A fine is a price.

PG&E now knows that a human life is only worth $48,000. That's definitely going to affect their maintenance budget and executive compensation packages, but probably not in the way you'd hope.

'Guilty, your honor': PG&E enters pleas for 85 Camp Fire felonies

Bill Johnson, CEO of PG&E Corp., the utility's parent company, personally entered each of the pleadings at a hearing in Chico, the result of Butte County prosecutors' criminal investigation into the 2018 Camp Fire. The fire nearly leveled the town of Paradise and surrounding areas more than 1½ years ago, and investigators found that it was started by an old power line that PG&E allowed to deteriorate.

One by one, the judge read aloud the names of the victims, mostly elderly and infirm, who had suffered horrific, preventable deaths. The court projected their photos onto the wall. Mask pulled down, Johnson took in each picture as he entered the 85 guilty pleas on behalf of his company.

After accepting PG&E's guilt, which took more than a half-hour, Johnson said [a meaningless platitude.]

The company has agreed to pay the maximum fine of $3.5 million and another $500,000 to reimburse the district attorney's office. PG&E is already on probation because of felony convictions that arose from the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion.

Remember, kids: you should believe that corporations are people as soon as Texas executes one.

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Dazzle is very in right now


I have painted my front door in a dazzle camouflage scheme inspired by HMS Argus. It is quite disconcerting and disorienting from the landing below so I have deemed it effective.

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SOMA Nature Walk

I will admit, "SF homeless being stalked by lions" was not on my 2020 bingo card.

Update 1, June 22: Meet the two women who caught the mountain lion in San Francisco. Heartwarming!

Update 2, July 4: Mountain lion that roamed SF streets killed by vehicle in Pacifica. Oh, come on!!!

The young male mountain lion had a tracker, enabling authorities to confirm it was the same animal they had released in San Mateo County just two weeks ago.

This timeline sucks.

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"Behold, the Apple Pro Stand of ham holders"

$799.97. "Widely regarded as one of the most complete ham holders on the market, the Elite allows you to adjust the position of your ham both vertically and horizontally, and the hinged swivel head lets you turn the ham without removing it from the holder. The base also has a system of spikes that will hold unusually shapes and cuts of ham."

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"So this is the famous JavaScript!"

"You are great at the internets!"

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Burn ES&S to the ground

County Election Office Denied Access to Election Database

The Supervisor of Election, as defined by Florida statutes, is the custodian of all election documents and records, from voter registration to candidate filings and election results. So, you can imagine my surprise when a senior election office official acknowledged that while they maintain custody of the Microsoft SQL Server database where all votes are recorded, no one in the office can log into the database or query its data.

Election Systems & Software, the company who owns the election management system software the county uses, refuses to give them a user account. The company says it is a preventative measure to reduce the risk of record tampering, whether intentionally or accidentally. ES&S also issued a mob-like warning: if the election office accesses the database through a backdoor, or other means, the company will automatically revoke all results pending certification and terminate the contract immediately. [...]

ES&S clients find themselves locked into a system and contract that equates secrecy with security and views data sharing as a high risk threat. What ES&S is doing is nothing short of unethical and runs counter to industry practices regarding data collection systems.

For years, the company has hidden behind the veil of proprietary rights and patents, when asked to share even the most basic components of their software. But a software company can't have proprietary rights to a user's data, and any patented rights surely do not extend to a user's data.

ES&S is based in Omaha, Nebraska and has nearly 500 employees. The company is owned by the McClatchy Group, a private equity firm, which means their financial records aren't public. Conservative estimates say the company controls nearly 50% of the U.S. election system market, which equates to approximately 70 million votes processed using any combination of the company's hardware and software.

The company has a well-earned reputation for routinely filing lawsuits against competitors and election officials when they don't win contracts or has them taken away. They have even gone so far as to sue voting jurisdictions and groups advocating for greater election security.

Not looking to push the issue or make any enemies, Wolf dropped the reporting project and focused on other areas.

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L.A. schools police will return grenade launchers but keep rifles, armored vehicle

L.A. Unified School District's police department received a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle like this one through a federal program.

L.A. Unified says that the M-16 automatic rifles, which were modified to semiautomatic since they were acquired in 2001, are "essential life-saving items" and will continue to be available to trained officers. The armored vehicle will be used only under extraordinary circumstances, officials said.

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"B-b-but patio seating!" So fucking what.


So, the bar I work at opened back up last night, and I gotta say, y'all: Just fucking don't go to restaurants right now. Just don't do it.

I understand that people want to support restaurants that they love, but there's a level of nonchalance here that really betrays how poorly America is dealing with this pandemic.

America has a considerably higher rate of COVID cases and fatalities in relation to our population than most other countries. What seems like "progress" to us, currently, is what would seem catastrophic to other countries.

And, to zoom in smaller: yes, you want to support your small businesses. I appreciate that, I know your heart is in the right place. But you're putting me in danger, and my loved ones in danger --- as well as yourself and your loved ones.

Everyone who came in last night seemed like they were just cosplaying four months ago.

With everything that's going on right now (COVID, BLM protests, governmental abuse of power, climate disasters,) nothing goes away because you get tired of it, or tired of thinking about it.

"B-b-but patio seating!"

So fucking what. I'm changing gloves / washing my hands every single time that I grab anyone's plate or cup or anything to make sure that nothing cross-contaminates. I'm sanitizing constantly --- but I'm a human, and there's only so much I can do.

I'm creating this illusion of normalcy for you in order to pay my bills, and it's fucking awful.

A surgeon literally came in last night and said, "oh, you have better masks than we do!" and it was fucking awful.

If that's a fine environment for you to enjoy a meal, be my guest.

We're letting capitalistic gears drive what should be an empathetic decision.

Just don't go to restaurants right now. Support in other ways. Just know that things aren't normal, even as much as we all really want them to be.

(Oh, other small note: nobody tipped any more than usual, even though they "want to support us." V cool.)

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One Bar. Twelve Weeks. Seventeen Lives in Lockdown.

Following an Oakland tavern and its staff -- from the tattooed bartender to the undocumented cleaner -- as they weather the economic and emotional fallout of the coronavirus.

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Who Are the Biggest Corporations That Kept Their PPP Loans?

"The answer may surprise you."

Today I learned that:

  • RealPlayer still exists;
  • RealNetworks is valued at $70 million;
  • They got a $2.8 million Payroll Protection Program loan that they did not give back.

The worst gamers of the PPP system are companies you've never heard of. Something called Staffing 360 Solutions, who make $500 million a year, somehow got $19 million in PPP loans. Other $10 million loans went out to a video company called Quantum Corporation (valued at $143 million), Universal Stainless & Alloy Products ($69 million valuation), and Independence Contract Drilling ($23 million).

Though in RealPlayer's case it should have been a Point-to-Point Protocol loan, amirite?

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