Wednesday Updates [DOT 17/8/22]

One nice thing about a long weekend is that Wednesday is here before you know it. The bad news is that I’m freaking exhausted.

I hope you all are having a great week!

Curious to see how this all shakes out.

Wyoming and Alaska primaries

This judge is not playing

Plea deals upended for pair accused of peddling nuclear sub secrets

Stonks! PS – Why would anyone give this guy money?!?

WeWork’s former CEO has a new startup, reportedly valued at more than $1 billion

She deserves this and more. They should write her a big check.

Look at him!

Have a great day!



  1. I get why the judge scrapped the deal but she might have screwed up because the couple retracted their guilty plea and are going to trial. According to the article the FBI never found the money or the documents that would be key to the case.

    • The feds settle for plea deals because they don’t want classified information coming out at tria and pretrial stages too.

      Which may be a factor in what happens with Trump. As thick as he is, he retains gigantic amounts of top value information in his head that could be useful to bad people, and he may have a lot of other document caches out there too. They need a strategy to keep that contained. There’s a good chance there’s bargaining going on right now.

      I’m sure part of the issue is the trouble he’s having finding lawyers Brian refers to below. Part of it is his vanity that nothing bad can ever happen to him. Part of it is the feds know he’s such a bad faith negotiator that they’re not going to settle for promises and probably need guilty pleas with parts of the punishment suspended in order to hold leverage against leaks.

      And part of it may be the crimes he committed are so bad they don’t want to encourage future information thefts on this scale.

  2. Venture capital investing (my new research field) is essentially massive gambling on a staggering scale. Eighty percent of startups fail. That could mean a loss to the VC investors, but once the assets and intellectual property are sold and divided and so on, it’s not usually a big one. It’s more like I’ll take my money (or most of it) and go back home. If the startup isn’t working it typically gets figured out before everybody takes big losses. Not always, mind you. Sometimes there’s a big loss. But that type of event is more rare than you might think.

    But the other 20% offer returns on unimaginable scales. THAT’s what pays for the other 80%. And reputation is HUGE. An unknown will have a tough time. A known quantity, even an asshole, is going to face much less pushback.

    So the debate for even a schmuck like WeWork guy is going to be “Did we lose money last time? Was is a lot?” If the answer is no, they’ll start writing checks. If the answer is “No, we made money,” then funds will line up to write him checks.

    • A big flaw in the thinking of these guys is that the number of investments they make is so small the results get wildly skewed by one lucky success. One partner at a firm doesn’t deal wih that many investments, and it’s easy to get way too much credit in a firm for random chance.

      Tons of what they do on an individual level is nothing more than dumb faith and office politics, so it can warp where money goes by a huge amount. As long as you have the lucky success early, there’s no real harm to your career for throwing money around after.

      The field is full of people operating on logical fallacies backed up by lack of transparency, which is why they typically make bad investments themselves.

    • I mean, it’s also that the biggest backers have such a giant pool of money they’re sitting on that a loss is barely noticeable and a win is … well, also barely noticeable most of the time, but it’s what people like that base their entire life on so they gotta keep churning.

      And, I suppose, every once in a blue moon they stumble into an Apple or Amazon, something that actually hits and survives.

      • The churn itself is a huge part of their profits. The fees are enormous. The opportunities for legal skimming are also huge — putting themselves at the top of the list for taking money out of the investment to ensure they clean up even if it means gutting pension funds and real estate necessary to stay viable.

        A huge amount is just gaming accounting rules by offloading debt in obscure ways, or playing with tax rules. And leaders survive by doing a lot of stuff internally to rivals that the firm as a whole does to takeovers. Neumann may not have been hired if he was a less spectacular failure, and the size of his failure may be his big selling point.

        may not have been hired des

    • I have a friend who is the Due Diligence officer at his small VC firm. That is, he has a law degree and a Master’s in forensic accounting so the partners will have deals they might want to pursue and he does all the research and goes through all the paperwork that the start-ups provide. Hilarity ensues. We really are a nation of shameless grifters.

      Still, every so often he (and they) find a diamond in the rough and he, at the height of the pandemic, rushed in and bought an Upper West Side penthouse at a fire sale price, because a lot of people, especially the wealthy, were fleeing Manhattan in their panic. Now, not everyone’s back, lots went to Florida and Texas, probably never to return, but apartments are more expensive than ever. He paid just under $3 million for his, all cash. I only know this because the purchase made the news, some website I read, and it’s now worth a little over 5. Congratulate me. This friend has hit on me more than once. I love hm because he’s very smart and very, very funny, but I find him physically repellent. I don’t really know why, exactly. However, I am ashamed to admit, he is my retirement plan should things ever go south with my beloved Better Half.

      PS: He also owns a quite large apartment in Paris. He’s loaned it to us before. It’s in the 6th, St-Germain-des-Prés. Maybe I could swing a deal where he lives in New York or Paris and I do the opposite.

  3. Not a good sign for Republicans.

    GOP slashes ads in key Senate battlegrounds


    Since Aug. 1, the NRSC has cut ad buys in the battleground states of Pennsylvania ($7.5 million), Arizona ($3.5 million), Wisconsin ($2.5 million) and Nevada ($1.5 million), according to the ad tracking service AdImpact. Separately, a Democratic source tracking advertising buys estimated roughly $10.5 million in cuts by the NRSC since the first of the month.

    • That’s a timely reminder. Liz ain’t a hero. She’s just pissed Trump screwed up her grift.

      That said, if she functions as a spoiler in 2024 to siphon off votes and fuck up Trump and/or DeSantis, I will welcome her efforts.

    • Liz Cheney sucks and I’m glad she’s out of government.

      But I would argue that we should always encourage politicians to take difficult stands when their party wants to do something atrocious. And yeah, that means even someone as shitty and hateful as Liz Cheney. She’s a garbage human being. Yet, she knew this was the likely outcome when she stepped up. And sure, now she can take her grift national — but the much, much easier grift was to just nod and give a thumbs-up to the rabid Mango Unchained fans in her state and not do a goddamn thing to help Democrats make the case against him. I give her credit for this one thing, similarly to rabid warmonger John McCain’s vote on health care and soulless LLC-bot Mitt Romney working with Democrats to push direct payments to families (even if he it voted against it later).

      • I am totally with you on those points.  I just hear too many democrats acting like she is the best thing ever and some would even vote for her for president thinking she is some kind of moderate.  I’m glad she had integrity on this one issue but I won’t give her a pass on everything else because of it.

        • Yeah I was watching msnbc back during the beginning of the Jan 6th hearings and one of the points made by the reporter was that something like 95% of the time she voted for the same legislation Trump did.

          She wasn’t out of alignment with what he wanted, she just doesn’t want Trump to get away with his illegal shit.

  4. Sorry, not sure where to drop this and not sure if this has been discussed, but is Norwex legit? Not the business model, but the cleaning aspects of it. My wife is getting into it quite a bit I’ve tried to Google it (best I can do) and can’t tell actual review from paid review. My wife has said the person selling it does a bacteria test, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything if I don’t know anything about the testing implements etc. Sorry if this has already been discussed.

  5. One of my favorite pieces of Marlon Brando trivia (Sacheen Littlefeather showed up at the Oscars to say “no thanks” on Marlon Brando’s behalf for the Oscar he won for The Godfather; that’s what she’s doing chatting with Roger Moore and Liv Ullmann in the photo above) is that one of Brando’s oldest and best friends was Wally Cox. Yes. Two more different people it is hard to imagine, but Brando was very eccentric. You might remember Wally Cox from Hollywood Squares. Here’s his wiki to refresh your memory:

    Brando famously said of Cox, “If he were a woman I’d marry him and we’d live happily ever after.”

    Now, for some reason rumors of homosexuality dogged both men throughout their entire lives. Wally Cox I can see, kind of, because of the characters he used to play, but he was married three times. Brando, smoking hot in his Streetcar Named Desire days and then, shockingly, very not-so-hot by the time The Godfather was released, sired 11 children, at least, by different women. But again, Brando was a very strange person and even in the 1950s, when it was a huge no-no, he used to drop hints that he was not unfamiliar with the touch of another man. That’s the way I’ll put it. Imagine him, in the 1950s, with James Dean or Tab Hunter or Rock Hudson. It’s almost too much to even think about. For me anyway.

      • In his somewhat not-so-hot period he was in the very controversial “Last Tango in Paris” which came out the same year as The Godfather I think and I think it might have gotten an X rating. I’ve seen it and I really don’t recommend it, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a woman because apparently Brando was not exactly gentlemanly to his co-star, Maria Schneider. Which only adds fuel to the controversy fire about Brando being gay. Or at least bisexual. On the one hand there are people, like some of my older gay friends, who insist that he must have been gay, because he was so strange (sexually) around women. On the other hand, there are the 11 children, at least, so other people think he was a hypersexed heteronormative man of his time and would make a play for any woman who came into his orbit. He wrote an autobio, which I should really read at some point, where he talks quite candidly, and apparently very movingly, about his alcoholic mother, so if you’re a Freudian that introduces this whole other level of psychodrama.

    • Seriously just send the kids to a private school in the US. We got tons of weirdo right-wing schools already teaching that bullshit.

      Also the whole part about not using technology is going to bite their students in the ass later.

      • tbh…i think having parents that would send them to that kind of school bit them in the ass first

        not being tech savvy is just icing on the shit cake

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