Tuesday, November 1st, 2022


Wolfing on Wall Street

It's no secret that just about every ingredient on grocery store shelves and restaurant menus has gotten more expensive for the businesses that sell them. And it should come as no surprise that those cost increases are being passed on to consumers. But it may come as a bit of a shock that the price increases don't stop there. Not by a long shot. As many Americans are struggling to keep up with food bills, food companies are gorging on gluttonous profits. "In mid-October, PepsiCo, whose prices for its drinks and chips were up 17 percent in the latest quarter from year-earlier levels, reported that its third-quarter profit grew more than 20 percent. Likewise, Coca-Cola reported profit up 14 percent from a year earlier, thanks in large part to price increases. Restaurants keep getting more expensive, too. Chipotle Mexican Grill, which said prices by the end of the year would be nearly 15 percent higher than a year earlier, reported $257.1 million in profit in the latest quarter, up nearly 26 percent from a year earlier." NYT (Gift Article): Food Prices Soar, and So Do Companies' Profits. I hope the price of Pepto Bismol isn't going up because this story gave me a stomach ache.


Counter Productive

"The productivity plunge is perplexing, because productivity took off to levels not seen in decades when the coronavirus pandemic forced an overnight switch to remote work, leading some economists to suggest that the pandemic might spark longer-term growth. It also raises new questions about the shift to hybrid schedules and remote work, as employees have made the case that flexibility helped them work more efficiently. And it comes at a time when 'quiet quitting' - doing only what's expected and no more - is resonating, especially with younger workers." U.S. workers have gotten way less productive. No one is sure why.


Voting With Their Wallets

"In the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, more than 100 major companies pledged to suspend political giving to the members of Congress who voted to invalidate Joe Biden's presidential victory." But time passes. People move on. And what's the big deal, it's only the foundation of our democracy at stake. ProPublica: Fortune 500 Companies Have Given Millions to Election Deniers Since Jan. 6.

+ Sadly, the story of the midterm elections may be less about November 8 and more about the days and weeks that follow. And Pennsylvania is a key state to watch. The New Yorker: How Election Subversion Went Mainstream in Pennsylvania.

+ Election denialism is all the rage these days. Let's hope Reuters is right: Brazil's Bolsonaro to accept election loss in speech to nation. "The presidential address may defuse protests by his supporters who have blocked highways in many states across Brazil, along with pro-Bolsonaro truckers calling for him to defy the electoral victory of leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva."


Got MLK?

"One day Coretta Scott King called my mother and asked if her kids could be part of the school, 'cause they were having a hard time finding a place that would accept her kids, and my mom was like, 'Sure come on over.' And so they all just became friends and they helped us out of a jam." The story of how Martin Luther King Jr. paid the bill for Julia Roberts' birth.


Extra, Extra

Picking Up the Tab: "As states banned or restricted abortion this summer, the number of American women ordering abortion pills from overseas jumped significantly — enough to offset most of the drop in legal abortions." Let's see if voting proves as popular.

+ RSV.P: "Across the country, children have for weeks been slammed with a massive, early wave of viral infections—driven largely by RSV, but also flu, rhinovirus, enterovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 ... At Johns Hopkins Children's Center, in Maryland, staff has pitched a tent outside the emergency department to accommodate overflow; Connecticut Children's Hospital mulled calling in the National Guard. It's already the largest surge of infectious illnesses that some pediatricians have seen in their decades-long careers, and many worry that the worst is yet to come." The Atlantic: The Worst Pediatric-Care Crisis in Decades.

+ Israelites Camera Action: Think you're stressed by what seems like endless elections? For the fifth time since 2019, Israelis are voting in national elections. And like us, they have a politician who just won't go away (and wants to avoid being put away.)

+ Cunning Out the Clock: "Chief Justice John Roberts agreed to temporarily put on hold a lower court order requiring the release of former President Donald Trump's tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service to a Democratic-led House committee." We're gonna see the last Game of Thrones book before we see these tax returns.

+ Observing Irving: "Kyrie Irving has previously supported the idea of the Earth being flat, recently shared an old clip from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and was unavailable for most of the Nets' home games last season because he refused to be vaccinated." And, surprise, he's also an antisemite. (Which is weird, because half the kids in my Hebrew school were named Irving.)

+ Rap Epidemic: "The rapper Takeoff, best known for his work with the Grammy-nominated trio Migos, is dead after a shooting early Tuesday outside a bowling alley in Houston."

+ Megadebt: "That means that Twitter is generating less money per year than what it owes its lenders. The company also does not appear to have a lot of extra cash on hand." The math on Twitter's debt.


Bottom of the News

"Taylor Swift has taken over the entire Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the first-ever artist to so do. All 10 songs atop this week's Hot 100 come from Swift's album Midnights, which was released on Oct. 21."

+ Costco Is Selling a 60,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle That's Nearly 30 Feet Long. (You can tell your holiday visiting relatives you'll be free to chat just as soon as you're finished.)

+ Jerry Garcia's Marijuana Pipe, Lost for 30 Years, Has Been Found and Procured by Antiquities Collector. I'm sure this will resin-ate with someone...