MA: Someone breaks into home, takes nothing, gives it good scrub

Source: ABC News

“Whoever broke into a Massachusetts man’s home last week didn’t take a thing. They did, however, leave the house spotless. Nate Roman tells The Boston Globe that when he returned to his Marlborough home from work May 15, he could tell a stranger had been there. Nothing was missing, but the 44-year-old Roman noticed the beds were made, the rugs vacuumed and the toilets scrubbed. They even crafted origami roses on the toilet paper rolls. He called the experience ‘weird and creepy’ and contacted police.” (05/23/19)

The cryptocurrency market has become a casino

Kai Sedgwick

by Kai Sedgwick

“Crypto trading has always entailed a blend of skill and good fortune, but in the frothy markets of 2019, that weighting is skewed heavily in favor of the latter. Fundamentals go out the window when there’s a surety that the latest token is going to pump at any moment. For traders with a low timeframe patience, bitcoin will always be the safer and more profitable bet. But when your friends are getting fleetingly rich on altcoins, the temptation to FOMO in can prove irresistible.” (05/23/19)

Facebook: Another three billion fake profiles culled

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Facebook has published its latest ‘enforcement report,’ which details how many posts and accounts it took action on between October 2018 and March 2019. During that six-month period, Facebook removed more than three billion fake accounts — more than ever before. More than seven million ‘hate speech’ posts were removed, also a record high. For the first time, Facebook also reported how many deleted posts were appealed, and how many were put back online after review. In a call with reporters on Thursday, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg hit back against numerous calls to break up Facebook, arguing its size made it possible to defend against the network’s problems. ‘I don’t think that the remedy of breaking up the company is going to address [the problem],’ he said. ‘The success of the company has allowed us to fund these efforts at a massive level. I think the amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems… I believe is greater than Twitter’s whole revenue this year.'” (05/23/19)

Cato Daily Podcast, 05/23/19

Source: Cato Institute

“The Supreme Court will weigh in on a curious gun restriction in New York City. Matthew LaRosiere comments.” [various formats] (05/23/19)

The confusing terminology of monetary policy

Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“As if monetary policy is not confusing enough, the terminology is also ambiguous, with terms used in inconsistent ways. For instance, is the Fed targeting interest rates, or are they targeting inflation? Consider the following flow chart, showing two possible monetary policy targets. At the bottom you have the actual tools that the central bank can use to influence policy. In the middle you have flexible market prices that they may try to control, with the long run objective of stabilizing growth in NGDP or the price level (on top) …” (05/23/19)

Michael Jackson’s estate and former manager settle lawsuit

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“A years-long lawsuit between Michael Jackson’s estate and one of the superstar’s former managers has been settled, ending one of the final legal fights over the King of Pop’s assets. The confidential settlement announced Thursday with Tohme R. Tohme, Jackson’s manager in the last year of his life, was reached after a trial had been underway for five days. It comes a month short of the 10th anniversary of Jackson’s death. Tohme had sought nearly $20 million from the Jackson estate in the lawsuit filed in 2012, saying he was entitled to a 15% commission on funds generated by deals he arranged for Jackson that were received after Jackson’s death in June 2009. The Jackson estate held that Tohme’s contract terminated with the singer’s death and he was entitled only to a percentage of income Jackson himself received while he was alive.” (05/23/19)

Todd Levitt, “Badass Lawyer,” loses a third libel-related appeal (with an emotional distress claim)

The Volokh Conspiracy

Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Eugene Volokh

“Longtime readers of the blog may recall Todd Levitt, the self-described ‘Badass Lawyer.’ As I wrote back in 2016, Levitt’s main client pool was apparently students from Central Michigan University, so he tried to cultivate an edgy image (hence the ‘Badass’ title), and promoted it through YouTube videos and a Twitter feed. This led to three lawsuits … It’s rarely a good sign for a libel plaintiff when part of the Court of Appeals opinion in his case begins with: ‘Substantial truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim.'” (05/23/19)

Bernie Sanders does not need to apologize for opposing wars

Source: The Nation
by John Nichols

“After Bernie Sanders appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday, the program’s Twitter account announced that ‘Bernie Sanders said he won’t apologize for supporting anti-Vietnam War efforts and voting against the war in Iraq.’ Good. Because Sanders should never apologize for the anti-war stances he took in the past, just as he should never apologize for the anti-war stances he is taking today as a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. He was right to oppose the Vietnam War. He was right to oppose the Iraq War. He is right to now oppose the maneuvers that might lead to war with Iran.” [editor’s note: One of the few reasons he still deserves to call himself an “old school Democrat” – SAT] (05/23/19)

US Congress reaches deal on disaster aid

Source: The Hill

“Congress has reached a deal on a ‘clean’ disaster aid bill, after President Trump told lawmakers he would sign legislation even if money tied to the U.S.-Mexico border was dropped from the package. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said on Thursday afternoon that they had reached an agreement on the long-stalled legislation to respond to a recent spate of wildfires, hurricanes and storms. … Negotiators had been stuck for days over how much of the administration’s $4.5 billion request for emergency border money to include in a package. The thorny issue includes political landmines like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and detention bed funding.” (05/23/19)

That time US politicians almost blew up the world for absolutely no reason

Source: Downsize DC
by Perry Willis

“Once upon a time, politicians in Superpower A installed nuclear missiles on the border of Superpower B. The politicians in Superpower B then risked nuclear war to get those missiles removed. You may assume I’m talking about the nukes the Soviets placed in Cuba in 1962, which led to the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis. But you would be wrong. I’m really talking about the missiles U.S. politicians placed in Turkey in 1961. The Soviet missiles placed in Cuba in 1962 were partially a reaction to that. Now, please think about this carefully … If the Soviet missiles in Cuba were so dangerous that they warranted the risk of nuclear war to remove them, then the same was true of the U.S. missiles in Turkey.” (05/23/19)