Althouse | category: commerce



a blog by Ann Althouse

"The Commerce Department, under Ms. Raimondo’s leadership, is now poised to begin distributing nearly $100 billion — roughly 10 times the department’s annual budget..."

"... to build up the U.S. chip industry and expand broadband access throughout the country.... Many view the effort as the best — and only — bet for the United States to position itself in industries of the future, like artificial intelligence and supercomputing, and ensure that the country has a secure supply of the chips necessary for national security. But the risks are similarly huge. Critics of the Biden administration’s plans have noted that the federal government may not be the best judge of which technologies to back.... The outcome could also have ramifications for Ms. Raimondo’s political ambitions.... Her supporters say she could ascend to another cabinet position, run for the Senate or perhaps mount a presidential bid. But she is under close watch by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and some other left-wing Democrats, who have criticized her as being too solicitous of corporate interests...."

From "A Rising Star in the Biden Administration Faces a $100 Billion Test/Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary, has made a career of tackling increasingly larger challenges. Could the next one be too big?" (NYT).

"Actually, Sandy [Sandra Bullock] and I did once try to develop a whole idea of a husband and wife team, who were QVC’s most successful salespeople..."

"... but we’re getting a divorce, we hate each other, and we’re taking it out on air as we sell things… That’s as far as we got."

Again, I don’t know if it’s just that I believe in being all-inclusive as much as possible? Or maybe it’s about us guys needing help from others in understanding how we can treat our skin better?... We kept the smell very neutral, very fresh, and very, very subtle. I mean, I’m the kind of person who will change hotel rooms if I can smell the cologne of the last person who stayed there! It’s too much! It’s too strong! Keep it subtle. Let people come to you. Don’t force it on others. That’s my feeling (laughs). For smells, I mean. I stand by that for smells!

"I don’t care if you like me, I am not raising you for YOU to like ME. I am raising YOU, for ME to like you."

Said Julio Sandoval, telling parents what he says to his own kids, quoted in "‘Literally kidnapping’: Teens taken against their will to boarding schools across US" (Kansas City Star).
[P]arents hire Sandoval’s company – Safe Sound Secure Youth Ministries – to remove their so-called “troubled teens” from their homes and transport them to the schools. Sandoval also is former dean of students at Agape Boarding School and current leader of another unlicensed facility, both in Missouri....

[Agents of t]ransport companies... often show up at homes in the middle of the night — with the parents’ consent — dragging scared youth out of bed...

“These guys came in my room in plain clothes,” [Niles] Short told The Star. “They handcuffed me with real handcuffs and threatened me with a taser. I got into survivor mode, told them I had to (go to the bathroom). They made me leave the door open and watched me.... I was cornered in my bedroom — it was a shocking thing.... My sister had warned me about it but I didn’t believe her, because Mom always threatened me with boarding school.”

Sandoval's quote caught my eye because it's reminiscent of the 5th of Jordan Peterson's "12 Rules for Life": "Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them." 

"Russia pumps almost as much oil into the global market as it did before its invasion of Ukraine. With oil prices up..."

"... Moscow is also making more money. Demand from some of the world’s largest economies has given Russian President Vladimir Putin the upper hand in the energy battle that shadows the war in Ukraine, and has confounded the West’s bid to cripple Russia’s economy with sanctions.... And new trade arrangements have given Mr. Putin cover to use natural-gas exports as an economic weapon against Ukraine’s European allies. Before the war, Russia supplied Europe with 40% of its gas. It has since throttled flows through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany and other conduits, driving prices higher and putting pressure on European households and businesses.... Russia’s oil-market resilience has drawn a mixed reaction in Washington, which is juggling two conflicting goals: Tamping down inflation with increased global oil supplies, and keeping economic pressure on Mr. Putin."

What a failure!

I'm stuck in a marijuana-addled cycle of doom.

Here's what I've been spending time on. Let me quote from the bottom of a post of mine from August 5, 2017, "A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana," which, at the moment, "does not exist":
UPDATE: Blogger unpublished this post and told me "Your content has violated our Illegal activities policy." This post is about a news item that appeared in NPR. Reports about crime are not illegal! 
UPDATE 2: Blogger reevaluated this post and sent me email that said:
We have re-evaluated the post titled "A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana. " against Community Guidelines.... Upon review, the post has been reinstated.

 8 hours after that, I received email about this same post, saying: 

As you may know, our Community Guidelines ( describe the boundaries for what we allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your post titled "A corporation buys a whole town in California, and the plan is to make it all about marijuana. " was flagged to us for review. We have determined that it violates our guidelines and have unpublished the URL, making it unavailable to blog readers.

Come on, Blogger! Don't you have a way to keep the SAME POST from getting unpublished? Am I in some kind of cycle of doom? This post should be immune from future flagging.

UPDATE 3: This post was very quickly reinstated after I requested review again. Let's see if it gets unpublished again. 

UPDATE 4: It got unpublished again, almost immediately! I am in a cycle of doom! Wake up, Blogger! I may have to do a new post shining light on this problem. I'm actually suspicious that the corporation — American Green — is out to get me because I was critical of its commercial product. 

This post is CRITICAL of a marijuana company, and it is CRITICAL of an NPR news report that presents it in a positive light. How can my post possibly be considered to promote criminal behavior? If anything, I am applying a HIGHER standard of adherence to criminal law than American Green and NPR. Marijuana is legalized in Nevada and California, but not at the federal level.
ADDED: Here's the NPR article I was blogging about at the time: "No Pipe Dream: Cannabis Company Buys California Town." I wondered what had happened to that town, Nipton, because the company's plan was about "bottling water (from a nearby aquifer) infused with CBD," and these days, there's a water shortage. 

The tiny desert town attracts stargazers, motorcycle riders, he town currently has a population of 15 – 20 people. It has been sold several times before. In 2017 it was bought by a large cannabis company for $5 million. The company tried to rebrand it as Magical Nipton. The company had ambitious plans to turn it into a cannabis retreat. It spent a lot of money on infrastructure, built several eco-cabins, comfy teepees for visitors, installed massive public art pieces, and did restoration work on some of the historic structures.

That's what I blogged about in 2017. 

But the cannabis retreat didn’t materialize...

I guess the pipe dream that NPR said was "No Pipe Dream" turned out to be a pipe dream. 

... so the town reverted to its previous owner. That was Roxanne Lang....

So, I guess I'm not worried that American Green is nudging Blogger to censor me.

Now, we're told, the town has been sold again, this time to "a group out of Las Vegas." Forgive me for not being paranoid enough to worry about the group out of Las Vegas. You know, that's one of the medical issues marijuana can help you with, not being paranoid enough

UPDATE: Reinstated again. Let's see if it lasts.

"Much has already been said, tweeted and complained about The Washington Post’s tagline, 'Democracy Dies in Darkness'.... It’s harsh, foreboding and alarming."

"But it’s also true. When people don’t know the facts, a government of the people is impossible. So then why do the Post and many other legacy news publishers leave so many Americans in the dark? See, if you want to read a Post article, including this one about how they came up with the tagline back in 2017, you might be blocked by a paywall.... I often refer to people who don’t pay for news as 'passive' news consumers.... [T]hey’re... consuming the news that comes to them through their daily scrolling of social media feeds, email inboxes and conversations with people they trust.... Passive consumers may have faith that good, accurate news about the world and their own communities will somehow find them. But with few exceptions, they’re wrong about that. Increasingly, the fact-based news that’s necessary for a pro-democracy citizenry is behind a paywall. On social media, passive consumers are more likely to see propaganda that capitalizes on the ways information is distributed there. Biased algorithms reward salacious and emotionally charged content — often favoring right-leaning messaging that is outright false....With a major political party upholding the Big Lie and sowing mistrust in our incredibly secure elections, we have no more time to waste on out-of-touch debates. News organizations must instead seize the opportunity before us to once again serve as the bulwark of our democracy and get factual information to the people...."

There are more kinds of passivity — and propaganda — than McGowan acknowledges, and she's — ironically — doing propaganda of her own. But, yeah, paywalls are gumming up the works.

In case you're wondering what was in that 2017 WaPo article about its ominous slogan, I crossed the paywall for you:
The paper’s owner, founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, used the phrase in an interview [in 2016].... Bezos apparently heard the phrase from legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward....Woodward’s source appears to be Judge Damon J. Keith....
[A] small group of Post employees... began meeting last year to develop a slogan. One planning document for the group suggested finding a “positive” variation on the early contender “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”...
The group brainstormed more than 500 would-be slogans. The choices ranged from the heroic (“Dauntless Defenders of the Truth”) to the clunky (“American democracy lives down the street. No one keeps closer watch.”) to the Zen-like (“Yes. Know.”).

The group ultimately ended up where it started — with “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Ha ha. Everything else was worse. But they had 500! It's like that vast array of photos from your family trip to Hawaii. They're all bad!

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