Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• ‘Excess Deaths’ in 2020 Surpassed Those of 1918 Flu Pandemic The U.S. death rate in 2020 was the highest above normal ever recorded in the country — even surpassing the calamity of the 1918 flu pandemic. (New York Times)
• Dirty Dollars: Accused money launderers left a path of bankrupt factories, unpaid taxes, shuttered buildings and hundreds of steelworkers out of jobs (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
• Minnesota gasps at the financial damage it faces from the Texas freeze When Texas’ natural gas supplies froze up, prices soared, and now Minnesota’s customers are looking at an $800 million bill. One utility, headquartered in Houston, is taking an especially aggressive tack. (Washington Post)
• Curt Schilling’s $150 Million Fail Shows What’s Broken in Video Games Video game studios are risky ventures, as the new book Press Reset explores—and the outing between an opinionated baseball star and Rhode Island’s smartest politicians remains the stuff of legends. (maybe the lesson is “Be less of a dick”) (Businessweek)
• The Bigger Short Wall Street’s Cooked Books Fueled the Financial Crisis in 2008. It’s Happening Again. (The Intercept)
• The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army The country’s cyber forces have raked in billions of dollars for the regime by pulling off schemes ranging from A.T.M. heists to cryptocurrency thefts. Can they be stopped? (New Yorker) see also China, Russia fueling QAnon conspiracy theories Foreign-based actors are spreading online disinformation rooted in QAnon conspiracy theories, fueling a movement that has become a mounting domestic terrorism threat (Yahoo News)
• Liz Cheney vs. MAGA: The Wyoming congresswoman challenged Republicans to turn away from Trump after Jan. 6. Instead, they turned on her. (New York Times Magazine)
• Can America’s Road Builders Break the Highway Habit? The Biden infrastructure plan pledges a rethink of federal transportation priorities. But the government agencies that build and maintain U.S. highways might not all be along for the ride. (Bloomberg)
• Fairfax County seeks to dismiss 400 convictions in cases brought by one officer D.C. firefighter convicted of drug case seeks freedom in arrest by former officer Jonathan A. Freitag (Washington Post)
• The Men Who Turned Slavery Into Big Business The domestic slave trade was no sideshow in our history, and slave traders were not bit players on the stage. (The Atlantic)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this week with Jack Brennan, former CEO and Chairman of the Vanguard Group. When Vanguard founder and investment legend John Bogle decided to step down as CEO, Brennan was his hand-picked successor for the job, and ran the firm from 1996-2008.
Vaccination rates are lower in counties that voted to re-elect President Trump in 2020.
Source: New York Times
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.