Dear patient readers,
I got a nice surprise in my inbox yesterday. Recall I posted about penny-ante grifting by Cigna, in the form of dragging out payment on a not-very-large claim, in the likely hope that I’d give up, and then disappearing one of the four items in it.
I got an e-mail from New York’s Department of Financial Services encouraging me to complain, and the person who sent the letter said he’d follow up if I did so. A few times over the years, I’ve made external appeals on health care claims to the predecessor of DFS. I’ve cited that bureau as one of the reasons that the high taxes in New York are worth it: we have some well-run agencies. Recall that when DFS was formed (by combining insurance and bank regulation), its first Superintendent, Benjamin Lawsky, ran rings around Federal regulators and even managed to get some banksters fired.
Seeking pun-ters for Canberra’s pun competition, Capital Punishment Sydney Morning Herald (Ron A)
Who are you calling chicken? T. rex’s closest living relative found on the farm Guardian (Robert H)
George, reclusive Hawaiian snail and last of his kind, dies at 14 MPR News. Chuck L: :(
Small Weasel-Like Animals Are Taking Down Big Cats National Geographic (bob). Eew.
Scientists have found a link between genetics and monogamy Quartz (Chuck L)
Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why Nature (David L)
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning World Economic Forum (David L)
Why China Tiptoed onto the Far Side of the Moon Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)
Brexit. Hope readers pipe up. Wanted to post on this but not feeling so hot due to oral surgery (swollen and sore!!! And I am usually good about this sort of thing, but I had a bad day in the chair)
Brexit: Starmer insists a second vote may be the only way out The Times. Help me.
Corbyn to again call for general election to break Brexit deadlock Guardian. This is playing with dynamite. He has to know a general election assures a crashout.
New Cold War
Senators Backing Israel anti-Boycott Bill are Betrayers of the Constitution Juan Cole (resilc)
Saudi Arabia and the West’s Right Wing: A Dubious Alliance LobeLog (resilc)
Turkey Rejects New U.S. Syria Plan – Humiliates John Bolton Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)
Big Brother is Watching You Watch
Apple recruits prominent Facebook critic for privacy team Financial Times (David L)
How Facebook tracks you on Android YouTube. Bob: “It’s worth watching the video to see how scared the presenters are in talking about their very cautious findings. The comparison between a new (clean, do not track) ad id and an old ad id are worth it alone. New one is 3x the length of the old one.”
I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone Motherboard. “A few hundred meters” isn’t good enough for court (although it might do for a suspicious spouse, particularly if the location ins’t one where the SO is supposed to be). Mind you, this is still bad but not as freak-out worthy as it might seem. Geolocation by triangulation has been thrown out as too inaccurate (and this was in a case involving an alleged drug dealer, so it’s not as if the judge might have been prejudiced in the defendant’s behavior). Your GPS location from your cell’s chip is what WILL get you. It’s good to within 5 feet. I was surprised to see Google volunteer to map me from my current location (as in my laptop in my apartment) to a nearby store…and then place my current location more than a half mile from where I am.
Exculpatory Russia evidence about Mike Flynn that US intel kept secret The Hill. Lovely.
What Would It Take For Trump To Get Primaried? FiveThirtyEight (resilc)
Joe Biden’s Presidential Delusions New Republic (resilc)
The New York Times’ #MeToo smear against Bernie Sanders Greanville Post (resilc)
A Fake Nude of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Was Debunked By Foot Fetishists Motherboard (furzy). Only in America…
#InvisiblePrimary: Visible — On DNC Debate Requirements and Candidate Strategy Frontloading HQ. UserFriendly: “This really is going to be a clown car.
Democrats Are Proposing Realistic Solutions, but Terry McAuliffe Isn’t Listening Data for Progress (UserFriendly)
Cyntoia Brown, in prison for murder, is granted clemency by Tenn. Governor MPR News (Chuck L)
Ready to seize power everywhere? Want to make it easier for socialists to use the democratic party as a ballot line? We've got a heck of a thread for you… pic.twitter.com/4Yg68TZb7n
— DSA San Francisco (@DSA_SF) January 8, 2019
Editorial: PG&E’s disastrous string of wildfires should not lead to state bailout San Francisco Chronicle David S: “When PG&E has lost the Comical…”
3 PG&E electric executives departing amid ongoing wildfire scrutiny San Francisco Chronicle David S:
This article is a great-big nothing until the end — where it is disclosed that the incoming Electrical Operations Chief has only worked for PG&E since August — after working at Duke Energy in Florida his entire career. Zero system knowledge, zero local conditions knowledge. Just another corporate carpet-bagger. But CEO Geisha Williams (also a corporate carpet-bagger from Florida) points to his “deep experience” — where have I heard that turn of phrase before?
We’re in deep all right. Deep shit.
New Prosecutor Implements Fundamental Criminal Justice Reform in Ferguson NonProfit Quarterly
Wall Street Intensified Housing Crisis: Fed Study David Sirota, Splinter News (martha r)
What causes a flash crash? Economist (David L)
Computer Models to Investors: Short Everything Wall Street Journal (John C)
The death of right libertarianism Stumbling and Mumbling (UserFriendly)
The impact of financial incentives on health and health care: Evidence from a large wellness program Health Economics (martha r)
Elwood, Illinois (Pop. 2,200), Has Become a Vital Hub of America’s Consumer Economy. And It’s Hell. New Republic. Partly brought to you by CalPERS.
Antidote du jour (Tracie H):
And a bonus (martha r):
Moose are fast, even in deep snow! pic.twitter.com/DAlxRBPDBx
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 5, 2019
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.