Did Joe Ricketts Break the Law by Shutting Down Gothamist? | Pacific Standard


Ricketts’ decision seems to be a response to the labor organizing at the New York office. As the Times reported, when the journalists first tried to unionize, Ricketts wrote to them: “As long as it’s my money that’s paying for everything, I intend to be the one making the decisions about the direction of the business.”

Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer Dan Swartz wrote: “Would a union be the final straw that caused the business to close? I don’t know.” American labor laws normally protect workers from retaliation for unionizing, but Ricketts seems to have used a dramatic exception: A business may always close its operations entirely.

Source: Did Joe Ricketts Break the Law by Shutting Down Gothamist? – Pacific Standard

Uber faces federal probes and now, probably, a Congressional inquiry | Quartz


The truest statement about Uber this year is that just when you don’t think it can get worse, it gets worse.

Sexual harassment, scheming executives, an ousted CEO, a shareholder lawsuit, a trade secrets lawsuit, disaffected employees, dissatisfied drivers, federal probes, and now, probably, a Congressional inquiry. Uber upended the taxi industry to bring you a car at the touch of a button by exploiting loopholes in some laws and flat-out ignoring others.

That culture of legal “innovation” is now catching up to the company with a vengeance.

Source: Uber faces federal probes and now, probably, a Congressional inquiry — Quartz

Why the CFPB showdown threatens the independence of financial regulators


This clash will impact financial regulation and consumer protection and potentially undermine one of the bedrock principles of modern financial regulation: independence of financial regulators.

To understand why, appreciate the nuances behind the drama, with a focus on one key element: the President is attempting to place a senior White House official to head the CFPB, which is part of the Federal Reserve System and a voting member of other key financial regulators.

Source: Why the CFPB showdown threatens the independence of financial regulators

Brexit talks: for all Britain’s bluster, the EU has it over a barrel | The Guardian


.. the EU’s aims for the first phase of exit talks have only hardened.

Where once it looked as if Brussels might be willing to temporarily park the requirement for a full agreement on keeping the Irish border open until trade and customs talks began, now Dublin has succeeded in making this the final test of Britain’s suitability for further talks.

Source: Brexit talks: for all Britain’s bluster, the EU has it over a barrel | Politics | The Guardian

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The Facilities Where Scientists Breed Plants to Survive the Future | WIRED


Beneath the glow of high-voltage lamps, dozens of crop samples grow at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York.

Here, Cornell University scientists crossbreed domesticated crops with their wild ancestors to propagate superhardy strains that better withstand droughts, heat waves, and freezes. The facility is one of more than 50 such USDA-funded research stations nationwide, where scientists are studying climate-­resilient produce.

Source: The Facilities Where Scientists Breed Plants to Survive the Future | WIRED

The global offshore system means we can’t trust foreign direct investment figures and other basic data | Quartz


Thanks to offshoring practices like those revealed in the Paradise and Panama Papers, global investment figures are “a big black hole,” says Daniel Haberly, an economic geographer at the University of Sussex.

Look no further than the UK for an example of how crazy investment statistics are. The first name on its list of top foreign direct investors doesn’t surprise—it’s the world’s biggest economy, the United States. Second place, however, isn’t such a behemoth. According to British government stats, the Netherlands supposedly shoveled £139.8 billion ($186 billion), 28% of its GDP, into the UK in 2015.

Anglo-Dutch ties run long and deep, but can a country of just 17 million people really be investing so much cash into Britain alone?

Quite simply, no.

Source: The global offshore system means we can’t trust foreign direct investment figures and other basic data — Quartz

North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump | The New York Times


The launch came in the middle of the night on the peninsula, with less advance warning, according to experts. Aerial photographs of North Korean launch sites did not show missiles waiting on launchpads to be fueled, although Japanese officials had reported that radio telemetry pointed to a possible launch.

Some experts theorized that North Korea was now fueling missiles horizontally, before they are placed on the launchpad. In the past, it went through a lengthier process of rolling a missile onto a launchpad, filling it with liquid fuel and then launching it — steps that could take days.

“This shortens the time from when they become visible to when they go in the air, and makes it less likely that the U.S. will be able to strike before it launches,” said Rodger Baker, a vice president of strategic analysis with Stratfor, a geopolitical risk analysis company.

Source: North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump – The New York Times

From ‘Access Hollywood’ to Russia, Trump seeks to paint the rosiest picture | The Washington Post


His critics accuse him of creating an alternative reality, though people close to the president say he is simply a savvy marketer protecting his brand, as any businessman or politician would.

This practice, however, could prove problematic for a president of the United States whose careless tweets or misleading statements can send the globe reeling.

“He creates his own reality and lives in his own reality and tries to bend reality around himself and his own deep narcissistic needs,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran of three Republican administrations and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

“But, of course, in the end reality wins out, and trying to disfigure it or reinterpret it doesn’t work.”

Source: From ‘Access Hollywood’ to Russia, Trump seeks to paint the rosiest picture – The Washington Post

North Korea says ‘breakthrough’ puts U.S. mainland within range of nuclear weapons


“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Based on its trajectory and distance, the missile would have a range of more than 13,000 km (8,100 miles) – more than enough to reach Washington D.C. and the rest of the United States, the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said.

Source: North Korea says ‘breakthrough’ puts U.S. mainland within range of nuclear weapons

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Court sides with Trump in consumer agency fight | TheHill


Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia refused to grant Leandra English a restraining order to bar Mulvaney from serving as the CFPB’s acting director.

The ruling from Kelly, a Trump appointee, clears the way for Mulvaney to run the CFPB until a permanent director is sworn in or English successfully appeals the decision.

Source: Court sides with Trump in consumer agency fight | TheHill