Comics, Insurance, and the F*!cking LA Lakers on the Internets

Peanuts, 27 April 2020
You can put me on “hug,” Chuck
, Peanuts, 27 April 2020

Oh Peppermint Patty. That’s m’girl.

Mint and Marcie from Weapon Brown
Mint and Marcie
, by Joe Linsner

And if you’d like to see MUCH MUCH MORE of these two, you’ll have the joy of buying the Weapon Brown GN because “A Peanut Scorned” is no longer online. You can, however, read the rest of it online. Further, however, the W Brown GN is totally worth it if you’re a fan of satire/homage. J Yungbluth’s knowledge of newspaper comics et al. is impressive, if not a little frightening. But I like that in my graphic novelists. Really, I do. (Amazon, if you just want to cut to the chase.)

“We at FiveThirtyEight have cautioned you not to take early general election polls too seriously, but the answer for when you should tune in isn’t exactly straightforward either. There’s actually a pretty big debate over just how meaningful early general election polls are. MIT researcher Alexander Agadjanian and The Economist data journalist G. Elliott Morris argue that early polls in recent cycles have been closer to the final outcome than polls from previous cycles and should therefore be taken seriously. But political scientists Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien maintain that while early general election polls might be more accurate now, they’re still not as accurate as those conducted closer to Election Day, and that distinction matters as even small shifts in the polls can matter a great deal to the final outcome in our era of highly competitive elections.”
You Can Pay Attention To Those Trump vs. Biden Polls. But Be Cautious, by Geoffrey Skelley, 538, 27 April 2020

“When the aid program first went live on April 3, the Treasury Department’s goal was to quickly steer money to the neediest businesses — hair salons, coffee shops, dry cleaners and others. But many large banks needed more time to set up their systems and held off for days on taking applications, leading to an outcry from borrowers who could not afford to keep waiting. Many were also furious that hundreds of publicly traded companies, as well as wealthy clients of some big banks, got access to those funds.”
Bankers Scold S.B.A. as Loan System Crashes in Flood of Applications, by Stacy Cowley, NYT, 27 April 2020

The SBA should get some help from the NEA. The NEA system never crashes (and they’ve never given me any money so far either). Has America been made great again yet?

“America’s ‘anti-vaxxer movement’ would pose a threat to national security in the event of a ‘pandemic with a novel organism’, an FBI-connected non-profit research group warned last year, just months before the global coronavirus pandemic began. In a research paper put out by the little-known in-house journal of InfraGard – a national security group affiliated with the FBI – experts warned the US anti-vaccine movement would also be connected with ‘social media misinformation and propaganda campaigns’ orchestrated by the Russian government. Since the virus hit America, anti-vaccination activists and some sympathetic legislators around the country have led or participated in protests against stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the deadly virus. More than 50,000 people have died in the US.”
US was warned of threat from anti-vaxxers in event of pandemic, by Jason Wilson, The Guardian, 27 April 2020

“Around Southern California — and the rest of the United States — restaurants (and other businesses) are suing insurers for denying coronavirus-related business interruption claims. Most people expect the trickle of lawsuits to become a torrent.”
These LA Restaurants Are Suing Their Insurance Companies For Offering ‘No Help At All’, by Elina Shatkin, LAist27 April 2020

C’mon, American insurance behemoth; don’t be evil. Or more evil than usual. You lost this bet, mega-insurance companies, so it’s time to pony up. Seriously, isn’t this force majaure? Is America great yet?

“Georgia may not copyright its entire official code, which includes both the state’s laws and annotations interpreting them, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The 5-to-4 decision featured unusual alliances and would most likely be widely felt, as about 20 other states have claimed that parts of similar annotated codes are copyrighted.

Why would you even want to do that?

“‘If everything short of statutes and opinions were copyrightable,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, “then states would be free to offer a whole range of premium legal works for those who can afford the extra benefit. A state could monetize its entire suite of legislative history. With today’s digital tools, states might even launch a subscription or pay-per-law service.'”

Oh. Money.
Georgia Can’t Copyright Its Entire State Code, the Supreme Court Rules
In a 5-to-4 ruling with unusual alliances, the court said that annotations cannot be copyrighted if they are the official work of state lawmakers
, by Adam Liptak, NYT, 27 April 2020

Seriously, Georgia; don’t be evil. Thank you, SCOTUS; you’re occasionally great. Like, on 13 June 2013, you ruled that human genes cannot be patented in the U.S., thank goodness, but synthetic DNA (altered in labs; not found in nature; human DNA included? I wonder) is protected.

“Sunday’s observation of World Intellectual Property Day was as muted as you might expect in a year in which the world is gripped by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The Worldometer tallies—which always trend a bit ahead of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center at this writing on April 27 already have assigned 3,014,895 cases to the world total, while the Johns Hopkins charts still are 10,000 cases from the 3 million mark. Sadly, it won’t take long.”
‘It’s Not a Question of Access’, by Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 27 April 2020

“Rick Friedman, owner of Right to Self Protect, a firearms store and training facility with two locations in New Jersey, is accustomed to seeing the same clients month after month. But when SARS-CoV-2 began to spread, Friedman noticed a change. His neighbors began to stop him on the street and ask about coming in. These were people who hadn’t bought a gun before, he said, and they were bombarding him with questions about the gun-buying process. Emails came in, too, prompting him to add more information to his website. And customers who had registered for a firearms card years ago but had never purchased a gun started filling his stores.”
Another Worrying Side Effect of Covid-19: More Guns, by Ariel Ramchandani, Undark, 27 April 2020

So… do you need a gun because society is going to fall apart or the government is going to become opporessive so society doesn’t fall apart? WTF?

“A former president criticizing a sitting president during a crisis of this magnitude used to be unthinkable, but now that Mr. Trump has ripped up the playbook of civility, members of the so-called Presidents Club have free rein. His decision to jettison his predecessors is highly unusual in modern times. And he knows it. His administration, he told me, has bested them all and he was not worried about how he would eventually be received in the Presidents Club. “I don’t think I fit very well because I’m a different kind of a president,” he said. “I’ve broken up a lot of policies, a lot of things that they’ve done.” For decades, the sitting president has called upon the former presidents to provide a sense of national unity. Their familiar presence would be reassuring in a world that has become surreal.
Trump’s Contempt for the Ex-Presidents Is Costing Us Right Now, by Kate Andersen Brower, NYT, 27 April 2020

Could Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama just start doing podcasts or youtube videos on something? Anything? Cooking, a book club, anything at all. It would be comforting.

“The Newport Beach City Council’s holding a special meeting Tuesday afternoon on the city’s response to coronavirus, and one of the items on the agenda is possibly closing its beaches down on the weekend. One proposal being considered: The beach would remain open during the week, but close down Saturday and Sunday for the next three weeks. Gov. Gavin Newsom said during his daily coronavirus press conference on Monday that California is weeks, not months away from starting to reopen — but that being able to reopen requires continued physical distancing. ‘We can’t see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere in the state of California,’ Newsom said.”
So Many People Went To Newport Beach That It Might Get Shut Down Again, by Mike Roe, LAist, 27 April 2020

“Slowly but surely, human workers will be pushed into the shallow end of the job pool, according to Daniel Susskind, a fellow in economics at Balliol College, Oxford University. In his book ‘A World Without Work,’ released earlier this year, Susskind argued that advanced artificial intelligence programs and robotics will eventually match or outperform human workers across industries. ‘As machines become more and more capable, human beings will find themselves retreating to an ever-shrinking set of tasks and activities that these systems and machines cannot do,’ he told Undark. Machines have already found steady work in the manufacturing and automotive industries. More recently, they’ve made headway in law, medicine, and even art. And as the machines gain more skills that were previously thought to be unlikely or even impossible, it might not be a surprise that automation anxiety remains strong.”
To Preserve Jobs for Humans, Some Propose a Robot Tax, by Doug Johnson, Undark, 27 April 2020

Would the “robot tax” be part or all of Universal Basic Income? Also, robots don’t get the flu… they get SKYNET! EEEEEEEK!

“Ten Los Angeles-area businesses are suing the country’s biggest banks over their handling of the first round of funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the federal government’s loan program for small businesses affected by the coronavirus. They claim banks prioritized bigger customers over smaller ones in violation of the program’s intent.” ~snip~ “Houck and her colleagues analyzed data released on April 16 from the Small Business Administration, and concluded that banks approved more large loans earlier in the program and more smaller loans towards the end. The banks appeared to be prioritizing larger loans, despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury had said the loans were first-come, first-served.” ~snip~ “Dismayed by her experience with Bank of America, and angered by stories of large or publicly-traded companies that had received loans — like the LA Lakers and Irvine-based Kura Sushi — she volunteered.”
10 SoCal Businesses Are Suing Big Banks Over Federal Coronavirus Loans, by Emily Guerin, 27 April 2020

The LA Lakers… as if I need another reason to go with Laker Riots to hate them. WHY WOULD THEY EVEN APPLY FOR A FUCKING SMALL BUSINESS LOAN? Let alone get one? WHY! Just lay-off some goo-goo-zillionaire salary players. Gah!

Oh, wait… They’re giving it back. That’s good; I still hate them.

“When will fans be let back into stadiums? Is it safe to reopen leagues? And will the sporting landscape be changed forever?”
Doctors on the return of sports: ‘Fans may not be in stadiums until well into 2021’, by Sam Yip, The Guardian, 28 April 2020

Gosh, could the LA Lakers go out of business? That would be… great!

“Insurance is one of those things that really has not been updated since the 1980s. When we went to update the general liability insurance policy to really rebuild it from the ground up, the latest update was in 1986. That should just show you how far behind the times the industry is. In addition to that, the insurance industry is not set up to sell to very small customers. The larger insurance companies want to sell bigger and bigger policies to bigger and bigger companies because they are so expensive, they are so inefficient. The idea that they would want to sell a tiny little business a fractional policy for one job that they’re doing is completely anathema. There was a huge gap in the insurance industry based on these tectonic shifts in the labor force. We’re really filling a gap where the overall labor market is changing. That favors a small startup like us that can figure out a way to sell this insurance in a new and agile way that is simply not attractive to any of the incumbents or any of the brokers. The brokers, their attitude is this is a lot of my time and work to be able to sign up this customer and do all of the ongoing maintenance on this customer, and I’m only going to get a 10% commission on a $300 policy.”
Gig Workers Face Big Changes Due to COVID-19. Q&A with Jay Bregman, Co-Founder and CEO, Thimble, by Michael Fitzpatrick, Leader’s Edge, 27 April 2020

Trying to innovate in insurance must be a nightmare. The same laws that protect consumers from predatory insurers, also protect the big insurers from having to serve the same consumers. Unless they get caught red-handed (see above). Yes, independent contractors really do need short-term liability and other insurance and it’s, AFIK, impossible to private individuals to get. This Thimble insurance company might be the wave of the future and something to look into.

Quotes:

A hard man is good to find.
Mae West

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.
Mae West

A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that’s subtraction.
Mae West

A man in debt is so far a slave.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man in the house is worth two in the street.
Mae West

A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like to him; wherever he goes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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