pipeline

Revenge, more revenge, and CoCos

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Foreign Minister José Valencia and Interior Minister María Paula Romo accused Assange of riding scooters around the cramped embassy hallways, insulting staff and smearing feces on the walls.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

Mr. Moreno accused Mr. Assange of installing electronic distortion equipment in the embassy, blocking security cameras, confronting and mistreating guards and gaining access to security files without permission.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

In Norway, you can look up your neighbor’s income on the Internet

During a guided tour of Mount Vernon last April, Trump learned that Washington was one of the major real-estate speculators of his era. So, he couldn’t understand why America’s first president didn’t name his historic Virginia compound or any of the other property he acquired after himself.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

The VIPs’ tour guide for the evening, Mount Vernon president and CEO Doug Bradburn, told the president that Washington did, after all, succeed in getting the nation’s capital named after him.

{ Politico | Continue reading }

related { Donald Trump trademarked “Central Park” }

“The White House called me to advise to help change the system of clemency,” Kim Kardashian-West said. “And I’m sitting in the Roosevelt Room with, like, a judge who had sentenced criminals and a lot of really powerful people and I just sat there, like, Oh, shit. I need to know more.”

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A man who had just bought an $8 million island off of Key West was arrested Saturday for participating in what police described as a scheme to steal $300 in household items from Kmart.

Officials at Kmart called Key West police April 5 after they say Andrew Francis Lippi, 59, had purchased several items, including a Keurig coffee maker and light bulbs, and returned the original boxes for a refund. But police say the boxes were stuffed with other items. For example, store officials said a basketball was inside the Keurig box. […]

The Miami Herald reports Lippi bought Thompson Island, which had been the home to the family of philanthropist Edward B. Knight. Lippi also owns the “Real World” house in Key West, where MTV shot its 17th season in 2006. […]

Lippi told the Herald the theft allegation is “complicated” and he’d rather not talk about it.

{ CBS News | Continue reading }

images { Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930 | Dexter, Episode 7, Season 6 }

I got a letter from the government, the other day, I opened and read it, it said they were suckers

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An April 2016 Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report advocated raising the minimum wage to deter crime. […]

Our results provide no evidence that minimum wage increases reduce crime. Instead, we find that raising the minimum wage increases property crime arrests among those ages 16-to-24, with an estimated elasticity of 0.2. This result is strongest in counties with over 100,000 residents and persists when we use longitudinal data to isolate workers for whom minimum wages bind.

Our estimates suggest that a $15 Federal minimum wage could generate criminal externality costs of nearly $2.4 billion.

{ National Bureau of Economic Research | Continue reading }

still { Death Wish, 1974 }

A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me

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If you know that a public company has done a bad thing, and no one else knows about it, how can you use that knowledge to make money? […]

This is a financial column, so we tend to focus on the financial-markets answers: You can short the company’s stock, or buy put options, or buy credit-default swaps. Then you can either sit back and let the market discover the bad thing, or you can bring it to the market’s attention, by announcing the bad thing and maybe also by taking some extra steps—generally suing or calling up a regulator—to get the ball rolling. This approach has some crucial advantages; most notably, if the company is very big and the thing is very bad, this is a good way to make a whole lot of money. But there are disadvantages too. You tend to need a lot of capital to make a lot of money doing this; if you don’t have enough money to make a big bet against the company, you’ll probably have to sell your idea to a hedge fund that does, and you’ll get only a portion of the upside. There are all the general financial risks of short selling: The stock could go up for reasons unrelated to the bad thing, “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent,” etc. There are the specific risks of noisy short selling: The company will accuse you of fraud, people won’t believe your revelations because you have money at stake, etc. There is also the risk of insider trading: Depending on how you came to know of the secret bad thing, there may be some legal risk to you from trading on it.

But those are just the markets-y ways to make money from misbehavior. There are also lots of lawyer-y ways. There are whistleblower programs that can reward you for telling regulators—particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission—about the bad thing. (The SEC’s program focuses on securities fraud, of course, but everything is securities fraud so you can be creative.) If you are a lawyer looking to profit from the bad thing, you can find a victim of the bad thing and sue for damages (and take a cut), or you can find holders of the company’s securities and sue for securities fraud (and take a bigger cut), because, again, everything is securities fraud. […]

The really long game, if you are a lawyer, is that you can become a federal prosecutor, investigate the company for misconduct, push it to hire a fancy law firm staffed with former federal prosecutors to conduct an expensive internal investigation, and enter into a non-prosecution agreement that requires the company to pay millions of dollars to an outside monitor who is also a former federal prosecutor. Do a few of these—expanding the scope of criminal liability for corporations, and normalizing the notion that corporations should resolve their criminal liability by hiring ex-prosecutors as monitors and investigators—and then leave for a private law firm where you get paid to do the investigations and the monitoring, while the next generation of prosecutors creates business for you. […]

Avenatti clearly did not do a good enough job of making the extortion look like something else to satisfy prosecutors. I don’t know if he did enough to satisfy a jury; perhaps we’ll find out. But he didn’t do nothing; the complaint contains some gestures in the direction of Avenatti being a legitimate lawyer with a legitimate case from a legitimate client trying to reach a legitimate settlement. He didn’t just ask for money; he demanded that Nike do an internal investigation and that he be in charge of it. (And be paid a lot.) It’s not pure, naked blackmail; it is a settlement negotiation that gets a little deeper into blackmail territory than you’d ideally like. But any settlement negotiation is, you know, “give me money or I will sue and that will be embarrassing for you,” so it is a matter of degrees.

{ Matt Levine/Bloomberg | Continue reading }

pigment ink on cotton paper { Aneta Grzeszykowska, Beauty Mask #10, 2017 }

‘If there is anyone who owes everything to Bach, it is certainly God.’ –Cioran

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“I took this photo of an interior wall of a gate guard tower at ‘Victory Base’ in Baghdad in 2004. The graffiti is a classic example of the grim and cynical sense of humor soldiers cultivate in order to maintain their sanity in war.” —Stephen Richey, U.S. Army, 1977-2010

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

No one speaks English and everything’s broken

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Ms. Giannulli, 19, is the daughter of the actress Lori Loughlin and the designer Mossimo Giannulli. […] Ms. Giannulli is a social media influencer with close to two million YouTube subscribers and over a million Instagram followers. In September, she posted two paid advertisements on Instagram that highlighted her identity as a student. […]

Ms. Giannulli […] was criticized in August after posting a video […] in which she said that she was only going to college for “gamedays, partying.”

“I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know,” she said. […]

Ms. Giannulli is one of a number of celebrity offspring who have lived out their teenage years on social media. In the video for which she was criticized, she described how the dissolution of a romantic relationship had been particularly difficult because people would send her tweets, Instagram posts and Snapchats of her ex with other young women.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

A total of 50 people nationwide were arrested in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice, officials announced. Those arrested include exam administrators, coaches at elite schools, and nearly three dozen parents — including actress Lori Loughlin.

{ CNN | Continue reading | full indictment }

image { 1991 Topps Toxic High School #19 }

why isn’t everything made of gold?

A lawyer for the Trump administration, pressed by a Boston judge on whether the “115 mile long” border wall contract the president tweeted about exists:

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related { What is Fake News? }

entire crew is HorseFaced for real

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A company tied to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump owns a 171-acre hunting preserve that is being used as a private shooting range. […]

During negotiations, said Joe Kleinman — who with his wife, Jocelyn, sold the property in August 2013 for $665,000 — the buyer’s agent tried to reduce the price by invoking a 1991 state court decision that requires buyers disclose to sellers if a property is known to be haunted.

Kleinman refused, saying anyone who truly believed it was haunted would either abandon the sale or pay a premium.

{ Poughkeepsie Journal | Continue reading }

quote { entire crew is HorseFaced for real }

I’ll take a rusty nail, and scratch your initials in my arm

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Leveraging popular social networking sites, individuals undertake certain forms of behavior to attract as many likes and followers as they can. One platform that symbolizes people’s love for strategic self-presentation to the utmost degree is Instagram. […]

Narcissism is characterized by grandiose exhibition of one’s beauty and pursuit of others’ admiration. Posting selfies/groupies is associated with narcissism and need for popularity. […]

Instagram selfies and groupies symbolize social media users’ public display of narcissism. From an evolutionary psychological perspective on the renovated hierarchy of fundamental human motives and needs, this study examined the interaction effects of Instagram photo types (selfies, group selfies, long-shot photos taken by others, and neutral photos) and Instagram peer viewers’ individual difference factors (intrasexual competition [ISC] for mates, need for popularity [NfP], loneliness, and need to belong [NtB]) on intersexual attraction. […]

The findings confirmed the assumption that a potential mate who posts selfies and groupies is perceived by opposite-sex viewers to be more narcissistic compared to a potential mate who posts neutral photos.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | Continue reading }

photo { Thierry Mugler, Monster Show, Elle US, November 1991 }

Who’ll search for Find Me Colours now on the hillydroops of Vikloefells?

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The problems of darknet markets have triggered an evolution in online black markets. […]

Instead of using websites on the darknet, merchants are now operating invite-only channels on widely available mobile messaging systems like Telegram. This allows the merchant to control the reach of their communication better and be less vulnerable to system take-downs. To further stabilize the connection between merchant and customer, repeat customers are given unique messaging contacts that are independent of shared channels and thus even less likely to be found and taken down. Channels are often operated by automated bots that allow customers to inquire about offers and initiate the purchase, often even allowing a fully bot-driven experience without human intervention on the merchant’s side. […]

The other major change is the use of “dead drops” instead of the postal system which has proven vulnerable to tracking and interception. Now, goods are hidden in publicly accessible places like parks and the location is given to the customer on purchase. The customer then goes to the location and picks up the goods. This means that delivery becomes asynchronous for the merchant, he can hide a lot of product in different locations for future, not yet known, purchases. For the client the time to delivery is significantly shorter than waiting for a letter or parcel shipped by traditional means - he has the product in his hands in a matter of hours instead of days. Furthermore this method does not require for the customer to give any personally identifiable information to the merchant, which in turn doesn’t have to safeguard it anymore. Less data means less risk for everyone.

{ Opaque | Continue reading }

photo { Weegee }

‘Never talk when you can nod and never nod when you can wink and never write an e-mail, because it’s death.’ –Eliot Spitzer

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“Connecting” online once referred to ways of communicating; now it is understood as a means of digital totalization, typically euphemized as objects becoming “smart.” Each data-collecting object requires a further smartening of more objects, so that the data collected can be made more useful and lucrative, can be properly contextualized within the operation of other objects. You can’t opt in or out of this kind of connectedness.

{ Rob Horning/Real Life | Continue reading }