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In the News 08.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 08.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 08.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 08.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This Private Investigator Was The Original Most Interesting Man In The World

Los Angeles in the late ’80s and early ’90s was a blur of drugs, celebrities, and, of course, money. So much money. But when “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss met a secretive and powerful private investigator named Tom Corbally, she was immediately wary, despite the blur.

The way she remembers it, Jack Kent Cooke, the frenetic and fabulously wealthy owner of the Washington Redskins, called Fleiss and said he had someone he wanted her to meet.

Denver Nuggets owner Sidney Shlenker was already at Fleiss’s house when Cooke brought Corbally over. There were also a bunch of women. The plan was to go down to the legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans’ house and watch movies. Or something.

But Fleiss was leery of the handsome, polished, older mystery man hanging out with all these rich guys. Fleiss suspected Corbally might have some sort of secret identity. She raised the alarm with Evans. “I said to Robert Evans, ‘Who the fuck knows who this guy is?’” Fleiss said. “He could be the pool man for all I know.”

Read the rest of this article at: BuzzFeed

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Searching For Help

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Leasha Ali had been drunk for the last two days, but she didn’t want to be anymore. The 39-year-old math teacher and mother of two was in a spiral familiar to anyone who’s struggled with addiction. A difficult event — a hospitalization, thanks to lingering symptoms from a birth defect — had stressed her to the breaking point, and then she’d gotten home and found herself alone in her house, depressed and unable to sleep. After a few days without drinking, she gave in, and spent the next 48 hours on a bender.

On the second night, January 8th of this year, she got an email from the hospital. Her liver enzymes had been dangerously high — even before the days of abuse. The birth defect that put her in the hospital had already left her with several damaged organs. Afraid of hurting another, she searched the test results in Google. Right there at the top was an ad for rehab.

“I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, even Google knows I need rehab,’” Ali told me.

It’s hard to say exactly who was on the other end, when, just before 11PM, Ali called the number in the ad. The 800 number was ephemeral. It’s missing from Yellow Pages listings, social media, and even sites for complaints about telemarketers and spam, and it was disconnected by the time I called it. The untraceability is frustrating, but not surprising. Google offers advertisers unique “tracking” phone numbers that forward to a company’s phones, so they can understand which ads are bringing in the most clients. The phone numbers only stay up as long as the ad does.

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

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How The Aristocracy Preserved Their Power

On 11 January this year, Charlie, the genial 3rd Baron Lyell, died aged 77 in Dundee after a short illness. He had inherited his title and the 10,000-acre Kinnordy estate, in Angus, when he was just four years old. After Eton, Christ Church and the Scots Guards, he spent nearly 47 years in the Lords, serving as a Conservative minister from 1979 to 1989. He never married and his title died with him, but under the byzantine rules drawn up when the majority of hereditary peers were excluded from the Lords in 1999, his seat was contested in a byelection in which 27 hereditary peers stood.

In the short statement required of them, most of the candidates emphasized their career and credentials, but Hugh Crossley, the 45-year-old 4th Baron Somerleyton, went straight for the ideological jugular: “I think the hereditary peerage worth preserving and its principle creates a sense of innate commitment to the welfare of the nation,” he wrote.

It is not difficult to understand why Crossley would think that way. He was born in, owns, lives in and runs Somerleyton Hall near Lowestoft, Suffolk, which was bought by his carpet-manufacturer ancestor Sir Francis Crossley in 1863. It is palatial, with elaborate Italianate features, a maze, an aviary, a pergola 300ft long, a marina, a 12-acre garden and a 5,000-acre estate. His own publicity material claims that “a trip to Somerleyton is an experience of historical opulence”. Of course he believes in the hereditary principle and his own entitlement.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Why Happy People Cheat

“Most descriptions of troubled marriages don’t seem to fit my situation,” Priya insists. “Colin and I have a wonderful relationship. Great kids, no financial stresses, careers we love, great friends. He is a phenom at work, fucking handsome, attentive lover, fit, and generous to everyone, including my parents. My life is good.” Yet Priya is having an affair. “Not someone I would ever date—ever, ever, ever. He drives a truck and has tattoos. It’s so clichéd, it pains me to say it out loud. It could ruin everything I’ve built.”

Priya is right. Few events in the life of a couple, except illness and death, carry such devastating force. For years, I have worked as a therapist with hundreds of couples who have been shattered by infidelity. And my conversations about affairs have not been confined within the cloistered walls of my therapy practice; they’ve happened on airplanes, at dinner parties, at conferences, at the nail salon, with colleagues, with the cable guy, and of course, on social media. From Pittsburgh to Buenos Aires, Delhi to Paris, I have been conducting an open-ended survey about infidelity.

Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, yet this extremely common act remains poorly understood. Around the globe, the responses I get when I mention infidelity range from bitter condemnation to resigned acceptance to cautious compassion to outright enthusiasm. In Paris, the topic brings an immediate frisson to a dinner conversation, and I note how many people have been on both sides of the story. In Bulgaria, a group of women I met seem to view their husbands’ philandering as unfortunate but inevitable. In Mexico, women I spoke with proudly see the rise of female affairs as a form of social rebellion against a chauvinistic culture that has long made room for men to have “two homes,” la casa grande y la casa chica—one for the family, and one for the mistress. Infidelity may be ubiquitous, but the way we make meaning of it—how we define it, experience it, and talk about it—is ultimately linked to the particular time and place where the drama unfolds.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now

ROCHESTER — Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.

For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.

In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.

Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

Yet the biggest difference between their two experiences is in the opportunities they created. A manager learned that Ms. Evans was taking computer classes while she was working as a janitor and asked her to teach some other employees how to use spreadsheet software to track inventory. When she eventually finished her college degree in 1987, she was promoted to a professional-track job in information technology.

Less than a decade later, Ms. Evans was chief technology officer of the whole company, and she has had a long career since as a senior executive at other top companies. Ms. Ramos sees the only advancement possibility as becoming a team leader keeping tabs on a few other janitors, which pays an extra 50 cents an hour.

They both spent a lot of time cleaning floors. The difference is, for Ms. Ramos, that work is also a ceiling.

Eastman Kodak was one of the technological giants of the 20th century, a dominant seller of film, cameras and other products. It made its founders unfathomably wealthy and created thousands of high-income jobs for executives, engineers and other white-collar professionals. The same is true of Apple today.

But Kodak also created enough working-class jobs to help create two generations of middle-class wealth in Rochester. The Harvard economist Larry Summers has often pointed at this difference, arguing that it helps explain rising inequality and declining social mobility.

“Think about the contrast between George Eastman, who pioneered fundamental innovations in photography, and Steve Jobs,” Mr. Summers wrote in 2014. “While Eastman’s innovations and their dissemination through the Eastman Kodak Co.provided a foundation for a prosperous middle class in Rochester for generations, no comparable impact has been created by Jobs’s innovations” at Apple.

Ms. Evans’s pathway was unusual: Few low-level workers, even in the heyday of postwar American industry, ever made it to the executive ranks of big companies. But when Kodak and similar companies were in their prime, tens of thousands of machine operators, warehouse workers, clerical assistants and the like could count on steady work and good benefits that are much rarer today.

When Apple was seeking permission to build its new headquarters, its consultants projected the company would have 23,400 employees, with an average salary comfortably in the six figures. Thirty years ago, Kodak employed about 60,000 people in Rochester, with average pay and benefits companywide worth $79,000 in today’s dollars.

Part of the wild success of the Silicon Valley giants of today — and what makes their stocks so appealing to investors — has come from their ability to attain huge revenue and profits with relatively few workers.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @emelinaah; @ema_therabbit; @versaillesadness_

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