Links 6/29/2017

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Three years to safeguard our climate Nature (MP)

A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’ The Guardian

Despite Exposés and Embarrassments, Hundreds of Judges Preside in New York Without Law Degrees ProPublica

The iPhone turns 10 – and it’s isolated us, not united us The Conversation

Judges refuse to order fix for court software that put people in jail by mistake Ars Technica. That pesky standing hurdle….

An Education Worth Fighting For Jacobin


Elon Musk has officially started digging a tunnel under Los Angeles Business insider (David L)

Help Me

Obama’s jeans game gets strong(er) CNN

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children ProPublica (Chuck L)

Berkeley Capitulates to Police Militarization and Spying Counterpunch. ChiGal: “And so it goes…”

NSA Appears To Be Seducing Sen. John Cornyn With Personal Tours And One-On-One Meetings Techdirt (Chuck L)

The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear Counterpunch. ChiGal: “Maybe mostly known to NC readers but a good catalogue of all the ways we are tracked and makes the point that the surveillance state is a springboard for the police state – and law-abiding or not, everyone in a police state is a target by definition.”

Refugee Watch

Migrant crisis: Italy threatens to shut ports BBC

Why The Oil Price Implosion Didn’t Drag Global Markets Down

FCA says UK’s £7tn asset management industry needs radical reform Guardian (DO)

Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself Counterpunch (Chuck L). Diana Johnstone– important.


Britain’s imperial ghosts have taken control of Brexit The Conversation

Our National Hodgepodge LRB

Britain’s Political Revolution: how Brexit, immigration and housing became flashpoints of change Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Grenfell Tower Inferno Aftermath

May picks controversial judge for Grenfell inquiry The Times

Class Warfare

The Centrist Suicide Note Jacobin. The deck: “Jeremy Corbyn’s recent success has finally deflated New Labour’s favorite boogeyman: Michael Foot’s 1983 general election defeat.”

In the row over public sector pay, don’t forget that Theresa May is no longer in charge New Statesman

Why opioid deaths are this generation’s Aids crisis Guardian

Yes, Your Parents’ Status Does Influence Your Earning Power Bloomberg

Uber is under investigation in Australia Business Insider (David L)

The richest US families own a startling proportion of America’s wealth Business Insider

The Mothers Haunted by Their Sons’ Unsolved Murders Vice

Health Care

Does Trump Know The 1st Thing About Health Care? Aide: ‘He Understands Winning.’ The Daily Beast

Paul Ryan Wants To Kick 23 Million Of Us Off Healthcare– Randy Bryce Says He’ll Co-Sponsor John Conyers’ Medicare-For-All Bill Down With Tyranny (ChiGal).

On the Republicans’ stalled healthcare bill Corey Robin (martha r)

Media Boosts Trumpcare Promoter Without Asking Who’s Writing His Checks AlterNet

GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill The Hill

New Cold War

Planned coup in Montenegro shows Russian efforts to hinder elections, Senate panel hears McClatchy

Corporate Media ALWAYS Wants More War Jimmy Dore

The Petya ransomware is starting to look like a cyberattack in disguise The Verge. Chuck L: “Russia would have been more subtle if they’d done it. Some other government set them up.”

Our Famously Free Press

New York Times staffers say they feel betrayed and disrespected in letter to editor MarketWatch

In the digital age, The New York Times treads an increasingly slippery path between news and advertising Columbia Journalism Review


By demanding the end of Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia is trying to turn Qatar into a vassal state Independent. Robert Fisk.

“Trump Feels a Kinship With Authoritarian Leaders”: Richard Falk on Turmoil in the Middle East TruthOut

Dispatch From the Middle East: U.S. Buildup All About Iran American Conservative

Nothing About the White House’s Syria Announcement Was Normal New York Magazine

White House Says It Will Fake “Chemical Weapon Attack” In Syria Moon of Alabama

Turkey, nexus of US incompetence Asia Times

Trump Transition

Trump seizes the advantage in war with media Politico

The Supreme Court might have just turned a symbolic Trump victory into a real one Vox

Chris Christie Attack On New Jersey Health Insurer Could Help Kushner Family International Business Times


Ready or Not, India’s Businesses Brace Themselves for GST The Wire

Can Indian cities lead on climate action as they go about their development goals?

India’s #NotInMyName Campaign Resonates Elsewhere Too The Wire

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Juneau

    Child Abuse by the Church:
    If convicted I hope the Pope seriously denounces this publicly and loudly.
    For those interested in statute of limitations in New York (which has some of the most prohibitive laws in the country, meaning at most victims have five years after the age of 18 to bring charges against priests, rabbis, teachers, family, etc…. for child sex abuse) Cuomo is trying to get the SOL extended but faces a lot of opposition from our Senate. Particularly noted in areas where religious institutions of various stripes have money and votes. (based on words from some who live in those areas).

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’m amazed this horrible scandal keeps going on. There seems to be no end to it. A Cardinal, for pity’s sake. Many years, countless associations, and here we are….

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Widely covered here in Australia, apparently this fine gentleman is third in line to be the next Pope. We still have a semblance of an operational justice system here though, and charges are charges. My guess is he will make a series of press announcements about how innocent he is and how he can’t wait for his day in court (like he did yesterday) but then will say that “health reasons” prevent him from boarding any Rome > Sydney flight, he can then wait out his days in quiet contemplations on the weaknesses of the flesh until his own personal Last Judgement arrives. There’s no Vatican/Australia extradition treaty…which is why he scooted over there with such alacrity when this all started to boil over.
        “Lord make me pure…but not yet” – St. Augustine

        1. uncle tungsten

          Only just a semblance OTPBDH, take a stroll through ‘the Rofe audit’ and the Australian justice system soon loses its gleam. And that all started with the systematic rape of a 14 year old girl incarcerated in a youth detention centre.

  2. Terry Flynn

    re BREXIT in the Indie:

    Brexit and immigration remain important issues, but it is housing, ownership and non-ownership of a place to live, which is the obsessive topic of conversation in Canterbury.

    Indeed – as I linked to before (won’t again – don’t want to look like too much self-promotion of my survey). It is indirect effects – the effects on real wages, inadequate infrastructure to cope with the influx etc rather than immigration directly that explain the BREXIT vote in key regions (like the East Midlands – the main one for the ‘fruit and veg picking’ phenomenon). Plus, linking to the piece in the Conversation – people have been sold the idea of a free trade area as ‘the solution’ when voting on BREXIT….unfortunately.

          1. Anonymous2

            I am doubtful having 49 MPs defy you shows authority. Remember how repeated rebellions by a smaller number of MPs undermined Major ‘s authority. I think Corbyn would have been better advised to allow a free vote.

  3. Bunk McNulty

    Re: NYT staff. I used to work at a trade rag run by the long-defunct Cahners Publishing. When it was taken over by Reed-Elsevier, people from corporate made it plain that they saw copy editors as a luxury item, and soon got rid of them.

  4. fresno dan

    Kangaroos are like no other large animal in that they don’t take steps, but bound along from spot to spot, “flying” for just a second at a time, landing, and then taking off again.

    “We’ve noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight — when it’s in the air it actually looks like it’s further away, then it lands and it looks closer,” Volvo Australia’s technical manager David Pickett told ABC. In short, the car can’t figure out how far away the animal is because the shape and position of its body change so rapidly as it hops along.

    It’s an interesting and timely reminder that for a driverless car to truly be able to take on all the world’s roads, it’ll need to be an expert in the unique conditions of each region, and the first truly capable self-driving system may still be many years away.
    What if there is a pogo stick hopping fad??? One can only imagine the carnage

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      In short, the car can’t figure out how far away the animal is because the shape and position of its body change so rapidly as it hops along.

      And THAT is because they implemented ranging using video only instead of video+radar/lidar.

      1. Brian

        Junley 20, 2025; Melbourne; News comes today that a self driving auto went off the road and attacked a group of children playing as they jumped up and down playing a famous game miming a Roo. The auto was not hurt and could not explain its actions.
        Adults should have more interesting jobs to look forward to than trying to create a new fad that no one particularly wants.

        anyone remember when the “automated” part of a car journey was getting into the self driving lane that would allow you to relax until your destination and it could prepare for exiting the roadway? It was the only part that allowed the driver to give up the responsibility of driving. I know, Sci Fi and all, but what makes anyone think a car is going to understand the random nature of fauna and flora as they interact with the world? As we know, law enforcement is alleged to receive huge monthly payoffs from the cell/smart phone purveyors to not cite drivers acting like idiots and using their product.
        If you stand on a corner and wait for the cars to stop coming toward you, look at the drivers. How many are paying attention to the job of driving? Not enough perhaps? Pull up a chair and watch the near misses until……

    2. a different chris

      That sounds like a pretty cockeyed explanation by the “technical manager” — visions of Dilbert’s boss… but taking it as read, the problem would be that the kangaroo, to the car, seems to be continually changing directions.

      Which yes would seriously (family blog) with real intelligence, let alone “AI”. Love it.

    3. craazyboy

      What if they ever frog-marched a bunch of guilty as Hell Banksters and CEOs to jail?

      Could or should the car stop? Self driving or not?

      1. fresno dan

        June 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        Well, if there was a moral and/or justice algorithm in the software, they would not stop, and than they would back over, and go forward, until you had pancake bankers…each banker “note” would be sent to someone who had their house illegality or immorally foreclosed upon, and one note would be legal tender for one bankers house.

        1. craazyboy

          Wallet size Bankers! Great idea, except I wouldn’t want one that close to my butt, tho.

    4. ChrisPacific

      That’s an illustration of the dirty little secret that self-driving cars and AIs in general cannot, in fact, “see.” What they can do is perform pattern recognition and classification within the set of operating parameters supplied to them by their designers. So when the authors say that self-driving cars can’t recognize kangaroos, what they really mean is that the pattern recognition model supplied by the designers to allow the car to recognize and react to animals is overly simplistic, and doesn’t include the kind of understanding of real world physics, anatomy and motion models that would be needed for it to recognize a kangaroo or to accurately track and predict its motion.

      Given that even a human being who had never seen a kangaroo before would probably have little difficulty spotting and tracking one visually, this suggests that the underlying model for recognizing and classifying animals isn’t actually all that sophisticated. For example it probably doesn’t extend to identifying major body parts (such as legs) and their function (propelling the animal forward by interacting with the ground).

      We should not be letting these things anywhere near public roads yet, any more than we should be teaching 2 year olds to drive.

  5. RenoDino

    According to a recent report by NPR, a poll conducted in Texas notes that the majority of conservatives in that state believe the Justice Department and FBI are or might be politically motivated , while a majority of liberals see just the opposite. Quite a reversal of fortune for the agencies, particularly when it comes to liberals who have been the main targets of their investigations for the last fifty years. Spokesman for these agencies don’t see a problem in a decline in support amongst conservatives, noting that they target everyone equally across the political spectrum.

    There are so many crazy contradiction in this study and the response by the agencies, who have lost their most ardent gun-totting, flag waving supporters, only to be desperately embraced by their most questionable “targets,” I cannot help thinking they are taking this report too lightly and that there is a bigger, more important message here.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Uhhh, what time is it in Las Vegas, man? 4:20!

    Fueled by one of the world’s largest tourism industries, Nevada is preparing [for recreational cannabis sales] on July 1. A May report published by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s task force on marijuana estimates that up to 63 percent of recreational buyers will be tourists.

    “Everything we know shows that millennials are very pro-marijuana, and that’s the new marketing push,” said Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom, a longtime marijuana advocate. “This is a game-changer for Las Vegas and tourism here as far as I’m concerned.”

    “Amsterdam on steroids,” he added.

    Following a Carson City judge’s ruling last week that all distribution of the plant from cultivation and production facilities to dispensaries must be carried out only by licensed liquor distributors beyond July 1, dispensary owners were using the last week of medical-only sales to get as much weed into their stores as possible. None of the existing suppliers are liquor distributors.

    It’s that last graf that reeks of good old mob-friendly Nevada corruption. Using an anachronistic diktat from the end of alcohol prohibition 84 years ago which mandated useless-middleman distributors, looks like unionized beer and liquor distributors in the Silver State muscled their way into a cannabis business in which they know and contribute nothing (except pilferage).

    All the same, recreational 420 will definitely help Vegas and Reno kick the ass of Chris Christie’s stick-in-the-mud NJ, which forty years ago fantasized itself as an east coast gaming competitor of Nevada. Same goes for New York’s Cuomo and his Catskill white elephants casinos.

    Your Christie don’t dance, and your Cuomo don’t rock ‘n roll.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Cali — the original medical cannabis pioneer 20 years ago — is not expected to start recreational sales until January 2018.

      When it does, the entire U.S. Pacific coast including Alaska will offer recreational weed. Canada is expected to join next year.

      Mexico’s president issued a decree about 10 days ago, starting a process to implement medical cannabis. It contains a bizarre 1% limit on THC content. (Most commercial cannabis ranges from the high teens to high twenties).

      Recreational cannabis would be huge step to curb Mexico’s drug gang violence. But the cartels don’t want that …

          1. Optimader

            I just saw a Kraft Foods is putting a 120k sqft expansion on its mac&cheeze(is it cheeze?) factory in Springield ,Mo
            Just say’in

  7. Mark P.

    Hillarygate/Russkigate related —

    Bill Would Bar Pentagon From Business With Russian Cyber Firm Kaspersky

    A provision in a Senate spending bill that is likely to become law would bar the Defense Department from doing business with Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber-security company whose employees were interviewed at their homes this week by FBI agents.

    The Congressional action comes amid mounting concerns about the Moscow-based company, which sells anti-virus software across the world to consumers, businesses and government agencies, including some elements of the U.S. government.

    In recent months, U.S. intelligence officials have expressed concerns that the company is a security risk, without specifying the basis of those concerns….

        1. craazyboy

          I’m just hoping they don’t rescind citizenship for all the Russian Hookers working in this country!

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      As if I needed any further reminder that the USMSCIC (US MSM/Surveillance/Congressional Industrial Complex) had tipped over into the realm of the unwell.

      Viewing it all from a distance (Australia) makes me wonder when the rest of the world just gets absolutely terrified that the World’s Alpha Bully has fully decoupled from reality altogether. I’d say that’s now.

      And it doesn’t feel like mean reversion is anywhere in sight, the words “Sir, have you no decency?” may not ring out anytime soon. Especially terrifying when you know that a pimply-faced 23-year old in a trailer outside Bakersfield can press a button anytime, without a declaration of war or the consent of the governed, and instantly send a flying death robot to kill you anywhere on the planet.

  8. RenoDino

    The Supreme Court might have just turned a symbolic Trump victory into a real one Vox

    Best example EVAHER of splitting the baby in half King Solomon style. Significant ties to the U.S. for visa holders means parents but not grandparents, jobs but not interviews, tours but not tourism. This is not a decision. It’s a soft smack down to the lower courts and a head pat for Trump, but legally it absolutely makes no sense. Could be the worst decision since Gore vs Bush in terms of pure politics.

    1. a different chris

      Worse, it wasn’t technically King Solomon style because he didn’t split the baby in half. These people are either too far over the edge that they can’t come back, or just plain morons.

      Maybe a mix of both.

  9. Bandit

    Planned coup in Montenegro shows Russian efforts to hinder elections, Senate panel hears: McClatchy

    Is the inclusion of this article here a reminder that McClatchy is just another biased MSM peddling fake news? Or is NC just trying to be “fair and balanced”? Generally, I do not read MSM articles, especially in relation to “Russiagate”, however, I thought the article must contain something newsworthy for no other reason than it appears on NC. Can someone help me understand why this meme needs repeating here on an alternative news site? I have no doubt that Russia does its fair share of “meddling” as do most countries in position of influence and power, but it is time to bury the bullshit and get on with the “news”.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Garcevic’s written testimony noted that a suspected “key plotter still at large” named Nemanja Ristic was photographed months after the failed coup “standing near Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.”

        If you’re looking to invoke Article 5 to start a hot war, I guess this is as good a reason as any they’ve come up with yet. Downright damning. As an american, I’m sure I don’t want to stand by and do nothing while those 700,000 montenegrins get messed with.

        1. alex morfesis

          100 years later…there was a mountain that separated two small principalities somewhere in europe…on one side were the blahblahkians, a fierce tribe whose legendary exploits were known clear across the next valley…and on the other side were the mullahsovics, a smart business minded people who believed that war is sometimes necessary, but always needed…

          grandfathers from the blahblahkians would tell their grandchildren…

          look at this map…see that mountain top…that used to be ours, but those mullahsovics snuck up on us when we were down and stole it from us…according to MY grandfather…but one day, my grandson, you will avenge out loss for the greater glory of blahblahkistan…

          on the other side of the mountain, the mullahsovics simmered waiting for the opportunity to use an economic downturn to unleash the darkness that resides in mankind…

          “we have suffered for generations” cried out the politicians as they stood before the famous “greater mullahkia” hall of history…” the blahblahkians deprived us of our rightful place in history and destroyed our economic way of life 100 years ago, but the time will come one day soon…they stole our land, and that mountain there, but one day soon…”

          as the fates would have it, a giant volcano erupted on the other side of the world creating economic difficulties with subsistence farming, forcing people to make tough decisions…

          but as always happens in these types of events…

          the wrinkled warriors of the blahblahkians decided that NOW was the time to avenge the theft of that mountain and all that is beyond…

          feeling the same economic difficulties caused by the volcano ash…

          the mullahsovics turned to the usual escape mechanism when economic policies fail…

          time to take back that mountain…

          conveniently or confusingly (hey…blame the script writers, I only work here) both armies arrive at the top of the mountain and find a small village of sheep herders…

          the leader of the blahblahkians shouted out,

          “who are you and who are you with…”

          the delegation from the mullahsovics insisted the same…

          “which side are you on…”

          the villagers looked confused…they spoke amongst themselves for a moment…

          then their leader stepped forward

          ” we have no idea who you are or what you are a talking about…we have lived up here peacefully for over 500 years and have never seen any of you or your kind…”

  10. financial matters

    Hannibal Barca Retweeted

    Charles Shoebridge @ShoebridgeC
    Jun 27

    Replying to @ShoebridgeC

    Note how US blames Assad for a CW attack not only before any investigation, but before the attack has even occurred

    Nikki Haley @nikkihaley
    Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.

    1. frosty zoom

      ah, yes, ms. haley..

      a comet of icy ineptitude, hurtling along on her helliocentric (not a typo) orbit, determined to show the world exceptionalistically bad taste, bad judgement and an utter lack of an sort of empathy.

      you’ll notice she said “any” attacks will be blamed on damascus, thus leaving the door wiiide open for the hammer of operation enduring fiefdom, even if those attacks come from uncle sammy himself.

      when the world longs for john bolton, you know things are bad.

      1. sid_finster

        Stop picking on Nikki Haley, especially when she’s right!

        Any attacks will be blamed on Assad, Russia and Iran, regardless who is actually responsible.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    “The last Oscar Mayer meats will roll down the line in Madison on Thursday”

    Mullen [a Kraft Heinz executive] also said the company is grateful to its employees. “We would like to thank all our employees for their wonderful service and dedication to Oscar Mayer. As always, we remain committed to treating our people with the utmost respect and dignity,” he said.

    We thank you for your service, but you can forget about your medical insurance. There’s always Medicaid. Oh, wait…..this is wisconsin. OK, so you can just go pound sand.

    1. marieann

      Sadly I have never bought oscar mayer products so I can’t boycott them.
      The little town beside us lost it’s Kraft ketchup plant a couple of years ago, I do not care to buy their products anymore.

      A pox on all their houses.

  12. marym

    From Center for American Progress
    Bipartisan Legislation to Lower Premiums and Stabilize Insurance Markets

    Money to insurance companies – continuing guaranteed subsidies and expanding reinsurance. Also, despite recent whispers in the liberalsphere of a public option, a recommendation that people in “underserved” areas have a “Guaranteed Choice Plan” of buying into the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan” (private insurance). Also, fixed-rate bundled payments from Medicare – a Tom Price proposal.

    Dems: We have met the so-called moderate Republicans and they are us.

  13. Carolinian

    The CJR handwringing about the news and advertising commingling at the NYT seems a bit droll in light of the paper’s recent behavior–sort of like a streetwalker complaining about being made to wear hot pants. If the paper is so willing to carry one political faction’s water–even if it’s just for the sake of increasing circulation–then why not that of advertisers as well? Indeed admitting the obvious might be considered more honest.

    1. neighbor7

      “For print sections, we don’t do them if we don’t get advertisers,” Hall explains, “but we don’t do them for advertisers.”

      Perhaps it’s a preposition problem? Not “for” advertisers, but “with” advertisers… partners already.

    2. human

      Indeed admitting the obvious might be considered more honest.

      As is become more recognized as of late as not possible among the powerful … “I take full responsibility, but, that’s not why I lost.”

  14. Jason Boxman

    Google’s office in Cambridge is a cornucopia of high end plastic (and aluminum and glass) beverages, restocked hourly, on each of a dozen floors across 3 buildings. The recycling containers are likewise changed hourly and fill rapidly.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Speaking of recycling: Funny. I worked for a big law firm in Seattle, “Preston Thorgrimson Ellis and Holman,” after leaving EPA. Espresso machines on each floor, along with various other beverages, and pastries and assorted sundries, were provided daily and of course the throw-aways were “greenly” collected for “recycling.”

      The firm’s elders courted another firm, seeking “groaf” and wider client base (they did a lot of reasonably honest municipal work, and even pro bono that actually counted for something.) The suitor was “Shidler McBroom Gates and Lucas,” the named Gates partner being Bill Gates’ father.

      The wedding was consummated, and quickly my kinder, gentler firm discovered they had married a battering spouse. “Unproductive” partners were kicked to the curb, associates were told to generate lots more ‘billable hours’ which led to a lot of churning and cheating, and the unstated motto of the joint became “Eat what you kill.” The annual elephant stampede-cum-predator-fight-to-the-death, to decide claims to the firm’s income stream, became less of a genteel exercise, became known as “whining for dollars,” morphing to “the night of the long knives.”

      And of course all the fripperies and furbelows, stuff like espresso machines and free sodas and bottled water, “went away” because ‘costs without benefits (to the most avaricious of the partners.)’ The firm name shrank from “Preston Thorgrimson Shidler McBroom Gates & Ellis.” (It was sad to see the secretaries and receptionists spurt out that mouthful at the start of every phone call.) The shrunken name, reflecting waning “tradition” and the importance of money, became “Preston Gates & Ellis,” and was further redacted to “PG&E” (this firm had gone big into intellectual property, but apparently no one did due diligence on the expensively generated and selected name and logo, which resulted in “unpleasantness” with Pacific Gas & Electric, which already owned both of them — no business development opportunities with the original PG&E, therefore — oops).

      Even PG&E, The Law Firm, is no more than a vestigial organ in another great concentration into another Blobber, “Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham,” the misbegotten union presently known as “K&L Gates.” Gates being a “winner” name. Because Money, of course. Even though the Senior Bill Gates retired in 1998. And leaves us this: What a generous and happy guy he is — would really want to have a beer with him…

      1. sid_finster

        As a larval attorney, I worked in a small DC firm, home to a lot of eccentrics. The firm wasn’t a bad place, but one thing in particular never made any sense to me, and that was why attorneys weren’t allowed to use the firm’s stamps or drink firm soda.

        This was back when internet payment systems were in their infancy, so it was common to mail a check for your internet, credit card, cell phone, etc..

        As a law firm, you *want* your associates to be at their desks, grinding out the hours. You don’t want them standing in line at the Post Office or getting a snack, because that’s time that they aren’t billing.

        To be completely pedantic about it, if the average attorney drinks soda and uses stamps worth $5.00/working day, even a couple of extra minutes billed per day would make more money for the firm than it spent on fripperies.

        Not to mention the improvement in morale.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Try to tell that to a bunch of grasping SOBs who enjoy being the plantation owners… If the slaves aren’t suffering, what’s the point of being the Massa’? The associate-to-partner ratio went from 5-1 in 1990 when I started there, to I think 11-1 when I finally worked myself out of a job– actually, they insisted on billing my time at well above market rate.

          And they were getting out of the environmental area, my skill set, and moving into IP and other more lucrative stuff. The last year and a half I worked there, almost all associates, whatever their area of expertise, were drafted to go to Microsoft and read and digest millions of company emails, as part of a response to a civil investigative demand from several federal agencies. MS paid peanuts for that work, but “volume counts,” and people had to pretty much move in at the “campus” to be able to bill as many hours as possible.

          And for the partners? Income, lots of it for a while, from all those billables. But they were stiffed out of any significant super-high-rate work doing the strategic stuff and actual “litigation” regarding the responses and motions toward prosecution, even though Gates Senior was a named partner — other “kill-what-you-eaters” cut ’em off at the pass and back-shot ’em…

  15. IHateBanks

    I like to think my needs are simple. All I need today is for Elon Musk to take a vow of silence, and move to a cave, taking only a loin cloth and a large cup of STFU, which he drinks to the dregs.

    Is that too much to ask??

    1. zer0

      His tunnel idea is so fucking awful from so many perspectives.
      1. Shipping cars on some weird futuristic looking rail wont relieve traffic, and is insanely inefficient. He clearly hasn’t taken an engineering course and is full of pseudoscientific notions.
      2. Digging tunnels causes sink holes, etc. You cant just willy-nilly dig “30” tunnels under the 105 and expect nothing to happen. Groundwater displacement can cause massive problems and is also incredibly expensive to design correctly. Im talking billions upon billions of dollars.
      3. CA has no money. They cant even build the homeless shelters they have been promising for the last 7 years and the BART is still the trainwreck it always was. If we ranked what needs to be done to SoCal then tunnels under the 105 would rank dead last

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    joe manchin, on msnbs this morning, when asked to comment on his republican senate colleagues’ support for their “healthcare” bill:

    “C’mon, guys, have a heart.”

    He did not mention that without the ability to overcharge Medicaid for the $600 epipens his daughter is peddling, mylan pharmaceuticals may take a hit to its bottom line. Or that peanut butter may need to be added to the growing list of West Virginian existential threats.

  17. flora

    Re: The Verge article on Petya.
    Be sure to read the comments. They’re better than the article’s rush to judgement.

    And per a ZDNet story today:
    ” On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the collective defence article in the North Atlantic Treaty could be invoked in the face of a cyber attack.

    “We have also decided that a cyber attack can trigger Article 5 and we have also decided — and we are in the process of establishing — cyber as a military domain, meaning that we will have land, air, sea, and cyber as military domains,” he said.”

    The new cold war mongering is proceeding apace.

    1. sid_finster

      It’s almost like NATO was looking for an excuse, and had already decided who was to be blamed.

    2. uncle tungsten

      So is NATO about to invade the designers of stuxnet and gauss? That would be the correct reaction as both of those little cyber weapons seriously damaged the global economy (particularly the west) and barely touched the intended target.

      NATO is a very sick puppy! A little 1080 might ease its path.

      1. Blennylips

        According to the CIA/NSA Whistleblowers, Who was behind Stuxnet going rogue, was Unit 8200 (our go to guys for beta testing in the world’s largest outdoor prison). Worth watching as NSA rarely comes off as the good guys.

        Serendipitously, just started Oliver Sacks auto-bio: You come from good stock Uncle T! What delightful human beings.

        “My favourite dream is of going to the opera (I am Hafnium), sharing a box at the Met with the other heavy transition metals – my old and valued friends – Tantalum, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, and Tungsten.”
        ― Oliver Sacks, Uncle Tungsten

  18. Vatch

    Judges refuse to order fix for court software that put people in jail by mistake Ars Technica. That pesky standing hurdle….

    From the article:

    As Ars reported in December 2016, the Alameda County Superior Court switched from a decades-old courtroom management software to a much more modern one on August 1, 2016.
    However, since then, the public defender’s office has filed approximately 2,000 motions informing the court that, due to its reportedly imperfect software, many of its clients have been forced to serve unnecessary jail time, be improperly arrested, or even wrongly registered as sex offenders.

    One would think that one of those people might have standing. Earlier in the article:

    The 1st Appellate District, a state-level appeals court based in San Francisco, ruled that Woods lacked standing to bring the appeal “in his own right.” Even if there was standing, the plaintiffs did not establish that they would “suffer harm or prejudice in a manner that cannot be corrected on appeal.”

    Yeah, sure. No problem. Send someone to jail by mistake, and after a few years, maybe an appeals court will let him out.

    1. fresno dan

      June 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

      If I have said it once, I have said it a squillion times – any relation between justice and the US legal system is an error.

  19. fresno dan

    Fortune pilfered, Clinton Portis contemplated revenge under the veil of darkness. On a handful of late nights and early mornings in 2013 he lurked in his car near a Washington, D.C.–area office building, pistol at his side, and waited for one of several men who had managed a large chunk of the $43.1 million he earned with his 2,230 carries over nine NFL seasons.
    Snyder and former Washington coach Joe Gibbs checked with Portis on occasion. Was he being wise with his money? Earnestly, Portis assured them he was. He’d entrusted millions on the word of men he had reason to believe in—both Rubin and Brahmbhatt were registered financial advisers with the NFL Players Association, after all.
    Through tough love (and the softer kind) he has come to accept his share of the blame for all he lost. The slew of homes, he admits, proved unnecessary. He acknowledges that no one forced him to hand over his millions to strangers in hopes of speedy returns. “The biggest regret is trusting people with my money,” Portis says. “You shouldn’t. Go to a bank.”
    I hate (well, that’s a lie – I enjoy disabusing people of believing in “regulated” banks) to tell you Portis, but banks crookedness is maybe worse because their caveats and “legal” vetting makes suing them for cheating you even more difficult than financial advisers…..

    The world is full of crooks, and the more money you have, and the more people know that, the more crooks you will encounter.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      The world is full of crooks, and the more money you have, and the more people know that, the more crooks you will encounter.

      a corollary, perhaps.

      If you’re rich and you don’t see any crooks around you, you’re being robbed.

      (derived from “If you’ve been in the game 30 minutes and you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.”)

  20. Ranger Rick

    There’s no escaping the Apple hagiography today. I’ll have to limit my exposure to tech news until the religious fervor dies down.

    1. PKMKII

      iPhone is just a device like a television, software is the programming, literally and metaphorically. So I see the prime culprit as Facebook rather. Our primary way of keeping in touch with each other is built upon a platform fundamentally designed around facilitating bourgeois pecking order power games. No wonder we’re all neurotically depressed and paranoid about missing out on something.

  21. fresno dan

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 2h2 hours ago
    …to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
    33,082 replies 8,371 retweets 26,664 likes
    Reply 33K Retweet 8.4K Like 27K
    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 2h2 hours ago
    I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

    This is a test – will the NC skynet, filter out the POTUS?
    I was becoming kinda bored with the tweets….I’m glad they’re letting Trump be Trump!!!
    I see Mika fired back – I hope this keeps going!

    1. Lambert Strether

      Zbigniew’s daughter. She’ll do fine, just fine.

      And I’m heartily sick of the “dignity of the office” pearl-clutching. Since when was getting us into Iraq dignified? Or telling the banksters “I stand between you and the pitchforks”?

      I’d love a return to Constitutional government, the rule of law, and all that, but the pearl-clutching isn’t going to get us there.

      1. Vatch

        Thanks, I wondered whether she was related to Zbiggy. I could have looked it up, but there are so many things to look up. . . .

        Whether or not one cares about the dignity of The Office, Trump is behaving like a middle school cyber bully. He should grow up.

      2. fresno dan

        Lambert Strether
        June 29, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        I disagree. This site has a conduct code and bans people who don’t abide by it. Many sites no longer have discussion boards because they have found TROLLS dissuade civil, intelligent, and informed discussion.
        I think Trump does it on purpose. Yes, civil discussion did not keep us out of Iraq….but Trump’s uncivil discussion isn’t keeping us out either, and we appear on invading….er, liberating Syria now as well.

        1. Lambert Strether

          And if Trump came on the site we’d moderate him like anybody else.

          But we are talking about political discourse in general, not discourse on a moderated site. In that context, “I’ve had it,” as I think Gaius Publius says. When people are clutching their pearls because Trump is boorish, but seem unconcerned when Obama articulately explains why he stands between bankers and “the pitchforks,” or when Clinton helps blow up Libya, I just don’t think civil discourse has any meaning any more. And yes, of course Trump is trolling, which is always done on purpose. So why amplify it?

  22. Jim Haygood

    As Illinois — the “prairie Puerto Rico” — prepares for a junk rating as soon as Saturday, its little brother Connecticut swirls leisurely round the bowl:

    Aetna, the insurance giant founded in Hartford, where it has been for the past 164 years, announced Thursday that it would move its headquarters to New York City despite intensive lobbying efforts by Connecticut officials.

    The move is a blow to the company’s hometown, which is facing severe financial problems, and a potential boon for Aetna, which stands to receive $24 million in tax breaks over the next decade, among other benefits, for its new headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

    The number of workers employed in the insurance industry in Hartford and the surrounding area has plunged to 37,000 this year from over 60,000 in 1990, according to federal statistics.

    Aetna is investing $89 million to transform 145,000 square feet in a building on Ninth Avenue into its new home, according to Empire State Development, New York State’s economic development agency.

    First General Electric bolted (to Boston), then Aetna (to NYC). Hartford’s steady bleed of insurance jobs is partly the legacy of former Gov Lowell Weicker, who gave CT its first income tax in 1991. How’s that workin’ out for the Nutmeg state?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Three cheers for the Race to the Bottom!

      Gotta give Jim credit for consistency and staying on message… At least we can assign blame to “A Connecticut Party,” which he signed on with, reportedly fleeing the Reptiles in 1990. so — a “conservative closet liberal” did the dirty deed?

      And the remedy is: “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the mope behind that tree”? I doubt Weicker’s income tax was the prime mover in any of those decisions to flee Conn., more likely something to do with the inducements that THE PUBLIC pays taxes to fund, at costs to the mopery that are well discussed here at NC…

      1. Vatch

        more likely something to do with the inducements that THE PUBLIC pays taxes to fund

        Yes, $24 million in bribe money from New York to Aetna.

        1. Louis Fyne

          better restaurants for the corporate entertainment expense budget. and probably easier to try out of EWR for the staff.

          And the executives will be made whole w/cost of living adjustments by the company.

          win-win for everyone. except taxpayers.

    2. Jess

      In addition to its state income tax, which ranges from 6.65 to 8.82 percent depending on NTI, NYC has its own Income Tax with four tax brackets ranging from 2.907% to 3.648%.

      And New York’s state income tax rate is higher at it’s lowest level (6.65%) than Connecticut’s is at its highest (6.50%).

      Gotta agree with JTMcPhee on this one.

      1. Vatch

        The Illinois state income tax rate is only 3.75%. No wonder they can’t pay their bills.

    3. Jen

      At the time, the choice was an income tax, or 10% sales tax, and increases property taxes in the New Haven area that were on the order of 10K/year for houses that were worth something like 140K. Weicker was right. Unfortunately he was succeeded by the wife beater from Waterbury (and confessed felon) John Rowland, and eventually Wall Street critter Dan Malloy.

      Connecticut tends to fly under the radar when it comes to corruption. Until the early 90s, every mayor in my mom’s home town was indicted upon leaving office, if not before.

    1. clinical wasteman

      Thanks for the link to that version, Eustache. It was also printed in the ‘arts’ section of the weekend FT, where I hope it spoiled several How To Spend It breakfasts.
      Cultural ‘heavyweights’ usually do more smarm than good with their two guineas’ worth on the life/death of ‘the poor’, but Okri, like James Kelman, is an exception. He has my automatic respect because years ago, when he had nothing whatsoever to gain from doing so, he showed real solidarity with the original London Mad Pride, speaking as a fellow insubordinate patient, not as a higher-level ‘advocate’, and in doing so earned the respect of the late, much missed Robert Dellar. (On Robert D. and this Mad Pride, from which all others followed, see:
      Meanwhile, on death by fire and collective refusal of victimhood, see also:

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Thank you & you are welcome – yes Okri truly means it & it comes from his heart.

    1. PKMKII

      Way I see, let him build his little tunnels, make believe with his sci-fi fantasies. Then when it all goes poof, the city can step in, take the tunnels over on the cheap and put more subway lines in.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Does he know where all the faults are (I don’t think anybody does)? What could go wrong?

  23. Daryl

    >The Centrist Suicide Note

    I really like the comparison of centrists to homeopaths. Keep diluting…the memory of single payer healthcare in Obamacare will keep us all hale and healthy.

  24. The Rev Kev

    Re: Saudi Arabia trying to turn Qatar into a vassal state Independent. After reading the Saudi demands, there is only one thing missing from that list and that was that Qatar having to accept the appointment of a Governor sent from Riyadh. There, fixed it for them.

  25. Edward E

    I am simply amazed at the world’s plastic binge. That was my main reason for moving way out in the remote wilderness, to escape as much noise & pollution as possible. So one day I was enjoying a hike scouting for ginseng and stuff, thinking how this land probably looks much like it did multiple hundreds of years ago. Then in the leaves, spotted an old flat helium balloon laying there, having traveled from who knows where. So I rolled the horrible thing up and stuffed it in my back pocket and carried it back out with me. Plastics and foams are literally everywhere.

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