ALERT LINE

Wildcard

People for sale | CNN

“Eight hundred,” says the auctioneer. “900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …” Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars — the equivalent of $800. Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not “merchandise” at all, but two human beings. One of the unidentified men being sold in the grainy cell phone video obtained by CNN is Nigerian. ... Read More »

Disastorino | Seth’s Blog

Elections are the only place where marketers try to get fewer people to buy what’s being sold. In many elections in the US, fewer than half the population votes. Which means, of course, that in most elections, not only doesn’t the winner get a majority, the winner wasn’t even chosen by a majority of the majority. We make it worse with gerrymandering ... Read More »

Department of Justice Expands Fight Against MS-13 Street Gang | VOA

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday formally designated the El Salvador-based street gang known as MS-13 as a priority for a Department of Justice program that combats drug trafficking and money laundering. The designation will allow the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces to target MS-13 with an array of laws, from the anti-organized crime law known as RICO ... Read More »

“Operation Underground Railroad” works to keep young victims of natural disasters safe | fox13now.com

When natural disasters hit impoverished areas, it creates a perfect target for human traffickers to take advantage of vulnerable children. That’s why Operation Underground Railroad, an organization made up of former CIA Navy Seals and Special Ops agents, is so valuable in these times of crisis. “We have one girl right now that was affected by the recent hurricane in ... Read More »

The engine of our discontent | Seth’s Blog

When TV first was adopted, it was a magical gift. The shows united our culture and the ads fueled a seemingly endless consumer boom. Today, though, marketers have turned television into an instrument of dissatisfaction. The shows alienate many, because they bring an idealized, expensive world into the homes of people who increasingly can’t afford it. And the ads remind ... Read More »

Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez had ‘most severe’ brain disease | BBC News

An ex-NFL footballer who killed himself in April after he was acquitted in a double murder trial had a “severe case” of a neurodegenerative brain disease. Aaron Hernandez, 27, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease associated with head injury, his family lawyer said. He was found hanging in a Massachusetts prison, where he was serving a life ... Read More »

Appropriate collusion (organizing the weaker side) | Seth’s Blog

Businesses with power are prohibited from colluding with one another to set prices or other policies. For good reason. Public officials and economists realize that it’s quite tempting for an oligopoly to work to artificially create scarcity or cooperate–it creates significant short term profits and hurts those without the power to do something about it. (but that doesn’t mean that organizations don’t continually try ... Read More »

Cyber bank robbers stick up Ethereum owners for $225 million | SFGate

Here’s another reason to be leery of the initial coin offerings being done at a staggering pace in the cryptocurrency world: There’s a 1-in-10 chance you’ll end up a victim of theft. Phishing scams have helped push up criminal losses to about $225 million this year, according to Chainalysis, a New York firm that analyzes transactions and provides anti-money-laundering software. ... Read More »

Americans Starved for Brand Meaning, No One Answering | Brightmark Consulting

During times of great uncertainty when the world just doesn’t seem to make sense, people turn to the familiar and the trusted to help them get through life.  Historically, powerful brands have been a go-to.  Thinking back on the tumultuous 1970’s, Americans counted on brands like Coke, Crest,Budweiser, McDonald’s, AT&T, Kodak and others to reinforce cultural values, provide a meaningful emotional connection and create brightness in ... Read More »