70% of CEOs' effect on company performance can be attributed to random chance


Texas A&M Professor of Management Markus Fitza used a technique called variance decomposition to evaluate the extent to which the performance of companies can be attributed to astute leadership versus the random chance, and concluded that in 70% of cases, CEOs can't be shown to add any value to the companies they run. Read the rest

Read: Laurie Penny's BLUE MONDAY, class war and cute animal videos


Laurie Penny's science fiction story "Blue Monday" is a mean little kick up the ass. I workshopped this story with her last summer at the Clarion West workshop in Seattle and it doesn't get any less punchy on subsequent re-readings. Read the rest

Forced laborers sue Mississippi debtors' prison


If you're poor in Jackson, MS and you get a fine that you can't pay, the City of Jackson will sentence you to a "pay or stay" forced labor farm where you will work off your debts at $58/day literally shoveling shit; the alternative is to sit in an overcrowded, jail notorious for its violent guards and filthy conditions and pay down your fines at $25/day. Read the rest

How a lobbyist/doctor couple are destroying Worker's Comp across America


If you live in a state where Bill Minick and his company Partnersource has done its dirty work, your employer can opt out of Worker's Compensation plan and replace it with one designed by Minick -- he also writes state laws defining the terms for private replacements to Worker's Comp -- and backstopped by his wife Dr. Melissa Ton's medical practice, who gets to decide whether you deserve treatment. If she denies your claims, Minick's company makes more money. Read the rest

Some suggestions for sad, rich people


The Guardian's story about wealth therapists, who help one percenters cope with the stress of being rich in an era of widening wealth inequality, features quotes from some really awful-sounding, clueless people who compare the plight of the wealthy to the discrimination experienced by black people. Read the rest

The 21st Century's most unlikely plot device: heroic billionaires vs evil climate scientists


From Scott Westerfeld, (currently touring for his new, brilliant book "Zeroes"): "Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies." Read the rest

Facebook UK made £105M in 2014, paid £35M in bonuses, and will pay £4,327 in tax

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Facebook UK made £105M in 2014, paid £35M in bonuses, and will pay £4,327 in tax.

This is a notable improvement on its tax bill for 2013, which was £0 on earnings of £223m. Read the rest

The hockey-stick from hell: US incarceration per 100,000 people, 1890-today


Vox parsed out the Bureau of Justice Statistics' numbers on incarceration in prisons (excluding jails) and produced this ghastly visualization tracking the transformaiton of America into the country with the highest rate of incarceration in the history of the world. Read the rest

Funny because it's true: "Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes"


The UK humour site Daily Mash nails the UK's transformation into a Torified, bank-centric place where the need for shelter is a vulnerability to exploit in order to enrich yourself at the expense of the people around you with a brilliant short piece: "Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes." Read the rest

Stephen Hawking: robots could give us all material abundance, unless rich people hoard all the wealth


In a Reddit AMA, the eminent physicist warns that while increasing automation could give us a world of "luxurious leisure," that "most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution." Read the rest

Court tells millionaire yoga troll Bikram Choudhury that poses can't be copyrighted


Bikram Choudhury, the millionaire accused serial rapist who popularized hot yoga in America, sued other hot yoga studios in 2003, including "open source yoga" practicioners, asserting that he held a copyright over the sequence of poses conducted in his class. Read the rest

Prisoners' debate team trounces national champs from Harvard


The New York prisoners team is composed of people convicted of violent felonies who have gone on to take continuing education classes in prison through Bard College. They debated the proposition that public schools should be allowed to refuse education to undocumented students, arguing for the proposition. Read the rest

How guards and prosecutors retaliate against solitary confinement prisoners who blow the whistle


The Dallas Six is a group of prisoners who were beaten, shocked and gassed by prison guards who had previously beaten them in retaliation for complaints about abuse in solitary confinement. Read the rest

Air France execs' clothes torn off by protesters after layoff announcement


Protesters angry over proposed layoffs stormed an Air France executive meeting and cornered Director Pierre Plissonnier and Resources Director Xavier Broseta, tearing off the men's jackets and ripping their shirts off, forcing them to scale a fence to get free. Read the rest

UK Chancellor: I must cut tax benefits for working poor to help them

ca. 1870 --- An illustration from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

George Osborne, born to a titled millionaire, has explained that he is cutting the tax-credits that let the working poor survive, despite the Tory party's election promise not to do any such thing -- because it will reduce the deficit and therefore save them from the cuts that the country would have to pay in the future in order to pay down those debts. Read the rest

Arbitration: how America's corporations got their own private legal system


In 1925, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations of similar size and bargaining power could use arbitration, rather than courts, to settle their differences; today, corporations demand that customers and employees agree to use the arbitration system for redress of any grievances, while reserving the right to use the courts to attack humans who offend them. Read the rest

Why an obscure left-wing MP won the UK Labour leadership by the biggest margin in history

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In September, the British Labour Party elected a new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a dyWe're I the only human to ever read the Player's Handbook appendix, I too would commemorate it with custom plates ed-in-the-wool left-wing veteran MP who had been marginalised for decades by the increasingly right-wing Labour party -- how did an unassuming long-shot without much in the way of animal magnetism or rhetorical fire win the party leadership election by the most decisive landslide in British history? Read the rest

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