America's most popular governor: the lavishly corrupt Larry Hogan [R-MD]

Maryland's Larry Hogan -- a Republican who governs a blue state -- is the most popular governor in America, with a 73% approval among state Democrats. He is also a flagrant crook. Read the rest

More than 800 Russian academic articles retracted after "bombshell" report reveals plagiarism and other misconduct

After Antiplagiat, a private plagiarism detection company, accused Russia's scientific and scholarly journals of being rife with plagiarism, self-plagiarism, duplication and other misconduct, the Russian Academy of Sciences chartered a committee to investigate the problem: their report confirmed the accusations, finding more instances of plagiarism/self-plagiarism, as well as instances in which the same paper was published in different journals under different authors' names. Read the rest

Explaining the con that is private equity

Emily Stewart's private equity explainer for Vox is a great explainer on how the PE con works: buy up businesses, load them with debt, sell off their assets, slash their costs, then walk away as the house burns, leaving society to put out the fire -- all while enjoying special tax status on your gains. Read the rest

Doctors who take pharma industry freebies prescribe more of their benefactors' drugs

Doctors who accept pharma industry gifts (which can range from free coffees to lavish dinners to six-figure speaking fees) claim that they're not influenced by these bribes/gifts, which is possibly why doctors are taking more pharma bribes than ever. Read the rest

New Jersey AG says 5 politicians took thousands in cash bribes via envelopes, paper bags, coffee cups

Well, it's nothing if not on brand for New Jersey politics. Read the rest

From Enron to Saudi Arabia, from Rikers Island to ICE's gulag, how McKinsey serves as "Capitalism's Consigliere"

On this week's Intercepted podcast (MP3) (previously), host Jeremy Scahill (previously) takes a long, deep look at the history of McKinsey and Company, whose consultants are the architects of ICE's gulags, a failed, high-cost initiative to curb violence at Rikers Island that used falsified data to secure ongoing funding -- a company whose internal documents compare management consultants to "the Marine Corps, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jesuits" and whose government contracts bill out freshly hired, inexperienced junior consultants at $3m/year. Read the rest

Foxconn wants Wisconsin to keep paying it billions, but it won't disclose what kind of factory it will build

When Donald Trump and then-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced a plan to give billions of dollars to the notorious Taiwanese sweatshop operator Foxconn to build a super-factory in Wisconsin, knowledgeable people were alarmed. Read the rest

Citing the Panama Papers, Elizabeth Warren proposes sweeping anti-financial-secrecy rules

The whistleblowers who brought us The Paradise Papers and The Panama Papers risked their freedom and even their lives (Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated for reporting on the stories). Years later, financial secrecy havens are still on the rise, and it's easy to think that all that blood and treasure thrown at ending money laundering and corruption was wasted. Read the rest

Private equity firms should be abolished

In his latest BIG newsletter, Matt Stoller (previously) relates the key moments in the history of private equity, from its roots in the notorious "leveraged buyouts" of the 1980s, and explains exactly how the PE con works: successful, productive business are acquired through debt financing, drained of their cash and assets, and then killed, leaving workers unemployed and with their pension funds looted, and with the business's creditors out in the cold. Read the rest

ICANN hits pause on the sale of .ORG to Republican billionaires' private equity fund

Here's what's happened: first, ICANN (the legendarily opaque US corporation that runs the internet's Domain Name System) approved a change in pricing for .ORG domains, run by the nonprofit Internet Society (ISOC) through its Public Interest Registry (PIR), allowing the registry to raise prices. The change was done entirely by staff, without board approval. Read the rest

Lawmaker admits not independently researching lobbyist's claim that ectopic fetuses could be reimplanted in the uterus, blames medical journals

Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation that would see women and doctors charged with murder if they did not re-implant fetuses from ectopic pregnancies in women's uteruses, a procedure that does not exist and is impossible. Read the rest

South Carolina's feudal magistrate system may take a modest step toward modernization

Propublica's blockbuster report on the magistrate judges in South Carolina revealed a system of patronage, cronies, and gross miscarriages of justice, with judges appointed on the say-so of a single state senator, without regard to whether they had any legal experience (some judges took the bench after working construction, or as pharmacists, or as underwear distributors), and without any vetting of their ethical lapses (some judges were disgraced lawyers who stole from clients, or retired lawmakers notorious for their racism). Read the rest

Woman whose vulva was probed by Burbank TSA "officers" who ignored her refusal sues

Last September, Jessica Lundquist passed through a body-scanner at Burbank airport and was told by a TSA screener that they wanted to conduct a "groin search" on her. Read the rest

The Supreme Court just heard the State of Georgia's argument for copyrighting the law and charging for access to it

For years, rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) has been scanning and posting proprietary elements of the law, such as standard annotations or building and safety codes developed by outside parties and then incorporated into legislation, on the theory that if you are expected to follow the law, you must be able to read, write and share that law. Read the rest

Reading the "victory letter" a white nationalist sent to his followers after getting $2.5m from UNC, it's obvious why he tried to censor it

Last week, just before everything shut down for Thanksgiving, the Republican-appointed Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina handed $2.5m to the white nationalist Sons of Confederate Veterans, claiming it would settle a lawsuit over the removal of a Confederate "Silent Sam" statue from campus -- but as local litigator T Greg Doucette sleuthed out, the lawsuit was filed after the governors voted the settlement, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans appeared to have no standing to sue, as it wasn't their statue, and even if it was, the university would not face legal liability for its students removing it. Read the rest

White nationalists who got a $2.5m payout from UNC abuse the DMCA to censor lawyer's trove of documents about it

T. Greg Doucette is the North Carolina litigator who sleuthed out the incredible, bizarre details of the decision of the University of North Carolina's Republican-appointed governors to hand a group of white nationalists $2.5m to build a Confederacy museum. Read the rest

A former pharma rep explains how the industry pushes doctors to overprescribe

The pharma industry spends $2 on marketing for every $1 it spends on R&D: Shahram Ahari was a rep for Eli Lilly, so he knows how the money was spent: in a tell-all op-ed in the Washington Post, Ahari describes how he lavished spending over doctors, everything from dinners at "so many fancy Manhattan restaurants that the maitre d’s greeted me by name" to free ballgames and Broadway musical tickets to offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees to top prescribers. Read the rest

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