Tuesday, December 13th, 2022



Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of a House committee today, but he was expectedly detained. The biggest crypto/business story of the year just became a legal story, as the Bahama melodrama took a new turn. SBF who was DBA as FTX needs a JSD from the ABA because as of this morning, he is SOL. Bankman-Fried has been charged "with a host of financial crimes on Tuesday, alleging he intentionally deceived customers and investors to enrich himself and others, while playing a central role in the company's multibillion-dollar collapse. The 13-page indictment says that, beginning in 2019, Bankman-Fried devised 'a scheme and artifice to defraud' FTX's customers and investors, diverting their money to pay expenses and debts at his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research, and to make lavish real estate purchases and large political donations." I have an active ignorance when it comes to crypto-currency, but I have a weird feeling that SBF will be viewed as the Barry Bonds of crypto. A few people will get caught and tagged as cheaters, but almost everyone in the game is part of a tainted era.

+ To wit... "James Block, a vehement crypto skeptic, has spent the past 18 months doing forensic blockchain research. He uses open-source tools to follow flows of money between crypto companies, repeatedly demonstrating how shadow banks and nefarious scammers inflate the value of worthless assets in order to generate enormous wealth that exists only on paper." Charlie Warzel in The Atlantic: Crypto Was Always Smoke and Mirrors.

+ Vox: FTX's implosion and SBF's arrest, explained.

+ 5 things FTX did with its money — including customer assets — according to its new CEO.

+ The new court-appointed FTX CEO was available to testify to the House committee. "This is just old fashion embezzlement, taking money from others and using it for your own purposes. This is not sophisticated at all."

+ Meanwhile, according to Retuers, the U.S. Justice Dept is split over charging Binance as crypto world falters.


The Eagle Has Landed

"Marco Antonio Ortega Siu, the head of the navy special operations unit, had worked with the United States for nearly a decade. Ortega Siu was known for his fearlessness — he and his men had taken down dozens of major traffickers, including Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán. But the admiral, a short, taciturn man with a shock of white hair, kept such a low profile that he was practically a ghost to the Mexican public. The Americans knew him by his code name, 'El Águila.' The Eagle." His track record of busts was legendary, but then Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ended the program that connected the DEA with Orgega Siu's navy special operations unit. WaPo (Gift Article): They call him the Eagle: How the U.S. lost a key ally in Mexico as fentanyl took off.

+ NPR: A major drugmaker plans to sell overdose-reversal nasal spray Narcan over the counter.


A Separate Peace

"After a pandemic-induced dip, the number of American couples who are 'living apart together,' as sociologists call the arrangement, or L.A.T., has started to grow again. While the percentage of the population that is married declined between 2000 and 2019, the percentage of married people who live apart has increased." The NYT on an increasingly common living arrangement. People who are married but live in separate place. This is a gift article (oddly, shared from my wife's NYT account): The Wife Left, but They're Still Together.


Parent Company

If you and your spouse decide to live apart, this might be an option. "Nearly half of all young adults in the US ages 18 to 29 live with their parents, and this living arrangement is boosting the profits of luxury goods companies, according to Morgan Stanley. The number of people moving back in with at least one parent spiked in 2020 at the height of the covid-19 pandemic to 49.5%, according to census data. It's since edged down to 48% last year, but the rate is expected by the bank to remain there for 2022, even as people return to a hybrid work set up."

+ NPR: Young folks are moving in with their parents in record numbers. Meet 5 making it work. My mom's feeling on this topic vary and are largely dependent on whether or not she's having an issue with her WiFi.


Extra, Extra

Beats Lysol: "The Covid-19 vaccines have kept more than 18.5 million people in the US out of the hospital and saved more than 3.2 million lives, a new study says – and that estimate is most likely a conservative one." (In the numerical, not political, sense.) Meanwhile, authorities are urging indoor masking in major cities as the 'tripledemic' rages.

+ Mark History: "Mark, in seeing what's happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of no return in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!" It was worse and more widespread than we thought. TPM: Mark Meadows Exchanged Texts With 34 Members Of Congress About Plans To Overturn The 2020 Election. (Or, meet the spelling-challenged folks about to control the House.)

+ American Patriots: "Ukraine has been calling for the US to send the advanced long-range air defense system that is highly effective at intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles as it comes under a barrage of Russian missile and drone attacks that have destroyed key infrastructure across the country." CNN: US finalizing plans to send Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine.

+ QElon: "Yoel Roth, Elon Musk's former right-hand man who was instrumental to the new era of Twitter, has reportedly been forced to flee his home, likely in the Bay Area, after getting harassed by Musk and his supporters." Also. Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council.

+ Trooper Tenure: "Less than a year after joining the San Francisco Police Department in 2014, Rodger Ponce De Leon heard out of the blue from a teenager. They became Facebook friends, swapped nude photos and ultimately wound up in Ponce De Leon's car, where he snorted cocaine, she smoked meth and they had sex." So what's that officer still doing with a high-paying job in windowless room in the department? SF Standard explains: It Takes More Than That To Get Fired From SFPD.

+ Bored Ape Yahtzee: "More than 2,000 people were crammed into a Brooklyn warehouse for the occasion. Shielded from a cold November night, partygoers indulged in an open bar lit up by the blue, green and red strobe lights pulsing through the makeshift club. Following appearances by Beck, Chris Rock and Aziz Ansari, the main event of the evening was a performance by The Strokes. Wylie Aronow was swaying with his girlfriend as they listened to the live set, when she turned to him and uttered three surreal words: 'You did this.'" But what exactly did they do? CNET: Inside the Bored Ape Yacht Club's $4 Billion Metaverse Bet. "In an area where scams and fraudsters are ubiquitous ... Yuga Labs aims to prove that Web3 can not only be legitimate, but is in fact the future."


Bottom of the News

"England's footballers are coming home without the World Cup trophy but were not entirely empty-handed on leaving their training base in Al Wakrah on Sunday. The defenders Kyle Walker and John Stones, who both started for Gareth Southgate's team in Saturday's 2-1 defeat by France, befriended a stray tabby cat during their four-week stay in Qatar. Stones named their handsome new feline companion Dave, while Walker had said they planned to adopt the cat and bring him home to England should the Three Lions ultimately triumph. Despite that dream again failing to become a reality, it seems the players had become too fond of Dave to say a final farewell when they departed Al Wakrah." Cat-ar 2022: England players to adopt ‘Dave' the cat after leaving World Cup. (Too bad the team didn't get nine lives...)

+ The Grinnell men's basketball team took 111 shots Thursday. Every one was a 3-pointer. (Warriors fans are like, "And...?")

+ And one of the more troubling headlines of the day: Students turn to TikTok to fill gaps in school lessons.