Monday: American Mouth

In this roundup: Volkswagen vacillations, disappointments a la Colombia, UK, Hungary (and don’t forget Poland!), anthropocene extinction, and maybe a straggling bit at the end to get this Monday on the road.

Today’s featured musician is Sam Beam, who performs under the stage name Iron & Wine. He’s a long-time songwriter whose oeuvre falls somewhere between folk and indie rock. Its spareness is successor to grunge, mellow good-humored maturity without the youthful driving angst. You may have heard his work before in TV and film — like Flightless Bird, American Mouth circa 2007. The video embedded here features one of my favorites, Tree By The River, though I prefer the performance of the same song in this video (at 9:43). You can catch Beam’s more recent work, Love Letter for Fire, with singer Jesca Hoop at this link to the entire album.

Volkswagen de-volking

  • VW doesn’t want US to release documents to EU (Reuters) — Bosch, manufacturer of the fraudulently programmed electronic control unit which defeated emissions standards, also doesn’t want EU investors and vehicle owners to get their hands on the 20 million documents produced for the the U.S. government suit against Volkswagen. Yeah, no. Wonder where the German government stands on document request?
  • 66% of 2.0L passenger diesel owners in U.S. signed up for settlement (USA Today) — That’s a lot of buy-outs. Only ~3,300 opted out of the deal altogether. The remaining vehicle owners can still take advantage of the proposed vehicle fix — but good luck with resale on those beasts.
  • VW offered $1.2B to car dealers as settlement (Bloomberg) — IMO, this was light; this could have cost VW a lot more considering how much damage Dieselgate has done to dealers’ brands. Offer is subject to approval by federal court.
  • First, Audi tech officer Stefan Knirsch suspended (AutoNews) — If you’re going to say something clearly false on the record to media, you deserve a whack for it. This is just plain stupid:

    “We don’t have the four-eye principle, it’s more like the six- or eight-eye principle,” he said. “That is a very normal reaction once you’ve undergone something like this. And, we are extending this beyond the exhaust emissions issue by looking at every software process in r&d within the entire company. We are taking preventive measures to make sure something like this cannot happen again.”

  • Then Audi tech officer Knirsch stepped down (Forbes) — ‘Defenestration’, they called it, but they say organized labor gave Knirsch the much-deserved push out the window (I do love that word ‘defenestration’), having prevaricated about his role in the emissions defeat technology’s implementation.
  • Now Audi chief to be questioned (Autocar-UK) — Rupert Stadler, who became Audi’s chairman and CEO in January 2010, has known about the emissions defeat technology in the 3.0L passenger diesel since shortly after he was named to his role. That’s four years of doing nothing to stop the defeat before independent research discovered it, and another year-plus before the EPA took action.
  • But Audi chief already in hot water over $14K beer party (Bild am Sonntag) — Um. What? He spent that much money when the company needed to pony up BILLIONS for settlements, recalls, and repairs? VW told him it’s on him, out of his own pocket. Sure sounds like VW Group’s culture needs a reset.
  • Dieselgate will be done by end of year, thinks VW’s CEO (Road and Track) — Dude’s delusional or just making shit up for the media. Their U.S. engineer won’t be sentenced until January, and they still don’t have a 3.0L engine fix, let alone a complete deal to offer the owners of those vehicles.
  • Meanwhile, Volkswagen thinks electric cars will help us forget all about Dieselgate (The Verge) — Sure. I’ll jump right into a VW programmed by these guys. Forget about it.

Disappointing democracy

Extinction level events every day

Longwatch: Blockchain technology
Digital Catapult and Furtherfield produced a video overview of blockchain technology and its potential use. It’s not a very long video — less than 7:50 long — but it provides a brief explanation of the technology’s purpose while expressing some fundamental concerns about blockchain’s development. The homogeneity of developers, for example, is a legitimate concern; a lack of diverse thought in development of other software+hardware technology has cost society enormous amounts of productivity while excluding already marginalized populations. A value-transfer system recognized by democratic governments should minimize opportunity costs while protecting interests of all citizens who rely on such a system.

Tuesday’s breathing down our necks…and it’ll be trash day. What a coincidence. See you then.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
4 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    “I’m sure that this will help UK’s economy.”  Yeah, like you’re an expert on the British economy.  How many unemployed Britons have you spent time with lately, or those displaced from work by immigrants?  Above, you note that Uribe held out for the perfect in Colombia and, as a result, killed the good.  But you want to hold out for perfection in Britain also.  And, well, why not here?  Next time someone wants to come over the border and take my job at one quarter the pay, we have to let him, if his skin is darker than mine, right?  God forbid I should want to keep feeding my family. Remember, there aren’t two jobs available–only one.

  2. Rayne says:

    Bloopie2 — Think really carefully about the folks in financial and healthcare industries. Stretch your brainpan. THINK.

    I’ll make it easier for you: Why do you think the financial sector started migrating people to Europe from London as soon as the referendum was done?

    As I’ve pointed out before, the UK doesn’t even have enough qualified people to handle the Brexit negotiations. They will have to hire temps from outside the country.

    You want the jobs immigrants are “taking” in this country? I better see you in an orchard this week here in Michigan, picking fucking apples from sunrise to sunset. Or busting hump in oncology or gastric surgery and pulling some ridiculous hours. You’d better be slinging some code in Silicon Valley and living out of a trailer in a parking lot.

    Jeebus. Catch the goddamned clue stick. Quit blaming brown-skinned people for the damage banksters have done by siphoning off their record earnings into offshore investments instead of plowing the profits back into wage increases and more employees.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    When I first saw the headline “Black Monday”, I thought the Polish women were following in the tracks of the women in Aristophanes’ great comedy, “Lysistrata”, by withholding sex from their men. Now that would be something!

  4. blueba says:

    White elites – they were the only people featured in the film about blockchain.  White men with technical knowledge are doing all sorts of things with profound effects on human life and society and today they are completely insulated within the larger Neoliberal paradigm.  They are all being paid by giant transnational corporations and serve those interests exclusively.  The larger Neoliberal paradigm has created these techno-elites and they have great power.

    Take a look at the Snowden project, for example, it is controlled by a few – very few – white men who have become the most elite journalists in the world, totally insulated from the rest of society with complete power over the material.  No where in any statement by Snowden or his delegates nor in The Intercept – Snowden’s corporate spawn is there ever a mention of community or inclusion or social good.  It is we are the ONLY ones with the skills and “responsibility” to vet and produce the Snowden material and we reject any input from anyone.

    As long as technology and knowledge is held exclusively by elites who are agents of Neoliberal corporations who claim special privilege and reject any and all community involvement or seek to include the wider society the Neoliberal paradigm will continue to roll on.

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