Beto O'Rourke just hired a "senior advisor" who used to lobby for Keystone XL, Seaworld and private prisons

Jeff Berman's got a new job! The former Obama/Clinton staffer is now Beto O'Rourke's senior advisor, having moved laterally from his post-Obama-campaign career working for the DC lobbyists Bryan Cave, where he lobbied on behalf of Seaworld, the Keystone XL pileline and the private prison industry. Read the rest

Delta targets its workers with anti-union apps that push deceptive memes

Aviation is one of America's most concentrated industries, and workers have steadily lost ground to shareholders and execs, who have enriched themselves with tactics like flying planes to South America for maintenance by non-union technicians who do not speak the language that the maintenance manuals are written in. Read the rest

Americans with diabetes are forming caravans to buy Canadian insulin at 90% off

The price-gouger-driven skyrocketing prices for insulin have endangered the lives of Americans with diabetes, who are rationing their supplies and trying not to die. Read the rest

Buried in Uber's IPO, an aggressive plan to destroy all public transit

Uber is a wildly unprofitable company with no conceivable path to profitability in any universe, under any circumstances, but the company's founders and early investors (having already taken massive write-downs on their investments) are hoping to get at least some of their money back through the time-honored "greater fool" methodology. Specifically, they're floating the company on the stock market and hoping that naive investors hoping to wring above-inflation gains out of their 401(k)s and avoid being made into dog-food in their old age (we're waaaaay past the era in which impoverished old people get to eat dog-food) take their shares off their hands. Read the rest

Big Tech lobbyists and "open for business" Tories killed Ontario's Right-to-Repair legislation

In February, Liberal Party opposition MPP Michael Coteau introduced Right to Repair legislation after he was charged $400 to fix the cracked screen on his daughter's Samsung phone; that bill is now dead, as are dozens of Right to Repair bills introduced in US state houses, after Conservative MPs, heavily lobbied by US Big Tech firms, killed it before it could proceed to committee. Read the rest

In 2008 "synthetic CDOs" destroyed the global economy, and now they're back

"Collateralized Debt Obligations" (CDOs) are a financial derivative that is a kind of bond that pays out based on revenue generated by a pool of assets: for example, a giant hedge fund might buy thousands of homes whose owners went bankrupt and suffered through foreclosure, and then rent them out at the highest possible rent with the least possible maintenance, and this generates thousands of revenue streams. Small slices of the revenue streams from many properties are pooled together into individual CDOs and these are sold to investors: when you buy one of these, you get a little bit of the rent from each of the tenants in the hedge-fund's holdings (other assets can be pooled together too, like payments on car loans, student loans, etc etc). Read the rest

Fentanyl execs found guilty of racketeering, face 20 year prison sentences

Five senior execs at Insys Therapeutics (manufacturer of Subsys, a type of fentanyl), have been convicted of criminal racketeering and fraud charges stemming from the company's practice of bribing doctors to overprescribe their incredibly addictive and dangerous product, and for defrauding Medicare in the process. Read the rest

When Steve Bannon & co spent $1,000 on booze at Mar-a-Lago, taxpayers picked up the tab

On April 7th, 2017, a group of Trump advisors and co-conspirators converged on Mar-a-Lago (one of Trump's properties) for a night of drinking and dining, while Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping were having dinner in a separate room at the hotel. In attendance were Steve Bannon, Joe Hagin (then Trump's deputy chief-of-staff) and others. Read the rest

Serpent profiteers: how a summer camp snakebite turned into a $142,938 medical bill

Last July, a nine year old child named Oakley Yoder got bitten on the toe by a venomous snake while at summer camp in Jackson Falls, Illinois: the initial bill for her treatment came out to $142,938. Read the rest

Chase's idiotic poverty-shaming "inspirational" tweet, and Twitter users' magnificent responses thereto

Every Monday, some poor "brand ambassador" at Chase has to post a "Monday motivation" tweet aimed at convincing people that one of America's largest, most rapacious banks is actually a cuddly, responsible business whose $12 billion bailout from Uncle Sam was perfectly justifiable and sure to be put to excellent use. Read the rest

Lawyer for kid whose parents paid $1.2m bribe to get into Yale says the high price shows grifters' anti-Chinese bias

There are some mysteries in the court documents related to the college admissions scandal: a pair of mystery students whose parents paid $1.2m and $6.5m in bribes to get them into top US educational institutions. Read the rest

Pepsi is suing four Indian farmers for growing a proprietary "Lays" potato, seeking $150,000 each in damages

Pepsi has confirmed that it has files lawsuits against four farmers in India who grew a variety of potato that was registered as being for the exclusive production of the company's Lay's potato chips. Read the rest

Older Americans are working beyond retirement age at levels not seen since 1962

If you're an American 65 or older, there's a 20% chance that you're working or looking for work (the chance jumps to 53% if you attained an undergrad or more advanced degree): that's double the rate in 1985. The last time it was this high was 57 years ago, in 1962. Read the rest

Zuck turned American classrooms into nonconsensual laboratories for his pet educational theories, and now they're rebelling

Summit Learning is a nonprofit, high-tech "customized learning" group funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's family charity; under the program, students are equipped with high-surveillance Chromebooks and work on their own "at their own pace" and call on teachers to act as "mentors" when they get stuck. Read the rest

After Notre Dame bailout Yellow Vests urge more Victor Hugo tributes, starting with "Les Miserables"

The Notre Dame fire is a global tragedy, and it's also raising complicated questions about our present moment, including trenchant inquiries into which church fires merit global outpourings and whose sacred sites get mourned when they are destroyed. Read the rest

Telcoms lobbyists have convinced 26 states to ban or restrict municipal broadband

More than half of the US states have passed laws that ban or severely restrict local governments from investing in broadband: many of these laws were copypasted from "model legislation" circulated by corporate telcoms lobbyists (this is a disturbing, widespread practice in America's state houses); and many of the states that have passed these bills have large areas where every ISP is a Net Neutrality violator, and all across America, ISPs are underinvesting in network buildout (especially for rural subscribers) while raising prices and refusing to sell high-speed service to customers who don't also buy cable TV. Read the rest

Pepsi won't put a billboard in space after all

Pepsi's plan to pay a Russian company called Startrocket to loft an artificial constellation of cubesats with mylar sails to advertise a "nonalcoholic energy beverage" has been cancelled for unspecified reasons (the company says its prototype launch using high-altitude balloons was a "one-time event"). Read the rest

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