10 Sunday Reads

Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:

The Texas Freeze: Why the Power Grid Failed The state’s electricity system was considered a model. This week’s outages revealed shortcomings in the market structure.  (Wall Street Journal) see also Texas vs. The Future I’m bullish on the future of Texas’ economy and its ability to become a technology hub. But for now, my home state’s economy is still too dependent on fossil fuels. (Noahpinion)
Police Forces Have Long Tried to Weed Out Extremists in the Ranks. Then Came the Capitol Riot. At least 30 law enforcement officers from around the country took part in the rally on Jan. 6 that preceded the riot. Many are now being investigated. (New York Times)
Black CA couple lowballed by $500K in home appraisal, where Race is a factor Their home appraised for $989,000, until a second appraisal was made. “We had a conversation with one of our white friends, who brought over pictures of my family and made the home look like it was white-owned.” The second appraisal was for $1,482,000, or roughly $500,000 more. (ABC 7 News)
Anatomy of a conspiracy: With COVID, China took leading role From Beijing and Washington to Moscow and Tehran, political leaders and allied media effectively functioned as misinformation superspreaders, using their stature to amplify politically expedient conspiracies already in circulation. But it was China — not Russia – that took the lead in spreading foreign disinformation about COVID-19’s origins, as it came under attack for its early handling of the outbreak. (AP)
A “Predatory” Stop-Sign Camera Is Terrorizing My Neighborhood  Data from MPD shows that in June 2020, the camera in question snapped 82 violators. Then there were 2,850 tickets in July 2020 (compared to 231 tickets in July 2019). Then the camera started flashing like paparazzi in Cannes: From August through November, a total of 17,216 tickets were issued. That’s $1,721,600 from one camera at one intersection in just four months. (Defector)
How White nationalists evade the law and continue profiting off hate Public scrutiny drives alt-right personalities deeper into the bowels of the internet, reducing their visibility. And while their retreat to ever more obscure corners can make it more difficult to monitor the chatter, Michael Edison Hayden, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, says the game of whack a mole is ultimately worthwhile. (CNN)
Accountability suffers as newspaper closures grow in SC, nation  “When you lose a local newspaper, what you are losing is that person who shows up to cover the town council, the person who covers the school board and the local police beat,” said Penny Muse Abernathy, a visiting professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Illinois. “At a minimum, it provides transparency about what’s going on in local government.” (Post and Courier)
‘A moment of truth’? After years of Trump’s lies, amplified by MAGA media, that proved impossible for most Republicans From Day One’s “alternative facts” about the size of the 2017 inaugural crowd, Trumpian falsehoods became nothing short of routine. They were generously ladled out by a president, his spokespeople and his administration — and then repeated and amplified by his many helpers in the MAGA mediasphere, led by those at Fox News. (Washington Post)
The IRS Cashed Her Check. Then the Late Notices Started Coming. A mountainous backlog of paperwork at the IRS continues to wreak havoc on America’s tax collection system — which especially hurts lower-income filers. (ProPublica)
The party of voter suppression: State GOP lawmakers propose flurry of voting restrictions to placate Trump supporters, spurring fears of a backlash But the effort is dividing Republicans, some of whom are warning that it will tar the GOP as the party of voter suppression and give Democrats ammunition to mobilize their supporters ahead of the 2022 midterms. (Washington Post)  see also Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for restrictive new voting laws DeSantis wants to make it harder to vote by mail after a record number utilized the voting method last year. (NBC News)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Doug Braunstein, former Chief Financial Officer at JPMorgan Chase. Braunstein is founder and managing partner at Hudson Executive Capital, which has underwritten several successful SPAC offerings, with $1.6B in AUM. Braunstein worked directly with Jamie Dimon as CFO and a member of JPMorgan’s Executive Committee. He served as head of JPMorgan’s Americas Investment Banking and Global M&A.


More Chronic Disease, Shorter Lifespans And Greater Risk Factors For COVID-19 In Neighborhoods That Were Redlined 80 Years Ago.

Source: National Community Reinvestment Coalition


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