Newspaper Watch

This is fascinating

Truthdig (who they? – Ed) is now on “hiatus” as a result of a stroke and what looks like a lock out. Eliciting this:

In a third statement penned by the Truthdig staffers who were terminated, staff reiterated an unfortunate truth in media — namely, that the owners and managers of publications aren’t always aligned with the publication’s values.

Erm, who is it that defines the values if it isn’t the owners and or managers?

You sodding what?

This is worthy of The Guardian. Which did, in fact, make this mistake just recently:

Buybacks, where companies spend money repurchasing their own stock and making it scarcer, are emblematic. They are a more tax-efficient way of returning money than dividends, which incur capital gains.

T’other way around, buybacks pay CGT, dividends income tax….. of course, here it’s infelicitous phrasing, The G actually got it wrong, but still.

This is difficult if not illegal

Son of Barclay twins agrees deal to sell Ritz despite family warfare

OK, yes, headlines, compressed and all that.

But to be the son of both twins would be difficult – the twins are male – and, in most jurisdictions, the effort required for opposite sex twins to have a child would be illegal.

A son of one of the twins, yes, but not perhaps as written…..

Where do these ghastly little fascists come from?

This national lockdown has met with the approval of the vast majority of the voting public, at least for now: when it comes down to it, we are a nation that believes in a strong state, especially in a moment of national adversity. The comparison to the United States, from which our economic liberals draw their ideas, and often funding, is instructive.

Compared to us, and other European countries, the global superpower is barely a functioning state, far less a nation as we understand the term. In this respect, we are fortunate to have deep cultural reserves to draw on: a certain national mythos of dogged making-do and carrying-on in the face of adversity has since the Second World War defined much of the nation’s self-image, and now is the time to utilise it for the greater good.

To this end, the government has proposed a mass mobilisation of 250,000 volunteers for the NHS, to deliver food and medicine to those self-isolating at official request.

It is a good idea, and the speed and scale of the public’s response, with more than 400,000 volunteers already, is heartening but it perhaps does not go far enough. Continuing the wartime analogy, an impromptu volunteer effort is, like the Little Ships at Dunkirk, suited to a sudden crisis of short duration, but a sustained battle over the course of months or years requires a different degree of determination entirely.

If this is genuinely a national crisis on the scale of the Second World War, as the government’s extraordinary economic and political measures suggest, then we should mobilise the full resources of the state to face it. To do this, why not institute a form of conscription suited to a peacetime crisis: an NHS national service?

Because conscription is a form of slavery you dunderhead. It turns people – literally – into helots, slaves of the state.

Fuck off.

Releasing our youth from effective house arrest and allowing them to commit their health, vitality and purpose to the nation’s greater good is not just a quick fix to a sudden manpower shortage but a statement of who we are as a nation. It is an opportunity for the British government and people to affirm that we value younger people, and that we need them to play their part.

In boosting the NHS with a transfusion of new blood where it is needed most, freeing up both trained medical staff and the armed forces for the period of greatest danger now approaching, it would be a move of some practical utility which bears within it the seeds of a far greater social good.

It’s not even disguising the drooling over Blood and Will.

No, not really

Company reporting ban triggers fears of stock market closure
Listed companies ordered to stop publishing annual results


Britain’s top listed companies have been banned from publishing their annual results for at least the next fortnight in an unprecedented move by the City regulator to deal with the chaos caused by the coronavirus.

The instruction, contained in a letter sent by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulated companies over the weekend, immediately prompted speculation that it was the prelude to a full markets shutdown.

They’ve been told not to release preliminary results. But the full, audited results should still be released on schedule.

The Times has misunderstood what has been said.

Numbers I simply don’t believe

Life expectancy rose sharply in the US through the 20th century but over the past two decades fell by 25% for white Americans without a university degree even as it continued to rise for the better educated and for other races.

Apparently from Deaton and Case’s new book. And that’s not a number I believe in the slightest. There’s something screwy about it.

Of course, it could just be The Guardian’s reviewer, anyone actually know?

Telegraph subs!

Dame Fanny Waterman, who co-founded the world-renowned Leeds International Piano Competition, says she was left feeling “hurt” after allegedly being made to retire due to her age. She is now 99 years old.

Dame Fanny helped establish the competition in 1961 and, despite being only five years shy of her 100th birthday, said she wanted to work “forever”, and is claiming she was forced to retire due to her advancing years.

So, she 99? Or 95? Or five months short of her 100th birthday?

Times obit subs…..

Fyfield survives him, along with his daughter. He gave her “a joyous childhood” rather different to his own: when she broke her wrist, he drew jungle scenes on the caste of hippos, palms, giraffes and leopards, intricate and enchanting.

I, for one, didn’t know there were Hindu hippos.

It’s what they don’t say

So, why isn’t Mayor Pete gaining traction in S Carolina, a state where the D electorate is majority black? The fun thing being what they don’t mention. Absolutely nothing at all about the – well known and documented – difference in attitude towards gays along racial lines. Blacks being notably less keen.

Wonder why a leftie outlet wouldn’t mention that?

Is Oliver Kamm really this stupid?

Some degree of income inequality is healthy. The reason is not, as is sometimes argued by defenders of market outcomes, to provide incentives. It’s instead to provide a signalling device. If the rewards for one occupation rise markedly relative to another, then that provides information to workers that it would be worthwhile to acquire new skills. Equality of outcome in the wage distribution would, to that extent, make the economy less efficient.

What is that higher income signal to go get new skills other than an incentive?


Second, there is no consistent pattern in advanced industrial economies to suggest lower taxes on high earners stimulate consumption and growth. Sweden has a 70 per cent effective top tax rate yet its economy has performed pretty well since 2016. Far more important has been the country’s supply-side reforms to make it more worthwhile to work.

Supply side reforms being lower marginal income tax rates.


American academic writing again

This week marks what would have been George Harrison’s 77th birthday. Back in February 1988, the Quiet Beatle marked the occasion with a bona fide hit record, “Got My Mind Set on You,” which was soaring among the American radio airwaves at the time.

That’s pretty cool. George celebrated his 77 th birthday 32 years early. Nowt’s beyond a Beatle of course.

The source of this is our old friend:

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. He is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.

Today’s noodle armed word salad

What we eat and the way we eat it has always told us a great deal about politics and society. The explosion of trendy food courts and walled-off markets is no exception. They are exemplars of the financialisation and privatisation of urban space, of a middle-class ennui and yearning for authenticity, and a profits-first, pick-and-mix version of diversity. And such small portions!

Yeah, being able to eat indoors. Such a perversion caused by capitalism.

Times Subs? Report for your beating

Bletchley Park codebreaker at the age of 20 who was on duty when the German unconditional surrender came through in 1945

OK, she was 20 in 1945.

It was summer 1943 and although her Foreign Office contact could not divulge what the job was, or its location, he was able to tell the 20-year-old that it was important war work.

Oh, she was 20 in 1943.

Tsk. I mean, Tsk.

Ailsa Maxwell, Bletchley Park codebreaker, was born on December 16, 1922. She died on February 10, 2020, aged 97

By which count?

Capitalist Oppression returns to Cuba

However, while most hosts were excited by Airbnb entering the market, they didn’t anticipate that, as hosts, they would often be expected to go beyond their traditional role of simply providing accommodations to their guests. In some cases, being a host required emotionally demanding labor, such as coping with exhaustion while “putting on a smile.” The costs of emotional labor stemming from the growth of access to platforms such as Airbnb affected not only Cuban hosts but also non-hosts impacted by the neighborhood changes.

Although Airbnb doesn’t acknowledge or address the emotional labor imposed onto Cubans, they have certainly capitalized on such labor by advertising the authentic experience. That’s a way to attract more customers and provide a unique experience at the exploitation of others.