Arbitrary Stupid Goal: a memoir of growing up under the tables of the best restaurant in New York

To call Shopsin's "a Greenwich Village institution" was to understate something profound and important and weird and funny: Shopsin's (first a grocery store, later a restaurant) was a kind of secret reservoir of the odd and wonderful and informal world that New York City once represented, in the pre-Trumpian days of Sesame Street and Times Square sleaze: Tamara Shopsin grew up in Shopsin's, and Arbitrary Stupid Goal is her new, "no-muss memoir," is at once charming and sorrowing, a magnificent time-capsule containing the soul of a drowned city.

Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism

Noah Smith (previously) writes in Bloomberg (!) about the "fleecing" of the Gen-X and Boomer middle class -- a class that is growing continuously smaller and poorer, thanks to "financial deregulation, tax cuts and a lax attitude toward consumer protection and antitrust." Read the rest

For sale: any Australian's full health record for a mere $22

A hacker who appears to have ongoing, continuous access to Australia's electronic health care records is selling access to any full record for 0.0089 bitcoin, or about USD22. Read the rest

EU fines Google €2.42B for anti-competitive behaviour

The EU had been expected to fine Google a little over €1B for its anti-competitive practice of promoting its own shopping service over competitors' in search results: today's €2.42B comes as a surprise, as does the ongoing fine if it fails to change its behavior within 90 days -- up to €10.6m a day, or 5% of parent company Alphabet's total daily earnings. Read the rest

Chinese wives, denied legal rights, hire "mistress dispellers" to keep their marriages intact

China's long economic boom and near-total lack of social and legal protections for divorced women has created growth industries in weird services that help women keep their marriages intact after their jerky husbands start treating them like shit and/or start having affairs. Read the rest

Shareholder revolt at Mylan over Epipen-gouging CEO's $98M bonus

The board of directors at Mylan have rewarded former CEO Robert Coury with a $98m bonus as he steps into the executive chairman's role, having overseen a price-gouging scandal over the Epipens used by people prone to life-threatening allergic reactions. Read the rest

A vending machine in a Moscow shopping mall sells Instagram likes

Journalist Alexey Kovalev is in Moscow, whence tweeted this picture of "a vending machine in a mall for buying Likes for your Instagram pics." Read the rest

Trump wants to kill the FAA and hand air safety to the big four airlines

The US aviation industry is highly concentrated, with only four major airlines left in the country; for years, they've been lobbying to get rid of the FAA and take over their own safety oversight. Read the rest

Oculus Founder/alt-right troll Palmer Luckey teaming up with Peter Thiel to build surveillance tech

Palmer Luckey, the guy who founded Oculus, sold it to Facebook, and then used the money to fund racist, far-right meme creation in the 2016 election cycle is now running a Peter-Thiel-backed startup to build surveillance technology that could be part of Donald Trump's border wall. Read the rest

Makers of EpiPen overcharged US taxpayers $1.27 billion, says federal government

Didn't it seem strange that Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that makes the EpiPen, enjoyed a stock price rally when the news came out in October that it was going to have to give the US government $465 million for overcharging Medicare? Well, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General says that Mylan overcharged taxpayers by $1.27 billion, making the half-billion dollar payout a simple cost-of-doing business expense.

Mylan, the scummy firm that jacked up the price of a single EpiPen injector from $57 to $500, deliberately misclassified the EpiPen as a generic drug, which allowed them to charge more for the life-saving medication.

From Gizmodo:

The late afternoon news dropped the stock price of Mylan by 1 percent and tomorrow’s trading will show just how big a deal for the company this problem will be in the short term. Shareholders are pissed and a group of four institional investors are calling for six directors of the company to be blocked from reelection. The investors say that the directors have caused Mylan “significant reputational and financial harm.”

From NBC:

Mylan didn't invent the EpiPen, it acquired it in 2007, getting a drug that had been approved since 1987 and had 90 percent market dominance. Nor does it manufacture the EpiPen itself. Mylan buys it from a wholly owned Pfizer subsidiary for $34.50 per pen.

Mylan Chairman Robert Coury made $160 million 2016.

From a CNBC interview with Mylan CEO Heather Bresch:

CNBC’s Brian Sullivan interjected, asking her to explain how the price of the drug could go from $100 five years ago to $600 today.

Read the rest

Aviation is hell because airline exec pay is solely based on quarterly profits

There was a time when airline execs were paid based on a mix of on-time arrivals, accurate and timely baggage delivery, and profits. Now it's just profits. Read the rest

Traditional capitalism needs "extra" people, but managerial capitalism has no use for them

The Nation's outstanding roundtable  What Will Kill Neoliberalism? has many admirable interventions (including a notable one from Paul "Postcapitalism" Mason), but the one that got me right between the eyes was William Darity, Jr's "A Revolution of Managers." Read the rest

A dystopian reboot of some sponsored Internet of Shit content

Dan Hon (previously) took note of a sponsored tweet in The Atlantic's Twitter feed: "SPONSORED: The future city: What changes when everything is connected? #MSFTCloud #ad" and decided to have a go at answering the question. The results were fantastic. Read the rest

The wonderful thing about capitalism...

...is the wide range of choice it provides. Read the rest

Poll has Britons in full-throated approval of Corbynism (if not Corbyn)

Ever since he became leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has faced bitter attacks from the "left-wing" establishment, the press, and his own party, despite his repeated, unprecedented landslide victories in party leadership races. Read the rest

Fyre Festival founder to employees: you're not getting paid, but wanna work for free?

On Wednesday 25-year-old Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland -- who is being sued for $100M over his catastrophic schadenfreudefest -- gathered his long-unpaid employees on a conference call this week to tell them that "After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll. We’re not firing anyone, we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term." Read the rest

Michigan students stage sit-in in solidarity with laid-off teachers

Students of Avondale High School in the Detroit neighborhood of Auburn, MI are currently sitting in in the hallways of their school to protest the announcement that 6 of their teachers were to be laid off. Read the rest

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