Month: February 2017


Tell me where the bad man touched you

At CPAC, Reince Preibus and Stephen Bannon were on a panel, and it’s pretty clear that Priebus loathes Bannon:

During a discussion with Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon at the conservative conference CPAC, Bannon reached over at one point to touch Priebus’ leg. Priebus quickly brushed it away.


This is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

I expect to see the first tell all from a former staffer to be announced by a publisher before the year is out.

This Is What Happens When Big Pharma Takes over Research

As a result of increased corporate funding of research, and the pressure to deliver the desired results that inevitably results, the majority of current medical research is garbage that cannot be reproduced:

Science is facing a “reproducibility crisis” where more than two-thirds of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, research suggests.

This is frustrating clinicians and drug developers who want solid foundations of pre-clinical research to build upon.

From his lab at the University of Virginia’s Centre for Open Science, immunologist Dr Tim Errington runs The Reproducibility Project, which attempted to repeat the findings reported in five landmark cancer studies.

“The idea here is to take a bunch of experiments and to try and do the exact same thing to see if we can get the same results.”

You could be forgiven for thinking that should be easy. Experiments are supposed to be replicable.

The authors should have done it themselves before publication, and all you have to do is read the methods section in the paper and follow the instructions.

Sadly nothing, it seems, could be further from the truth.

After meticulous research involving painstaking attention to detail over several years (the project was launched in 2011), the team was able to confirm only two of the original studies’ findings.

Two more proved inconclusive and in the fifth, the team completely failed to replicate the result.

“It’s worrying because replication is supposed to be a hallmark of scientific integrity,” says Dr Errington.


According to a survey published in the journal Nature last summer, more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments.

Marcus Munafo is one of them. Now professor of biological psychology at Bristol University, he almost gave up on a career in science when, as a PhD student, he failed to reproduce a textbook study on anxiety.


The problem, it turned out, was not with Marcus Munafo’s science, but with the way the scientific literature had been “tidied up” to present a much clearer, more robust outcome.


“The issue of replication goes to the heart of the scientific process.”

You said it.

The problem is that research has increasingly become a zero sum game in which corporate funders dictate results before the first experiment is fully designed.

It is a petri dish for corruption.

Monopolies Are Always Bad

The only question is whether or not the alternative is worse.

First we have the case study of the results AT&T’s 1956 anti-trust consent decree, where it was required to release its patents to the general public:

To answer these questions, we study one of the most important antitrust rulings in US history, namely, the 1956 consent decree against the Bell System. This decree settled a seven-year old antitrust lawsuit that sought to break up the Bell System, the dominant provider of telecommunications services in the US, because it allegedly monopolised “the manufacture, distribution, and sale of telephones, telephone apparatus and equipment” (Antitrust Subcommittee 1958: 1668). Bell was charged with having foreclosed competitors from the market for telecommunications equipment because its operating companies had exclusive supply contracts with its manufacturing subsidiary Western Electric and because it used exclusionary practices such as the refusal to license its patents.

The consent decree contained two main remedies. The Bell System was obligated to license all its patents royalty free, and it was barred from entering any industry other than telecommunications. As a consequence, 7,820 patents, or 1.3% of all unexpired US patents, in a wide range of fields became freely available in 1956. Most of these patents covered technologies from the Bell Laboratories (Bell Labs), the research subsidiary of the Bell System, arguably the most innovative industrial laboratory in the world at the time. The Bell Labs produced path-breaking innovations in telecommunications such as cellular telephone technology or the first transatlantic telephone cable. But as Figure 1 shows, 58% of Bell’s patent portfolio had its main application outside of telecommunications because of Bell’s part in the war effort in WWII and its commitment to basic science. Researchers at Bell Labs are credited for the invention of the transistor, the solar cell, and the laser, among other things.


Our research shows that compulsory licensing increased follow-on innovation that builds on Bell patents. We measure follow-on innovation by the number of patent citations Bell Labs patents received from other companies that patent in the US. We find that in the first five years, follow-on innovation increased by 17%, or a total of around 1,000 citations. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the additional patents other companies filed as a direct result of the consent decree had a value of up to $5.7 billion in today’s dollars.3

More than two-thirds of the increase in innovation can be attributed to young and small companies and individual inventors unrelated to Bell. This is in line with the hypothesis that patents can act as a barrier to entry for small and young companies who are less able to strike licensing deals than large firms (Lanjouw and Schankerman 2004, Galasso 2012, Galasso and Schankerman 2015). Compulsory licensing removed this barrier in markets outside the telecommunications industry, arguably unintentionally so. This fostered follow-on innovation by young and small companies and contributed to long run technological progress in the US.

Patent exclusivity frequently hinders, rather than helps, progress in the short term.

More generally, consequences of our increasingly monopolistic economy are, explained in detail by Barry C. Lynn:

There are many competing interpretations for why Hillary Clinton lost last fall’s election, but most observers do agree that economics played a big role. Clinton simply didn’t articulate a vision compelling enough to compete with Donald Trump’s rousing, if dubious, message that bad trade deals and illegal immigration explain the downward mobility of so many Americans.

As it happens, Clinton did have the germ of exactly such an idea—if one knew where to look. In an October 2015 op-ed, she wrote that “large corporations are concentrating control over markets” and “using their power to raise prices, limit choices for consumers, lower wages for workers, and hold back competition from startups and small businesses. It’s no wonder Americans feel the deck is stacked for those at the top.” In a speech in Toledo last fall, Clinton assailed “old-fashioned monopolies” and vowed to appoint “tough” enforcers “so the big don’t keep getting bigger and bigger.”

Clinton’s words were in keeping with Bernie Sanders’s attacks on big banks, but went further, tracing how concentration is a problem throughout the economy. It was a message seemingly tailor-made for the wrathful electorate of 2016. Yet after the Ohio speech, Clinton rarely touched again on the issue. Few other Democrats even mentioned the word monopoly.

The pity is that Clinton’s stance wasn’t simple campaign rhetoric. It was based on a substantial and growing body of research that confirms that consolidation is at the root of many of America’s most pressing economic and political problems.

These include the declining fortunes of rural America as farmers struggle against agriculture conglomerates. It includes the fading of heartland cities like Memphis and Minneapolis as corporate giants in coastal cities buy out local banks and businesses. It includes plunging rates of entrepreneurship and innovation as concentrated markets choke off independent businesses and new start-ups. It includes falling real wages, as decades of mergers have reduced the need for employers to compete to attract and retain workers.

Monopoly is a main driver of inequality, as profits concentrate more wealth in the hands of the few. The effects of monopoly enrage voters in their day-to-day lives, as they face the sky-high prices set by drug-company cartels and the abuses of cable providers, health insurers, and airlines. Monopoly provides much of the funds the wealthy use to distort American politics.

It comes as no surprise that when Reagan packed the Supreme Court in the 1980s, he chose Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg:  They both cut their teeth on the academic side of anti-trust law, which had been captured, largely through things like endowing chairs, by the right wing actors

They transformed the consensus, and the black letter law, on anti-trust from the idea of protecting a free and open market to a narrow view where regulation can only be justified through the showing of direct harm and immediate harm to consumers.

This has unleashed monopolies, and monopolies unleashed have lots of money to spend on politicians, which leads to more support for monopolies. (Our recent trade deals have been about expanding the reach of pharma and content monopolies, for example.)

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Tweet of the Day

Net wealth of poor families went from around 0 to minus $15k

— Branko Milanovic (@BrankoMilan) February 20, 2017

This might explain why so many people were unmoved by Hillary Clinton’s message that things are fine as well as the relative hostility of people in the lower half of the income distribution to Barack Obama.

When Barack Obama approved Timothy Geithner’s policy of using HAMP to “Foam the Runway” for the banks, in so doing they reduced a significant proportion of the populace to penury.

H/t naked capitalism

The New Economy in a Nutshell

In September, the grocery delivery company Instacart announced a big change that pissed off many of its workers: The startup was replacing tips with a “service fee” that would be collected by the company instead of the people delivering orders.

The startup’s explanation was that Instacart workers were too reliant on tips — around 80 percent of orders had one — and that the service fee would allow the startup to pay everyone a more reliable wage.

Many workers looked at it another way: Instacart, in their eyes, saw all of the tips they were making and wanted to capture that revenue for itself. And when Instacart’s best workers realized the tip-to-service-fee transition would mean lower pay for them, they, in turn, freaked out.

Instacart quickly relented and added the tipping feature back. But with a catch: The company made tipping much harder to find in the app.

Instead of the tipping option appearing on the checkout page as it originally had, a default 10 percent “service fee” sat in its place.

To get to the tip option, customers would have to click on a small arrow to the right of the service fee that doesn’t give any indication where it leads.


As a result, many Instacart delivery people have resorted to handing out flyers to customers to make it clear that the service fee is not a tip, and to explain that the “additional” tip is, in fact, the only tip. Many of these flyers also explain how to set the service fee to zero.


After all, it does take some skill — or, at a minimum, the willingness to be trained — to pick out good produce quickly and get it to someone’s door in a timely manner. And the supply of people willing to do it, while feeling like they are getting robbed, is not endless.

It appears that this was motivated clever accounting:  Tips could not be booked as revenue, while a service fee could.

The fact that it involved cutting the pay of the people who actual work was immaterial to pumping up the numbers, even if it does mean that the employees who are directly responsible for the quality of the service are going to bail on you.

This is what it means when Silicon Valley types talk about disruption.

It’s all about the getting venture capitalists to give you lots of money, and then you, and the aforementioned VCs, go public, and get your vig from the stupid money that rushes in.

In a just world, we would see prosecutions for this, but I’m not holding my breath.

How About a Nice Cup of Shut the F%$# Up?

It appears that Senator Claire McCaskill (DINO-Missouri) has taken to whining about the fact that she might face a primary challenge in 2018:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Thursday compared a faction of Democrats calling for their party to become increasingly progressive to the Tea Party movement that grew out of Republicans’ opposition to President Barack Obama.

That wing of the party, McCaskill said on “The Mark Reardon Show” in St. Louis, could offer up a primary challenger to take on the two-term senator when she runs for reelection next year.

“I’m for sure going to run,” McCaskill said. “And I may have a primary because there is, in our party now, some of the same kind of enthusiasm at the base that the Republican Party had with the Tea Party.”“Many of those people are very impatient with me because they don’t think I’m pure. For example, they think I should be voting against all of Trump’s nominees and of course I’m judging each nominee on its own merit,” she said.

The Democratic Party is not going to take back the Senate in 2018.

There are 23 seats being defended by Democrats, and 9 being defended by Republicans.

There is no way that we are going to pick up 2 senate seats to retake the Senate.

No one has any reason to hold their nose and think of control of the Senate, so you should work on inspiring your base. Whining about how real Democrats don’t appreciate you won’t help.

I would suggest that the distinguished gentlewoman from Missoure try to stop being a coward and a hypocrite, but that is clearly not in your nature.

Not the Sort of Thing I Expect to See in Forbes

But this article sounds an awful lot like eco-socialism:

Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.


Corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health

We need to build a new system: one that will balance economic growth with sustainability and human flourishing.

Personally, I would not be impressed with the article, it’s advocacy for a sort of techno-utopian viewpoint common among Silicon Valley types who have their hand in your pockets, but I do not expect to see this in Forbes magazine.

It’s significance is that it appears to indicate a shift in the Overton Window.

Quote of the Day

Travis Kalanick is the Darth Vader of the new economy but he makes it harder to accept him for his success and genius every time he tries to act like Yoda.

Thornton McEnery

He goes on further to state that, “A company predicated on exploiting inefficiencies in modern transportation and fighting for market share by using part-time labor who receive no protections or insurance and pay for their own cars is decidedly not a company underpinned by justice,” which may qualify as the understatement of the year.

He still believes that Uber has a viable business plan, an assumption which this analysis (Part 1 of a 7 part series, read the whole thing) thoroughly debunks, but still it is an amusing take-down of the myth of benevolence that many people see in the car service.

And the 3rd Stopped Clock Moment in 3 Days

It turns out that one of the things that Donald Trump is doing is that he is ignoring the chain of command when dealing with military contractors on large projects, and the uniformed military is pissed off:

In an unorthodox move, President Trump, days before he formally assumed office, allowed Boeing chief executive Dennis A. Muilenburg to listen in on a call with the manager of a key Pentagon fighter jet program as the then-president-elect weighed the government’s options for lowering the costs of Lockheed Martin’s F-35.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, program manager for the F-35, provided details about the call at a briefing before the House Armed Services Committee Thursday morning, taking questions from congressional staff members just hours after Bloomberg reported the episode.

Boeing and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin declined to comment. But others characterized the call to Bogdan as an inappropriate subversion of the military’s ability to determine its own equipment requirements.

“The president directly trying to influence the requirements process in the presence of a [defense company executive] is wildly inappropriate and has the worst optics one can imagine … we’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Richard Aboulafia, a military analyst with Aerospace market research firm Teal Group.

The translation here is that generals and consultants who are eager to secure lucrative sinecures when they leave government service do not want their gravy train disrupted.

If the last 50 years have shown anything, it is that the Pentagon in general, and the uniformed military in particular, cannot be trusted to develop weapons: Even when the process is not rife with corruption, as it is in the US, the myopia of the military services puts the resources in the wrong place, and places too much emphasis on the wrong thing,

The Swedes discovered this in 1628, when the most powerful warship of the era capsized and sunk on its first foray from port because the naval officers ordered that a surfeit of guns be crammed onto it.

The result was that the military was separated from defense procurement, and the Swedish defense forces have been punching well above their weight ever since.

Again, I expect this to be supremely poorly implemented, but it is a change to a broken system,


This Raccoon Riding on a Garbage Truck Is the Only Thing in DC That Makes Sense (VICE) Kawaii (可愛い), neh?

Another Stopped Clock Moment from Trump

After years of litigation and stonewalling from the Obama administration, the Trump administration has handed over the full classified Senate torture report to a Federal Court:

Credit where credit is due: Trump has done more to preserve the full CIA Torture Report than Obama ever did. On his way out the door, the DOJ fought on his behalf in federal court, arguing against an order to deposit the full report with the court clerk for preservation in the ongoing trial of Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, who has alleged he was waterboarded while detained by the CIA.


Maybe it’s oneupmanship or maybe the Trump’s legal counsel feels it has too much on its plate already, but as the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports, Team Trump is handing over a full copy of the Torture Report to the court as requested.

[A]s the Obama era came to an end, two Federal District Court judges for the District of Columbia ordered the executive branch to provide a copy of the report to the court’s security officer, and today, on the deadline set by one of them, the Trump administration complied rather than appeal.

A one-page notice of compliance [PDF] was issued by the White House on February 10th.

Respondents are filing this notice to advise the Court that, in accordance with the orders entered in the above captioned cases on December 28, 2016, and January 23, 2017,2 on February 6, 2017, the Government deposited for the Court Information Security Officers (CISOs) for secure storage a complete and unredacted electronic copy of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (2014). Specifically, the Government deposited the electronic copy that had been previously delivered to the Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs.

My guess is that this is a case of doing the right thing for the wrong reason:  It is likely that Trump and  Evil Minions probably did this as a big “f%$# you” to Barack Obama.

Still, on this one issue, it does give the inverted traffic cone a leg up on the worst constitutional law professor ever.

Least Surprising News of the Day

A study has concluded that poisoning the largely black population of Flint, Michigan was an artifact of systemic racism:

A government-appointed civil rights commission in Michigan says systemic racism helped to cause the Flint water crisis, according to a report released Friday.

The 129-page report does not claim there were any specific violations of state civil rights laws, but says “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” played a role in the problems, which still linger in the city’s drinking water almost three years later. 

“The presence of racial bias in the Flint water crisis isn’t much of a surprise to those of us who live here, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s affirmation that the emergency manager law disproportionately hurts communities of color is an important reminder of just how bad the policy is,” state Sen. Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, said. 

It was an emergency manager, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, who had the cash-strapped city’s water supply changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014 — a decision reversed more than a year later amid reports of corroded pipes and elevated blood lead levels.

The report, which was released after a year-long investigation that followed three public hearings and took testimony from more than 150 residents and officials, says: “The people of Flint have been subjected to unprecedented harm and hardship, much of it caused by structural and systemic discrimination and racism that have corroded your city, your institutions, and your water pipes, for generations.”

In related news water is wet ……… Well most places anyway.

In Flint, the water is brown and lumpy.

Psychopathic Is as Psychopathic Does

I’m sure that you have heard some of the stories about Uber, such as their simply refusing to pay taxes in the UK, and their relationship with the city of Pittsburgh, where after defending them against state regulators, ignoring the fact that they were pillaging the Carnegie-Mellon robotics lab, and allowing the ride service to roll out robotic cars on city streets, told the “City of Bridges” to pound sand when they requested help competing in the 2016 Smart City Challenge, Uber responded with a list of new demands.

And now, we have the case of Susan Fowler, and employee (full time programmer, not a driver) how documented the toxic and hostile workplace environment for women.

  • Her manager propositioned her on her first day of work.
  • HR said it was the first time that this had happened, and that he would get a stern talking to ……… The kicker is that they said this to her and at least a half dozen other complainants.
  • She transferred to a rather dysfunctional and chaotic division, and then was not allowed to transfer again because her performance review was downgraded because, “Performance problems aren’t always something that has to do with work, but sometimes can be about things outside of work or your personal life.” (Translation, “Women are to be seen, not heard.”)
    • It is then revealed that her performance review was retroactively downgraded because, it prevented her transfer, “It turned out that keeping me on the team made my manager look good, and I overheard him boasting to the rest of the team that even though the rest of the teams were losing their women engineers left and right, he still had some on his team.” (Women in the division went from 25% to 6%[!] while she was there)
  • HR asked if, “I had noticed that *I* was the common theme in all of the reports I had been making, and that if I had ever considered that I might be the problem.”
  • She was threatened with firing for making complaints by her boss.

Note that she is no slouch, she has written what has been described as the de-facto standard on designing standard microservices, but she still got treated like crap, because treating employees, drivers, and customers like crap is what Uber does.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a big fan of Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and I’ve said before, “That Ayn Rand Is to Business What Ebola Is to the Exchange of Bodily Fluids.”


Another Stopped Clock Moment

The White House has announced that they will be talking face-to-face with the DPRK.

The standard line in foreign policy is that talking with Pyongyang is somehow a victory for North Korea, so we should only talk to them after they have capitulated.

Given the rather xenophobic and paranoid proclivities of that regime, the result, active nuclear weapons, ICBM, and SLBM programs, should come as no surprise.

This is a welcome change:

Preparations are under way to bring senior North Korean officials to the United States for talks with former U.S. officials, the first such meeting in more than five years, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The talks would be the clearest indication yet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to communicate with the new Trump administration.

Planning for the “Track 1.5 talks” is still in a preparatory stage, the Post reported, citing multiple people with knowledge of the arrangements.

That name, reflecting planned contact between former U.S. officials and current North Korean ones, is a reference to what are known as “Track 2” talks involving former officials on both sides.

I don’t expect this to end well, after all, it is an initiative by the Trump administration, but to the degree that this constitutes a reversal from a truly bone-headed foreign policy consensus, it is a good thing.

Can We Please Impeach Him?

No, I am not talking about the Donald, rather I am talking about the mass of conflicts and poor jurisprudence that is Clarence Thomas:

Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is organizing in support of President Donald Trump’s agenda. And it might make her husband’s life a little complicated.

In an email sent to a conservative listserv on Feb. 13 and obtained by The Daily Beast, Ginni Thomas asked an interesting question: How could she organize activists to push for Trump’s policies?

“What is the best way to, with minimal costs, set up a daily text capacity for a ground up-grassroots army for pro-Trump daily action items to push back against the left’s resistance efforts who are trying to make America ungovernable?” she wrote.

“I see the left has Daily Action @YourDailyAction and their Facebook likes are up to 61K,” she continued.

She then linked to a Washington Post story about the group.

“But there are some grassroots activists, who seem beyond the Republican party or the conservative movement, who wish to join the fray on social media for Trump and link shields and build momentum,” she wrote. “I met with a house load of them yesterday and we want a daily textable tool to start… Suggestions?”


Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law School and expert on legal ethics, told The Daily Beast that the email could be grounds for lawyers challenging Trump’s travel ban to ask Justice Thomas to recuse himself from the case—a move that could doom the executive order.

“You can imagine circumstances easily where such conduct on the part of the spouse of a Supreme Court justice would lead to a non-frivolous disqualification motion,” she said.

This is not the first time that Clarence and Ginni Thomas have ignored the most basic rules of judicial ethics. (That case involved him refusing to recuse himself from a case involving a man who Ginni’s advocacy group, set up a Clarence Thomas museum, gifted him a $19K bible, allowed him free access to a business jet, etc.)

Interesting Speculation

87 miles as the crow flies

Here is an interesting bit of speculation on why a Russian spy ship is hanging out in international waters off of Long Island Sound:

I love maps. They often reveal things quickly and simply in a way text cannot. Like this map I’ve pulled together showing two points recently in the news.

To the right, Groton, Connecticut, where the U.S. has a naval facility

To the left, Glen Cove, New York — the location of a waterfront compound, Killenworth Mansion, owned for decades by Russia. The site was used for electronic spying according to the Reagan administration. A second compound, Norwich House, located five miles away in Upper Brookville, was vacated in December after former president Obama issued new sanctions on Russia in response to alleged interference in U.S. 2016 presidential election.

Multiple news reports yesterday noted a Russian spy ship “loitering” approximately 30 miles south of Groton, near Long Island’s shoreline, in international waters.

But none of them mentioned the ship was approximately 60-80 miles from the site of the Russian government compounds.


It’s almost if the Russians left something behind on Long Island and were looking for it.

Or listening for it.

As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating.”


God Bless the Onion

It Appears that Google is No Longer the Job Mecca it Once Was

It used to be that people would crawl over broken glass to get a job at Google.

Now, employees at Google’s Waymo division bailed as soon as they got f%$#-you money:

Google has spent a lot of money on its self-driving car project, now spun off into a new entity called Waymo. Much of that money has gone to engineers and other staff, according to a new report from Bloomberg. In order to keep self-driving staffers happy — and, presumably, from leaving the company for other firms doing similar work — Google backed the proverbial Brinks truck up to the self-driving department and unloaded.

Bloomberg says that early staffers “had an unusual compensation system” that multiplied staffers’ salaries and bonuses based on the performance of the self-driving project. The payments accumulated as milestones were reached, even though Waymo remains years away from generating revenue. One staffer eventually “had a multiplier of 16 applied to bonuses and equity amassed over four years.” The huge amounts of compensation worked — for a while. But eventually, it gave many staffers such financial security that they were willing to leave the cuddly confines of Google.

Two staffers that Bloomberg spoke to called it “F-you money,” and the accumulated cash allowed them to depart Google for other firms, including Chris Urmson who co-founded a startup with ex-Tesla employee Sterling Anderson, and others who founded a self-driving truck company called Otto which was purchased by Uber last year, and another who founded Argo AI which received a $1 billion investment from Ford last week.

These were people who were eager to leave, and as soon as they were secure, they left.

This does not say positive things about the workplace.

Yet Another Reason that I Hate Apple

As an engineer, I find their elevation of form over function, which goes all the way back to not having a cooling fan on the original Mac, but their recent jihad against the right of people to have their equipment repaired just reinforces this:

Apple representatives plan to tell Nebraska lawmakers that repairing your phone is dangerous.

Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics “Right to Repair” legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse.

The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public.

Nebraska is one of eight states that are considering right to repair bills; last month, Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Wyoming introduced legislation. Last week, lawmakers in Illinois and Tennessee officially introduced similar bills.

According to the source, an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify against the bill at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9. AT&T will also argue against the bill, the source said. The source told me that at least one of the companies plans to say that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire. Motherboard is protecting the identity of the source because they are not authorized to speak to the press.


The bills nationwide are being pushed by, a trade organization made up of independent repair shops who say that their companies have been harmed by an attempt by manufacturers to gain a monopoly over the repair business. Even without readily available repair parts or service manuals, a healthy DIY repair hobby has thrived thanks to online crowdsourced instruction manuals on sites like iFixit and grey market parts that are available directly from factories in China or can be salvaged from recycled devices.

This is not a surprise for a company whose response to a stupid antenna design was to tell consumers that they were holding the phone wrong.

This sh%$ is evil.