It's cold. So cold that the news can't ignore it. Cold enough to kill people. Cold enough that the kind of precautions you normally take in the arctic have to be taken in Chicago. USAToday can't help it, though. They had to front page an article that says that global warming is a real thing. Because true believers gotta proselytize.
GM got 49.5 billion dollars in bailout money. It was supposed to be a loan. It remains in arrears. GM has paid back 6.7 billion in actual cash and 8.1 billion have realized by sales of GM stock. If and when the Treasury manages to sell off the rest of the GM stock they hold, there will be a 10 billion dollar shortfall. Makes the 5 billion dollar investment in border security look cheap.
Had Enough Therapy? made me laugh with this offering on the outcome of a new homeless shelter in New York City.
Group FaceTime had a major flaw. A 14 year old found it. His mother reported it to Apple and got the runaround. If you invited a person to join the call and then had another person join, the phone of first invitee could be listened to even if they never answered the call. Here's a quote:
________________________On Monday, Apple said it was aware of the issue and had “identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”But the company has not addressed how the flaw passed through quality assurance, why it was so slow to respond to Ms. Thompson’s urgent warnings, or whether it intends to reward the teenager whose mother raced to alert the company to the bug in the first place.A bug this easy to exploit is every company’s worst security nightmare and every spy agency, cybercriminal and stalker’s dream. In emails to Apple’s product security team, Ms. Thompson noted that she and her son were just everyday citizens who believed they had uncovered a flaw that could undermine national security.
Venezuela committed economic suicide, going from one of the richest countries in South America to being a failed state. They did it by using Atlas Shrugged as a planning guide. There's been lots of hand wringing, but the only answer is going to be a major reboot with a capitalist economy. Not the suggestion made when you read about it. Meanwhile they starve while the current government doubles down on the fail. But it started in 2001 and it was boringly predictable:
A 2001 presidential decree on land reform, which Chávez handed down with no consultation or debate, was a taste of things to come. It broke up large commercial farms and turned them over to peasant cooperatives that lacked the technical know-how, management skills, or access to capital to produce at scale. Food production collapsed. And in sector after sector, the Chávez government enacted similarly self-defeating policies. It expropriated foreign-owned oil ventures without compensation and gave them to political appointees who lacked the technical expertise to run them. It nationalized utilities and the main telecommunications operator, leaving Venezuela with chronic water and electricity shortages and some of the slowest Internet connection speeds in the world. It seized steel companies, causing production to fall from 480,000 metric tons per month before nationalization, in 2008, to effectively nothing today. Similar results followed the seizure of aluminum companies, mining firms, hotels, and airlines.________________________
And, as always, all of this is just a distraction while we enjoy the decline.