Thursday, September 30th, 2021


Inside Joke

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." So said Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. And he may have been right, at least when it comes to the way the SEC treats insider trading. Liam Vaughan explains in Bloomberg: Most Americans Today Believe the Stock Market Is Rigged, and They're Right. It's probably rigged in a few ways, but in this case, the argument is limited to insider trading, how prevalent it is, and how hard it is to prove. "To prove securities fraud, it's not enough for prosecutors to simply show that someone profited from nonpublic information; prosecutors have to demonstrate that the defendant knew they had such information and intended to cheat. This helps to make it among the most difficult white-collar crimes to prosecute." Gordon Gekko also said, "The most valuable commodity I know of is information." (Of course, he said that before we realized that the most valuable commodities are fame and followers.)


Debt Instrument Plays On

In what has already been a wild week of negotiations, the Senate has decided that, yes, America will continue to pay its bills. The Senate passed a bill to keep America funded. That was the easy part. Next up, the infrastructure package and the overall budget, which may or may not be one bill. Biden plan at stake, Pelosi pushes ahead for $3.5T deal. Pelosi: "This is the path — it's not a fork in the road. This is the fun part." Right now, it's a battle between Democrats and Democrats, a couple of whom want to stick a fork in it.


Retirement Plans Gone Awry

"They have been found guilty of sexual and violent crimes, including murder and rape, or other serious job-related offenses, such as bribery and embezzlement. Some have admitted to molesting young children. Others have used their badges to enrich themselves or wield power over vulnerable members of their communities. Many are still sitting in prison cells. Yet the checks keep coming and will for the rest of their lives — all as taxpayers help foot the bill." Police officers convicted of rape, murder and other serious crimes are collecting tens of millions of dollars during retirement.


Rough Country Roads

"Since the pandemic began, about 1 in 434 rural Americans have died from Covid, compared with roughly 1 in 513 urban Americans, the institute's data shows. And though vaccines have reduced overall Covid death rates since the winter peak, rural mortality rates are now more than double that of urban ones — and accelerating quickly." Covid is killing rural Americans at twice the rate of people in urban areas. (We're in this together. Our interests are aligned. Don't believe any politician who tries to convince you otherwise.) This is "the latest example of the deadly coronavirus wreaking more havoc in some communities than others. Covid has also killed Native American, Black or Hispanic people at disproportionately high rates."


Jail Brakes Off

"The battle first broke out on Tuesday, with prisoners using explosives and firearms on each other. Families are seeking news on loved ones but with some victims decapitated or dismembered, identifying the bodies could take days. The gang-related violence is the worst in Ecuador's history." BBC: Desperate families have gathered at a jail in Ecuador which police are trying to bring under control after fighting left at least 116 inmates dead.


An Instagram Story

"In a crucial way, though, Facebook's accommodation of foreign political leaders is comparable to its plan to create an Instagram app for kids. Facebook executives prioritize growth, and so they need to find new markets, both geographic—Vietnam, for instance—and demographic, such as children under thirteen." The New Yorker: Instagram for Kids and What Facebook Knows About the Effects of Social Media. (Meanwhile, kids under thirteen are getting this news on TikTok, Snap, and Discord.)


You Don’t Know Brit

OK, you got what you wanted. Twitter is now officially in charge of Britney. Well, not quite. But Britney Spears is finally free from her father's control after more than 13 years. Of course, even after 12 documentaries and a few thousand think-pieces, you have no idea whether Britney will be better off. All you know for sure is that all this attention is probably a detriment.


On the Hobble

"The accused went 'on the run' and avoided the planned opening day of the trial, a spokeswoman for the Itzehoe District Court told NBC News on Thursday. The woman was seen leaving her home in a taxi, she added. Local media reported that the woman had left an old people's home in the city of Quickborn and was heading toward a train station in the small town, which is around 60 miles south of the Danish border." 96-year-old who went on the run to skip Nazi war crimes trial arrested in Germany. This is not exactly what you'd call a speedy trial.


Board to Death

"Macy's has filed a lawsuit against the company that owns the giant billboard next to its flagship Manhattan store, fighting to prevent Amazon from taking over the advertising space that carried Macy's name for almost 60 years." Amazon kills you, buries you in an Amazon box, and then makes you purchase a branded tombstone from Amazon. (Delivery is free, however.)


Bottom of the News

"She then turned to her son, whose father is the Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué, and said: 'Milan tell the truth. Say how your mummy stood up to the wild boar.'" Shakira was attacked by a pair of wild boars. "She shared her bizarre tale in a series of Instagram stories on Wednesday." (Clips don't lie.)

+ Mick Jagger went to a dive bar in Charlotte and literally everybody missed him. I can understand someone not catching on when he yelled, "Gimme Shelter," before repeatedly asking, "Can't you hear me knocking?" and then insisting he was just "Waiting on a Friend." But it was a dead giveaway when he started painting the bar's red door black.

+ Record catch Catfish eaten before being verified.

+ Missing man joins search party looking for himself.