From Pine View Farm

Mammon category archive

The Mess with Texas, Electric Boogaloo Dept. 0

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The Fee Hand of the Market, Cruz to Mexico Dept. 0

Title:  Invisible-Hand-of-the-Free-Market Man holds an emergency meeting with Greg Abbot and Ted Cruz.   Frames One-Six:  Abbott:  On, no!  We didn't winterize our gas pipelines and power equipment after the last cold weather disaster--and now half the state is freezing to death.  Cruz, looking at his phone:  Hmmm, yeah, bummer.  Abbott:  To make matters worse, we can't draw power from other states because our grid is independent--to avoid federal regulations.  Hand:  Governor, that is a feature, not a bug.  Cruz:  Siri, show me warm weather getaways.  Hand:  As Rick Perry says, Texans will happily go without power if it keeps the government out of their business.  Abbott:  Yes, we must all sacrifice for the greater good--of the coal and gas industries.  Cruz:  Ooooh, I could seek refuge from this hell-hole in Mexico (I see nothing ironic about this whatsoever).  Hand:  But this is a disaster in public relations.  You have to go on Fox and blame a scapegoat.  I'd suggest the Green New Deal and renewable energy.  Abbott:  That sounds very plausible.  Wind turbines provided a full twenty percent of our power.  Cruz:  What could I even do if I stayed?  I am but a simple United States Senator?  Abbott:  But why stop there?  I can blame cancel culture while I'm at it.  And BLM and Antifa.  Hand:  Why not?  Tucker can fill in the details.  Cruz:  Well, it soundls like you two have this under control so I'm off to sunny Cancun.  Hand:  Are you sure that's a good idea?  Cruz:  What could go wrong?  Frame Seven, thirty-six hours later:  Cruz, talking to Hand on his phone.  Hand:  Look, just blame it all on your kids and catch the first standby flight home.  Cruz:  Think anyone will buy it?  Hand:  Uh, sure, maybe?

Click for the original image.

And, in related news (more at the link),

Like many other Texans, Houston resident David Astrein and his wife did what they could to save power last week, even while both were working from home with a 5-month-old son.

Having conserved power after briefly losing it twice during rolling blackouts, Astrein, 36, said he was shocked when he logged on to view his electric bill from his provider, Griddy: $2,796.85 since Feb. 1.

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“Pluck Me, I’m a Chicken” 0

I sometimes watch streaming video on Tubitv.com, which is free. (It’s free because it has commercials; in fairness, it has far fewer ads than commercial television and the volume of the commercials is lower than that of the shows. All-in-all, I find it a fair trade-off.)

Last night, as I watched an episode of the 1960s ITV series, The Saint, new commercials appeared for a cell phone app called “Stash” for stock trading (no link–look it up yourself). In the ad, clueless 20-somethings confess that they don’t know anything about the stock market, but then decide that they’ll give the app a whirl and make their fortunes. My guess is that the recent Game Stop kerfuffle inspired this.

Brooklyn Bridge at nightI’m old enough to remember day trading and the dot-com bubble.

So I have one question for novice investors who think an app can turn them into financial wizards.

Wanna buy a bridge?

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The Mess with Texas, the Fee Hand of the Market Dept. 0

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Facebook Frolics 0

I’ll take my toys and go home frolics.

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Vaccine Nation 0

Harry Shearer interviews Matt Stoller about how America’s monopolistic health care industry (and it’s an industry, not a system) gives you the business, with a focus on the roll-out (stagger-out might be a more appropriate term) of the coronavirus vaccines.

This is a must listen.

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All the News that Fits . . . 0

. . . and none that doesn’t.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Arbitrary and capricious frolics.

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The Privilege Flew 0

At Above the Law, Joe Patrice explains why the Morgan Lewis law firm’s attempts to claim attorney-client privilege regarding certain Trump transactions and conferences that were not subject to said privilege were rejected by the judge. A nugget; follow the link for the details.

It’s almost as though Trump brought lawyers into non-legal conversations for the express purpose of invoking attorney-client privilege to keep investigators out of potentially problematic conversations.

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The Privatization Scam 0

At the Des Moines Register, Randall Balmer explains how it works.

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The Wisdom of the Marketplace 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Utpal Dholakia marvels at the loyalty of Tesla owners, which seems contraindicated by any rational measure. A snippet (emphasis in the original):

Tesla Quality

In the 2020 Initial Quality Study conducted by the marketing research company J.D. Power, Tesla was the worst-performing company, reporting 250 problems per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of owning a newly purchased vehicle.

Tesla Customer Satisfaction

The 2020 J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study measured owners’ satisfaction based on their “experiences with design, performance, safety, usability, comfort, perceived quality, and other factors.” In the study, Tesla received the highest score of 896. To give context, Porsche had the next highest score of 881.

Follow the link for his theories as to the reasons for this.

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Find the Moocher 0

Title:  Nation of Moochers.  Frame One:  Quote from a New York Times editorial from January 10, 2014, saying that $17/hour is

Click for the original image.

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Trickle-On Economics: A Case Study 0

Bob Molinaro, sports-writer extraordinaire:

Recently, a Stephen Curry rookie card sold at auction for $611,000. So now we have a better understanding for why the very rich need those tax breaks.

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A Tune for the Times 0

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Facebook Frolics 0

Image of an adjustable wrench in the shape of the Facebook logo gripping the Earth in its teeth.  From it comes a voice saying,

Click to view the original image.

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Perks 0

Georgia Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler holding campaign signs in one hand and plunging the other hand into a jar labeled

(The back story.)

Image via Job’s Anger.

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The Privatization Scam 0

The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell can voucher that it is–er–questionable.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Cathy O’Neil skewers the Zuckerborg’s argument that it is to big and complex to break up. A snippet (emphasis added). As an aside, I suspect that U. S. Steel, American Sugar, and other trusts busted by Teddy Roosevelt made similar arguments.

So what would happen if, as a result of the antitrust suits filed by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, a court ordered Facebook to split up, reversing its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram? The company’s lawyers argue that the various businesses have become so inextricably interwoven that a breakup would be extremely difficult, generating costs and chaos that would harm users worldwide. In other words, don’t mess with us, or else.

Really? No doubt, the breakup would be difficult for Facebook’s managers, who rely on data sharing among WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook to create the most complete possible profiles of users and then sell their attention to the highest bidder. If the companies were separated, all the investment they’d been making into surveillance and targeting wouldn’t immediately work out as well as they had hoped. For them, the product is the advertising, not the service to users.

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How Far Will Wells-Fargo 0

Pretty damned far.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Not that I expect it to do much good since Ronald Reagan gutted antitrust enforcement, but it’s about damned time.

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