Departing Kotaku writers post a farewell message to their private equity asshole boss: "Sup dude. Suck it."

Jim Spanfeller (previously) is the private equity monster whose mismanagement of various former Gizmodo sites (notably Gawker, Splinter and Deadspin) has generated endless bad press from his own employees, who have doggedly reported on every single demand that they shut up and suck it up, has now been publicly condemned in the pages of yet another of his publications -- this time, it's the gaming site Kotaku. Read the rest

Three years after the W3C approved a DRM standard, it's no longer possible to make a functional indie browser

Back in 2017, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved the most controversial standard in its long history: Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME, which enabled Netflix and other big media companies to use DRM despite changes to browsers extensions that eliminated the kinds of deep hooks that DRM requires. 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

$tupid jewelry: Earring-card earring

This poor gal could only afford half a pair. If only there was another way...

French design house Maison Margiela has a long history of making dumb stuff in the name of fashion. But now they've really topped themselves. Introducing Tag, a single earring made of a pair of gold (well, brass) hoop earrings on a white lambskin card. The cost? Well, it was $305 but now you can get one for just $92 on sale.

It's being called "shoplifter chic":

And it's not the first time it's been done:

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🦋🎄Been getting a lot of attention about this recent meme post by @3.1415926535897932384626433832 and calling out that time @maisonmargiela copied a design earlier this year . Thanks for calling it out and supporting small businesses with authentic design ideas 🌹💕 Merry christmas .

A post shared by GEORGINA TREVIÑO JEWELRY (@georginatrevino) on Dec 25, 2019 at 11:27am PST

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Amazing photos of my design for Artistar Jewels Book, 📷 by Andrea Salpetre #staceyhuang #jewellery #artistarjewels2018

A post shared by Stacey Huang (@stacey_huangg) on Feb 4, 2018 at 5:07am PST

(Neatorama)

screenshots via Ssense Read the rest

One of the world's largest private equity firms just bought one of the world's largest library ebook companies

KKR is one of the largest private equity funds in the world. Overdrive is one of the largest e-lending suppliers to the world's libraries, supplying 43,000 libraries in 75 countries. Read the rest

The 2010s were the decade of Citizens United

Slate has dubbed the 2010s as the decade of Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for unlimited, anonymous corporate election spending. In 2010, the year of Citizens United, the largest political donors were Robert and Doylene Perry ($7.5m for Republicans); in 2019, it was Sheldon and Miriam Adelson ($122m). 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

Betsy DeVos quietly spends millions to promote the unpopular policies she hopes to enact as a federal official

Betsy DeVos is the religious fanatic whose access to two unearned fortunes -- one from the Amway Ponzi scheme, founded by her husband's father; the other from her own father's machining business -- has allowed her to project her ideas about eliminating secular public education in favor of Christian indoctrination schools over millions of peoples' lives, especially the lives of poor people. Read the rest

Insulin prices doubled between 2012 and 2016

The historical excuse for pharma monopolists who conspired to rig prices on insulin was that hardly anyone paid full price -- everyone got their life-saving, non-optional medicine through health plans that negotiated a knock-down price. 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

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

Private equity looters startled to be called out by name in Taylor Swift award-acceptance speech

Taylor Swift has been embroiled in a terrible dispute with Scooter Braun, who acquired Swift's former label for $300m, delivering him control over Swift's first six albums. Swift says that Braun had bullied and tormented her for years, and that the owner of her original label, Scott Borchetta, had sold the label to him in order to punish Swift. Read the rest

NYC paid McKinsey $27.5m to reduce violence at Riker's, producing useless recommendations backed by junk evidence

Consulting giant McKinsey -- notorious price-gougers and architects of ICE's gulags -- took on a contract to help reduce violence at Riker's Island, and, $27.5m later, produced nothing but a set of trite and pointless recommendations that were largely ignored, backed by "research" that both McKinsey personnel and Riker's guards helped to falsify. Read the rest

The blood of poor Americans is now a leading export, bigger than corn or soy

America is one of the only developed countries in the world that pays people to donate blood, much of it sold abroad (70% of the world's plasma is of US origin), and as commercial blood donations have soared, blood now accounts for 2% of the country's exports -- more than corn or soya. Read the rest

In any other industry, emergency medical billing would be considered fraudulent

Last summer, MD/journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal's husband had a bike accident and was seriously injured and taken by ambulance to an emergency room. Read the rest

Prasad's Law: there's always enough health spending to concentrate wealth, never enough to diffuse it

In a recent installment of his Plenary Session podcast, hematologist-oncologist Vinay Prasad observed that "There are interventions that disperse wealth, … and they give people jobs, and they send them out in the community; and there are implantable drugs, implantable devices, there are drugs, there are cancer screening tests, and we will always prioritize interventions that consolidate money in the hands of the few, over interventions that disperse money to the hands of many, with the same levels of evidence." Read the rest

McKinsey bills the US government $3m a year for anodyne advice from 23-year-old college grads

McKinsey made more than $20m helping ICE design its gulags, advising them to skimp on medical care, food and supervision in a cost-savings measure. But if Uncle Sugar really wants to save some money, it should fire McKinsey, which is by far the most expensive consultancy with a US government contract. Read the rest

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