Sorry, But Not Really *Sorry*? ‘That’s So Facebook.’

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Today’s Agenda

ICYMI

Stocks rallied. Apple hosted a religious experience/developers conference. Microsoft bought GitHub.

Is Our Facebook Learning?

Larry David’s mantra at “Seinfeld” was “No hugging, no learning.” Facebook Inc. seems to live by the same code.

As mentioned here before, Facebook is really bad at apologizing, even after lots of practice. The reason we care, Faye Flam has noted, is that an inadequate, “mistakes were made” sort of apology suggests the person or thing apologizing won’t change their behavior.

Sure enough, Facebook has stumbled into yet another PR bear trap over its handling of private data: The New York Times reports it shared an uncomfortable amount of private user information with device-makers. Rather than coming clean and promising to do better, Facebook is throwing up distractions and evasions, writes Shira Ovide. That suggests it has learned nothing from many past mistakes. “As usual, when Facebook is given an option to be open and transparent, it opts for obfuscation,” Shira writes. “That’s so Facebook.”

Sure, fighting the haters is one way to respond to criticism (see Musk, Elon). But Facebook really can't afford to lose much more of the public’s confidence in it:

Such lack of trust may or may not make users quit. But it does come at a time when the idea of breaking up Facebook is being batted about openly. By not learning its lesson, Facebook is not helping its defense.

Click here to read more.

The Coal-Rolling Will Continue Until Morale Improves

The Trump administration wants to force utilities to buy power from dying coal-fired and nuclear plants. As Liam Denning discussed Friday, this idea is a thundering waterfall of dumbBloomberg’s editors would also like to know how much this boondoggle would cost; because it sure seems as if it will force millions of Americans power customers to pay higher-than-necessary prices (not to mention the costs in pollution and poorer health) to save a tiny number of coal jobs and/or Coal Country votes.

In other editorials: We need to make sure a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only path to success for our children.

SCOTUS Signals

The Supreme Court today ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. This seems like a setback for LGTBQ rights. But Noah Feldman points out Justice Anthony Kennedy's ruling is narrow and hangs on the idea that government shouldn't be hostile to religious belief. That – along with the fact that two liberal judges joined the decision – hints Kennedy may yet tip the high court to rule against Trump's Muslim ban, Noah writes.

What Is This ‘Law’ of Which You Speak?

In a series of tweets, legal memos and TV appearances by lawyer/attack dog Rudy Giuliani, Trump has carved out a novel legal position: The social construct we call “law” is a burden for lesser mortals than Trump, writes Tim O’Brien. Perhaps very soon, voters and politicians (or Republicans, at least) will have “to decide whether they favor an unfettered and fulsome presidency that takes flight at the expense of the rule of law,” Tim writes.

If, say, a President Hillary Clinton were making similar arguments in a similar situation, then impeachment proceedings against her would doubtless be underway already in a GOP Congress. But Trump benefits from double standards (among Republicans, at least) for pretty much everything he does, notes Al Hunt.

No, We Are Not Fabulously Wealthy

A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece argued, basically, that all the noise over the past decade or so about stagnant wages, rising inequality and a shrinking middle class is so much uninformed whining. “The poor and middle class have it so good, but they just don’t know it!” is how Barry Ritholtz characterizes the argument, before effectively dismantling it.

Chart Attack

CEO pay is a big problem in the U.S. oil patch. This little gas company is Exhibit A, writes Liam Denning.

What do you do if bad drug-trial data sends your stock plunging? If you’re Nektar Therapeutics Inc., you double down, writes Max Nisen.

Speed Round

OPEC is about to have another awkward meeting. – Julian Lee

Your worries about emerging market currencies aren’t wrong; just misplaced. – Nir Kaissar

Recent rosy economic numbers may be a mirage. – Conor Sen

America should welcome more Chinese students, not send them away. – Noah Smith

The Kicker

People will applaud pretty much anything at an Apple developer conference. 

Note: Please send applause, suggestions and kicker ideas to Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.net.

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