Numlock News: January 6, 2022 • Crawfish, Celebrities, The East Rutherford Giants
By Walt Hickey
Finally, Something The Giants Might Win
A man has filed a putative class action law suit in federal court against the New York Giants and New York Jets, alleging that the franchises trade on the good will of New York while residing in fact in New Jersey. The suit further claims that “Many NFL fans would not attend live games of the Giants or Jets if they were warned in advance that they play in the State of New Jersey,” which, yeah I mean not wrong. The suit alleges false advertising, deceptive practices, and somewhat inexplicably, RICO. Damages sought include $6 billion for the class, and that the teams move to New York by 2025 or change their name to New Jersey or East Rutherford. Obviously, this suit appears to have been designed in a lab by textbook writers to illustrate frivolity, but let he among us who has not sued their lackluster local sports team in a fit of pique be the first to throw stones. Heck, if you can successfully complete a pass when you throw that stone, a promising career as the starting quarterback of the New York Giants awaits you!
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service will list the Panama City crayfish as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and will designate 4,138 acres as a critical habitat in Florida. That’s substantially less than the original proposed size of the critical habitat — Fish and Wildlife removed 3,039 acres from the proposal last year — but it’s movement for a species that’s been proposed for protection status since early 2018. The crayfish — also called crawfish, depending on whether your boat’s motor is in outboard or fanboat configuration — are down to 13 known populations, and need freshwater wetlands and vegetation in order to survive. Their habitats have been threatened by insecticide usage, point source pollination and off-road vehicle use.
There comes a time in every celebrity’s life when they need to take a huge step and start a cosmetics brand in order to capitalize on their own name. A new poll that actually sought to track which of 19 celebrity makeup brands have any resonance whatsoever with society as a whole found that the overwhelming majority of the brands are, to put it gently, rather niche. The exceptions include Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, which 31 percent of respondents had at least some recognition of; JLo Beauty by Jennifer Lopez (28 percent recognition); KKW Beauty by Kim Kardashian (24 percent); and Goop by Gwyneth Paltrow (23 percent). Brands with sub-15 percent recognition include Good Dye Young by Hayley Williams, Pleasing by Harry Styles, Bad Habit by Emma Chamberlain, MDNA Skin by Madonna, Kind Science by Ellen DeGeneres, Blesswell by DJ Khaled, Groom by Snoop Dogg, Glideways by Paul Giamatti, Just Skin by Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor, Elon’s Musk by Jeffrey Bezos, Neumloque by Numlock — also I did start making those up at some point and it’s left as an exercise for the reader to decide exactly when.
Japan’s population is aging, and they want to attract high-skilled foreign workers to come to Japan and work. The issue, though, is that 70 percent of specialist positions open to foreigners require full fluency in the language. Indeed, of 18,000 job offers for foreign specialists on two recruitment sites, 75 percent required language skills at the highest N1 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. That said, only 37 percent of 9,000 job seekers registered on the platforms have that N1 qualification. It’s a problem, because Japan is projected to face a shortfall of 790,000 IT professionals by 2030.
New Year’s Resolution
WW, the dieting company previously known as Weight Watchers, counts Oprah Winfrey as its largest shareholder (1.57 percent of the stock) and James Corden as its new pitchman, but faces a critical quarter and a deep need for people to keep their resolutions. This is the time of year when usage of dieting apps spike, and WW’s hope is that it can stem the steep losses usually sustained over the course of the year. Last year was a rough one for customer retention with membership down to 4.5 million as of the end of the third quarter, down from 5 million in the first quarter of 2021. If the company repeats, and it has another year where it loses 13 percent of subscribers over the course of 2022, it’ll finish the year with even fewer.
In 2011, regulators found that Chase had automatically filed tens of thousands of lawsuits against its customers on a basis that was flimsy, the result of automated filing systems overseen by less than a dozen employees. The CFPB at the time estimated that there were mistakes in about 10 percent of the cases that Chase won, and Chase agreed that it would up the amount of evidence it would require when it sued customers in the future, an agreement that expired on New Year’s Day of 2020. Since then, Chase Employee of the Month Otto Filer is out of storage and back on the job, and the bank is bringing suits at the same clip it did before 2011. An analysis of civil dockets found Chase sued 800 credit card customers in Fort Lauderdale last year, up from 70 customers in 2020 and zero customers in 2019. Chase sued 400 customers in Westchester County, New York, in 2020, up from one customer a year earlier. And in Texas, Chase filed over 1,000 consumer debt suits in Houston in 2021, up from seven suits in 2020. If the error rate is anything like it was pre-2011, that could mean lots of customers are being sued for money they don’t owe.
Next this year, companies are allocating an estimated 3.9 percent of total payroll for wage increases, which is the largest increase on record since 2008. One big contributing factor is inflation, which has caused increases in costs like groceries and rent, but the highly competitive job market is pushing companies to raise both maximum and minimum salaries across the board. This means that those employees who were content to not indulge in the Great Resignation are now getting their shot at participating in the Great Remuneration.
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