The State of Local, Legacy Newspapers 2020: Buffett sells his newspapers to Lee Enterprises

Katherine Chiglinsky and John J Edwards III:

Warren Buffett is getting out of the newspaper business.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to sell its BH Media unit and its 30 daily newspapers to Lee Enterprises Inc., which owns papers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for $140 million in cash. Lee has been managing the papers for Buffett’s company since 2018, and Berkshire is loaning Lee the money for the purchase.

More, here.

Related: the state of local journalism, 2018.

America Is Overrun With Bathrooms

Derek Thompson:

merican exceptionalism takes on many forms, both flattering (our immigrant-founded start-ups) and unfortunate (our health-care prices). But perhaps no part of life in the United States is more unambiguously exceptional than this: We have so many damn bathrooms.

And the world wants to know why. The internet is filled with long threads, on sites such as Quora and Reddit, in which users swap theories on “What’s the American obsession with bathrooms all about?” and “Why do houses in the US have so many bathrooms?” “There are so many incredible America decadences that are mind boggling to foreigners when we first arrive here, and the sheer number of bathrooms in suburban houses is very high on the list,” Tom Gara, an Australian who edits opinion pieces for BuzzFeed News, wrote on Twitter.

America’s love affair with private washrooms emerges from the country’s most obvious gift—an abundance of land and an eagerness to develop it. The typical new single-family house in the U.S. is twice the size of the average urban or suburban dwelling in the European Union—more than 2,000 square feet versus approximately 1,000 square feet. Compared with their overseas peers, Americans simply have more space to wash up.

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Paying – Repeatedly – for Epic’s Walled Garden

Taxpayers have spent more than $38B (!) since 2011 on a backdoor electronic medical record subsidy [1]. Verona based Epic Systems lobbied [2] for these expenditures and has benefited greatly from this federal taxpayer largesse.

Interoperability, that is the ability to move your digital health data anywhere, was one of the arguments for this lavish spending.

However and unfortunately, Epic’s Founder and CEO, Judy Faulkner is now lobbying once again [3], this time to prevent such open movement. Her actions seek to reinforce Epic’s “walled garden” [4], that is creating roadblocks to data leaving their systems.

Curiously, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson is also advocating Epic’s walled garden position, to the detriment of entrepreneurs everywhere. [5]

Citizens pay for healthcare and therefore vendors such as Epic in many ways, from our local, state and federal taxes to exploding insurance premiums and co-pays.

The ability to move our data opens up many opportunities, including more cost effective services.

[1] $37,920,077,070 in Taxpayer Electronic Medical Record Subsidies: 2009 – January 2018.

[2] Mike Ivey:

Officials at Epic Systems are not commenting on a New York Times report Wednesday that the firm was central in lobbying Congress on a $19 billion “giveaway” (now $37B and growing) to convert all U.S. medical records from paper to computers.

[3] Epic’s CEO is urging hospital customers to oppose rules that would make it easier to share medical info.

[4] Walled garden, or closed platform.

[5] Tommy Thompson HHS’ new health IT rule would hurt Epic and Wisconsin’s economy. Tommy Thompson links: open secrets search

P.S. A few more links on Epic.

Airdrop trumps $40B taxpayer medical record subsidies.

Madison’s property tax base growth and the backdoor electronic medical record subsidy.

2007. Then Governor Jim Doyle’s failed $30M electronic medical record taxpayer subsidy proposal.

Apple and Microsoft representatives are set to join a meeting on Monday promoting patient access to health data.

A Letter to Ms. Judy Faulkner & Mr. Tommy Thompson.

This is what information blocking looks like boots on the ground.

These are the realities people face when they are living with life-altering, life-limiting, absolutely earth-shattering diagnoses.

While patients and their loved ones can’t get the information they need to make educated, empowered decisions about their care, even while actively dying, hospitals, EHR vendors like Epic, as well as MANY other entities, have ludicrously shared and sold the same patient information for commercial purposes, to “improve hospital operations”, for “re$earch”, leveraging the legal loopholes of HIPAA, stating all is legal, this is business as usual. Without needing informed, explicit patient consent. Without any effort dedicated to patient education, public awareness, and transparency under the guise of “Nothing to see here”.

As patients and carepartners, WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS A MOMENT LONGER.

Thank you Ms. Judy Faulkner, CEO of EPIC, for your recent letter urging some of the biggest hospital CEO’s and presidents to oppose the proposed rules to improve interoperability and grant patients access to their information. You have made it crystal clear that you are not aligned with the real-world unmet needs and the barriers patient and carepartners face daily. Thank you for illustrating what paternalism looks like in 2020.

Thank you, Mr. Tommy Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin, for your guest column on why the proposed health IT rules would be a detriment to EPIC and Wisconsin’s economy. You have made it crystal clear that the business priorities of Wisconsin are of a greater importance than legal rights and the sanctity and dignity of the lives of all the patients of this great country of the United States of America.

Thank you for helping me refocus. Thank you for helping me answer the questions and address the self-imposed imposter syndrome that can momentarily cloud one’s perception. The answer is: IT IS ALL WORTH IT.

Heather Landi:

“We’ve often looked at interoperability in a narrow view, which is just as a replacement for moving the patient’s chart. Modern computing and APIs offer a vastly richer and more empowering global computing environment. Well-built APIs can do almost anything that your creativity allows,” he said.

Before Rucker took the stage at Health Datapalooza, HHS Secretary Alex Azar also addressed the upcoming interoperability rules and the Trump administration’s commitment to putting “patients in charge of their data” and called out industry stakeholders who are “defending the status quo.” They are protecting a health records system that is “segmented and Balkanized,” he said.

“We have a serious problem—and scare tactics are not going to stop the reforms we need,” Azar said.

Dr. Bharani Padmanabhan:

John Ehrlichman authorized breaking into Dr. Fielding’s office on September 3rd, 1971, to steal Daniel Ellsberg’s medical chart. In those days, medical charts were confidential and access strictly controlled. Any break-in was physical and impossible to miss. Even if the government did steal your private chart, at least you knew about it.

Which is why Nixon’s lawyer, Egil Krogh, went to prison for 4 months for violating Dr. Fielding’s Fourth Amendment right.

One of the many lessons the government learned was that stealing medical charts needed to get easier. This eventually culminated in Executive Order 13335 (69 FR 24059) which ordered that all Americans must have their medical charts in electronic form.

CBS News Epic: How a company you never heard of handle.

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Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained – sources

Joseph Menn:

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their devices in the company’s iCloud service after the FBI complained that the move would harm investigations, six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A woman uses her Apple iPhone and laptop in a cafe in lower Manhattan in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
The tech giant’s reversal, about two years ago, has not previously been reported. It shows how much Apple has been willing to help U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, despite taking a harder line in high-profile legal disputes with the government and casting itself as a defender of its customers’ information.

The long-running tug of war between investigators’ concerns about security and tech companies’ desire for user privacy moved back into the public spotlight last week, as U.S. Attorney General William Barr took the rare step of publicly calling on Apple to unlock two iPhones used by a Saudi Air Force officer who shot dead three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base last month.

U.S. President Donald Trump piled on, accusing Apple on Twitter of refusing to unlock phones used by “killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements.” Republican and Democratic senators sounded a similar theme in a December hearing, threatening legislation against end-to-end encryption, citing unrecoverable evidence of crimes against children.

Apple did in fact did turn over the shooter’s iCloud backups in the Pensacola case, and said it rejected the characterization that it “has not provided substantive assistance.”

Behind the scenes, Apple has provided the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation with more sweeping help, not related to any specific probe.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the company’s handling of the encryption issue or any discussions it has had with the FBI. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on any discussions with Apple.

More than two years ago, Apple told the FBI that it planned to offer users end-to-end encryption when storing their phone data on iCloud, according to one current and three former FBI officials and one current and one former Apple employee.

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“Thank you for not screaming at me”

Certain boxes,

filled with something delicious

from somewhere fun

did not accompany us upon arrival.

A few boxes

including mostly unessentials,

did arrive simultaneously.

Queue, we did.

numbers and routes were shared.

A new claim number generated.


Phone calls and website tracking links.

A few days later, two boxes,

filled with something delicious

from somewhere fun


dirty clothes

arrived at home.


One box, filled with something delicious

from somewhere fun

could not be found.

A further day passed.

Nancy’s iPhone rang.

crushed it was

at ORD.

Something delicious,

from somewhere fun.

Memories only.

And, a credit and claim.

“Thank you for not screaming at me”

said the kind airline representative.

It was just wine.

## I have to say that the people who helped track down our boxes were wonderful professionals.

I am sad that one thanked us for not screaming at her, in this, the year of our Lord 2020.

Explore the Douro Valley with amuz

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