“Like a blind man at an orgy… I was going to have to feel my way out”
You’ve got to hand it to Banksy, he’s like the proverbial moth to a flame when controversy is in the air.
So it’s wholly unsurprising – but still a welcome move, mind – that he’s got involved in the Occupy London shindig down at St Paul’s. Last night, the camera shy artist presented an exclusive new sculpture to the protestors in front of the cathedral to illustrate his solidarity with the cause.
The Burzynski Clinic (selling an unproven cure for cancer) has started to threaten those who talk about them with legal action. Even going as far as trying to intimidate young blogger Rhys Morgan by sending him pictures of his own house (very, ‘I know where you live…’) and threatening another blogger’s family.
This kind of reaction to people discussing your product shows that you are aware that you’re fake, and selling a scam product.
Estée Lauder Companies went public in 1995, and Ronald Lauder and his mother cashed in hundreds of millions of dollars in stock but managed to sidestep paying tens of millions in federal capital gains taxes by using a hedging technique known as shorting against the box.
Together, Mr. Lauder and his mother borrowed 13.8 million shares of company stock from relatives and sold them to the public during the offering at $26 a share. Selling borrowed shares in this way is referred to as a short position. Since the Lauders retained their own shares, the maneuver allowed them to have a neutral position in the stock, not subject to price swings. Under I.R.S. rules at the time, they avoided paying as much as $95 million in capital gains taxes that might otherwise have been due had they sold their own shares.
Such transactions allowed investors to cash in their shareholdings without paying taxes. But the Lauders’ use of the technique was so aggressive that Congress enacted a law afterward that limited the length of the tax deferral. And the Lauders eventually paid tens of millions in stock from the transaction.
Still, the family’s tax planning was effective enough that after Estée Lauder died in 2004, she passed down nearly $4 billion to her heirs, according to tax experts who studied the case and estimated that the estate was taxed at an effective rate of 16 percent — about a third of the top estate tax rate at the time.
“There’s real truth to the idea that the tax code for the 1 percent is different from the tax code for the 99 percent,” said Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of Colorado. “Any taxpayer lucky enough to have appreciated property is usually put to a choice: cash out and pay some tax, or hold the property and risk the vagaries of the market. Only the truly rich can use derivatives to get the best of both worlds — lots of cash and very little risk.”
A federal judge in New York on Monday threw out a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup over a 2007 mortgage derivatives deal, saying that the S.E.C.’s policy of settling cases by allowing a company to neither admit nor deny the agency’s allegations did not satisfy the law.
The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the S.E.C.’s $285 million settlement, announced last month, is “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest” because it does not provide the court with evidence on which to judge the settlement.
The ruling could throw the S.E.C.’s enforcement efforts into chaos, because a majority of the fraud cases and other actions that the agency brings against Wall Street firms are settled out of court, most often with a condition that the defendant does not admit that it violated the law while also promising not to deny it.
That condition gives a company or individual an advantage in subsequent civil litigation for damages, because cases in which no facts are established cannot be used in evidence in other cases, like shareholder lawsuits seeking recovery of losses or damages.
“An application of judicial power that does not rest on facts is worse than mindless, it is inherently dangerous,” Judge Rakoff wrote in the case, S.E.C. v. Citigroup Global Markets. “In any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth.”
What we have here is a century of deceit, and a century revealing the internal culture inherent in the copyright industry. Every time something new appears, the copyright industry has learned to cry like a little baby that needs more food, and succeeds practically every time to get legislators to channel taxpayer money their way or restrict competing industries. And every time the copyright industry succeeds in doing so, this behavior is further reinforced.
It is far past due that the copyright industry is stripped of its nobility benefits, every part of its governmental weekly allowance, and gets kicked out of its comfy chair to get a damn job and learn to compete on a free and honest market.
A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback said Sunday that she is rejecting her high school principal’s demand for a written apology.
And to show how well the Streisand effect works:
“Krawitz, her principal, told The Kansas City Star previously that the situation is a “private issue, not a public matter” but didn’t return a phone message from The Associated Press at his home Sunday. ”
“Brownback’s office didn’t return calls or emails Sunday from the AP. ”
They both know they fucked up.
Brownback issued a statement Monday after the Shawnee Mission School District said 18-year-old Emma Sullivan wouldn’t be punished for refusing to write an apology letter to the governor.
In his statement, the governor thanked educators "who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum."
Less than a third of the $16 million gathered in 2010 by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean for earthquake relief in Haiti actually made it to emergency efforts in the country, the New York Post reported on Sunday.
According to the exclusive report, Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, doled out millions in questionable contracts — in fact, $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t seem to exist.
The Post also reported that a company called P&A Construction — which is run by Warnel Pierre, Jean’s brother-in-law — received $353,983 from the group.
Islands make up only about 3% of the earth’s land area but host about 20% of all species and 50 to 60% of endangered species. The biggest threat to islands are invasive species, mainly rats, but also pigs and cats, who feed on nesting birds and native plants. New Zealand has been the innovator in clearing islands of rats because of its endangered populations of flightless birds which are vulnerable. One species of flightless parrot, known as the kakapo, has only 131 individuals left in the “wild” – they are closely guarded 24×7 on Codfish Island, their nests surrounded by rat traps and cameras vigilantly on the lookout for invaders.
The idea of clearing islands of rats was until very recently thought impossible. Rats quickly learned not to touch cyanide-laced food when they saw comrades writhing in death. A new poison called 1080 was developed that caused a slow death with no seeming connection to the food eaten. The rats would take the bait. Starting in 1988 a few intrepid individuals in New Zealand tried to clear a single small island of rats (Breaksea), much to the dismay of officials who thought it a waste of time and money. But it worked. Increasingly larger islands were attempted and new techniques developed using GPS pin-point helicopter drops of the bait. Entire species could be brought back from the brink of extinction by a few people in a few weeks of time. The largest islands cleared to date include Campbell Island (map) in New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands (map) and Rat Island (map) in the Bering Sea. Nearby Kiska Island (sight of a Japanese base during WWII which is still clearly visible on the map) is the next and biggest target, as is South Georgia Island. Over 800 islands have been cleared around the world, but it’s still a small amount compared to what could be done. This is a new and evolving technique, Island Conservation is one of the biggest island-exterminators going.
The world’s most prestigious consultancy prides itself on its intellectual prowess and ethical standards. But this year, an insider trading scandal surrounding former McKinsey luminaries has left staff and alumni reeling
I don’t get this “oh, we’re so ethical” thing they’ve got going in. They full well know that if they were really honest, they would recommend the wholesale dismissal of the entire management team that was stupid enough to bring them in. Instead, they overcharge a ridiculous amount to figure out what management wants to hear and telling them that. A great racket if you can get it.