Daily Digest 10/8 – How Uber and Lyft Are Buying Labor Laws, The “3rd Worlding” of America


Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 in vice presidential debate (tmn)

Republicans desperately want to cast the race as a choice between two candidates fighting to move the country in vastly different directions. Biden and Harris, they say, would pursue a far-left agenda bordering on socialism; the Democrats say Trump’s administration will stoke racial and other divides, torpedo health care for people who aren’t wealthy and otherwise undercut national strength.

How Uber and Lyft Are Buying Labor Laws (tmn)

In place of state labor laws, Prop 22 “guarantees” certain benefits, including completely undefined “assistance” with health care premiums and disability coverage for those injured on the job. To understand how inessential these benefits are, look only to the “minimum earnings” promise. Drivers are guaranteed an hourly wage at least 120 percent of the local minimum. But that only kicks in during time spent driving, while waiting for or getting to a ride or a delivery, which can be as much as 37 percent of the time spent on the job, remains uncompensated. When you factor in time on the clock that remains unpaid, the “guarantee” would yield a subminimum wage for most drivers. A UC Berkeley Labor Center study estimates the average wage under Prop 22 as low as $5.64 an hour, a drastic pay cut from the $13 minimum wage they would be guaranteed as employees.

Inside the Estonian CBDC Experiment That Could Shape the Digital Euro (000)

Building such as a system for a large economy and taking into consideration areas like micro-payments and internet of things (IoT), could run to millions of transactions per second, Gault said. That sort of scale really rules out the notion of multi-party validators reaching consensus to provide proof of a transaction being submitted to the ledger, he said.

“The only reason you have these multiple validators is for censorship resistance,” said Gault. “We’ve yet to meet a central bank or a government that is interested in having censorship resistance. They are the censors.”

Christopher Roach: The 3rd Worlding of America (thc0655)

You don’t need to be a historian to see this; you merely need a set of eyes. When you see the decaying, boarded-up facades of yesteryear—the modest and orderly row homes of Baltimore, the grandiose public works of Detroit—these are the ruins of a prosperous and orderly society. They could not have been built so sturdily or well by the current denizens of these communities. They are a window into a disappearing America of prosperous small towns and orderly and civilized cities, where a middle class could live and work. Such “normalcy” exists now, if at all, in the rings of suburbs around our cities, usually more shoddily and less beautifully built than the original cities themselves.

We Spent A Year Investigating Police Dogs. Here Are Six Takeaways. (tmn)

People are bitten across the country, but some cities use biting dogs far more often than others. There’s no national database of police dog use and who is bitten. Our reporting found bites in nearly every state, though data from more than 50 police departments shows the numbers vary widely by city. Police in Chicago almost never deploy dogs for arrests and had only one incident from 2017 to 2019. Washington, D.C., had five. Seattle had 23. New York City, where policy limits their use mostly to felony cases, reported 25. By contrast, Indianapolis had more than 220 bites and Los Angeles reported more than 200 bites or dog-related injuries. The Sheriff’s Department in Jacksonville, Florida, had 160 in this period.

Palantir Stock: Peter Thiel’s Shiny Object Needs Money (000)

The company’s first platform, Gotham, uses semantic, temporal, geospatial and full-text analysis to create maps and graphs. It was reportedly used to identify the hideout of Osama bin Laden.

Foundry is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that lets users query huge data sets using natural language. The problem in both cases is that open source AI tools are improving more rapidly than Palantir’s proprietary ones, because there are more hands on the code.

Billionaire Trumpkin Peter Thiel “really enjoyed” meeting with prominent white nationalist (000)

Thiel is often described using terms like “enigmatic” and “libertarian”, but his opinions are well-publicized and his interest in freedom is well-asterisked. He famously wrote that women getting the vote rendered capitalist democracy an oxymoron (“The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics.”) and has long been associated with neo-reactionary “dark enlightenment” dreamers such as Mencius Moldbug, who surely appreciate another famous Thiel quote: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

So Thiel’s reported palling-around with regular fascists is, frankly, no surprise.

Work Zone Crashes Climb During Pandemic, Even as Traffic Ebbs (tmn)

“Speeding has really come to the forefront during COVID. People are going much too fast,” said Pam Shadel Fischer, a senior director at the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices. “In work zones, that’s the worst thing we can have happen.”

It’s been particularly deadly in Michigan, where in just one week in September, vehicles struck three county employees and a state contractor in separate incidents, killing two.

I Was Prescribed Trump’s Steroid. It Made Me Feel Invincible (tmn)

Medically speaking, it was a miracle drug. Dex restored nearly half of the hearing I’d already lost. But it also made me high as a kite, like I’d just mainlined a potent mixture of espresso beans and psychotropics. I could feel my heartbeat in my eyeballs. I was euphoric. I made elaborate plans for the months following my surgery — including another tour with my band, Andrew Leahey & the Homestead — despite my doctor’s warning that I wouldn’t be well enough to hit the road until the following summer. Not even the anxiety of my upcoming operation could dampen my buzz. To borrow a phrase I heard somewhere recently, I felt better than I did 20 years ago.

No jab, no movement? UK MP pushes mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for travel, suggests army should oversee rollout (JM)

The politician told the House that he has written to Johnson urging him to use the Ministry of Defence and the army to set up regional distribution hubs as well as to develop a “national database to track progress and issue the vaccination certificates.”

Ellwood, who is Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, said that vaccination certificates “will probably have to be internationally recognized in order to allow travel, international travel.”

Illinois Has Had COVID-19 Outbreaks in 44 Schools but Won’t Say Where They’ve Occurred (jdargis)

Unlike many other states, Illinois doesn’t publish the number of cases linked to schools or which schools have been affected — even as parents and educators try to assess whether in-person learning is safe. State health officials released overall numbers at the request of ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune.

With more than 1,800 public schools operating in person at least part time, along with an unknown number of private schools, the outbreaks represent a tiny fraction of Illinois schools in session, according to an analysis of state education data. Most outbreaks have been small — two or three cases at each school — but at least 105 students and 73 employees at public and private schools have been affected.

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