The decline and fall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, at a Christmas tree lighting, in Madison, o

The decline and fall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, at a Christmas tree lighting, in Madison, on Sunday: “After the tree lit up, he suddenly fell. The crowd hushed. He’s been ‘nipping at the eggnog a little bit, feeling festive,’ Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett joked.”

Pharmaceuticals Rapscallion Martin Shkreli Now Playing the Stock Market Like a Goddamn Pan Flute

Pharmaceuticals Rapscallion Martin Shkreli Now Playing the Stock Market Like a Goddamn Pan Flute

Here’s a fun story a few weeks in the making, starring everyone’s favorite price-gouging pharmaceuticals asswipe, Martin Shkreli. This one involves another small and fading pharmaceutical company, the stink of market manipulation, and a lot of pissed off investor-types.

Let’s start at the top: on November 5, pharmaceutical company KaloBios announced they’d be laying off 61 percent of their workforce and looking for funding alternatives after a five-year, up-to-$290 million collaboration with Sanofis, one of the world’s largest drugmakers, ended this summer.

In the aftermath of its funding drying up, investors started doing what investors do: walking away, or picking over the carcass. Many investors shorted KaloBios stock, figuring it was inevitable that it would bottom out and they’d make a buck or two. Shorting—as we will all see in the upcoming film adaptation of “The Big Short”—is often and too easily positioned as a sort of heroic victory for the rational over the irrationally exuberant, as if profiting obscenely off of financial calamity is in any way commendable. At any rate, you had a lot of smart guys sitting around rubbing their hands together at the prospect of a company going belly up and other investors going broke.

On November 16, KaloBios looked to be throwing in the towel. It hired an outside group to usher it through a “winding down” phase, with plans to shut down completely by the end of January at the latest. Score one for the smart guys, right? Way to go, investment bros!

The company’s stock price, which started 2015 near $15 per share, was already in a free fall, sinking as low as $0.90 per share on November 13—the stock had been cheap for a while, and now it was going in the tank. Investors who’d shorted KaloBios stock in the $2 to $3 range were just waiting for it to fade a bit so they could buy cheap and turn their profit.

Here comes evil-ass Martin Shkreli. Along with a team of investors, Shkreli quietly bought up an ownership stake in the company over November 16 and 17, at these low low prices—70 percent of all shares, according to reports. On November 19, after the close of trading, KaloBios dropped the bomb (via

“We have received communications from Mr. Shkreli informing us of his group’s ownership position, and a proposal to continue the company’s operations,” said Ronald Martell, Executive Chairman of KaloBios. “Our board of directors is prepared to entertain any constructive proposal, which we will act upon promptly. Addressing short-term cash needs is our first priority, and we continue to be open to further dialogue,” he concluded.

Like that, the company was not closing, and, as one might expect, the stock price began to rise. This makes sense—a company that was dropping out of existence suddenly had a pulse. But there was more at play, of course. Those shorts! Investors suddenly on the hook for shares whose prices were climbing now found themselves in the dreaded “short-squeeze,” where those short KaloBios had to get in and buy shares, even at a loss, even at a terrible loss, because the potential losses for someone on the wrong end of a short are infinite.

KaloBios stock rose 4,000 percent in six days. And, hey, look at that, your boy Martin Shkreli was holding 70 percent of the company’s stock. This looked to some like a bogus spike, if not outright market manipulation, and so there were investors looking to score by shorting KaloBios again, at its new, higher price. And this was facilitated by, yes, Martin Shkreli, who was happily lending his own shares out for shorting purposes. That supply kept investors in the game, shorting KaloBios.

Then, on November 24, Shkreli did this:

And, like that, the supply of shares with which to short KaloBios was devastated. The price began to rise, and another short-squeeze led to another dramatic jump in the stock’s price. It soared upwards of $40 per share on the morning of November 27. It slid at open this morning, then jumped another 30.8 percent in the afternoon, then slid again, finishing at just under $33 per share.

These waves? Pure, unadulterated speculation. No one has any idea whether KaloBios is suddenly a viable company, and none of the movement in its stock price has anything to do with its outlook as a drugmaker. The smirking, pinched-face shitheel behind it all is making an outrageous killing on his ownership stake, of course. Others, not so much:


However where this story gets abusrdly entertaining, or woefully tragic, depending on one’s perspective, is that one trader, Joe Campbell, was on the wrong side of last night’s massive surge. As the RutRho blog, which noticed it first explains, a “dummy” E-trader, Joe Campbell, decided to go $35,000 short KBIO “and now owes $ETFC a wonderful $106K.”

Yeah, some people got really, really screwed by this. Joe Campbell, for instance, who tried to cover a $106,000 margin call via a [now defunct] GoFundMe campaign:

Hello to all you traders out there. I’m starting this page out of the recommendation of other traders in the community.

I hesitated on doing this but I literally owe Etrade $106,445.56 as of this moment what would you do if you were in my situation?I’ll do whats needed and sell what I have to get them paid but if someone feels my pain and is willing to help out—-who am I to say no?


I have a fairly small account, but its over PDT. As of this morning it was $37,000. I keep it small because I wanted to manage risk, the most I can afford to lose is what I have in the account....$37,000.When I get some profits I take them out of the account because I wouldn’t want to lose more than $37k.

I was holding KBIO short overnight for what I thought was a nice $2.00 fade coming. At the close of the bell I saw the quote montage clear out and figured today there was no action after hours in the stock. So I went to my office for a long meeting. I got out of the meeting and saw a message from one of my buddys, he asked if I was ok since I was short heart dropped. “Shoot did I blow up my account, everything I worked for? I don’t want to lose all $37,000 that would be terrible.” —-It was much worse.


My plan moving forward is to liquidate mine and wife’s 401k’s and try work out a payment plan with Etrade. I’m also going to ask them to help out in some way...thats a longshot. I will pay them and be back trading....only with set stops this time. What an expensive lesson that was.

So, here we are. Martin Shkreli, as vile a person as there is, took a worthless stock in a folding company and turned it into a personal windfall, because the stock market is cool and good and yay capitalism and all that.

Meanwhile, hey, maybe the Securities and Exchange Commission could get involved? Or should we all just wait to see what great new medicine KaloBios develops under its new leadership? That’s what pharmaceutical companies do, right?

[Los Angeles Times] [Street Insider] [Forbes] [Zero Hedge] [WSJ] [GEN]

Screenshot via YouTube

Exxon Accuses Columbia Journalism Students of ‘Ethics Violations’ for Reporting on Exxon’s Own Ethics Violations

Exxon Accuses Columbia Journalism Students of 'Ethics Violations' for Reporting on Exxon's Own Ethics Violations

The smart people over at Exxon Mobil have found a new target for their ire, after they killed all the birds and whales they could muster: a group of postgraduate journalism students at Columbia University.

In a letter obtained by Politico written by Exxon’s Vice President for Public and Government Affairs, Kenneth Cohen, the company alleged that a journalism professor and her students at Columbia violated the university’s research policy. Cohen claims that the students created a “false narrative” and “cherry-picked” information in reports that the company’s scientists knew about the threat of climate change decades ago, and actively misled the public about their findings.

Multiple sources, many of whom were employed as scientists at Exxon, have come forward in recent months to say that the company knew about climate change, and even funded organizations to lead a misinformation campaign about climate change. The reports have been revealed mainly by Inside Climate News and the LA Times, which specifically referenced the Columbia research.

The letter is lengthy, but perhaps the most interesting bit is the last paragraph, which contains something that looks mighty like a veiled threat to revoke funding from the university. Exxon, which gave $219,229 (among other smaller gifts) to the school last year for its educational institutions, seemed to suggest that this relationship could be harmed by the students’ research.

“ExxonMobil has had numerous and productive relationships with Columbia University for many years, whether through research programs, interactions with the business school or recruiting of graduates for employment with our company. The interactions [between Exxon and the Columbia journalists] detailed above are not typical of the high standards and ethical behavior we have come to expect from your institution.”

Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, told Politico that he’s preparing a response to the allegations.

It’s far from the first time that Exxon has targeted journalists in an attempt to discredit their findings on its history—lately, the company’s PR team has been on the offensive, going after countless reporters who’ve published the findings. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, smear ‘em (with oil).

[Image via AP]

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Off-Duty Cops Really Want To Bring Their Guns Into NFL Stadiums

Off-Duty Cops Really Want To Bring Their Guns Into NFL Stadiums

Earlier this month the National Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, urging him to allow off-duty law enforcement officers to bring their guns into NFL stadiums. The Fraternal Order of Police believes that if off-duty cops have their guns, they will be able to prevent an ISIS attack. Seriously. Via the Buckeye Firearms Association:

The terrorist attacks and threats of attacks from organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are selecting targets based on the amount of death and injury they can inflict - mass murder and casualty events. Well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault. Law enforcement, even when working actively with highly trained and skilled security professionals, cannot be certain that all threats will be detected and neutralized.

This isn’t the first time the Fraternal Order of Police has raised the issue. When the NFL updated their firearms policy in 2013 to prohibit off-duty and retired law enforcement officers from bringing their guns into stadiums, the Fraternal Order of Police wrote Goodell a letter then too. Two Minnesota police officer associations challenged the restriction in court (they lost earlier this summer), and now Detroit cops are also citing terrorism in a letter they plan to send to Goodell.

In a 2013 response to the Fraternal Order of Police, the NFL laid out why they believe everybody is safer if off-duty officers can’t bring their weapons in:

Recognizing that reasonable people may hold a different view, the NFL believes the safest environment for all fans is achieved by limiting the number of firearms and weapons inside stadiums to those required by officers that perform specifically assigned law enforcement working functions and game day duties. On average, more than 500 civilian security personnel and 150 on-duty uniformed armed law enforcement officers were assigned to protect public safety and enforce the law in every NFL stadium.

They also explained the risks in not doing so:

If permitted to carry concealed weapons, they create deconfliction issues for working law enforcement officers and increase the potential for “blue-on-blue” response confrontations. ... Moreover, off-duty law enforcement officers are not included in the on-site law enforcement chain of command or bound by department or agency-on-duty policies that that [sic] restrict their use of alcohol or subject them to other on-duty behavior standards.

While the Fraternal Order of Police didn’t explicitly cite the recent terrorist attacks at the Stade de France, it is clear they are trying to take advantage of a renewed focus on stadium security issues. But their argument isn’t compelling.

If you truly want to prevent terrorist attacks inside of sports stadiums, the place to do so is outside of them. The reason the Stade de France attack wasn’t nearly as deadly as it could have been was because a security guard found an explosive vest while conducting a low-tech pat down (metal detectors don’t detect most explosives). Does the Fraternal Order of Police really believe an off-duty officer with a gun will notice a terrorist and shoot them dead before they can blow up an explosive vest?

On the other hand, the NFL’s fear of allowing more guns is completely reasonable. NFL stadiums are filled with liquored-up assholes who tribally identify themselves with colored jerseys, spoiling for a fight. Adding guns to that volatile mix sounds like a terrible idea. The stated worry about “‘blue-on-blue’ response confrontations” in the event of an off-duty officer pulling out their gun for a legitimate purpose is also justified. That’s why an armed Air Force veteran refused to intervene in the Umpqua Community College mass shooting: he was worried about being mistaken as an attacker by police and being killed.

A pro-gun think tank president told Fox News that off-duty officers were allowed to bring their guns into stadiums “‘from the time the NFL started until about a year-and-a-half ago,’” which is basically true, and that there were never any problems. But the same logic is also an argument against allowing off-duty officers to have their guns. After all, when was the last time an armed off-duty officer used their gun to prevent an attack inside of an NFL stadium?

The Fraternal Order of Police represents hundreds of thousands of police officers, and I have little doubt their members would feel safer if they could bring their guns into stadiums. The problem is there’s no evidence that allowing them to do so would actually increase the safety of the other 60,000 fans in attendance, and would in fact make make most of them feel less safe.

Photo via AP

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Police Were at Burger King with Missing Security Footage on the Night of Laquan McDonald’s Death

Police Were at Burger King with Missing Security Footage on the Night of Laquan McDonald's Death

NBC 5 News has obtained screengrabs of interior video footage from the Burger King near where police shot and killed Laquan McDonald last year, appearing to show Chicago police at a computer terminal the night of the shooting. Over an hour of footage is missing from the store’s security video.

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald at 9:57 p.m. According to Jay Darshane, a district manager for Burger King, footage is missing from 9:13 to 10:39 p.m.

Darshane said that both cameras—both indoor and outdoor—and video recorder were working properly that night, and that between four and five police officers came into the store, specifically to delete the tape.

“We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files,” Darshane said. “I mean we were just trying to help the police officers.”

From NBC 5 News:

What happened to the video is disputed. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said testing showed the computer files had not been tampered with.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said there appeared to have been technical difficulties.

But as we first reported last May, a Burger King district manager said police deleted the security footage after spending more than three hours in the restaurant.

“Forensic testing was done on the Burger King surveillance system to determine if anyone tampered with the evidence and the testing did not reveal any such evidence,” Alvarez said at a press conference last week.

Image via NBC 5 News. Contact the author of this post:

Syphilis, My Dear Watson

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous characters in English literature, revered by fans of mystery from Victorian London to the present day, where he is still celebrated for his keen eye, wealth of knowledge, and aptitude for deductive reasoning. Indeed, Holmes has grown in status from a protagonist in a magazine serial to a genuine pop culture icon; his adventures with Dr. Watson have been featured in fifty-odd short stories and four novels and over 220 films and television shows since his

New Mexico officials say they need $8 million to process a backlog of roughly 5,000 rape kits, stret

New Mexico officials say they need $8 million to process a backlog of roughly 5,000 rape kits, stretching back as far as the late ‘80s, reports the Associated Press. In September, the Justice Department set aside $41 million to clear similar backlogs across the country.

Ted Cruz Has the Facts: The Liberal Media, Democrats, and Violent Criminals Are In Cahoots

Ted Cruz Has the Facts: The Liberal Media, Democrats, and Violent Criminals Are In Cahoots

Even within the context of this upended-Gathering-of-the-Juggalos-outhouse of a presidential election cycle, Ted Cruz’s crescendoing spingasm on the Planned Parenthood shooting is shocking and bizarre. This really could go anywhere.

You will recall Cruz suggesting that Robert L. Dear, the alleged shooter, is a “transgendered leftist activist.” Today, Ted Cruz joined the Hugh Hewitt Show—which, I understand, is a radio show hosted by Hugh Hewitt, who, I understand, is a conservative who concerns himself with the so-called liberal bias in media, which is unfortunate, because while having a healthy imagination is a good thing, living entirely inside it is generally thought to be somewhat unhealthy. At any rate, Ted Cruz has some thoughts about the gotdang liberal media, reports The Hill. Man oh man does he ever.

Take it away, Ted:

“Here is the simple and undeniable fact – the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.”

Yes, mmmmm, do go on with more of these facts.

“There is a reason why for years the Democrats have been viewed as soft on crime,” Cruz continued. “They go in and appoint to the bench judges who release violent criminals.

“They go in and fight to give the right to vote to convicted felons,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate added. “Why?

“The Democrats know that convicted felons tend to vote Democrat. The media never reports on any of that. [It] doesn’t want to admit any of that.”

Hard to argue with such facts as these. Harder, still, to believe Cruz continued speaking without Earth being flushed down the cosmic toilet once and for all:

“Every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing you can almost see the media salivating, hoping, hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so that they can use it to try and paint their political enemies,” he said.

“You can see that every time there’s a terrible crime they’re so excited – ‘come on, please be a Republican so we can try and paint the other side,’” Cruz said. “It is one of the more egregious examples of media bias and something we see over and over again.”

So said the man who spent yesterday recycling a wildly speculative depiction of a violent criminal created in an article on a right-wing media site, entitled “Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter NOT Republican, Identifies as Woman.”

I dunno, guys.

[The Hill]

Photo via AP

The Gaming, Eating, and Photography Daily Bag

Most of us don’t need anything too complicated in our bags, but we do need to be prepared for three important things in life: gaming, shooting photos, and eating. Lifehacker reader Cole Ewert’s prepared for all three (and more).


Planned Parenthood Shooter ‘Obsessed With the World Coming To an End’ Was Once Charged With Rape

Planned Parenthood Shooter 'Obsessed With the World Coming To an End' Was Once Charged With Rape

Robert Lewis Dear, the man who shot and killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last Friday, was charged with rape over two decades ago.

The Charleston Post and Courier uncovered a series of disturbing details about Dear’s past, including relationships with women that were fraught with violence.

According to the Post, the 57-year-old man was arrested Dec. 31, 1992, on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The lack of a disposition for the charge on his official criminal record suggests that the charges were dismissed. Documents from the case say that Dear showed up at the house of a woman he had been pursuing, despite the fact that she said she was married.

On Nov. 29, 1992, Dear showed up to the woman’s house while she attempted to take out the trash, according to the police report. He then put a knife to her throat, forced her back into the residence, onto her couch and then struck her in the mouth before sexually assaulting her, the report states.

Dear has been married at least three times and has four children. His second wife, Barbara Mescher, said she knew of the rape allegation in her divorce affidavit, and also said that she “lived in fear” of her husband.

“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions,” Mescher stated in the affidavit. “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”

Dear appeared for the first time in court on Monday, and faces a minimum of life in prison if convicted. The Post story includes several other disturbing details about Dear’s past; read the entire thing here.

[Image via AP]

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