Weekend 4.14 and 4.15

Editor’s note: When I wrote the dystopian novel Reverse Lightning I was in thrall of three ominous trends. 
(1) If the Gulf Steam weakens, Europe will cool and will not support as many people. What if Europe, instead of being a haven for refugees, sent millions of its people in search of new homes? It’s happened in other centuries and might happen again. 
(2) In an extreme refugee crisis, America would likely retreat into some form of reactionary dictatorship. We’re not so far from it now.
(3) The United States has already entered some form of fossilization, in which its corporations and institutions are so entrenched and so wealthy that they’re able to prevent change, even when it would be healthy. I see those trends every day when I scan the news.
Combine those ominous trends, and you have Reverse Lightning, a United States in such serious decline that it fractures.
Like other dystopian novels, Reverse Lightning is not a prediction, but a warning — a future we hope we never see.
— Tim Mahoney, editor


Serious disruption of Gulf Stream must be “avoided at all costs”
The Guardian
— Past collapses of the Gulf Stream have preceded some of the most extreme impacts in climate history, with western Europe particularly vulnerable to a descent into freezing winters. A significantly weakened system is also likely to cause more severe storms in Europe, faster sea level rise on the east coast of the US and increasing drought in the Sahel in Africa.

Comey makes lame excuse for interfering in 2016 election
Reuters
FBI wants to be seen as above politics except when uhm…

— Former FBI Director James Comey said his assumption that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election was a factor in opening an inquiry into her emails, according to part of an ABC interview broadcast on Saturday.
— Although the FBI ultimately decided not to refer Clinton’s case for prosecution, Democrats said Comey’s announcement damaged her with voters right before the election, and he faced complaints that his moves were politically motivated.

$29.00 saved!
Here are the 11 best takeouts from Comey’s book
CNN
If you’ve been paying attention during the last year or so, not too much of this will come as a surprise anyway.

Probe: Did coaches plan to “bean” girl ballplayer?
Fosters Daily Democrat, N.H.
If this is true, imagine these guys, feeling threatened by a 12-year-old girl.
…  allegation made by the girl’s parent, Dan Klein, of Madbury, that two coaches said they would instruct a player to “bean” Klein’s daughter — strike her in the head with a baseball — in order to intimidate her into leaving the baseball program.
… Klein alleged the conversation took place during a draft meeting to assign players to team rosters, and that his daughter is the only female player in her age-group division.
… the youth sports association is investigating… cops decline.

Woman wins >$6 million in judicial revenge on revenge porn
Newser
— A California woman who had to copyright photos of her naked body in order to have them removed from various websites has been awarded what her lawyers are calling the second-largest payout for a non-celebrity victim of revenge porn. The woman identified as Jane Doe, represented by the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project, accused ex-boyfriend David Elam II of sharing intimate photos she gave him while the pair were in a long-distance relationship. Through a civil case accusing Elam of copyright infringement, online impersonation, stalking, and intentional emotional distress, she has now been awarded $6.45 million, reports CNN.

“If I wrote you a check for $250,000, would you take it?”
Michigan State’s … uhm…  crisis manager tries to buy off Nassar victim
Yahoo
kaylee— “When I explained that it’s not about the money for me and that I just want to help, he said, ‘Well, give me a number,’ ” Kaylee Lorincz said.
“President Engler, you wanted to talk about money,” Lorincz testified. “I wanted to talk about helping and healing. You tried to make us feel like we were the problem and MSU was the victim because of the civil suits. This is how it works. When you protect and promote a sexual predator and foster a culture of lies and cover-ups, you are responsible.”
>>> Most doctors keep licenses after sex abuse
An AP Investigation
It’s a very long and somewhat clumsy read, but here’s the gist:
…  of 253 doctors who were reported  for sexual misconduct, or who paid a settlement that stemmed from such an allegation, 170 were not disciplined by state medical boards.

Feds seeks $1 billion fine in Wells Fargo fraud cases
— would equal < 5% of annual profit, so … carry on boys.
USA Today.
— “We’ve certainly had a very thorough look into every nook and cranny of the company,” said CEO Tim Sloan, when asked if new regulatory problems could emerge. “In terms of declaring victory and walking ahead, we’re not at that spot right now.”
In other words, despite cheating their customers, Wells Fargo is rolling in cash and there may be fraud it hasn’t revealed yet.

Leaked memo reveals Apple had 12 people arrested for … leaks
The Verge
— The company said in a strongly worded memo that it had caught 29 people who leaked information last year, and 12 of them were arrested. Those 29 people included employees, contractors, and supply chain partners. “Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple,” the memo reads, “In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets, both classified as federal crimes.”

Trump’s advisers see Cohen as greater risk than Mueller
NY Times
Highlights:

cohen-sketch-px-trix… Trump’s struggle to hire a new criminal lawyer. Some aides reluctant to advise him for fear of being dragged into a criminal investigation themselves.
… court documents show that prosecutors are building a significant case that could put pressure on Cohen to cooperate.
… Cohen served for more than a decade as a fixer and, during the campaign, helped tamp down scandals about women who claimed to have “Fucked the Orange.”
… fear that Cohen will not be forthcoming with them about what was in his files, leaving them girding for the unknown.

How likely is it that an American will use a gun in self defense?
NPR
— The latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011.

Tax cuts were going to boost wages by $9000 a year, right?
Well, maybe it’s more like $300
The Hill
The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows weekly employee earnings have grown $75 since tax reform passed, well short of the $4,000 to $9,000 annual increases projected by President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Flip/flop flip/flop flip/flop
Trump dudes: Marijuana crackdown? Forget about it!
Reuters
— Colorado Senator Cory Gardner said on Friday he received a commitment from Trump that the feds “will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.” Gardner said Trump assured him he would support legislation “to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”

Owners of Miami Marlins, having sold off best players,
wonder how to win more games …
Deadspin
The Marlins’ offseason moves were saving money, so that the new ownership group could pay off debt incurred in the purchase of the team. Now the Marlins are playing like a minor league team, and drawing about as many fans.

Movie Pass for theaters
Can this company survive charging $9.95 for a month’s worth of movies?
L.A. Times
— Those who sign up for MoviePass receive a debit card in the mail. When they’re close enough to a theater, they use the MoviePass phone app to select the showtime for the film they want to see. MoviePass then loads the exact dollar amount of the ticket onto the card, which the customer swipes at the box office. In other words, MoviePass pays the full price for each ticket, leaving many to wonder how the model is sustainable.

 

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