Category: Business

Big Pharma’s Big Jerk ARRESTED for alleged securities fraud

Martin Shkreli, the Turing Pharmaceuticals executive notorious for raising drug prices by obscene amounts (most notably raising the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat AIDS patients, from $13.50/pill to $750/pill)  and being an in-your-face asshole about it, has been arrested on federal securities fraud charges:

Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager who has been widely criticized for drug price gouging, was arrested Thursday morning by the federal authorities.

The investigation, in which Mr. Shkreli has been charged with securities fraud, is related to his time as a hedge fund manager and running the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin — not the price-gouging controversy that has swirled around him.

[…]

The federal charges are believed to parallel a civil lawsuit filed against Mr. Shkreli in August by Retrophin, whose board ousted Mr. Shkreli as chief executive in September 2014. In its lawsuit, Retrophin accused Mr. Shkreli of having used the company as a kind of personal piggy bank to help pay off upset investors who lost money at the hedge fund MSMB. Among the ways he did this, the lawsuit says, was by hiring some of these investors as sham consultants to Retrophin.

Big Pharma’s Big Jerk, as I like to call Shkreli, is not being charged over raising drug prices, but over allegations that he used Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he was once the CEO for, as a piggy bank to pay off investors who lost money at MSMB, the hedge fund Shkreli co-founded. In addition to the criminal charges against Big Pharma’s Big Jerk, there’s an ongoing civil suit into the matter.

This couldn’t happen to a more deserving person if you asked for it.

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Donald Trump-owned steakhouse briefly shut down in 2012 for health code violations

With the race for the Republican presidential nomination in full swing, a SuperPAC supporting Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is invoking Donald Trump’s now-discontinued line of steaks, Trump Steaks, in an ad campaign against Trump.

That reminds me of something…Trump owns a steakhouse in Las Vegas, which was briefly shut down in 2012 for health code violations:

…The Trump Steakhouse in Las Vegas was briefly shut down following 51 health code violations, including expired yogurt and five-month old duck.

Here’s more, from a November 2012 New York Daily News report:

A Las Vegas Strip restaurant bearing the initials of celebrity financier Donald Trump was briefly shut down after health inspectors found violations including month-old caviar and expired yogurt.

[…]

While ready-to-eat food can be stored for up to seven days, inspectors at DJT reported finding the old caviar and yogurt, duck that dated back to June (of 2012), veal stock and tomato sauce that was almost two weeks old, and expired peanut dressing and black bean chili.

Inspectors found no measures to destroy parasites in undercooked halibut and salmon, and noted that raw tuna was being improperly thawed. Icicles were found in a faulty freezer.

While Trump Steaks are no longer available for retail, DJT is still in operation to this day.

While I’d never vote for someone as anti-union as John Kasich, this is yet another reason why Donald Trump shouldn’t be elected to any kind of public office, much less the presidency.

My letter to Bruce Rauner on Syrian refugee resettlement in Illinois

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post is a letter that I sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) via the contact page on the Illinois state government website for the governor’s office.


Governor Rauner,

This is Aaron Camp, a resident of the Village of Westville in Vermilion County. I am writing to you in regards to resettlement of Syrian refugees in Illinois, which I support. I am strongly critical of your opposition to resettlement of Syrian refugees here in Illinois.

Just a few days ago, terrorists launched multiple coordinated attacks in Paris, France, and the Islamic fundamentalist terror group that is commonly known as ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks. While there needs to be proper screening in place to make sure that terrorists don’t migrate here to the United States among the refugees who are fleeing the terrorists, I believe that Illinois, and the United States as a whole, is more than capable of accepting Syrian refugees who are fleeing war and oppression.

America is a nation of immigrants. In fact, my hometown of Westville was settled by immigrants from dozens of countries many, many years before I was born. In fact, at one time, Westville once had people of 37 different nationalities living in the community. Many other Illinois communities were shaped by immigrants at some point in their histories.

For you to say no to accepting Syrian refugees is, in a way, doing what ISIS wants. One of ISIS’s goals is to terrorize politicians in our state and our country into making reactionary decisions with negative consequences. The negative consequences of not accepting Syrian refugees are numerous, although one of them is that the refusal of American politicians to accept Syrian refugees would likely be used in ISIS propaganda to recruit more ISIS terrorists, which is something that the U.S. and our nation’s allies simply cannot afford.

Sincerely,
Aaron Camp

More corporate welfare is not the solution to Wisconsin’s growing job loss problem

Make no mistake about it, Wisconsin has a serious job loss problem. Most notably, Oscar Meyer recently announced that it was closing its Madison, Wisconsin factory that had been in operation since 1919.

However, more corporate welfare isn’t the solution to Wisconsin’s growing job loss problem, in fact, I’d argue that Scott Walker’s political agenda as a whole, including corporate welfare, is the main culprit behind the growing job loss problem in Wisconsin.

Under Republican rule, Wisconsin has become one of the worst states, if not the worst state, for business. From Act 10 taking away collective bargaining rights and a sizable chunk of take-home pay from Wisconsin public employees, to other laws eliminating workers’ rights protections that Wisconsin workers enjoyed for decades, to laws making Wisconsin open for corruption and graft, to the morbidly-corrupt Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Wisconsin has become a state that is absolutely hostile to business. More corporate welfare would only make the problem worse, since what businesses in Wisconsin need aren’t more taxpayer giveaways to them, but rather a stronger middle class and more money in the pockets of Wisconsin consumers.

Washington NFL Team thinks that redneck trademarks are more offensive than racist sports team nickname

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a large amount of profanity, offensive language, and sexually-suggestive language. Reader discretion is advised.


The Washington NFL Team, whose real nickname I’m not going to mention due to it being offensive to Native Americans, recently filed an opening brief in an ongoing lawsuit against the federal government for stripping the team of the trademark for their racist team nickname. In the opening brief, the team effectively claimed that, among other things, “Redneck Army” apparel, is more offensive than their racist team nickname:

The notion that all two million currently-registered marks are government speech is astounding. It is equally disturbing. The PTO has registered hundreds if not thousands of marks that the Team believes are racist, or misogynistic, vulgar, or otherwise offensive. By way of example only, the following marks are registered today: TAKE YO PANTIES OFF clothing; DANGEROUS NEGRO shirts; SLUTSSEEKER dating services; DAGO SWAGG clothing; DUMB BLONDE beer; TWATTY GIRL cartoons; BAKED BY A NEGRO bakery goods; BIG TITTYBLEND coffee; RETARDIPEDIA website; MIDGET-MAN condoms and inflatable sex dolls; and JIZZ underwear. These are not isolated instances. The government routinely registers pornographers’ marks: TEENSDOPORN.COM, MILFSDOPORN.COM, THUG PORN, GHETTOBOOTY, and BOUND GANGBANGS are but a few.

[…]

…No one today thinks registration reflects government approval. But if this Court holds that it does, how will the government explain registrations like MARIJUANA FOR SALE, CAPITALISM SUCKS DONKEY BALLS, LICENSED SERIAL KILLER, YIDDISH, DIRTY WHOOORE CLOTHING COMPANY, and MURDER4HIRE? Why are numerous confederate-flag logos and so many lewd sexual depictions on a “government-curated Principal Register”? Does registration of THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS unconstitutionally endorse religion? As to the “Principal Register,” the government does not say where it is, what it looks like, or how we can get one. As far as we know, there is no government-issued “list” of registrations; one must conduct cumbersome, multi-step searches of PTO’s internet database.

The Washington NFL Team went even further and cited even more examples of trademarks that they think are more offensive than their racist team nickname that offends Native Americans:

Other startling examples that would reflect government endorsement under the decision below include: SHANK THE B!T@H board game; CRACKAAZZ SKATEBOARDS; ANAL FANTASY COLLECTION, KLITORIS, and OMAZING SEX TOYS sex toys; HOT OCTOPUSS anti-premature ejaculation creams; OL GEEZER wines; EDIBLE CROTCHLESS GUMMY PANTIES lingerie; WTFWORK? online forum; MILF WEED bags; GRINGO STYLE SALSA; MAKE YOUR OWN DILDO; GRINGO BBQ; CONTEMPORARY NEGRO, F’DUP, WHITE TRASH REBEL, I LOVE VAGINA, WHITE GIRL WITH A BOOTY, PARTY WITH SLUTS, CRIPPLED OLD BIKER BASTARDS, DICK BALLS, and REDNECK ARMY apparel; OH! MY NAPPY HAIR shampoos; REFORMED WHORES and WHORES FROM HELL musical bands; LAUGHING MY VAGINA OFF entertainment; NAPPY ROOTS records; BOOTY CALL sex aids; BOYS ARE STUPID, THROW ROCKS AT THEM wallets; and DUMB BLONDE hair products. Word limits prevent us from listing more.

What the Washington NFL Team is effectively trying to argue in federal court is that the majority owner of the team, Dan Snyder, thinks that sexually suggestive trademarks, drug-referencing trademarks, foreign language-referencing trademarks, trademarks for religious organizations, and…you guessed it…redneck trademarks are more offensive than a racist sports team nickname that offends Native Americans. That is so fucking absurd, it’s not funny. I come from a poor family in a redneck part of Illinois, and I am proud to consider myself a redneck. I am deeply offended by the Washington NFL Team’s bullshit argument that trademarks referencing rednecks are more offensive than a racist sports team nickname that offends Native Americans.

Regarding the other trademarks that the Washington NFL Team tried to cite in their defense of their racist team nickname, I’ll say this: if you think that “Take Yo Panties Off”, “Jizz”, “Marijuana for Sale”, “Yiddish”, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, and/or “Crackaazz Skateboards” are offensive, you either have a small penis, are bigoted, are stupid, or some combination thereof.

The lawsuit is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (4th Cir.), which includes the states of Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Washington NFL Team is headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia and plays its home games in Landover, Maryland.

Former Wisconsin politician Kelda Roys finds success in the real estate business

AUTHOR’S NOTE: An aunt on my dad’s side of my family is a real estate agent in the Westville, Illinois area, and my aunt’s real estate business would be a competitor to Kelda Roys’s business, if Kelda’s Wisconsin-based business expands into Illinois as planned.


Remember Kelda Roys? If not, I will tell you that she was a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly who represented parts of Dane County until she lost her bid for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District of Wisconsin in 2012 to fellow Democrat Mark Pocan.

I will also tell you that Kelda is a very successful businesswoman nowadays. Kelda founded OpenHomes, a real estate business in Wisconsin, not long after losing her congressional bid, and her business has been very successful. A couple of weeks ago, the Madison Club, an elite social club in Madison, Wisconsin, held a startup business pitch competition based on the ABC (first-run) and CNBC (reruns) reality television show Shark Tank, which was won by Kelda and OpenHomes:

OpenHomes won the Shark Tank-style pitch contest at the Madison Club on (October 15), and with that, a year’s membership to the 106-year-old, private social club that looks out on Lake Monona.

[…]

The young company, at 30 W. Mifflin St., offers a new way to sell homes that it says is faster and more efficient and involves only a 1 percent commission.

“The average agent closes nine deals a year. With OpenHomes, one agent using our platform can close about 45 deals a year,” Roys said.

Kelda’s real estate business has been successful enough that Kelda is considering expanding her business outside of Wisconsin:

Roys is starting a fundraising round and hopes to get $500,000 from investors to expand into Illinois and Minnesota in 2016. “Our company is growing. Now, we want to scale and that’s going to take additional capital,” she said.

In an era where many former politicians get caught doing ridiculous things, Kelda Roys is one of the few former congressional candidates in this country who can claim that she has actually been successful at something outside of politics and hasn’t embarrassed her community in any way.

Only 6.4% of members of a pro-wage theft business group in Wisconsin support wage theft legislation

Scott Manley, an official with the right-wing, pro-wage theft business group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, claimed in a public hearing held by a Wisconsin State Senate committee that 300 of the WMC’s 3,800 members responded to some sort of inquiry by the group as to whether or not they support right-to-work-for-less legislation, also known as wage theft legislation, and that 81% of them support the legislation.

81% of 300 members in a group that has 3,800 total members is, rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, only 6.4% of the total membership of the group. Yes, you’re reading that correctly…only 6.4% of the total membership of the main right-wing business organization in Wisconsin support the Wisconsin Republicans’ wage theft bill.

In case you’re wondering how I came up with that figure, I didn’t pull it out of my rear end. Instead, I made two calculations with Windows Calculator:

  • 0.81*300 = 243, meaning that 81% of 300 is 243.
  • 243/3800 = 0.0639473684210526, meaning that 243 of 3,800 is 6.4%, when converted to a percentage and rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

To put that another way, one of the largest organizations that is pushing the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature to allow non-union workers to effectively steal wages and other benefits negotiated by a labor union without paying for those benefits in the form of union dues or fair-share fees with support from only 6.4% of its members. This is not lost on many Wisconsinites, in fact, Lori Compas, the executive director of the Wisconsin Business Alliance (WBA), the main progressive business organization in Wisconsin, called local chambers of commerce in seven Wisconsin State Senate districts that are represented by Republican state senators, the 1st (Frank Lasee), 2nd (Robert Cowles), 10th (Sheila Harsdorf), 11th (Stephen Nass, who ended the public hearing early over rumors that an Hispanic group in Wisconsin was going to exercise the group’s First Amendment right to free speech in a public place), 13th (Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald), 23rd (Terry Moulton), and 29th (Jerry Petrowski, currently the only Republican state senator who intends to vote against the wage theft bill), and Compas could not find a single local chamber of commerce in those seven Wisconsin State Senate districts that was publicly willing to support the Wisconsin wage theft bill. Compas’s piece on her findings, which she published to the WBA’s website, is a fine example of investigative journalism. In fact, Compas’s piece has been republished in full by Steve Hanson of the progressive blog Uppity Wisconsin and featured in an online article published by the Milwaukee-area alternative newspaper Shepherd Express.

Let me make this point 100% clear: Very few people and groups in the Wisconsin business community are advocating for wages to be driven down and unions to be busted, in fact, it appears to me that the only individuals and groups in the Wisconsin business community that are advocating for wages to be driven down and unions to be busted are those individuals and groups who have a considerable amount of political influence over the Republicans that control Wisconsin’s state government.