March 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Businesses Shut Down in Russia

Along with government sanctions, we’ve seen a huge number of corporations shut down business in and with Russia. While some of the companies have made the move for ethical reasons, many have done so for public relations. And in those cases, the PR teams have been moved in part by appearing on a list compiled by Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team. This is one spreadsheet you don’t want to appear on. A Yale professor’s list of companies staying in Russia has put the business world on notice. One of the most important aspects of these shutdowns is that they make it harder for Vladimir Putin to sell Russians the idea that his maniacal war is just a minor incursion. And it looks like that facade has been punctured. NYT: More than 13,000 people have been arrested in antiwar protests in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began. And that’s in the face of potentially stiff prison sentences.

+ “One post-invasion poll found that 86% of Americans saw the invasion as unjustified – with broad bipartisan agreement – and another showed that half of the respondents would compare the actions of Vladimir Putin with those of Adolf Hitler.” In other words, this is one of the easiest stands many corporations have ever had to take.

+ “If Europe before the war had a long-term political agenda to remake its energy resources by mid-century in response to global warming, now the energy question is even more urgent: What can be done by next winter and beyond, in the name of cutting off the Russian economy from its largest source of trade? Or perhaps even by next month.” Bloomberg: Europe Is on a Wartime Mission to Ditch Russian Oil and Gas. And Biden’s climate change agenda would reduce oil demand enough to replace Russian imports.

+ “The Venezuelan government has freed two jailed Americans, including an oil executive imprisoned alongside colleagues for more than four years.” (This is a sign that the US is looking to Venezuela to make up the difference when it comes to lost oil supplies from Russia. That moves us from one thug dictator to another, all of which makes renewables seem like one hell of an option – with the bonus that we just might save the planet.)

+ “Joe Biden hasn’t received the full credit he deserves for his statecraft during this crisis, because he has pursued a policy of self-effacement. Rather than touting his accomplishments in mobilizing a unified global response to the invasion, he has portrayed the stringent sanctions as the triumph of an alliance. By carefully limiting his own public role … he has left Vladimir Putin with little opportunity to portray the conflict as a standoff with the United States, a narrative that the Russian leader would clearly prefer.” Franklin Foer in The Atlantic: Biden Answered the 3 a.m. Call. (Compare that with Trump’s “perfect call.”)

+ For now, Putin continues to respond to the international pressure by doubling down and targeting civilians, including bombing a children’s and maternity hospital. Here’s the latest from CNN and BBC.


Cops and Robbers

The perpetrators of police misconduct often get away scot-free. The same is not true for the taxpayers who live in their jurisdictions. “More than $1.5 billion has been spent to settle claims of police misconduct involving thousands of officers repeatedly accused of wrongdoing. Taxpayers are often in the dark.” A special report from WaPo (Gift Article): The hidden billion-dollar cost of repeated police misconduct.



“The executive order had been widely anticipated by the finance industry, crypto traders, speculators and lawmakers who have compared the cryptocurrency market to the Wild West. Despite the risks, the government said, surveys show that roughly 16% of adult Americans — or 40 million people — have invested in cryptocurrencies. And 43% of men age 18-29 have put their money into cryptocurrency.” Biden signs order on cryptocurrency as its use explodes.


The John Holmes Signature Collection

“Around September, mating season begins, and bulls use their antlers to spar with one another when vying for breeding rights with cows. ‘There’s a relation between antler size and sperm counts,’ Matthew Metz, a wildlife biologist and research associate with the Yellowstone Wolf Project, told me. ‘It’s an honest advertisement.’ When bulls are done breeding, their testosterone levels fall, and so do their antlers. In the spring, the bones are cast off, leaving behind bloody pedicles. The wounds heal, regrowth begins, and people start searching for the antlers that have been shed. The bones are valuable: last summer, top-grade elk antler sold for sixteen dollars a pound. (A large shed antler might weigh ten pounds.) Collectors are known to pay upward of fifteen hundred dollars for a particularly desirable pair of antlers, and tens of thousands of dollars for deadheads—skulls with the antlers still attached.” Abe Streep in The New Yorker: The Great American Antler Boom.


Extra, Extra

Lasting Endurance: “Scientists have found and filmed one of the greatest ever undiscovered shipwrecks 107 years after it sank. The Endurance, the lost vessel of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, was found at the weekend at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.” (Hopefully, 107 years from now we’ll be finding oligarch-owned yachts at the bottom of the sea.)

+ Utah Struck: “Parent-hired transporters can pull kids from their beds, handcuff them, hold them down or blindfold them. In Utah, a legislator who recently sponsored a bill that brought regulatory reform to the state’s booming teen-treatment industry said he wants to take a closer look at how kids from all over the country are getting to the state for treatment.” APM Reports: ‘Blindfolds, hoods and handcuffs’: How some teenagers get to Utah’s youth treatment programs.

+ You Cannot Be Serious: “This was the most egregious piece of misconduct from a player towards an umpire that I have witnessed in several decades of involvement with the sport.” Alexander Zverev’s eight-week suspended ban for Mexican Open outburst labelled ‘pathetic.’ And this isn’t the first time the tour has let Zverev off the hook.


Bottom of the News

“It looked arch and irreverent, so we decided to keep watching. But first — and I know you do this too — we checked how long it was. Nine episodes? Sorry, but that’s way too much.” A Streaming Plea: Stop Making TV Shows That Shouldn’t Be Full Shows. Seriously, it took Anna less time to invent herself than it’s taken me to get through Inventing Anna.

+ Winners of the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards. Wow.

+ You may have noticed the new, delightful, black and white and read all over NextDraft design. Feedback welcome!

Copied to Clipboard