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It gets kind of depressing that most of what we get in entertainment and sports news is bad behavior, but this time the bad behavior is on the other foot. Director Bryan Singer paid $150,000 to his accuser, who apparently forgot to mention the lawsuit as an asset when he filed his bankruptcy petition. After taxes and distribution to creditors, he may not be left with much.
The theory seems to be, bankrupt everything, let life get much worse, and this will further inflame the scapegoating vengeance mindset of the President's supporters, who have no reality testing and no idea that their hero and his ilk are the ones responsible for their misery, and they will support him even more fervently. This is just one item in an iceberg of neglect; but at least someone stood up, and at least someone listened. Who can we get to speak up for the kids at the immigration pound?
It seems to be going around in the city this week that certain people accused of bad behavior have lost their curiosity to see what happens next. Maybe Mrs. Max was on the wrong anti-depressants. She looked anorexic. Was the son persecuting her? It's often impossible to know what really goes on behind closed doors, Alexa notwithstanding. I had the opportunity to buy about a dozen signed Peter Max lithographs a few years ago (not on a cruise ship), but didn't. I kicked myself afterward, but now it turns out they might have been issued under false pretenses. Not sure it would have made a monetary difference; notoriety is also attractive. The May article gives the back story.
On the one hand, why isn't it a good thing to bring lesser known art and craft to the world? On the other hand, in an age where everything can be monetized, at what point does it become exploitation Back in 1986, when Paul Simon released Graceland, he received flack about "appropriating" indigenous music and musicians. His response was, "You think it's so easy to make a hit record?" His point was that his alleged "exploitation" gave that music an enormous audience it would not have had on its own, and everyone made money they would not have made on their own.
Penguin recently re-issued a novel to which it did not own the copyright. Someone didn't do his or her homework. It's also an issue about certain people believing in something, like the supporters of this book who kept it in print for so long. Is there is a moral claim? Penguin can do something to make it right, and it should.
You need a score card for this one: The Humboldt Forum Museum is built on the site of the Palast der Republik, the former East German Parliament, which was torn down after reuinification. The building is a facsimile of the Berliner Schloss, a palace (although with fewer turrets than some of the really cool ones built into the sides of mountains), built by the Hohenzollern dynasty (think Hapsburgs or Plantagenets), which was demolished by the East German government. No one seems to take note that the pendulum always swings. Ever lost control of your car? The harder you try to correct, the more extreme the reaction. This is the truth of life. Why don't people know this? Meanwhile, there are ventilation issues, so some of the exhibits that were promised to be loaned for the opening, like an exhibit of ivory objects, will not be given. There's a good example. Should we just destroy all the ivory artifacts? At any rate, the opening has been pushed to 2020.
Six perps, $7,500. You do the math. As Rumpole says, the ones with any real genius rarely come our way. Especially at those prices. Not only did they get caught, but the guy is still alive. I don't mean to be flip. Ortiz was seriously injured. He lost his gall bladder and part of his intestine and suffered damage to his liver. What a mess.
It's a story by D.H. Lawrence. The house whispers, "there must be more money." The little boy realizes that if he rides his rocking horse long and hard enough the name of one of the winners at the next day's races will come to him. The family starts raking in the dough, but instead of being sated, the voices just want more and more. The mother buys fresh flowers and Paris gowns. The voices get even stronger. The little boy rides himself into exhaustion trying to appease the voices and please his mother, but he never can. It kills him. Same thing here.
The Stanford sailing coach did not personally benefit. Rather, through the auspices of a college "consultant", the sailing team received $770,000 in donations, from the grateful families of non-sailors (and probably non-students). Apparently the "consultant" got $6.5 million just from one couple from China to get their daughter admitted and the sailing program received $500,000. For $7 million, the family could have built its own college. Who has this kind of money? Why didn't they spend it on tutors back when it would have counted? Make the kid put down the iphone and read a book; and learn how to do dishes.
FIFA has banned Keramuddin Keram, an Afghani warlord, from soccer, for life, and an arrest warrant has been issued in regard to charges of sexual abuse -- rape -- of female soccer players. He trapped them in a locked office, and they couldn't get out. If they said anything he would accuse them of being lesbians, which is illegal in Afghanistan, and it would get them thrown off the team and their families would be in trouble, etc. Apparently he's not the only one, and it's taking place elsewhere than just Afghanistan.
This guy raped a 58-year old homeless woman, among others. A 77-year old woman said he exposed himself to her. Anger and control issues, you think? It's a pathology. He needs to be off the streets and learn to do simple things.
Comcast claimed that it did not have sufficient bandwidth to run programming from Entertainment Studios Network, owned by African-American Byron Allen, even though it apparently had enough bandwidth to run programs from white-owned networks. Comcast said that since the decision was based on other factors, the case should have been dismissed, but the Ninth Circuit upheld, saying that the discrimination claims should survive dismissal even if discrimination wasn't the sole reason the programming was rejected. This seems new.
This is an insane story. What happened? Was there ergot in the rye bread? The kids were not in Starbucks minding their own business. No dispute that they shoplifted. Why is that irrelevant? Eventually they were arrested. Maybe that wasn't necessary. Maybe the clerk (and member of the plaintiff/owner family) shouldn't have chased them. Businesses in college towns suffer a lot of that kind of behavior, and maybe this was just the last straw. There were never any previous discrimination complaints about this place. The college behaved like a pre-adolescent trying to win a popularity contest. $33 million plus $11 million is too much (and it will probably be reduced). But IMHO this was not the right battle. The article doesn't say what happened to the perps. IMHO, no jail time, no record, but maybe some community service, and they need to apologize. Then the entire Oberlin administration needs to resign.
The fact that the White House abolished the daily briefing is appalling. The fact that it will be used as simply another propagandist avenue is unfortunate, but at least let's have everything on the record. Plus, I favor full employment for journalists.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that AI will have a chilling effect on culture. You think? It has already happened, but gradually, and under the guise of consumer toys, so no one really notices. There's really no need for bloodshed. If you want to take over the universe, just give everyone iphones. Tip of the day: Resist surveillance culture. Just because a product exists, and the manufacturer's advertising makes you feel like you would be a target for scapegoating without it, doesn't mean you should purchase it. Cameras change things. Remember that the end game is for-profit prisons; and remember Justice Brandeis - don't wait until you become a victim of "anomaly detection". Special points if you identify the epigram.
There are a number of issues here. First, Congress is pretending to investigate how the advertising power of Big Tech is affecting the dissemination of news. All the advertising dollars from sponsors go to Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, and not, e.g., CNN. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which have split the task between them, may annoy the big companies, but they won't really get anywhere, even though they are asking the hard questions, like has Facebook "harmed consumers" with its handling of data, and whether Amazon has "hurt smaller retailers"? Duh. Of course the giants will win in the long run. In the meantime, the news agencies want to be able to band together to give themselves a stronger negotiating position for ad dollars. They want an antitrust exemption. I don't know if that is really the solution. Don't we already have enough McNews?
After their undeniable success in the U.S. (the fact that they were caught doesn't seem to make a difference), the Russians are apparently extending their election interference tactics to the EU. I don't know what to do about this. Luckily, no one has asked me. Censorship is a slippery slope. Has Facebook become the equivalent of the National Enquirer? Possibly. The problem is that, like the National Enquirer, for all those who ignore it, there are exponentially greater amounts of those who believe.
Thomas Erdbrink, a New York Times reporter living in Tehran, had his press credentials revoked in February, but it is apparently only now being made public. He is a citizen of the Netherlands, but his photographer wife is Iranian. She is also being prevented from working. This is not the first time that this has happened (elsewhere as well as in Iran). In fact, Erdbrink's successor at the Washington Post, his previous job, was arrested and held for over a year in Iran. Supposedly there is an intention to resolve this issue, but now that Iran is taking potshots at U.S. tankers, I think they should get them out of there.
Chinese mainland computers hacked the "Telegram" app, used to organize protests. The hack found names, and some people were arrested. These particular protests were about Hong Kong wanting to extradite certain people, dissidents, to the mainland, where, protesters fear, they will never be heard from again. I wasn't just a cyber attack; it also occurred in real time and space. There was tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray. No one said world domination was going to be pretty. It's part of a general hardline approach.
Marine Le Pen is the leader of the far-right "National Rally" party in France, whose right-wing nationalist and populist motives include what you might expect, for example, that there must be zero tolerance for crime, and there must be more prisons to house all the immigrants that are committing the crimes. When her father was running the party, it was anti-Muslim and anti-Jew. Now, Le Pen has been accused of tweets that "seriously harm human dignity", by showing photos of alleged Islamic nationals doing things like burning prisoners alive in cages. She's probably just upset they beat her to it. There will be a trial, with a potential for prison and a hefty fine. She sounds like she deserves it, but I just don't think we can jail people for their political beliefs, no matter how insane.
Rohingya Muslims who escaped persecution in their homeland are surprised and a bit alarmed to find just as much vitriol in the rest of the world, all nicely concentrated in Facebook, the psychic garbage heap of the universe.
At first Trump said he would take campaign help, like allegedly incriminating evidence about an opponent, from anyone who offered it, like the Russians. Then, after Nancy Pelosi said he didn't know right from wrong and that he was involved in a a criminal cover-up, he backtracked. Yet why is he worried about this when he doesn't appear to care about any other treasonous thing he says? Just because Nancy Pelosi said something? She says lots of things, and he never really paid attention before.
If You Have to Ask How Much It Costs, You Can't Afford It
Congress wants drug companies to put their prices on their advertising. The drug companies claim that it's a First Amendment issue. They have the right to say what they want about their product. I guess like putting petroleum in canned milk and not telling anyone. If the price is prohibitive, isn't that a kind of defect? But I understand. It's a downer. We have this great new medication. It will cure what ails you. It costs ten thousand dollars per dose! There is the suggestion that they simply lower their prices. If the prices were lower the drugs would be prescribed more often; the insurance companies would pay; and quantity would make up for quality. Raising the price of insulin is just pure greed.
Trump is pretending that in fear of his threatened tariffs, Mexico agreed to certain immigration policies, but it didn't. Trump waved around a letter and said it was the agreement. What Mexico agreed to was a 45-day period to see what it could do and to give it time to prepare for further negotiations.
...And let's accredit crazy religious schools that teach Biblical "science", while we're at it. Diane Auer Jones sees herself as an example of what alternative educational opportunities can do. Agreed.
Gregory L. Johnson burned an America flag outside the Republican National Convention in 2016. He was arrested, and he sued the city. However, pursuant to the 1989 Supreme Case of Texas v. Johnson, there is no prohibition on flag desecration. Johnson was awarded $225,000, and it turns out the two Johnsons are one and the same.
Holden Matthews, who set fire to three churches in Louisiana, has been charged with hate crimes because it was found that his actions were motivated by the religious beliefs of the church goers, but not because the churches were primarily black. He bought the gas cans at Walmart and used his dad's truck.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), not related to Robert Mueller, whose duty it is to enforce the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their offices to further political goals, has recommended that Kelleyanne Conway be removed. Her response? "Blah, blah, blah." The White House released an 11-page rejection of the OSC report. Here is an extra article about the Hatch Act.
Hope Hicks, former White House communications director, has agreed to participate in an "interview" with the Judiciary Committee. However, there will be a court reporter, and she will be under oath, so it will be more like a deposition. Among other things, they will ask her about the firing of James Comey and the attempt to make Jeff Sessions take over the Russia investigation. It's possible that she will claim executive privilege. The White House already told her not to comply with the document requests.
The Justice Department is investigating the CIA and the CIA's own Russian investigation. The CIA feels a little sniffy about this, but it will cooperate. Barr supposedly wants to find out why the FBI opened a counter-intelligence campaign into the Trump campaign, or so he says. It would have been based on information from the CIA. I guess he's hoping to prove that it was primarily a smear campaign with no real basis in fact. Trump has also given Barr power to de-classify.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to hold Barr and Wilbur Ross in contempt for refusing to release documents regarding the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. One Republican agreed, Justin Amash. Everything the president does is in tweets. The article says there are few precedents about the line between Congressional oversight and the president's authority to be opaque. This is just one more in a series of these skirmishes. Many are worried that people like Kris Kobach, whose specialty is voter suppression, had something to do with this.
Somebody hacked and obtained all those pictures of you driving through the tunnel when you were supposed to be at a work meeting. The subcontractor hired by Homeland Security, a Tennessee company called Perceptics, transferred the data on to its own servers, which were hacked The ACLU believes that the government is collecting too much data without fully considering the consequences. The danger is not just to private citizens, but also to the nation, like when we "lost" the designs for the F-35 fighter jet to China through hacking. This is just old fashioned advertising technique. Companies manufacture stuff, like surveillance equipment, and make you (i.e., the government, or law enforcement) think you can't live without it. It's too late... They will never pull back now.
The U.S. is inserting its own malware into the Russian electricity grid in hopes of being able to cripple Russia's infrastructure and maybe even its military. It's been urged as necessary, since Russia does it to the U.S. However, we don't know how well it will work - it could become just like nuclear bombs, a weapon too destructive to deploy.
It sounds like we started it, with a drone flying over the Gulf. Then the drone was attacked, then the two tankers, one Japanese and one Norwegian. Trump says that Iran did it, but both Germany and Japan say that it's not clear what happened; maybe it wasn't even a missile, and the EU is urging caution. The Japanese say that it looked like a flying object, which I guess could have been a drone (although the article doesn't say that).
Too many panels of scientists are all boys. There needs to be a commitment to gender diversity. Some male scientists have pledged not to participate in panels that are not diverse. The article doesn't discuss race.
Speaking of which, Jean Purdy was the female nurse who was an "equal partner" in the breakthrough of in vitro fertilization, but she was not given credit on the plaque, despite the lobbying of her two male counterparts. This is just one of a long line of similar behavior, including Rosalind Franklin and DNA, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and pulsars, and Lisa Meitner and nuclear fission. Meitner was not named for the 1944 Nobel although her collaborator, a man, was.
The State Department justified declaring an emergency in order to sell arms to Saudi Arabia on the basis that if we hadn't done it China or Russia would have, and it was imperative for the Saudis and UAE to kill children in Yemen. It was so important, the Executive branch bypassed Congress. The fact that Jared Kushner is a friend of the Crown Prince (the one who had Jamal Khashoggi killed) probably had nothing to do with it. Why isn't this a criminal conspiracy?
Mnuchin says the delays are "technical" and that all parties, including the Secret Service (?) is working as fast as they can. Oh come on. It's about the only transparent thing in this government, that it was done on purpose. Trump called the plan to replace Jackson "political correctness," and the overhaul of the Treasury Department's website after Trump came in removed any trace of the Harriet Tubman plan.
The plaintiffs got about $8 billion, but the lawyers charged 40%, sometimes missed filing deadlines, which reduced the entire award, and may have been involved in schemes with doctors to have the mesh removed surgically to increase the damage claims, but to the women's detriment, it is alleged. Each plaintiff ended up with about $60,000 before legal fees and costs. The main defendant, a New Jersey firm, says the suit is a vendetta by his former partner.
...Or anyone from out of state. The fund is for women who can't afford abortions and are not covered by insurance or Medicaid. In Maine, nurses and physician's assistants can now perform abortions, and New York also allows "medical professionals" to do the procedure. It's probably enough for about 500 abortion procedures.
Cuomo has ended the religious exemption for vaccination. A Long Island Republican says it's a violation of First Amendment rights, but that's just pandering. As we know, there is no right to cry fire in a crowded theater, and I would argue there is no right to subject others to potential life-threatening illness.
The rent laws began as tenant protection, in the days when landlords were filling buildings with illegal do-ers to drive out the tenants. In the past 10 or so years, landlords have been getting things their own ways a little more often, especially outside Manhattan. Now, things are moving back towards tenant protection. It's partly a bid to avoid more homelessness, I would guess, but I wonder if it isn't too late. Very little of the new construction is rent regulated, and it's all extremely expensive. We'll have to see how it plays out in a practical way.
First tenants, now taxis. The city seems to want to take responsibility for the fact that it made taxi drivers pay a million dollars for a medallion and then let Uber etc. render those medallions practically worthless while the taxi drivers fell victim to predatory lending and sank farther and farther into debt. There is a moratorium on Uber-type drivers now.
There is much racism involved in criminal charging by prosecutors, which is borne out by the numbers. So San Francisco is going to try "blind charging." Prosecutors will not have access to a suspect's name, address, race or hair or eye color, or that of any victims. They won't be permitted to know these things until they make a preliminary decision about charging. If they change the charge when they find out, they will be questioned. It's an experiment that is worth a try.
Missouri already has a 72-hour waiting period, and it requires pelvic exams for "medication" abortions, which are non-invasive. So the clinic stopped doing medication abortions, but then the state required pelvic exams on the day of consent to the abortion as well as the day of the abortion. All this is just torture. The abortion itself takes about three minutes. Now the state wants to interview the doctors who are employed by Planned Parenthood. It's so medieval.
The survivors and relatives of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in London are forum shopping, trying to sue in an American court, where they can get punitive damages, which Britain doesn't allow. It is true that the "cladding" (insulation covering) maker, Arconic, has its headquarters in Pennsylvania, but the cladding itself was made in France; the insulation was made in the UK; and the exploding refrigerator that started the whole thing was made in Europe. Still, plaintiffs think they can show that design decisions made in Pennsylvania were responsible for the disaster.
As a result, it will be over the usual year before the trial starts for the person who killed 51 people and wounded dozens of others in a New Zealand mosque in March and streamed it in real time on Facebook. The survivors are upset at the delay, but the court is worried about the logistics of security and seating spectators.