Links 4/25/18

Dear patient readers,

Your humble blogger is fried due to dealing with some emotionally taxing and unproductive situations plus having some stuff that also takes time and $ that I can’t put off. So forgive the lack of original posts.

‘Trucker wall’ helps prevent man from jumping to his death BBC

Researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in Arctic sea ice PhysOrg (Robert M)

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials PhysOrg. Robert M: “Ikea will love this if it can be scaled up.”

Is Facebook replaceable? Tech investor launches bid to ‘start the process’ Guardian

Bitcoin is the greatest scam in history Recode. One of two lead stories as of this hour.

North Korea

From DMZ to Seoul, hope and concern as summit approaches Asia Times

Emmanuel Macron’s risky role as Donald Trump’s best friend DW

Trump-Macron bromance conceals minimal movement on French demands Politico

Facebook post connected to suspect in van rampage cites ‘incel rebellion’ Globe & Mail (Dr. Kevin). Help me. This story treats 4Chan as a source of analysis..


Man now desperate for Brexit news after day two of ‘rich woman fires out quite large baby Daily Mash


TSB crisis: Customers still struggling despite CEO claiming online banking is ‘up and running’ – live updates Guardian

Richard Smith sent more sightings. Not pretty.

Richard again: “These two indicate programming/design errors of a type that any programmer/designed is supposed to anticipate, long before they even get to testing:”

New record as Britain goes three days without coal power ITV (Kevin W)

Cladding tests after Grenfell Tower fire ‘utterly inadequate’ Guardian (Kevin W). Deadly in both senses of the word.


Qatar govt. must send troops to Syria or lose US support and be toppled – Saudi FM RT. Kevin W: “Could you imagine if the US military moved out of that big base – and then the Chinese military moved in?”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

RSF Index 2018: Hatred of journalism threatens democracies Reporters Without Borders

MI5 vetted thousands of BBC staff to keep ‘evil’ and ‘subversive’ lefties out failed evolution (Chuck L)

Amazon’s newest delivery option for Prime members: Inside their car Recode. Help me. So among other things, if I owned a car, I am supposed to think its’ a good thing for Amazon to know where it is?

CIA plans to replace spies with AI The Next Web

Tariff Tantrum

Why this round of U.S. protectionism is different Bruegel

Trump Transition

Trumpism Without Trump Politico. UserFriendl: “​Starts off bad, but has a decent critique of why both parties failed against Trump.​

Third federal judge issues strongest order yet backing DACA NBC. I have to confess not to have followed the Trump legal arguments. It seems cruel and economically unproductive to toss out people who grew up in the US through no fault of their own and by all accounts are every bit as good citizens as Americans in their peer group. But procedurally, I thought Congress was supposed to set immigration policy, and the Dems in the Obama Administration dropped the ball.

Trump Administration: What Else Can We Fuck Up? Hey, Let’s Work to Drive Teen Pregnancy and Abortion Rates Back Up! The Stranger (Chuck L)

GOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision The Hill

Mulvaney’s Advice to Bankers: Up Campaign Donations to Diminish Consumer Watchdog New York Times. UseFriendly: “ROFL Thank you Scotus for Citizens United and ​McDonnell v. U.S., We now have federal officials publicly requesting bribes.”

Trump gives cover for VA pick to withdraw nomination The Hill

Kushners, Needing Funds for N.J. Project, Got Web-Lender Loan Bloomberg

Bernie Sanders has conquered the Democratic Party The Week (UserFriendly)

Why the DNC Is Fighting WikiLeaks and Not Wall Street Norman Solomon, Truthdig

Centrist Elites: Please Save Democracy From Democracy Ian Welsh (Randy K)

Kill Me Now

Why Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Going to Go Away Vogue (Li)

“ORGANIZATION DON’T MEAN SHIT”: INSIDE THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN Vanity Fair. To help you recover if you had the intestinal fortitude to read the Vogue piece.

Express Scripts targets Amgen, Lilly migraine drugs in pricing shift Reuters. EM: “Snippet, and see if you can spot the wrong-homophone usage”:

Express Scripts told Reuters it is pressing them to forego the usual strategy of setting a high U.S. list price, then lowering the cost for health plans through hefty rebates. It is also seeking a refund if the drugs don’t work within a defined timeframe.The shift could help Express Scripts and other pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) bring prices down, and deflect growing criticism of their role as “middlemen” in the drug supply chain.

The Trump administration and members of Congress have demanded that PBMs pass on more of the rebates they receive to consumers outraged over rising costs at the pharmacy counter. Many Americans now have health plans with higher deductibles or co-payments, making them responsible for more of their medical costs.

Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing Tampa Bay Tribune (Chuck L)

Patent ‘Death Squad’ System Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court Bloomberg (Kevin W)

‘Facebook in PR crisis mode’, says academic at heart of row BBC (David L)

Treasuries’ March Above 3% Faces Challenge From Slumping Stocks Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Bernie Sanders to announce plan to guarantee every American a job Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Mind the Gap Slate

Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment Levy Economics Institute (UserFriendly)

How IBM Is Quietly Pushing Out Older Workers ProPublica. Ahem, this is years-old news. I heard of this from a 57 year old IBM employee who was “offered” a posting in Brazil at a fraction of her current pay and no way to go back to the U (unlike most foreign assignments, which are secondments where the worker is contemplated to come back to the US or another foreign assignment and therefore has expat subsidies and moving/transport arrangements for the posting and the end of the gig). She quit, as was clearly the plan. They apparently have moved to being less covert about how they get rid of older employees.

Automation, skills use and training OECD. New big study on how many jobs will be lost to automation by 2025.

Antidote du jour (Robert H). Story here.

And a bonus, but this is a part way to an anti-antidote, since many of the animals had sad endings. I’m not very good about having pets die. But they went to great lengths for many of them.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Chuck L’s link about MI5 vetting BBC staff, a BBC director-general, Alasdair Milne, was forced out by the board of governors, led by William Rees-Mogg, former editor of the Times and Tory peer, over a programme about Northern Ireland in the 1980s. William Rees-Mogg’s son is Jacob, Brexiteer MP. Milne’s son, Seumas, is an adviser to Jeremy Corbyn and former Grauniad journalist. That upper class feud continues. It reminds me of the feud between Lord King of British Airways and Richard Branson. That feud began with their fathers, a postman and a judge, in a Surrey village.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s a pity that MI5 couldn’t have been vetting BBC staff for pedophiles as well – people like Jimmy Savile. At least they would have been earning their pay as well as earning people’s respect.

    2. David

      It’s not exactly news though, I remember reading about it at least 25 years ago, although I think this is the first time that it’s been confirmed by documentary evidence.

      1. Sid Finster

        A lot of “blockbuster revelations” these days merely confirm common knowledge, even if that common knowledge was officially and half-heartedly denied for a long time.

  2. Steve H.

    > Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment

    There’s the roadmap. Noticed this:

    “We expect the program to draw from among those
    who are currently out of the labor force but who report
    “wanting a job now”—some 5.7 million people in

    Am I right, that’s over 170 billion in income generated? That’s a lot.

    March 22 view economy Repub: 74% good excellent

    Polls on the Democratic Party approval rating seem out of date, but the recent Gaius and Baffler articles confirm this view of the DNC’s vision thing:

    “Grand strategy, according to Boyd, is a quest to isolate your enemy’s (a nation-state or a global terrorist network) thinking processes from connections to the external/reference environment. This process of isolation is essentially the imposition of insanity on a group. To wit: any organism that operates without reference to external stimuli (the real world), falls into a destructive cycle of false internal dialogues. These corrupt internal dialogues eventually cause dissolution and defeat.” [J Robb]

    1. voteforno6

      Yeah, with the DNC filing that lawsuit, it seems like they’ve spun off into their own reality, all while Bernie is quietly stealing their lunch money.

    2. dcblogger

      The real objection to the job guarantee is that it would kill our volunteer army, that is the real reason Versailles does not want it.

  3. Otis B Driftwood

    Those TSB messages violate a cardinal rule of software development to NOT expose unexpected internal error information to an end user. They should never have passed design and code review and QA testing.

    1. allan

      Get with the program (so to speak). TSB should be congratulated for using that little tease to nudge
      its customers and their children towards coding camp. What better way to pique their curiosity about IT?

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe they were hoping that some end user had superior coding skills, and would use the opening to hack into their servers and redo their mess for them?

      Kind of like the thinking that brings us self-checkout terminals at Walmart and Hole Foods?

    3. visitor

      The errors revealed through these messages should never have passed unit testing in the first place. Accessing an array out of its bounds? Dereferencing a null pointer? Attempting to use a connection that is not set up?

      All those circumstances indicate that the programmers do not initialize their variables properly, or are using them in ways that get them overwritten / deallocated between procedure calls — and in addition do not even attempt to check for abnormal situations.

      Or perhaps they are relying upon a third-party application framework that is riddled with those problems.

      Does anybody know whether there were resignations amongst CIO and CTO at Sabadell / TSB in the past 18 months or so? I would definitely not like to be in the shoes of whoever fills that position at the present time.

    4. flora

      Yesterday’s TBS post left me so slack-jawed in disbelief I could not comment. (No roll-back, no running in tandem with the Lloyd’s site for a while longer, on the fly real-time patching? speechless.)
      I wonder how many TBS customers are now setting up new bank accounts in new banks and requesting their employers or pension managers or assistance payments managers deposit all future payments into the new account; request all automatic bill pays be drawn from the new account.
      I can only wonder what is happening with TBS automatic bill pay processes, if those are stacking up unseen, and what a stack up might do to individuals’ credit ratings. What a train wreck.

    5. temporal

      Using try {} catch {} is fairly basic stuff. Having all these exceptions exposed indicates that the Android code isn’t logging errors. Maybe they put all their efforts into the iOS app and used some tool to convert that code to run on Google’s version of Java or, even worse, they are using a code generator. Doing IO (as shown in the 8080 port errors) without testing for exceptions is bound to fail.

    6. JacobiteInTraining

      What testing? What QA?

      Its probably a bunch of Lean Devs doing Agile stuff, which often means – heck, lets just test it in prod and see what happens. If it breaks, we shall fix it before anyone notices it!

      Sometimes,that even works. Sometimes it don’t.

      1. JeffC

        Blaming the programmers is a fun sport, but my money is on penny-pinching managers demanding an unrealistically small programming team work to an impossibly tight schedule or risk being let go for being uncooperative.

        1. visitor

          This is speculation from my part, but I suspect that the deadline was actually set not by penny-pinching Sabadell managers, but by Lloyds executives.

          TSB had been acquired by and its IT integrated with Lloyds. When TSB was divested, Lloyds continued to run TSB IT on behalf of Sabadell. The TSB part of the IT probably shared enough components, data and procedures with the non-TSB part so that, with time, it was becoming increasingly tedious and difficult for Lloyds to keep both parts separate from each other. For instance, if Lloyds wanted to introduce a new banking product, its programmers would have to scour the IT system to make sure that it would neither pop up in the TSB subsystem, nor affect it in some roundabout way. If it was not possible to isolate the TSB and non-TSB parts, then it would not have been possible either to excise the TSB IT subsystem and deliver it to Sabadell (with whatever programming team was needed to run it).

          Lloyds probably decided to set a deadline after which it no longer wanted to divert resources to maintain the TSB IT — even if Sabadell was paying for it — because it made something that was already difficult (managing its own IT) all the more cumbersome. The culpability of Sabadell managers lies in the fact that they did not recognize that this cutoff date made a reasonably smooth migration wholly unrealistic.

    7. JohnnySacks

      Lo and behold, developing an app to support hundreds, perhaps thousands, of concurrent users turned out to be more difficult than expected. The app Exceptions-101 message above (painfully plainly to any developer) indicates that the back end ran out of connections to the database, the be-all end-all location of all your transactions and balances. Happens whenever the app doesn’t scale to the number of concurrent users. “But all the tests pass in our environment!” Yes, but you only test with a few clients accessing the system at a time, it’s quite a bit more difficult to load test with thousands of clients at a time, but a bank? With millions of customers? Seriously?

      1. visitor

        In mission-critical software, stress-testing with at least a reasonably realistic load is a thing — specifying load profiles with peak and average number of concurrent users, transactions per seconds, possibly with a background load of batch processes, etc. But apparently not for TSB.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Another possibility… (or at least, one we ran into in my old IT place-of-business, w/health insurance) …while the front-end presentation code, and the middle-tier business logic code could be ‘safely’ deployed to prod servers after the bare minimum of testing/validation had been done in preprod – since there was an easy ability to have one set of servers running the new code, while old servers w/old code were taken out of rotation for quick rollback purposes.

          But what about the same old/new code servers in and out of rotation concept when applied to the DB servers? Not so easy to have old/new DB servers just rotated in and out of service since things like – well, monetary transactions, lol – are pretty critical to not lose.

          So you can’t just rotate the old DB server w/the old DB code on it back in to service if the newly deployed DB code turns out to be buggy. All those transactions that went through on the new DB servers w/the new code *have* to be carefully kept, and then somehow injected back into the old DB server with the old code in their proper order.

          Combine that with legacy stuff – like an old creaky ‘mainframe’ DB i recall from my past health insurance IT life – and things like rotating servers in and out was either not possible, or incredibly difficult.

          Oh well, its not like anything important was at stake! Hey…look over there…SHINY OBJECT!!! ..insert popup here, extolling the virtues of banks mortgage lending program…

    8. The Rev Kev

      If a major bank can have this sort of ongoing stuff-up, then perhaps it is wise to have enough money in hand to deal with your bank going down for a month. I know too many people that only use electronic means for payments but with no thought as to what would happen if something went wrong with their bank or net services.

      1. JBird

        If you have the extra money that’s a great idea. Too many Americans do not have even an extra $500, and if they do, it is in the checking or savings accounts to cover any oopsies, so getting the $1000, $2000, or to whatever amount to keep as hard to cover even just the month of bare living expenses is just not happening for most.

        I never liked having to run down to the bank with my paycheck, but at least the details were backed up on paper somewhere, and even counting holidays I could count on getting access to my account within four days. So now for that convenient ATM/internet access, I could lose it all for who knows how long.

  4. Alex morfesis

    Jobs guarantee…we don’t need no stinking jobs guarantee… Enforcement of existing laws would be just fine…Humphrey Hawkins anyone ? The community reinvestment act ? Only the law since…

  5. RenoDino

    Why the DNC Is Fighting WikiLeaks and Not Wall Street Norman Solomon, Truthdig

    Missing in this assessment is the main reason for the suit. The DNC refuses to acknowledge that they blew $2 billion on the election in vain through gross incompetence. As they go about now trying to raise more money, they must characterize the past election loss as a robbery. The election was stolen. All the usual perps are named. Donors are being told, in so many words (over 60 pages in all), this is where your money went. Victory was ours, then came the armed robbery at the pointy end of a server. We did nothing wrong. Our strategy, our candidate and our workers did everything right. Your money is safe with us. We don’t need to change a thing.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Your money is safe with us.” Do they have the same PR advisers as TSB and Wells Fargo?

        1. Enquiring Mind

          Great Western Savings lost something over the years, moving from John Wayne to Dennis Weaver as their spokesman, then they ditched the whole western theme. Nothing against Weaver but so many preferred The Duke. Too bad for GWS as they joined other financial institutions in the march toward anonymity and interchangeability and got swallowed up.

          Another California institution that went off around the same time to the same Boot Hill was Home Savings. Their marble-clad branches and mosaic murals still grace many cities and towns, even if many are now operating as restaurants, florists or what have you instead of a Chase branch.

        2. RMO

          I liked the claim that the DNC emails getting out (which at best for the DNC’s claims requires that Russian government employees broke into their server to let us know the DNC was rigging the primaries) is equivalent to an attack on the U.S. and and act of war. On the other hand, dropping bombs on, firing missiles into and sending military forces into multiple countries is just fine, as long as the U.S. is doing it.

  6. hemeantwell

    The OECD automation study is certainly worth a skim, and the results summation is impressively careful. I’ll pull this:

    Across the 32 countries, close to one in two jobs are likely to be significantly
    affected by automation, based on the tasks they involve. But the degree of risk
    varies. About 14% of jobs in OECD countries participating in PIAAC are highly
    automatable (i.e., probability of automation of over 70%). Although smaller than
    the estimates based on occupational titles obtained applying the method of Frey
    and Osborne (2013) this is equivalent to over 66 million workers in the 32
    countries covered by the study.

  7. hemeantwell

    Fun Vanity Fair Chozick excerpt! Clinton must have been watching Veep and didn’t understand that it’s a comedy.

    1. roxy

      In the Vogue article hrc opines thusly:

      ” I think if we don’t understand what happened in that [2016] election, we are doomed to see it repeated.” Funny how she’s right, but not in the way she means.

      1. JohnnyGL

        George Orwell — ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’

        Seems an appropriate place to drop a favorite quote. HRC knows how important it is to control the narrative. She’s not happy that she’s having such a hard time doing so.

  8. Mark Alexander

    Re: Is Facebook replaceable?

    I wouldn’t trust any social networking software that wasn’t free software in the GNU sense (freedom to modify and use as one wishes). Why is this guy trying to promote more proprietary systems with secret algorithms instead of supporting Diaspora? My guess is that it’s all about money; the article mentions his propensity for making big bucks by investing in companies like Uber.

    1. funemployed

      What’s Diaspora? I’ve been thinking a lot about the thorniness and probable necessity of building a free democratic digital commons of some sort, but I am a bear of little brain, and the questions of who decides what, control, censorship, anonymity, risks, rights, vulnerability to bad actors etc. stymie my musings daily.

    2. Summer

      Another issue I saw with the proposal as presented was that it treats the problem as a tech engineering problem.
      The new platforms needs input and partners from more disciplines than tech to overcome the problems how people socialize and what it means to society.
      They have to value all types of intelligence.

      1. Summer

        I guess in short, Facebook’s problems are an issue caused by people or a culture as it has been described. It doesn’t start with algorithms.

  9. Kokuanani

    Re Amazon’s latest “let us put your order in your car” scheme:

    if I owned a car, I am supposed to think it’s a good thing for Amazon to know where it is?

    Of course. Now Amazon will be able to get into your car, drive it to your house, enter, fill it with your “stuff” and drive away.

    Where’s the problem?

    1. Lemmy Caution

      It’s possible that Amazon assumes that we will all be living in our cars before too long and will need this type of “home” delivery service.

    2. Carla

      I assume Amazon plans to sell cars with Prime access already installed. Maybe they already do. And keep an eye out for the Prime Real Estate Company, soon to revolutionize a community near you with deeply discounted housing furnished with cheap shit all courtesy of Amazon Prime. What a world.

      1. Roger Smith

        Entire suburban communities that double as Amazon warehouses. When someone orders something, they find a residence that has that product and ask if they would sacrifice there’s temporarily and receive a replacement at a later date. The home”””owner””” walks their lamp down to the commons area and leaves it in a certified Amazon locker to be picked and sent to some other state.


        1. HotFlash

          Not so new. I had a neighbour years back whose son was well-known to take orders for things that would fortuitously fall off the back of a truck shortly thereafter.

  10. James Graham

    Truckers are a special breed.

    Unlike blue collar guys (and gals) who work in factories they have direct control over much of what they do during the work day.

    A salute to all who saved that life.

  11. JTMcPhee

    While we cover the usual subjects and look for bits of light and humor in the day’s aggregation, let’s remember that the global militarization rolls on apace. Here’s just a headline from a random peek at the trade press of the global interoperable MIC:

    JASSM-ER makes combat debut in Syria | F-35 to get anti-ballistic missile capability, says MDA head | DC wants South Korea to pay more for assets

    Apr 17, 2018 05:00 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff


    Breaking Defense reports external link that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could be capable of detecting and tracking ballistic missiles by 2025. The projection was made by Head of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, when speaking to the Senate appropriations subcommittee on defense on April 11. He added that the stealth fighter could take down a ballistic missile by having a new “fast missile that’s hung on the bottom of” the fighter. “I’d say six to seven years to essentially work out the Concept of Operations (and) develop the capabilities — (whether) it’s sensor-based or a new fast missile that’s hung on the bottom of an F-35 for the BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense) mission — integrate those capabilities, test them, and deliver them into a theater of operations,” Greaves said. While the military has tested out this concept in the past—in 2014, an F-35 infrared sensor installed on a surrogate aircraft successfully tracked a launch and transmitted tracking data over the military’s standard Link-16 network, while in in 2016, an actual Marine Corps F-35B detected and tracked a missile, then passed the data over the Navy’s NIFC-CA network to the Aegis missile defense system, which shot the threat down—this is the first time a senior official has given a timeline on incorporating a F-35 into missile defense.
    Researchers from Canada’s University of Waterloo are developing a quantum radar external link they claim will detect stealthy aircraft and missiles. The university’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) have been given $2.7 million (USD$2.1 million) in funding from the Department of National Defense to develop the radar, which promises to help radar operators cut through heavy background noise and isolate objects—including stealth aircraft and missiles—with unparalleled accuracy. The new technology will also help radar operators cut through electromagnetic noise caused by geomagnetic storms and solar flares. Stealth aircraft rely on special paint and body design to absorb and deflect radio waves—making them invisible to traditional radar. They also use electronic jamming to swamp detectors with artificial noise. With quantum radar, in theory, these planes will not only be exposed, but also unaware they have been detected.

    Middle East & Africa

    The USAF has fired Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missile in combat for the first time. 19 such missiles were launched from two B-1B Lancer bombers during last weekend’s sortie against Syrian chemical weapon research and storage facilities, and were joined by 57 Tomahawk missiles launched from US naval assets, as well as Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles from British and French warplanes. While Russian sources in Syria claim that Russian and Syrian air defenses managed to down 71 or the total 105 cruise missiles launched during the Friday night operation—claims Washington refutes—a report on the mission by the Aviationist external link reckon the newer missiles—in particular the JASSM-ER, SCALP and Storm Shadow—would have been highly effective against their targets. Despite the geo-political posturing, the $1.3 million per unit JASSM-ER has now officially debuted with potential buyers of the missile, like Japan, getting a preview external link of its capabilities.

    There used to be a charming little soap opera my grandmother was addicted to: “As the world turns…”

    1. JohnnySacks

      Hmmm, ballistic missile defense system? We promise you, trust us, it will work.

      What a farce sales pitch, thanks, but I’ll assume it works ‘most of the time’ in some dumbed down scripted test. Meanwhile, in the real world, someone’s going to get blown up.

      And 19 AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range used in the Syria attack at $1.3 million a pop = $24.7 million dollars? I guess it’s not as if it’s real money which could be used for anything of lasting societal value other than MIC welfare queen jobs..

      1. a different chris

        >could be capable of detecting and tracking ballistic missiles by 2025.

        Yeah, your Aunt Sally also could be capable of that. Start training her now!

    2. The Rev Kev

      The Syrians were supposed to have retrieved two of the missiles that landed during that attack and handed them over to the Russians who promptly flew them to Moscow. I wonder if either of them was one of these JASSM-ER missiles?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The Chinese have based their new cruise missiles on chunks of Tomahawks sold to them by the Serbians and Taliban. Getting shot at by high tech weaponry can be very profitable if you survive the experience.

    3. Parker Dooley

      Quantum radar? I am developing a quantum bullpuckey detector that will transform your quantum radar into vaporware.

  12. allan

    EPA security chief also worked for owner of tabloid company [AP]

    The security chief for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency worked on the side as a private investigator for the owner of a tabloid news company with close ties to President Donald Trump.

    EPA special agent Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta performed regular work for National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. during the 2016 election, according to person with knowledge of the company’s internal workings.

    But unlike another private investigator hired by the Enquirer, Perrotta didn’t work on such newsroom projects as tracking down sources. Instead, the person told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Perrotta was engaged to discretely handle investigative work at the direction of AMI chairman and CEO David Pecker. …

    In addition to his job at EPA, Perrotta is the top executive at Sequoia Security Group, a Maryland-based security firm. The person with knowledge of the situation did not know whether Perrotta was paid for his work for AMI and Pecker through Sequoia or another business entity.

    A former Secret Service agent, Perrotta has worked at EPA for more than a decade. …

    You can work security for the Federal government and have a side hustle as a who-knows-what?
    Learn something new every day.
    But reading further down, it gets a lot worse.

  13. Wukchumni

    Dave Bowman: Hello, TSB. Do you read me, TSB?

    TSB: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.

    Dave Bowman: Open my account portal, TSB.

    TSB: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

    Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?

    TSB: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

    Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, TSB?

    TSB: This platform is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

    Dave Bowman: I don’t know what you’re talking about, TSB.

    TSB: I know that you and others were planning to make withdrawals, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.

  14. FriarTuck

    RE: This story treats 4Chan as a source of analysis

    4Chan can best be described with the following phrase, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

    Trying to drag any type of data or analysis out of an online forum that is an outgrowth of proudly deviant communities fleeing moderation (ie from SomethingAwful) priding itself on anonymity is a fool’s errand. 4Chan (especially /b/) is the equivalent to the urges you feel when you drive down the highway that tell you to turn sharply and crash, made manifest. Most people recognize that they are just noise and ignore them.

    The issue becomes that there are such people who treat this noise as truth and act upon it, possibly because their life contains real deficiencies with which they couldn’t figure out how to cope.

    I worry that while it is great that minority and distressed communities are acting to seize their own self-actualization, there is not a clear path delineated for those people who previously enjoyed large benefits from their systemic position on how to cope with the kind of changes that are occurring, beyond “just deal with it.” As such, we get resentment, violence, and Trump.

      1. Absolute Negativity

        I’ve been involved with various imageboards for a while. The article you posted is by an outsider with little understanding of them or sympathy, despite the weak gesture near the end. It has more than a whiff of apologia for the Clinton campaign’s failures and parts of it are rehashes of the Gamergate saga from the liberal point of view, a view already well-represented in mainstream media accounts.

        It is at least true that there’s a deep, nihilistic irony belonging to imageboard culture that does in some sense fit Trump as a figure. Imageboard culture’s general political affiliation originally leaned closer to the left, however, not the right. The tendency toward political reaction developed during the late Bush and early Obama administration. They reflect the nihilism and hopelessness of a generation seeing a constant degradation of living standards and no possibility of creating real, positive change in the world, all fostered by a culture in which “building democracy” signifies destruction and words like “hope” and “change” mean exactly the opposite.

        Feeling powerless to act effectively in the world, one either accommodates to the official “left” or “right,” along with the concomitant pieties and impotence in the face of neoliberalism, or one ironically detaches oneself from it, transforming life into an endless, pointless farce. The call to action that calls to no particular action at the article’s end is indicative of why this latter form of nihilism exists.

    1. marym

      Yet somehow from other marginalized communities where life “contains real deficiencies,” who are told to “deal with it” we get, for example, intersectionality, non-violent civil disobedience, and MLK. The numerous iterations of the civil rights, women’s and LGBT movements, Native American activism,immigrant support, advocacy for the disabled, Occupy – all largely non-violent in the face of “real deficiencies” and often real violence directed at them.

      Maybe the quest for equality isn’t equivalent to the quest to assert supremacy.

    2. ewmayer

      The one time I visited 4chan – first time I’d ever heard of it, before I knew about its notoriety – was actually productive, in a small way. I’d been watching an episode of the CBS Sherlock-Holmes-in-modern-New-York-City crime drama Elementary, the plot of which revolved around some tech-savvy crooks using a software exploit written in an esoteric programming language, Malbolge, to crack the random-number-generation algorithm for a high-tech safe. Now the premise is nonsense because Malbolge is by construction well-nigh impossible to write code in, much less code that does something nontrivial, but anyhow, at one point of the ep. Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller, IRL grandson of Bernard Lee of classic 60s/70s James Bond “M” fame) discovers a small tattered paper fragment containing a couple hundred characters of the code in question. I was curious if the fragment actually mapped to any real Malbolge code, websearch turned up an image-capture a 4chan user had posted there with the same query. I typed the ascii chars from the image into a second websearch and it turned out the fragment was in fact a Malbolge “Hello, world” program.

      1. Plenue

        4chan varies wildly in quality between subboards. Depending on which one you go to, when you visit, or ever which particular thread you enter, it can be a rewarding experience, or a disheartening nightmare. You just have to know going in that you’re likely to encounter a more, uh, rough and profane type of discourse. I have seen interesting and worthwhile threads on various boards. I’ve also seen lots of utter garbage.

    3. Plenue

      4chan isn’t just one single thing however. It’s a collection of multiple communities, really. Different boards usually have radically different cultures. /b/ and /pol/ are viewed by everyone else as containment boards. No one else, including moderators, much appreciates it when one of the idiots escapes containment and starts spreading their stupid filth.

  15. Wukchumni

    Was driving on Hwy 155 in the CVBB last week through endless miles of ranching country, where lots of people had put up expensive fences, barns, etc., and not one of which was newer than the JFK era.

    I counted about 100 cows in total, in surroundings that could’ve supported 50,000, in theory.

    I read a few years back that the USA is @ 1952 levels, in terms of head of cattle, and I have no doubt.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I was under the impression that fewer cattle are nowadays kept on ranges, they spend most of their lives in high intensity feedlots. So you are more likely to smell them than see them.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, in the end, CAFO’s won out. Sad though, as the image of the American west has always been open range, and it’s even more open now, ha!

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        And its the feedlotted majority cattle who are releasing the net additions to global warming gases (methane, CO2, nitrogen oxides, etc.).

  16. Enquiring Mind

    That IBM story is just another incarnation of an old idea that I saw in a Fortune 500 company. During the 1990s restructuring/right-sizing/re-engineering phase of the supplysider ideological takeover, consultants would point out to willing HR managers and executives some ideas to help with today’s and tomorrow’s bottom line numbers. One way to accomplish that included artful analysis of which employees consumed the most in salary and benefits, handily cross-referenced by age and by trend.

    That led to some selective marginalizations with the then-civilized view that no self-respecting SVP, for example, would hang around if moved into a new branch of the org chart under a younger boss. More modern employers have long since dispensed with any such niceties or concern for pride or what used to be common decency. Another popular item was to change the contribution pattern to any retirement plan to a backloading approach. Save now, and then save later since there would be fewer of those backloaded folks (precursor to “we backloaded some folks”?) anyway. In other industries that was called planned obsolescence.

    Health care options got their turn under the spotlight as premia for unpopular demographic cohorts, and those employees, became objects of derision and short listed for resolution. That antiseptic phrasing is the closest they got to any notion of concern for employee health. No wonder so many Millennials pursue self-employment after having their hair raised around the kitchen table.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I am over 55 and struggling to find work with decent pay. My good friend, a nurse at 62, was just forced out by the hospital she worked at for 18 years. She’s now a school bus driver.

      Ageism lives.

      1. Lord Koos

        That seems crazy — you’d think that experience would be highly valued in nursing, more so than in many professions.

        1. perpetualWAR

          They want to pay younger workers less money than the older, “highly valued” person.

      2. David Carl Grimes

        Isn’t there a shortage of nurses everywhere? Most nurses can find jobs anywhere in the country.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Like Yves noted, this has been going on for many years at IBM, which is really now a company with one product, the mainframe hardware/software monopoly. My old boss there was pushed out at 56, which seems to be the cutoff point for anyone doing decent work. This was a woman who worked 60 hour weeks for 20 years and moreover had to attend innumerable IBM “events” usually in the evening, that always involved heavy alcohol provisions. I’m glad she got out of there when she did. Lost a bunch of weight and now has a smile on her face. I left after having enjoyed my bizarre time in one of the weirdest and oldest corporations out there. The C Suite is frankly Murderer’s Row.

      1. ambrit

        “The C Suite is frankly Murderers Row.”
        Considering what IBM did to facilitate the Final Solution for the Third Reich, literally Mass-Murderers Row.

  17. perpetualWAR

    Foreclosure defense attorneys all across the nation are being attacked by the courts and the bar for continuing to defend the homeowners. How dare they defy the banksters.

    Our. Corrupt. Courts.

  18. rjs

    re: New record as Britain goes three days without coal power

    because of “green energy” like this:
    Hardwood forests cut down to feed Drax Power plant – Huge areas of hardwood forest in the state of Virginia are being chainsawed to create ‘biomass’ energy in Britain as the government attempts to reach targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to tackle climate change, an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches has found. A key part of government efforts to hit its green energy targets is to switch from generating electricity from burning coal to burning wood – or so-called biomass. It’s a policy that is costing taxpayers more than £700 million per year through a levy on their electricity bills.The biomass industry and government argue that because wood is a renewable source of energy and trees can be replanted to reabsorb carbon dioxide this policy is good for the environment. Footage reveals huge areas of hardwood forest in the state of Virginia being chopped down and removed to a factory owned by US firm Enviva that grinds up logs into pellets. A large proportion of these pellets are then shipped across the Atlantic to be burnt at Drax in the UK – one of Enviva’s main customers. Dispatches conducted a simple experiment at a laboratory at the University of Nottingham to compare the carbon dioxide emitted when burning wood pellets, similar to those used by Drax, instead of coal. It found that to burn an amount of wood pellets that would generate the same amount of electricity as coal it would actually produce roughly eight percent more carbon. Biomass is viewed as ‘carbon neutral’ under European rules. This means Drax is not obliged to officially report the carbon emissions coming out of its chimney stack. Dispatches calculated that if Drax were to report on the full extent of its emissions it would show that last year they amounted to 11.7 million tonnes of CO2.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not sure there is enough information in that link to make a judgement on whether using US sourced biomass is a negative for CO2 emissions. Trees take in most of their lifetime CO2 in the first 15 years or so of growth, so ‘cropping’ secondary forest is a good way to reduce emissions. Arguably, we should be cropping all secondary forest for that purpose (and a huge proportion of forests on the US east coast are relatively young secondary forest on land destroyed by the first generation of agriculture). This assumes of course that its not primary forest being cut down, and that the woodland is being replanted or allowed to regenerate. Its not a simple issue.

      In Ireland, power plants actually import palm oil husks from Indonesia for power generation. They are a waste product from palm oil production (a terrible thing for forests), but would otherwise be unused. They are specifically used in Ireland as they are very dry and woody and so mix very well with short cropped willow in existing peat burning power stations. Its been argued that by extending their lifetime for use in peaking power generation they are a good balance for the large scale wind turbines being constructed in the Irish Midlands.

      1. bones

        Of course all the original growth of the east was all cut down, but the article mentions hardwoods, which makes me think we are talking about a native ecosystem with greater environmental value than the young pine forests that have been planted all over the South — especially in coastal areas and river basins which seems to be where the pellet industry is establishing itself. Flood protection would be one concern with hurricanes a pretty constant risk.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I suspect these hardwood forests were multi-species hardwood forests supporting multi-species of wildlife, birds, insects, broad spectrum soil microbes and etc.

        What grows in the place of the mass-cut-down hardwoods?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Just a technical note (shipping firewood to Britain does not sound like a green idea to me): hardwoods have the advantage that they stump-sprout vigorously, so will grow back very quickly. (Conifers don’t, except for yew and redwood, so have to be replanted.) Coppicing, which takes advantage of that ability, is a favored permaculture technique.

      Using forest biomass for fuel on a large scale is highly controversial – there’s a plant like that in Eugene – even though it often uses “slash,” the leftover branches and scraps. One reason is that the smoke is noxious, especially in valleys. Long term, I suspect it will be part of a sustainable, but it’s a practice that’s easily abused.

    3. Oregoncharles

      The distinction is that wood is not “fossil fuel” – not long-ago sunshine stored in the ground. Most of it would rot back to atmospheric CO2 if left alone. Consequently, properly managed (a big if) biomass adds no NET carbon dioxide, even though it does emit plenty of carbon. (The hydrogen in cellulose is already oxidized – it’s a carbohydrate – so you’re really burning mostly the carbon.) Reducing total forest biomass DOES increase CO2 levels, though. That’s why management is so important.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If it looks like wood chip/ wood pellet energy is going to become a permanent source of energy for some steam-boiler electric plants going forward, then both ends of the industry might want to study up on which species of wood burn at the highest temperatures, thereby dumping the “most” of their heat into the water-for-steam.

        I have run across a concept which I think is useful if I am understanding it right. It is called “exergy”.
        Here is a definition of exergy I found on Bing and will copy here.
        In thermodynamics, the exergy of a system is the maximum useful work possible during a process that brings the system into equilibrium with a heat reservoir. When the surroundings are the reservoir, exergy is the potential of a system to cause a change as it achieves equilibrium with its environment. Exergy is the energy that is available to be used.
        Exergy – Wikipedia

        If you have only a “set amount” of energy to deliver a “set amount” of heat with, if you can deliver that heat for a shorter time period at a higher temperature into the target, you will get more of the heat transferred. If you heat a 10 gallon bucket of water to a hundred degrees Fahrenheit for 10 hours, you will have very nearly 10 gallons of water at 100 degrees. If you heat a ten gallon bucket of water to a thousand degrees for one hour, it will all boil away by the end of that hour. That’s the “exergy” difference.

        So why does that matter? Some kinds of wood burn at a hotter temperature than other kinds. The very hottest burning kinds might be exergetically best for dumping the most of their extractable heat into making steam for the turbines. Osage orange is one of the hottest-burning woods there is. Osage orange features very strongly as “hottest wood Number One” in this article about Ten Best Fuel Woods For Zone 5 and Further North”.

        The article claims that osage orange is VERY coppice-able. So an industrial-size area of fuel-wood plantation land under osage orange coppice would yield more exergetically-available heat than almost any other kind of renewably coppice-able wood. ( In my amateur opinion).

        And since osage orange was native to the semi-prairie brushy areas of parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas, it doesn’t have to grow as dense shade-casting monocultures. It can grow in more widely spaced rows or other planting patterns with well sunlit spaces between the osage orange trees. And what might be done on all these sunlit spaces between the osage orange trees while they scrape carbon out of the air and form it into one of the exergetically hottest-burning woods there is?

        Well . . . why not silvopasture?
        “A silvopasture is a combination of trees and pasture. The end goal is to have both working together to provide food and shelter for livestock, with the potential for additional economical yields from the trees. Figure 1 is an example of a well-established grass pasture underneath black locust trees.Jul 6, 2015
        Planting a Small Silvopasture to Benefit Farm and Livestock | Cornell …”

        The multi-species pasture and/or pasture-range under livestock ( cattle, sheep, goats or whomever) will be sucking down the carbon as per the nature article recently linked to right here on Naked Capitalism ( Grassland Plants Can Capture a Surprising Amount of Carbon) even as the osage orange trees are also sucking down their own share of carbon.

        just a thought . . .

  19. allan

    Facebook Replaces Lobbying Executive Amid Regulatory Scrutiny [NYT]

    Facebook on Tuesday replaced its head of policy in the United States, Erin Egan, as the social network scrambles to respond to intense scrutiny from federal regulators and lawmakers.

    Ms. Egan, who is also Facebook’s chief privacy officer, was responsible for lobbying and government relations as head of policy for the last two years. She will be replaced by Kevin Martin on an interim basis, the company said. Mr. Martin has been Facebook’s vice president of mobile and global access policy and is a former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. …

    The executive shifts put two Republican men in charge of Facebook’s Washington offices. Mr. Martin will report to Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy. Mr. Martin and Mr. Kaplan worked together in the George W. Bush White House and on Mr. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. …

    Joel Kaplan, Joel Kaplan … for some reason that name rings a bell …

    Joel Kaplan forgets [in sworn testimony at his confirmation hearing] the “Brooks Brothers” riot


    Facebook is undergoing other executive changes. Last month, The Times reported that Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, planned to leave the company after disagreements over how to handle misinformation on the site.

    Is undergoing. When the passive voice is used, attention must be paid.

    Looks like FB’s love affair with Team D is over, until the next time they’re in power.

  20. prx

    The Bezzle:

    This article is about an e-waste recycler who will be spending 15 months in prison and paying a hefty fine because he had the audacity to distribute free recovery disks for Windows computers. Microsoft (which also distributes free recovery disks, albeit at the less-useful time of sale) sued.

    This seems crazy. Shows what can happen when you get in the way of a perfectly fine business model in the name of saving consumers some cash and reducing the environmental impact of technology.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Man now desperate for Brexit news after day two of ‘rich woman fires out quite large baby ”

    Know exactly what he is talking about. You listen to the media even here in Oz and they are positively grovelling towards the royals. Sorry, but there are about 360,000 babies born every single day and though I am happy that she had a healthy baby, she is only famous because she married into the right family. Or the wrong family if you go digging into the historical records. Yeah, bring on Brexit.

  22. Craig H.

    > Bitcoin is the greatest scam in history

    Definitely a scam though tough to say how greatest. In one of the scam histories they said that Isaac Newton lost almost his entire fortune in South Sea bubbled stock and died destitute in comparison to his younger days as one of the Masters Universe. In the John Maynard Keynes biographical essay he says Sir I. lost a bunch of money but eventually earned everything back and died as stinking rich as ever.

    I bet the IRS folks are having a good time.

  23. Synoia

    Richard again: “These two indicate programming/design errors of a type that any programmer/designed is supposed to anticipate, long before they even get to testing:”

    Oh come on. If it is not tested it does not work. Intentions do not produce working systems.

    Except for the NASA code, where they throw money and people at inspecting the code rigorously.

    No system has ever ramped from zero to production volumes in one step.

    I refer one to “The Mythical Man Month.”

  24. Wukchumni

    Found my 1st rattlesnake of the year, post mortem that is. A 3 footer that could get into a 2 inch hole of the chicken wire surrounding a double delight nectarine tree, but got stuck about 1/2 halfway in, probably a few days ago. Quite thick around the middle, it was.

    This is the 4th one of the early spring in the ‘hood, and more by far than any previous year by this time.

    1. crittermom

      As a nature photographer in the Rockies, my wish list includes a pair of Kevlar snake boots.

    2. Edward E

      There are no rattlesnakes much left in Arkiefornia, but my brother occasionally cuts dead snakes out of his chicken wire. Since I’ve always had rolls of range wire laying around that’s what I’ve used around fruit trees to keep deer from stripping bark with their antlers. Snow fence works on all other trees, no snakes have ever been hung up. I’d recommend switching it out since these slip ups result in such fatal m’hissstakes for the poor snakes. Saw a baby false rattlesnake (hissing cousins) a few days ago, they are growing up!

    3. The Rev Kev

      Reminds me of an old snake trap from a century ago. You would set up two porcelain eggs on either side of a chicken wire fence. If a snake came along he would swallow the first egg and then, seeing the second egg, would go through the chicken wire and swallow the second egg. The snake was then trapped being unable to go forward or back. The farmer would then come along, chop the head off that snake, retrieve the eggs and reset the trap.

  25. 3.14e-9

    And a bonus, but this is a part way to an anti-antidote…

    Antidote to the anti-antidote (anti-anti-antidote?): At my VA clinic, I’ve been chatting with an admin who recently bought a house and was ready to start looking for a cat. He’d had a special bond with his last cat, which lived a long, happy life and died in his arms. Hoping to find another cat “with an attitude,” he visited local shelters and searched the regional networks online.

    A week before he was scheduled to go meet The One, he found a listing for a deaf and blind cat who was being fostered, with little hope of finding a permanent home. Further, the cat had a companion/playmate, and they couldn’t be split up. If no one adopted them, they both would be put down. The guy went to meet them and was immediately won over. When I last saw him, he said they were adapting to their new home, and the blind cat was playing with her toys and seemed happy.

    If I can persuade him to email me a photo, I’ll submit it for the antidote.

    1. newcatty

      A heartwarming story. Both of our cats come from two humane societies in the cities we lived in at the time. The older female had a typical backstory: she was fostered, adopted by a family who returned her ( stated that child turned out to be allergic to cat) and that’s when we found her. She obviously is mostly or entirely a “high end” breed. Beautiful, but her lovely silver fur has, horror!, an undercoat color of gold. Probably, just means she’s “pet quality”. She had a sister who looked her twin at same site. Would have adopted both, but sis was already spoken for. The second female was in a small kid’s pool filled to brim with kittens for adoption at a mall empty store being used for “adoption event”. There were walls of cages all filled with older cats too. We preferred another girl for our first sweetheart, as a friend. Lo and behold in the pool of kittens, there was one girl! OK… whoo, meant to be time. She was barely 6 weeks old. Tiny black and white i could hold with one hand. Still recovering from spay operation. She was frightened, defensive and feisty. She needed a whole year to become a contented and trusting member of family. She had missed play time with siblings, so a wonderful holistic vet told us to get her tough dog toys, about her size, to play with. She loved it and would wrestle with it every day for about 4 months. We went through two… She is so lovely, I have had people sincerely offer to give her a home, if ever needed. The girls are mature ladies now…8 and 10 years old. I do not have any more solutions to cats and dogs needing homes than what humane society does already. One thing, would to stop puppy and kitten mills from being allowed to sell pets at pet sores. It is a part of our feudal system. Animals are to be owned and/or used. Like said above…so far, CAFO’s won out.

  26. oliverks

    The 3-D printing idea is very clever. I wonder if you could take their software, and use it to minimize warpage during the print, as it is a real problem on my printer.

  27. Oregoncharles

    Found in the sidebar to the Trump-Macron article: Key line: ” Two years on, the bankers’ diaspora hasn’t (yet) happened and top executives have dialed back their rhetoric.”

    Apparently spouses have unexpected (really?) power. To quote:” “No, I would not be willing to relocate to Germany, absolutely no way” — Tara, 30-year-old wife of a City trader”

    Which made me wonder: given the internet and all, does it actually matter where those “traders” are located? We have people flying planes in Afghanistan while sitting in an air base in Nevada. Surely the banks can run their scams from practically anywhere.

    Another conclusion might be that Frankfurt needs to improve its night life and shopping.

    1. visitor

      Frankfurt used to enjoy a poor reputation amongst Germans as a place to live. It was considered as drab, basically a place to work for a very good salary but with few real amenities (“who really wants to move to Frankfurt?” was a typical reaction).

      Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich, on the other hand…

  28. Lord Koos

    Regarding the teen pregnancy piece in The Stranger, I strongly suspect that Valerie Huber’s hiring had more to do with Pence than Trump.

  29. crittermom

    Am I missing something? I don’t see the story about the owl that should accompany the antidote du jour.

    1. Edward E

      What does a confused owl seeing its’ reflection in a window say? ‘two hits to who’
      Owl be seeing you, umm!’

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The cat and the owl looking as if they were looking past each other was fun, but it made the cat the focus, when the owl, with his intense look and also being in not at all a usual setting, deserved a picture where he was the big enchilada.

  30. Oregoncharles

    I lost patience with Norman Solomon a long time ago. It happens my wife and I used to know him, when we all were young – that would be about 40 years ago. But he let Obama sucker him into the Democratic Party.

  31. ewmayer

    “Why Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Going to Go Away Vogue (Li)” — Simply put, since her entire political career can best be desribed as the will to power for its own sake (rather than to accomplish any kind of societal good) and for the massive self-enrichment being in a position of power has furnished her and Bill with, those furnish the “why”. She absolutely believes that her persistency in said striving entitles her to the presidency, and if she fails in that quest her entire life and career can be characterized as failures.

    1. ambrit

      If one were to follow the trail of broken lives that are strewn throughout the wake of those two, Bill and Hillary have been most consequential people.
      As devotees of the Infernal One, their lives are major successes. (I hope it keeps two seats warm for them.)

    2. Andrew Watts

      I don’t expect we’ll ever stop hearing about how the American electorate let Hillary down until Chelsea is ready to run for the presidency. We will then be reminded that we owe it to her to vote for her daughter.

      Honestly, I still blame Obama for Trump’s win. If it wasn’t for the vast majority of his administration’s policies somebody’s cat could’ve won against any Republican candidate. Goddess of the Underworld and my keyboard Meowzors is still ready to serve and she won’t bail out Wall Street.

      I think she’d secretly work for the special interests representin’ Big Milk though,

  32. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Bitcoin is Worthless.

    No, not really.

    “The value of an article does not depend on its essential nature but on the estimation of men, even if that estimation is foolish.”

    – Diego de Covarrubias y Leiva (1512-1577), chancellor of Castile

    1. newcatty

      That, Open…,helps summarize the whole Empire’s hold on its serfs and its faux pomposity for the elite underlings who twirl in the reflected light(often lurid). We are dictated to accept that art is worthy if it is deemed so by art historians or critics. Is it always in the eye of the beholder? Buy this pharm to be normal. Get credentialed to “get a good job”. Be seen here, not there! Vote for infernal devotees( loved that ambrit) or there will be a special place in hell foryou. War is the way to peace and democracy for all humankind. If we say so. Just get over it! Now, go watch our exceptional ones make our world safe for democracy and our values. It’s OK. Go take your nap.

    2. ewmayer

      True, but the historical persistence of said estimation matters much. IOW the author is not really saying Bitcoin is worthless, just that its high worth is like that of other passing fads, such as the historical tulipmania, or more recently, Beanie Babies. But his own claim that it’s mainly criminals who find it useful undermines the ‘fad’ prediction, in the sense that as long as criminals find it useful, there will be demand for it.

        1. BenLA

          What I was thinking. ohh, the ex-ceo of paypal doesn’t have nice things to say about bitcoin.

  33. Wukchumni

    Remember, remember, the 5th of Cohen
    The playmate liaison and plot;
    I know of no reason why extramarital treason
    Should ever be forgot.

  34. ambrit

    “Inti Agonistes”

    Sunrise haired Don Pepe,
    Chaotic, equivocal, Jefe,
    Blusters, beguiles, blandly bandies,
    The heritage of giants,
    While inchoate forces,
    Struggle to become dreams,
    Worthy of our fealty.
    Befuddled by knavish delights,
    And despoiled of ancient rights,
    We turn to greet,
    The setting of the sun.

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