10 Sunday Reads

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

Inside a Sales Army Turning a Tax Break Into a Modern-Day Gold Rush: Thousands of individuals are referring neighbors and local businesses to a firm that has pursued billions in IRS refunds and created a bonanza for itself. (Wall Street Journal)

Why furniture got so bad: Furniture used to last generations. Now it barely survives a move. Industry insiders explain. (Washington Post)

Inside Musk’s Twitter Transformation: Favors for friends Kanye West and Marc Andreessen, and gut decision-making, followed his takeover of the platform now called X. (Wall Street Journal) see also What You Get When You Go Into Business With Elon Musk: Approving sketchy loans. Swallowing weird deals. Giving him whatever he wants. (Slate)

Businesses keep complaining about shoplifting, but wage theft is a bigger crime: The other side of the coin on workplace crime is wage theft. That’s been estimated as high as $50 billion a year by the Economic Policy Institute, which extrapolated from a 2008 survey of low-wage front-line workers in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. (Los Angeles Times)

How Texas HOAs Are Keeping Low-Income Renters Out: A state law will prohibit homeowners associations from discriminating against tenants using rental vouchers. The practice is more widespread than lawmakers realized. (Citylab)

Chinese Gate-Crashers at U.S. Bases Spark Espionage Concerns: Washington has tracked about 100 incidents involving Chinese nationals trying to access American military and other installations. (Wall Street Journal)

Texas fracking billionaire brothers fuel rightwing media with millions of dollars: Farris and Dan Wilks’ deep pockets fund climate denialism education, conservative politicians and pro-fossil fuel projects. (The Guardian)

The maestro: The man who built the biggest match-fixing ring in tennis (Washington Post) see also The unraveling: How a small-town police officer took down the largest match-fixing ring in tennis (Washington Post)

• COVID lockdowns saved millions of lives — so of course Ron DeSantis is angry about them: There’s a lot there to unpack, but let’s start with the most fundamental point: In the early months of the COVID pandemic, before vaccines became widely available, lockdowns worked. Combined with other “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPIs) such as masking and social distancing, they slowed the spread of the disease, saving millions of people from falling ill, landing in the hospital, or dying. Absent these measures, hospitals, which already were overrun with patients in dire condition, would have fared even worse. (Los Angeles Times) see also The Cost of Ron DeSantis’s Ideological Purity: The Florida governor is refusing to accept millions in federal funding that would help his constituents. Why? (The Atlantic)

‘Shady and Corrupt’: Add Barrett Real Estate De​al to List of Supreme Court Ethics Scandals: The right-wing justice sold a home to a religious freedom group that has filed numerous briefs in cases before the court. (Common Dreams)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Jon McAuliffe co-founder and Chief Investment Officer at the Voleon Group. Voleon was one of the first hedge funds to use AI as a core of its investing model. Previously, he was at D. E. Shaw & Co., where he researched, developed, and managed statistical arbitrage trading strategies. Dr. McAuliffe also helped to build the recommender system at Amazon.com.


New Data Shows Abortions Rose in Most States This Year

Source: New York Times



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