22 May 2017

Linkage


This could be good, or it could be awful, or it could be uneven and spotty.

Given that this is from the mind of Seth McFarlane, my money is on the final option, though I am going to try and catch the first episode, because it is directed by Jon Faveau .

21 May 2017

Not Enough Bullets

The headline says it all:

Hedge Fund-Backed Pharma Company That Fed Opioid Crisis Now Seeks to Profit from Treating It:

If you get caught selling cannabis at college, you can lose your scholarship and access to financial aid. But if your company is caught bribing doctors to sell the deadly opioid fentanyl, you can get a building named after you.

Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company backed by the hedge funds Orbimed Advisors and Scopia Capital, has had its CEO and five other executives charged with conspiring to bribe doctors to prescribe the opioid fentanyl. Insys is now seeking to profit from treating the opioid epidemic that it helped to exacerbate by selling drugs to treat addiction and reverse overdoses.

In December 2016, six executives at Insys Therapeutics, including former CEO Michael Babich, were arrested and charged with paying off doctors to prescribe Subsys, an oral spray form of fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is many times more potent than morphine or heroin. The arrests came amid investigations by several states and the federal government as well as inquiries from Congress and a shareholder lawsuit.

Investigations began in 2014 after doctors who were paid tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees by Insys were arrested for improperly prescribing Subsys. The New York Times reported that, though Subsys was only approved for breakthrough cancer pain, only around one percent of prescriptions for Subsys were made by oncologists. Half of the prescriptions for Subsys were written by pain specialists, with the rest coming from “general practice physicians, neurologists and even dentists and podiatrists.”
One of the things that most of the coverage of the opioid crisis (actually, the crisis has been around for a while, it just did not get ink until white folks started dying) is that it has been driven by aggressive and unethical marketing of pharmaceutical firms.

These folks need to spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Well, They Would Say That, Wouldn't They?*

Boeing is suggesting that the US Navy would be better served by evolving the existing F/A-18 rather than spending two decades to develop another hyper-expensive stealth fighter. (paid subscription required)

Boeing is making a statement in own interest. It sells the F-18.

Boeing also happens to be right in this case: Development programs that are egregiously expensive and span decades do not produce weapons that work properly.

Either they perform poorly, or they are too expensive to deploy in the numbers in which they would be needed:
Boeing has cautioned the U.S. Navy against getting locked into another 20-year aircraft development program as it reaches for the F/A-XX, the service’s next carrier warplane.


The company says continuing to evolve the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet through Block 3 beginning in fiscal 2019 and a potential Block 4 follow-on modernization program as a complement to the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II is the most prudent path forward to satisfy an immediate need for greater numbers of strike fighters with advanced capabilities.


Boeing says low-radar-cross-section airframes are useful for the first day of war and flying into denied areas guarded by X-band radars. But the integrated air defense radars of potential adversaries such as Russia and China have moved into different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as C-band and S-band. Buying into a next-generation stealth aircraft development program under F/A-XX might not be the best answer to meet current and future threats, Boeing believes.


………


“For the Navy, and I think for a lot of countries, don’t lock yourself into a 20-year development cycle and a platform you’re stuck with for X amount of years,” says Larry Burt, a former naval aviator and now Boeing’s director of global sales and marketing for global strike programs. “Don’t make a big revolutionary step. Keep evolving what you’ve got. You could keep evolving the mission systems, sensors and capability of the Super Hornet and maybe eventually put a new wrapper on it.”
With the 2nd most protracted and dysfunctional weapons development program in the world (India's is worse), they are right.

US defense procurement is a racket, with the contractors spreading sub-contractors to the districts of powerful Congressmen, and providing lucrative sinecures to the generals involved in their retirement.

*Yes, this is a reference to Mandy Rice-Davies.

20 May 2017

Remember How It Was Stated That Only the Syrians Could Launch a Chemical Attack?

Not So Much:
US intelligence believes ISIS is bringing together all of its experts on chemical weapons from Iraq and Syria into a new "chemical weapons cell," according to a US official.

The cell is comprised of chemical weapons specialists from Iraq and Syria who have not previously worked together, the official added. The new unit is being set up in an ISIS-controlled area in Syria within the Euphrates River Valley, between Mayadin, Syria and the town of al Qaim, just across the Iraqi border.

That location has sparked a good deal of interest on the part of US military intelligence. One US defense official told CNN that "thousands" of ISIS operatives and sympathizers may be in the area and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could also be in hiding somewhere nearby. The area is now considered the "de facto" capital of ISIS, with Raqqa under such military pressure from the coalition and local forces, the official said.

Coalition officials still stress that given its size and status, the capture of Raqqa is still considered to be an important military objective.

It is assessed that ISIS is consolidating its chemical weapons capabilities in order to boost its ability to defend its remaining strongholds.
How does this compare to earlier US claims that ISIS could not have any chemical stockpiles, and that Syria was the only player in the civil war who had the capability to deploy chemical weapons?

We need to stop doing the bidding of the various Persian Gulf potentiates.

All it does is create mayhem, disorder, and suffering.

This Episode of Doctor Who Is Epic

How can you not love an episode with the line, "Do not under any circumstances put the Pope in my bedroom!"

I'll Take Four Shares of the Clinton Dynasty, Please………

Marc Mezvinsky, better known has Chelsea Clinton's husband, has failed upward once again

After an undistinguished career at the Vampire Squid, and then founding a hedge fund that crashed and burned, he has now been hired by Social Capital as its vice chairman:
Social Capital, the Silicon Valley investment firm founded by Chamath Palihapitiya, has hired Marc Mezvinsky as its vice chairman. The hiring of the investment banker and hedge fund founder is part of a wider effort by Social Capital to morph itself well beyond its venture roots.

Currently, Social Capital has been making venture and seed investments, as well as some public ones, and also has a unit devoted to incubating startups. It has also been developing a software-based product-market fit platform called 8-ball, to do the quantitative part of due diligence for possible investments.

But, as part of a longer-term master plan, it has been exploring a wide range of other financial products to support its companies across their life cycle, said Palihapitiya in an interview with Mezvinsky earlier this week.

………

Mezvinsky will work out of a new office in New York, but will be in Silicon Valley regularly, where there are about 40 employees in Palo Alto. There are also plans to open a unit in London.
So, he's getting a job as "Vice Chairman" and he'll be working from home ……… or something, because of his non-existent business acumen?

Someone is making an investment in political dynasty futures.

You Are F%$#ing Kidding Me!

It appears that Donald Trump has canceled a planned trip to Masada because they won't let his helicopter on the site:
US President Donald Trump reportedly canceled a visit and speech at the historic Masada desert fortress after the Israel Air Force informed him he would not be allowed to land his helicopter at the UNESCO-listed archaeological site.

Trump subsequently removed Masada from his itinerary altogether, rather than taking the cable car to the top of the iconic mountain as had been suggested to him, Channel 2 reported.

He is set to deliver the major address of his Israel trip at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum instead.
He's a f%$#ing orange stained infant.

19 May 2017

Reality is Weird

Have you heard of the The U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit?

Here is their description of themselves:
The U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit (US-CCU) is an independent, non-profit (501c3) research institute. It provides assessments of the strategic and economic consequences of possible cyber-attacks and cyber-assisted physical attacks. It also investigates the likelihood of such attacks and examines the cost-effectiveness of possible counter-measures.

Although the US-CCU aims to provide credible estimates of the costs of ordinary hacker mischief and white collar crime, its primary concern is the sort of larger scale attacks that could be mounted by criminal organizations, terrorist groups, rogue corporations, and nation states.

The mission of the US-CCU is to provide America and its allies with the concepts and information necessary for making sound security decisions in a world where our physical well-being increasingly depends on cyber-security. The reports and briefings the US-CCU produces are supplied without charge to the government, to entire critical infrastructure industries, and to the public.
Do you know what the name of their director is?

It's Scott Borg.

Linkage






The Muppets perform Bohemian Rhapsody: