wife Rosemary is the daughter of former National Party member Bruce Cowan. He lives around the corner and down the hill from the picture theatre he rarely visits. Young Will, 10, goes to the local public school. Tom, 15, is up the line at Barker. O'Farrell is full of careful praise for the high schools of Ku-ring-gai but the boys are going to Barker to absorb Christian values. Out of the ordinary; In 2000 Russell Cope, former New South Wales Parliamentary Librarian, sounded alarm bells when discussing the significance of early book collections in Australian parliamentary libraries. Many of his observations apply equally well to the types of book collections I have already mentioned. He writes:

Many countries would today consider such collections from the nineteenth century and even earlier as valuable national resources with a claim to cultural and heritage importance in a country not notably wealthy in library collections. In Australia this might very well be the case if these collections were better understood by researchers and even by librarians. It does not seem overstating the situation to say that the collections of the parliamentary libraries acquired in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century represent their major contribution to social, cultural and intellectual resources of the nation Their significance transcends the limited parliamentary context: they are truly national assets in their own right. ;
• · · · · · There is the ghostly man who walks through the floor, a silent horse drawn carriage out the front and down the road a baby cries at night. Anyone who claims there is no spirit left in the New South Wales Parliament should try spending a night there alone, The Daily Telegraph reports Be afraid ... perhaps the ghost of Mark Latham isn't the only political ghoul out there; Librarian Mark D'Arney killed himself after blowing the whistle on the discount sale of 3000 historic books from the State Parliament's library Death of a whistleblower; Sad Memories

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Media Dragon is celebrating more than Sikh Bohemian wedding anniversary or our arrival in antipodean Sydney all those years ago (circa 1980), this September Media Dragon has had over 60,000 visits, between 2006 and 2009 AD, from mischievous readers clicking their mouse in more than 100 countries. We are proud of our global readership and thank you for your continued support. Six degree of separation - 60,000 Visitors from More than 100 Countries!

PS - Media Dragon sends a welcome home to Steve, TL and Travis

Light is the best antidote Internet has never been more dangerous Who bravely dares must sometimes risk a fall: 10 harsh truths about corporate blogging
Internet has never been more dangerous ... The proliferation of malware online keeps setting new records and security experts are worried. Between January and June this year, the number of fake antivirus programs detected grew by 585%, according to a report released by the Anti-Phishing Working Group...

Is it possible that you've ever made a customer angry enough to blog about your "friendly" service? When working with business and government institutions, I always set up a Google Alert, which searches the internet 24/7 looking specifically for these sorts of comments ...
Most organizations have a blog simply because they feel they should. to "get" blogging and have poorly visited blogs with few comments. Because their blog fails to perform, they conclude that blogging is an ineffective...However, it does not need to be this way. Corporate blogs can be a powerful communication tool that builds brand awareness and nurtures a sense of engagement.

Paul Boag - The One Degree with 360 Degrees of Opportunities ; Phishing ; [Web 2.0: the new tools for democratic conversations - a snapshot of initiatives in government, Information Victoria, Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, September 2009. This paper provides an overview of developments in the use of interactive online communications described as Web 2.0 and when applied in government, better known as Government 2.0. Web 2.0 ; IT modernisation: an exercise in alignment - This report, based on interviews and a global survey of 170 senior executives, concludes that while firms recognise the importance of modernising IT systems, they do not always implement such projects effectively...with respect both to drivers of IT modernisation projects and benefits of such projects. It also investigates the impacts of the current economic upheaval on organisations' modernisation efforts PDF IT ]
• · MURDOCH's announcement that the free ride is over has certainly generated some debate. What this signals is a substantial shift in thinking about the price of content on the internet. What was missing from Murdoch's announcement – and others like Fairfax Media chief Brian McCarthy's statement that monetisation will have to happen – is just how newspapers will make the transition online ; The world in 2025 ... Thus, began the fierce endeavour of the State to squeeze the population to the last drop. Since, economic resources fell short of what was needed, the strong fought to secure the chief share for themselves with a violence and unscrupulousness well in keeping with the origin of those in power and with a soldiery accustomed to plunder. The full rigour of the law was let loose on the population. Soldiers acted as bailiffs or wandered as secret police through the land. Those who suffered most were, of course, the propertied class. It was relatively easy to lay hands on their property, and in an emergency, they were the class from whom something could be extorted most frequently and quickly ... Is this too fanciful, do you think, too apocalyptic? Well, this is not a dark prediction, proceeding from the recesses of some futurologist's "heat oppressed brain" but a direct quotation taken from The Cambridge Ancient History , pp. 263-264, in the section that deals with the decline of the Roman Empire. [In 2008, the IRS project team established a presence in the Second Life virtual world with the goal of exploring the potential use of this environment for recruitment and training purposes] Decline of the Roman Empire
• · · Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other. -Laurence J. Peter
Chuck Collins, heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, is looking for 1,000 rich people to sign his online petition seeking to raise immediately reverse the Bush tax cuts and increase the top tax marginal income tax rate to 39.6% from 35% on household incomes of more than $235,000. In a prior effort, Mr. Collins worked with William H. Gates Sr. and George Soros in getting 4,702 signatures on a petition opposing repeal of the estate tax. Soros ; Banker bonuses minute, says duke
• · · · Crimes ; Fourteen years after Peter Savage, 16, was bashed and stabbed in a street at Lidcombe, police have charged a man with murder and expect more people to be ... Savage Story
• · · · · RU OK? Day, Launched on 10 September, World Suicide Prevention Day, the new RU OK? Initiative that aims to lower Australia's suicide rates. The main message is to communicate and connect with people by simply asking "Are you OK?" It also aims to promote awareness of information and support by raising the profile of existing organisations that provide these services. The inaugural RU OK? Day will be held on November 29 RU OK? Day, - Whatever Works as in Woody Allen; Have you noticed that we are being bombarded by a flood of work by neuroscientists and behavioral economists, aided by such things as clever research design, the use of improved technologies for measuring brain activity, and the admission by Alan Greenspan that markets acted in ways he had not anticipated? The work shares several common counter-intuitive conclusions that: (1) human behavior is much less rational than has been assumed, (2) this renders much of conventional teaching in fields such as economics and management obsolete, and (3) it makes suspect much of what we do as managers Are you ready to manage in an irrational world?; Every politician knows that ideas have consequences, so whether it is Beijing, Bangkok, Brussels, Beirut, or Buenos Aires, policy makers seek the advice and counsel of scholars from think tanks who understand this reality and are able to shape policies and Politics with their ideas
• · · · · · Michael D'Ascenzo - Leaders that make a difference ; The Merit Protection Commissioner and Ethical Decision Making. A publication on how to use the APS Values and Code to make ethical decisions in the APS Leadership Forum in 2009; Authority versus persuasion, Eric J Van den Steen, Harvard Business School Working Paper, 5 August 2009, 22p. In directing employees, managers often face a choice between invoking authority and persuasion. In choosing between persuasion and authority the manager makes a cost-benefit trade-off. This paper studies that trade-off, focusing in particular on conflicts that originate in open disagreement focusing in particular on conflicts that originate in open disagreement


[T]he truly dismaying shrinkage of the book review issue published at the University of Michigan—which is ostensibly, almost ostentatiously, committed to the importance of the book-review enterprise—is symptomatic of a truly national disease. In the remainder of this brief and informal Essay, I will first offer some data substantiating my concern and then offer some of my observations as to the baleful consequences of what the data reveals Book Reviews

UK-HRD began as a moderated e-mail-based discussion forum for training and human resource development specialists. It now provides a virtual meeting place for around 1,000 people who have already subscribed. When you subscribe a digest of the questions asked, and answers provided is compiled and e-mailed directly to you every working day. Some of the subscribers are very experienced - even experts in their fields - so visitors are tapping into a valuable and indispensable resource. The discussion forum is growing constantly.This web site complements the discussion forum

This site might be an interesting starting point for new internet users in the domain of HR. Included are a database of HR products, the research center, an agenda of seminars, HR articles Workforce online

This is a tremendous site offering the visitor a chance to sample and trial HR software 360-degree feedback

HRM Guide is a series of linked web sites containing hundreds of free human resource management-related articles and features. Stimulating stuff

Job satisfaction:
* European heaven. It's where the English are the police, the French are the cooks, the Swiss are the bankers, the Italians are the lovers and the Germans are the engineers.

* European hell. It's where the English are the cooks, the French are the engineers, the Swiss are the lovers, the Italians are the bankers and the Germans are the police.
Job satisfaction:
and More Green or Emerald is on the other side ...

Friday, July 31, 2009

The use of cliches in blogs should be avoided. Readers of Dickens' novel Oliver Twist may recall that when it was suggested to Mr Bumble that "the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction", he was shocked. He responded with a line that has become one of the English language's most excruciating cliches: "If the law supposes that, the law is an ass - an idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst l wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience - by experience."

Russia’s free media find a haven in Ukraine Is Russia again too big to fail?
The magazine contains real-life case studies, interviews and stories about Australian and international tax crime – how we’re trying to stop it and the serious consequences for those who offend. Targeting tax crime: a whole-of-government approach

The Plan by Michael Cranston for 2009-2010 Traits of a Leader
I read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review by Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones recently called "Why should anyone be led by you?" In it they outline four key differentiators in today's world for successful leaders and apart from a few minor points, I believe in what they had to say and fully recommend you take a read…

There’s an awful lot of theory written about leadership nowadays. For the past decade, along with Mike Pratt, Clive Gilson, and Joe McCollum, we’ve been working with major companies on our view of what constitutes inspirational leadership and peak performance. It started by learning what we could from great sporting organizations such as the All Blacks – whose inspirational dream is to “maintain rugby’s position at the heart of the nation)

Leaders are born ; [We have long pointed to the fact that the United States is, to a very significant degree, a secrecy jurisdiction, not least through dirty practices offered in places such as Delaware. It isn't something that people like to mention in polite company Australia: America is a secrecy jurisdiction ; Testifying today before the House Financial Services Committee, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke took some well-deserved flak for the Fed’s power-grasping attempt to gain even greater control over the nation’s financial institutions. Man-Bites-Dog Story: A Politician Speaks the Truth; Goldman Sachs surprised even optimistic analysts with a $3.44 billion profit for the three months to June, almost 90% more than the previous quarter. Crony Capitalism]
• · In the last of his three Lionel Robbins lectures at the London School of Economics on June 30 of this year, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman remarked that the macroeconomic theory of the past thirty years has been spectacularly useless at best, and positively harmful at worst Inflation Ahead ; I Agree With Paul Krugman, but This Time Only! The inability to collect all sales taxes that are legally due on purchases made over the Internet costs states billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. In 2008, New York State enacted an innovative law that helps to address this problem. Rhode Island adopted a similar measure this year. All states with sales taxes should give serious consideration to doing so as well. sales taxes
• · Our innovative online database helped shed light on the murky world of corporate tax avoidance. Corporate taxation is one of the fundamental issues in British society that rarely gets discussed in mainstream media. A large but twilight industry has grown up in recent years of offshore tax havens and arcane avoidance schemes. They benefit large corporations and rich individuals, but cost governments billions in lost taxes. Holding the UK's major corporations to account ; Lord Mandelson suggested the Government had lost sight of the importance of PR skills. “You can get so consumed by government that you forget to present what you do to the public. Our organisation has to be better, we have to campaign more effectively — and give a clear message.” A new analysis today found businesses are eagerly courting the Conservatives. Leading accountancy firms KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers have given the Tories free services and staff on secondment, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Such companies will compete for billions of pounds of Government contracts
• · · Windfall for Tories as firms eye £4bn contracts ; Blistering attacks on tax avoidance from unions, politicians and the media are coming thick and fast. The prevalence of aggressive but legal tax planning has become increasingly controversial as the public finances sink deeper into the mire The growing allure of foreign shores ; Both Volkswagen and Porsche had close connections with the Third Reich. It was Ferdinand Porsche who designed the "people's car," the legendary VW Beetle, in 1934 Adolf Hitler was so taken with the engineer he declared him "brilliant
• · · · As per the Concise Oxford Dictionary the history of money laundering can be traced to Emperor espasianus who had raised taxes on public toilets by relying on the maxim, ‘pecunia non det’ means money does not stink. A few years ago, Solomon Dwek was the black sheep of the New Jersey Jewish community where his father Yitzhak was a prominent rabbi. After a string of failed real estate ventures and charges of bank fraud, Dwek's career appeared all but over. But the rabbi's son found his true calling as an FBI informant, where he is now achieving stardom after helping bring indictments against 44 defendants, including a number of prominent rabbis, four ex-mayors and a former senator, in one of the largest money-laundering and corruption investigations seen in the U.S. in years How the FBI used a rabbi's son to crack massive U.S. corruption case ; Even in the state of "The Sopranos" and "On the Waterfront," where corruption seems institutionalized, the arrest of a neophyte mayor in office a mere three weeks stands out US Corruption Arrests Shock Jewish Community
• · · · · It’s one of the biggest corruption cases in the history of a state that’s famous for them: Three mayors, two state legislators and several rabbis were among those charged Thursday in what authorities described as a “dual-track” investigation united by a single undercover operative ; BBC
• · The arrests of more than 40 prominent politicians and Jewish leaders in New Jersey and New York on corruption and money laundering charges have sent shockwaves through the close-knit Syrian Jewish community there. Modus operandi Money Laundering; An 87 year-old Syrian rabbi. A special lingo in which payments were "invitations" and approvals were "opportunities." We're slicing people open and selling Google
• · · · · · To read the criticisms about the Net Generation,” writes author Don Tapscott in his latest book, Grown Up Digital, “you might conclude that they are a bunch of dull, celebrity-obsessed, net-addicted, shopaholic exhibitionists Skills: Business must learn from the new tribe ; Navigating the online jungle

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I ain’t shoot nobody in like since the early 80’s, man. Mightier than the guitar. You know who the critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art. Insects sting, not in malice, but because they want to live. It is the same with critics: they desire our blood, not our pain My Book Slut and the The Sydney Morning Herald looks at rockers who write literature

In a classic death spiral: Citizen satisfaction and trust Tax havens: Misplaced passion
A pearl in the crown is A few things John has learned: examining tax havens ;

Here is part of what the Australian Tax Office wrote to Senator Carl Levin, the Chair of the US Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. ‘In our opinion, entities established in some states of the US, for example some US incorporated companies, have some of these same attributes as entities established in secrecy havens.’ These attributes include tax avoidance and evasion, investor fraud,manipulation of markets and sometimes money laundering. So there we have it. The US has its own internal tax and secrecy havens. Now for the UK and its disgraceful tax havens.

• Revolutionary reflections on this world of ours Taxman not always bad guy: Blatant form of Robin Hood economics ever proposed ; [DETAILS of tax scams by Australian organisations involving US entities have been revealed in a submission sent to US authoritiesBanks ; Čekia: Tax havens attract 154 Czech firms in H1
Prague, July 14 (CTK) - The number of Czech companies based in places considered tax havens grew by 154 to 9,144 in the first half of this year, according to databases and calculations of the Cekia agency.
Owing to the economic crisis, interest in transfer of companies to tax havens got smaller. In the full of last year, the number of Czech companies in tax havens rose by 740. Among the most attractive places where taxes are not high are the Netherlands, Cyprus and Luxembourg. The highest relative growth this year was seen by Panama, Monaco and Belize. A significant fall was seen by the British Virgin Islands and the Bohemian Dutch Antilles]
• · For consumers how much is enough? It's a personal answer, and the power of change is always personal. The concept of "Enoughism" is addressed by British journalist John Naish in his book Enough: Breaking Free from the World of More ; Kevin Roberts-authored article in Italian magazine Oxygen, on the role of communications in resolving the water crisis. "[H2O] represents much more than an obvious combination of chemical elements: water is life, and today it can turn into the heart of a revolution that will lead to a Blue Planet, to a sustainable future for all of us." Water is life 15 Jul 09
• · Many owners decline to rent the homes due to local council tax rules, which tax properties at a lower rate if they are empty and unfurnished. That loophole frustrates Mr. Palmer. As the Westminster City Council's empty-property officer, Mr. Palmer strolls the area's streets six hours each day to identify vacant homes and track down their owners. Under British law, local authorities have the power to seek an order to claim ownership of the ghost properties and put them up for sale. Once he identifies a vacant house, Mr. Palmer consults property records. After that, he often finds himself sending letters to the British Virgin Islands, a known tax haven for foreign companies, and a place where many of the property owners in question have mailing addresses. He says he rarely receives a response back. Except, that is, when a court action is about to begin. The compulsory purchase, says Mr. Palmer, is a "tool we use as a last resort to take empty property away from owners who refuse to do anything to it. You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables Keeping Up Appearances: London Turns Eye to Empty Mansions ; Goldman Sachs, Best in the Business;
• · · Blogosphere Star Provides Refreshingly Alternative Ideas
Taxation without Representation Unfair to Internet Retailers; All enmity, all envy, they disclaim, Disinterested thieves of our good name: Cool, sober murderers of their neighbors' fame Uncooperative prima donna
• · · · While there is no disputing Bernie Madoff's involvement in the scam, it is reasonable to conclude he wasn't alone Swindler’s list: the Bernie Madoff story; Bernie Madoff Was Only a Petty Crook Compared with Uncle Sam; Italy’s prime minister once again proves to be a great survivor DEPENDING on your view of his final destination, Silvio Berlusconi has either a guardian angel or the luck of the devil. In heaven or hell
• · · · · "The new CRS report - "Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications, July 14, 2009 - explains the role of the "Gang of Four," meaning the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, who are to be informed of particularly sensitive intelligence activities. When the Bush Administration first notified Congress of its warrantless surveillance program, it limited the disclosure to the Gang of Four ; These days, when employers are cutting salaries, staff and bonuses - and staff is uncertain about the next round of layoffs - more employees are committing fraud. How to stop fraud; On 14 July 2009, IFSA Chair David Deverall, announced the appointment of John Brogden as IFSA's third CEO to commence on 28 August 2009. Mr Deverall said Mr Brogden "brings both stature and a wealth of experience to the position". He said Mr Brogden "has had experience in public policy as a parliamentarian and adviser, and has successfully led advocacy for the credit union, building society and friendly society peak body". IFSA also thanked Richard Gilbert who will officially retire on 28 August when Mr Brogden assumes the position of CEO John Brogden
• · · · · · For Germans, who have painful memories of state-sponsored surveillance, the new spying allegations touch a raw nerve. Prosecutors have confirmed they're now considering whether to launch a criminal investigation in Deutsche Bank. Germany's largest lender is accused of spying on two board members it suspected of leaking sensitive details, as well as one critical shareholder Deutsche Bank is Germany's largest bank ; IRS agent Albert Bront, 49, of Valencia, California, screamed “I’m going to kill all of you!” when U.S. Treasury agents served a search warrant at his home as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Bront had filed false tax return. He is being held without bail pending a July 28 preliminary hearing in Los Angeles IRS Agent Threatens to Kill Treasury Department Investigators

Friday, July 24, 2009

The business of tax avoidance, like the trade in derivatives, is ferociously complicated, and intentionally so: the fewer the people who understand what is going on, the easier it is to play the financial equivalent of a three-card trick and whisk your money off to a safe location. Tax dodgers have quite a sense of humour – or so it seems to me. Take transfer mispricing. One of the commonest forms of tax evasion, it accounts for much of the $160 billion. I could explain that this particular stunt involves transnational corporations exaggerating costs and minimising profits when they file their tax returns. I could mention surveys which estimate that more than 60 per cent of international trade takes place within TNCs, allowing companies to make up prices that suit their purposes. But the story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the firm that officially paid $972.98 for each plastic bucket it imported, or the toilet gloves which were priced at $4,121.81 per kilo Business of tax avoidance ;

Citizen satisfaction and trust: When a Blogger Voices Approval, a Sponsor May Be Lurking Ignorance of money helps bankers and politicians escape
Why is that so hard for people to understand? Keynes did - and he called it a paradox that what works for individuals is completely unsuitable for states - and yet the mindset of the grocer prevails in government.

Most assume that credit = savings, and that only by mobilising savings or surpluses (generated by production of one sort or another) is it possible for banks or financial institutions to lend money to finance economic activity. In other words, that money (deposits/savings/credit) exists only as the result of economic activity; and those deposits/savings/credit then create economic activity.
On the contrary: it is bank money/credit that creates economic activity - and only then are deposits, surpluses and savings generated. And not the other way around.
And this is why we can spend our way out of recession. Indeed it is why we must spend our way out of recession. Any other option costs more, increase debt, and causes more hardship.

Taxing Times; [ People fight a lot about priorities at DKos. Groups accuse other groups with different priorities of being "concern trolls" or "purity trolls" or of expressing "poutrage". No matter what you think is important, someone else will be happy to tell you it really isn't as important as their pet issue. Here's my way out of that dilemma.
Prosecuting criminal behavior is a post-Bush theme that unifies all groups. To solve our economic problems, we need to prosecute present (and, inevitably, past) criminal behavior and the malign deregulation that enabled such criminality. To get ourselves out of foreign wars, we need to prosecute the war crimes that got us into those wars and the ongoing war crimes and frauds that those operations continue to produce. To solve our healthcare problems, we need to prevent criminal behavior, such as recision, on the part of healthcare-denial companies. But, isn't fighting crime obvious? Not in the age of deregulation. Not in the age of the politicized DOJ. In order to fight crime, we must first restore regulations with teeth. We need to become "law and order Democrats". Below the fold I will lay out the rationale behind that seeming oxymoron. Its the Criminality, Stupid ; Successful innovation remains elusive for many organisations. Part of the problem concerns the myths that surround the innovation process - PDF - Four dangerous myths]
• · IF you've ever wondered how to fire up the folk who inhabit the blogosphere, you got an unambiguous answer last week - insult them. It worked a treat for the boss of News Limited, John Hartigan. In a speech to the National Press Club he said bloggers produced "something of such limited intellectual value as to be barely discernible from massive ignorance". For good measure he added that the blogosphere was "all eyeballs and no insight". Many blogs and a large number of comment sites specialise in political extremism and personal vilification Bloggers' rage show they're out of touch with reality ; IT'S Tuesday and I'm at a forum on the topic "Twitter's Impact on Media and Journalism", busily taking down the speeches in shorthand. As I do, the business-suited woman sitting on my left is tweeting about me on her laptop. Journalists take to the Twitterverse
• · · When Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska, she gave a cursory announcement to journalists, then moved on to tell her story directly to her supporters using Twitter and Facebook. This is the latest example of traditional journalists being disintermediated by government and other newsmakers, and it will make a big difference in the careers of IT managers (and me too, as a journalist) Journalists Get Left Out By Social Media ; Katja Presnal, who recommends products on her own blog, is interviewed at elf cosmetics offices in New York. Marketing companies are keen to get their ... When a Blogger Voices Approval, a Sponsor May Be Lurking
• · LIKE a research scientist who gets a chance to play with a chemistry set, Sreenath Sreenivasan, a new-media professor at the Columbia Journalism School, returned to the roots of his chosen field last month riding home on the No. 1 train. How the Media Wrestle With the Web ; TJN and some of our partners in France have just issued a statement expressing great concern about a Cameroonian journalist, Jean Bosco Talla, who is being harrassed and intimidated as a result of his work in publicising a huge and detailed report outlining the scale of dictators' and élites' assets in a wide number of countries around the world, including in Cameroon – PDF ahead - Journalist under threat
• · · Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murders sound respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. Old Orwell’s Instructive Errors ; How is the global financial crisis affecting our beliefs about work, money, the environment and each other? Broadcaster Libbi Gorr gathered Australia's top social researchers - Bernard Salt, Mark McCrindle & Dr Rebecca Huntley - to get the lowdown on the meltdown. Is Gen Y that bad? Yes!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ach, Bondi. Golden, pinkish sand beaches. Charming pastel Hungry Czech restaurants and kelly-green golf courses. Tiny cafes peppered everywhere …

Ideas can come from anywhere; the thing is to recognize them and give them shape. The global financial catastrophe has hit companies, families, and individuals

Do ideas sometimes pop into your head from, it seems, nowhere? Yes, and it’s because your brain actually operates on the edge of chaos
Fire exists in nature, a wild thing tamed by the mind of man. But when it first appeared, the wheel was an invention of something completely new.. Salute to wheels of ideas

Serving revenge Cold Communist secret police database goes online
Former dissident publishes list, rush of visitors crashes web server

Intense public interest saw a server collapse when databases kept by the Czechoslovak communist secret police (StB) were put online by former dissident Stanislav Penc. Within an hour of the data going online around 11 a.m. July 7, the server collapsed. Over the next three days, the Web site,, registered 140,000 hits. It has since crashed again several times and was down as of press time.
Democracy needs to know the serious reading of books. Long books. Hard books. Books with which we have to struggle...

The Dictator and I: Husak’s Émigrés and Exiles [Lessons of Charter 77 July 7 ; 2nd coming of Vacal Havel or Lech Welechsa ; Defining Slavic Dreams The Cold(est) War River]
• · US President Barack Obama has told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin they may not agree on everything but they had an excellent opportunity to put ... In a polite atmosphere where both men seemed reserved, President Obama met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this morning at his dacha in Moscow. I think you just cut out Lech Waleza and Poles, cut out Havel and the Czechs. There were a whole bunch of people in eastern europe who showed courage. Important to acknowledge people who struggled for own freedom. Lift the Iron curtain. we don't have to diminish other people in order to recognize our role Obama, Russia 'reset' Cold War relations; Google Stories ; There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week. The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind Obama Rewrites the Cold War
• · Hugo Blick has written a deliciously enthralling triptych of comedy-dramas about people facing death Last Word Monologues ; The next train leaves from all platforms
• · · Even after our recent orgy of bailouts, and even as the culture of entitlement grips our country ever more tightly, Americans hunger for the assurance that we can do it for ourselves without a nanny state running our lives. Rediscovering Frederick Douglass in the Age of Obama ; Economic theory in meltdown: the biggest financial calamity in 80 years has left the reputation of economics in tatters. What went wrong with economics
• · · · To escape a 1930s culture war that soon turned into a shooting war, artists, writers and composers fled Europe for Southern California.. Hitler's Émigrés and Exiles ; Embrace individualism and reject stereotypes, says Tyler Cowen. Even look in a mirror. You may find far more talent than you expected. Talent
• · · · · It’s puzzling that such promising and prurient subject matter can lead to such flat, dull books. My Life In a G-String: A Round Up of Stripper Memoirs Stripper memoirs: Are all naked women pretty much the same? ; Language pervades the deepest domains of thought, shaping us from the nuts and bolts of perception to our loftiest abstract notions and major life decisions.. Ideas
• · · · · · The answer is capitalism’s dirty little secret: excessive lending was the only way to maintain the living standards of the vast bulk of the population at a time when wealth was being concentrated in the hands of an elite Capitalism's dirty secret ; What is the future for liberal democracy? This should be a pressing question. All around us, corporations rule the roost. They fund political parties and reward former and potential ministers with consultancies. They finance think-tanks, control newspapers and television and radio stations to mobilise particular kinds of opinion Corporate takeover of the state: What future for democracy when the private sector’s advance shows no sign of abating ; ANZ Bank has axed a further 248 jobs across the country as part of its strategy to slash the size of its Australian workforce

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DURING UNCERTAIN TIMES. The End of Absurd Financial Year - No luncheons at Little Snails ... People tend to look back and wonder, How did it get to this? They feel more keenly their missed opportunities and failures in judgment. Regret -the sense that things could have turned out better if only a different choice had been made –becomes pervasive Regret is ardwired into human biology, underscoring its importance in behavior. If misery loves company, it's because perspective helps. It's good to know you're not the only "idiot" in the neighborhood. On some level, we're all idiots. The most successful people are those who have been resolute in the face of failure. Support from colleagues, mentors, or coaches can boost your resilience. Sometimes, though, regret spirals downward into depression. If your thoughts turn morbid, get professional help so you can go back to striving toward your personal and career goals.
One wondersow foreclosures adversely affect households and their neighborhoods — from children and the elderly to public safety and local property tax revenues. The Impacts of Foreclosures on Families and Communities

Different Strokes
Obsession & Perfection

Democracy needs to know the serious reading of books. Long books. Hard books. Books with which we have to struggle...

Some systems – financial, transport, power grids, taxation – are just too big to carry on with any degree of predictability. They become unstable before we can know...

Struggles with Complexities; [Risk-taking may not be the quality which first comes to mind when the ABC is mentioned. However, controversy has never been far from the ABC's programming. War on 'The Chaser'; Conspiracies have in principle the power to do actual harm in the world. Far more harmful in practice is the power of conspiracy theories... Chasing conspiracy theories... ]
• · The companies who come out the other end of this downturn stronger than when they went in will have sustainability at their core. When I think about a sustainable world, one face always comes to my mind: my granddaughter Stella. Nothing concentrates the mind more powerfully than the future of someone you love… Stella's World: One Stella at a Time ; Recently I was on a panel with Malcolm Gladwell, the high priest of unraveling the mysteries of science and a great storyteller. I've just come across a couple of books by a young (at 27, very young) scientist who might give Malcolm a run for his money, Jonah Lehrer… Jonah Lehrer
• · Everyone likes to talk about how young families are revitalizing big cities. The truth of migration patterns tells another story, as Joel Kotkin explains...Revitalizing big cities ; It’s a standard genre: a book written by a big thinker who wants to capture the spirit of America while armed only with his own brilliance. Spirit of Amerika
• · · Is there a formula for a good life? For 72 years, researchers have followed 268 men through war, career, marriage and divorce, and old age... Is there a formula for a good life? ; Even though more stuff does not lead to more happiness, human beings are driven to acquire, acquire, acquire. Geoffrey Miller can see why...Aquisition
• · · · Richard Wagner viewed himself as an underdog. That’s why, after Mendelssohn’s early death in 1847, he wreaked revenge on the “little Jewish prince”... Wagner; If the Mafia boss thinks you might betray him, he will just kill you or throw you into prison. Saint-Simon’s memoirs do not make us regret the end of the age of great kings. But if only we had today chroniclers as wise, vital, witty, and knowing... Royalty
• · · · · Bill Buckley could turn any event into an adventure, a joke, a showdown. He loved risk. He was just an exciting person to be around... Riding motorbikes without a helmet, flying planes while half asleep—not to mention discussing books he’d never read and using words he didn’t understand—William F. Buckley courted adventure in all that he did. Here, the conservative godfather’s onetime protégé and longtime nemesis fondly recalls their friendship—and argues that Buckley was not the snob many thought him to be Risk Lover; Here are the classic sins that too many leaders don't realise can turn a fabulous employee into a frustrated poor performer. If you manage others, can you honestly go through this list and be 100% sure you've never committed any of these sins?" What are the big leadership sins?
• · · · · · Once limited to hushed exchanges in the break room, employees have more venues to complain than ever. Web 2.0 tools have created a virtual water cooler, and employees' gossip - about everything from how managers handle layoffs to organising company social functions - can instantly reach an opinionated, enabling and often highly reactionary audience A manager's guide to social media ; Research demonstrates that managers are experiencing poor quality and quantity of sleep, and encourages them and their organisations to be aware of the - sometimes disastrous - consequences of 'sleepiness'. The wake-up call for sleepy managers

Saturday, May 23, 2009

He always chose to teach the strugglers. He saw that task as the glory of our profession …

The economy may be slowing down, but everything else is speeding up. Margins collapse like a deck of cards, profits plunge (Fortune 500 companies earned 85% less than they did last year), and shoppers turn their backs in a flash. John Bargh from Yale reckons that we evaluate everything as good or bad in 0.25 seconds. That’s fast! The human mirror

How bad is the economy? It is definitely getting very bad!

Cats are so dramatic !

WE live on one planet and all its wisdom and stupidity are connected Courage under fire: Flow of Deep Wisdom
A revolutionary new search engine that computes answers rather than pointing to websites will be launched officially today amid heated talk that it could challenge the might of Google.

Wolfram Alpha, named after Stephen Wolfram, the British-born computer scientist and inventor behind the project, takes a query and uses computational power to crunch through huge databases … Wolfram|Alpha, the brainchild of a company with a distinctly scientific bent, is challenging Google by offering a formatted aggregation of data

• Knowledge delivered in any other form is perhaps sweeter Wolfram|Alpha - Start with the Answer ; [The Buzz of Wolfram; Google for music 'Like plugging into a vast electronic brain': Unique search engine ...]
• · We need to resurrect the concept of the “public intellectual ; When it comes to communicating and connecting with your fellow human beings, stories can leave a lasting impact far beyond any set of statistics or PowerPoint demonstration The power of storytelling ; Recognizing that governments throughout the World need assistance and guidance in achieving the promises of electronic government through technology and the Web, this document seeks to define and call forth, but not yet solve, the variety of issues and challenges faced by governments Improving access to government through better use of the web ; Christopher Craigie SC, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), speech, 2009. Transcript of the speech given by the Director at the CDPP 25th Anniversary Dinner at Old Parliament House in Canberra.
Internet: 25 years of commitment
• · One blogger's account of his use of Facebook - "I've found that posting on Facebook is a good way to ask a question of a diverse set of people. In a business context, Facebook often reminds me of people who can answer questions, point me to someone they know (but I don't), or whom I'd just like to stay in front of Five years of Facebook: a retrospective ; The new reality is simple. Money is either scarce or just not there at all. Next year may be worse, may be better, who can possibly tell. But as fashion designer John Galliano said, "There's a credit crunch, not a creative crunch", and this is exactly how smart marketers can win New marketing in the new reality
• · · Start with the Storytellers: The Future of Journalism Communications, Technology, and the Internet; PDF ahead - Pew Report - The Internet's Role in Campaign 2008
• · · · The Decoder: Twitter is a mass text-messaging service that allows you to send short 140-character updates -- or "tweets" -- to a bunch of people at once. They are your "followers." It was designed to be read on a cellphone, though many people read it online, too. How to Twitter ; House Committees Take the Lead on Using Social Media to Ensure Transparency
• · · · · In a story, the writer commands every aspect of the world the reader inhabits. It is 30 years since the Sony Walkman first appeared – and half of the populace became deaf to the existence of the other half. A.N. Wilson finds nothing to celebrate Gadgets; Google phone undercuts iPhone; Matthew Crawford finished his Ph.D in political philosophy, went to work for a think tank, and then decided to quit – and start repairing motorcycles Heidegger and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
• · · · · · After the Germans rolled over France’s defenses in 1940, how brave were French writers in resisting the Nazis? Ah, it was a complex, sadly mixed affair... Between Collaboration and Resistance; Leonid Khrushchev died a war hero in 1943, 13 years before his father, Nikita, denounced Stalin. Now Russians are being told he was a traitor The trial of Leonid K; The end of East Germany was ushered in by massive protests across the land. But opposition to communist rule had started with a whisper How the End of East Germany Began - Iron Curtain Up Close and Personal A Tear in the Iron Curtain

Friday, April 03, 2009

Whenever you get the urge to go out and buy, or buy, or buy — head to the Iceberg, the local cafe or bar, get yourself a strong coffee, bluetongue beer or glass of wine (invest the extra buck in the good stuff!), sit long and hard and keenly, swim far into the mind’s labyrinths, then put pen to Moleskin and make this world worth moving in! The brain does weird things, hence: poetry… No one seems to realize that the destruction of poetry as a tradition would not destroy poetry itself …

In the meantime plunge into The coldest and best online journals

Uncertainty is more beautiful still Ability to capture the subtlest shades of the financial palette
From Higher Aims to Hired Hands:The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession.
People with MBAs are not necessarily great business people writes Greg Leader Cramer Business schools stand accused of churning out identikit management footsoldiers equipped with the latest buzz

Something happened to management culture decades ago and now being a Master of Business Administration, especially from Harvard, is rather on the nose. MBA, it's being said, can also stand for 'Mediocre but Arrogant', or 'Management by Accident'

• MBA: Mostly bloody awful My Life Would Have Been Different if I did not come across managers with MBA ; [Ten ways to respond to the stock market collapse - Realize any investment is always a risk. Waiting for Godot: I'm still as mean, arrogant, silly, paranoid and scared as ever; 10 Best Ways to Bring in Blog Traffic The President is more than the present moment ]
• · Leather and lace: inside the secret world of the bikie chick The man police allege may be fuelling Sydney's bikie war and is a force behind its newest gang, Notorious, has warned Sydney to prepare for more bloodshed. Strike Force Raptor: This will end in another Milperra – it all started at Winston Hills Hotel a day before the fathers day ; Google: SYDNEY'S bikie war exploded again last night as a man was ambushed in an underground carpark. He was sprayed with bullets as he stood in the car park on Punchbowl Rd, Lakemba, at about 11.35pm on Saturday night 29 March 09 What is alive in the bikie body clock is also ticking; Ross Coulthart is co-author of Dead Man Running Bikie wars fuelled by drug and crime ; Here is a sign of the times. Line up the names of the Bandidos and Coman- chero shot at Milperra's Viking Tavern on Father's Day 1984, and those of their bosses. Tony McCoy, Gregory Campbell, Jock Ross, Anthony Spencer, Mario Cianter, Leroy Jeschke, Ivan Romchek, Robert Lane, Michael O'Keefe. Secret men's business – no more
• · Who is to blame for the world economic crisis? Does market capitalism have a future? Big questions – in Paris in 1938... Beacon of Liberty Amid Depression; Banjo's journey from bad guy to mentor is pure poetry Like wind loves a window
• · · Rainbow of cinematic poetic content. Like poetry, film tells a story by compressing time, and through an emotive, image-based structure. There is a syntax of images, a rhythm. And it works with light—a material light. Film language is unavoidable—it’s part of our unconscious, our desires, memories, etc., and is very captivating and powerful. Movies With Poetry: A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine …; You will not have roses thrown at your feet. You will not make money. You will not become the celebrated guest poet at universities & bookstores coast-to-coast. You will not be invited to read your poetry all over the world. You will not have multiple book release parties. … You simply will not. Poetry Is To Money As Ice Cream Is To Mud
• · · · If this is accurate, heads are going to roll: ROGUE Defence spies have been accused of hacking into Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon's personal laptop computer to steal bank details - to track his financial connections to a wealthy Chinese businesswoman Politicians can be compromised by travel gifts: security expert; THE acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says the political and media focus on links between politicians and Chinese interests is bordering on the absurd. A confidant of Mr Howard, former NSW premier Bob Carr and Mr Rudd Google: Touch of Yellow Peril deja vu; Reveal their secrets … Protect our own Helen Liu 'spy' storm widens; In the dying days of the woeful George Bush administration, former NSW premier Bob Carr wrote to the White House asking for a presidential pardon to be granted to the convicted corporate fraudster Conrad Black. Bob Carr bats for his mate Conrad Black
• · · · · It was a vintage performance as former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett - hardly pausing to catch his breath between the barbs . (Former NSW premier) Bob (Carr) was very good, a lovely man; read a lot; got on well with the fourth estate - in short, did nothing. Red China aka NSW a hopeless failure; Rudd is yet another victim of the "got to be loved" syndrome in public life. I first saw it when I worked for Bob Carr - how the lure of public adulation can transform a serious intellectual into someone obsessed with media management and opinion polls. Both (Carr and Rudd) came from the school of hard rocks, teased and humiliated by their adolescent peers. Both sought comfort in the solidarity of the Labor movement. No one should underestimate the emotional side of politics; It is believed that Ms Liu is well connected within Australian Labor Party (NSW) circles close to former NSW premier Bob Carr Diamond Hill International ; ALP sources said yesterday Ms Liu was well known in NSW Labor circles and was reportedly close to former NSW premier Bob Carr and his wife Helena. Cold War Bomb is ticking
• · · · · · Ethics -- NSW-style. Ethics of NSW MPs -- annual reports a joke ; Pat Sergi, Tony Labbozzetta, Nick Scali and Francesco Madafferi … Talk about the pot calling the kettle black ; New life for Orange Grove

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

ASIC has nabbed its first rumourmonger but its penalty is well short of a deterrent to the market. It raises more questions than it answers. Over the past 12 months, the corporate cop has waged a war of words over so-called rumourtrage -- spreading false rumours with the intention of manipulating the market. The campaign has included a major sweep of the big brokers, subpoenaed emails and lectures on the dangers of spreading false information. ASIC has asked for the laws to be changed to make it easier to bring such charges, by dropping penalties from criminal to civil and attaching conditions to licences that take into account the duty of care in spreading information. All very good, but its first outing as a corporate cop in the field was frankly a joke: Project, After Dinner, Mint. The perpetrator, Richard John Macphillamy of Bondi Iceberg from ANZ's LINWAR (life is nothing without a risk), last September sent 32 emails to clients suggesting there was a run on Macquarie Cash Management Trust. If this became known it would kill the stock price. Now he would not have been the only broker to tell people money was being pulled from Macquarie's cash management trust last September, which was -- so far at least -- the darkest hour in the financial meltdown…Google on Short stoppers

Life is nothing without a risk The power of surprise
New leaders have a special opportunity to engage their team during their first months in a new role. This article looks at four steps leaders can apply to increase their impact within their organisation.

Leaders can practice humility by:
· Allowing others to be in the limelight.
· Learning that trying to be perfect will often fail.
· Avoiding over preaching without permission.
· Seeking others' input on how you are doing.
· Encouraging the practice of humility in your company through your own example: every time you share credit for successes with others, you reinforce the culture of humility for your team

How New Leaders Can Connect Their Team With the Need For Change; [ It seems taxes have always been a sexy issue, at least for the last millennium since Lady Godiva, that notoriously anti-tax Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who - according to legend - rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. I am rich, are you? Why am I loving this question so much …; ABS; 8679.0 - Television, Film and Video Production and Post-Production Services, Australia Cold River 08-09]
• · The basic problem, says US professor and author George Panichas, lies in “an absence of a culture of shame” of which corporate greed is cruelly symptomatic. How many homes and cars are needed by one individual?” he asks. “When I hear political leaders talk about working hard on people’s business, I don’t think they understand what ‘working hard’ means. To me, working hard is a housekeeper cleaning hotel rooms all day for a minimum wage, a coal miner working in the coal mines all day, and parents working two jobs to support their family An absence of a culture of shame ; Think of the Taj Mahal or the Golden Gate Bridge. Think of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. If such a building catches the world's eye and finds a place there it becomes an icon, or what Wallace Stevens, speaking of poetry, called a "necessary angel": a presence that speaks powerfully to the senses but whose real message is for the spirit David MaloufAn Angel At Bennelong Point ; The sun had just slipped above the horizon to kiss the Opera House sails
• · COURAGEOUS is a word much devalued in bureaucratic circles - by a television comedy about bureaucrats. Sir Humphrey, the devious department head in Yes, Minister and its sequels would use it to terrify his political boss. He would throw the word in the air with a particular spin, so that praise became mockery; it no longer meant brave, but foolhardy or just stupid. Senator Faulkner lets in the light; Australia’s Right To Know Freedom of Speech Conference Freedom to know; Google Control: if you love it, set it free
• · · Matthew Moore Freedom of Information Editor Changes to FoI bring a new era of disclosure; Rolodex of PARLIAMENTARY knowledge Father of the House: The memoirs of Kim E. Beazley
• · · · What blogging is to email, twitter is to instant messaging (IM) Loving and Hating Twitter in Five Easy Pieces; Photographs of the hour-long liaison - Nigel Griffiths Palace of Westminster in Many Pieces
• · · · · THE unravelling of the affairs of elusive Hills art dealer Ronald Coles, whose Bentley number plate BUY ART has not been seen at his usual haunts for some weeks, has advanced to a new stage. Legal action taken over missing art; The media, particularly tabloid papers, broadsheets, TV and radio, paint the current crisis in Armageddon proportions. Nobody can seriously deny the extreme economic dangers we face. However Britain seems to have led the way in recapitalising the economy and our Government is injecting billions in to the economy and running up high and unprecedented levels of expenditure which the Conservative party claim will hamper generations to come. Media
• · · · · · The whole concept of risk appetite is an understanding of an organisation's desire to take on risk when weighed with potential reward What's your risk appetite?; Learn to turn difficult conversations in the right direction, and break free of emotion's grip Biting words