More Valuable Than Money
September 2, 2020
(Daily Pnut’s Tim has written a book review titled “More Valuable Than Money”)
The three pieces of content that I really looked forward to consuming this summer were:
- Hamilton (this was an excellent movie and didn’t disappoint and I’m glad having watched the movie to have not paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars to watch this in person as I’ve never been a theater type of person).mu Here’s Daily Pnut’s review and we highly recommend checking out the “Historical Accuracy” section at the bottom of the review to see why we think Hamilton might have had it wrong and agree with another historian that “If anybody was dangerous in terms of what I think of as American ideals, it was Hamilton, not Burr.”
- Tenet (looking forward to seeing this given I’ve been a fan of many of Christopher Nolan’s other films).
- The Psychology of Money (I’ve been a fan of Morgan Housel’s writing for quite some time)
I recently finished reading The Psychology of Money and it is a fantastic book. In fact, I predict it will be a very popular read this year and for years to come (as it should be) and is one of the best books when it comes to thinking about money. Morgan Housel cuts through the noise, providing a 238-page read with an impressive highlight to text ratio rife with nuggets of wisdom.
People spend a lot of time thinking about money, but we really don’t think about the more crucial and fundamental aspects of money. In other words, we constantly think about whether we should buy something at X price, how much we need to budget, and if we can spend Y dollars on Z things. All of these daily-tactical monetary decisions make us believe we are thinking about money, but we really aren’t.
Read the rest of Daily Pnut’s review of The Psychology of Money here and to see what aspects in life we think are more valuable than money.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” — George Orwell
“A man without a vote is a man without protection.” ― Lyndon B. Johnson
The Ruse is Up in Belarus
(Misha Friedman via Getty Images)
This is what a real rigged election in an autocracy looks like. A poll worker is made to sign a document showing the incumbent had won reelection — before the polls closed, and with the vote totals left blank. A poll worker is fired on the spot for pointing out violations during the vote-counting. Another poll worker is made to sign a document with the vote counts reversed to favor the incumbent over his opponent. Dozens more reports are made of ballot fraud, falsifications, and other irregularities.
Since the August 9th election, wherein Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory, hundreds of thousands of people have protested against what they saw as a rigged election. Demonstrations and strikes have been met with a harsh police crackdown, including mass detentions, beatings, and criminal charges against organizers.
Lukashenko has ruled with an iron fist since 1994; he’s been accused of rigging previous elections. This time his efforts to remain in power were particularly blatant, and the outcome especially unbelievable.
Lukashenko’s main opponent was Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former English teacher. She entered the race after her husband, popular opposition blogger Sergei Tsikhanouskaya, was jailed during the campaign. Sviatlana quickly united fragmented opposition groups, channeling the growing frustration over Belarus’s weak economy and Lukashenko’s haughty dismissal of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opposition was well prepared to expect and counteract voting irregularities. People were trained to be independent monitors at polling stations, and poll workers were encouraged to report violations. A website was set up where voters could submit photos of their marked ballots to compare with the ‘official count.’ Regardless, when results were announced, the Central Election Commission claimed the incumbent president swept in with 4.6 million votes, or 80 percent of the ballots cast; Tsikhanouskaya was said to have received just 10 percent, or 588,000 votes.
Activists monitoring the election reported receiving complaints of violations, irregularities and incidents of vote-rigging from 24 percent of the country’s 5,767 precincts. An analysis of just under one quarter of total precincts showed that Tsikhanouskaya had received over 471,000 in those areas alone.
Candidates’ requests for a recount were refused by the Central Election Commission, and demands to rerun the election were dismissed out of hand. Last week, the Belarus Supreme Court refused to overturn the vote, saying they could not step in after election authorities declared the election valid. The court didn’t even look at 26 folders of evidence submitted by Tsikhanouskaya’s allies. Additional read: U.S. considers sanctions on Belarusians for election fraud, violence against protesters (Reuters)
- Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest serving prime minister, announced Friday he is stepping down due to poor health. Although a rather abrupt end for a supposedly strong leader, it was perhaps not a surprise.
- This is Abe’s second time serving as prime minister; his first time ended in 2007 when he suddenly cited a chronic illness. Abe recently had a medical checkup, after which a close associate said the PM was overworked and needed a rest.
- This seemed contrary to what most Japanese had been seeing: Abe not working hard enough to manage the pandemic and its economic fallout. After COVID-19 broke out in Japan earlier this year, Abe was largely absent from public view. Only occasionally did he pop up to announce some ill-conceived policy, like his plan to distribute two washable cloth masks to every household, something quickly derided as inefficient and futile.
- Plus, he remains mired in various scandals from the past several years, and has yet to provide convincing accounts of his behavior. Then there are the charges of cronyism, indelicate use of taxpayer money, and injudicious reinterpretations of laws affecting his allies.
- Public support for Abe is at its lowest levels since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — probably a good time to resign, before calls for accountability grow even louder. (NYT)
Doubling Down on the Doodles
(Marc Piasecki via Getty Images)
- Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine victimized by a deadly terror attack, has republished cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had made them a target five years ago.
- This time the publication occurs a day before trial starts for 14 people charged with obtaining weapons and providing logistical support for the attackers of Hebdo’s Paris offices on January 7, 2015, and subsequent attacks on a Jewish supermarket and a police officer.
- Twelve people were killed, including famous cartoonists; five people died in a related attack in Paris days later. The attacks began a wave of jihadist strikes across France. Three of the accused, believed to have fled to northern Syria and Iraq, are being tried in absentia.
- Some 200 plaintiffs in the trial and survivors of the attacks are expected to testify. The trial had been scheduled to start in March but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. It is expected to last until November. The magazine was the subject of controversy long before the 2015 attack. It’s anti-establishment satire was notorious for poking fun at the far-right, as well as aspects of Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam.
- In 2011, its portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed led to death threats against the editorial team and a petrol bomb attack on its offices. Thereafter, the publication of 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, one depicting the prophet wearing a bomb instead of a turban, served as the catalyst for the 2015 attacks. (BBC)
Additional World News
- With a Wary Eye on China, Taiwan Moves to Revamp Its Military (NYT). Taiwan is preparing for the worst, regardless of US support.
- America’s latest salvo against China’s growing might: Cold War bombers (Reuters)
- Reverse reparations: Zimbabwe to return land seized from foreign farmers (BBC)
- Turkey and Greece Have Let Their Latest Feud Get Too Hot (NYT)
- Espionage in Eastern Europe: Austria to file charges against Turkish spy: interior minister (Reuters)
- How Angela Merkel’s great migrant gamble paid off (Guardian)
- Long-Term Coronavirus Recovery Is Hard For Undocumented People Without Insurance (NPR). Without citizenship, it’s easy to get lost in the system.
- Russian agency created fake leftwing news outlet with fictional editors, Facebook says (Guardian)
- Europe sees sharp rise in the number of new coronavirus cases, as Spain and Russia infections spike (CNBC)
- Trump Had One Good Response to Covid-19. His Party Killed It. (NYT)
- Wear Your Mask and Stop Talking (Atlantic)
- Ignore the CDC and Expand Testing (NYT)
- Convalescent plasma not recommended to treat COVID-19, government panel says (NBC)
- US refuses to join international effort to develop Covid-19 vaccine (Guardian)
- How the 1918 flu pandemic ended, according to historians and medical experts (WaPo, $)
When ‘Say Her Name’ Goes Wrong
- Breonna Taylor, a young emergency room technician and aspiring nurse, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment March 13 when they heard someone coming in through the door.
- Three plainclothes officers had entered the apartment on a no-knock search warrant expecting to find drugs. Walker thought the men were intruders and fired one shot. The officers responded by firing more than 20 rounds, several of which hit and killed Taylor.
- A property log indicates police found no money or drugs at the young woman’s home. Much before her death, Taylor had broken up with ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, the real career criminal police were after for drug-trafficking.
- In the months since the killing, Breonna Taylor has risen to nationwide prominence as a symbol of racial injustice and police impunity, and Louisville prosecutors have continued to prosecute her ex-boyfriend. Taylor’s family and lawyers have insisted she had nothing to do with Glover’s alleged crimes.
- With little evidence against her and no criminal record, they say she was only pulled into the case through her earlier ties to Glover. Nevertheless in July, according to court records first reported by WDRB television on Monday, Louisville prosecutors worked up a draft of a plea bargain with this offer for Glover: If the two-time convict said Taylor had participated in his “organized crime syndicate,” he could see a possible 10-year prison sentence turn into only a probation.
- In a Monday night interview the 30 -year-old Glover, who has vouched for Taylor’s innocence, confirmed that officials had wanted him to falsely impugn Taylor in exchange for a lighter sentence. (WaPo)
- Kenneth Walker, boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, sues police and city of Louisville for immunity (ABC)
Additional USA News
- How Much US-Mexico Border Wall Has Trump Built? Who Is Paying for It? (Bloomberg)
- William Barr tightens FISA rules for political operatives (WaPo, $). Barr builds a wall around future Trump impeachment trials.
- What is ballot harvesting, where is it allowed and should you hand your ballot to a stranger? (CBS)
- Taking matters into their own hands: DIY Firefighting In California (NPR)
- 20 more sexual assault charges filed against porn actor Ron Jeremy (NBC)
Getting a Hang of the Gig Economy
- Competition is beastly among workers in the gig economy, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, so much so that they’re cutting corners wherever they can to come out ahead. For example, according to a new report from Bloomberg, Amazon contract drivers in Chicago are hanging smartphones from trees outside Whole Foods stores and delivery stations to be able to quickly grab new online orders.
- How it works is this: Amazon’s system chooses drivers based on who is closest to the pickup location, meaning drivers with access to phones even slightly closer to the stores and delivery stations have a leg up on accepting orders before competing drivers.
- Some drivers sync their own phones up to devices they’ve suspended in trees, then park nearby and wait. There is a coordinated group of drivers who are using the process, which involves hanging multiple smartphones in trees that alert multiple drivers, in order to make it more difficult for Amazon to discover their system.
- Drivers who aren’t involved in the phone-hanging system were losing business, and reportedly began convening in online chat rooms to decipher how other drivers were beating them to orders so quickly. Some of the drivers complained to Amazon; an internal email seen by Bloomberg showed the company said it would investigate but wouldn’t be able to share its conclusion with the drivers. Unfortunately, as one driver grumbled: “Amazon knows about it but does nothing.” (Business Insider)
- The Destabilizing Loss of Chadwick Boseman (Atlantic, $) Additional video (this is a really well done memorial tribute): Chadwick Boseman Tribute (Marvel)
- Not just your everyday arcade haul: Teenagers find ‘treasure’ trove of 1,100-year-old coins in Israel (CNN) These days it might be better to retrieve lost bitcoins than it is real coins: Man accidentally threw away $127 million in bitcoin and officials won’t allow a search (CNBC) GOAT, gender-inclusive among 650 new words added to dictionary.com (CBS). Unfortunately, ’Pnut’ has yet to make the cut.
- ‘Just passed a guy in a jetpack’: sightings at Los Angeles airport fuel concern (Guardian) Additional song: Elton John – Rocket Man (Official Music Video)
- Is Elon Musk over-hyping his brain-hacking Neuralink tech? (Guardian)
- How self-control can actually unleash your dark side (Guardian) & Are You Yoda or Darth Vader? (Nautilus)
- To be creative, Chinese philosophy teaches us to abandon ‘originality’ (Psyche)
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