10 Sunday Reads

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

Russia Is Leaking Data Like a Sieve: Ukraine claims to have doxed Russian troops and spies, while hacktivists are regularly leaking private information from Russian organizations. Since Russian troops crossed Ukraine’s borders at the end of February, colossal amounts of information about the Russian state and its activities have been made public. The data offers unparalleled glimpses into closed-off private institutions, and it may be a gold mine for investigators, from journalists to those tasked with investigating war crimes. Hundreds of gigabytes of files and millions of emails have been made public. (Wired)

The ‘Hell or High Water Clause’ Is Tormenting Small-Business Owners Many entrepreneurs lease their equipment. Then, if hurt by the pandemic, they face years of payments, even if the gear is faulty. (Wall Street Journal)

McKinsey Opened a Door in Its Firewall Between Pharma Clients and Regulators The firm let consultants advise both drugmakers and their government overseers, internal records show. “Who we know and what we know” was part of their pitch. (New York Times) see also Is McKinsey & Co. the Root of All Evil? McKinsey, the global consulting firm, has created dubious strategies for all manners of companies ranging from Enron to General Electric. Indeed, where ever there has been a financial disaster in the world, if you look around, somewhere in the background, McKinsey & Co. is nearby. (The Big Picture)

The Privatization Myth: A deeply reported history of the past four decades of handing public services over to private companies provides a stunning account of how not to govern. (American Prospect)

Tesla-Backed Startup Made Cheap Power a Debt Burden for the World’s Poorest Development banks, venture capitalists, and Elon Musk backed pay-as-you-go consumer financing to bring solar power to African villagers. It hasn’t worked out that way (Bloomberg)

Memphis may have the sweetest water in the world, but toxic waste could ruin it all Across a cluster of low-income, mostly Black neighborhoods, toxic waste sites risk contaminating an aquifer and endangering the lives of residents with noxious emissions. (The Guardian)

The FDA’S Food Failure: Based on more than 50 interviews finds the FDA is failing to meet American consumers’ expectations on food safety and nutrition. (Politico) see also Our food system isn’t ready for the climate crisis The world’s farms produce only a handful of varieties of bananas, avocados, coffee and other foods – leaving them more vulnerable to the climate breakdown. (The Guardian)

The People Who Believe Russia’s Disinformation It’s worth stepping back to consider the various audiences for Russia’s disinformation campaigns and examine where they’re working and where they’re not. (Slate)

How the Right Is Bringing Christian Prayer Back Into Public Schools Conservative judges and lawmakers have recast religious neutrality as anti-Christian bigotry. Today, school officials who coerce students into prayer go on the offensive, claiming that any attempt to halt their efforts at religious coercion is actually persecution of their religious beliefs. Supervisors, lawmakers, and judges who attempt to shield children from being indoctrinated are recast as anti-Christian bigots. (Slate)

There’s More to Authoritarianism Than Cults of Personality A study of strongmen misses deeper reasons for democratic collapse. (New Republic)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview  this weekend with Luana Lopes Lara, co-founder of Kalshi, which has been approved by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as an authorized Designated Contract Market (DCM). Kalshi operates a federally regulated exchange allowing investors to trade directly on the anticipated outcome of future events.


Coronavirus in the U.S.: Where cases are growing and declining

Source: National Geographic


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