December 05, 2015

What the Cardinals need as winter meetings loom

Now that top pitchers Zach Greinke and David Price are off the table, and lesser talents such as Jeff Samardzija are following, the St. Louis Cardinals' 2016 needs, whether via free agency or trade, still are largely unmet and starting to loom.

Jason Heyward
Before pitching, though, the No. 1 priority is resigning Jason Heyward. If this doesn't happen, the rent-a-player trade that sent Shelby Miller to Atlanta just as he showed some improvement will be a quasi-disaster. (At the same time, Cards fans should note that Miller didn't have a miracle 2015 in Atlanta that was only buried by a bad W-L record. Instead, Miller overcame a bad 2014 and reverted to 2013; look at most his sabermetrics honestly and you'll see that. However, the unwarranted hoopla over Miller as a trade object indicates that a lot of GMs don't see that. That said, 2015 was only his third full year, and he's probably got further room for growth.)

Some have mentioned Justin Upton as a possible substitute for Heyward. I'll accept that, if the financial savings is adequately invested elsewhere, and the Cards don't give him more than four years at the max.

Second is that need for a pitcher. Mike Leake, Wei-Yin Chen, and Doug Fister seem the best possibilities. Chen is as good if not better than Leake, and being younger, might still have some uptapped upside. Fister, after a down year with the Nationals, might accept a short-term contract to rebuild his value. Or Mark Buehrle, a heathly "innings eater," might benefit from both a change of leagues and a homecoming, if he decides he's not retiring. I find all of these options better than Scott Kazmir, who I think is overrated by many. A season-plus in Oakland doesn't wipe out a lot of past blemishes in my book.

Kazmir, though, as well as Leake and Buehrle, don't require draft choses due to QOs. That's some benefit to them. That said, the Cardinals draft late enough that it's not a huge penalty to pay.

Anyway, really, that's all the Cardinals need on pitching. A number 3 starter, or really, a 3/4.

Picture some combination of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez as providing the top two pitchers in the rotation for sure, and possibly the top three, the Cardinals are looking for a 3/4 starter, and even then, just until Lance Lynn comes back from his Tommy John surgery sometime during the 2017 season.

Waino generally seemed to do well in his rapid post-Achilles return at the end of last year. Wacha largely bounced back from his late 2014 shoulder issues. Garcia generally was healthy, by his standards. Martinez did have some arm "impingement" that shut him down at the end of the regular season, but so far, there's been no concern expressed beyond that.

A two-year contract for a 3/4 starter, or a three-year, if necessary, lets the Cards see what the longer term aging curve of Waino is, just how much upside Wacha has beyond his performance so far, whether Garcia can hold up another year, and what the team should do after that, and, assuming Martinez' arm is fine, what he can do after that.

Tim Cooney, who had a peak at the big club last year, Marco Gonzalez, who had more than a peak in 2014, and a sip in 2015, and Alex Reyes are all possibilities for sufficient improvement to see time in 2016, and make the big club out of spring training in 2017.

In other words, a nice pickup is good here, and, yes, David Price would have been great, but no overpay is needed. A "bridge" is what is needed; a Calatrava bridge is not a need, it's a luxury.

IF Heyward is resigned, my preference is Buehrle if he doesn't retire. He'd probably be the least expensive, and fit most into that "bridge" role

Third is improving the situation at first base. I'm not sure either Brandon Moss or Matt Adams is much of an answer. That said, don't forget that new backup catcher Brayan Pena can also play first. If somebody else on the free agency market is a better answer than Moss or Adams, that's all good. But, this is the third priority. If Heyward is resigned, then Stephen Piscotty is part of the answer, of course.

If the Cards need to spend some money here, getting a relatively inexpensive "bridge" as a pitcher means more money to spend.

Fourth is more middle infield depth. Giving some days off to Jhonny Peralta at short, while offering a RH bat option for Kolton Wong at second are both good. Aledmys Diaz showed some promise at the end of last year in Memphis, and had a very solid follow-up in the Arizona Fall League, where he played both positions. He may be the Cards' first answer there. They don't need to break the bank for Ben Zobrist, who's not worth bank-breaking money anyway.

The Gyorko trade addresses this; it's nice, but it's No. 4 on the list.

Fifth is tweaking the bullpen where needed. Assuming that Jordan Walden is back and healthy for a full year helps right there.

How many people have to get killed for flags to lower to half-staff? And for what reason?

This is a question that deserves a good mix of both seriousness and serious sarcasm.

And, it's linked to Dear Leader's actions on Thursday, ordering flags lowered to half-staff in wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting, through Sunday.

However, no such proclamation was made after the Colorado Springs mass shooting.

Was it the 14 killed in San Bernardino vs. 3 in Colorado Springs?

Syed Rizwan Farook
In that case, our beloved Dear Leader, as the nation's "elected pastor," as the president is sometimes called, should give us a number.

Is 5 enough? Or is it 7? Or do we need double digits?

This will also help Muslims, or leftover Tamil Tigers, or other suicide attackers, to know how many to be sure to kill for extra publicity if they're going to do suicide attacks. (Which wasn't the case in San Bernardino.)

Or was it because the type of killers? Even before the possibility of San Bernardino being a "terrorist attack" was considered, we knew, at the time of Obama's proclamation, that the suspects had "funny sounding" names. Kind of Mooslim names. And, soon learned that they didn't have the purest of ethnic tones.

Robert Louis Dear Jr.
Names not like Robert Louis Dear, with his whiteness of skin, Christianist background, and good, Christian-based heart.

Who, of course, is not a terrorist. The FBI apparently isn't investigating his action as a terrorist act, since he was just following the video commands of the Center for Medical Progress, he's obviously not a terrorist.

Right?

Our president with less than pure skin and a funny-sounding name isn't afraid of calling a right-wing Christianist a terrorist, is he? He's not afraid of having Dear's act denoted as a terrorism-level action, is he?

I think the president needs to straighten this out, too. What type of purpose behind a mass shooting gets a flag lowered to half staff? Does anti-abortionism or other Christian right terrorism (since that's what it is) not count? Or is this again only a body count issue?

I mean, since we're averaging a mass shooting a day this year, we could just fly the flag at half staff all the time. Just let us know what to do.

And, Dear Leader, as you prosecute the War on Terra via the War with Drones, this would surely help civilians in Yemen. Or the staff of Doctors without Borders.

I presume that when the U.S. kills the "innocent," the U.S. flag never flies at half staff. But, what about the Yemeni flag? Or the UN flag for Doctors without Borders?

December 04, 2015

You say Zuckerberg, I say Hucksterman, part two (updated)

I blogged on Wednesday about the magical PR pixie dust that has led some people to think Mark Zuckerberg's new for-profit LLC is really a charity and will do all sorts of magic stuff.

Marky Mark, Priscilla Chan and daughter Max.
Who could resist such cuteness? I could.
Well, other than pixie dust inhalers calling me a cynic, and naive PR readers thinking Zuck's done so much good, others have claimed that a California benefits corporation, which is the type of LLC this is in California, will keep him in line.

And, an alleged skeptic should know better. After being given a lawyer's explainer of what such a corporation is, as he attempted to refute a Pro Publica pice from my original blog post, and referenced again below. I Googled to find the actual law instead.

It's true that 30 states have some sort of benefits corporation, per Wiki. It's also true that every one of them was created this decade, when the man and the hour of neoliberalism met nationally in Barack Obama. That alone should be ground for pause. Nobody has any real empirical evidence on how these babies operate.

Specific to Zuckerberg and where Facebook is?

Per California's enabling statute, I don't see it that way; I don't see California's law having any real teeth to making Zuckerberg do anything that he doesn't want to do, period and end of story.

The only way to "enforce" whether such a body is living up to its charter, etc., is through a "benefits proceeding."

However, such proceeding is all "inside baseball":
(a) No person may bring an action or assert a claim against a benefit corporation or its directors or officers under this chapter except in a benefit enforcement proceeding.
(b) A benefit enforcement proceeding may be commenced or maintained only as follows:
(1) Directly by the benefit corporation.
(2) Derivatively by any of the following:
(A) A shareholder.
(B) A director.
(C) A person or group of persons that owns beneficially or of record 5 percent or more of the equity interests in an entity of which the benefit corporation is a subsidiary.
(D) Other persons as have been specified in the articles or bylaws of the benefit corporation.
(c) A benefit corporation shall not be liable for monetary damages under this part for any failure of the benefit corporation to create a general or specific public benefit.
So, that would mean the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative corporately, or any shareholders or directors named Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg or cronies thereof, of such persons unlikely to hold more than 5 percent of the Initiative's stock, are the only people who can do anything about its performance. Let's remember that, although Cal law, and in most states, technically allows an incorporated, publicly traded company to also reincorporate as a benefits corporation, there's been no rush to do so. Why would they, at least when any shareholder can raise eyeballs, at least "derivatively," which is never really explained.

As for whether such incorporation is better than a traditional 501(c)3 nonprofit? I think not.

True that they don't have tremendous amounts of oversight, either. However, theoretically, the IRS can come down on nonprofits more than these LLCs. The fact that IRS enforcement is bupkis in reality doesn't refute the theoretical angle. And, I'll take even minimal IRS enforcement over this.

And, places like Charity Navigator do annual reviews of charity performance, but, I assume, not of for profit LLCs, even if they're allegedly for a vague "public benefit."

As for the idea this boosts stakeholder value rather than shareholder value? Well, theoretically, but only if your LLC's board isn't a fount of nepotism. Which is why publicly traded corporations aren't rushing to do this.

Speaking, what is a public benefit? In Californias enabling law, it says it is:
(D)efined as a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, as assessed against a 3rd-party standard, as defined, that satisfies certain requirements. 
But, that “third party standard” is undercut by lack of third-party enforcement.

Wikipedia’s article itself notes this, too:
Benefit corporations need not be certified or audited by the third-party standard. Instead, they use third-party standards solely as a rubric a company uses to measure its own performance.
A “rubric.” Is that like a “goldbrick”?

And, yep, California's statute specifically says an outside audit is not required.

So, what we have is a for-profit company that says, "This is what we think is a 'public benefit.'"

Let's see how this spells out in detail. 

It can then say: "Our cronies agree that we're doing a pretty good job of meeting that benefit."

It can then say: "Now move along, nothing else to see here."

But, I didn’t yet answer what that “specific public benefit” is. Hold on, we’re there:
(e) “Specific public benefit” includes all of the following:
(1) Providing low-income or underserved individuals or communities with beneficial products or services.
(2) Promoting economic opportunity for individuals or communities beyond the creation of jobs in the ordinary course of business.
(3) Preserving the environment.
(4) Improving human health.
(5) Promoting the arts, sciences, or advancement of knowledge.
(6) Increasing the flow of capital to entities with a public benefit purpose.
(7) The accomplishment of any other particular benefit for society or the environment.
OK, more analysis time.

No. 1? Zuckerberg's fake free Internet in India could fall under that.
No. 2? Former San Francisco Mayor, now Cal Lite Guv Gavin Newsom's pothole Donkey Kong ideas would fit.
No. 3? Sounds straightforward, but wait until Facebook promotes "Virtual reality National Parks" or something.
No. 4? Straightfoward.
No. 5? Facebook in K-12 classrooms certainly falls here. The tech-neolib wet dream combined with tax deductions for doing so, as Pro Publica explained. (Yes, yes, he gets tax deductions. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. If they try to claim otherwise, tell them to read the piece precisely, then go argue with Pro Publica. If they try to claim you're saying tax deductions "now" or similar, tell them the same thing.)
No. 6? "Money laundering" is what this is called. For example, Sergey Brin starts something. Let's call it the Elgoog Foundation. The two foundations start swapping money like bacterial DNA-transfer sex. (Or like David Brock playing shell games with Hillary Clinton money.) And, trust me, this one WILL happen in the future.
7. WTF? That's not just a Mack truck sized loophole. I can take Patton's Second Armored Division through that.
Remember, on that point 7, there is no third-party auditing, and a third party definition is just a "rubric."

Back to that tax issue:

#HillaryClinton dives deep into the world of dark money

The Sunlight Foundation, a well-known government and government-related group, has turned the bright halogens on Clinton and even more on her long-time chief factotum, David Brock.

I guess the vast right-wing conspiracy doesn't include moneybags in general, because a lot of money is coming to the Clinton campaign, and a lot of that lot is getting funneled through multiple storefront groups controlled by Brock.

By "storefront," I mean places all operating from one location.

One of the things the Sunlight report does is show that a lot of money is moving from one Brock pocket to another.

Another thing it shows is that a lot of these are 501(c)(4) groups, the groups allowed to mushroom by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

That said, while noting the Clintons claim they have moles inside Koch Brothers operations, Sunlight Foundation notes this:
The hilarious part (if you find dodging transparency hilarious) is that the group has an entire database for uncovering the money behind conservative causes, documenting spending from their 990s, and blogging about conservative donors, but it does not disclose its own donors on that website, or anywhere else. We reached out to American Bridge for comment on this, and will update this post if we receive anything from them.
 On that note: The foundation arm of American Bridge 21st Century has donated a lot of money to the Bridge super PAC, which does have to disclose its donors. In the first six months of 2015, the foundation gave $1.2 million to the super PAC. In 2014, they donated $2.5 million. That’s $3.7 million dollars funneled from the foundation to the super PAC in just the last two years — with donors safe in the knowledge that their names won’t be disclosed to the public.

I, of course, don’t find it humorous at all.

One of the most well-known to political insiders of Brock's outfits is Correct the Record. About it, Sunlight Foundation opines:
But Campaign Legal Center’s Paul Ryan has described the group’s activity as “creating new ways to undermine campaign regulation.”
Gee, shock me.

See, this gets back to Citizens United. Part of the Clinton apparatus didn't totally like it. But, part of it surely did. 

And, beyond moving money from one Brock pocket to another, other long-time FOB/H get their rewards too. Sid Blumenthal and James Carville are both paid more than $200K by original Brock outfit Media Matters for America.

Meanwhile, the misinformation put out by Brock acolytes and hangers-on like "Hillary Men" founders Tom Watson and Peter Daou continues to multiply itself.

One meme of these folks is that opposition to Clinton is driven by a bunch of misogynist men.

That of course ignores that people like me voted for Andrea McKinney in 2008 and Jill Stein in 2012, because, in reality, of course, there's only two parties in America: Republicans and Republicans Lite. It also ignores the great deal of women that dislike or distrust Hillary Clinton.

That would include the woman who make up a greater percentage of Bernie Sanders donors than Hillary Clinton donors. The Baffler looks at this in more detail.

December 03, 2015

#PrayerShaming meet #AtlanticShaming and #hypocrisy shaming

Atlantic Monthly Managing Editor Emma Green decides that, rather than chide GOP presidential candidates for saying "prayers for the families" banal platitudes after the San Bernardino mass shooting (and the Colorado Springs mass shooting, and surely after the next mass shooting to come), she's rather bash Democrats who call for actual action, like, you know ...

Gun control.

Rather than salute their calls for action, when any of them mocks GOP presidential candidates and other elected officials for NOT calling for action along with "prayers for the families," she calls them

"Prayer shamers."

It's the worst piece of dreck I've seen come from that mag for some time, and that's a magazine that has the confusing neoliberal-libertarian-mushy conservative triangulations of Conor Friedersdorf on its pages.

And, it's not from a staff writer, or a freelancer, it's from its managing editor. (Hat tip to Brains and Eggs for alerting me to this particular dreck.)

But, wait, it gets worse.

On her Twitter feed, to support her contention about "prayer shaming," she retweets the like of noted homophobe Rod Dreher:

Dreher wrote this dreck, starting with mischaracterizing the New York Daily News' cover page reaction to San Bernardino.

First, the cowards part is true, as none of them will stand up to the NRA. That's even though many religiously conservative would be OK with more gun control.

Green even admits that factor, then tries to pretend this is about prayer shaming in general.

Well, if you want to open that can of worms ...

In small towns across this country, with senseless murders, and murder-suicides, people still utter the same platitude: "Prayers for the family."

What? No prayers for "more gun control"? No prayers for "better mental health services" in the case of murder-suicides? No prayers of anguish of "why do you let this happen, god"?

No, we never hear about such prayers.

Nor does Green note other counterexamples, like Jews in the camps saying they lost god because he wasn't there.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, bemoans this becoming yet another part of the culture wars. He even bemoans the shallow prayers of politicos. He doesn't mention, though, that they're almost all of the same political party. Nor does he mention that his denomination has contributed heavily to said culture wars.

Meanwhile, Green herself is quite Catholic. She's not neutral on the religiosity in America issue, having in the past tried to massage the rise of the nones.

And, as a 2012 Georgetown grad, The Atlantic hiring a 20something as managing editor shows how fiscally cheap the magazine is, the Peter Principle again at work in the media industry and more.

Meanwhile, whether conservatives praying for better gun control or alleged liberals wanting more action on gun control?

Preznit Kumbaya keeps talking about, and threatening, to do what he can by executive order if Congress won't act. Well, his threats look ever more hollow, even though there's a lot he could actually do by those executive orders.

He could do even more than that. For example, he could have OSHA do slow-walk, white-glove inspections of every guns and ammo manufacturer in the US until their owners tell the wingnuts to do more on gun control.

And, it's not just guns, on the GOP and mindless, heartless, rote "prayers for ... " nonsense.

Take GOP presidential candidates and other elected officials saying "Prayers for the families" when more and more natural natural disasters are exacerbated by climate change.

Are we supposed to not critique their opposition to climate change legislation and treaties? Is that too "prayer shaming"?

So, Emma, with you and your seemingly Peter-Principled appointment, maybe you should note:
1. The particular prayers deserve mockery, especially when uttered by public officials;
2. Democrats aren't prayer shaming; they're hypocrite shaming;
3. This isn't a one-off. Per a tracker, the U.S. is averaging a mass shooting a day this year. And time, after time, after time, all we hear is "prayers for the families" or "thoughts and prayers." And that's not all. When the case involves a white, Religious Right, conservative Christian terrorist, like Robert Lewis Dear last week, those same GOP presidential candidates and their allies deny that these people are exactly who they are.

On that point, it's not just politicos. Despite evidence that Dear has a history of anti-abortion violent thoughts or more, and the "no more baby parts" quote was certainly inspired by the Center for Medical Progress Regress' surreptitious filming of Planned Parenthood, followed by lie-narrating editing of that video, Dreher claims there's no connection between Christians (while ignoring there's the Religious Right, then there's other Christians) and Colorado Springs.

Dreher then goes on to raise a straw man. Many liberals also agree that it's not just gun control. I'd say it's attitudes about guns in general that's a problem. And the lauding of violence in American society, which includes the Fox network, which arguably, even while Fox News sucks up to conservatives, runs the most anti-"values" programming of any of the four major broadcast networks.

So, the real shame is to Emma Green for writing an article with so little nuance. The second real shame is for The Atlantic continuing to slouch to Gomorrah with a hiring like this. Is Ta-Nehisi Coates a "token" of actual liberal good sense or what? (Hope you're getting paid well, as well as getting a good platform, my man.)

Maybe Atlantic is slouching toward the Gomorrah of clickbait with this, too. But, since I use Ghostery to block its cookies, and AdBlock Plus to block its ads, and put a "no follow" on linking to it, clickbait don't work, baby.

And, now that I have learned a few more nuggets about her, Green may actually be a conservative Catholic culture warrior who hasn't revealed that yet. Maybe she even agrees with Dreher's homophobia.

Zuckerberg shows that even among #skeptics, there's a sucker born every minute

Or maybe I should put "skeptic" in scare quotes. And, I definitely should advise you that I have a follow-up post, refuting pseudoskeptics who didn't want to accept what's in this initial one.

Marky Mark, Priscilla Chan and daughter Max.
Who could resist such cuteness? I could.
Early this week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that with the birth of his daughter, he was creating a new charitable foundation in his wife's name and that he would give away 99 percent of his Facebook stock.

Gawker, a day later, provided the reality of what this meant.

First, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative isn't a charitable organization, it's an LLC. That means that it can spend those Facebook stocks, when cashed out, on whatever it damn well pleases.

I noted that, as well as the fact that Zuckerberg's announced desire to promote "connecting people and building strong communities" sure made it sound like he'd be giving all this Facebook stock to ...

Promote the use of Facebook.

Because, hey, Facebook connects us all, right? Into communities, right?

What's not patently self-serving in the announcement?

Well, much of it that isn't that is New Age drivel.
Advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be. 
Can you learn and experience 100 times more than we do today?
Because that, too, is among what Marky Mark wants to fund.

If you can read that second sentence without barfing, you're probably not much of a real skeptic.

When I posted this on Facebook, alleged "skeptics" claim that I'm just a heartless cynic.

Since I don't normally post to "public," I can't name their names by my Facebook ethics.

Which, of course, is far more ethics related to Facebook than its inventor has ever shown.

Meanwhile, per BuzzFeed, which pointed out that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a charity, Marky Mark already has for-profit activities lined up:
A Facebook release this afternoon stated as much. “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will pursue its mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates, in each case with the goal of generating positive impact in areas of great need,” it said. “Any profits from investments in companies will be used to fund additional work to advance the mission.”
"Policy debates" could be translates as "lobbying," in my book.

But I'm just a cynic.

Other buzz phrases could be similarly translated. "Areas of great need" could be neoliberal tech-powered education, where Marky Mark's already been a flop, per the Gawker link.

Which, from there, goes on to note about said education initiatives:
“Micro-schools”? Putting Facebook software in public schools? Software, software, more software. If you have a headache, take a software. Jimmy can’t read? Give him software. The conceit that code can solve all social ills and free the species from the chains of aging, illness, and flatulence is the height of Silicon Valley bullshit, and Zuckerberg’s massive giveaway will clearly be predicated on that conceit.

Yep. Like Chris Whittle and others, Zuckerberg wants to get our schoolkids hooked on the tech-neoliberal version of Marlboros ASAP. 

Or, his attempt to ram Facebook down Indians' throats while offering a bait-and-switch with a lure of a crappy free Internet plan to try to get people to buy a slightly less crappy paid plan.

But I'm just a cynic. And the MSM, like "skeptics," are suckers. Right, NYT? Right again, NYT? Even while co-suckering others to play along?

And not mentioned by Zuckerberg is that this "giveaway" surely will allow him a sweet tax write-off.

Indeed, Pro Publica has now weighed in on exactly that issue
Mark Zuckerberg did not donate $45 billion to charity. You may have heard that, but that was wrong. 
Here’s what happened instead: Zuckerberg created an investment vehicle. 
In doing so, Zuckerberg and Chan did not set up a charitable foundation, which has nonprofit status. He created a limited liability company, one that has already reaped enormous benefits as public relations coup for himself. His PR return-on-investment dwarfs that of his Facebook stock. Zuckerberg was depicted in breathless, glowing terms for having, in essence, moved money from one pocket to the other.

Sounds about right. 

But, wait, it gets "better."
What’s more, a charitable foundation is subject to rules and oversight. It has to allocate a certain percentage of its assets every year. The new Zuckerberg LLC won’t be subject to those rules and won’t have any transparency requirements.
And, only one person makes the decision on how to invest this. 

But wait, Pro Publica goes further on this:
Any time a superwealthy plutocrat makes a charitable donation, the public ought to be reminded that this is how our tax system works. The superwealthy buy great public relations and adulation for donations that minimize their taxes.

Yep. 

And, Zuckerberg gets tax benefits from this:
So what are the tax implications? They are quite generous to Zuckerberg. I asked Victor Fleischer, a law professor and tax specialist at the University of San Diego School of Law, as well as a contributor to DealBook. He explained that if the LLC sold stock, Zuckerberg would pay a hefty capital gains tax, particularly if Facebook stock kept climbing. 
If the LLC donated to a charity, he would get a deduction just like anyone else. That’s a nice little bonus. But the LLC probably won’t do that because it can do better. The savvier move, Professor Fleischer explained, would be to have the LLC donate the appreciated shares to charity, which would generate a deduction at fair market value of the stock without triggering any tax.

Meanwhile, some pseudoskeptics are claiming that a California benefits corporation, which is the type of LLC this is in California, will keep him in line.

Per California's enabling statute, I don't see it that way.

That's in part because, per that same lawyer, and contra one neolib pseudoskeptic, Zuckerberg's money can be used for lobbying purposes, too.

The only way to "enforce" whether such a body is living up to its charter, etc., is through a "benefits proceeding."

However, such proceeding is all "inside baseball":
(a) No person may bring an action or assert a claim against a benefit corporation or its directors or officers under this chapter except in a benefit enforcement proceeding.
(b) A benefit enforcement proceeding may be commenced or maintained only as follows:
(1) Directly by the benefit corporation.
(2) Derivatively by any of the following:
(A) A shareholder.
(B) A director.
(C) A person or group of persons that owns beneficially or of record 5 percent or more of the equity interests in an entity of which the benefit corporation is a subsidiary.
(D) Other persons as have been specified in the articles or bylaws of the benefit corporation.
(c) A benefit corporation shall not be liable for monetary damages under this part for any failure of the benefit corporation to create a general or specific public benefit.
So, that would mean the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative corporately, or any shareholders or directors named Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg or cronies thereof, of such persons unlikely to hold more than 5 percent of the Initiative's stock, are the only people who can do anything about its performance.

As for whether such incorporation is better than a traditional 501(c)3 nonprofit? I think not.

True that they don't have tremendous amounts of oversight, either. However, theoretically, the IRS can come down on nonprofits more than these LLCs. The fact that IRS enforcement is bupkis in reality doesn't refute the theoretical angle. And, I'll take even minimal IRS enforcement over this.

And, places like Charity Navigator do annual reviews of charity performance, but, I assume, not of for profit LLCs, even if they're allegedly for a vague "public benefit."

As for the idea this boosts stakeholder value rather than shareholder value? Well, theoretically, but only if your LLC's board isn't a fount of nepotism.

Speaking, what is a public benefit? In Californias enabling law, it says it is:
(D)efined as a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, as assessed against a 3rd-party standard, as defined, that satisfies certain requirements. 
But, that “third party standard” is undercut by lack of third-party enforcement.

But, I'm just a cynic.

Hey, alleged skeptics? (One of him is somewhere between right-neolib and libertarian, so understandable.) Sometimes cynicism is the proper social and emotional stance to adopt as a result of skeptical perusal of an issue.

Of course, I love being a deliberate contrarian at times. And a capital-C philosophical Cynic.

But, Zuckerberg doesn't even make a public announcement about going to the bathroom unless there's some self-interest involved.

Part of the problem is that many Americans, including said neoliberal pseudoskeptic, don't understand what philanthropy actually is. Per this piece, remember:

If you are giving money to somebody with the expectation that they will carry out your instructions, further your agenda, owe you compliance and assistance, or complete a project you've assigned them — you're not a philanthropist. If your giving is designed to give you power or control over an aspect of public life in our country — you're not a philanthropist.
Period and end of story.

===

Update, April 12, 2016: Facebook's new Siri-on-Oxy-slow bot-apps are surely a public benefit, right?