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Money | Anorak - Part 3

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Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Local News watch: Oldham Evening Chronicle shuts for good

oldhameveningchronicle

 

Farewell, the Oldham Evening Chronicle (founded in 1854). The paper has closed after 163 years reporting on the borough. It’s a bitter blow for the staff and those on the Chronicle’s four monthly stablemates – the Oldham Extra, Saddleworth Extra, Tameside Extra and the Dale Times.

In June the Chronicle had a circulation of 6,408. One was bought  by John Gilder, who had worked with the paper since 1981. He tells the BBC: “It will be sadly missed. It generates a lot of chat among local people. Before I found out, I popped into the shop and bought a copy without knowing it was the last one. I like reading a physical newspaper but very sadly it’s no more.”

 

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Starbucks maternity leave makes baristas moan

When the BBC produced its list of earners, I’m sure you like me were aghast that not everyone earned the same. Also, footballers. Why is one paid more than another for doing the same job? Molly Redden is astounded. In a Guardian story sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation, she says: “At Starbucks, your maternity leave depends on whether you’re a barista or a boss – One rule for corporate office employees, another for those who work in stores: unequal parental leave is splitting the company in two.”

So everyone at Starbucks and every other company, including The Guardian, should get the same perks. And what about the Rockefellers?

The Foundation was started by Standard Oil owner John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”), along with his son John D. Rockefeller Jr. (“Junior”), and Senior’s principal oil and gas business and philanthropic advisor, Frederick Taylor Gates, in New York State on May 14, 1913, when its charter was formally accepted by the New York State Legislature. Its stated mission is “promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world.”

The Rockefellers were rich. Very rich. The Svabeniks, a family of three children with another on the way, are less well off. Redden writes of them:

Jess resents having to make the choice at all so soon after giving birth. As a retail employee of the country’s most profitable coffee chain, she is entitled to six weeks of parental leave at partial pay after Roman is born. (Her leave will probably be unpaid, since she has worked at Starbucks for less than one year.) But starting on 1 October, employees at Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters – just an hour’s drive from Jess’s home – and its other corporate offices will be entitled to 16 weeks of fully paid leave upon giving birth, and fathers or adoptive parents will get 12.

Announcing the new policy in January, Starbucks called it “reflective of our mission and commitment to be a different kind of company and put our people first”.

But the new policy doesn’t increase the length of leave for in-store workers who give birth, or for new fathers and adoptive parents, who will continue to get none…

As the company’s announcement received laudatory headlines, Jess joined a group of Starbucks baristas and store managers in asking the company: why are we treated differently

Why aren’t all workers paid the same?

“It is in no way fair to the average worker,” Jess says. “You can’t have corporate without us. So why would one have a better benefit than the other?”

America should offer paid maternity leave as in the UK. But the idea that all workers at a large company are of equal worth to the company is absurd.

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tim Cook and Apple beat the principal-agent problem

Apple shares are soaring. The iPhone remains the best and most desirable phone on the market. And with success comes money.

Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, has collected $89.6m as part of a 10-year deal that he signed as an incentive to keep the iPhone maker at the forefront of the technology industry after he took over the reins in 2011 from company co-founder Steve Jobs.

Nice one:

The stock package awarded to Cook in 2011 was originally valued at $376m, but is now worth much more because Apple shares have increased by six-fold since he signed the deal.

Apple Insider has more:

If Apple’s performance fell in the middle third of the S&P 500, Cook’s RSU award would have been reduced by half. Cook would have collected nothing if Apple stock finished in the bottom-third.

Apple and Cook are bound.

The principal–agent problem, in political science and economics, (also known as agency dilemma or the agency problem) occurs when one person or entity (the “agent”) is able to make decisions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity: the “principal”. This dilemma exists in circumstances where agents are motivated to act in their own best interests, which are contrary to those of their principals, and is an example of moral hazard.

Meanwhile, over at the Guardian, which repeats the story of Cook’s earnings from a newswire feed without mention of the penalties Cook faced for missing targets:

The Guardian has confirmed losses of £69m for the last financial year but said it was making significant progress in its membership scheme, with more than 50,000 people paying to sign up.

At least the newspaper now is trying to produce a viable business, asking readers to donate (no, not to pay, as the Times does):

The new editor of The Guardian is to be paid tens of thousands less than her male predecessor, according to figures published by the newspaper group.

Katharine Viner received a salary of £340,000 for 2014-15, putting her basic earnings well behind the £395,000 handed to Alan Rusbridger, whom she replaced last month as editor-in-chief of the paper.

Taking into account Mr Rusbridger’s other payouts from the group, where he was editor for two decades, the former newspaper boss took home £492,000 over the past year, £152,000 more than his successor.

And for his last seasons in charge:

The revelation of the pay gap came as Guardian News and Media, the publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, reported an underlying loss of £19.1 million for its latest financial year, a slight improvement on the £19.4 million it lost the previous year.

Performance-related pay can be perilous.

Posted: 30th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Ministers embarrassed by successful academies want leaders’ salaries capped

Would it shock you to know that the boss of a group of high-ranking schools earns £420,000 a year? Sir Daniel Moynihan, of the Harris Federation, a chain of 44 schools, is the country’s highest-paid chief executive of an academy trust. His annual wage is the sort of money a Premier League football take home every fortnight. But that’s not really a valid comparison is it. After all, both the footballer and the schools’ executive are in the private sector.

The Federation says on its website:

67% of all of our Academies inspected so far have been graded as Outstanding (compared to 20% nationally) with the rest judged as Good. 83% of our Secondary Academies have been judged as Outstanding so far.

In Primary education our Academies have been judged to be the top performing group of schools compared to all other local authorities and academy trusts in England, in both 2015 and 2016 by the highly respected Education Policy Institute.

At Secondary Harris Federation has regularly been named as one of the top performing groups in the country for disadvantaged pupils by the Sutton Trust charity.

The charity was created by Lord Harris, who acts as its sponsor. A dyslexic who left school early, his story is an inspiration:

Educated at Streatham Grammar School, he had to cut short his education at 15 after the death of his father in order to take over the running of the family business of three carpet shops. He went on to set up Carpetright, now a public company with over 600 branches across the UK and the rest of Europe.

But it;s no good, say Ministers seeking to stop “fat cat” salaries.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, a former chief inspector of schools, and Lord Adonis, a former Labour schools minister, told The Sunday Times that ministers must cap salaries for academy high-earners. Adonis wants to prevent anyone being paid more than £150,000, the salary paid to Theresa May.

Why should a public servant’s salary, moreover a politician’s, be the benchmark for someone working in the private sector, especially one doing such a good job?

The row comes as school budgets are being cut, teachers face a 1% pay rise and parents are being asked to pay for basics at state schools, including textbooks.

Adonis said: “It is a simple question of morality and use of public funding.”

Morality? Phew! good job its not about results.

 

Posted: 28th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lotto scratchcard ‘fury’ but no mention of the Health Lottery

The Daily Star picks up the sound of “punters’ fury at Lotto card Farce”.

Those “angry punters” have branded the National Lottery a “rip -off”. The Star says “nearly a quarter” and “most of the top prizes” on Lotto’s 42 scratch card games currently on sale offer prizes that have already been won. “What a waste of money,” says one unnamed gambler, without irony.

 

daily_star health lottery

 

We do hear from Camelot, which operates the cards. “There are only two scratchcard  on sale that have no top prizes remaining. No new packs of these scratchcards can be put on sale.”

That seems fair.

 

daily_star health lottery

 

What seems a little less fair is that the Daily Star does not mention that its owner (Richard Demond) is chairman of Northern & Shell, parent company of the Health Lottery, a Lotto rival which sells virtual scratchcards for online games. How it deals with scratchcards after the top prizes have been claimed is not mentioned.

We called the Health Lottery to ask them. Calls to The Health Lottery Helpline are charged at 7p per minute plus your telephone provider’s access charge. It took 59 seconds for us to be able to press ‘4’ to speak with an advisor.

We were directed to the Ts and Cs. They tells us:

The result of each Instant Lottery Game shall be pre-determined at the time of purchase and shall not include any element of skill. The Health Lottery Computer System will determine prizes based on the probabilities and not from a limited pool of prizes…

The chances of winning a Prize will be exactly the same at the point of purchase and shall not be affected by previous wins in the same Game or other Prizes previously paid in other Instant Lottery Games . The advertised prize structure shall remain in place at all times, with each prize tier always available for a win as the Instant Lottery Games do not use a limited pool.

It’s different system to the Lotto, then. Whether or not it’s any fairer is moot. Both systems are after all, odds-based punts.

 

Posted: 25th, August 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


For sale: jar of soil touched by the eclipse

eclipse soil

 

Did the eclipse touch your home and garden? If it did, you could be rich. Your patch of ground touched by the celestial wonder is worth a load of money:

This is a Jar of soil from the area of greatest duration of the eclipse in Carbondale Illinois. This dirt seen total darkness as the moon traveled in front of the sun (2 minutes and 40 seconds). Plant your special seeds in this dirt and let the magic begin. Ok seriously, it’s just dirt, but it is everything I said it is. Hey, if nothing else help a guy out I need new tires for my wife’s car 😉 Seriously, I mean it!!!

Tyres cost $1,029. Dig deep!

Posted: 25th, August 2017 | In: Money, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Medium wants to pay writers with claps

Good news is that Medium is thinking about – swoons! – paying writers who post on its website a fair rate. And to help them work out how much to pay are the readers, who will click on a pair of hands at the foot of each article and watch them clap. The more claps a story gets, the money cents the writer with earn. Yeah, Medium was to give writers the clap.

The Verge reports:

A couple weeks ago, Medium replaced its “recommend” feature — a little heart button at the end of each article — with a “clap” button that you can click as many times as you want (much like how Periscope lets you send broadcasters an infinite number of hearts). The site wants people to send authors claps to show how much they enjoy reading each article.

Now, those claps are actually going to mean something. Medium pays authors by dividing up every individual subscriber’s fee between the different articles they’ve read that month. But rather than doing an even division between articles, Medium will weight payments toward whichever articles a subscriber gives the most claps to. It’s not clear exactly how much each individual clap tips the scale, but you can be sure that writers will be asking readers to click that button.

Maybe writers should also be penalised for writing bad things with other hand gestures, like the bird, the tosser and a pointed finger that says ‘You’re fired’?

Posted: 23rd, August 2017 | In: Money, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Shropshire Hospital rejects donations from fund-raising transvestites

Many men like dressing up as women: sailors, rugby players, the headmistress at St Trinian’s school, East German athletes and Glamour magazine’s woman of the year. So too men on a fundraising drive for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust. The lads dressed up as female nurses and shook their tins in the streets of Ludlow, Shropshire. People dug deep in their pockets and donated a none-too-shabby £2,500.

But the money is no good. It’s dirty. The hospital has rejected the cash, saying the way  it was earned was “highly-sexualised” and “demeaning”.

The Trust’s letter to the Ludlow Hospital League of Friends, which raised the cash, opines: “The presentation of men dressed as female nurses in a highly-sexualised and demeaning way is wrong, very outdated and insulting to the profession.”

Indeed. If nurses are to be demeaned by anyone it will be by pen pushers, male doctors and MPs, which is far more modern and progressive.

Posted: 23rd, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Cancer charity wrongly paid founder £31,000 from £900,000 budget with £27,000 left over for charitable activities

Have you been mugged by a charity? The Charity Commission has issued an official warning to the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, citing a  “significant breaches of trust”.

The charity’s founder Wendy Watson MBE was paid £31,000 for her good works. The Times explains where the money in the box ends up:

Wendy Watson MBE, who was also a trustee, was paid from the charity’s £909,634 budget. In total £874,539 was set down in the charity’s accounts as “fundraising expenses and other costs”, with just £27,403, or 3 per cent, left over for charitable activities.

The needy got less than Watson’s take?

Among other financial irregularities discovered by the watchdog were informal loans between Mrs Watson and the charity, and payments to her daughter for work as a fundraiser.

The Charity Commission’s “OFFICIAL WARNING” states:

Under the power in section 75A1(b) of the Charities Act 2011 the Charity Commission for England and Wales (“the Commission”) issues the following OFFICIAL WARNING to The National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline – 1150183 on the grounds that the Charity Commission considers that the trustees of the charity have committed a breach of trust or duty or misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity in relation to:

 making unauthorised payments to a connected person
 entering into an informal loan agreement with a connected person
 improperly delegating the administration and management of the charity
 failing to keep proper minutes and other records of decision making
 failing to properly implement and manage financial controls.

You can find out what charities spend against money raised and the percent funded by the state here.

Posted: 14th, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Google blacklists Damore to protect weak women from diverse opinions

Everything is not rosy at Google. An internal memo written by Google engineer James Damore accusing the internet behemoth of operating as an “ideological echo chamber” is riding high on the news cycle. Google, opined Damore, is a place where the company’s approach to diversity is taboo. Google “dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the ‘victims’,” he wrote. And for saying that he was – get this-  sacked.

“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” says Damore. He says “differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50 per cent representation of women in tech and leadership”. He adds that ‘”discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business”.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, read that and decreed that Damore had amplified “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. Google’s workforce is 69% male. A mere 2% of Google staff are African American.

 

Damore’s views were not debated. He was fired. He lost his livelihood for being a disruptor, something Google, which owns YouTube, is proud of saying of itself. You must stick to the orthodoxy or perish. Free expression is out at Google. But Pichai maintains, “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves.” That’s not free speech you can hear – that’s the soft wind of everyone nodding in agreement.

Damore touched a nerve. Google fired him to advertise its own sound morals. Never mind that women are underrepresented and one in 50 workers at any paygrade is African American, just read the press releases and know that Google upholds diversity and equality and will punish anyone expressing ‘the wrong’ views. On Google’s diversity page, Pichai is quoted saying, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” Oh, the irony.

Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, tells us in response to Damore: “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

She fails to tells us why, though. Damore did not understand the point of Google’s diversity programs. Does it improve results? Can its success be measured? Google defines itself as ‘diverse’ – Damore was sacked for breaking its “code of conduct”.

Picahi adds that female Googlers “are hurting and feel judged based on their gender”. Lucky for them that the blokes in charge are there to rally to the defence of these ultra-sensitive, simpering women who tremble and cower in the face of a man with a memo.

 

Posted: 10th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Facebook is punishing smaller publishers

Is Facebook a friend to quality journalism? As well as publishing Anorak, I publish Flashbak. It’s Facebook page is up to 280,000 followers. But very few of the people who choose to follow the Page get to see it. Facebook limits the reach of anything I and others post there.

To reach every reader who wants to see our stories in their newsfeed, we’d have to pay Facebook a few hundred dollars per post. Post 5 stories a day and we’d be giving Facebook around £1,000. Add that up over a week; a month; a year. We can’t afford it. But that’s the deal. So we play along in the hope that readers will seek us out and find us though Facebook and other means – such as a weekly newsletter pulled together by the excellent Rob Baker.

But Facebook is making it even harder. Facebook is to penalise “reposted” content. They want us to post “new, original, content”. Posting links to stories on Flashbak.com we’ve taken a long time to research and resource, for instance, will be seen by even fewer readers. But slap up a livestream video of one of us walking about an art gallery, say, and lots more people will see it.

Come on, Facebook, we want to work with you but you’re making it harder and harder for small and mid-sized publishers to make the deal work .

Posted: 9th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Martin Shkreli convicted on 3 counts in fraud case

shrekli pharma bro

 

Martin Shkreli, aka ‘Pharma Bro’, has been found guilty of three felony criminal charges, including securities fraud. He was cleared of five other charges at a court in New York.

The Washington Post notes:

“We’re delighted in many ways,” Shkreli said outside the courtroom, saying he was glad to be exonerated on many of the charges. This was a witch hunt of epic proportions,” he said. “They may have found some broomsticks.”

What with this being America, Shkreli, 34, will most likely not serve any time in prison – the maximum terms behind bars for his crimes is 20 years – and just pay his way out.

The mixed decision perplexed many in the courtroom, including the 34-year-old Shkreli, who first drew widespread public scorn in 2015 for raising the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 5,000 percent.

You will recall Shrekli from his ealier work, outlined by CNBC:

The charges against Shkreli were unrelated to his decision, while CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, to raise the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill in 2015.

Spiking the price of the life-saving drug earned Shrekli the sobriquet “The Most Hated Man In America”.

Was he hard done by? Fortune writes:

Robert C. Hockett, a Cornell University law professor, said the U.S. Justice Department is still smarting from criticism that it didn’t hold top executives accountable after the widespread fraud leading to the 2007 financial crisis. With limited resources, prosecutors also often factor in “extreme moral turpitude” as a “tie-breaker” in cases where it’s not clear whether to move forward, he said.

“Zealously pursuing a notorious and widely loathed character like Shkreli offers a great deal of bang for the buck where demonstrating prosecutorial seriousness is concerned,” Hockett said.

He’s served his purpose. Will he do his time?

Posted: 6th, August 2017 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Polly Tonybee misses the point about Kensington and Chelsea property tycoons

Polly Tonybee is writing about London property in the Guardian.

Empty property bought by investors to sit unused is a scandal the Guardian has exposed this week, finding 1,652 in the Grenfell borough of Kensington and Chelsea alone.

Why is buying expensive property a scandal? Tonybee says these “mothballed houses” ares”sitting there as gold bullion in the bank, not homes for anyone.” Are the kind of people who can afford to rent gold bullion-homes are of prime concern in the poster pats of London?

Even the prospect of collecting £10,000 a month is not enough to encourage wealthy owners to fill their vacant properties

Rich invest money to get richer. Not exactly news, is it, let alone a scandal on a par, say with blood diamonds or blowing the crap out of oil-rich Iraq? (What changes his mind?” asked Tonybee in 2003. Her question was rhetorical because she swiftly answered: “Only the barrel of a gun up his nostril.”)

She then adds this – and it’s great:

What happens at the top end of the market knocks on all down the chain – and what’s happening at the bottom is a disaster.

She’s right. And the top end is booming. If the big property developers build more, then good. No matter who buys the bricks, it’s the building of more than makes things work. The story should not be about affordable homes; it should be about more homes.

PS: Polly Tonybee knows all about foreigners buying property overseas and leaving it empty for most of the time. She owns a second home in Tuscany. It’s all that non-working-class Left-wing politics. Hold the equality and fighting the powerful, Polly’s into class guilt, the family firm and prejudice.

PPS: This from 2016: “More than 7,500 local authority properties across the capital are lying empty as thousands of Londoners struggle to find a home.”

Posted: 4th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Politician sues god for failed promotion

india money sue god

 

Life imitates Billy Connolly movies in India. If you hire the priest to perform the service then the service must be done. Or else:

An MLA, who belongs to the ruling party in Telangana, paid Rs 50 lakh to two tribal priests to perform a special pooja so that he gets a ministerial berth. However, when the duo failed to give him the promised political fortune, the MLA sent them to police custody.

A Lakh Rupee is one hundred thousand rupees. The politician paid around £60,000 for prayers! You trust this man’s judgement?

Spotter: India.com

 

Posted: 17th, July 2017 | In: Money, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dash Cam: biker jumps onto bonnet of car in compensation attempt (video)

Idiot of the day is the biker who leapt on the bonnet of car in an attmept to win compensation cash. Dash cam – you got on?

Posted: 15th, July 2017 | In: Money, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal player donates £19,000 to Grenfell fund

Footballers get such a bad press it’s useful to focus on the good they do. Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has kept his pledge to donate £50 for every minute he played for Spain in the European Under-21 Championship. The sums have been done and Bellrin will give £19,050 to the Red Cross fund helping survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

This follows news that Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who grew up in north west London and played for QPR, has also made a substantial donation to Grenfell survivors.

NOTE: Let’s hope all the money goes to those who need it. According to the Third Sector, the British Red Cross paid its highest earner £173,000 in 2017. Thirty-seven charities paid their top earner more than £200,000.

Posted: 3rd, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Money, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After Grenfell Tower: let’s envy the ‘victims’ in their luxury flats

Kensington Row grenfell tower

 

After Grenfell Tower, news that displaced residents will be rehoused in “Posh New £5m Flats” (Star) at a new-build complex called Kensington Row located around a mile and a half from the disaster. The development has 68 flats, where the three-bed and four-bed flats are worth “around £5m” each.  These bigger flats, says the paper, are where “a majority of the survivors” will live.

Over in the Express there’s news that only “some of the victims” will be rehoused in the new flats. I’d say none of the victims will be. They’re dead – at least 79 of them. It’s the survivors who are being rehoused because their last home was a toxic time-bomb.

The flats, secured by the City of London Corporation, are worth even more in the Express. Now homes on the plot are worth up to £8.5m. Residents have access to a “gym, swimming pool, spa, private cinema and 24-hour concierge”. Are we supposed to envy them, or just marvel at the insane London property market which keeps so many people off the property ladder?

 

Kensington Row grenfell tower

The Mail says those survivors are living the dream

 

And then we learn that the City of London Corp paid around £10m (source: The Sun) for the 68 flats. That’s not £5m each is it – even if Diane Abbott is doing the maths. The majority of survivors are not living in £5m flats. It’s just under £150,000 for each, on average. Yes, I know that’s not the asking price, but the base price. The developers have “sold the properties at cost price”. But it proves that the flats’ monetary value is affected by many forces, not least of all guesswork and the legal requirement that all new complexes contain an element of low-cost housing.  The government defines affordable housing as “social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market”.

The need for a decent roof over your head is not a luxury or an investor’s punt. It’s a basic human requirement.

Oddly, the Mirror makes no mention of the new flats until Page 5. Buried in the 14h paragraph of a story on how Grenfell Tower became enveloped in a “deadly cyanide cloud”, we learn that “some Grenfell residents” will be rehoused “in a £10m deal”.

The Mail leaves it to pages 20 and 21 to focus on the flats. Now the flats are in “£2bn blocks” and worth up to £13m. The flats are “the stuff of dreams”. Well, the privately owned ones next door the council flats on the same £2bn development are. The council homes will have a lower spec.

The rehoused Grenfeell Tower survivors will, the paper observes, “live near multi-millionaires”. Not everyone’s a multi-millionaire in London – yet. There are people in the city who live in social housing and do menial and blue collar jobs. Who knew?

Posted: 22nd, June 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Man sues date for texting during Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Brandon Vezmar is suing his date for $17.31, the price of the movie ticket he bought her. Vezmar claims the woman’s behaviour on their night out “is a threat to civilized society”.

Vezmar, 37, of Austin, Texas, is unhappy that whilst on a date at Barton Creek Square cinema, the woman, 35, became disinterested in the 3D showing of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 and began texting.

He talks to the American-Statesman. “It was kind of a first date from hell,” he says. About 15 minutes into the movie she took out her phone and texted. “This is like one of my biggest pet peeves,” he adds. In his small claim’s law suit Vezmar claims the woman “activated her phone at least 10-20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages”. This, he states, was a “direct violation” of the cinema’s policy on mobile phone use.

He says he asked her to stop. She refused. He invited her to text outside, which she did. She left and never returned. She took off in the car she and Vezmar had shared to reach the cinema, leaving him to make his own way home.

“I had my phone low and I wasn’t bothering anybody,” she says. “It wasn’t like constant texting. I’m not a bad woman. I just went out on a date.”

This being America, the woman says “she planned to file a protective order against Vezmar for contacting her little sister to get the money for the movie ticket”.

This one will run and run.

Posted: 16th, June 2017 | In: Film, Money, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


For the unlucky not the few: Michael Lewis narrates the parable of the lucky man and the fought cookie

cookie michael lewis

 

In 2012 Moneyball author Michael Lewis gave addressed Princeton University. He tells the gilded youth arranged before him that they “owe a debt to the unlucky”.

I now live in Berkeley, California. A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.

This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I’m sure lots of other human behavior. But it also is relevant to new graduates of Princeton University. In a general sort of way you have been appointed the leader of the group. Your appointment may not be entirely arbitrary. But you must sense its arbitrary aspect: you are the lucky few. Lucky in your parents, lucky in your country, lucky that a place like Princeton exists that can take in lucky people, introduce them to other lucky people, and increase their chances of becoming even luckier. Lucky that you live in the richest society the world has ever seen, in a time when no one actually expects you to sacrifice your interests to anything.

All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.

Of course, cookies make you fat. You should thank the greedy sods for prolonging your lives.

 

Spotter: @goldman, Kottke

Posted: 11th, June 2017 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fabulous playing cards inspired by Karina Eibatova’s bird art

We love a beautiful set of playing cards. This set designed by Karina Eibatova with LUX Cards features her birds and feathers drawings.

 

 

You can buy AVES  here. And you can learn how to play at the online casino at RedBet.

Posted: 9th, June 2017 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Donald Trump and the cancer charity horror story

21st Century Bastards Donald TRump- action figures for the post-truth age

 

Occasionally you read something that shocks you. Forbes’ Dan Alexander has a story about Donald Trump’s son Eric and a charity golf event .

The real star of the day is Eric Trump, the president’s second son and now the co-head of the Trump Organization, who has hosted this event for ten years on behalf of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. He’s done a ton of good: To date, he’s directed more than $11 million there, the vast majority of it via this annual golf event. He has also helped raise another $5 million through events with other organizations.

Fabulous. Overlooking the grandstanding, doesn’t just one extra dollar raised make the entire thing worthwhile? Surely it does.

The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity’s efficiency: Because he can get his family’s golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump tells Forbes.

That’s not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free–that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.

Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

Read it all on Forbes.

The wonder is that President Trump should know that charity can never replace government social assurance. Nothing and no-one has the financial capacity of the federal government. Contributing your celebrity to the cause is not enough:

Donations rise during good times and fall during bad; the $316 billion given last year is high, but it’s still less than any of the three years leading up to the last recession. It’s understandable that people would have less to give when times are hard, but happens to be the exact time when the need is highest. …

The food stamps program cost $78 billion last year, and Medicaid cost, $251 billion. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or what used to be called welfare, cost another $31 billion. Once the Obamacare exchanges reach something like full capacity in 2017, federal subsidies for insurance on those exchanges is projected to cost about $108 billion. And that’s before we even mention Social Security, which cost $773 billion in 2012.

So the idea that a reduction in these programs could somehow be made up for by an increase in private giving just doesn’t reflect reality.

Over to the President…

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Man takes exquisite revenge on VERY LOUD business meeting in a coffee shop

When people use the coffee shop for business meeting that can be loud.  VERY LOUD. One man has exacted revenge:

 

Guy has perfect revenge on people having VERY LOUD business meeting in coffee shop

 

Spotter: @sehnaoiu, The Poke

Posted: 20th, May 2017 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lottery winner’s millionaire son sues parents for more money

Can love be measured in cash? Michael Dawes was given a pot load of cash by his dear old dad. But he reasoned that dad should have been more generous. The matter game before the Beak:

A man who was given nearly £1.6m by his father after he won £101m in the Euromillions has had his claim for more cash thrown out by a judge.

Best check the will.

Michael Dawes, 32, took his father, Dave, and stepmother Angie to court after they stopped giving him more money. He claimed the couple had promised to ensure he and his partner, James Beedle, 34, would never have to worry about money again.

All depends on how much they spend, right? A £1.6 million windfall – tax free because it’s a fit – is not a small sum of money. Spread over his working life – 18-70, say – and all things being equal, the sum gives young Dawes an equivalent income of  over £30,000 a year in today’s money. In April 2016 median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were £539. Not too shabby, then, for young Dawes. Or he could invest the sum wisely and get more – something achievable by stashing the cash on multiple high-interest-paying current accounts and taking a long-term view on funds and shares.

So what did he do with the money?

Michael Dawes was given £1m by his father and stepmother soon after their win, but the judge said nearly all of it had been spent within a month.

Sound investments?

About £550,000 was spent on a house in Portsmouth, where Michael lived, but he also gave nearly £250,000 to friends and his partner’s family, and quit a well-paid IT job.

He quit his job? Dad had won big on a low-risk/high-reward activity. Why work when you can just ask?

At one point, the pair were spending up to £30,000 a month, including £1,000 a week on groceries.

And he wanted to be kept in the style to which he had become accustomed. But the judge dismissed his claim.

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your numbers. Best of luck!

Posted: 19th, May 2017 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


He’s right: Jeremy Corbyn’s high income does not make him wealthy

jeremy corbyn money

 

Is Jeremy Corbyn a wealthy man? We don’t know. We haven’t seen his tax returns. All we do know is that he earns well. The UK average salary is around £27,000 a year. Corbyn earns more than £137,000  year. According to the Mirror, the pay gap is a “grotesque chasm between a rich one per cent and the other 99% of the country”.

Is Corbyn grotesquely rich? An annual income of £100,000 is enough to put you comfortably within the top 2% of all earners.

The Mail spots Corbyn speaking with Julie Etchingham on ITV’s Tonight show:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has REFUSED to say that he is a wealthy man – despite earning more than £137,000…

He said: ‘I consider myself adequately paid, very adequately paid for what I do…. What I do with it is a different matter. I consider myself well paid for what I do and I am wanting to say to everyone who’s well off, make your contribution to our society.’

Ms Etchingham, 47, reminded him that people at home will be ‘shouting at the TV saying “of course you’re a wealthy man on a £137,000″‘.

But he replied: ‘No, I’m not wealthy because of where I put the money, but I’m not going into that.’

He’s right. Wealth is having a great deal of money, resources, or assets. We don’t know if Jeremy Corbyn is wealthy. We do know that he is paid well and his income affords him choices. Wealth inequality is not the same as income inequality. The two can be linked. But they are not cause and effect.

 

Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0