Month: October 2019

Pity the Poor Disrespected Rapist

Kelly Bachman desrves more than applause, she deserves her own network television program:

With her heart racing as she went onstage, Kelly Bachman knew she had to speak up.

“I’m a comic,” the 27-year-old said to open her routine, in a video later shared on social media. “It’s our job to name the elephant in the room. Does anybody know what that is?”

A few people nodded and muttered in affirmation. Most of the crowd, a hodgepodge of 20- and 30-something performers at a basement bar in Manhattan, was dead silent.

“It’s a Freddy Krueger in the room, if you will,” she said. “I didn’t know we had to bring our own mace and rape whistles.” At that point, a handful of people in the back of the room started booing her. One yelled, “Shut up!”But Bachman didn’t need to say more for the crowd to notice who she was talking about: Sitting in a green velvet booth was Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul accused of sexually abusing or harassing more than 80 women.


For her part, Bachman is taking one thing away.

“If Harvey Weinstein is calling me rude,” she quipped, “I’m putting that on my résumé.”

Get this woman a network show.

Rule #1 Of Zuckerberg Statements

Zuck lies.

Rule 2: See Rule 1.

Case in point, Zuckerberg’s claim that Facebook was inspired by Iraq war protests, which was almost immediately contradicted by a Congressman from Harvard who was among its first users:

Like most college campuses in early 2003, Harvard University was atwitter over one issue in particular: the imminent Iraq invasion. The Bush administration’s push to overthrow Saddam Hussein was debated and picked over in dorm rooms, argued about in lecture halls, and scrutinized in term papers.

Mark Zuckerberg was paying attention. So was future lawmaker Ruben Gallego, watching the debate unfold as he activated to go to war. In contrast, Zuckerberg was nine months away from creating a website where students could vote on the attractiveness of women on campus. It was an idea that eventually led to Facebook.

On Thursday, Zuckerberg — under scrutiny for how misinformation is harnessed and is now protected by Facebook — bridged the debate over Iraq and the nexus of his company, even at one point suggesting the social network could have stopped the war entirely.

“I remember feeling that if more people had a voice to share their experiences, maybe things would have gone differently,” Zuckerberg said at Georgetown University. “Those early years shaped my belief that giving everyone a voice empowers the powerless and pushes society to be better over time.”

Gallego blasted Zuckerberg’s recollection as an attempt to redraw the company’s image as altruistic in the face of growing scrutiny, as it defends its decision to allow lies in political ads.

“He’s rewriting history so it gives him an excuse to regulate himself,” Rep. Gallego (D-Ariz.) told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “It’s false. It’s completely false.”

Some bits of Zuckerberg’s recollection were telling, said Gallego, who claims to be one of the first 2,000 users of Facebook, which in its earliest iterations was open only to Harvard students.

With the possible exception of Google, I don’t think that there is a major tech firm that has been founded in the past 25 years that is not corrupt at its core, and Mark Zuckerberg makes them look like angels.

Mistake Jet Update

Full rate production for the F-35 Lightning II has been delayed.

What can I say, this program has only been around for more than ¼ century, and that is just not enough time:

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter full-rate production decision, which is slated for December, may be put off for up to 13 months because of delays with integrating the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE).

Pentagon chief weapons buyer Ellen Lord signed a program deviation report this week that documented the expected threshold breach in the milestone C full-rate production decision, she told reporters Oct. 18 during a Pentagon briefing.

“What this is a result of, and I follow this very carefully, is the fact that we are not making as quick progress with the Joint Simulation Environment integration of the F-35 into it,” Lord said. Integrating the JSE with the F-35 is “critical” for initial operational test and evaluation, she said. The JSE projects characteristics like weather, geography and range that allows test pilots to use the jet’s full capabilities against the full range of required threats and scenarios.

This simulator is not a pilot simulator.  It’s an software development environment to validate that the software actually works.

It doesn’t work.

Bankruptcy Should Have Consequences

The Mayor of San Jose is proposing that PG&E’s bankruptcy should be resolved by turning it into a customer owned utility:

Frustrated by PG&E Corp.’s California blackouts and its existing options for exiting bankruptcy, the mayor of the state’s third-biggest city is proposing something radically different: turn the company into the nation’s largest customer-owned utility.

San Jose hopes to persuade other California cities and counties in coming weeks to line up behind the plan, which would strip PG&E of its status as an investor-owned company and turn it into a nonprofit electric-and-gas cooperative, Mayor Sam Liccardo said in an interview.

The buyout proposal by San Jose, the largest city served by PG&E with more than a million residents, amounts to a revolt by some of the utility’s roughly 16 million customers as PG&E struggles to keep the lights on and provide basic services while preventing its aging electric equipment from sparking wildfires.

Mr. Liccardo said the time has come for the people dependent on PG&E for essential services to propose a new direction. A cooperative, he said, would create a utility better able to meet customers’ needs because it would be owned by customers—and answerable to them.

“This is a crisis begging for a better solution than what PG&E customers see being considered today,” Mr. Liccardo said. He said recent power shut-offs initiated by the company were poorly handled, adding, “I’ve seen better organized riots.”


The buyout idea represents a dramatic twist in the debate over how PG&E can emerge from bankruptcy, compensate fire victims and address its many safety problems. It likely will face stiff opposition from PG&E, which in January filed for chapter 11 protection from an estimated $30 billion in wildfire-related liabilities. The company’s bondholders also will likely contest the idea after putting forward a rival reorganization plan that the bankruptcy court agreed to consider.

Instead of taking their proposal to the bankruptcy court weighing PG&E’s fate, proponents say public entities will likely take their case directly to the California Public Utilities Commission, which can veto a reorganization plan emerging from bankruptcy review if in its eyes it doesn’t serve the public interest.

PG&E has been so awful for so long, I really do not see an alternative to this.

As an aside, a bankruptcy might very well prevent them from opening their pocket book to bankroll a initiative petition campaign against any public ownership proposals.

A Feature, Not a Bug

It turns out that an algorithm used by health care providers to determine who is in need of enhanced care and monitoring discriminates against black black people.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I continue to think that algorithmic discrimination is actually one of the goals of this sort of AI tech, just like Airbmb listing, Facebook employment ads, etc:

A health care algorithm makes black patients substantially less likely than their white counterparts to receive important medical treatment. The major flaw affects millions of patients, and was just revealed in research published this week in the journal Science.

The study does not name the makers of the algorithm, but Ziad Obermeyer, an acting associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who worked on the study says “almost every large health care system” is using it, as well as institutions like insurers. Similar algorithms are produced by several different companies as well. “This is a systematic feature of the way pretty much everyone in the space approaches this problem,” he says.

The algorithm is used by health care providers to screen patients for “high-risk care management” intervention. Under this system, patients who have especially complex medical needs are automatically flagged by the algorithm. Once selected, they may receive additional care resources, like more attention from doctors. As the researchers note, the system is widely used around the United States, and for good reason. Extra benefits like dedicated nurses and more primary care appointments are costly for health care providers. The algorithm is used to predict which patients will benefit the most from extra assistance, allowing providers to focus their limited time and resources where they are most needed.

To make that prediction, the algorithm relies on data about how much it costs a care provider to treat a patient. In theory, this could act as a substitute for how sick a patient is. But by studying a dataset of patients, the authors of the Science study show that, because of unequal access to health care, black patients have much less spent on them for treatments than similarly sick white patients. The algorithm doesn’t account for this discrepancy, leading to a startlingly large racial bias against treatment for the black patients.

The effect was drastic. Currently, 17.7 percent of black patients receive the additional attention, the researchers found. If the disparity was remedied, that number would skyrocket to 46.5 percent of patients.

I really do believe that this is a deliberate business decision.  “It’s not racism, it’s just giving the cusomers what they want.”

Yeah, He Went There………

Donald Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy just claimed that a sitting president cannot be investigated even if he were to shoot someone on 5th Avenue.

It should be noted that there is no precedent for this position. Even the OLC opinion only forbids indictments, not investigations:

A federal appeals panel on Wednesday expressed skepticism that President Trump had a right to block state prosecutors in Manhattan from enforcing a subpoena that sought his personal and corporate tax returns for the last eight years.

The judges on a three-member panel in Manhattan peppered a lawyer for Mr. Trump with questions, expressing skepticism about the president’s argument that he was immune from criminal investigation. A lower court judge earlier this month rejected Mr. Trump’s claim, which has not previously been tested in the courts.

Carey R. Dunne, the Manhattan district attorney’s general counsel, cited the president’s famous claim that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing political support.

Mr. Dunne asked what would happen in that extreme scenario? “Would we have to wait for an impeachment proceeding to be initiated?” he said.

Later, Judge Denny Chin posed the Fifth Avenue hypothetical to William S. Consovoy, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, and asked for his view.

“Local authorities couldn’t investigate? They couldn’t do anything about it?” Judge Chin asked, adding: “Nothing could be done? That’s your position?”

“That is correct. That is correct,” Mr. Consovoy said.

So, in the aforementioned hypothetical, they could not collect the gun, or look at the ballistics on the bullet, or collect surveillance video from the area according to Trump’s lawyer.

Mr. Vance’s office in late August subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate tax returns dating to 2011.

The district attorney had been investigating whether any New York State laws were broken when Mr. Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, for payments he made to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who had said she had an affair with Mr. Trump.


Mr. Trump went into federal court last month, trying to block the district attorney’s subpoena. The president argued that the Constitution prevented a sitting president from being “investigated, indicted or otherwise subjected to criminal process.”

It should be noted that the OLC opinion is only binding on the US Department of Justice, not state prosecutors, and it;s argument had nothing to do with the constitution, they claimed that an indictment would be too disruptive to government.

Even if there were a separation of powers argument, that would not apply to state courts, and it would not apply to investigations.

Rather unsurprisingly, Robert Bork (יִמַּח שְׁמוֹ) was at the center of this 1973 memo, and it illustrates the utter moral and constitutional bankruptcy of the concept of the “Unitary Executive”.

It should be noted that this opinion ignored a very clear precedent, the arrest of Ulysses S. Grant for speeding and driving recklessly in 1872, but Bork and his ilk were never one to allow precedent, or the law, or the actual text of the Constitution, inform their arguments.


Be still my beating heart:

Bernie Sanders, if he were elected president, would revive the criminal provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act to prosecute CEOs who have illegally monopolized a market, he told The Intercept in an interview.

The Sherman Act is the Department of Justice’s main tool for enforcing antitrust laws, which are meant to prevent monopolies from dominating an industry, which harms workers, consumers, and other businesses. It has both civil and criminal provisions, though in recent years, prosecutors have relied only on its civil provisions, with the intent of breaking up monopolies and opening markets.

Asked if the criminal provisions, which could see a CEO locked up for 10 years if intent to engage in unfair restrictions on trade can be proven, Sanders said, “Damn right they should be.”


Major Sherman Act civil cases reshaped the American economy in the 20th century — particularly the breakup of AT&T in 1984, which paved the way for the rise of Silicon Valley. Civil prosecutions scare business leaders as a business matter, while criminal prosecutions, which have been sparse, frighten them personally.

Your mouth to God’s ear.

“Roosevelt’s antitrust chief Thurman Arnold used to criminally indict business executives and fingerprint them like ordinary executives,” said Matt Stoller, whose new book “Goliath: Hundred Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy” chronicles these battles. (Arnold was an assistant attorney general who led the Justice Department’s antitrust division.) “As soon as he did this, amazingly, monopolistic practices in those industries would cease.”

Which is why the spectacle of business leaders being frog-marched out of their offices in handcuffs should become a routine sight.

Without personal consequences for CEOs and their ilk, they take their slap on the wrist, take their 8 figure bonuses, and do it all over again.

What the Actual F%$#?????

Note the cell phone and the sign prohibiting them

Taking a chapter from the “Storm Area 51” movement, Congressional Republicans just rushed the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where the House Intelligence Committee was interviewing Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia about the Trump administration using military aid to extort opposition research from the Ukraine.

They were literally tweeting about it on their phones as they ran into the secure room.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers committed a major breach of security guidelines when they carried cell phones as they tried to force their way into a secure room where a closed-door impeachment hearing with a Defense Department official was taking place.

At least one House member, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, got inside the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the House of Representatives. Despite strict rules barring all electronics inside such closed-off areas, Gaetz openly tweeted: “BREAKING: I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions. Still inside—more details to come.”

It should be noted that not only were there Republicans in the hearing already, but about ¼ of the Representatives rushing the SCIF were already authorized to be at the hearing.

This was basically an attempt to recreate the Brooks Brothers riot of 2000, and intimidate the current, and future witnesses.

Lawyers said bringing phones into the secure area was a potential felony. Security officials, meanwhile, stressed how damaging the move could be to national security. The SCIF is designed to prevent electronic eavesdropping so members of Congress can receive sensitive information that is often classified. Often, the materials in the room reveal sensitive operations or show how intelligence officers collect information on adversaries. SCIFs are carefully controlled to prevent electronic signals or electronic devices from leaving the rooms. Chief among these restrictions is no unauthorized electronic devices.

Lock them up!!! Lock them up!!!

Wednesday’s event occurred as members of the House Intelligence Committee were preparing to hear from Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Chanting “let us in, let us in,” the protesting lawmakers prevented the hearing from proceeding. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff turned the protesters away and called on the sergeant-at-arms to break up the crowd.

Schiff should have asked for the Sergeant at Arms to put them with cuffs and leave them face down on the floor for 3 or so hours.

Not Enough Bullets………

The con man who managed to extract billions of dollars from supposedly sophisticated venture capitalists, WeWork’s Adam Neumann, after managing to loot hundreds of millions of dollars in his scam, will now be payed $1,700,000,000.00 to go away.

This guy should be in jail, not walking away with billions:

WeWork’s co-founder Adam Neumann is in line for a $1.7bn (£1.3bn) payout as investors seize control of the troubled office rentals empire he co-founded and thousands of employees wait to hear if they will lose their jobs.

Neumann, 40, used to describe WeWork as “largest physical social network in the world” and a company so important it would one day solve the problem of orphaned children.

Now his business – once the US’s most valuable private company – is in crisis. And the only winner appears to be Neumann, who is reportedly stepping back from the corporate crisis he created with a lucrative deal that will hand him $1bn from the sale of his shares plus a $185m “consultancy fee” and a $500m line of credit.

Under the terms of a rescue deal first reported by The Wall Street Journal, SoftBank, the Japanese investment firm that is WeWork’s largest shareholder, will now take control of the company.


The payout to Neumann comes as WeWork weighs up sacking about 2,000 people. The redundancies are on hold while WeWork refinances but are expected soon and have triggered widespread bitterness among WeWork’s 15,000 employees. Many had expected to become millionaires when the company floated but now face losing their jobs. WeWork did not immediately return calls for comment.

As near as I can figure out, VC’s see never going to be profitable unicorns going profit as a way to extract money from idiots further down the line, and they have run out of idiots.

Once bitten, twice shy, I guess.

The World’s Smallest Violin Playing Just for You

The court ruling on the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality was a mixed bag.

On one hand, it approved the appeal, but on the other hand it noted that because the FCC’s repeal was predicated on reclassifying ISPs as an Information service, the FCC lacked the authority to preempt state regulation, which means that the net neutrality regulations passed in California and a dozen other states will go into effect,

So Ajit Pai has a major case of butt-hurt, and I am amused:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai may have belatedly concluded that federal regulation of broadband would be better for businesses than letting all 50 US states regulate Internet access.

Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference yesterday, Pai said that “a uniform, well-established set of regulations” is preferable to states regulating broadband individually. “[Pai] said allowing states and local governments to pass their own laws regulating Internet services, which inherently cross state lines, creates market uncertainty,” according to CNET.


But Pai’s FCC overstepped its authority when it issued that blanket order to preempt any and all current and future state regulation of net neutrality, a panel of judges at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled this month. The judges’ reasoning was simple: Pai’s FCC lost the power to stop all state laws when it abandoned its own regulatory authority.

“[I]n any area where the Commission lacks the authority to regulate, it equally lacks the power to preempt state law,” the judges’ ruling said.

The only thing that would make this better would be to see Pai frog marched out of the FCC offices in handcuffs.

Trudeau Wins in Canada, But Will Lead a Minority Government

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party looks set to win 156 in Canada’s house of commons, significantly better than the the 121 currently netted by the conservatives.

He’ll need support from the progressive NDP (~25 seats, down from 39) and the Quebecois BQ (~30 seats up from 10) to form a coalition government.

One hopes that what are likely to be his new coalition partners can successfully push to move Canada away from the extraction economy.

Trudeau has been the tar sands industry and the TransCanada Corporation’s bitch in his last term.

Today in Neat Tech

Reaction Engines’ precooler has successfully run at Mach 5 temperatures, validating for the first time the capability of the novel heat exchanger design to operate at hypersonic flight conditions for atmospheric and space access applications.

The breakthrough test is pivotal to Reaction’s goal of using the lightweight heat exchanger (HTX) to boost high-speed turbojets for supersonic and hypersonic vehicles as well as for developing the company’s Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (Sabre), which is targeted at low-cost, repeatable access to space.

Forming the culmination of a DARPA contract awarded in 2017, the Mach 5 run took place in the second week of October at the company’s TF2 test facility at the Colorado Air and Space Port near Watkins. Established on an all-new site just 22 months ago, the high-speed test comes seven months after the heat exchanger demonstrated operation at supersonic conditions equal to Mach 3.3. Heated air for the tests is generated by a General Electric J79, which operated at military power for the supersonic runs and in maximum afterburner for the tests up to Mach 5.


The precooler is made up of 16,800 thin-walled tubes (equal to more than 27 mi. of tubing) through which helium is pumped to remove heat. In the Colorado tests, the heat is rejected into water that boils off to the atmosphere, but in a Sabre it would be cooled by a hydrogen heat exchanger. “In the Mach 5 test, the temperature was reduced from around 1,000C to roughly 100C in less than 1/20th of a second,” says Dissel.


For high-speed turbojet applications in the nearer term, the HTX significantly reduces compressor delivery temperature (T3). This maintains sea-level conditions in front of the compressor over a wider range of speeds, thus maximizing net thrust. For space access applications, the HTX will pass chilled air to a turbo-compressor and into a rocket thrust chamber, where it will be burned with subcooled liquid hydrogen fuel.

I find this technology really cool.

While right now, they are testing with liquid hydrogen fuel for launches to orbit, I’m think that liquid methane would likely be used for any potential hypersonic transport or air breathing weapon.


Netanyahu has failed to form a government, so Benny Gantz gets 28 days to attempt to form a coalition:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday gave up his struggle to form a governing coalition after last month’s dead-heat national election, opening a possible path to power for his rival, former army chief of staff Benny Gantz.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin immediately said he would give Gantz a chance to assemble a majority of lawmakers, making him the first person other than Netanyahu authorized to form a government in more than a decade. Gantz will have 28 days to do what Netanyahu could not: entice at least 61 members of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, to support his bid.


“This is new: This broadens the political imagination to include the possibility that someone not named Netanyahu could be the prime minister of the state of Israel,” said Mordechai Kremnitzer, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. “But I think Gantz will also find it extremely difficult to shape a coalition.”


Netanyahu warned in the video that Gantz could assume power with the support of Israeli Arab lawmakers, whose party emerged as the third-largest in the Knesset, and that those parliamentarians “encourage terror and oppose Israel’s existence.”


Negotiators for the two parties met in several sessions without progress. Gantz, after an initial meeting with the prime minister, spurned numerous invitations from Netanyahu to negotiate one-on-one. Gantz insisted that his rival was less interested in compromise than in ensuring he would serve first in any power-sharing rotation. Netanyahu, who could be indicted as early as November, was more keen on “immunity” than unity, Gantz said.

Netanyahu is a crook and a hate-monger.

Any coalition should not involve Netanyahu in any capacity.

He’s an unspeakably bad person, and he has made Israel a far worse place.

The 737 MAX Crisis is now Criminal

First, we have now learned that Boeing asked FAA suppress references to the MCAS from their training report and lied to the FAA, probably so that their marketers could claim that retraining was minimal:

Boeing’s MAX crisis deepened Friday with new controversy around an exchange of bantering texts between senior pilots that suggested Boeing knew as early as 2016 about the perils of a new flight-control system later implicated in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.

The exchange of messages in 2016 between the two lead technical pilots on the Boeing 737 MAX program was released Friday after regulators blew up at the company for belatedly disclosing the matter. The messages reveal that the flight-control system, which two years later went haywire on the crashed flights, was behaving aggressively and strangely in the pilots’ simulator sessions.

In the exchange, one of the pilots states that given the behavior of the system, known as a Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), he had unknowingly lied to the FAA about its capabilities.

“It’s running rampant in the sim on me,” 737 Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner wrote to Patrik Gustavsson, who would succeed him as chief technical pilot. “I’m levelling off at like 4000 ft, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like craxy. I’m like, WHAT?” (Spelling errors in the original.)

“Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious,” Forkner added.

The exchange shows that the aggressive behavior of MCAS was known to Boeing even ahead of flight testing, and that these top Boeing pilots were caught off guard by the system’s power.


The emails show how Forkner, though he had experienced this errant behavior of MCAS, later urged the FAA to keep information about the system out of pilot manuals and MAX training courses.


Boeing has known about the messages for many months. It provided the exchange in February — the month before the second crash in Ethiopia — to the Department of Justice, which had opened a criminal investigation into the development of the 737 MAX, according to a person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity about confidential legal proceedings.

However, Boeing only provided the messages on Thursday to the chief attorney for the Department of Transportation, the federal agency that includes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

That delay prompted FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to write a short, sharply worded letter to Muilenburg Friday, declaring, “I expect your explanation immediately regarding the content of this document and Boeing’s delay in disclosing the document to the safety regulator.”


“Are you OK with us removing all reference to MCAS from the FCOM (Flight Crew Operating Manual) and the training as we discussed, as it’s completely transparent to the flight crew and only operates WAY outside of the normal operating envelope,” Forkner wrote.

Having convinced the FAA of that, Forkner then traveled the world talking to foreign regulators also working to certify the MAX. On Nov. 3, 2016, he wrote an email to an FAA official, joking that he was “doing a bunch of traveling … jedi-mind tricking regulators into accepting the training that I got accepted by FAA.”

In a separate email to an FAA official in mid-January 2017 — two months after the text exchange when he had noted the “egregious” behavior of MCAS — Forkner suggests two changes to the “differences training” that pilots were to undergo in order to move from flying the prior 737 model to the MAX.

The first change was to delete a reference to MCAS.

Safety, schmafety, we have planes to sell.

If someone does not face criminal charges over this, something is profoundly wrong with our justice system.

A Good Start

California cities and counties will be allowed to establish public banks under a controversial bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making California only the second U.S. state to allow such institutions.

Public banks are intended to use public funds to let local jurisdictions provide capital at interest rates below those charged by commercial banks. The loans could be used for businesses, affordable housing, infrastructure, and municipal projects, among other things.

Proponents say public banks can pursue those projects and support local communities’ needs while being free of the pressure to obtain higher profits and shareholder returns faced by commercial banks. Support for public banks also has grown since the financial crisis a decade ago and since Wells Fargo & Co. was embroiled in a slew of customer-abuse scandals in recent years.


The only other state with public banks is North Dakota. Critics of the institutions say a government-owned banking system would be expensive, risky and carry a threat of political influence.

The history of public banks in North Dakota makes it pretty clear that this is a good idea.

It saves the taxpayers money, and it just works.

About the only people who lose in such an arrangement are banking executives and Wall Street.

About F%$#ing Time

Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have proposed a near total ban on non-compete agreements:

A bipartisan pair of senators has introduced legislation to drastically limit the use of noncompete agreements across the US economy.

“Noncompete agreements stifle wage growth, career advancement, innovation, and business creation,” argued Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) in a Thursday press release. He said that the legislation, co-sponsored with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), would “empower our workers and entrepreneurs so they can freely apply their talents where their skills are in greatest demand.”


These state reforms focused on reining in the worst abuses of noncompete agreements. Some prohibit the use of noncompete clauses with low-wage workers. Others require employers to give employees notice of the requirement at the time they make a job offer.

The Young and Murphy bill goes much further, completely banning noncompete agreements outside of a few narrow circumstances—like someone selling their own business.

This really needs to become law.

F%$#ing Jimmy John’s Subs used to have non-competes, because  ……… I don’t know, maybe secret sauce?

This sh%$ needs to end.

A Well Deserved Take-Down

Following Blizzard banning a gamer and taking his prize money after he made pro-Hong King protests, they have been flooded by GDPR requests by customers who find their kowtowing to China unacceptable.

Complying with these demands are both extremely expensive and opens them up to massive fines:

Being a global multinational sure is hard! Yesterday, World of Warcraft maker Blizzard faced global criticism after it disqualified a high-stakes tournament winner over his statement of solidarity with the Hong Kong protests — Blizzard depends on mainland China for a massive share of its revenue and it can’t afford to offend the Chinese state.

Today, outraged games on Reddit’s /r/hearthstone forum are scheming a plan to flood Blizzard with punishing, expensive personal information requests under the EU’s expansive General Data Privacy Regulation — Blizzard depends on the EU for another massive share of its revenue and it can’t afford the enormous fines it would face if it failed to comply with these requests, which take a lot of money and resource to fulfill.

I really hope that this protest goes forward.

Blizzard is hoping that this will blow over in a few months, but if people put in requests now, they need to comply in the next 30 days or face massive fines, and that ain’t cheap.

Cue Nelson Muntz.

Bye Bye Boris

Boris Johnson hoped to get his Brexit proposal approved today.

Things did not go as planned :

MPs have inflicted a humiliating defeat on Boris Johnson by passing a backbench amendment withholding their support from his Brexit deal.

Instead of backing Johnson’s agreement in a “meaningful vote”, MPs passed an amendment tabled by a cross-party group of MPs led by Oliver Letwin by 322 votes to 306 – a majority of 16.

The prime minister said he was not “daunted or dismayed” by the defeat, and would press ahead with tabling Brexit legislation next week. MPs are likely to take the opportunity to table a string of amendments, including on trying to force a second referendum.

The move by cross-party MPs was aimed at forcing Johnson to comply with the terms of the Benn act, which obliges him to write to the EU to request a Brexit delay, if he had not won approval for his deal by 11pm.

As to that letter to the EU requesting a delay?  Johnson is doing the absolute minimum as defined by law, resusing to sign the letter asking for an extension, and signing an accompanying letter asking for an extension not to be granted:

Boris Johnson has sent an unsigned letter to European council president Donald Tusk requesting a further Brexit delay beyond 31 October – accompanied by a signed one arguing against it.

The prime minister sent three letters: an unsigned photocopy of the request he was obliged to send under the Benn Act, an explanatory letter from the UK’s ambassador to the EU and a personal letter explaining why Downing Street did not want an extension.

In the signed message, he warned of the “corrosive impact” of a long delay, and that “a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us”. He said Parliament had “missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process” yet remained confident Brexit legislation would be passed by 31 October.

The move sparked concerns the prime minister could face fresh court action. One former Tory cabinet minister said: “This is clearly against the spirit of the Benn Act and is not consistent with the assurances that were given by Downing Street to the Scottish courts about applying for an extension. It will also put government law officers in a very uncomfortable position.”


After the extension request was sent, Jeremy Corbyn accused Johnson of “petulant posturing and bluster” and said “his damaging deal was defeated today.”

“Petulant posturing and bluster,” is pretty much the defining feature of BoJo.

I’m expecting a crash-out. 

Amazingly Corrupt, and a Wimp

President Trump has awarded the 2020 Group of Seven summit of world leaders to his private company, scheduling the summit for June at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida, the White House announced Thursday.

That decision is without precedent in modern American history: The president used his public office to direct a huge contract to himself.

Trump’s Doral resort — set among office parks near Miami International Airport — has been in sharp decline in recent years, according to the Trump Organization’s own records. Its net operating income fell 69 percent from 2015 to 2017; a Trump Organization representative testified last year that the reason was Trump’s damaged brand.

Now, the G-7 summit will draw hundreds of diplomats, journalists and security personnel to the resort during one of its slowest months of the year, when Miami is hot and the hotel is often less than 40 percent full. It will also provide a worldwide spotlight for the club.

Needless to say, pretty much everyone who heard this completely lost their sh%$, and as is his wont, Trump has reversed himself

President Trump on Saturday said he would no longer host next year’s Group of Seven (G-7) summit at his Doral resort after intense backlash from Democrats, ethics watchdogs and some Republican lawmakers.

The reversal came two days after the White House announced that Trump National Doral near Miami would host the gathering of world leaders next June. The decision was widely panned by critics who viewed it as a brazen move for the president to enrich his family brand.

Seriously, just impeach the motherf%$#er.