Steven Mnuchin, Trump's pick to lead the Treasury, worked for Goldman Sachs for 20 years. In 2008 Munchin and his partners founded a bank (funded in part by George Soros) that tried to evict a 90-year-old woman from her home because she underpaid a bill by 27 cents.
After some confusion about her insurance coverage two years back, a subsidiary of OneWest sent Ossie Lofton, of Lakeland, Florida, a bill for $423.30. Lofton sent the bank a check for $423, and got another bill for the remaining $0.30. The woman–who, it’s worth emphasizing again here, is 90 years old–mailed in a check for $0.03.
The mix-up was enough to trigger foreclosure proceedings. Lawyers at the non-profit Florida Rural Legal Services asked the court for a jury trial.
Don't worry about Mnuchin's failure to successfully foreclose on the property. He reportedly received $11 million when his bank merged with CIT Bank last year.
Read the rest
That payout has been a lightning rod for OneWest critics, even though the bank and its successors absorbed $3.4 billion in losses that the FDIC didn’t cover.
Despite those losses, Mnuchin came out ahead. Last year, OneWest closed on a $3.4 billion, hard-won deal to merge with CIT Bank, overcoming challenges from fair-housing advocates, civil rights groups and homeowners. Mnuchin took a reported $10.9 million payout and remains on CIT’s board.
“Investors in the bank, including Mr. Mnuchin, profited handsomely at the expense of thousands of working people across our state,” said Kevin Stein, deputy director of the California Reinvestment Coalition.
Erik Knutzen of Root Simple tried out two ways to block telemarketers from calling his mother: the Sentry Call Blocker and Nomorobo.
Read the rest
If you’re in possession of an AARP card, you also probably have a land line telephone. If, like me, you are taking care of an older relative it’s likely that your elder depends on a land line that rings every few minutes with offers and pleas from dubious charities, political parties and Elmer Gantry types. In my opinion, there’s a special level of Dante’s inferno for telemarketers who prey on the elderly, but I won’t be able to fix that problem in a blog post. Let’s just take care of those unwanted calls.
At my mom’s house I tested two solutions: the Sentry Call Blocker and Nomorobo.
Here's a Tumblr of tweets from Trump voters who are surprised that their President Elect is already breaking the promises he made to them. Some are angry that he is not prosecuting Hillary. Others are mad that he is going to take away their Medicare and Social Security. Still others are mad that he wants to hire someone from Goldman Sachs. Read the rest
Terrapin Joe built these animatronic laughing sailors. Buy a half dozen, secretly put them in your friends living room and set them to go off at 3am. They will enjoy the surprise! Read the rest
It looks like this fellow has done this kind of thing before. Read the rest
The UK lumpenproletariat will surely accept, nay, cheer, the fact that their betters are too well-bred to be expected to follow the same rules as the rabble.
From The Independent
Politicians have exempted themselves from Britain's new wide-ranging spying laws.
The Investigatory Powers Act, which has just passed into law, brings some of the most extreme and invasive surveillance powers ever given to spies in a democratic state. But protections against those spying powers have been given to MPs.
Most of the strongest powers in the new law require that those using them must be given a warrant. That applies to people wanting to see someone's full internet browsing history, for instance, which is one of the things that will be collected under the new law.
As J.R. "Bob" Dobbs said, "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to." Read the rest
I'm at Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA today (I'm on staff) at the Positive Platform Design Jam, where we had Cornell historian Louis Hyman give a presentation called "Unnatural Capitalism: How the New Deal Reinvented Capitalism and Why We Need to Do It Again." You can watch a video recording of his talk here.
In his talk, Hyman explained why today's economic climate is like that of the Herbert Hoover era -- lots of money sitting in banks because investment was too risky and there weren't that many big things worth investing in. Hyman said depressions happen when investment fails to connect with new leading sectors. The FDR government made it easy for banks to invest in high-risk industries (by insuring the investments and giving investors tax breaks), which jumpstarted the economy. We need to get that money out of banks and into new technology, or we risk entering a new depression. Unfortunately, the federal government has cut science funding, and it's likely the new administration won't invest in basic science research, either.
Hyman said his only choice is to remain optimistic:
What happens if I'm not optimistic? Well, it's over. Then Marx was right. Profits go to zero, and all of this falls apart as the strongmen take everything away from you. Why am I doubling down on optimism? It's my only chance for survival. It's definitely your only chance for survival.Read the rest
Earlier this week I posted this video of a motorcyclist paying back an asshole in a car. Here's a somewhat similar video. This one features a driver who cuts off a motorcyclist, then flips the bird at the biker when the biker pulls up alongside him, then realizes that the biker wants to return the driver's wallet that fell off the car's roof. Read the rest
When he was 16, Martin Wallace worked at a gas station with a man named Greg. Wallace says Greg showed no outward signs of being a serial killer, but he turned out to be one.
From Wallace's essay in The Walrus:
Read the rest
And then, of course, there’s Greg. For whatever reason, we almost always end up working together, which is a relief to me. Greg is focussed, unflappable, with an easy sense of humour. We fall into a natural rhythm, never stepping on each other’s toes, always there for the other guy. When I start my shift and see Greg, I’m relieved—I know things will be all right.
But there’s one thing I don’t know about Greg, one thing that I only find out years later. Greg, you see, Greg is a killer.
The Barnacle is a replacement for the Denver Boot (that wheel-hugging device used to immobilize a car that's racked up too many parking tickets). The Barnacle attaches to the car's windshield by suction, creating an opaque barrier. It automatically releases when the driver pays the fine on the phone or online. It's safer for parking enforcement officers, because they don't have to squat down in traffic to attach it.
Some people will stick the head out of the driver's side window and drive away. They can do that, but an alarm will go off and a built-in GPS tracker will know where they are.
EDM (electrical discharge machining) cuts through thick plates of steel within +/- 0.0001".
From Core 77:
Read the rest
In the variant of this production method known as wire EDM, the cutting is done with a thin brass wire and the fun combination of electricity and water. Wire EDM is what you use when you want to cut something that's, say, 300mm thick, and made out of a tough-to-machine metal.
Here's a GoPro view of mountain bike racer Dan Atherton, who broke his neck in 2010, riding down a treacherous mountain trail. From the https://youtu.be/DhBPFr3RRso description:
Read the rest
See firsthand what it's like to rip down one of the heaviest downhill mountain bike tracks ever created, through the GoPro view of the creator himself, Dan Atherton. It's why Red Bull Hardline is an event like no other. The long and technical course plays on a variety of disciplines, where incredibly steep and rocky technical sections were combined with a motocross run in and 50-foot gap jump to create one of the most progressive downhill courses on the planet.
A crabby dog chased a half-dozen walruses (or are they sea-lions?) relaxing on a dock (or is it a pier?) Whatever. Read the rest
Maureen Herman & Katie Schwartz wrote a piece about Narcissist Personality Disorder and how to defend yourself against a world leader who might have it.
Read the rest
We want to urge the press and public to understand what Narcissist Personality Disorder is. It manifests as impairments in the way someone functions and interacts with others, combined with the specific pathological personality trait of antagonism, characterized by grandiosity and attention seeking. We feel the finer points are something the public should promptly familiarize itself with.
The negative effect of NPD happens in stages, and we have watched Trump’s relationship with his supporters, and it is very familiar to us. In a classic NPD relationship. first comes the love-bombing: the narcissist tells you what you want to hear. Then they manage down expectations: doing whatever they want, and expecting or demanding that you accept it without incident. Now, the pathological lying comes full force: you call them out on what they said or did and they vehemently deny it, making you question your sanity. Then comes the devalue stage: because you questioned or criticized them, they discredit you. Now, the discard: the punishment and alienation begins, and any attempts to please them are used to give them more control over you. It doesn’t end there. The cycle continues and the disorder becomes your new normal. It’s not.
There are known narcissistic terms, strategies, and agendas. We urge the media to learn the terminology, and use it: , silent treatment, love-bombing, gaslighting, devalue & discard phase, narcissistic abuse, managing down expectations, and flying monkeys (Kellyanne Conway).