Anorak

Money | Anorak - Part 5

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

Dong Energy to change name to…

Denmark’s Dong Energy is to rename. Dong, as I’m sure you know, stands for Danish Oil and Natural Gas. The new moniker will align it with a “profound strategic transformation from black to green energy”.

 

dong

 

 

The new name is DIL… No. It’s Ørsted, in honour of 19th-century scientist Hans Christian Ørsted.

Which means DONG is now up for grabs!

Posted: 2nd, October 2017 | In: Money | Comment


Words are bad: Australians warned not to offend weak-minded women at work

The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) wants to warn you about words. The DCA is an “independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace”. The DCA are guns for hire. They will deliver a 2 hour talk at your organisation “by experienced DCA staff and consultants”. Does it cost? Yes:

Fees
$2,500 per session for DCA members.
$3,600 per session for non-members.

For small businesses of – get this – as low as one employer (can you offend yourself?) membership is $1,645 a year.

You will be told that using words like “abo”, “retard”, “poofter”, “fag”, “dyke” and “so gay” can be upsetting. Who knew? Also saying “hi, girl’ or “hi guys” is taboo.

“We want to get people thinking about the language they use in the workplace and whether it’s inclusive or excludes people,”says DCA’s CEO Lisa Annese. She offers an example. “A really good test is reversing the gender,” says Annese. “Would you walk into a mixed gender group and say ‘Hello ladies’ or ‘Hello girls’? No, because men would be offended. I used to use the word guys. I have both genders in my team and I out of respect for everyone, I think it’s much better if I say ‘Hi team’ as it includes everyone. It’s a small change.”

Women are so weak and easily offended that they need protecting from hearing the word “guys”. What an understanding view of women that is. These delicate types need safer spaces to work in. And who hasn’t met a modern Aussie male intimated by being called a ‘lady’? Well done DCA!

And “mum” is out, too. You should also avoid “drudge”, “slave” or “Filipino”, if you work in one of the smarter areas:

 

Posted: 1st, October 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


Billionaire donates £200m to investigate ‘baloney’ and spread bad science

leeches homeopathy Henry Samueli

 

Mega-rich Henry Samueli, a fan of “integrative medicine” (homeopathy) has donated – get this – 200m to UC Irvine. “The human body is a very complex and highly interconnected system. Therefore our healthcare needs to be looked at through a more holistic lens,” opines Samueli, who owns the Anaheim Ducks. “Our genetics, our surrounding environment, our nutrition, our physical activity and our mental state all play critical roles in our well-being.”

As someone who has been stricken by serious illness, I can says that I’m going with the science and the big machines over the pseudoscience, personal prejudice, propaganda, faith-based medicine guff that denies human progress in chemistry and physics.

Rebecca Watson is scathing:

Now they’ve given millions to UC Irvine, a public university, to set up a school for baloney….I mean “alternative medicine.” It’ll be called the “College of Health Sciences,” misusing at least three words in a four-word name, which is really pretty impressive.

I read about all this in a positively glowing article in the LA Times, which didn’t seek out a single voice to disagree with the idea that a college of baloney is a brilliant idea. The LA Times didn’t even consult the LA Times of six months ago, where they reported on another woman who took aconite as a remedy. That woman was hospitalized for weeks and then she died, because aconite is a poison. Susan’s aconite product must have been real homeopathy, meaning that it was just sugar water and there wasn’t actually any aconite in it at all. Otherwise, instead of getting better naturally from her cold she also would have fucking died, and then nobody would be giving millions of dollars to a public university to spread dangerous baloney.

As they say in Anaheim: Quack!

 

 

Spotter: BB

Posted: 27th, September 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


NHS wages: multiplier effect v opportunity costs

If you pay the NHS’s legion of workers more money, they’ll spend it and everyone will be better off. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of economics will recognise that as only partly true. But in the Guardian, it’s just a magical fact. Faiza Shaheen tells readers about the “muliplier effect”. She does not mention opportunity cost, of which more later:

Putting the direct costs of the pay cap to public services aside, there is also the so-called multiplier effect to consider. This means when you give someone a pay rise, there are larger positive implications for the economy because it can stimulate further rounds of spending. For example, if there is a £2bn increase in wages for NHS workers and they spend just half of this in shops, then shopkeepers will also receive income.

True. But why not just cut taxes and rates for shopkeepers. Same result, no? Around 2.7 million people work in retail in the UK. It is the nation’s biggest employer. Around 1.2 million of us work for the NHS.

In turn, this increase in income will mean shopkeepers are more likely to employ more people and increase salaries themselves.

Shopkeepers are booming. Will others want to get in on the boom and open their own shops, perhaps undercutting the existing outfits? Indeed, in May 2017 Chris Hopson, NHS Providers’ chief executive, told the Guardian: “Years of pay restraint and stressful working conditions are taking their toll,” he said. “Pay is becoming uncompetitive. Significant numbers of trusts say lower paid staff are leaving to stack shelves in supermarkets rather than carry on with the NHS.”

Back to Shaheen:

The treasury would then not just receive more taxes from higher wages among NHS staff, but also the VAT on extra goods sold, and on higher income taxes from jobs created elsewhere.

Of course, some of the State’ investment in NHS staff will return to central Government. But that misses the point.

The multiplier effect is thought to be higher for those on low-middle incomes, as they are much more likely to spend it than save it or put it in a tax haven. According to a Unison study based on International Monetary Fund figures, every 1% increase in public sector pay would generate between £710m and £820m for the government in increased income tax.

Tim Worstall notes:

That money has come from someone. Might be tax, might be borrowing, but those who had it would have also spent some portion of it into the economy. Even if we say that borrowing means it is obviously only coming from savings if those savings weren’t put into gilts then it would have been invested elsewhere instead.

What we actually want to know is what is the effect after this? This is known as the marginal propensity to spend (or save, the inverse). If we take tax off low paid people and give it to low paid people then the net effect is nothing. Because whatever the marginal propensity to spend of the poor is, it’ll be the same or those who lose money as those who gain it. If we take money off the rich then there will be a change. But that change is not the amount of money itself. It’s the difference between what the rich would have spent and the poor do spend. A useful rule of thumb here is some 15%. Upper middle classes might save 15% of any marginal income, the poor 0%, that’s the amount that spending rises by.

Do also note that this only applies to tax funded increases in such wages. If it’s from what is already being saved well, those savings would have been used to invest in some other thing if not borrowed by government.

Spotter: The Guardian

 

 

Posted: 19th, September 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


Mumsnet embroiled in swearing threat

According to Mumsnet, it is “the UK’s most popular parenting website”. It’s largely monetised through adverts. But the advertisers have begun to look at what the brands are appearing alongside. Turns out that mums who spend their days talking rubbish on Mumsnet are swearing. So ‘bad’ is is that the National Trust and Bulgari are threatening to pull their adds unless it stops.

The Economist has produced a chart of the sweariest places on the site:

 

Mumsnet swearing

 

Swearing is enjoyably versatile. And any moves to sanitise the web are regressive. But the marketeers are only calling for the kind of ban already enforced at football grounds and on the street: in 2016 Salford City Council introduced a Public Space Protection Order that banned swearing on Salford Quays, site of BBC Media City and new quayside homes. Caught using “foul and abusive language” around the Quays and suffer the consequences. The council said it was “satisfied the ban will improve quality of life” for those living in Salford Quays.

But will such a ban make Mumsnet better or worse? Should soft-porn Bulgari get its own house in order first?

 

 

To say nothing of the National Trust’s filth:

 

 

Spotter: EconomistNaked Capitalism

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


How to fire a freelancer

globe and mail freelancers sacking

 

The Globe and Mail has canned “a number of” freelance columnists, including Tabatha Southey and Leah McLaren. The paper’s editor-in-chief, David Walmsley, thought it decent to sack them by form email.

Dear [Name]

I wanted to write you to let you know the results of a review The Globe and Mail has undertaken with respect to our freelance footprint. As a result I am sorry to tell you we will no longer be taking your submissions on a regular basis.

You are one of a number of freelancers affected. The review considered overall gaps and strengths in our current and future coverage plans and overall budget priorities.

I would like to thank you for the great work you have done for us over the years and wish you a continued bright future with your pen and pixels, wherever they take you.

Dw

In a reply to Walmsley, McLaren wrote back:

Dear David,

I wanted to write you to let you know the results of a review I have personally undertaken with respect to our How Not To Fire Someone After Seventeen Years of Writing a Column.

You are one of a number of managers affected. The review considered overall gaps and strengths in inexcusable management style, appalling jargon-filled memospeak and a complete lack of human empathy.

I would like to thank you for the great work you have done over the years in this regard and wish you a continued bright future in trying get some sleep at night.

Lm

Spotter: , Canadaland

Posted: 7th, September 2017 | In: Money | Comment


Spurs balls: ‘Gifted’ Eric Dier says he’s a role model

Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer Eric Dier has been talking about the astronomical amount of money paid in salaries and transfers. “It’s a very difficult situation,” said Dier. “People don’t realise how difficult it is for us to handle. It isn’t easy.”

It isn’t easy being young, rich, healthy and celebrated? Is it easier than other things, say, being old, ill, poor and frustrated?

He goes on: “I read something that Jamie Carragher wrote last year, talking about psychologists. He said we are extremely gifted footballers, not humans, or something along those lines. And I think people need to remember that sometimes. We’re normal human beings with a gift so it’s very difficult to handle all of those situations that happen in football with money and fame, etc.”

Make that gifted, young, rich, healthy and famous. To say nothing of humble. It’s tough. Dier is referring to a story former Liverpool player Carragher, now working as a TV pundit, wrote in the Daily Mail.

That brings me back to something Bill [Bill Beswick, a sports psychologist] told me. He said: “The normal man on the street thinks, because you are famous, you are an extraordinary person. You’re not. You’re an ordinary person with an extraordinary talent.”

And that is the point: we are all the same. We all have the same doubts, anxieties and insecurities. More than anything, we all know life isn’t easy.

Not gifted. Ordinary. But better than most at playing football.

“As for the money,” Dier goes on, “that’s the world we live in and it’s a business. If another sport was gaining that revenue all over the world its people would be earning similar amounts of money. I’m not saying I agree with it, I’m just saying that’s where the industry is at. It’s not Dembele’s fault that he’s good at football and someone is willing to pay £140m for him, it’s where the industry’s at and footballers are the last people to blame for someone wanting to pay that much money for them. They have no say in that.”

Footballers are the last people to blame for greed and high wages. It’s not them who agree to move clubs and sign the contracts?

“We could talk about this issue all day,” added Dier. “It’s so complex. Nowadays with social media up there and mobile phones, it’s constant. It’s 24/7 really. As footballers it’s extremely important because everyone knows we are role models…”

No, Eric, you’re not a role model. You’re a bloke who gets absurdly well paid for doing something many of us can only dream of doing for a living. A role model is a father, a mother, a guardian, a brother, sister and someone with whom you interact directly. A footballer on the telly is no more a role model than than a politician is. A footballer behaving well has no more effect on us than a football behaving badly – well, not unless you view the fans as suggestible dolts and thugs-in-waiting, which is how politicians and advertisers view them. Dier is not working for Public Health England.

He adds: “…we need to try to carry ourselves in the right way because thousands or millions of kids are looking up to you in a sense. I think every footballer takes that very seriously, their image from that point of view, and rightly so. But if you were to follow any 21-year-old or 22-year-old boy around for six months I’m sure you’d see a lot of bad stuff. So I think everyone has to realise that at the end of the day we are just young boys.”

No. You’re a grown man who wears shorts at work.

And then he just talks marketing tosh: “In football at 25 you are seen as being in the middle or your career but from a life point of view you are still a young boy so boys are going to make mistakes. So it’s how people handle that which is the real show of their character. But I think footballers in general as role models are really fantastic.”

Humility, thy name is Eric Dier.

Posted: 3rd, September 2017 | In: Money, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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