Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• More Variants Are Coming, and the U.S. Isn’t Ready to Track Them The people hunting for mutations want the country to fix its virus sequencing mess. (Businessweek)
• The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician, creates and profits from misleading claims about Covid-19, researchers and regulators say. An internet-savvy entrepreneur, he has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on vaccines. (New York Times)
• Did Avocado Cartels Kill the Butterfly King? Homero Gómez González put himself between a threatened species and Mexico’s avocado and timber industries. Then he disappeared. (Businessweek)
• Fraud on the Farm: How a baby-faced CEO turned a Farmville clone into a massive Ponzi scheme Farm Bank let players make money, while supporting real farms. Then the CEO vanished with $80 million. (Rest of World)
• “We’re Not Allowed to Hang Up”: The Harsh Reality of Working in Customer Service In their own voices, seven customer service representatives reveal what it’s like being caught between abusive callers and demanding employers. (ProPublica)
• The Guy Who Spent $30 Million Building Trump’s Wall Is Looking for Buyers When Tommy Fisher heard the call for a big, beautiful wall, he erected a 3-mile fence along the Rio Grande. Now all he needs is someone to buy it back. (Businessweek)
• Taibbi: The Myth of the Winnable Culture War Since the people we disagree with aren’t going anywhere, we might as well talk to each other (TK News)
• The Nightmare of Our Snooping Phones A Catholic official’s resignation shows the real-world consequences of practices by America’s data-harvesting industries. (New York Times)
• Men in Dark Times: How Hannah Arendt’s fans misread the post-truth presidency Arendt is not needed for a straightforward condemnation of Trump’s lies, her thinking is useful in another, perhaps counterintuitive sense: as a reminder to look beyond Trump and his outlandish and constantly fact-checked distortions, and to think more carefully about the long-standing tradition of lies in American politics. (Harper’s Magazine)
• The Latest QAnon Rumor: Trust me, you’re gonna want to hear this one… The fear from the pandemic and the rising death tolls only seemed to hatch more lies and outrageous claims, as researchers frantically sought the answers in the truth of science. The speed at which credible, scientific data was amassed was also intentionally slowed by then-President Trump, which allowed his band of misfit crazies to float more conspiracies about Covid-19. Somehow, to nearly half of the country, these asinine fairy-tales became God’s honest truth, as if a credible doctor had gone around to each church and personally advised congregants. (Shero)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend Brian Deese, the 13th Director of the National Economic Council, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Previously, he was Global Head of Sustainable Investing at Blackrock, and was President Obama’s senior advisor for climate and energy policy. He was newly named as Chairman of The White House Competition Council.
Smoking: How large of a global problem is it? And how can we make progress against it?
Source: Our World In Data
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.