Friday: Little Fly

Friday jazz comes to us from vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding, one of my personal favorites. She’s the first jazz musician to ever win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, awarded only a handful of months after this featured performance from 2010.

My favorite tune of the three she performs here is Apple Blossom — it never fails to make me sniffle. Spalding plays more than just the double bass; sample her more progressive work on electric bass here. Want something a bit more traditional? Try her upbeat bluesy rendition of On the Sunny Side of the Street. Or maybe a little pop rock slice with her tribute to Stevie Wonder, Overjoyed.

Wheels and steals

  • Whiny op-ed complains about poor, poor Volkswagen (WSJ) — Aw, poor fraudulent enterprise lied and ripped off the American public for a decade while other automakers in the U.S. complied with emissions laws. Murdoch-NewsCorp outlet Wall Street Journal wants us to take pity on the bastards who did not care one whit they were literally poisoning U.S. citizens while lying to customers and dealers, let alone poisoning and lying to tens of millions of customers abroad. Look, they broke U.S. laws for nearly ten years. They made interest and capital gains on the money they gained from their illegal efforts. They can make the customers they defrauded whole and they can do something to fix the damage they wreaked on our environment. And they should be punished for breaking laws on top of reparations. Anything less is a neoliberal blowjob to a company which cannot compete fairly inside the U.S.
  • VW passenger diesel owners need additional protections (Reuters) — The current settlement offered by VW in federal court does not provide a secondary level of protection to consumers says the consumer advocacy journal, needed if the proposed fix to the emissions cheating diesel vehicles does not work. These vehicle owners should be able to opt for buy-back. The amount offered also undervalues retail prices on alternative replacement vehicles, Consumer Reports said in its submission during the public comment period which ended today.

    Consumer Reports said it generally supported the settlement, but urged “regulators to wield robust oversight of Volkswagen to ensure that the company implements its recall, investment, and mitigation programs appropriately” and it called on “federal and state officials to assess tough civil penalties and any appropriate criminal penalties against the company in order to hold it fully accountable.”

  • South Korea halts sales of 80 VW vehicle models (NBCNews) — This is what the U.S. could have done to VW given the scale of fraud, emissions cheating, and the lack of actual “clean diesel” passenger technology available to remedy both 2.0L and 3.0L engine vehicles. The 80 models now banned for non-compliance with emissions and noise pollution laws as well as document forgery include VW, Audi and Bentley vehicles. VW has also been slapped with $16.06 million fine, which is extremely light considering VW broke not only emissions laws while fraudulently misrepresenting the vehicles’ attributes.
  • West Virginia’s suit against VW amended (Hastings Tribune) — WVa Attorney General expanded the suit to include VW parent group as well as Audi and Porsche brands. Bosch, the manufacturer of VW’s electronic control units which were programmed to defeat emissions controls, is included in the lawsuit.
  • Fewer Americans buying VW vehicles (Business Insider) — No surprise, given the emissions controls cheating scandal, the pricey labels, iffy reliability, and a product lineup that doesn’t match the U.S.’ market demand. It may be a long time before VW digs itself out of its hole here.

NOT Volkswagen:

  • Two Houston thieves hack Jeep and Dodge cars ( — Hacking pirated computer software used by auto technicians and dealers, two men tweaked Fiat Chrylser model vehicles’ security codes so their key worked. The thieves were picked up driving a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee after police focused on an area where a high number of vehicle thefts occured.
  • White hat hackers proved Chrysler’s anti-hack update breachable (The Register) — Last year Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek showed Fiat Chrysler’s wireless feature could be hacked remotely to take control of a car. At Black Hat 2016 this week the same duo showed how they could defeat Fiat Chrysler’s firmware update which the automaker pushed to patch the vulnerability. But in terms of ease and speed, the two thieves in Houston might actually have a faster approach to taking control of a vehicle.
  • 28-year-old cracks up his brother’s car while playing Pokémon GO (The Guardian) — Dude. Really? You’re lucky to be alive or that you didn’t kill someone else. This is the kind of generational stupid old-man-yelling-at-clouds Clint Eastwood should take a poke at instead of doubling down on his closeted racism.
  • Self-driving feature in Tesla X may have saved its driver (CNBC) — Driver suffered a pulmonary embolism while on the road; the vehicle took him to the hospital. Article says the driver “was able to steer the car the last few meters” suggesting he was conscious and in control if limited in capacity. No further details were included to describe how the vehicle switched from its original route to the hospital.

Because opening ceremonies begin tonight at the Rio Olympics, I’ll leave you here. Catch you Monday — have a safe and restful weekend!

12 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    [Off topic, but it’s early AM, and what’s left of my brain is engaged.]
    I’m not on Twitter, but I read other people’s tweets sometimes, often off links from the authors of this blog. I have some thoughts on those tweets, and I’d like to know what others think of my views.
    Many, many tweets are informative, excellent. Sometimes, however, they are snarky, ridiculing, superior and just plain low-class dirty and scummy. Here’s an example, speaking to the co-incidence between the Olympics and the publishing of Mrs. Trump’s nude photos: “Wonder who’s the flag bearer for Slovenia? We all know who the ass barer is.”
    You, sir, have anonymously ridiculed a country, and you have also anonymously ridiculed a person who happens to be a public figure so she can’t fight back. Is that your contribution to the public discourse? Are you proud of yourself? Do you know that this is your legacy? That this is how you will be known and remembered going forward?
    It’s one thing to make asshole gutter comments in a bar among like-minded friends, where you’re trying to prove that you have a big dick or that if you don’t have one that you’re damn well just as smart and capable. It’s another thing to put these comments online where they will live forever and, more importantly, where they will be seen by the world as an indication of what you really are like. If you don’t make your living doing stand-up comedy, then keep your trap shut. Or maybe you just don’t care–which would be pretty sad.

    • John Casper says:

      Yes, I agree, “…many tweets are informative, excellent.”
      emptywheel should put her always learned and frequently hysterically funny timeline behind a paywall. Another benefit of reading her timeline is the people she interacts with. Another rare treat is watching a football game–or any event–that emptywheel is tweeting about.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    Well, you think you’re living in a fucked-up world, take a look at this and then decide whether you are, in fact, not so bad off.
    AFGHANISTAN: A six-year-old girl has been forced to marry a 55-year-old man after her father allegedly sold her in exchange for a goat in Afghanistan. Both the man, Seyed Abdolkarim, and the girl’s father have been arrested after a concerned relative raised the alarm about the wedding. According to the father, who also allegedly received rice, tea, sugar and cooking oil for his daughter, he and his family were desperate for food and by selling his daughter he had one less mouth to feed.

  3. P J Evans says:

    My idjit Congresscritter, allegedly a Democrat, wants to impose more sanctions on Iran, AFAICT jsut because Iran. (He’s a big Israel supporter. i wish he’d decide whether he wants to be in the Knesset or in Congress, because he’s doing a crap job trying to be both.)

  4. Ol' Hippy says:

    All these ‘poor, poor’ automakers breaking laws, making fraudulent specifications, having parts that get people killed, and yet nobody goes to prison. Someday one of these makers of autos will do something that brings down top executives and perhaps the whole enterprise, puts the criminals behind bars where they belong instead of the boardrooms making millions while they laugh and play getting away with murder, again, while putting another ‘one’ over on unsuspecting buyers. I hope VW has to buy back everyone of those worthless cars for ‘fair market’ value and not some amount agreed upon behind closed doors whilst lighting Cuban cigars and congratulating each other for putting “another one” over on the buyers. May those responsible rot in hell.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Tesla, oh my. I like the car, the batteries even more. But the self-drive s/w? Not so much. The car saved the driver’s life! Where is Lassie or the St. Bernard with the tiny barrel of brandy round its throat when you need help digging out from the avalanche?

    Tesla’s marketing/disaster management consultants misread the idea that the exception “proves” the rule. The “proof” here means reality test, not establish or support. One saved life does not equal one or many taken. One good deed does not establish the efficacy of the self-drive s/w or the protocol for its use. Driving is driving. If you want to “sit back, relax and enjoy the ride” don’t do it behind the wheel.

  6. Evangelista says:


    The lying to the American public and breaking of the law in falsification of EPA testing procedures and reporting procedures, and acceptances of known falsified data, including absolutely impossible claims, for distribution as true long, long predates the VW participation in the practices for their small-displacement diesel motors.

    The falsification, lying and violation of laws was introduced at the behest, and for the benefits (for the survivals, even) of the American Detroit automakers, whose real data were so far below compliance, and out of competitive range with imports, like Toyota and VW, that the figures had to be fudged to 1. allow Detroit vehicles to be sold under the new laws, and 2. make then current Detroit vehicle emissions and mileages come anywhere near comparable to imports (the early means to improve emission figures was to use fuel to re-burn exhaust, which reduced real mileages to five to twelve miles per gallon, and produced emissions only compliant with that mileage range, and then only in ideal conditions (which is where the non-real-world testing conditions only today under scrutiny for being non-real and so phony, came from; also where the California roadside grass fires of the 1970’s and ’80’s came from [idling CHP cars on freeway-sides being a primary cause]).

    What VW is being persecuted for was EPA approved and “legal” illegality before a real-world measurement began the investigation of VW vehicles (and what is, in actual fact, a government gangster shakedown of the Rich German Corporation [which hasn’t properly observed the U.S. ordered sanction-breaking from Russian markets and manufacturing]. The U.S. government has engaged in the same gangster-style shakedown activities with others, notably banks, who have been threatened, prosecuted and made to pay “fines”, meaning shares of their ill-got profits, to the U.S. government [for wrongdoings to individuals, homeowners, ex-homeowners, etc., who never see any of the money, which all goes to the shake-down artists]).

    Note that in European real-world tests of cross-manufacturer diesel fleets, none of the vehicles have complied with legal environmental level requirements, but VWs have come out consistently amont the nearest to compliant. Yet VW is the American hounds’ scapegoat.

    Here is a question for you to research and answer: How many VW diesels driving back and forth across the United States for how many trips would it take to use the same amount of fuel (winter diesel fuel is nearly the same as Jet A) as one standard American airliner? Another question is, how much pollution control, limiting particulates and NOX, is on, or is required for, airliners (or any other turbine engines, including helicopters police and reporters use)? The answer to the second question is: None. Do the same first question with a U. S. military jet flying a sortie, in the U.S. for practice, elsewhere to drop bombs, with or without use of afterburners.

    Where does VW diesel pollution actually stand in the balance with the particulate and NOX pollution being produced by the stuff you take for granted while beating up on VW?

    And, no, I have no connection to VW, and do not own or drive one.

  7. Evangelista says:

    The justificaton for the EPA data falsification was that the testing was for comparison purposes, so if everyone did it the comparisons would reflect of the same “offset” for all. Obviously, small displacement manufacturers (Japanese and European) did not “exercise their offset option”.

  8. Rayne says:

    Evangelista (8:37) — Funny how VW is the automaker with data off the map in real world testing according to research through the International Council on Clean Transportation and the West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines & Emissions.

    Your post is apologia for VW whether you have a vested interest in their success or not. Nice airlines strawman, by the way. The emissions violations, fraudulent and obstructive behavior addressed in this post are about a particular automaker’s passenger diesels vehicles. You want to write about airlines’ emissions? Start your own blog.

Comments are closed.