Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• Police in this tiny Alabama town suck drivers into legal ‘black hole: Months of research and dozens of interviews by AL.com found that Brookside’s finances are rocket-fueled by tickets and aggressive policing. In a two-year period between 2018 and 2020 Brookside revenues from fines and forfeitures soared more than 640 percent and now make up half the city’s total income. And the police chief has called for more. (AL.com)
• Why Millions Think It Is Trump Who Cannot Tell a Lie Why is Donald Trump’s “big lie” so hard to discredit? This has been a live question for more than a year, but inside it lies another: Do Republican officials and voters actually believe Trump’s claim that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election by corrupting ballots — the same ballots that put so many Republicans in office — and if they do believe it what are their motives? (New York Times)
• Bare rooms, rotten fruit and boredom: Quarantine life on infected cruises Welcome to cruises’ omicron surge, where isolation comes with windowless rooms and bare-bones meals. “ They were like, ‘We’re going to give you the minimum you need to survive.’” (Washington Post)
• The true cost of policing N.J. officers averaged $123K a year, adding tens of thousands of dollars to their paychecks with little oversight. (NJ.com) see also Anatomy of a Murder Confession: Texas Ranger James Holland became famous for cajoling killers into confessing to their crimes. But did some of his methods — from lying to suspects to having witnesses hypnotized — ensnare innocent people, too? (Marshall Project)
• Revealed: the Flint water poisoning charges that never came to light The former criminal prosecution team investigating the Flint water crisis was building a racketeering case against state officials. Then the team was dismantled (The Guardian)
• The Texas Electric Grid Failure Was a Warm-up One year after the deadly blackout, officials have done little to prevent the next one—which could be far worse. (Texas Monthly)
• How the Refrigerator Became an Agent of Climate Catastrophe: The evolution of cooling technology helps to explain why supposed solutions to global warming have only made the situation worse. (New Yorker)
• Sex toys, cybercrime, and cycling sponsorship: The bizarre tale of NextHash What’s the thread connecting cycling with North Korean military hackers and the adult industry? NextHash, Team Qhubeka’s last title sponsor. (CyclingTips)
• Revealed: The Billionaires Funding the Coup’s Brain Trust Conservative mega-donors including the DeVoses and Bradleys are pumping big money into the Claremont Institute think tank that fueled Trump’s election-fraud fantasies. (Rolling Stone) see also It’s Long Past Time to Prosecute Phony GOP Electors The individuals who signed and transmitted fraudulent Electoral College ballots claiming their states voted for Donald Trump must be held to account. (The Bulwark)
• The Undoing of Joss Whedon The Buffy creator, once an icon of Hollywood feminism, is now an outcast accused of misogyny. How did he get here? (Vulture)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Tina Vandersteel, head of GMO’s Emerging Country Debt team and serves as portfolio manager for GMO’s external and local currency debt portfolios. Prior to joining GMO in 2004, she worked at J.P. Morgan in fixed income research developing quantitative arbitrage strategies for emerging debt and high yield bonds.
The pandemic’s true death toll
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.