March 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Spacs are everywhere, Golden Globes

Let’s talk smack about the pack with a knack for being in the black chasing after the latest SPAC like it was crack, ignoring those giving them flack for being off track with the latest financial hack. SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are everywhere these days. On the most basic level, they offer a more simple way for companies to go public. Should we be worried that celebrities are getting in on the SPAC game? Steven Kurutz in the NYT: Anyone Who’s Anyone Has a SPAC Right Now. “Barry Ritholtz “cited one of his favorite adages, Sturgeon’s law. Coined by Theodore Sturgeon, a science-fiction writer, it holds that ’90 percent of everything is crap.’ A handful of SPACs performed really well over the last two years, Mr. Ritholtz said. That doesn’t mean the Shaq SPAC will, too. ‘What always happens with investors, no matter the asset class or the decade, somebody hits the lottery and everyone else piles in … The SPAC enthusiasm is just investor behavior. People look at these as lottery tickets, and very often they’re not.” (I like to think of SPAC’s as a great tool for people who need more action but don’t understand bitcoin…)


Bottom Dollar

“Our families didn’t bounce. Our families hit … The families that we work with are going to be seeing the effects of this for five or six years.” On the opposite side of the SPAC world is the other America, where the last year has been spent struggling to get the most basic necessities. Looking for a key poverty indicator? Here’s one: WaPo: Millions couldn’t afford diapers before the pandemic. Now, diaper banks can’t keep up.


Sharing is Caring

“In an industrial neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s largest city lies a factory with gleaming new equipment imported from Germany, its immaculate hallways lined with hermetically sealed rooms. It is operating at just a quarter of its capacity.” They have the ability, they need the data. Countries urge drug companies to share vaccine know-how. If there was ever a time to work together, it’s now.

+ The Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine has been approved. It could be a game changer. (And we need one, because the variants are sending numbers back up in some areas.)

+ What we’re learning can be extended in some big ways. First vaccine to fully immunize against malaria builds on pandemic-driven RNA tech. “In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths worldwide. Of those deaths, 94% were in Africa, with children being the most vulnerable.”

+ Speaking of one shot, I love this venn diagram of the vaccine, Alexander Hamilton, and Eminem.


Throwing a French in the System

“He was convicted of trying to bribe a judge in 2014 – after he had left office – by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for him in return for information about a separate case. Sarkozy, 66, is the first former French president to get a custodial sentence.” BBC: Former French president sentenced to jail for corruption. (Holding a president accountable for corruption. What a concept…)


Jamal The Same?

“Biden has done nothing to punish M.B.S. Absolutely nothing—to the astonishment of human-rights groups, foreign-policy experts, Saudi activists, and even some on his own staff. For days, the Administration had pledged that Biden, unlike Trump, would both take punitive measures and recalibrate the relationship. Biden’s response would symbolize his tough stance on human rights globally, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said, last week.” The New Yorker: Biden Betrayed His Promise to Defend Human Rights and Jamal Khashoggi.


Peru the Day

“Was I five decades older than the students in Peru and out of touch with their sensibilities? Absolutely. Did I have perspectives to offer that they didn’t get at prep school? I think so. Am I a racist? I don’t think so.” Donald McNeil Jr tells his side of the story after being forced out at the NYT for some comments he made during a student trip. NYTimes Peru N-Word, Part One. It doesn’t make sense that he was forced out. When it comes to race, we’re in a battle for the soul of the country. We need to unify and focus on the big threats.

+ “International Booker winner Marieke Lucas Rijneveld will not translate inaugural poet’s work into Dutch after anger that a Black writer was not hired.” ‘Shocked by the uproar’: Amanda Gorman’s white translator quits. One lesson I’ve learned after a few decades sitting in front of the internet. There’s always outrage.


Crown Takes the Jewels

The Golden Globes held its partly socially-distanced awards show last night. The Crown and Nomadland were the big winners. Normal Lear was amazing at 98 receiving a Carol Burnett Award. (There’s probably no one in TV who has added more to the medium than Norman Lear). Jane Fonda was excellent. And Jason Sudeikis went full Ted Lasso in his acceptance. Here are the winners and some fun moments.


So Chill It’s Freezing

“In recent years there’s been a significant increase in the popularity of lake surfing in North America. Unlike ocean surfers, who depend on tides, lake surfers depend on strong, sustained winds to build up swells. The stormy winter months often bring the biggest waves — and therefore the best surfing conditions.” NYT: Surf’s Up. The Temperature Isn’t. No one is more passionate about their passion than surfers.


Better Red Than Dead

“Tiger Woods is under medical care for a terrible car accident – but golf audiences saw his image at tournaments around the U.S. on Sunday, as many of the game’s top golfers wore Woods’ signature red shirt and black pants in his honor.” Tiger Woods Thanks Golfers For Wearing Red In His Honor On Sunday.


Bottom of the News

“And now? A lot of healing still needs to happen, but I look forward to the future and the moment when I get bombarded with kisses and licks (and maybe even an excitement pee?) from Asia, Koji, and Gustav.” Lady Gaga’s dogwalker breaks silence, describes ‘very close call with death.’ (Lady Gaga’s two Bulldogs have been returned, but oddly, they were wearing CPAC sweatshirts and speaking Russian.)

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