For the first time since the 70s, New York State is set to enshrine sweeping tenants' protections

There isn't single county in the nation where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom home; and although LA has the worst homelessness crisis in the country, New York state is catching up, with homelessness growing by 46% since the financial crisis -- the fastest rate in the nation. Read the rest

Wealth is correlated with greed, dishonesty and cheating -- are these effects or a causes?

There's a wealth of psychological research that correlates wealthy people in the real world with negative traits like rudeness (people driving fancier cars are less considerate of pedestrians and their likelihood of cutting off another driver is correlated to the cost of the driver's car); greed (rich people take more candies out of dishes set aside for kids than poor people); generalized unethical behavior; cheating at games of chance; and overall stinginess. Read the rest

Trump's new climate czar has repeatedly and unrepentantly compared efforts to reduce CO2 to Hitler's slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews

William Happer -- a physicist and former Princeton professor -- already serves on Trump's National Security Council as deputy assistant for emerging technologies; but now he's been promoted to chair of a climate review panel charged with discrediting the National Climate Assessment. Read the rest

The UK grew rich by looting the world; now it launders billions for other looters

The British empire was a globe-spanning criminal enterprise that produced vast riches for England (and, to a lesser extent, Scotland and Wales) by stealing the lands of others while slaughtering and enslaving them; today the empire is in decline and the UK is no longer reliant on direct looting. Read the rest

Congressional shaming prompts notorious Pentagon price-gouger to refund $16.1m

Transdigm is a notorious military supplier/hedge fund that used acquisitions to attain a monopoly over many spare parts so they could charge exorbitant markups -- as high as 4,451%! -- on materials procured with tax dollars. Read the rest

Gabriel Zucman: the Piketty-trained "wealth detective" who catalogued the secret fortunes of the super-rich and figured out how to tax them

Bloomberg's Ben Steverman offers a long and exciting profile of Gabriel Zucman (previously), a protege of Thomas Piketty (Zucman was one of the researchers on Piketty's blockbuster Capital in the 21st Century) who has gone on to a career at UC Berkeley, where he's done incredibly innovative blockbuster work of his own, particularly on estimating the true scale of the wealth gap in the USA and worldwide. Read the rest

Paolo Bacigalupi's "A Full Life": climate apocalypse with a side of intergenerational warfare and science denial

Paolo Bacigalupi's (previously) A Full Life is a new short story in MIT Technology Review that traces the hard young life of Rue, whose family has to move and move again as climate disasters destroy the places they try to make their homes: the water for their ecologically sound farm dries up, then Austin becomes unlivable when heatwaves spike rolling blackouts, then Miami is washed off the map by a string of floods that overwhelm the levees built to "American standards" that were cooked by US oil lobbyists, and then life in New York comes to an end when a global financial crisis wipes out the last family member with any money -- an uncle who was an investment banker who ends up losing all the money he made shorting Miami when the crash comes. Read the rest

AT&T's dystopian advertising vision perfectly illustrates the relationship between surveillance and monopoly

AT&T has come a long way from the supernormative, feel-good messages of its You Will ads; now CEO Randall Stephenson predicts a future where his company will dynamically alter your TV ads based on what it thinks you will buy; and chase you with that ad from your TV to your computer to your phone, and then spy on your location to see whether you go to a retailer to buy the thing you've had advertised to you; and use that intelligence to command high advertising rates from advertisers. Read the rest

Profiles of young Americans who entered voluntary exile rather than paying their student loans

CNBC profiles a small handful of young Americans who have moved abroad and ceased payments on their student debt, relying on international borders to protect them from their edu-creditors. Read the rest

Federal lawsuit calls college textbook/ebook packages a "scam"

The Virginia Pirate Corporation is a startup that brokers sales of used textbooks at colleges; they're suing North Charleston, SC's Trident Technical College over its inclusion of textbook fees in tuition, meaning that students will have already paid for new textbooks when they pay their tuition. Read the rest

Exploitation of workers becomes more socially acceptable if the workers are perceived as "passionate" about their jobs

In a new paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a team from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business found that people look more favorably on exploiting workers (making do "extra, unpaid, demeaning work") if the workers are "passionate" about their jobs. Read the rest

The "Uber of Live Music" will charge you $1100-1600 to book a house show, pay musicians $100

Sofar Sounds is an "uber for live music" startup that just closed a $25m round of investment for its product, which books house-shows -- where musicians show up and play in your living room for you and your friends -- at $1100-$1600/each. Read the rest

Trump's stealth attack on Social Security: "Chained CPI"

Trump was elected by old white people who are certain they'll be dead before climate change renders the planet uninhabitable, but who are also seriously invested in continuing to receive Social Security benefits, which is why Trump repeatedly promised to protect Social Security during the 2016 presidential race. Read the rest

A self-appointed wing of the American judicial system is about to make it much harder to fight terms of service

The American Law Institute is a group of 4,000 judges, law profs and lawyers that issues incredibly influential "restatements" of precedents and trends in law, which are then heavily relied upon by judges in future rulings; for seven years they have been working on a restatement of the law of consumer contracts (including terms of service) and now they're ready to publish. Read the rest

That billionaire who paid off a graduating class's student loans also supports the hedge-fundie's favorite tax loophole

Billionaire Goldman Sachs alum Robert F Smith made headlines when he donated enough cash to pay off the student loan debt of the entire Class of 2019 at Morehouse College; but Smith is also an ardent supporter of the carried interest tax loophole, which allows the richest people in America to pay little to no tax on the bulk of their earnings, while working Americans (like the Morehouse Class of 2019 will be, shortly) pay their fair share. Read the rest

A deep dive into the internal politics, personalities and social significance of the Googler Uprising

Writing in Fortune, Beth Kowitt gives us a look inside the Googler Uprising, wherein Google staff launched a string of internal reform movements, triggered first by the company's secret participation in an AI/drone warfare project for the Pentagon, then a secret attempt to build a censored/surveilling search engine for use in China, then the revelation that the company had secretly paid off an exec accused of sexual assault, to tune of $150m. Read the rest

AOC grills pharma exec about why the HIV-prevention drug Prep costs $8 in Australia costs $1,780 in the USA

Gilead makes a drug called Truvada -- AKA Prep -- that was developed at US taxpayer expense, whose patents are held by the US government; Truvada is on track to eliminating the spread of HIV forever (people who are HIV positive but take Truvada are seemingly not infectious), but taking Truvada in the USA (where the patents haven't expired) is incredibly expensive, running $1,780/month, whereas in Australia, it's available as a generic for $8/month. Read the rest

More posts