Fool Me Twice…
August 16, 2022
Some Good News
- ‘Finally we are together’: partition’s broken families reunite after seven decades (Guardian)
- China’s Shanghai to reopen schools with daily COVID testing (Al Jazeera)
“He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.” – Lao Tzu
Fool Me Twice…
43-year-old Adam Neumann is the Israeli-American businessman and investor who co-founded the office rental company WeWork in 2010. During Neumann’s tenure as CEO, WeWork became one of the world’s most valuable startups, coming in at $47 billion in January 2019. But his hard-partying lifestyle, brash risk-taking, and reckless management so negatively affected the company that its disastrous attempt at an IPO was delayed and Neumann was forced to resign that September. Neumann’s rise had been epic, and his fall one of the most spectacular flameouts in recent corporate history. WeWork had staggering losses and was plummeting toward bankruptcy before being bailed out by SoftBank in October 2019 for $9.5 billion, allowing Neumann to float down with a golden parachute including $1 billion in stock, $500 million in credit to pay back loans, and a $185 million consulting fee.
Not three years later Neumann is apparently once again in charge of a billion-dollar real estate startup. Andreessen Horowitz, the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm known for its early investments in Twitter and Airbnb, has pumped some $350 million into Neumann’s newest venture, called Flow. The investment valued the startup at more than $1 billion. Neumann aims to rethink the housing rental market by creating a branded product with consistent service and community features. He has purchased more than 3,000 apartment units in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, and Nashville for the concept. Flow will operate Neumann’s properties and also offer its services to new developments and other third parties.
Marc Andreessen, cofounder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, announced the investment in a blog post on Monday without disclosing financial details. He also explained his thinking for backing this particular residential real estate company, and Neumann, despite the latter’s high-profile fall from grace at WeWork. “Adam is a visionary leader who revolutionized the second largest asset class in the world – commercial real estate – by bringing community and brand to an industry in which neither existed before.” It’s not immediately clear how Flow plans to revolutionize the residential housing industry. The company currently has a bare-bones website with the slogan “Live life in flow,” and two words stating it will launch in 2023. (Business Insider, WSJ ($), Vanity Fair, CNN, Andreessen Horowitz)
Like Swedish Fish In A Barrel
- Shanghai is China’s financial capital and home to 25 million people. In June, health officials locked the city down after Covid-19 cases were reported. The lockdown led to widespread public anger as residents reported difficulties in ordering daily essentials, including food and medicine.
- That panic was spurred again Saturday when health authorities ordered the Shanghai Ikea to lock down after a close contact of a Covid-19 case was traced to the location. Multiple videos on social media showed panicked shoppers rushing for the exits, yelling and pushing each other in an attempt to escape before the building’s doors closed.
- The deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission said Sunday the “store and affected area” would be under “closed loop” management for two days. People inside the loop must undergo two days of quarantine and five days of health surveillance. On Monday, Shanghai health authorities reported six locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, five of which were asymptomatic. (CNN)
Iran Praises (But Denies) Rushdie Attack
- Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie, 75, is recovering at a hospital after he was repeatedly stabbed on stage Friday in front of a New York audience in an attack that left him with severe injuries. Rushdie was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution when the suspect, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, rushed the stage and managed to stab the author in the neck, head, chest, stomach, arms, and legs before being subdued.
- Rushdie was airlifted to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where he underwent surgery. The Indian-born British author has received death threats for decades after Iran issued a religious decree (fatwa) calling for his killing following the 1988 release of his book “The Satanic Verses.” He spent nearly ten years living under British protection before moving to the U.S.
- On Saturday, Matar pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges. In its first public statement Monday, Iran denied any link to the stabbing, instead blaming Rushdie and his supporters for the attack. Over the weekend, several hardline Iranian newspapers praised the suspect. (CNN)
Additional World News
- Variant-adapted COVID vaccine wins first approval in Britain (Reuters)
- Six dead, dozens hurt in explosion at Armenian market (Al Jazeera)
- Germany reaches 75% gas stocks target ahead of schedule (Reuters)
- Mexican president seeks to bypass Congress to keep army in streets amid violence (CBS)
- Malaysia ex-PM begins final bid to quash corruption conviction (Al Jazeera)
- Modi says India aims to become developed nation in 25 years (Reuters)
- Despite public anger, no progress in Iraq political deadlock (Politico)
- Fill your tank with Divvy. Divvy helps you simplify your business finances and your travel budget in one fell swoop.
- Take a 15-minute demo of Divvy’s free-to-use expense management platform by August 31st and you’ll get a $100 gas card.
- You’ve got nothing to lose, so head to Divvy’s site now and get some help at the pump. Terms and conditions apply.
CPS Worker Fired In Texas
- Texas praises itself for protecting the unborn, but that protection simply doesn’t continue for at-risk children after they’re born. In March, the judge in the 11-year federal lawsuit against the state found that nine employees of The Refuge, a Texas-contracted facility in Bastrop meant to care for female foster children who are victims of sex trafficking, were sexually and physically abusing the same 11 to 17-year-old children.
- One staff member sold nude photos of two children, using the proceeds to purchase drugs and alcohol that were then supplied to the children. In June, the judge said Texas had not properly punished or shut down unsafe child care placement, and she planned to levy “substantial fines” for failing to comply with her orders to fix its troubled foster care system.
- The underfunded, understaffed, ineffective, dangerous system could well be irretrievably broken since the abuse continues. This month, a Texas child protective services worker was fired after being caught on video telling a 14-year-old girl, who had asked for food, that she should consider becoming a prostitute. (Texas Tribune, NBC)
A Cheney Reaction
- Liz Cheney, vice chairwoman of the January 6 committee investigating Donald Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection, has emerged a star. It will undoubtedly mean she loses Tuesday’s Republican primary for Wyoming’s at-large seat in the U.S. House, as the MAGA crowd won’t tolerate her willingness to support the constitution and follow criminality where it leads.
- Cheney entered Congress six years ago as a relative celebrity, daughter of the former vice president who spent years using Fox News appearances to deliver harsh critiques of the Obama-Biden administration. She could now leave Congress as the face of an anti-Trump movement that has cost her old alliances but gained her new supporters clamoring for a next act more nationally focused.
- Her new video – ostensibly the closing appeal to voters – could also be viewed as launching a wider future campaign. In the video, Cheney promises to lead “millions of Americans” of all ideologies “united in the cause of freedom.” “No matter how long we must fight, this is a battle we will win,” she says. “This is our great task and we will prevail. I hope you will join me in this fight.” (WaPo, $)
Additional USA News
- Coast Guard responds to small oil spill near San Juan Island (AP)
- Brittney Griner: Defense team appeals verdict sentencing her to 9 years on drug smuggling (CNN)
- San Bernardino Mountains hit with flash floods as summer downpours continue (LAT, $)
- School shooter’s brain exams to be subject of court hearing (AP)
- In Wisconsin, 2 Huge Races Stand Between G.O.P. and Near-Total Power – The New York Times (NYT, $)
- Some Capitol rioters try to profit from their Jan. 6 crimes (AP)
- Baja California tries to return to normal after a weekend of cartel violence (LAT, $)
A Green Effort
- Firefighters are still trying to quell the monster wildfire in southwest France as the country deals with one of the worst droughts on record. French officials have curtailed water usage, including telling people to avoid non-essential tasks like car-washing and watering gardens.
- But water bans are enforced at the discretion of regional officials, and only Ille-et-Villaine in western France had banned the watering of golf courses. In southwest France, golf courses remained exempt from water restrictions so the greens could keep on keeping, well, green.
- This so infuriated climate activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion that they came up with a really impactful way to show their displeasure. The activists simply filled all the holes at the Vieille-Toulouse club and at the Garonne des Sept Deniers course with concrete. Extinction Rebellion Toulouse posted a photograph on Twitter showing a concrete-filled golf hole and a sign saying “This hole is drinking 277,000 litres. Do you drink that much? #Stop Golf.” (Reuters)
- Inflation Reduction Act invests in a key part of fighting climate change: Nature (WaPo, $)
- Ex-employee shut down PD website over pay dispute, city says (ABC)
- Why the ‘Big One’ Could Be Something Other Than an Earthquake (NYT, $)
- How to ward off the ‘Sunday scaries’ before the new week begins (CNN)
- Woman Accuses Partner of Being a ‘Filthy Cheater’ in Newspaper Ad: ‘Now the Whole Town Will Know’ (People)
- 80 years later, Navajo Code Talker marks group’s early days (AP)
- The Particle Accelerator Experiment That Could Rewrite the History of the Printing Press (CNET)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU