A woman who called Michelle Obama an ape has her job back. This is part of a pattern.

 "Pamela Ramsey Taylor, the director of a Clay County, West Virginia, nonprofit who was removed from her post after she called Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” in a November Facebook post, will be back on the job December 23, the Charleston Gazette-Mailreported Monday.

That’s right, she wasn’t fired by the Clay County Development Corp. Though the initial headlines claimed she “lost her job,” she was just temporarily suspended. While Clay County Mayor Beverly Whaling stepped down permanently after commenting that Taylor’s racist Facebook post, “just made my day,” Taylor will return to work by Christmas." 

Dipayan Gupta's response:

The developing mainstream reaction to explicit racism: “That’s not very nice, but … shrug”

Fear the Robot Revolution: Dallas

The "Robot" used in the Police Killing of an armed and dangerous Dallas man, suspected in killing five DPD officers and wounding seven more was, to be sure, a rolling drone, somewhat modified, rather than some autonomous homunculus on a mission to kill a man. 

Still, it's a disquieting moment when devices like this remote controlled unit, designed to investigate and possibly remove bombs, was used to deliver one that was meant to detonate.

Top of mind is the detachment and ease with which this state-sanctioned killing took place. Still, one has to wonder whether the use of the robotic device was at least as detached and easy as a man fuelled by hate, pointing a high-powered rifle at unsuspecting law men and women, and then pulling the trigger to the effect of hitting 12 people. Horrifying.

CNN describes how the situation took place here (story and video) and ZDnet discusses the controversy of death by government robot here. It's important to give some thought to these issues as we move toward a world where our technology penetrates every facet of our civil life.

The Business Model is Illegality

"Let's not pussyfoot around here. The business model of these tax havens, beit the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, beit Panama-- the business model is built around-- 'We will allow you to engage in practices for a small fee that would otherwise be illegal in your host country.' That's the business model."
- Senator Sam Dastyari of Australia

The Australian documentary/report about the #PanamaPapers is on YouTube right now. Given the nature of the leak (11 million documents), it's rather succinct at 45 minutes.

What Global Warming?

"A joint investigation by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Energy and Environmental Reporting Project and the Los Angeles Times earlier detailed how one company, Exxon, made a strategic decision in the late 1980s to publicly emphasize doubt and uncertainty regarding climate change science even as its internal research embraced the growing scientific consensus."

The skeptic in me wonders if the left hand knew what the right hand was doing. The people who run PR and design ads for Exxon are not the same as the people who do research for drilling mechanisms. In fact CMO and COO may not have all communicated about this. 

But then again-- What steps did the engineers who came across this ad, and saw its folly, take to have it amended? Or if not amended, make sure that it, or a future related ad/PR campaign didn't continue or happen again? And more important, did ad messaging leadership solicit the opinion of Exxon's internal engineers and then ignore it? Or did they get their information from outside help? It's tough to coordinate info in big organizations and Exxon is one of the biggest. 

Either way, it's painful to learn. 

Electric Automobile Fantasy

"A $25,000 Tesla would upend the U.S. auto market. Incentives vary widely state by state, but the base incentive is a $7,500 federal income tax credit available to everyone in the country. Bringing the $35,000 sticker price of the Model 3 down by that amount would expand the potential market by roughly 50 percent, according to Morsy. Additional incentives would further knock down the price in more than a dozen states, including an additional $6,000 in Colorado and $2,500 in California, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. The only limiting factor for sales of a Tesla in this price range would be the company's ability to crank out cars."


$35,000.00 base price - $7,500.00 Federal tax credit - $6,000.00 Colorado State credit = $21,500.00 for a brand new base Tesla Model 3. 

Supposing one adds $10,000.00 in options, the car is still incredibly cheap for a vehicle that's about the size of the Nissan Leaf and yet has 2x the range. Taxi companies and municipalities are going to snap base trims of the Model 3 up in droves. 


Where are they?

"Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying said that it was “not acceptable” for Chinese police to operate independently in Hong Kong, but Leung, a Beijing loyalist, said there was “no indication” this was what had happened.

But pro-democracy lawmakers said it appeared likely Lee had been kidnapped by Chinese police, and expressed shock, anger and fear.

If confirmed, lawmakers said, Lee’s abduction would be a serious violation of the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle and the Basic Law framework that has defined Beijing’s relations with Hong since the 1997 handover from British rule."

Worrisome. Is there an official investigation?

Quartz - More Americans are relying exclusively on their phones for Internet access

The cost of home broadband is just too high.

And paradoxically, we can't afford for it to be too high since:

(1) our economy requires rich connectivity to support its entertainment, software, and services-based sectors and

(2) young people need regular, cheap and abundant access to the Internet in order to become the workers and innovators of tomorrow.

The solution is simple: The broadband market must be made more competitive. Congress, in league with the FCC and the FTC can and should make this a priority.