Matt Stoller reminds us that Transportation Secretary Buttigieg actually has a lot of authority to fight mergers like the proposed Jet Blue/Spirit merger. Furthermore, Mr. Buttigieg can, by law, apply a “public interest” standard to mergers (versus the “may substantially lessen competition” standard the Clayton Act sets), which gives him a leg up over our Justice Department; while two more airlines merging in an already low-competition industry sure does seem like it would “substantially lessen competition,” our DOJ would have to get a federal judge to agree – which is, ah, real hit-and-miss even with Democrat-appointed judges – whereas Mr. Buttigieg wouldn’t even have to go to court. In a world where our FCC Chair kept a hedge fund from buying a cable corporation without even having a working majority – and read that, because that’s a great story! – Mr. Buttigieg is rapidly running out of excuses, not to mention time to recover in the public eye before he runs for President or Senate or whatever.
Constance Grady at Vox explains how “Brad Pitt was the only winner of the Aniston-Jolie tabloid battle.” How did he win? Mainly, it seems, by having a penis! Tabloid writers wrote about Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie largely in terms of their motherhood, or lack thereof – Ms. Aniston tried to have a baby with Mr. Pitt but couldn’t, and when she didn’t reveal her infertility issues at the time (maybe because they weren’t any of our damn business!), the tabloids said she “put career over family.” Ms. Jolie, meanwhile, adopted a child early in the 2000s, but even after mothering six children with Mr. Pitt, she found herself back where she started after splitting from him, even facing accusations of having a “white savior complex.” Mr. Pitt, meanwhile, gets kudos as a dad for merely expressing pride in his children, and tabloid writers transcribe word from “sources close to (him)” like Moses handed it down from Mt. Sinai. Ladies and gentlemen, your "liberal" media at work!
ProPublica tells you how you can file your taxes for free with limited interference from some corporation. As you may recall, our IRS must by law offer a “free filing” option for folks with relatively simple returns, but they let their “partner” big tax-prep corporations obscure that option (both in Google searches and on their own websites) so they could still make you pay. Nice work if you can get it! But ProPublica broke that story (as it related to TurboTax) two years ago, and our FTC has since taken action against TurboTax owner Intuit, so now things are a bit easier. Two key points: you have to make less than $73,000 annually to take advantage of this service (though some of our IRS’s corporate partners have more stringent requirements), and you have to start guided tax prep at irs.gov, not at a corporation’s website. It’s not ideal – ideal would be more like our IRS filling out the forms for you for free, since they already have all your info from your employer. But it is better.