wall street journal house of the day

Meanwhile, in the new Tumblr Verizon regime


In 2014, Tumblr was on the front lines of the battle for net neutrality. The company stood alongside Amazon, Kickstarter, Etsy, Vimeo, Reddit, and Netflix during Battle for the Net’s day of action. Tumblr CEO David Karp was also part of a group of New York tech CEOs that met with then-FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in Brooklyn that summer, while the FCC was fielding public comment on new Title II rules. President Obama invited Karp to the White House to discuss various issues around public education, and in February 2015The Wall Street Journal reported that it was the influence of Karp and a small group of liberal tech CEOs that swayed Obama toward a philosophy of internet as public utility.

But three years later, as the battle for net neutrality heats up once again, Tumblr has been uncharacteristically silent. The last mention of net neutrality on Tumblr’s staff blog — whichfrequently posts about political issues from civil rights to climate change to gun control to student loan debt — was in June 2016. And Tumblr is not listed as a participating tech company for Battle for the Net’s next day of action, coming up in three weeks.

A representative for Battle for the Net told The Verge in an email, “Outreach for the day of action is very much an active and ongoing process… I wouldn’t read too much into who is and isn’t on the list so far.” Still, a rep for Tumblr declined to comment on whether the company would be participating, and AOL’s senior VP of brand communications Caroline Campbell responded to an inquiry about whether Tumblr would maintain its stance on net neutrality, writing “[It’s] just too early to answer your question.”

One reason for Karp and Tumblr’s silence? Last week Verizon completed its acquisition of Tumblr parent company Yahoo, kicking off the subsequent merger of Yahoo and AOL to create a new company called Oath. As one of the world’s largest ISPs, Verizon is notorious for challenging the principles of net neutrality — it sued the FCC in an effort to overturn net neutrality rules in 2011, and its general counsel Kathy Grillo published a note this Aprilcomplimenting new FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to weaken telecommunication regulations.

Now, multiple sources tell The Verge that employees are concerned that Karp has been discouraged from speaking publicly on the issue, and one engineer conveyed that Karp told a group of engineers and engineering directors as much in a weekly meeting that took place shortly after SXSW. “Karp has talked about the net neutrality stuff internally, but won’t commit to supporting it externally anymore,” the engineer said. “[He] assures [us] that he is gonna keep trying to fight for the ability to fight for it publicly.” Karp did not respond to four emails asking for comment, and neither Yahoo nor Tumblr would speak about the matter on the record.

On the day Verizon’s Yahoo acquisition was completed, Tumblr was hit by a wave of layoffs. A number of current and former employees shared a post by social media industry commentator Andréa López entitled “Layoffs and Tumblr the Centipede.” In it, López theorizes, “In addition to the real life talented human beings impacted by these layoffs, the move is a warning and reminder — Tumblr is no longer in the protective purgatory of pre-Verizon Yahoo.” If Mayer’s Yahoo didn’t really know what it was doing with Tumblr, that meant Tumblr was free to do what it wanted. That extended to politics: Yahoo didn’t give Tumblr any official blessing or encouragement when it decided to become the tech industry’s fiercest net neutrality defender three years ago. Now things are a little bit stickier.

Bryan Irace, an engineering manager who worked at Tumblr from March 2012 to November 2015, explained Tumblr’s culture to The Verge in an email, writing, “We all [participated]. As with many other causes (e.g. SOPA/PIPA), [net neutrality] was a hugepart of the company culture. A free and open Internet was a prerequisite for Tumblr to grow from an idea in David’s head into the platform that it is today… During my tenure there, Tumblr never shied away from speaking out about causes that the team collectively believed in….


Secret Service: We don’t have Trump tapes

  • If there are audio tapes of conversations between Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, the Secret Service doesn’t have them, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
  • The agency, which handled White House recording systems for former presidents like Richard Nixon, said it has no recordings or transcripts of recordings from within the Trump White House.
  • The information was provided to the Journal in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for recordings or transcripts of recordings made in the White House after Jan. 20, the day Trump took office.
  • The Secret Service said it found “no records” pertaining to the request. Read more (6/12/17)
Confronted with unmistakable evidence that business-as-usual had been resumed on Wall Street- including a crop of multi-billion dollar bonus packages and an unseemly scramble to repay government loans before restrictions on executive compensation could bite- Obama nevertheless meekly invited the captains of finance to ‘join us in a constructive effort to update the rules,’ based on the principles of transparency and accountability; emphasizing that 'we want to work with the financial industry to achieve that end.’  Reminding the financiers of their responsibilities and obligations, words that were used more than twenty times in the speech, Obama pleaded with the industry to call of its lobbyists, and, above all, 'to embrace serious financial reform, not resist it.’
But as the legislation for the re-regulation of the financial sector lumbered through Congress, checked and diluted by the most formidable lobby of them all, many sensed that the historic opportunity for real, biting regulation had already been squandered.  As crisis passed to normalcy, leverage had been lost.  Exhortation and second-best efforts seemed to be all that were left.  To make matters worse, the banks that had been restored to rude profitability at the public expense were failing to reinvest in the still-ailing domestic economy.  This was the proximate cause of Obama’s uncharacteristic outburst, on national television, against the behavior of that 'bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street’- promptly derided by the Wall Street Journal as a crass return to the populist playbook, 'banker baiting 101.’  If this was an attempt to use the bully pulpit, in advance of a private meeting with the major banks scheduled for the next day, it backfired.  Savvy enough to avoid the use of corporate jets, and therefore repeating the public-relations gaffe committed by bailed-out auto executives earlier in the year, the heads of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley opted to take commercial flights on the morning of the meeting, but were delayed by fog.  Other banking leaders made the White House meeting, by way of a combination of trains, automobiles, and more thoughtful planning, but the moment was again mostly lost.  While Obama did his best to prod the bank bosses, with the aid of a speakerphone link to New York, to start lending again to small businesses and to stop fighting the regulations that were being formulated in Washington, the New York Times reported that the President had publicly 'confronted the limits of his power.’

Jamie Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason

This makes the whole bailout ordeal look even more pathetic for Obama than it already did- the bankers pissed all over him and sabotaged his regulatory program.  Now, they’re working with Trump to eliminate Dodd-Frank.  Of course, he’s doing paid speeches for Wall Street now, even after throwing a minor fit after they coordinated to ruin his plans.

Trump's aides hosted an 'intervention' to try to tone down his Twitter use

(President Donald Trump.Thomson Reuters)
President Donald Trump’s aides grew so alarmed by the barrage of inflammatory tweets coming from Trump that they organized an “intervention,” one official said to The Wall Street Journal.

Hosted several weeks ago, the discussion was reportedly meant to encourage Trump to exercise more restraint on the social media platform, which has gotten Trump into trouble in the past — more recently when he openly accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his campaign.

Aides warned Trump his tweets could “paint him into a corner” potentially compromising him both politically and legally.

The accounts mirror ongoing worries about Trump’s tendency to go off-script in social situations in light of the state of turmoil surrounding the White House after 10 days of bombshell headlines. Many aides have said that they felt “besieged” and feared for their own futures, according to The New York Times.

Aides were also said to be afraid of leaving Trump alone in meetings given his propensity for off-the-cuff remarks. Such an incident made waves on Monday when it was reported that Trump disclosed classified intelligence about ISIS that was obtained from a key US ally. Trump allegedly shared the information — which was deemed so sensitive, it was held close to the vest within the US — with two Russian diplomats during a meeting in the Oval Office last week.

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The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change. - Emma Stone for The Wall Street Journal magazine (June 2015)

Donald Trump proposes cutting corporate tax rate by nearly 60%

  • Trump is planning to pitch cutting corporate tax rates from their current rate of 35% to 15%, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, and has directed staff to draft a plan for doing so.
  • According to the Journal, people familiar with the directive said Trump ordered staff to “get it done” by Wednesday, when his self-imposed deadline on his surprise Friday announcement he is planning a “massive tax cut” — one which stunned even his own staff — is set to expire. 
  • This is the last week of Trump’s first 100 days in the White House, a milestone the president has publicly brushed off as a “ridiculous standard” but nonetheless has become the focus of an internal push to do something major. Read more (4/24/17 7:30 PM)
How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative
Political consultant Aaron Nevins asked for and received documents from hacker ‘Guccifer 2.0’ and posted some on his blog, after which the hacker called the blog to the attention of Trump adviser Roger Stone.
By Alexandra Berzon and Rob Barry

The hacking spree that upended the presidential election wasn’t limited to Democratic National Committee memos and Clinton-aide emails posted on websites. The hacker also privately sent Democratic voter-turnout analyses to a Republican political operative in Florida named Aaron Nevins.

Learning that hacker “Guccifer 2.0” had tapped into a Democratic committee that helps House candidates, Mr. Nevins wrote to the hacker to say: “Feel free to send any Florida based information.”

Ten days later, Mr. Nevins received 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, some of which he posted on a blog called HelloFLA.com that he ran using a pseudonym.

Soon after, the hacker sent a link to the blog article to Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, along with Mr. Nevins’ analysis of the hacked data.

Mr. Nevins confirmed his exchanges after The Wall Street Journal identified him first as the operator of the HelloFLA blog and then as the recipient of the stolen DCCC data. The Journal also reviewed copies of exchanges between the hacker and Mr. Nevins. That the obscure blog had received hacked Democratic documents was previously known, but not the extent of the trove or the blogger’s identity.

Trump's handlers want to start vetting his tweets so they 'don't go from the president's mind out to the universe'

(U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2017.REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
The Trump administration is looking for ways to recalibrate its affairs back home as President Donald Trump ends his first foreign trip as a head of state.

Among measures being considered, like holding fewer press briefings, White House aides have discussed the possibility of reining in Trump’s social-media activity, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Trump’s tweets have become something of a modern-day fireside chat — the words often come unfiltered, directly from the president. Those words, however, have become something of a liability, according to officials cited in The Journal.

“The idea, said one of Mr. Trump’s advisers, is to create a system so that tweets ‘don’t go from the president’s mind out to the universe,’” a Trump adviser said.

Under the proposed protocol, a team of lawyers may proofread Trump’s tweets before they are published. The lawyers would decide if the tweets need to be “adjusted or curtailed.”

Some of the president’s most recent tweets have prompted days of news coverage, like his March 4 tweet that accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the 2016 election and his tweets earlier this month that railed against James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired on May 9.

“James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” Trump said in a tweet, days later.

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  • Has our political rhetoric gotten too heated?
  • In the wake of the Alexandria, Virginia, baseball practice shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) critically wounded, some in politics and the media are calling for a cooldown.
  • “I think, as a whole, our country certainly could bring the temperature down a little bit,” deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday, the day after James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old former Bernie Sanders volunteer, opened fire on the Republican baseball team as they practiced for the Congressional Baseball Game.
  • This echoed a sentiment expressed by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who earlier Thursday said that the “heated rhetoric in this country has to calm down,” and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, who warned Friday of the dangers of political “rage.” Read more. (6/17/17, 11:56 AM)

“The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”

-Emma Stone for The Wall Street Journal

George Harrison in the garden at Kinfauns, Esher, 1965, photographed by The Beatles Book

“The home is surrounded by about an acre of walled gardens, part of the Claremont House Estate, which was bought by Queen Victoria as a wedding present for her son Prince Leopold. […] [The] high walls were designed in the 18th century by John Vanbrugh, the architect responsible for Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard.” - “House of the Day: Modern Mansion With A Beatles Connection” by Nick Clayton, The Wall Street Journal, 9 April 2015

The U.S. secretly agreed to peace talks with North Korea before they teased a nuclear bomb

The White House secretly agreed to enter negotiations with North Korea to formally end the Korean War, going so far as to agree to eliminate preconditions concerning its nuclear program, just days before the country tested what it claimed to be a hydrogen bomb.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Obama administration instead “called for North Korea’s atomic weapons program to be simply part of the talks. Pyongyang declined the counter-proposal, according to U.S. officials familiar with the events. Its nuclear test on Jan. 6 ended the diplomatic gambit." News of the failed negotiations will be a headache for the Obama administration.

The Syrian War Keeps Getting Worse for the People of Aleppo

A year ago, almost to the day, I watched a graffiti artist named Khalifa paint a huge smiley face onto a wall. The wall was pretty much all that remained of the house it had been part of, and every other house on the street was in a similarly bad state. The day before, the street had been hit by a Scud missile: That was Aleppo, Syria, in 2013.

Khalifa had sprayed a slogan next to the smiley face. It read, in Arabic, “Tomorrow this will be beautiful.”

He was wrong.

Waffle House becomes an unlikely competitor to FedEx and UPS

Waffle House wants in on the sharing economy. The US diner chain today announced a partnership with Roadie, a startup that aims to become the “Uber of package delivery.” The app, which launched last month, lets travelers earn money by delivering packages to locations along their routes.

At the moment, users can send packages from within 10 states across the southeast US, and most packages are delivered door to door, but the company is looking to create a network of meeting places for users to hand off deliveries, which is where Waffle House comes in. With today’s partnership, users will be able to meet and execute deliveries at the company’s 1,750 diners across the US, which are open 24 hours a day. Waffle House will also offer a free waffle and drink to drivers making deliveries at their eateries.

“We’re just bacon and eggs over here,” Walt Ehmer, Waffle House’s CEO, tells The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the partnership. “I’ve been amazed with the explosion of Uber and Airbnb and other technology that kind of enables people to get together and conduct business together.”

Roadie takes direct aim at major delivery services like FedEx and UPS, though it’s still in its nascent phase. …