10 Sunday Reads

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

Tesla created secret team to suppress thousands of driving range complaints: About a decade ago, Tesla rigged the dashboard readouts in its electric cars to provide “rosy” projections of how far owners can drive before needing to recharge, a source told Reuters. The automaker last year became so inundated with driving-range complaints that it created a special team to cancel owners’ service appointments. (Reuters)

Republicans’ excess death rate spiked after COVID-19 vaccines arrived, a study says: The excess death rate among Republican voters was 43% higher than the excess death rate among Democratic voters” after vaccine eligibility was opened. (NPR) see also Excess Death Rates for Republican and Democratic Registered Voters in Florida and Ohio: During the COVID-19 Pandemic In this cohort study evaluating 538 159 deaths in individuals aged 25 years and older in Florida and Ohio between March 2020 and December 2021, excess mortality was significantly higher for Republican voters than Democratic voters after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults, but not before. These differences were concentrated in counties with lower vaccination rates, and primarily noted in voters residing in Ohio. (JAMA Network)

The dirty little secret that could bring down Big Tech: This new insight — that venture capital is predatory pricing in a new wrapper — could prove transformative. By translating the Silicon Valley jargon of exits and scaling into the legalese of antitrust law, Wansley and Weinstein have opened a door for the prosecution of tech investors and their anticompetitive behavior. “Courts will have to adjust the way they’re thinking about recoupment,” Weinstein says. “What did the investors who bought from the VCs think was going to happen? Did they think they were going to recoup?” That, he says, would be a “pretty good pathway” for courts to follow in determining whether a company’s practices are anticompetitive. (Business Insider)

Autoenshittification: Forget F1: the only car race that matters now is the race to turn your car into a digital extraction machine, a high-speed inkjet printer on wheels, stealing your private data as it picks your pocket. Your car’s digital infrastructure is a costly, dangerous nightmare – but for automakers in pursuit of postcapitalist utopia, it’s a dream they can’t give up on. (Pluralistic)

My Bleak Day at the Star-Studded, Get-Rich-Quick Jesus Jamboree: Around 4,000 Christians flocked to a suburban megachurch to hear from Tim Tebow, a ‘Duck Dynasty’ guy, and a parade of godly salesmen. (Racket)

The Snow Crab Vanishes: Over the past few years, billions of snow crabs have unexpectedly disappeared from the Bering Sea. What happens to the Indigenous people who depend on them for survival? (Wired)

Workers Wanted A Union. Then The Mysterious Men Showed Up. How a pair of “union avoidance” consultants using fake names turned a small Midwestern workplace upside down. (Huffington Post)

A Black Man Was Elected Mayor in Rural Alabama, but the White Town Leaders Won’t Let Him Serve: For three years, Patrick Braxton says he has experienced harassment and intimidation after becoming the first Black mayor in Newbern, Alabama. (Capital B)

Doctors who put lives at risk with covid misinformation rarely punished: Across the country, doctors who jeopardized patients’ lives by pushing medical misinformation during the pandemic and its aftermath have faced few repercussions, according to a Washington Post analysis of disciplinary records from medical boards in all 50 states. (Washington Post)

• The Greatest Scam Ever Written: How a Montreal copywriter swindled victims out of $200 million by pretending to be a legendary psychic. (The Walrus)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this week with Liz Hoffman, Liz Hoffman, the Business and Finance Editor at Semafor. Previously, she was a senior reporter at Wall Street Journal covering finance, investment banking and M&A. Following a string of front-page articles on Goldman Sachs push into Main St, and the travails of the world’s largest VC, she moved to Semafor. Her new book 4is Crash Landing: The Inside Story of How the World’s Biggest Companies Survived an Economy on the Brink.


China’s reputation as a leading economic power is fast eroding

Source: Quartz


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