Glitch? Meltdown? #worldisfukt?

Wednesday was one of those days when, after it ended, you could be forgiven for thinking that, whatever the explanation – or series of explanations – that subsequently emerged, it would never be quite enough.

Over to you, interwebs…

(Late Show with Stephen Colbert – CBS)


Seriously, though, as if a $3trillion market meltdown in China wasn’t enough – the AFP reported late on Wednesday that regulators have “barred major shareholders and executives of listed companies from selling their shares for the next six months” – to say nothing of the “sideshow” crisis that is ongoing, if pausing briefly for breath, in Greece. Virtually simultaneous technical outages at the NYSE, United Airlines and the Wall Street Journal rattled nerves and left many pondering the vulnerability of, well, nothing less than the entire global financial and commercial infrastructure.

The Los Angeles Times writes:

As the world becomes more connected, such events expose serious risks for countries, companies and individuals who depend heavily on fragile technology — often a mash-up of older and cutting-edge systems. Electricity grids, credit cards, social media, email, public transportation and GPS all have become indispensable to everyday modern life.

But CNBC tells us it’s “not the end of the world” sooo… that’s ok then.


* BUSINESS * Microsoft said it would lay off up to 7,800 people – nearly 7 per cent of its total workforce – and write down about $7.6billion as it looks to reorganize its Nokia mobile phone business.


* POLITICS * The South Carolina House voted early on Thursday to reject a series of amendments designed to block a Senate bill which would remove the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol. Final approval was on a 94-20 vote, and the flag could now be taken down within days.

* Watch the full debate on C-SPAN here including a remarkable, moving piece of oratory by Republican Rep Jenny Anderson Horne, a descendant of Jefferson Davis.


Even as more businesses move to distance themselves from him, Donald Trump scored his first first-place poll result of the campaign, in North Carolina. On Wednesday night – after Trump had made plenty of headlines in a feisty TV interview with NBC – the Washington Post reported that RNC chairman Reince Priebus had spent nearly an hour on the phone with the candidate, urging him to “tone down his inflammatory comments about immigration.”

The call … underscores the extent to which Trump has gone from an embarrassment to a cause for serious alarm among top Republicans in Washington and nationwide.

But there is little they can do about the mogul and reality-television star, who draws sustenance from controversy and attention. And some fear that, with assistance from Democrats, Trump could become the face of the GOP.

But for whatever reason, the RNC’s call for restraint isn’t a universal message among his fellow Republican candidates, and certainly, as the North Carolina poll shows, among conservative Republican voters.

In the latest from the campaign of the Democratic front-runner, the Washington Post‘s Philip Rucker has a nice piece on how a Hillary PAC has been helping local surrogates hone their message.

They rehearsed their personal tales of how they met Hillary Rodham Clinton and why they support her for president. They sharpened their defenses of her record as secretary of state. They scripted their arguments for why the Democratic front-runner has been “a lifetime champion of income opportunity.” And they polished their on-camera presentations in a series of mock interviews.

The objective of the sessions: to nurture a seemingly grass-roots echo chamber of Clinton supporters reading from the same script across the communities that dot New Hampshire, a critical state that holds the nation’s first presidential primary.


* CULTURE * A statue of Bill Cosby was removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

An online petition had circulated for months calling for the removal of the Cosby bust, which was one of many at Disney’s Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. Cosby was represented along with celebrities such as Lucille Ball and Oprah Winfrey who have been inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Fox is planning to make a movie about the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.

Outspoken commentator Keith Olbermann and ESPN are parting company.

South Park was renewed for three more seasons at Comedy Central.


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