Three Things: No News Isn’t Good News

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

This last several weeks have made the media look really bad. You’d think after several key stories broke there’d be more and deeper coverage but nope.

U.S. media, Congress, and the citizens who elected them each own some of the media fail. Why aren’t we demanding more protection of our personal data in order to protect our democracy?

~ 3 ~

The New York Times published a story on March 28 about the acquisition of the former LIFE magazine assets and the defunct magazine’s resuscitation.

Life Magazine Will Come Back to, Well, Life
The investor Josh Kushner and his wife, Karlie Kloss, have struck a deal with Barry Diller’s media company to revive it as a regular print title.
By Andrew Ross Sorkin, Ravi Mattu, Bernhard Warner, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

Nowhere in this puff piece a mere 404-words long written by at least one of seven contributors on this byline mention that Josh Kushner is Jared Kushner’s brother.

Nowhere in this heavily-laden beat sweetener is it mentioned that Josh and Jared share ownership of a problematic real estate management company, and that both met with Saudi and Qatari officials during the Trump administration.

Nowhere in this fluff is financing mentioned. Apparently it never occurred to one or more of seven journalists to ask if brother Jared contributed financing or guidance in any way.

We, the readers, are apparently supposed be very happy an attractive model and her now-billionaire spouse are reviving an old American media institution. We’re supposed to assume Kushner and Kloss are wholly financing this project out of their own pockets through their Bedford Media holding out of an appreciation for LIFE.

Why ever would we want to know more? As if we’d expect news from NYT.

~ 2 ~

It’s as if the Ronna McDaniel scandal never happened. There’s been no reported news about her since NBC canned her after MSNBC personalities protested her hiring on air.

I’ve been watching for any news about separation from Creative Artists Agency, who dropped her the same time she was terminated at MSNBC. CAA didn’t keep her on, as if they felt there was no hope of future contracts for her at all, even with right-wing news media.

Nada, not a word has emerged about CAA’s rejection. Just a spattering of op-eds in favor or against McDaniel’s separation from NBC.

One thing which has gone utterly unnoticed by journalists covering U.S. politics and media: a French conglomerate acquired majority interest in CAA last September, with two other foreign firms retaining substantive interest in the firm.

The Pinault Group closed on the deal while Singapore-based Temasek and Shanghai-based CMC Capital retain minority interests.

There are plenty of reasons for McDaniel to have lost her gig on NBC as well as her representation by CAA, like being an unindicted co-conspirator in Trump’s effort to defraud the U.S. and deny U.S. voters their civil rights.

But it doesn’t hurt to ask if foreign interests played a role in her representation or loss thereof. Perhaps a French-owned company doesn’t care to keep a talent who supported a NATO-undermining former president’s attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.

~ 1 ~

For decades there have been restrictions on foreign ownership of broadcast media. It’s about time we began to ask why we don’t have similar restrictions on social media, when social media has become a primary source for news in the U.S. for nearly half of Americans.

Twitter’s acquisition by Elon Musk, funded substantially by foreign interests, is one example. Since its sale, the former Twitter has become one of if not the largest source of misinformation and disinformation in U.S. media consumption. It’s difficult not to assume this is the reason Musk’s financial backers ponied up the money for an otherwise money-losing business.

Grindr, a social media platform for gay and bisexual men, and transgender people, was launched in the US in 2009. A majority interest was sold to a Chinese gaming company, Kunlun Tech Co. Ltd. in January 2016. Kunlun sought a buyer for Grindr after Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) notified Kunlun in March 2019 its foreign ownership of Grindr posed a national security threat.

Now many are watching stock price vacillations for Donald Trump’s Truth Social social media platform, owned by Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. (TMTG), the entity which succeeded the former special-acquisition corporation Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC). DWAC had been associated with Chinese-owned ARC Capital and China Yunhong Holdings, both of which had some role in financing DWAC.

TMTG has been under investigation by the Department of Justice since 2022 for possible money laundering after TMTG had received a loan from Paxum Bank, partially owned by Russian Anton Postolnikov. It’s not clear why TMTG was able to list on a U.S. stock market exchange given the possibility this loan may have violated sanctions against Russian interests.

TikTok is owned by a Chinese firm and its users’ data is stored in China. It’s not the content but the location and control of U.S. users’ data which is and has been most problematic, though it’s easy for TikTok’s Chinese parent to manipulate what U.S. users will see including misinformation and disinformation. Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been trying to pull together a consortium to buy TikTok, but TikTok may have no interest in selling out, and it’s not clear if Mnuchin will end up seeking more foreign investors as Elon Musk did.

If Mnuchin – who met with Middle Eastern leaders during his stint as Treasury Secretary and departed with $1 billion in Saudi cash for his Liberty Strategic Capital fund — manages to pull off buying TikTok, what will he do with users’ data since the future business model is unclear at this time. Will he sell it to offshore buyers including hostile nation-states since there are few restrictions now preventing such sales? TikTok would be as much of threat under such a business model as it is now.

We need federal legislation to regulate not only users’ data privacy – all social media created by U.S. users should be kept inside the U.S. – but to limit control of social media firms by foreign owners, especially hostile nation-states.

Why was Grindr, of all the social media platforms which have been sold in whole or part to overseas parties, the one which drew attention from CFIUS? Especially after Twitter had been infiltrated by multiple Saudi spies, one of which were prosecuted before Musk made an offer to buy the platform? What foreign spies now have access to U.S. citizens and users’ personal data after Musk shit canned so many of Twitter’s pre-acquisition personnel?

This isn’t a First Amendment issue. It’s regulation of commerce, and commerce conducted inside the U.S. relying on U.S. citizens and residents as consumers and data sources shouldn’t pose a threat to national security.

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. In addition to media criticism, bring your stray cat and dog topics here.

192 replies
  1. Honeybee says:

    Yes! Data privacy concerns of late have me looking more closely at Oracle.

    Oracle subsidiaries in India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates created slush funds used to bribe foreign officials.

    Oracle also: Has been accused of overpaying for NetSuite by $3 billion and of omitting information about the source of its growth.

    Has been accused in a California lawsuit of running a “worldwide surveillance machine” and violating fundamental privacy rights of hundreds of millions of people by compiling and selling off personal data.

    Plans to invest $1.5 billion in Saudi Arabia as it builds up its footprint in the kingdom and opens a cloud region in Riyadh

    Just announced a partnership with Palantir on cloud and AI for enterprises and governments.

    • JAFO_NAL says:

      Google became the search behemoth that morped into today’s mega corporation because it started scraping websites almost at the same time they first began appearing and invested in the computing power to keep up as the web expanded, giving them an early and insurmountable lead in search. AI applications becoming more commonly available are already dismantling privacy and copyright regulations and will probably have a similar corporate trajectory. I think the fields of law, medicine, and journalism are ripe for the picking.

    • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

      So those years of l hid away from the world, hiding from Linked-In and Facebook, you could have put two of me together to make a whole person’s credit rating, giving myself deep vein thrombosis trying to finish editing my new curriculum. I couldn’t hide from the panopticon. Get 90 days behind on a couple of cards and it creates an aura where you feel like everyone in the world can spot you as a loser. Lexus-Nexus probably knows I pawned my Gibson and paid the utilities with a title loan on the Sonata. It is all there in my autobiography, not in the public one, but the secret fat-cat Lexus-Nexus. It’s good I am a real human being again with a good job, but it does suck that if I sit across in a serious business negotiation they will see all of that. Piss on them. I am just who God wants me to be. Even if you’re living in a panopticon, it still applies like in the Ethics that the function of virtuous activity is happiness. You can choose to pursue happiness or unhappiness. Nobody is going to stop any of this because our traces are trending to demassified information in infinite storage. Worrying how we leave traces of our lives just doesn’t seem productive. Let me tell you it gets in on you that you create a history in cyberspace if it’s not all A plusses, but Oracle is not the Book of Life. It’s just a mirror wall you have to walk past all the time with nobody behind it.

      • Rayne says:

        Worrying how we leave traces of our lives just doesn’t seem productive.

        This is bullshit, wetzel, when young women can’t freely use the internet to do any search for health care, can’t even use apps to track their periods, because the state will buy that tracking information in order to hunt them down and force them to give birth if pregnant.

        Get out of your white dude privilege and stop philosophizing about this existential threat to persons who aren’t cis-het white males.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I have great admiration for your skill at understatement.

          You know better than anyone here how different US data collection rules are from almost anywhere else in the world, outside a Fascist regime. And how it’s not remotely pointless to fight corporate power.

          Compare, for example, signing onto the Guardian’s website. If you do it from a US server via a vpn, the site asks if you don’t want your information “sold,” meaning they still collect it. If you sign in from an EU server, you have the option to “reject” data collection. Big difference.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Formally, it’s “manage or reject cookies,” which trace your viewing and collect a vast amount of information. It’s not a complete defense, but it’s a start.

          The Guardian doesn’t offer that choice out of the goodness of its heart, but because it’s the law in the principal jurisdictions in which it does business.

        • Honeybee says:

          But what you do when you find – as I have – weird websites you’ve never heard of – attached to your LexisNexus history which LN says they MIGHT remove and then they send you a letter from another subunit asking for three proofs of your identity. Or when you see, in your iPhone analytics, that someone wants to check the menstrual history and “cervical mucus” of both you and your husband though you are both in your 70s. Or that you’ve suddenly moved, says a consumer database that has proliferated people attached to your phone, to a state you haven’t lived in for 68 years. This is modern data-selling. In the service of criminals, IMHO. Not ready for prime time, let alone AI. Sorry for the rant.

        • Honeybee says:

          Rant 2: With all due respect to wetzel-rhymes-with-(let me guess, pretzel?) you might want to thank your lucky stars for a middling credit rating. Otherwise, people might want to borrow your identity to order utilities. Or lest you have the reputation of paying off small business debts, whereupon others will show your socSec number to borrow money for themselves. Bonus round is when you get sick with health insurance or after you die someone changes your death date at the credit bureaus, because people somewhere on this planet are always just waiting around for you to kick off, not to mourn you, but to “be” you. And here is who isn’t well equipped to deal with this: our economy, law enforcement, the American government, the credit bureaus, regular people. My apologies for a long post.

        • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

          You know, my user name is just to get people to think of the word ‘pretzel’ like that Barenaked Ladies song. I’m okay about it now, but I spent many years longer than was wise redeveloping a once successful business after a big market change. Serious financial difficulties are something, I will just say, a person has to experience to understand. I had fifteen years in the business and a two year timeline became five then seven. I have much too strong an attachment to work as if it is something valuable in itself, I think, like a kind of flow state.

          Anyway, it all felt like the work of my life at the time. I like my work much better now, and I’ve been going about practical matters like the badger in Fantastic Mr. Fox for so long that my credit rating and house are both back in fair condition ! ! ! I’m privileged in a lot of ways but mostly that I had a friend whom I had worked with years before who helped me learn a new trade. Living for a decade at plus 200 on the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale and you will start to suffer. More than anything, it was my privilege to have a friend who could help me figure out what to do.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh Honeybee, Facebook didn’t even blink at a $5 billion fine for violating users’ privacy because it makes so damned much money on successfully selling surveillance-based ads. Not a bobble in its stock price in July 2019.

          You personally may experience errors in data about you found online, some of which are criminal phishing attempts, but social media and commercial retail sites know the truth about you. Their advertising promotions and spending are proof what they’re doing works. I don’t know how many times my kids and I have had nearly identical ads for products we consumed at a gathering simply because we were in proximity to each other — like my daughter getting an ad for an alcoholic beverage I bought. That’s in spite of my having location services turned off on my phone and using a VPN; she only had to use my router for Wi-Fi.

        • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

          Imagine being a patient etherized on the table and they are catheterizing you, and you are still happy like it’s a kind of crummy amusement park ride. That’s what I’m advocating. Everyone can get to that point, eventually, I suppose, regardless of your point of privilege or the advantages you were born with.

        • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

          I am being misunderstood as derogating the importance of the issue. My original post was directed at how the projection the endless archives and profiles and merged data base searches by more powerful others. It creates an imbalance we can never escape. I’m counseling a form of acceptance which is not just learned helplessness. I had to see myself distorted into a view of a loser from this that seriously did get in on me. People’s SAT scores do this to them. This is all new in human society. A priest would keep your confession secret, but your digital history can cast you out even from the idea you are a valuable person. Who wants to live like this? Nobody Who does? Everybody from birth when you get an Apgar score.

          I’m saying politically fight the battle, but why get some asinine web browser and pay an additional tax. If somebody steals my identity it will be a pain in the ass. It’s like I came as close as one can to getting mugged last week. Maybe if I were more wise about the world I would not have been in that situation, but it was unavoidable. My own feeling is the constant examination we are all subjected to from grade school onwards socializes a panoptic, soul-destroying fear. So does living in America in general. I wish it wasn’t that way, but at least it’s not China. People in China have to try to be happy too. I’m just trying to counsel individual happiness within an intolerable general situation. I just don’t see how you win it, politically, or change it much, because storage costs nothing and AI assisted database searches are powerful so I’m just counseling people not to attach to the idea that anybody is really looking at anything important about you. Even if it’s doctors all looking at your heart pumping on a monitor they’re really not seeing you. Your existence is not really an issue for them.

        • Rayne says:

          First, you’re really clueless about the way privilege has rotted your brain on this issue.

          Second, you’re still struggling with concision in composition. It took you 331 words to say, “Give up, IMO it’s hopeless and not worth the effort.” Which in a nutshell lays out just how little this will affect your privileged ass.

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        “Worrying how we leave traces of our lives just doesn’t seem productive.” It doesn’t seem productive until you suddenly realize it would have been very productive had you done it, at which point it’s too late. Forward-thinking people anticipate this possibility and try to deal with these issues up-front, which means now.

  2. wrog____ says:

    (still waiting for the Tolkien estate to sue Palantir.

    Yeah, not holding my breath…

    … then again, “crystal balls that corrupt and turn to evil anyone who looks into them” may yet be apt.)

  3. BobBobCon says:

    One bit of media news I find hilarious is that Sinclair Broadcasting is struggling.

    The owner, David Smith, became notorious for forcing his stations to run canned right wing segments. Then a few years ago he bet billions to buy a bunch of regional sports networks at a premium price, only to watch their value tank and he was forced to put that part of his business into bankruptcy.

    Sinclair’s stock has lost 80% of its value from its high over the past five years, even as the market overall has gone much higher. Last year he was promising a huge bump in election year ad revenue, but has been forced to shrink his revenue estimates as becomes clearer that much of it won’t materialize. Just another sign that the “Trump Bump” was just a mirage and media execs were fools to bank on it.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    • dimmsdale says:

      My hearty thanks for ONE piece of good news in a day full of stories about naked evil prospering. David Smith (like most of the MAGA squillionaires) deserves to be emptying bedpans at a nursing home. GRR!

      • ThingWithFeathers says:

        In general, it’s not good to have hateful people responsible for taking care of vulnerable and marginalized nursing home patients. The world would be a better place if more people had the kindness and compassion of the people I’ve known who actually do that basic caregiving work of changing bedpans and diapers in nursing homes. And the world would be an even better if that important work was valued as much as it should be.

        • SteveBev says:

          2 weeks after my father died from dementia in a care home, I was visited by a Detective, who was investigating a complaint which had been made by a whistleblower at the care home concerning abuse she had witnessed perpetrated upon my father by a carer.

          It was one of the worst moments of my life.

          I attended the subsequent trial, initially as a witness because I had given a detailed account to the police, and some parts of it formed part of the circumstantial evidence on which the prosecution chose to rely.

          My family and I were extremely thorough and careful in choosing the home, consulting all the regulators reports and made several visits to each of the homes we considered.

          My Mother visited daily. During the period when my father was still at home it had become my custom to spend half month with them (and the other half in London) to help out, and that continued after my father went into the care home,

          I still can’t bear to look at any of the photos I took of my parents together in those last six months at what I thought was a happy comfortable and caring environment we had found for him to live out his days

        • Clare Kelly says:

          I’m so very sorry, STEVEBEV.

          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username AND EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment so that community members get to know you. We don’t even ask for a valid/working email address, only that you use the same one each time. I’ve fixed this one to match your previous comments. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • SteveBev says:

          Thank you both.

          The point being that the care sector is one of those environments where the staff are often paid the lowest levels of wages, there is a great deal of staff churn and frequent staff shortages. No matter how diligent one hopes to be in investigating how well run a care home is, you only really find out the truth with a badge and a warrant

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          A very good friend of mine had to pull their dad out of a hospice unit a few months ago because of abject neglect. Friend would show up finding dad on the floor in his room alone, fallen down trying to get to the shitter, feces and blood all mixed together. They complained but nothing changed over the time that it took to get him the hell out of there. Now Friend is doing the hospice care at home, with their own health issues that include spinal injuries, but at least they have visiting nurses and care givers to lighten the load.

          A literal nightmare turned into a marginally manageable caregiving slog. At least their dad is happy to be home and getting actual loving care. Friend is a very nice person and didn’t file a complaint, unfortunately. Too much on their plate as it is, I guess.

        • Matt Foley says:

          SteveBev, I am so sorry. Stories of elder abuse make me sick to my stomach.

          Our mother spent her final 4 years in assisted living. Like you, we checked out several homes carefully before choosing. We 4 kids live nearby and visited several times a week. I’d heard stories such as yours so I was always on the lookout for signs but never saw any. I want to believe our frequent visits discouraged neglect and abuse. I know if anyone ever harmed my dear mother I would be blind with rage.

          Again, I am very sorry.

        • Matt___B says:

          Unfortunately this situation is endemic to assisted living facilities everywhere – to varying degrees. My mom was in such a facility from 2010-2015, the place was run by a corporation that managed several such facilities in several states. During the 5 years that my mom was there, they hired and fired 3 facility directors, the top guy at the local place. Which meant that any policies that one of them may have tried to implement to give better care to their residents would just go by the wayside when the new guy came in with a new staff.

          The caregivers/LVNs on staff were overworked, underpaid and constrained by arbitrary rules – to such an extent that we hired a private part-time caregiver to come in and supplement the deficiencies of the paid staff, who were well-intended but constrained by stupid policies. And our private caregiver was similarly constrained by such policies, such as she was never allowed to administer medications directly to my mom, she had to call a staff caregiver, and wait for them to show up, to do that. Incredibly frustrating experience altogether…

        • Susan D Einbinder says:

          Well, private equity has taken over nursing homes and destroyed whatever quality of life they provided; the GAO was just directed to investigate and report in 2022 (see KFF Health News article by Victoria Knight). And guess who first privatized hospice care? None other than Matt Gaetz’ father, in 1983. Capitalism sucks. But the people who work in these industries are amazing. My 84-year-old mother was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive lung cancer on Xmas eve and died on March 17th in home hospice. My father paid $10K/month for a woman to help with my mom 24/7 — she was incredible and I was uncomfortable that she was probably paid less than half of that and worked nonstop for months. She immigrated to the US from Ghana. Yup, capitalism sucks.

        • gruntfuttock says:

          My Mum passed away recently and I would like to say that the people in her care home were wonderful. It’s a tough job and it’s definitely undervalued by those in power in the UK right now.

      • Narpington says:

        “Why was Grindr, of all the social media platforms which have been sold in whole or part to overseas parties, the one which drew attention from CFIUS?”

        The obvious answer is because of its potential for blackmail, according to this simple algorithm.

        1. Match your list of targets (corporate employee, politician, VIP, military etc.) against Grindr identifiers.
        2. Check other other sources to see if they’re ‘out’.
        3. If not, profit.

        • Rayne says:

          Somewhere, some entity has a massive database consisting of

          — Twitter accounts
          — Grindr accounts
          — Ashley Madison accounts
          — Facebook accounts
          — AdultFriendFinder accounts
          — Federal employee personnel data
          — Equifax credit data
          — LinkedIn accounts
          — Microsoft accounts
          — Real Estate Wealth Network data
          — First American Financial data
          — U.S. voter records, years 2008-2016

          They could tell you who are the biggest, juiciest fruits to be compromised just with the data from these breaches alone. The voter records spanned the entire breadth of registered voters 2008-2012, and the credit data affected every single American who made a credit purchase or had their credit checked in 2017 or earlier.

          It’s quite possible the entire GOP has folded like a broken lawn chair to Team Trump’s takeover of the party because of this data. How could we tell? We might never know.

        • Honeybee says:

          I think your suspicions there are well grounded. Frankly, these same tactics were in play using a precursor – direct mail – as far back as Reagan. Somewhere I read an oral history with his campaign chief of the era (UCLA?) saying something similar. Point: an evolution of a data-mining technique exploiting the so-called digital transition. Aside: Oral histories provide context. Bill Barr has an eye-opening one at UVA about Iran Contra, I believe.

    • Bears7485 says:

      I’m a diehard Cubs fan and I refuse to pay extra for Marquee Network so I can watch games because of Sinclair’s involvement. Bad enough that the ‘good’ brother owns the team, but only because his far-right daddy ponied up a bunch of the money for it.

  4. EatenByGrues says:

    TikTok has gotten a lot of media scrutiny and grandstanding from the House GOP, of the sort that makes the platform look sympathetic, even though a lot of the material thereon is garbage.

    None of the major social media platforms are all that friendly to liberal causes, ranging from mostly neutral (though at risk of being skewed by troll armies and such) to openly hostile. Kind of like the traditional media, where on one hand you have legacy media platforms that have some liberal sympathies but have to both-sides everything, and while tolerant of social liberalism, seem to take a dim view of labor activism or other left-leaning economics; to FOX News and other right wing propaganda mills.

    • Rayne says:

      The GOP deliberately poisoned the effort to regulate TikTok by making it about the content and not data privacy. Content is a First Amendment and Section 230 issue. Data privacy for national security is not.

      Notice there were no big hoopla CFIUS hearings about Grindr. That’s because TikTok is too popular with a large percentage of the GOP base and Grindr isn’t.

      • TPA_kyle says:

        Oh, I’m pretty certain that GRINDR is super popular with a significant portion of the GOP base. They just use it on the down low.

  5. RipNoLonger says:

    Can’t really trust Mnuchin to treat anything without looking at how to monetize it. Same as the Kushners, Trumps, Mercers, etc., etc. Everything is for sale.

      • Bugboy321 says:

        That picture, once you get past the “cat ate the canary” grins, is simply laughable: Who the hell is impressed by an uncut sheet of ONE DOLLAR BILLS?!? Did they run out of Benjamins?

        ETA: Not sure why this got snagged for moderation, please advise.

        [FYI – No idea why this went into moderation; there are triggers in WP which aren’t known to us. Thanks for your patience. /~Rayne]

        • Bugboy321 says:

          RE: moderation. It was the Mnuchins. They didn’t like their namesake being disrespected, and they just can’t get their union off the ground, because who can fund a union with one dollar bills? Maybe the Mnuchins (the ones in the picture above, not their cult followers) really ARE all about the Benjamins?

          Yeah, THAT’s the ticket!

      • ToldainDarkwater says:

        I remember that photo. I remember Steve Mnuchin as TSec. I think that, while he is probably not on my list of Greatest People In The World, he’s nowhere near Trump in detestability.

        I mean, the guy actually said out loud that spending more money on IRS enforcement would pay for itself! (Which has long been true, but it’s anathema to line Republicans, who hold that the IRS is EVIL)

        • Rayne says:

          Was Mnuchin the worst of DJT’s administration? Probably not, but then a guy who demands use of a military aircraft in order to make secure communications while en route to his honeymoon isn’t exactly the best, either, reimbursable expense or not.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Re Kushner and the depths he will go to, just wanted to toss this into the discussion:

      So he’s actually promoting the “upgrading” of GAZA’s Mediterranean coast for resort development. I can hear the pitch from here: “The demo phase is already almost complete, with no outlays for it required on our part, going in!”

      That did get some press, but not nearly enough, imo. It’s vulture capitalism in a nutshell.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Might be useful to distinguish what the media know from what they publish. Probably a big difference there.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      That is a key point and I suspect the seeds were sown when Bill Clinton signed the telecommunications act to permit cornering of media markets and conglomeration on a grander scale. That of course led to fewer and richer media overlords who are not a bit interested in unpleasant news.

      As for the foreign intervention, there is already grumbling about how RFK Jr is getting lots of TikTok love, which sounds like a foreign campaign donation to me, but the FEC is a hopeless wreck for enforcement.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If that acquisition – financing for which is unidentified – includes Life’s archives, it’s worth more than what was paid for it. As is the title. The Kushners could get decent mileage out of the title – in a Bobby Kennedy Jr sort of way – before anyone realizes what they will have done to it.

    • Rayne says:

      In the age of generative AI, I wonder what bullshit they’ll be able to create with LIFE’s library of photos.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        You know, that’s really scary. Although most of Life’s content has probably already been slurped and regurgitated.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        A ton of LIFE photos in high quality copies used to be online (with small watermarks), but a few years back that got shut down. I loved browsing photos from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ronna McDaniel deserves a modest amount of coverage, if only to confirm that her career remains face down in a ditch. It would be a mistake to let her revive it without anyone knowing about it. She worked hard to deserve the ignominy. She should keep it.

  8. IainUlysses says:

    I would love to see legislation protecting our data privacy. Something robust and strong. There will be side effects, for example if you’re storing data of German citizens you’re going to store it in Germany, but those side effects are bearable and well worth it.

  9. Tech Support says:

    Tim Bontemps, writer for ESPN threw out a tweet earlier today quoting Adam Silver saying that Jontay Porter, a back bencher for the Toronto Raptors who was caught betting on parlays involving himself, committed a “cardinal sin” and could potentially be banished by the league.

    Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets, OTOH, who was been charged with Felony Domestic Abuse, only received a 30 game suspension. Since he returned from suspension, he’s been arrested twice for violating the protective order against him, without any further consequences from the league.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sen. Tommy Tuberville is dumb as a post, except possibly in his knowledge of college football, but he knows the party line and what lobbyists pay money for. Hence, he repeats the Russian lie about Ukrainian officials misspending aid money. His name is legion.

    • MsJennyMD says:

      “Our government wasn’t set up for one group to have all three branches of government — wasn’t set up that way, you know, the House, the Senate, and the executive.”
      Tommy Tuberville

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Poor Tommy, he means well … but he’s not the brightest bulb in the pack.

        His party’s capitulation to billionaire autocrats and Donald Trump has ensured that only when the Democrats control all three branches of govt*, can it function effectively, because Republicans don’t want govt to function, except in service to wealth and Russia’s Putin.

        * For Tommy, that’s the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I don’t think anything Judge Cannon is doing is good for the SC, except tangentially. It doesn’t reflect a change of heart or approach to the case. I think she’s doing just enough not to be booted off it. Whatever her goals, they likely remain the same.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      It appears that Cannon has blown any chance for a July trial date, which to me leaves the field open for Judge Chutkan to proceed with hers if (big if) SCOTUS tosses the immunity claim onto its deserved scrap heap.

  12. unoriginal_name says:

    Off-topic, but I just moved from a red state to one that’s in play. Looking to do one small person’s part volunteering to help democracy win this year, and to take advantage of my new location. I have my own ideas, but yours are probably better than mine. Any suggestions?

    • RockyGirl says:

      Serve as an election officer in your community. There is likely to be a serious shortage of officers this year, and this would put you in the front line of educating folks that elections are in fact secure, fair, and fraud-free.

    • boatgeek says:

      It’s probably going to come down to the people involved. I’d look around at your options and see who seems like fun to work with and matches your level of drive. There’s always the local Democratic Party organization, whether at the state level or a local legislative district. There’s folks like Planned Parenthood, Moms Demand Action, and any number of other special interest groups.

      Personally, I look for three things in addition to their ideological bent:
      1. They have to be fun to work with. Life’s too short to spend it with folks who aren’t fun to be with.
      2. They have to be focused on a goal and be working to deliver on those goals. I’m not really interested in political science theory; I want to win. And I want my efforts to be directly working towards winning. Show me close races where my volunteer hours can make a real difference, as opposed to safe or hopeless races where my contribution doesn’t really matter.
      3. They have to offer several levels of volunteering (phone banking, door knocking, tabling at festivals, etc.). I’ll drop lit all day long, but I don’t want to be shamed for not wanting to phone bank.

      I’ve worked with all of the groups mentioned above locally, and have mostly landed back with Planned Parenthood. Their local organizers are the bomb, and I can see a focus on getting stuff done.

      These are my criteria, and other people will have different ones. That’s all good.

    • Peterr says:

      Finding the right people to support for your local school board is *always* a good thing. Even if you are not new to the area.

    • harpie says:

      Thanks for this and good luck!

      This may be of interest to community members in general:
      Apr 3, 2024 at 9:05 PM

      Today I published a state-by-state guide to all of 2024’s state supreme court races.

      Abortion, voting rights, & other civil rights issues keep coming down to who voters put on bench… & they’re electing 82 judges this year. // No excuse to not know!

      Just some of the states where these elections are VERY important this year: Michigan // Ohio // Montana // Kentucky // North Carolina
      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. [link]

      Links to:
      Your State-by-State Guide to the 2024 Supreme Court Elections
      Voters this year are deciding the fate of 82 seats across 33 states’ high courts. Cases involving abortion, democracy, and other critical issues hang in the balance.
      [Bolts Magazine link] Daniel Nichanian April 3, 2024

      In another comment, he notes that

      *2* state justices who just voted to make all abortion illegal in Arizona are on the ballot this year. They’re each up for retention, as I had detailed here last week.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        Thanks, harpie. I’ve not seen any local news media coverage whatsoever for Kentucky Supreme Court race(s). Not even sure which district is holding an election!

      • harpie says:

        One of these Justices is Clint BOLICK who is married to very-close-friend-of Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] THOMAS, Shawnna BOLICK.

        First mention of SHAWNNA on the #J6TL:

        8/2/19 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION [RNLA] holds two day “National Election Law Seminar” in Charlotte, NC.

        Cleta MITCHELL co-chairs a high-level working group with [Arizona State Representative] Shawnna BOLICK. Justin CLARK [Senior Counsel to TRUMP’s re-election campaign focused on compliance and election day operations] is a speaker.

        • harpie says:

          Another installment of The INBREDS:

          11/9/20 Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] THOMAS [email] pressed Arizona lawmakers [Russell “Rusty” BOWERS, a veteran legislator and speaker of the Arizona House, and Shawnna BOLICK, who was first elected to the chamber in 2018 and served on the House elections committee during the 2020 session] to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors” and argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud.

          Bolick is married to Clint Bolick, an associate justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, who worked with Clarence Thomas early in his career and has said he considers the justice a mentor.

          Shawnna Bolick wrote back to Ginni Thomas on Nov. 10, 2020, “I hope you and Clarence are doing great!” She gave Thomas guidance on how to submit complaints about any of her experiences with voter fraud in Arizona.

  13. ThingWithFeathers says:

    Taking advantage of the open thread to say thanks to all the contributors and especially Marcy, Rayne, and bmaz for providing me years of valuable, high quality reading on this site. Marcy’s analysis is always brilliant, and always a bit too complex for me to completely absorb especially in more recent years. I relied on comments and responses from bmaz to focus and clarify my understanding of the issues and remember that the justice system is distinct from politics. And thanks to Rayne for checking everyone’s privilege and keeping the space safe and sane. It’s been a good thing in difficult times for me, and I’ve been pained to see the recent discord among you. I hope the fractures heal.

  14. wetzel-rhymes-with says:

    My Dog Is Too Good Lookin’ To Be My Wingman

    We were making our way down at the Chic-Fil-A. Me and Blue were getting some grub
    Pulled up to the side. Lady’s eyes opened wide. She said sweetie do you want a hug?
    Well I’m a big fool. I thought it’d be cool. I held my arms out to her at the drive-thru
    I felt myself turning red when she laughed and said dude I wanted to hug your dog

    What am I supposed to do ooo aawooo?
    About my boy Blue ooo aarooo
    I’m just a man who’s trying to find a woman who will love him
    But it’s my boy Blue they have in mind not the man on the leash above him
    He’d win all them prizes in the Westminster ring, man
    My dog is too good lookin’ to be my wingman

    I picked up Renata in my Silverado, took her down to the Captain’s Grotto
    Steak, lobster tail, and baked potato we drank two bottles of Italian Moscato
    I proposed some Disney Plus holding hands on the way to the house
    Blue shows up and Renata went down there with him in front of the couch


    You’re a good boy Blue
    Don’t get me wrong
    Don’t you worry about this song


  15. Ewan Woodsend says:

    A misprint: it is Pinault, not Penault. He is one of French richest man, and husband of Salma Hayek. He is not the worst of them, the French Murdoch-Voldemort being Bolloré. But I don’t think Ronna McDaniel troubles are important enough to reach beyond the sub dept of CAA who signed her.

    • Rayne says:

      Thank you, typo fixed.

      Pinault’s relationship to Hayek as her FIL is of no interest to me. I think it’s not out of line to wonder if a man old enough to remember WWII and the Nazis’ effects on France might not appreciate the brand damage a white nationalist booster and unindicted co-conspirator might do to the conglomerate when it’s easy to just flick her away.

  16. Chetnolian says:

    I am not sure you have thought it through Rayne when you say all data created by US users should stay in the US. The core content of this site is created in the Emerald Isle. The days when I, a few miles further east, could reasonably worry about foreign control of my participation in social media disappeared with its creation. Th internet kind of destroys borders.

    There’s data and data though. The UK National Health Service has just ceded control of its patient data to…Palantir. I really care about that.

    • Rayne says:

      Sorry, Chetnolian, I am SURE you haven’t thought through the location of the server where this site is hosted, or how we deliberately avoid collecting and accruing personal information about users.

      Marcy may be located in Ireland, but the server is in the U.S., and we don’t require collection personally identifying information. We only ask that if you say you are Chetnolian at emailaddress @ host, that you continue to use that pseudonymic combination. Further, emptywheel is a limited liability corporation here in the U.S. as you can see from the Contact page.

      • Chetnolian says:

        No I was not questioning the soundness of this site. Far from it. I was merely using myself and Marcy as examples of the difficulty of defining h what is a US user. I think you presumably are. I am not but is Marcy, who I guess remains a US citizen. Online we become stateless. Now if we provide identifiable personal data on social networks as distinct from dedicated websites etc the problem becomes complicated. Pretty well all the social media giants are owned outside my country. Yes of course I talk on FaceTime and perhaps disclose personal things in so doing. The foreign owners might be listening in. It is a risk which I have to accept.
        I could default to writing letters!

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        A nice reminder that keeping this site independent isn’t cheap. Please consider supporting with your dollars as well as your attention, y’all.

    • Rayne says:

      That op-ed is a POS, this bit being the perfect example of its bullshit and why NPR has been losing trust:

      In October 2020, the New York Post published the explosive report about the laptop Hunter Biden abandoned at a Delaware computer shop containing emails about his sordid business dealings. With the election only weeks away, NPR turned a blind eye. Here’s how NPR’s managing editor for news at the time explained the thinking: “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

      But it wasn’t a pure distraction, or a product of Russian disinformation, as dozens of former and current intelligence officials suggested. The laptop did belong to Hunter Biden. Its contents revealed his connection to the corrupt world of multimillion-dollar influence peddling and its possible implications for his father.

      The laptop was newsworthy. But the timeless journalistic instinct of following a hot story lead was being squelched. During a meeting with colleagues, I listened as one of NPR’s best and most fair-minded journalists said it was good we weren’t following the laptop story because it could help Trump.

      Uri Berliner can get fucked because he’s advocating amplification of a Russian influence operation as news though “the laptop” was a McGuffin just like Trump’s mythic unitary hacked DNC “the server” in 2016.

      Knowing there’s at least one Russian involved who may also have an Israeli asset, I have to wonder if Uri Berliner is likewise yet another asset with this pointed promulgation of bullshit.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        NPR’s response to Berliner seems really ridiculous to me in that it magnified his asinine opinion. Though perhaps not to the scope he preferred, since he was angling to be fired, so he could then claim to be “canceled” whilst being paid by every right-wing media outlet on an ensuing martyrdom tour (see also: Weiss, Sandmann, Rittenhouse).

        • Rayne says:

          They’d be doing the same to Berliner by firing him that they did to that bigoted asshole Juan Williams in 2010, magnifying his right-wing cred so he could make the move to Fox News.

        • Rayne says:

          Berliner’s dig at diversity and inclusion sure makes it look like he’s bucking for the boot.

          Should set up a board to take bets on this: how soon does Berliner leave NPR and when does he start at a right-wing outlet? Shortest time wins the day.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Uri Berliner and his ilk are the fucking problem, not the cure. He laments the lack of right wing representation on NPR, something he falsely calls “diversity.” What he really wants is a uniform press that mimics, from its right, Faux Noise.

        His lament parallels the meme that white male christianists are the victims of American society, not its dominant group. Horse manure.

        NPR’s viewers want news, not Berliners right wing spin on it. It’s clear that NPR is employing an editor who doesn’t believe in its mission, he believes in its opposite. It should do something about that soon.

    • Bob Roundhead says:

      After Judith Millers “reporting” on aluminum tubes for the NYT, in addition to the lack of reporting concerning the massive anti war demonstrations going on at the same time, it is a wonder anyone thinks the NYT is a reputable news source.

  17. Greg Hunter says:

    If the Federal Government can craft a way for the user’s privacy content to be controlled by the whims of the Federal and State government in a similar manner as HIPAA, then the law will be passed. When the government and media stumble upon a way to sell this “privacy” protection as effectively as they did with HIPAA then legislation will be enacted and it will be as bad as HIPAA, but most of the people that recognize the travesty of this law will be ignored.

    I realize the positive aspects of HIPAA as those are “easy” to embrace from an individual level; however, when one looks at “who benefits” from this law, it is not the individuals, but the medical providers, pharmaceutical and industrial entities. The HIPAA law also benefits hateful legislators when they craft laws to expose health data with respect to termination of pregnancies, but will not craft a law that will expose how many prescriptions for opioids are issued by zip code, or county or at the state level.

    The HIPAA issue was hotly debated last week when I spent the annual ski week with two doctors, two nurses and a medical technician. The individuals were Gen Z and one of the doctors was on the same page as myself; however for different reasons. By the end of the discussion, the remaining doctor and the two nurses agreed with my take, that the law should be revised in a manner that maintains anonymity while providing the public much more information about how healthcare is administered in America.

    Here is the question – Would you as an individual be okay if your health data was anonymized and then the data to be released on an annual basis aggregated by zip code/County/even State level? So for me M – 61 – Prednisone 1 time for Iritis. I really hate HIPAA as it was enacted.

    • Rayne says:

      The model should be GDPR, not HIPAA.

      To your question: I’m the only person in my zip code of my ethnicity/race, my age and gender, with a specific health condition. Anonymization has limits.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Too much Faux Noise. HIPPA is fine, it doesn’t go far enough and it’s not followed enough.

      As Rayne points out, anonymization has severe limits, and not just because insurers – of all kinds, not just medical – and medical providers see through it.

      The EU’s GDPR is much the better model. Most countries use some variation of it. The US is the exception, owing to the power of corporate lobbying (aka, legalized bribery). It’s not just big tech that hates its restrictions on profit-taking. It’s virtually every large company. Your cable provider makes a mint, for example, using your viewing data. Ditto car companies using the increasing number of ever more sensitive sensors in your car.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Very gently, it’s HIPAA. Only because I was responsible for enforcing it at a state agency.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Of course, HIPPA needs refinement and better rules that protect patient privacy and, if possible, are easier to use. It also needs more teeth.

        The broader issue is that it deals with a drop in the bucket of the vast amount of data we generate every day that is hoovered up for profit without our even knowing it exists, let alone have the chance to say, no.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        Faux News….funny stuff…I would invite you to look at what you do not get from the American healthcare data that one used to get prior to HIPAA. America only regulates when you can prove harm and typically a class action lawsuit and only if you get lucky with a whistle blower and or a leak of a smoking gun document.

        I would also point out the most of the genetic and medical studies do not originate in the US but are more likely to come from Britain and Israel. In addition, no cancer clusters anymore as it impossible to aggregate data with the HIPAA. Here is the only report Wyoming requires that “breaks” HIPAA.

        As I said I cannot find out how many pills and what type are issued in Wyoming but I can find out the age, ethnicity and other information about patients seeking abortion.

        HIPAA is used by most Legislators for evil and never to expose medical malpractice, over proscribing or cancer clusters. Let me know when you find a Legislature “breaking” HIPAA to provide useful information instead of a punitive nature?

        • P J Evans says:

          Bless your heart, honey.

          Now, can you provide anything to back up the claims that you keep making?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You seem to be overgeneralizing based on the legislative priorities of a deeply red state. Not clear how that equates to federal legislative priorities.

          I agree that most professions, like virtually every corporation, are poor at self-regulation. Nor do they encourage legislatures to fill the gap. And I agree that US practice should be to require sellers of drugs and therapies to prove their efficacy, rather than require the market to prove harm. Only a for-profit corporation would desire that outcome.

          You’ll need a little supporting data to back up your claim that “most,” presumably you mean global, “genetic and medical studies” come from the UK and Israel. That’s quite a claim, one I suspect that will come as a surprise to UK academics. But I agree that the third-world is an unseemly but attractive place for corporations to test their drugs, owing to the much lower costs associated with screwing up.

        • Sellablue says:

          Both Israel and the UK are solid contributors to the biosciences, but the U.S. retains its lead in basic and applied research. The EU, UK, and AusNZ have made great inroads in clinical research, hard to say who has the lead now. The FDA does not accept data from third world countries, only occasionally accepting data from the E.U. Citing only the UK and Israel is a bit off.
          Yes, HIPAA is a mess, just like most healthcare associated regulation. Everyone has a great idea, laws get passed and regulations written. I have spent hours reading the federal register trying to understand how vague pronouncements result in eye rolling rules. Everyone in healthcare is frustrated and thinking leaving.

        • Greg Hunter says:

          Thanks Rayne and it proves to be an excellent document to prove my point. While I did not read the entire pdf, I did read the web page and there is nothing in the description that leads one to believe they are getting patient data.

          PS Cancer Registries are not mandated for most states it seems and appears voluntary.

          So I checked the PDF and searched for patient. There were 3 places were patient shows up and I posted one of the discussions.

          Here is the language in the document concerning patient data.

          Community members may have a list of individuals diagnosed with cancer or a map presenting individual addresses. While health officials cannot publicly confirm whether individuals on such a list or map have cancer (due to patient confidentiality and privacy laws), nor can they use personally identifiable information (PII), some non-PII information can help identify the types of cancer(s) of concern as well as the time period and geographic area of interest. Cancer incidence
          data must be confirmed through the cancer registry data. Sharing information about
          confidentiality and privacy laws associated with individual health outcomes with the community may be useful.

  18. rosalind says:

    CAA, like all remaining agencies in H’wood, are happy to partner with the various Middle East Sovereign Wealth Funds to grow their portfolios, especially in sports. CAA just started CAA Evolution, a merchant bank partnered with M. Klein and Co. M. Klein and Co. is most recently in the headlines (Feb 2024) for appearing before a Senate Subcommittee re compliance (or non-compliance) with subpoenas re. their work with the Saudi Public Investment Fund amid concerns they were heeding Saudi demands over U.S. regulatory compliance. And Saudis, under MBS, certainly have a preferred Presidential candidate. Ousting Ronna to elevate Lara certainly plays into this. Possible this was a pressure point for CAA to drop Ronna.

    • Rayne says:

      If CAA signs Lara Trump we’ll know which way the wind blows.

      EDIT: wonder if CAA has signed LIV golf? Ugh.

      • rosalind says:

        Doesn’t look like it. The Endeavor Agency had been flirting with buying into LIV Golf throughout 2023, don’t see any confirmed deals showing up.

    • harpie says:

      […] The law that Arizona will use to outlaw abortion care seemed designed to keep men in the chaos of the Civil War from inflicting damage on others—including pregnant women—rather than to police women’s reproductive care […]

      Written to police the behavior of men, the code tells a larger story about power and control.

      The Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1864 had 18 men in the lower House of Representatives and 9 men in the upper house, the Council, for a total of 27 men. They met on September 26, 1864, in Prescott. The session ended about six weeks later, on November 10. […]

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Chris Geidner:

      A Civil War-era abortion ban will soon control lives in Arizona — for now On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court held that a near-total criminal abortion ban first passed in 1864 can be enforced. But, a November vote could change that.
      CHRIS GEIDNER APR 10, 2024

      […] The majority — made up wholly of appointees of former Gov. Doug Ducey — suggested on Tuesday that its decision was the result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overruling Roe v. Wade in 2022. [link] In reality, though, Tuesday’s decision was only possible because the Arizona Supreme Court’s majority decided that the state’s 2022 15-week abortion ban was ambiguous about whether it permitted abortions before 15 weeks — which then allowed the majority to minimize the text of the 2022 law, read a “trigger” provision into state law that isn’t there, and allow broad enforcement of the near-total ban. […]

    • harpie says:

      And here’s Mark Joseph Stern:
      Apr 9, 2024 at 1:26 PM

      Here is the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision reviving a 160-year-old total abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest. Remember that Arizona Republicans expanded their state Supreme Court to entrench today’s hard-right conservative majority.

      The Arizona Supreme Court makes it clear that rape victims may no longer terminate their pregnancies within the state at any point, even at the very outset of pregnancy. Any Arizona doctor who helps a rape victim obtain an abortion may now be imprisoned. [link] [screenshot]

    • harpie says:

      Philip Bump re: other laws from that first meeting of the Territory of Arizona legislature where “The Howell Code” was adopted:
      Apr 10, 2024 at 11:09 PM

      Other laws adopted by Arizona in 1864 allowed parents to beat their kids to death in some cases and theorized that a 9-year-old could consent to sex. [WaPo link 4/10/24]

    • RipNoLonger says:

      That was one of HCR’s best columns – amongst many other stellar ones. I think the passages that stood out to me were about using poisoning to cause a miscarriage – by another person (presumably a husband/lover).

      The 1864 Arizona criminal code talks about “miscarriage” in the context of other male misbehavior. It focuses at great length on dueling, for example—making illegal not only the act of dueling (punishable by three years in jail) but also having anything to do with a duel. And then, in the section that became the law now resurrected in Arizona, the law takes on the issue of poisoning.

      In that context, the context of punishing those who secretly administer poison to kill someone, it says that anyone who uses poison or instruments “with the intention to procure the miscarriage of any woman then being with child” would face two to five years in jail, “Provided, that no physician shall be affected by the last clause of this section, who in the discharge of his professional duties deems it necessary to produce the miscarriage of any woman in order to save her life.”

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        Hmmm… how non-Biblical! (Numbers, Chap.5, contains instructions on how to induce a miscarriage in a wife suspected of being unfaithful. Reading between the lines, God will see to it that the miscarriage only occurs if the child isn’t his.)

  19. harpie says:

    This article was linked to by Justin Hendrix [CEO & Editor at Tech Policy Press. Research & Adjunct Professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering]:

    Can the American Privacy Rights Act Accomplish Data Minimization? Joseph Jerome APR 11, 2024
    [Joseph Jerome is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Tampa and a Tech & Public Policy Visiting Fellow at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.]

    The announcement of the bipartisan and bicameral American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) begins the latest episode in the United States’ interminable quest to enact a national privacy standard. This saga has been going on for decades at this point, but APRA is an important proposal for a couple reasons. […]

  20. harpie says:

    Coach of NCAA National Champion Women South Carolina Gamecocks:

    Coaching Great Dawn Staley Defends Trans Athletes The courageous comments of the South Carolina Gamecocks’ coach upset all the right people. Dave Zirin 4/10/24

    […] Staley’s comments upset all the right people, especially the professional hacks who—driven by hatred, profit, publicity addiction, or some rancid stew of the three—rushed to the nearest right-wing cable TV cameras to denounce Staley’s principles of inclusion. It’s been high comedy to see the leading intellectual lights of the fascist right sputter that Staley is a “traitor,” “sellout,” and disgrace to women’s hoops—when it’s a sport none of these people seem to have ever watched or supported. Their efforts to paint Staley as the Antichrist were also muted by the reality that, as anyone who actually follows the sport knows, Staley praises Jesus whenever the mood strikes her. I think there’s way too much religion in sports, but Staley can say whatever the heck she wants. Also to see these keyboard character assassins face-plant so spectacularly in trying to paint Staley as some kind of radical has been almost as amusing as the women’s tournament was thrilling. […]

  21. Henry the Horse says:

    Someone here besides me must remember Renee Richards?

    Changing your sex to game the system has already been tried…like 40 years ago. And it did not work. Nobody at Breakfast at Wimbledon has fond memories of the year Renee dropped Navratilova in the ladies final.

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      Renee Richards was born in 1934. In 1979, age 44(!!), she achieved her highest ranking of 20th in the world. In 1977, age 42, she lost in the doubles final at the U.S. Open to Martina Navratilova and Betty Stoeve, who herself won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles with various partners and lost in the Wimbledon finals to Virginia Wade that year (after beating Navratilova in the semifinals.) Richards also made it into the third round of the singles, losing to Chris Evert 6-2, 6-1. In 1979, Richards made it to the semifinals in mixed doubles at the U.S. Open. She also won the 35-and-over women’s singles at the Open that year.

      She way outperformed what you would expect of someone of her age, although, contra Bmaz, it should be noted that she really was an excellent tennis player. At one point she was ranked 6th in the over-35 U.S. men category (she would have been just over 35 at the time, obviously before transitioning.)

      It is also abundantly clear that she DID NOT change her sex to game the system. She started cross-dressing back in college, and life went downhill for her from there, lots of therapy etc. Her transitioning was, oddly enough, outed by Tucker Carlson’s father, who was a local TV anchor. Transitioning worked out for her. She also had quite an impressive career as an opthamologist.

      Her opinion? “Having lived for the past 30 years, I know if I’d had surgery at the age of 22, and then at 24 went on the tour, no genetic woman in the world would have been able to come close to me. And so I’ve reconsidered my opinion.”

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s Truth Social microblogging platform, which trades under the NASDAQ ticker symbol, DJT, closed today at $32.41, down another 5.4%. Sad.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Dunno. It’s worth zero. If you want to short, you will have to pay a 500% fee to get someone to lend you the securities, that’s how bad it is.

      • Narpington says:

        Simply because most of the stock is held by true believers who care less about the price than supporting Trump and will hang on till the end, hence the lack of available stock to short.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I hope reality maintains an unrelenting downward pressure on the stock price, as will the many contract and SEC problems its management seem to have. Donny Trump works only with the best.

      Donny recently complained about the downward pressure on the stock price, as a consequence of its 8K. As if an SEC issuer could say only nice, overblown things about a company’s business and its prospects, as if it were describing the size of its CEO’s … penthouse condo.

      Donny’s not made to work with a publicly traded company, so he’s likely to be in hot water a lot more than Martha Stewart.

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t think he’s ever even had a publicly-owned company. He certainly hasn’t worked in one.

  23. MsJennyMD says:

    “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible… problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.” —Barry Goldwater

    Yep – Goldwater saw the future.

  24. Rayne says:

    Because some folks need concrete examples and more material to consider regarding personal data privacy:

    How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did
    by Kashmir Hill, Forbes Feb 16, 2012

    Search histories, location data, text messages: How personal data could be used to enforce anti-abortion laws
    By Jennifer Korn and Clare Duffy, CNN Business Fri June 24, 2022

    What’s to stop law enforcement from obtaining Target or other retailers’ personal data to identify when a woman reached a certain point in her pregnancy, given Target already had a predictive formula more than a dozen years ago? What does social media include in addition to consumer browsing data to clinch a case?

    • Matt Foley says:

      For several years I’ve filed federal tax with IRS Free Fillable Forms. Creating an account each year required email and phone number (to receive verification code). Worked fine.

      For 2023 the geniuses at IRS decided that it had been working too well so now a landline is no longer allowed because they will only text the code to a mobile phone. I don’t own one and hope never to. (Privacy reasons mostly.) And the other “free” forms available actually charge a fee for state tax form. So I will be filing paper forms this year for the first time in years. Way to go, IRS.

      I’ve already had my data stolen from the hospital computers. Their “solution” was to give me a year of free credit monitoring.

      • Rayne says:

        Contact your representative and tell them this practice is discriminatory. Some people don’t have mobile phones because service is unreliable where they are and landline service may be all they have access to in their location.

        Loss of data from hospital computers has been a massive self-own by the health care industry. No excuse for failing to isolate what is essentially a health care enterprise resource planning and management system from the internet given how many other industries have done so — like energy production facilities.

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      I actually know something about your first question from the retailer’s side. First, large retailers take privacy laws very seriously, so law enforcement would almost certainly need a warrant to obtain retailer data, and for that, in theory at any rate, don’t they already need probable cause? Second, the “prediction” models aren’t really that; they are algorithms that group customers into categories of “similar” customers. They are all proprietary, and I don’t believe law enforcement could get the output from them in this sort of case, as they are not data themselves, merely algorithm-based opinions. If a defendant were to bring me in as an expert witness – and my job title would justify it – I would have no problem tearing a prosecution apart on this topic. There are a LOT of false positives and false negatives in this realm, with false positives being low-cost to the retailer as they only affect what is displayed on the screen or sent in a promotional email. Of course, the news will tend to publish the most sensational stuff, namely, a true positive with a surprising background story. Third, retailers can’t keep an infinite amount of data; for my (very large) retailer, it’s two years, and I have reason to believe that’s a typical number across the industry, although, for this particular abuse of data, two years wouldn’t provide much protection.

        • Ithaqua0 says:

          Since your original question was “What’s to stop law enforcement from obtaining Target or other retailers’ personal data to identify when a woman reached a certain point in her pregnancy, given Target already had a predictive formula more than a dozen years ago? “, I don’t see that data breaches have anything to do with it, unless you’re implying that law enforcement attempts to break into retailer systems to get this data. Really, Rayne, you know you’ve set up a moving target here. Please don’t; I was just trying to be a little educational on the specific topic of retailers, their algorithms, and the relationship of those two to law enforcement.

          These algorithms don’t identify “pregnancy.” In essence, they identify patterns such as “if a customer buys A, B, and C, they are more likely to buy D and E than a customer who doesn’t buy A, B, and C.” So we send out promo stuff for D and E to those customers and not to the others. You’re never going to send someone to jail because some algorithm somewhere said there’s a 10% chance they will buy D and E, the world of Minority Report excepted. So the algorithms are out of it. That’s all, and hardly worth arguing about.

        • Rayne says:

          Retailers will respond to warrants the same way social media firms do (for the most part). And then what? What happens when the data is already out of the barn in the wild? It’s always a moving target. Ask retailer VF which was forced to comply with new SEC reporting rules the same day the rules went into effect. How many breaches haven’t been disclosed by publicly-held retailers because the business still doesn’t know about the breach?

          As for algorithms, I think we can all point to examples of them not being exact. But Target et al wouldn’t spend money on their application if they weren’t successful. Ditto now for AI which is frustrating as hell. But it doesn’t take much predictive computing to nail down intent when a shopper checks for Plan B or one of the other handful of emergency contraceptives a retailer-pharmacy sells, ex. Target which is home to CVS pharmacies. Oh, that CVS which has been breached previously.

          EDIT: I meant to add that purchases of OTC health care products should also be protected by HIPAA. It’s kind of ridiculous that the retailer decides if a product’s sale should comply with HIPAA or not.

          When you pick up your prescriptions from a pharmacy, expect HIPAA privacy protections to be in force. Pharmacies are clearly identified as health care providers by the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency charged with enforcing HIPAA.

          But that doesn’t apply to over-the-counter medications in most situations. For example, Plan-B, an emergency contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy, is available without a prescription. Here’s the tricky part: Whether that purchase is protected by the HIPAA privacy rule depends on where you buy it, and even how a particular pharmacy has set up its retail software.


        • Ithaqua0 says:

          Oh, with respect to warrants, I totally agree. I (strongly suspect that I) hate that sort of thing as much as you do. I have a daughter who is almost 22 who had a little too much unprotected sex with her boyfriend a couple of years ago, and I’m damned glad we are in California and Washington. I would have another grown-up child now myself, come to remember it. And no, I don’t suffer any angst over those abortions, not one little bit. Companies also hate warrants, as they decrease customer trust in the privacy of their data, which reduces how much of it we get and can use. And breaches… Christ Almighty. With respect to this discussion, though, those are about credit cards and customer ID, not customer purchase history.

          But as for what is a “successful” algorithm – from a retailer perspective, an algorithm that increases the probability that a customer will buy an item from 5% to 5.1% is a success. That’s a 2% sales increase right there! Given that sending out those promo emails is close to free, the only question is what products we will put in the email, not whether we’ll send one out. All we want to do is pick the products most likely for that customer to buy. 2% revenue increase for almost-free is a staggering win, even if it’s only on a subset of our items. I can’t speak to the pregnancy-related stuff specifically, but, even with your example, I can’t see someone going to jail because they checked for plan B on someone’s website. If they actually bought plan B… but at that point, we are in the realm of actual data, not prediction, and we are back to the warrant and data breach issues.

  25. Matt Foley says:

    “Marcia Clark was a RACIST. I always admired the way OJ beat those fake charges.”

    Nah, he’d NEVER say that.

  26. Alan Charbonneau says:

    “Perhaps a French-owned company doesn’t care to keep a talent who supported a NATO-undermining former president’s attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.” With Macron signaling his willingness to send troops to Ukraine, I imagine it would.

    Rayne—I thought you might like this video, “How the US Is Preparing for China’s Collapse | Peter Zeihan”. I’m finding it fascinating.

    • Rayne says:

      Meh. Zeihan, schmeihan. there are all kinds of arguments in either direction on the topic intended to collect traffic.

      US “preparing for China’s collapse” = US unfucking itself after offshoring excessively in the 1990-2000s, having ignored national security and economic sustainability for short-term corporate profits.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Yes, his stuff is clickbaity and it’s worst-case scenario analysis, but his thesis that we need to invest in our own industrial sector (i.e. “US unfucking itself”) is something I think we need to do and have done in part due to the infrastructure bill. But private industry also need to invest in its workforce and not wait for a government stimulus package.

        I don’t think China is going away as he claims, but given China’s authoritarian ways and the problems China is facing, it gives me the sense that we should reduce our dependence on them.

        Whether cheap Chinese labor goes away and makes imported goods more expensive is a coin-flip. But there will be commodity inflation due to the war in Ukraine and that’s going to affect a lot of things downstream and we should get ready for it.

        Thanks for the rebuttal link, it’s also fascinating.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes, the US literally threw technology and manufacturing know-how at Japan and China for a song. I think, at first, American managers arrogantly thought the “locals” couldn’t do much with it and would never be a threat. Then it was a cost of doing business internationally. Finally, it was a mandate from Wall Street, to clear the books of assets purportedly in excess to requirements.

        The latter was made worse by apologists, who sold the idea that corporations could do only one thing, and had to outsource everything else, from acctg, to IT, to basic manufacturing.

        NIKE, for example, led the way, turning from a designer and manufacturer to a brand manager. But companies like GM followed suit, shedding jobs, know-how, and manufacturing plants, even as competitors chose to up the quality of theirs.

        • Rayne says:

          Lived it, EoH, spouse worked on manufacturing technology installed in China of a kind formerly installed in GM. And then Buick City became an open expanse of brownfield in Michael Moore’s 2009 film Capitalism: A Love Story.

          Kept wondering when the Bush administration would begin to worry about technology transfer, but the only real ripple occurred after Bush left office. Senators McCain and Levin were denied admittance to part of China where electronics used by military were made while they were investigating counterfeit parts. We should have started restoration of electronics manufacturing right the fuck then.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Lived it, too. I worked in China on projects related to moving that American property, plant, equipment, and know-how, and years before and afterwards working on similar projects elsewhere. I occasionally met a bidnessman who knew what international business was. Most of them just wanted to check the box and get back to climbing the American management ladder.

  27. bmaz says:

    There were more comments here, all pretty innocuous, but Ms. Dominatrix Rayne, in her sole discretion, decided to delete them.

    [Moderator’s note: Once again, I will remind you that when you attack the site’s moderation, your comment will be binned. You’ve made two comments attacking me, not just moderation, which I’ve allowed through today. That’s all you’re getting. /~Rayne]

      • bmaz says:

        Troll? Seriously? Mind your own business PJ.

        [Moderator’s note: you are ignoring the feedback of long-time trusted community members regarding your behavior. It is their business when you are commenting only to annoy and disrupt comment threads. Further disruptive behavior will be binned. If you think this is one-sided you are welcome to take it up with the site’s owner. /~Rayne]

    • Matt Foley says:

      Who is “Ms. Dominatrix Rayne”? Is that supposed to be funny?

      [Moderator’s note: it’s not funny and replies to that comment should end to avoid exacerbating the problem. Let’s drop it right here. Further replies will be binned. /~Rayne]

Comments are closed.