Aruna Viswanatha and Nancy A. Youssef:

Navy Capt. David Lausman, once the commanding officer of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, stood front and center in a trial that capped one of the biggest military corruption cases in U.S. history.

He and his alleged co-conspirators enjoyed “36 hours of straight drinking, prostitutes and hotel rooms,” a prosecutor told the jury. Debauchery was among the rewards Lausman and four senior officers allegedly received for helping Malaysian businessman Leonard Francis carry out a scheme that cost the U.S. tens of millions of dollars.

Francis, who carried 350 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame and was known as “Fat Leonard,” acknowledged paying bribes and overcharging the U.S. to service Navy ships at ports around the Pacific. He struck a deal with federal prosecutors to provide evidence against the high-ranking Navy personnel who helped him.

A federal investigation had swept the ranks of dozens of Navy personnel deemed unfit to serve because of ties to Francis. The probe also sank the careers of officers tainted by unfounded allegations, including those who had been on track to command the Seventh Fleet. The 2022 trial in San Diego marked its unraveling.

U.S. assistant attorney Mark Pletcher told jurors that what set Lausman apart was “the bedazzling array of bribes this guy received from Leonard Francis from 2007 to 2011.”

One of Lausman’s lawyers, Robert Boyce, belittled the bribery allegations, which included free golf balls. Lausman, a 6-foot-6 Michigander known as “Too Tall,” was quiet, boring and not much of a drinker, according to one of Francis’ hired escorts, a woman in the Philippines. Lausman had declined her advances, she had told the defense team.

The news comes from Autocar, which quotes Watola as saying the ID.2All concept and its buttons “showed a new approach for all models.” Like Schäfer, he referenced the public’s feedback. There are still touchscreens, to be sure—the infotainment display is large and in charge, and there’s also a digital gauge cluster. But instead of all the controls being hidden behind menus in these displays, they’re toggled via switches on the center stack.

Prosecutors told the jury that Lausman had slept with an escort hired by Francis, which Lausman denied. The government didn’t disclose to the defense until later that investigators had communicated with the woman after the trial began and she, too, said they didn’t have sex. Prosecutors are obligated to turn over evidence favorable to the defense as they receive it. Defense attorneys asked for a dismissal. The judge declined.

The potential payoff, though, is astronomical: a world with Pixie everywhere means a world where Google makes real money from selling hardware, in addition to services for enterprises and schools, and cloud services that leverage Google’s infrastructure to provide the same capabilities to businesses. Moreover, it’s a world where Google is truly integrated: the company already makes the chips, in both its phones and its data centers, it makes the models, and it does it all with the largest collection of data in the world.

A list of unheralded improvements to ordinary quality-of-life since the 1990s going beyond computers

Across the globe, billions are being invested in the electrification of the car industry. Governments have put future bans on the sale of internal combustion engines, but recently we’ve seen politicians backtracking a little on the issue. Also, there are still huge infrastructure and cost challenges ahead for EVs. So, are reports about the death of the internal combustion engine a little premature?

The “how” is the “craft” in statecraft. Most of what the U.S. government does is distribute money and set rules. Relatively few parts of it mount policy operations, especially diplomatic ones. Doing so requires complex teamwork. Officials must master international choreographies, intricacies of law and practice, and a bewildering variety of instruments, cultures, and institutions spanning societies. The ability to do all that is a fading art in the United States and the rest of the free world. As it fades, handwringing and platitudes take its place. Officials paper over the gaps with meetings and pronouncements. The limited supply of effective U.S. policymaking was demonstrated tragically during the COVID-19 outbreak, when the world failed to create a global alliance to fight a global pandemic. It can be seen today in Ukraine, where the free world is struggling to sustain a country fighting a war of attrition. And it is surfacing in the Gaza Strip, where well-meaning countries try to help with Gaza’s future sustenance and governance. There will doubtless be new demands in the coming months and years, and one can debate which of them Washington and its allies must answer. But no one wants to take on a problem and then fail. Success has to be defined concretely and practically. Governments have to more effectively pool their capabilities and know-how. Only then can they convert blue-sky hopes into blueprints.

bustimes.org is the unofficial home of bus, coach, tram and ferry transport information

I want to share a little provocation about AI language models. You can skip ahead to that, if you like. Before I get to it myself, I’m going to review several items that might be interesting to those of you subscribed to this occasional lab newsletter.

First identified in 1886 by Theodore Lewis during the multi-year Northwestern Archaeological Survey, what is referred to as the Ghost Eagle has a 1,240-foot wingspan and a 700-foot-long body. The imprint of the mound is more than twice the size of the bird mound on the grounds of the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, long considered to be the largest bird mound in the world.

Last week the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed that they’ve allowed illegal immigrants to use their arrest warrants as a valid proof of ID to board flights in the United States for more than a year. Americans should be appalled by President Biden’s decision to reward criminal behavior but given his promises to provide free healthcare to illegals, tear down the wall, and make our heroic Border Agents his personal enemy, it’s hardly a surprise. Despite record illegal border crossings in 2021, the Biden Administration has yet to take any deliberate action to defend the sovereignty of our republic and secure the southern border.

Thieves took a cash register with $250 and forced the restaurant to close for three days, leading to $10,000 in losses related to food waste and employee compensation. Insurance only covered $750, said Ryan Zin.

Therefore, for many, Milei’s decision to “give the company to its employees” is a polite way to shut down the carrier, as Aerolíneas will face an extremely complicated scenario with almost no maneuvering margin.

“Do they even know what it looks like to miss on a quarterback?” an exec from another team asked. “They have seen other teams go through it, but are they humble enough to say, ‘This could be us’?”

A loophole in FDA processes means older drugs like the ones in oral decongestants weren’t properly tested. Here’s how we learned the most popular one doesn’t work

All of the big pharmacy chains in the US hand over sensitive medical records to law enforcement without a warrant—and some will do so without even running the requests by a legal professional, according to a congressional investigation. The revelation raises grave medical privacy concerns, particularly in a post-Dobbs era in which many states are working to criminalize reproductive health care. Even if people in states with restrictive laws cross state lines for care, pharmacists in massive chains, such as CVS, can access records across borders.

American taxpayers footed the bill for at least $1.8 trillion in federal and state health care expenditures in 2022 — about 41% of the nearly $4.5 trillion in both public and private health care spending the U.S. recorded last year, according to the annual report released last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

South Korea will soon require companies that slim down products to show the old and new sizes on packaging

“It’s impossible to get quality food at a fair price. I have to sell my lobster roll for $29 at the restaurant, but I can sell it for $20 at my new Little Anchor truck because it’s just me and I don’t have all the labour costs.”

Ampex, launched in San Carlos, California in 1944 is the key connecting point between music storage and data storage. That tiny startup, according to Silicon Valley historians Peter Hammar and Bob Wilson, was involved directly or indirectly in the launch of “almost every computer magnetic and optical disc recording system, including hard drives, floppy discs, high-density recorders, and RFID devices.”

The handling of the talks is now raising eyebrows in Washington, particularly among Republicans who suspect the White House did not want Biden to agree to a deal.

The US is pushing for expropriation of frozen Russian central bank foreign exchange reserves to endow these in some form to Ukraine.
Under international customary law central bank reserves have diplomatic immunity from seizure, even in a declared war. If they do this G7 ends FX reserves, innovated in 1922 as an expedient to expand debt, except among themselves and aligned states.

“I am strictly advocating for black people. Call ICE on them. Trump, come in here and clean this mess up. The most corrupt city in the United States is the city of Chicago.”

Parks Canada says 84 deer killed in $834,000 cull using helicopter.

Henceforth, currencies will compete. Who knows which ones will win – USD, BTC? But CBDCs will surely lose.

“When I started, they were tickled to have someone like me. I built a business based on service,” he says. “I even made the top 150 dealers in 1987 and helped celebrate their 150th anniversary. I sat at the same table as Mr. William Hewitt, who was the John Deere president and CEO at the time.” “Somewhere in the mid-90s, you could see this trend [toward consolidation] starting. I knew the single-store dealers’ days were limited, but I lasted longer than I ever dreamed I would.”

Mickey and Minnie will enter the public domain on Jan. 1. From then on, Disney will no longer enjoy an exclusive copyright over the earliest versions of the characters. Underground cartoonists, filmmakers, novelists, songwriters — whoever — will be free to do what they want with them.

Jake Sullivan wrote an essay for Foreign Affairs that went to print before Oct 7. For the online version that came out yesterday, they let him not just add new material but scrub the sections embarrassed by events. Some deleted gems from the original, not available online (1/6):

“It says something about the Biden administration’s priorities,” Kavanagh added. “They are willing to prioritize arming Ukraine over Asia despite their pronouncement that Asia is the priority theater for the United States.”

Bird said in a filing last month that it had net losses of $73.4mn in the nine months to September 30, at which date it had unrestricted cash and equivalents of $10.2mn. Last year, Bird reported revenues of $244.7mn and a net loss of $358.7mn.

“As long as we don’t do something stupid — which is a daily challenge in this industry — we will continue to wipe the floor with every other airline in Europe,” he said.

This report uses survey data from 20 countries and qualitative research from the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), and Germany to explore who is paying for news content online, which publications they pay for, how much they pay, and what motivations they have for subscribing or donating to news.