devos

Devo's open letter on "Drowning in a Devolved World"

Robbo writes, "Gerald Casale, founder of DEVO, has written an open letter in response to the band being inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame." Read the rest

$1bn blood-testing scam Theranos dissolved

Photo: Shutterstock.

Theranos, the $1bn Silicon Valley fraud that made fools or corpses of everyone who trusted it, is finally to meet its doom. The Wall Street Journal reports that its dissolution was announced Tuesday in an email sent to the shareholders.

Despite a series of journalistic exposés covering both the company's sham technology and its cultlike corporate culture, lawsuits, and regulatory sanctions, founder Elizabeth Holmes somehow clung on until finally being charged with fraud a few weeks ago.

The move comes after federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and the blood-testing company’s former No. 2 executive, alleging that they defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and defrauded doctors and patients.

The executives have denied the charges and face a coming criminal trial.

The dissolution process was precipitated by the fact that Theranos breached a covenant governing a $65 million loan it received from Fortress Investment Group last year. Under the loan terms, Fortress was entitled to foreclose upon the company’s assets if its cash fell beneath a certain threshold.

Every new thing I read about this makes me ever more amazed by the scale and audacity of this scam. Holmes conned Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch, and the Walmart heirs alone out of $350m by literally cosplaying Steve Jobs. How is this reality?

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Top White House troll Betsy DeVos is considering using federal funds to buy guns for teachers

Last night Carla and I attended a screening for an upcoming National Geographic documentary called Science Fair, about the International Science and Engineering Fair. It's a terrific movie about smart young scientists from around the world. One thing I learned watching it is that students in Germany pay almost nothing to attend college. Here in the US, students graduate with a debt load that will hurt the quality of their life for decades. What is the US Department of Education doing about it? Actively making it worse, thanks to Betsy DeVos, who oversees the department.

The Trump swamp is a veritable legion of cartoonishly evil supervillians, but the mustache-twirling cackler Betsy DeVos operates on a level that would make a 4chan troll blush. Married to the former CEO of Amway (which paid $56 million to settle a class action for "alleged fraud, racketeering, and operating as an illegal pyramid scheme," she is also sister of Erik Prince, founder of the murderous Blackwater mercenary firm.

This billionaire griefer -- with fleets of private jets and yachts at her command -- has no teaching experience and refuses to visit troubled schools. Instead, she spends her time coming up with outrageous ways to make students' lives financially miserable and fraught with danger. And like the best robot, she doesn't crack a smile when her victims suffer.

DeVos's latest lulz generator is a plan to get around a law that Congress passed in March that forbids federal funds from being used to buy guns for teachers. Read the rest

Man struggles with barber over head waxing

I think he should have just kept the wax on. It looks like a 1980 Devo pomp wig! Read the rest

Striking similarity between David Bowie and cartoon man on Devo album cover

Joel Gion of Brian Jonestown Massacre posted these images on his Instagram. Coincidence or... something else?

Well, David Bowie did help Brian Eno produce Devo's "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" (1978). But apparently illustrator Joe Heiner based the cover art on a photo of golfer Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez mixed with an image Mark Mothersbaugh had "procured from a local newspaper that morphed the faces of U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford."

Still, the resemblance here is striking.

More on the cover art at Wikipedia. Read the rest

Facebook news chief to media: ‘Work with Facebook or die’

The Australian reports that Facebook media relations chief Campbell Brown privately disclosed that Mark Zuckerberg is indifferent to publishers and offers the news media a simple choice: "Work with Facebook or die."

A senior Facebook executive has privately admitted Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about publishers and warned that if they did not work with the social media giant, “I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a ­hospice”.

That's a strange thought, isn't it? Right down to how an attempt at intimidation is undermined its own awkward spitefulness.

Still, she (invoking he), is effectively threatening to destroy news publishers unless they comply with Facebook's vision for their future. So everyone has work to do.

Brown was hired last year after to help Facebook "smooth over its strained ties to the news media."

But Facebook executives said they were hiring Ms. Brown for her understanding of the news industry as a onetime White House correspondent, co-anchor of “Weekend Today” and primary substitute anchor of “Nightly News” at NBC News, and prime-time anchor on CNN, which she left in 2010.

Some commentators noted Ms. Brown’s ties to the Republican donor Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Education. Ms. DeVos’s family foundation funds The 74, an education-focused journalism site co-founded and led by Ms. Brown.

Hiring a DeVos crony to deal with fake news and media relations quickly became the Facebook Executives Puzzled By Human Emotion trainwreck it promised to be: Brown was last in the news threatening to sue The Guardian for breaking the Cambridge Analytica story. Read the rest

DEVO got "super stoned" the second time they met the Rolling Stones

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, DEVO's Mark Mothersbaugh talks about the second time he and the band met The Rolling Stones:

In the book, you had a great story about meeting Mick Jagger, and he listened to your “Satisfaction” and he said he loved it because his manager told him to say that. Did you ever run into him again?

Mothersbaugh: Oh, my God, yeah. About three years later, we were recording at the Power Station and they were remixing old songs downstairs. And this old guy with a big, fat sweater and gray hair came upstairs and said, “Would someone here play synthesizer on a song for my band?” And I look at him and it was Charlie Watts. So I went downstairs and there was more marijuana than I’d ever seen in my life. Everybody got super stoned. And there was a vocoder that we’d borrowed from Bob Moog to use on the album. I didn’t have a microphone with a quarter-inch jack for it, so I got Mick to put a set of headphones on sideway so one of the earpieces was over his mouth. He sang into it while I played notes on a keyboard into the vocoder.

Read the rest: Devo on How ‘Whip It’ Changed Their Lives, Meeting the Rolling Stones

Hey! DEVO's got a new two-in-one book, "Unmasked" and "The Brand." Read one, flip it over to read the other.

Previously: The real meaning behind DEVO's Energy Dome helmets Read the rest

Betsy DeVos's summer monstrosity is pure McMansion Hell

Kate "McMansion Hell" Wagner is carrying $42,000 in student debt; heiress Betsy "Marie Antoinette" DeVos is the anti-public-school advocate whom Donald Trump put in charge of the nation's public schools, and one of her first official acts was to end the rules limiting sleazy student debt-collection tactics, even as Trump was ending debt relief for students defrauded by diploma mills (like, say, Trump University). Read the rest

One of Betsy DeVos's 10 yachts was untied and set adrift

Billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is busy making sure student debt destroys the future of millions of young people. The last thing she needs to worry about is ordering her servants to retrieve one of her family's 10 yachts that some bad person set adrift.

From Buzzfeed:

The yacht, called the SeaQuest, is one of 10 yachts owned by the DeVos family. It sustained between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of damage in scrapes and scratches, police said, from hitting the dock at Huron Boat Basin.

DeVos, who was born into the wealthy Prince family, which runs the Prince Corporation, is married to Richard DeVos Jr., whose family founded multi-level marketing company Amway Corporation. Her brother is private military contractor owner Eric Prince.

The SeaQuest is registered to RDV International Marine, which is located at the same address as RDV Corporation, which manages the DeVos family's wealth.

DeVos has been harshly criticized by public education advocates for her work as secretary of education. In this role, she's slashed student debt relief, rolled back rules designed to help students defrauded by colleges, rescinded protections for transgender students, and stated her support for policies to direct federal funds away from traditional public schools and into charter schools, private schools, religious schools, and online charter education.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Read the rest

The real meaning behind DEVO's Energy Dome helmets

They're not dog bowls or flower pots, though DEVO's iconic red plastic vacuum-formed helmets, their "Energy Domes," have been mistaken for such things.

On the fan-site DEVO-OBSESSO, DEVO's co-founder and bass player Gerald ("Jerry") Casale explains their original intent (outside links mine):

It was designed according to ancient ziggurat mound proportions used in votive worship. Like the mounds it collects energy and recirculates it. In this case the Dome collects the Orgone energy that escapes from the crown of the human head and pushes it back into the Medulla Oblongata for increased mental energy. It's very important that you use the foam insert (which is included with every Dome when purchased from ClubDevo.com), or better yet, get a plastic hardhat liner, adjust it to your head size and affix it with duct tape or Super Glue to the inside of the Dome. This allows the Dome to "float" just above the cranium and thus do its job. Unfortunately, sans foam insert or hardhat liner, the recirculation of energy WILL NOT occur.

Mark Mothersbaugh, the band's co-founder, lead singer and keyboardist, shared with Fecal Face in 2008:

We did the red energy dome, which was useful besides being an icon— it was a useful icon. You probably know this very well, but your orgone energy goes out the top of your head...and it dissipates out the top, but if you wear an energy dome it recycles that energy. It comes back down and showers back down on you and, among other things, you remain manly, shall we say, for maybe another 150 years of your life, probably.

Read the rest

John Waters introduces DEVO at Burger Boogaloo: "Trump is a feckless prick"

DEVO headlined Burger Boogaloo this past weekend in Oakland. John Waters introduced them to the stage in an epic nearly four-minute-long speech that attacked Trump and celebrated the band:

...Originally from Ohio, why-oh-why-oh-Ohio, they started their careers like I did: pissed off. And they had a real reason to be nuts, their fellow friends were killed at Kent State University by the police. So they started a De-Evolution that we're still feeling. They challenged illegitimate authority, they said, and so should YOU. It's worse now than it ever was. Trump is a feckless prick. A shithole of a president. An orange anus, as Rosie McDonnell called him. Who kidnaps children. Tosses paper towels to hurricane victims. It's so dumb he stares at the eclipse with that stupid wife who's a clueless dresser who no drag queen would ever imitate. What better band to protest his stupidity and first-degree asshole-ism than our boys tonight from outer space. But our political situation is not science fiction, it's real. Before New Wave, ahead of Industrial, "alternative" way before the word was coined, this band was no media invention, it was a grassroots movement that everyone here has embraced. David Bowie loved them, Iggy loved them. I loved them. One of the bandmates even told me once that I was in a titty bar with them doing coke. I thought, "What was *I* doing in a titty bar?" I was under DEVO's spell, that's it. And tonight even more so, with my friend Freddy Armisen playing the drums.

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Hear all 77 songs Weird Al covered on tour

From Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" to Alice Cooper's "School's Out," Weird Al and his band covered a different song for the encore each night for Yankovic's recent "Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour." Now he's put together a video of all of those cover songs, 77 songs for 77 cities. It's nearly half an hour long and there's no footage, just the music, but it's totally worth a look/listen (if for no other reason to appreciate the effort).

00:00 - Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple) 00:35 - Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis Presley) 00:52 - I Saw Her Standing There (The Beatles) 01:24 - Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry) 01:40 - Do Wah Diddy Diddy (Manfred Mann) 02:00 - Dirty Water (The Standells) 02:13 - Honky Tonk Women (The Rolling Stones) 02:29 - Tutti Frutti (Little Richard) 02:46 - Wipeout – in 4 different keys (The Surfaris) 02:58 - All Day and All of the Night (The Kinks) 03:11 - Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash) 03:39 - Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes) 03:56 - Uncontrollable Urge (Devo) 04:06 - 867-5309 (Jenny) (Tommy Tutone) 04:27 - Psycho Killer (Talking Heads) 04:50 - Hello There (Cheap Trick) 05:10 - Refugee (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) 05:34 - (They Long to Be) Close To You (The Carpenters) 05:56 - Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young) 06:14 - Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Elton John) 06:45 - Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry) 07:03 - Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd) 07:17 - China Grove (Doobie Brothers) 07:36 - Rebel Yell (Billy Idol) 08:03 - Stuck in the Middle with You (Stealers Wheel) 08:11 - Accordion Boogie (Charles Magnante) 08:25 - Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet) 08:43 - All Star (Smash Mouth) 09:02 - Squeeze Box (The Who) 09:24 - Beat on the Brat (Ramones) 09:38 - Last Train to Clarksville (The Monkees) 10:02 - Beer Barrel Polka (traditional) 10:16 - Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) 10:44 - What I Like About You (The Romantics) 11:03 - We’re an American Band (Grand Funk Railroad) 11:23 - Peaches (Presidents of the United States of America) 11:43 - It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) (The Rolling Stones) 11:58 - Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group) 12:11 - Glad All Over (Dave Clark Five) 12:26 - Sunshine of Your Love (Cream) 12:47 - Particle Man (They Might Be Giants) 13:00 - Land of 1,000 Dances (Wilson Pickett) 13:18 - Crocodile Rock (Elton John) 13:34 - Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley) 13:45 - Fire and Rain (James Taylor) 14:17 - Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon) 14:35 - I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones) 14:52 - It’s the End of the World as We Know It (R.E.M.)

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Enjoy this delightful live mini-concert from Superorganism

Hipster quirkcore band Superorganism recorded this delightful live performance replete with sounds made by toy cars, apples, and soda cans. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica is out of business, but its heavy hitters have reopened under a new name

Cambridge Analytica may be out of business thanks to bad publicity, but "Emerdata" is a new company, whose board includes the daughters of Robert Mercer, who bankrolled Cambridge Analytica; disgraced former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix is on its board of directors, and much of Cambridge Analytica's C-suite has packed up their desks and moved into the Emerdata offices. Read the rest

Trump radicalized teachers, now Republicans are saying they won't vote for the party anymore

The teachers' rebellion is a global phenomenon, and though it's been brewing for a long time, the public was a lot more skeptical of teachers' demands when they were striking in Democratic strongholds under a Democratic president. Read the rest

Leaked docs reveal Koch/Walton/DeVos's anti-teacher talking points

The "State Policy Network" is a coalition of 66 far-right organizations who've been given $80M by a small number of billionaires, including the Walton family (heirs to the Walmart fortune), the Koch Brothers, and Betsy DeVos; they're terrified of the teachers' uprising, in which wildcat strikes have raced across America because teachers whose unions were neutralized have been put on starvation wages in underfunded facilities. Without any union bosses to keep them in check, the teachers have demanded the world -- and they're getting it. Read the rest

Watch "Dog Police," a bizarre DEVO-inspired music video from 1984

Inspired by DEVO, Memphis musicians Tony Thomas, Sam Shoup, and Tom Lonardo took a break from the weirdo jazz fusion jams of their "real" trio create Dog Police. Dig the lyrics:

The boys in blue had my baby on the floor, They were asking her if she wanted some more. They pulled out a net, they pulled out a leash, They said they were the... Dog Police!

The resulting video was a big hit on MTV's "Basement Tapes" DIY music video contest and later on Night Flight:

In the spring of 1990, the video’s popularity also led to the creation of a TV sitcom pilot called “Dog Police,” about a trio of psychic doggy detectives from outer space who wear fedoras and beige trenchcoats and grumble their dialogue to each other like they’re all channeling Humphrey Bogart.

Comic actor Adam Sandler made a cameo appearance in the pilot (which possibly was never aired more than once), and the show was to also prominently feature Jeremy Piven as a beat cop. (Clip below.)

More at Night Flight (via r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)

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