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JP credible sells paper “zombie shares” bad copy – RIP Ennis and Broadway PBUH

July 16, 2015

The previous post mentioned Jared Polis but he wasn’t the only JP “zombie” in the recent news, there was also the JP Morgan settling of “zombie debt”. Was it 136 million, 166 million (a better pun) or 216 million? It depends on the source and their math. See breakdown in LegalNewsOnline: “JPMorgan Chase accused of selling ‘zombie debts’ to third-party buyers”:

JPMorgan Chase will pay $50 million in consumer refunds, $136 million in penalties to the CFPB, and about $30 million in a penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Cordray said the bureau found Chase sold “zombie debts” to the third parties, and included accounts that weren’t accurate, were settled, discharged in bankruptcy, not owed, or otherwise uncollectible.

Did you know that JP Morgan owns the pistols from the duel that killed Alexander Hamilton? And unless you live in a bubble, you’ve heard that “Hamilton” is on Broadway, and that his face is being removed from the $10 bill? (to be replaced by an as yet unnamed woman — maybe it should be zombie Cinderella?) Hamilton is the only Founding Father that was born in the Caribbean (and so surely he had some “zombie” contact with West African Haitian religion).

Meanwhile on Broadway, further evidence that there is no credibility in media. I am referring to the nonsense stories about cell phones (technology zombies?) at the show “Hand to God”, see TheatreMania: “Hand to God Cell Phone Guy: “I Was Just Being Me”” because ya know, Millennials gotta be themselves, right? except this kid was clearly set up to do this, right? And so too, that zombie diva, Patti LuPone, grabbing a cell phone from the audience, sure. These are marketing gimmicks, right? Patti LuPone’s a diva, turn your cell phone off, buy tickets to the dying art of zombie theater.

Even legit sources aren’t particularly credible because everyone is more concerned with being first than with being right. Truth is dead, long live the zombie reprint. Last week, the IndyStar reported about “zombie shares” in a federal court case, see IndyStar: “Emmis wins appeals court ruling in ‘zombie shares’ dispute” by Jeff Swiatek, who wrote:

“It has been a long road, but we are incredibly gratified that the 7th Circuit upheld Judge (Sarah) Barker’s ruling, and denied the arguments made by dissident preferred shareholders,” said Jeff Smulyan, chairman and CEO of Emmis.

Barker rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the stock buyback amounted to an “illegal sham” carried out using “zombie shares” that should have been retired when they were repurchased by Emmis.

OK, except Judge Barker didn’t write “zombie” anywhere I can find. Judge Barker’s opinion from the District Court decision does refer to the “illegal sham” but no federal court ever has written “zombie shares” (at least not that I see). After all, zombies don’t share… [[That is with the big exception of Rob Zombie when he’s “sharing” his own promotional materials (see “Zombie Shares Look At Rotted Witch Corpse From ‘The Lords of Salem’”, “Rob Zombie Shares Concept Artwork for New Horror Movie, ’31′”, “Zombie shares his 10 Favorite Scenes From His Own Horror Movies”, and “Zombie shares his “ten commandments” of horror film making with Metal Hammer”).]]

So, LawZombie tweeted at Swiatek about his quote when the article first posted (no response) and then I left a phone message for him 10 days ago on his voice mail phone number listed at bottom of his article (no response). Gotta love supposed journalists who don’t respond to fact-checkers.

I really wonder if some corporate interest tried to push that language into his story. Corporate stock does have a history of being described as zombie (notably, see the Scholes precedent). And as if they knew I was writing about Scholes, Lexology posted: “Standing in the shoes or freeing evil zombies? The public policy of applying the in pari delicto defense to actions brought by a receiver” by Ellis & Winters:

In pari delicto is an equitable defense asserted when a defendant claims that a plaintiff is equally at fault for the wrong that has befallen him.

But still, that doesn’t answer the question: who said “zombie shares” to Jeff Swiatek for the Emmis case? There is presumably a lot of money riding on those shares, since Swiatek also reported last March “Emmis to offer stock awards to most employees” so presumably Swiatek has some contacts at this company, and again, who told fed him “zombie stock”? And then it gets propagated across the internet on repeater aggregator sites, and it also found it’s way to Stock Transcripts Stock Highlights:

On 3 July, Emmis Communications Corp. (NASDAQ:EMMS) won an appeals court decision in a dispute with some of its preferred shareholders over “zombie shares” and more than $10 million in unpaid dividends.

Meanwhile, and unrelated to zombie Emmis except for the spelling, Tufts Professor Ennis is dead; “James Ennis, Longtime Associate Professor of Sociology, 62“:

His areas of expertise included social networks, sociological theory, research methods and social movements,

Sincere condolences to the Tufts family (and coincidental that the previous post mentioned Dennett and Drezner)

So in memory, here’s some social science for today, from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: “A rose by any other name? The consequences of subtyping “African-Americans” from “Blacks”” by Erika V. Hall, Katherine W. Phillips, Sarah S.M. Townsend. This set of studies claims to show significant difference between a single racial descriptor. The authors go so far as to argue that there are implication for criminal trials if the jury perceives the defendant as “African American” instead of “Black”. That claim seems a bit of an overreach from their actual findings, but you can’t blame business professors for selling it. We should notice that these authors are at three business schools, yes, business schools, where the real science is.?!

Still, if there is a significant difference between “Black” and “African American” than surely there is an effect from using “zombie” as a descriptor. Just because my own cognitive research was utter failure doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something there (failed zombie cognitive research: part1, part2, part3).

In conclusion, here’s a list of cognitive biases, and consider inattentional blindness. After all, zombies are in part about perception and relationship to eyes, and about selling those eyes (and it’s attention). At some level it’s all bad debt in a mass consumer Ponzi scheme; when JP Morgan says it’s good, it must be good, just a shell game. Another deal with government, a little shakedown payout, nobody goes to jail, just sold a little bad debt, that’s all, nothing to see here.

In pari delicto is an equitable defense, too bad we all have such dirty hands. See JP Sarte: “Dirty Hands” (1948). “JP”!! I didn’t plan that pun in advance, ‘hand to god’, praise be upon Hamilton.

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