Month: February 2020

Biden Wins Decisively in South Carolina

Bernie Sanders came in a distant second place, with Tom Steyer in third despite devoting millions of dollars to the state contest (He has now announced that he is dropping out of the race)

As to the effect on the election, I think that this is generally bad news for Sanders, who underperformed IMHO, and Michael Bloomberg, who, while not on the ballot, has been selling himself as an alternative to a flagging Biden campaign.

Super-Tuesday is in 3 days, and I have no predictions beyond that  some of the also-rans are likely dropping out after that.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. scored a decisive victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, reviving his listing campaign and establishing himself as the leading contender to slow Senator Bernie Sanders as the turbulent Democratic race turns to a slew of coast-to-coast contests on Tuesday.

Propelled by an outpouring of support from South Carolina’s African-American voters, Mr. Biden easily overcame a late effort by Mr. Sanders to stage an upset. The victory in a state long seen as his firewall will vault Mr. Biden into Super Tuesday, where polls open in just over 48 hours, as the clear alternative to Mr. Sanders for establishment-aligned Democrats.

Mr. Biden, the former vice president, captured just under 50 percent of the vote, well ahead of Mr. Sanders, who had 20 percent. Tom Steyer, the California billionaire, was a distant third, followed by Pete Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The victory enabled Mr. Biden to significantly narrow Mr. Sanders’s pledged delegate lead, but he did not appear poised to overtake him.

The Irony is Delicious

As a result of US sanctions, Huawei has been locked out of Google’s play store.

For most phone manufacturers, this would be something near to a death blow, but since Huawei is large enough to set up a rather competent app marketplace of its own, as well as being able to create its competent equivalents of Google’s services.

This has the effect of creating a parallel ecosystem for the Android operating system, which means that, because the OS is open source, Google is at risk of losing much of its control over Android, including its ability to spy on millions (billions?) of users.

So, Google has gone to the Trump administration hat in hand to roll back the sanctions and bring Huawei back into the fold:

As Huawei takes the initiative to create its own homegrown alternative to the Play Store, Google has reportedly pleaded with the White House to offer it an exemption to again work with the Chinese tech giant.

Huawei’s inclusion on the Trump administration’s Entity List has had dramatic consequences for the company’s handset business, preventing it from using Google Mobile Services (GMS) on its latest phones and tablets.

According to German wire service Deutsche Press Agentur, Android and Google Play veep Sameer Samat has confirmed that Google has applied for a licence to resume working with Huawei.


Huawei has said that if Google got an exemption, it would promptly update its newest phones to use Google Mobile Services.

That said, Huawei’s strategy has focused on hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. These preparations have seen the firm invest over $1bn on its app ecosystem, with more than 3,000 engineers working on the AppGallery, according to a statement from the company released earlier this week.

It has also made deals with Western app developers and content providers, most notably Sunday Times publisher News UK, to make its services appear less barren.


Huawei has also introduced the ability to download progressive web apps, dubbed “Quick Apps” by the firm, through the AppGallery, which should bump up the app availability numbers – even if they lack the sophistication of a dedicated native app.

It’s likely this that has motivated Google to take the initiative. Although losing Huawei as a customer is a significant financial body blow to Mountain View, given its enduring popularity in Europe and Asia, it would pale compared to the damage caused by a new product that starts to loosen its stranglehold on the Android sphere.

Google Mobile Services can cost as much as $40 per device, and it’s likely that many phone vendors, particularly on the cheaper end of the spectrum, would welcome a less-expensive alternative.

Complicating matters for Google, the biggest Chinese phone manufacturers (Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei) have teamed up to simplify the process of deploying apps to their in-house stores.

With Google claiming a cool 30 per cent on all Play Store sales, this represents a huge threat to its bottom line.

I’m kind of hoping that the request for a waiver is denied, because anything that hurts Google is good for the rest of us.

What Is an Emergency without Looting?

Given that he is a former pharmaceutical executive, this is not a surprise:

Members of Congress and advocacy groups are voicing outrage after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar—a former pharmaceutical executive—repeatedly refused during House testimony Wednesday to guarantee that any coronavirus vaccine or treatment developed with taxpayer money will be affordable for all in the U.S., not just the rich.


During testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Azar was pressed multiple times to vow that vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus will be priced fairly and made affordable for all U.S. households.

“We would want to ensure that we’d work to make it affordable,” Azar told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), “but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest.”

You don’t need the private sector to invest.

The research will be government funded, and you have tools, such as a threat to invoke Biden-Dole march in rights on most of their patent portfolio, to coerce basic human decency out of these firms.

Paging Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair once observed that, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Reports that the Democratic establishment is willing to burn the party to the ground so that they can preside over the ruins is proof of this.

The army of overpaid incompetent consultants, and their friends on the revolving door track at the DNC, realize the iff Bernie Sanders wins, then their personal gravy train comes to an end.

Of course they are willing to produce long lasting damage to the party in order to preserve their position within the party.

It’s the Iron Law of Institutions, “The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.”

Dozens of interviews with Democratic establishment leaders this week show that they are not just worried about Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance. Since Mr. Sanders’s victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, The Times has interviewed 93 party officials — all of them superdelegates, who could have a say on the nominee at the convention — and found overwhelming opposition to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of a majority.

Such a situation may result in a brokered convention, a messy political battle the likes of which Democrats have not seen since 1952, when the nominee was Adlai Stevenson.

“We’re way, way, way past the day where party leaders can determine an outcome here, but I think there’s a vibrant conversation about whether there is anything that can be done,” said Jim Himes, a Connecticut congressman and superdelegate, who believe the nominee should have a majority of delegates.

In the words of Mel Brooks, “We gotta protect our phony baloney jobs.”


Grind Them into the Dirt, and Then Salt the Earth

I am, of course, referring to Pacific Gas & Electric, which is now facing $2.1 billion fine for its negligence causing multiple wildfires:

California regulators increased penalties against PG&E Corp. to $2.1 billion for violations tied to the catastrophic wildfires ignited by the company’s power lines in 2017 and 2018.

The penalty would be the largest ever imposed by the California Public Utilities Commission, the agency said in a statement Thursday.

The decision, which becomes final if PG&E agrees to the terms within 20 days, increases a prior penalty settlement by about $462 million. It also would require that any tax savings associated with the payments be applied to the benefit of PG&E customers. Those savings may exceed $500 million.


The state’s revised penalty would bar PG&E from recovering about $1.8 billion in wildfire-related costs from ratepayers, require the company to spend $114 million on system enhancements and corrective actions and pay a $200 million fine to the state’s general fund. 

PG&E needs to be shut down, and its assets seized by the government.

To quote Corporal Hicks, “Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

Why We Love The New Yorker


The New Yorker has this illustration for their cover story on Trump’s incoherent response to CoViD-19.

It’s beautiful, man.

Given the level of disruption now, I rather hope this to be a Katrina moment for the Trump administration.

However, given the general deterioration of the news media since 2005, I rather expect that the ongoing cluster-f%$# of the Corona Virus crisis will be abandoned in for in depth coverage some outrageous tweet.

We are living in interesting times, and not in a good way.


Have some Cyanide and Happiness:

Her Honor

She self-published a children’s book and then used her position to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars of sales:

In her three years as mayor, a seat she often described as her “dream job,” Catherine E. Pugh sought to burnish the image of her adoptive hometown, a city battered by rioting, a soaring murder rate, and a history of corruption at City Hall and in the police department.

Yet, as she was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy, Pugh personified the dysfunction that has long permeated Maryland’s largest city and sown distrust among its 600,000 residents.

“This became a very large fraud,” U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow said before punishing Pugh for using her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books to generate more than $800,000 in income while failing to deliver tens of thousands of the books to youngsters.
The fraudulent sales to entities with business before city and state government helped fund straw donations to Pugh’s political campaigns and allowed her to buy and renovate a second home in Baltimore.

2 of the past 4 mayors of Baltimore have been charged with corruption while in office.

Another Day, Another Shooting

At a brewery in Milwaukee, with at least 5 dead:

Officials said they are investigating why Anthony Ferrill — a 51-year-old electrician with a wife, grandchildren and a Doberman he adored — walked into his workplace and began shooting Wednesday afternoon, leaving five dead before killing himself.

On Thursday, a chilly wind blew through the deserted Molson Coors complex with its soaring red “Miller” beer sign, its employees sent home and the work halted on the factory floor. Residents across this Midwestern city grieved and gathered at a community prayer vigil. Relatives of the victims began making plans to bury the dead.

The five victims — utility workers, machinists and electricians — came from across southern Wisconsin to work at the iconic brewery, Molson Coors chief executive Gavin Hattersley said at an afternoon news conference. They were identified as Jesus Valle Jr., 33; Gennady Levshetz, 51; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; Dana Walk, 57; and Dale Hudson, 50.

Welcome to the new normal, and f%$# the NRA.

Because it Worked SO Well for President Garfield

Someone seems to forget that the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed in response to the assassination of James A. Garfield by a disgruntled office seeker.

This is not a good precedent:

The White House this week confirmed it is combing through federal agencies to identify employees not sufficiently loyal to President Trump to facilitate their ouster, sparking concerns the administration could run afoul of long-established civil service laws.

The administration is examining employees throughout the government to find anyone taking action officials decide represents an effort to undermine Trump, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox News Monday. Gidley did not specifically mention career employees, who are statutorily protected against political retaliation, but did note the “millions” of individuals agencies employ. By contrast, there are only about 4,000 political appointees in government.

“It’s not a secret that we want people in positions that work with this president, not against him, and too often we have people in this government—I mean the federal government is massive, with millions of people—and there are a lot people out there taking action against this president and when we find them we will take appropriate action,” Gidley said.

His comments followed reports in Axios that the administration maintains “deep state” hit lists of employees to fire and the president has tasked the head of the Presidential Personnel Office, Johnny McEntee, to purge “bad people” who are not loyal to him. The latter report mentioned only political appointees, who serve at the pleasure of the president and can be dismissed at will, but Gidley’s comments this week appeared to go further.

“Time and time again we see in the media reports from people in the bowels of the federal government working against this president,” he said.

This is not going to end well.

Adventures in Cowardice

ABC News, which has has been targeted by James O’Keefe’s Veritas Project, has responded by complete capitulation.

Why our media sucks wet farts from dead pigeons:

ABC News suspended one of its veteran correspondents late Tuesday for unguarded remarks he made in a video by operatives of Project Veritas, the conservative group that records “undercover” footage of mainstream journalists to bolster its accusations of media bias.

The network disciplined David Wright, who reports for ABC’s signature news programs, including “World News Tonight,” “Good Morning America” and “Nightline,” several people confirmed late Tuesday.

He was venting at a bar, and he was venting about how ABC was more interested about eyeballs and ratings than it was about actual news.

Oh, the horror.

This is a Feature, Not a Bug

As a result of a new privacy law in California, many businesses have reduced the amount of data that they collect:

Last year, a major U.S. airline went looking for all the things it knew about its passengers. Among the details it had gathered, the company found, were consumers’ food preferences—information that seems innocuous but that could also reveal a passenger’s religious beliefs if they select a kosher or halal meal. So the airline decided to stop saving the food-preference information, according to Integris, the data privacy startup that helped the airline review its data practices. (Integris declined to name its client.)

Instead, the airline will ask passengers what they’d like to eat before every flight.

Recently, treasure hunts like this one have been taking place across industries and all around the country. Companies are mapping the data that they own, and some, like the airline, are proactively scrubbing sensitive information to avoid trouble.

When companies cut back on hoarding sensitive data, consumers win. Less of their private information is susceptible to data breaches and leaks, viewable by unscrupulous company insiders, or available to be sold to data brokers or advertisers.

This is a surprising turn: Data about consumers can be wildly lucrative—it fuels a $100 billion-plus digital-advertising industry, among other things—and companies generally like to gather as much of it as they can. But something changed this year. A new state law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, has turned data from an unadulterated asset into a potential liability.


The CCPA, in effect since Jan. 1, grants several new digital rights to Californians. They can now ask companies for a copy of the information the firms know about them, limit how that data is shared or sold, and demand that it’s deleted altogether.

Businesses also have to disclose new details about the personal information they gather and who they share it with.

Many companies have been setting up new tools to allow Californians to exercise these new rights, and some, such as Microsoft, have extended them to all their customers. But the law has had a second-order effect, too, that has an impact on almost every consumer: It has pushed some firms to slim down their troves of personal consumer data.

That’s because the CCPA’s new transparency requirements make it less attractive to hoover up everything there is to know about consumers. By gathering less, a company can avoid having to make damning disclosures about what kinds of data it keeps, and potentially turn privacy into a selling point.

Plus, companies can now get in legal trouble if they’re found to have not taken “reasonable” measures to safeguard particularly sensitive data such as Social Security numbers—a good reason to just get rid of that information if they don’t need it.

“That’s a huge incentive for companies not to collect those categories of information unless they absolutely need to,” says Ross, who co-authored the California ballot initiative that led to the CCPA. 

This is an unalloyed good, because privacy is an unalloyed good.

Sir, About F%$#ing Time, Sir

The Marine Corps Commandant, General David Berger, has issued an order banning Confederate symbols from all Corps installation:

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has ordered all Confederate-related paraphernalia to be removed from Marine Corps installations, his spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.


The document did not say when all of the Confederate-related paraphernalia needed to be removed by.

Berger’s spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose that the commandant had sent a directive to his senior staff ordering all installations to get rid of symbols of the Confederate States of America.

The adoration of people who tried to destroy the United States by some of the military needs to be nipped in the bud.

A Followup on the Debate

Bloomberg is the principal

— Molly Lambert 🦔 (@mollylambert) February 26, 2020

And the Award for Best use of a Breakfast Club Metaphor Goes To

First, I now have an explanation as to why some of the more ordinary statements about inequality and the like were booed by the debate crowd, it is likely that Bloomberg bought a significant portion of the tickets, because they cost in excess of $1,700:

Candidates on the debate stage were markedly rowdier on Tuesday — and they weren’t the only ones. Throughout the night, the audience seemingly was, too.

In moment after moment, including when Sen. Bernie Sanders pressed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on the overwhelming support he receives from billionaires, the audience responded effusively with boos. Notably, in several instances, the reaction seemed to favor Bloomberg, who was once again confronted by multiple candidates over issues including “stop and frisk” and alleged sexist comments.

The apparent support for Bloomberg from the crowd raised questions about whether there was an outsized presence of his supporters in the audience, given the extensive cheers he seemed to garner at the event compared to the Nevada debate. Speculation on Twitter was only amplified by a local news article that went viral, which claimed tickets started at a whopping $1,750 to $3,200 for donors looking to sponsor a package of events, including the debate. An update was later published to indicate that these ticket options were removed from the Charleston County Democrats’ website.

This is actually kind of reassuring. My first take was that South Carolina Democrats were a bunch or retrograde morons.

Bribery and corruption actually sounds better.

My second take is that Buttigieg’s sneering attack on 60’s revolutionary politics was effectively an attack on the Stonewall riots:

Hearing the first gay presidential candidate condemn the “revolutionary politics of the 1960s” is uhhhhhhh something

— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) February 26, 2020

A Morrisette Moment

After Sanders responded by calling for nuance in US views toward foreign leaders — and by tying his views on Cuba to former President Barack Obama’s stance on the country — Buttigieg argued against Sanders’s position and claimed it demonstrates why the senator is unfit to be the Democratic presidential nominee:

The only way you can [restore American credibility] is to actually win the presidency, and I am not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Donald Trump with his nostalgia for the social order of the ’50s and Bernie Sanders with a nostalgia for the revolution politics of the ’60s. This is not about what coups were happening in the 1970s or 80s, this is about the future. This is about 2020.

(emphasis mine)

The, “Revolution politics of the ’60s,” ended the Vietnam war, gave us civil rights, and was the genesis of the gay rights via among other things, the Stonewall Riots.

Buttigieg would never have served in the military, or married his husband without those pesky 60s revolutionaries.

Seriously, Mayor Mayo is a poster child for unconscious privilege.

Speaking of privilege,  Chris “Tweety” Matthews’ grilling of Elizabeth Warren about her challenging Bloomberg on his treatment of women, because Matthews cannot imagine believing the woman, is one for the ages:

During the presidential debate in South Carolina on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren used some of her speaking time to remind voters that former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg allegedly once told a pregnant employee of his to “kill it”—“it” as in the fetus. Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews was, by all indications, appalled by what he heard. But it wasn’t the part about Bloomberg’s alleged discrimination that seemed to disgust him—it was that Warren was making such a fuss about how she believed the woman was telling the truth.

Why does Tweety have a job?

The Horror………(Debate Edition)

9:07 OK, I’m done. Time to pick up Nat.

9:06 Michael Bloomberg mentions the naked cowboy, a New York City institution.

9:05 Sanders notes that the profit motive is what drives hospitals out of rural areas.

9:04 Pete Buttigieg who systematically excluded blacks from political participation in South Bend, argues for more black political participation. Cognitive dissonance.

9:03 Klobuchar calls free public tuition as a give away to rich kids. F%$# her with Cheney’s dick.

9:01 Steyer just said the truest thing of the evening, that every major policy issue in the United States has a subtext of race. Major Props.

9:00 Biden is asked about helping inequality on race, and he talks about entrepreneurship grants.

8:59 Michael Bloomberg is a self-important pompous ass.

8:57 Klobuchar talks about building coalitions on housing and education, and Charlie says that he wants to go into airplane mode, as in FLYING INTO A BUILDING.

8:56 F%$# me, they are now taking questions from Twitter. Just f%$#ing kill me.

8:55 Buttigieg notes that he is married to a school teacher.

8:54 Sanders largely echoes Warren on this.

8:53 Warren savages charter schools and high stakes testing. Probably got a few teacher votes there.

8:52 Bloomberg gives a full throated defense of charter schools, because of course he does, because Wall Street sees it as a profit center.

8:50 Steyer suggests term limits for Senate, excuse me while I vomit.

8:49 Sanders is just weak on gun control.

8:47 Buttigieg goes after Sanders for not opposing the filibuster. Mayo Pete is right. Kill the filibuster.

8:46 Klobuchar claims that she can get gun control because she is from Minnesota? Whiskey Tango Forxtrot?

8:45 Sanders asked about his votes against gun control, he notes that they were bad votes, and he was wrong. Best possible response.

8:44 Warren notes that the problem is the filibuster.

8:43 Biden claims that he beat the gun manufacturers, notes that there are 150 MILLION gun deaths since the passage of the Brady Bill. Maybe he means 150 thousand?

8:42 Gayle King and Nora O’Donnell are now joined by Margaret Brennan, Major Garrett, and Bill Whitaker.

8:40 OMFG!!!! There is a Mike Bloomberg add!!! Motherf%$#er!

8:38 Advertising break. Walmart ad, f%$# Walmart.

8:37 Warren notes (correctly) that the actual progressive agenda is overwhelmingly popular. Line of the night so far, “We have to choose hope over fear.”

8:36 Bernie notes that he polls better against Trump than anyone else on stage.

8:35 Bloomberg: I may have funded Graham, but I also funded Democrats. Theme of the night for everyone but Warren is, “Bernie is dangerous.”

8:34 Klobuchar speaks, and my son, Charlie, who does not drink, wants my rum. I want my rum.

8:33 Steyer notes that Biden wrote that awful crime bill in the 1990s.

8:31 Biden notes that Steyer bought a horrific private prison.

8:30 Buttigieg talks about how Sanders is a danger to the party.

8:29 Steyer claims that the current choices are a Democratic Socialist and a Republican.

8:28 Lots of cross talk. The moderators are losing control.

8:25 Klobuchar goes on Jihad against Medicare for All.

8:25 Sanders is asked about how to pay for Medicare for All, and Sanders notes that Lancet article that shows that Sanders saves $450 billion annually.

8:23 Bloomberg denies the baby story, Buttigieg notes that it’s going to be litigated until election day.

8:22 Colloquy between Warran and Bloomberg, and Warren, and Warren again demands release from the non-disclosure agreements.

8:21 Now, Warren is telling the Bloomberg the “Kill the Baby,” story.

8:19 Bloomberg’s response, “A noun, a verb, and 911.”

8:18 Warren is asked about why she said that Bloomberg is not the safe choice. Woo hoo!!!!!! She goes after how Bloomberg donated to Lindsey Graham and other right wingers. Bloomberg wincing. HAH!!!!

8:17 Klobuchar specifically says that Bloomberg’s stop and frisk program was racist. She raises voter suppression. Good for her.

8:16 Buttigieg is asked about his dubious racial record, and he goes kumbuya. Meh.

8:15 Bloomberg is asked about stop and frisk, and he shucks and jives.

8:14 Props to CBS for only having 2 moderators on stage on at a time.

8:13 Biden says that he will win South Carolina.

8:12 Pete has a hissy fit over that. He’s crying all the way to the wine cave.

8:11 Sanders states his support for the increase in the minimum wage, free college tuition, and Medicare for all. Then he calls out Buttigieg’s sucking up to billionaires.

8:10 Joe Biden changes the subject, brings up the valid point that Sanders’ record on gun control is weak, and wraps himself in the flag of Barack. Probably the best he can do.

8:08 Pete Buttigieg talks about how the real problem is divisiveness. I just realized that Mayor Mayo is a poster child for Backpfeifengesicht, a face that begs to be slapped.

8:07 Warren argues that she has achieved more success than Sanders. Respectful, and a good point.

8:05 Bloomberg suggests that Sanders is Putin’s version of the Manchurian Candidate. I want a f%$#ing drink, so bad right now. He’ll, I’m tempted to smoke crack after that.

8:04 They ask Sanders why, if the economy is so good, how can he argue for socialism. Big fat one up the middle for Sanders who rattles off how many people are not doing well.

8:03 CBS is partnering with Twitter, #DemDebates. I’ll use #DeezeNuts.

8:02 The 7 candidates, Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Warren, Klobuchar, Steyer, & Bloomberg.

8:00pm And the debates start the standard network fluff pretending that this is the Super Bowl. It’s more like the Super Bowel.

I will attempt a limited live blogging of the Presidential debates.

I have to leave pick up my NJ from rehearsal at about 9 pm, so I can’t drink, and obviously, I’ll be unable to comment then, because I will be on the road.

I will be SOBER!

Damn your eyes.

In Preparation for the Debates, Here is a Medical Study

It’s from The Lancet, and it shows that Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for all plan more than pays for itself:

Although health care expenditure per capita is higher in the USA than in any other country, more than 37 million Americans do not have health insurance, and 41 million more have inadequate access to care. Efforts are ongoing to repeal the Affordable Care Act which would exacerbate health-care inequities. By contrast, a universal system, such as that proposed in the Medicare for All Act, has the potential to transform the availability and efficiency of American health-care services. Taking into account both the costs of coverage expansion and the savings that would be achieved through the Medicare for All Act, we calculate that a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a 13% savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than US$450 billion annually (based on the value of the US$ in 2017). The entire system could be funded with less financial outlay than is incurred by employers and households paying for health-care premiums combined with existing government allocations. This shift to single-payer health care would provide the greatest relief to lower-income households. Furthermore, we estimate that ensuring health-care access for all Americans would save more than 68 000 lives and 1·73 million life-years every year compared with the status quo.

When they ask Sanders, “How will you pay for this?”, his response, “How can you pay for not doing this?”

Live in Obedient, Fear, Citizen

The Indiana supreme court has ruled that removing a GPS tracking device from your car is not theft, and hence cannot be used to get a warrant.

I’m not surprised that a cop would make this argument, but I am surprised that a lower court judge would accept this:

An Indiana man may beat a drug prosecution after the state’s highest court threw out a search warrant against him late last week. The search warrant was based on the idea that the man had “stolen” a GPS tracking device belonging to the government. But Indiana’s Supreme Court concluded that he’d done no such thing—and the cops should have known it.

Last November, we wrote about the case of Derek Heuring, an Indiana man the Warrick County Sheriff’s Office suspected of selling meth. Authorities got a warrant to put a GPS tracker on Heuring’s car, getting a stream of data on his location for six days. But then the data stopped.

Officers suspected Heuring had discovered and removed the tracking device. After waiting for a few more days, they got a warrant to search his home and a barn belonging to his father. They argued the disappearance of the tracking device was evidence that Heuring had stolen it.

During their search, police found the tracking device and some methamphetamine. They charged Heuring with drug-related crimes as well as theft of the GPS device.

But at trial, Heuring’s lawyers argued that the warrant to search the home and barn had been illegal. An application for a search warrant must provide probable cause to believe a crime was committed. But removing a small, unmarked object from your personal vehicle is no crime at all, Heuring’s lawyers argued. Heuring had no way of knowing what the device was or who it belonged to—and certainly no obligation to leave the device on his vehicle.

An Indiana appeals court ruled against Heuring last year. But Indiana’s Supreme Court seemed more sympathetic to Heuring’s case during oral arguments last November.


Last Thursday, Indiana’s highest court made it official, ruling that the search warrant that allowed police to recover Heuring’s meth was illegal. The police had no more than a hunch that Heuring had removed the device, the court said, and that wasn’t enough to get a search warrant.

This is yet another example of why you can never depend on the local constabulary to protect your civil rights.

From the Department of “About F%$#ing Time”

There is a bill in California which would tax companies with overpaid CEOs:

In response to growing income inequality, some California lawmakers are looking at the possibility of tying tax rates for corporations to the gap between how much they pay their CEOs and what their average employees take home. That’s the idea behind state Senate Bill 37, legislation first introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) in December 2018.

Currently, California taxes corporations at a rate of 8.84 percent, and financial institutions at a rate of 10.84 percent. Under SB 37, corporations making over $10 million annually would be subject to a tax rate between 10.84 and 14.84 percent (12.84 and 16.84 percent for financial institutions), depending on the ratio of their CEO salaries to average worker wages. Companies with a ratio of more than 300 to one would pay the highest rate. SB 37 would also increase these tax rates for companies outsourcing to independent contractors or workers in foreign companies.

Revenue generated by the law would go to educational and early childhood programs. “The goal of SB 37 is to shrink income inequality,” said Sen. Skinner in a January 2020 hearing, adding, “The design of SB 37 … recognizes that reliance on state services increases when corporations underpay their workers.”

Personally, I’d just start levying a payroll tax on companies for a salary over $400,000.00 (The Salary of the President of the United States), but I’ll take what I can get.

WSJ Editorial Page Draws Blood

Unfortunately, the worst OP/ED page in the United States drawn blood from their own reporters, as reported by the Washington Post*:

The Wall Street Journal’s China staff is urging the newspaper to apologize for a headline that prompted the Chinese government to expel three of its journalists last week.

The email from the Journal’s China bureau to the top officers of the paper’s parent companies, in effect, sides with the Chinese, who have demanded an apology and retaliated with the expulsions last week.

The headline in question — “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” — appeared on an opinion column written by academic and foreign affairs specialist Walter Russell Mead in the Journal on Feb. 3. The column was a commentary on the health of China’s financial markets, rather than a reference to the coronavirus outbreak there.

Chinese officials and ordinary citizens have protested that “sick man” is a racist phrase once used by Westerners to denigrate China during and immediately after the era in which colonial powers dominated and exploited the nation.

This was egregious enough that Mr. Mead disavowed the headline to his own article:

Mr. Mead, the writer of the op-ed, suggested in a Twitter post on Feb. 8 that he was opposed to the headline, writing, “Argue with the writer about the article content, with the editors about the headlines.” He declined to comment for this article.

I don’t think that the WSJ can fix this problem, though its editorials are routinely called out as false by the front page of the WSJ.

Unfortunately, dishonest, hypocritical, and (quite frankly) insane editorials from the Journal have been baked into its DNA since well before Rupert Murdoch took over the paper

*Ironically, the Washington Post OPO/ED page is the 2nd worst editorial page among the major papers.

Fredrick Samuel Hiatt, Would You Please Go Now?

Normally, I’d suggest that the most batsh%$ insane bit of punditry over the past week or so would be Chris Matthews likening Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucus to the Nazi defeat of France in 1940.

This week, I’d be wrong, because Washington Post editorial editor Fred Hiatt just penned an article stating that Bernie Sanders is the real climate change denier because he isn’t listening to the opinions of oil company executives:


Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to make such things happen, as Patrick Pouyanné told me last week. Pouyanné is one of those people whose hatred Sanders might welcome; he is chairman and chief executive of Paris-based Total, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies.

As Dan Froomkin pithily notes,(Cleaned up from a Twitter post) “The author of this piece, Fred Hiatt, runs the Washington Post’s opinion side. And as I have long argued, he has done more damage to the Post brand than anyone since Janet Cooke.”