Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man In this crowded field of wrongness, one voice stands out. The voice of Alex Berenson: the former New York Times reporter, Yale-educated novelist, avid tweeter, online essayist, and all-around pandemic gadfly. Berenson has been serving up COVID-19 hot takes for the past year, blithely predicting that the United States would not reach 500,000 deaths (we’ve surpassed 550,000) and arguing that cloth and surgical masks can’t protect against the coronavirus (yes, they can). (The Atlantic) see also Which world leader has the worst pandemic record? The competition is fierce Populism seems to be a comorbidity in a pandemic, raising its deadly toll. It’s impossible to cover all the outrages by populist demagogues and assorted tyrants. Every world leader made mistakes, but there’s something uniquely malignant about the manipulations and deceptions of the most outrageous players.(Washington Post)
• How a Chip Shortage Snarled Everything From Phones to Cars A six-decade-old invention, the lowly chip, has gone from little-understood workhorse in powerful computers to the most crucial and expensive component under the hood of modern-day gadgets. That explosion in demand—unexpectedly goosed during the Covid-19 pandemic for certain industries like smartphones and PCs—has caused a near-term supply shock triggering an unprecedented global shortage. (Bloomberg)
• Panic Rooms, Birth Certificates and the Birth of GOP Paranoia How America’s center-right party started to lose its mind, as told by the man who tried to keep it sane. (Politico)
• The Future of Student Free Speech Comes Down to a Foul-Mouthed Cheerleader The story of the foul-mouthed 14-year-old cheerleader burdening the judiciary with her insistence on a constitutional right to curse out her coach on Snapchat. But the case, B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District, is nothing of the sort. It is an all-the-marbles moment for civic education in America. You cannot teach respect for constitutional rights to young people who experience the Constitution only as a meaningless abstraction in a textbook. (Slate)
• Will U.S. learn from a $1.7 trillion goof that would have paid for Biden’s infrastructure plan? America’s military-industrial complex squanders $1.5 trillion on a lame fighter jet while the president begs for infrastructure cash. Isn’t there a better way? (Philadelphia Inquirer)
• Your Face Is Not Your Own: What Happens When Our Faces Are Tracked Everywhere We Go? When a secretive start-up scraped the internet to build a facial-recognition tool, it tested a legal and ethical limit — and blew the future of privacy in America wide open. (New York Times)
• Inside the Koch-Backed Effort to Block the Largest Election-Reform Bill in Half a Century behind closed doors Republicans speak differently about the legislation, which is also known as House Resolution 1 and Senate Bill 1. They admit the lesser-known provisions in the bill that limit secret campaign spending are overwhelmingly popular across the political spectrum. In private, they concede their own polling shows that no message they can devise effectively counters the argument that billionaires should be prevented from buying elections. (New Yorker)
• The Hosts Battling to Be Fox News’ Next Tucker Carlson And the one topic they’re all obsessed with. “Cancel culture” is one of Fox News’ favorite topics these days, just as “political correctness” was in days past. If you have watched Fox News at all over the past year, then you are well aware of the network’s thesis that cancel culture is allegedly scarier and more dangerous than COVID, mass shootings, and Godzilla combined—and certainly a more preferable discussion topic than broadly popular Democratic initiatives like the latest economic relief bill. (Slate)
• Vaccine Passports and the Categorical Impermissibility of Inconveniencing Republicans The idea isn’t that the government will require proof of vaccination for anything. The idea is that the ability to credibly prove vaccination status will speed the restoration of normal social and economic life. This works by allowing businesses, schools, sports leagues, etc. to discriminate against those who haven’t been vaccinated. (Model Citizen) see also Republicans seek to make vaccine passports the next battle in the pandemic culture wars The issue has received an increasing amount of attention from some of the party’s most extreme members and conservative media figures, but it has also been seized on by Republican leaders like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate. (Washington Post)
• Cops’ posts to private Facebook group show hostility, hate: Police Breakroom has 2,200 members, including a dozen current and former police chiefs and at least one judge and one councilman. Many current and retired officers spent the year criticizing chiefs who took a knee or officers who marched with Black Lives Matter protesters, whom they called “terrorists” or “thugs.” (AP News)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Shirl Penny, founder and CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners. Dynasty has 50 RIA offices, 250 advisors + over $60B in assets on their platform. Penny was recently named to Investment News’ 40 under 40 list.
See How Rich Countries Got to the Front of the Vaccine Line
Source: New York Times
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