Once again, a stalkerware company's had its servers pwned and wiped by a hacker who thinks they're selling an immoral product

It's been less than a year since a public-spirited hacker broke into the servers of Florida stalkerware vendor Retina-X, wiping out all the photos and data the company's customers had stolen from other peoples' phones (including their kids' phones) by installing the spying apps Phonesheriff on them. Read the rest

The first-ever rigorous quantitative study of US artistic revenue from internet indies: 14.8M Americans earned $5.9B in 2016

The Re:Create coalition has just published Unlocking the Gates: America's New Creative Economy, a quantitative report that uses rigorous statistical methods to derive the total income, by state, earned by creators who use the internet to reach their audiences. Read the rest

Oklahoma schools go on 4-day weeks so teachers can work at Walmart on Mondays to make rent

In 1992, Oklahoma passed a ballot initiative saying that the state could only raise taxes with a three quarters majority in the state assembly, creating a one-way ratchet where every tax cut becomes effectively permanent, including the sweetheart deals cut for frackers and the deep cuts to taxes on the wealthiest residents of the state. Read the rest

Kimberly Clark says the Trump tax-cuts let it fire 5,500 US workers and pay out dividends to its shareholders

Kimberly Clark, makers of Kleenex and Huggies, says it will lay off 10-12% of its US workforce and divert the savings to shareholder dividends and capital investment (presumably robots to replace the workers, or infrastructure to import finished goods from lower-cost offshore labor markets), and it says that action was triggered by Trump's tax-cuts, which freed up the cash needed to effect the changes. Read the rest

Short-termism led the Democratic Party to let unions die, and now they've lost their base

For decades, Democrats in power and in opposition have traded away labor laws and rules that protected unions in order to gain short-term advantages in political horse-trades, and now, with union membership down from 26 to 10.7% since the Reagan years, districts that formed Democrats' "blue wall" have been poverty-struck and have flipped for Trump. Read the rest

The world's richest 2000 billionaires could wipe out extreme poverty with one seventh of what they gained last year

Oxfam's released its annual report on inequality, timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum, and unlike previous reports (which focused on attractive but misleading stats about the relative wealth of poor and rich people), the new one focuses on the growth in the fortunes of the world's richest people, a stat that is a much more reliable indicator of growing inequality. Read the rest

California's lax usury laws means out-of-state loan sharks are charging desperate Californians 183% APRs

California regulates payday loans (good thing, since Trump's about to kill the federal rules preventing payday loansharking), but not "installment loans" of $2,500 to $5,000 and that means that out-of-state lenders are able to target desperate Californians; they're getting seven-year loans of $5,000 that cost $42,000 to repay. Read the rest

Apple, Google add 45 minutes to commuter-bus run to avoid 280 highway, where the buses' windows keep getting smashed

No one's sure how the windows on commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley keep getting smashed on a stretch of the 280 -- maybe it's a pellet gun, maybe it's thrown rocks -- but Apple and Google have informed employees who use the service that their commute is about to get 45 minutes longer as they take alternate routes to avoid that highway. Read the rest

To keep their bond-ratings, hedge-funds have to publicly demonstrate that they are the most ruthless of landlords

After the subprime crisis, vulture funds swept into the hardest-hit areas and bought thousands of foreclosed-upon homes at firesale prices and floated bonds based on the expected returns from the rents they'd be able to charge in an America with the lowest levels of home-ownership in modern history. Read the rest

Trump's "consumer protection bureau" will let the $50B payday lending industry gouge the poorest Americans with triple-digit interest rates

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded by Elizabeth Warren prior to her career as a senator, was once the gem of the US political system, a consistently effective force for punishing finance industry wrongdoing, until Trump let Wall Street robber barons loose on it, under the direction of a lawyer who represented loan sharks before going to work for the Trump administration. Read the rest

MLK: anti-capitalist activist

You've heard "I have a dream," but how about "Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children?" Read the rest

Marriott fires employee for "willfully liking" a tweet in support of Tibetan independence

Marriott has fired one of its social media managers because the employee "wrongfully liked" a tweet from Friends of Tibet, a group that supports Tibetan independence from China. Read the rest

Peter Thiel, "libertarian," wants to buy Gawker's archive, which would give him the power to censor stories he didn't like

Libertarian wisdom holds that "the answer to bad speech is more speech," but if you're a Peter Thiel libertarian (that is, the kind of "freedom lover" who doesn't think women should vote, wants to spy on everyone in the world, and secretly wields power to censor the free press), then "the answer to bad speech is secretly backing lawsuits by washed-up pro-wrestlers in order to kill a media outlet whose reporting you don't like." Read the rest

German steelworkers demand the right to take two years' worth of "work-life balance" 28-hour work weeks to look after children or aging parents

Large German companies are required to give board-seats to representatives from their workers' unions, which makes the companies both more profitable and more equitable, so it's unusual for German workers to go out on strike, but 15,000 members of IG Metall union, the country's largest trade union, are engaged in short-term "warning strikes" against 80 companies for the right to take up to two years' worth of 28-hour working weeks, a kind of "work-life-balance" leave that has evolved out of the country's existing parental leave, but would allow workers to take extra time to care for aging relatives. Read the rest

Publicly funded private school creates "poor kids' playground" for kids whose parents wouldn't contribute to new playground equipment

Wednesdbury Oak Academy in the West Midlands is an "academy school," similar to a US charter school -- a publicly funded, privately operated school, which, theory goes, is able to "experiment" with new educational techniques, by deviating from the standard curriculum, rejecting students on the basis of selection criteria, and hiring teachers without formal qualifications. Read the rest

Teacher removed from public education meeting in handcuffs after asking why superintendents get raises but teachers don't

Deyshia Hargrave is an English teacher at Rene Rost Middle Schools in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana; on Monday night, she attended a special meeting of the local school board and, when called upon comment period, politely asked why the board superintendants had voted themselves a raise while the teachers in the school district have been subjected to a long-term pay-freeze. Read the rest

Mexican cities secede to escape corruption and cartels, forming corporate dystopias, precarious utopian projects, and Mad Maxish militia towns

Mexico's corrupt, failing government that covers up official mass murders by attacking journalists and dissidents with cyberweapons is locked in a stalemate with the country's horrific, mass-murdering gangs, and the Mexican people are caught in the crossfire. Read the rest

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