👓 After selling off his father’s properties, Trump embraced unorthodox strategies to expand his empire | Washington Post

Read After selling off his father’s properties, Trump embraced unorthodox strategies to expand his empire by David Fahrenthold, Jonathan O'Connell (Washington Post)
In 2005, Donald Trump kicked off a decade-long buying and spending spree, vastly expanding his hotel and golf-course empire and cementing his image as a brash impresario. The un­or­tho­dox approach Trump took in making those bold bets — racing through hundreds of millions in cash and drawing loans from the private-wealth office of Deutsche Bank — came when he was on new terrain as a developer.
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🎧 ‘The Daily’: How the Opioid Crisis Started | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: How the Opioid Crisis Started from New York Times
As prosecutors go after doctors, drug dealers and users, those who made billions of dollars from sales of a painkiller at the center of the epidemic have gone largely unpunished.

This is such a massive public health care issue, I’m shocked we haven’t gone to heavier regulation of the direct source.

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👓 11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth | The New York Times

Read 11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth (nytimes.com)
Based on a trove of confidential financial records, the Times report offers the first comprehensive look at the inherited fortune and tax dodges that guaranteed Donald Trump a gilded life.

A quick précis of the whole 13,000+ word story for those without the time.

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👓 How Times Journalists Uncovered the Original Source of the President’s Wealth | New York Times

Read How Times Journalists Uncovered the Original Source of the President’s Wealth (New York Times)
Three reporters spent over a year digging through more than 100,000 pages of documents and chasing down key sources familiar with President Trump’s father and his empire.
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👓 Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father | New York Times

Read Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father by David Barstow (nytimes.com)
The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.

I had suspected something like this for a long time and my suspicions were pushed during the election upon reports of Trump cheating sub-contractors and not paying them and again earlier this year when Jonathan Greenberg revised some of his 1980’s reportage for Forbes, but this is simply incredible!

While there are a lot of things one can take away from this stunning, thorough, and long read, the thing that strikes me is what Trump did to attempt to cheat his own father, who had been repeatedly been digging him out of trouble, when he was against the wall. He tried to defraud and steal from his greatest benefactor. How can anyone trust him to fight for America or real Americans when his entire substance as well as facade is a complete sham?

Combined with the millions he’s losing on real estate and other deals over the past decade, one is forced (again) to wonder who exactly is funding him now?

 

 

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🎧 The Imaginary Crimes of Margit Hamosh, Season 3 Episode 8 | Revisionist History

Listened to The Imaginary Crimes of Margit Hamosh, Season 3 Episode 8 by Malcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

"Epidemics of fear repeat themselves. The first time as tragedy. The second time as farce. Margit Hamosh? Definitely farce."

What was it that Margit Hamosh did? What was her alleged fraud? I have been going on and on about this case for a good 20 minutes now, and I haven’t told you. Do you know why? Because we didn’t know.

It pains me to think of all these wasted hours over minutiae.

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👓 Hundreds of Researchers From Top Universities Were Published in Fake Academic Journals | Motherboard

Read Hundreds of Researchers From Top Universities Were Published in Fake Academic Journals (Motherboard)
How the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology became a multimillion dollar organization promoting bullshit science through fake conferences and journals.
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👓 Fox, Ben Affleck & Matt Damon Win Hot Package On Multi-Million Dollar Theft Of McDonald’s Monopoly Game | Deadline

Read Fox, Ben Affleck & Matt Damon Win Hot Package On Multi-Million Dollar Theft Of McDonald’s Monopoly Game by Mike Fleming Jr.Mike Fleming Jr. (Deadline)
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is poised to win the hot lit property in the marketplace at the moment, a giant Happy Meal that everyone wanted. Ben Affleck is attached to direct and Matt Damon to star in a true-crime story written by Jeff Maysh and published in The Daily Beast several days ago about an ex-cop who rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly game, allegedly stealing over $24 million and sharing it with an unsavory group of co-conspirators who offered kickbacks to the mastermind. The Pearl Street partners will produce with David Klawans, latter of whom got rights to the article and was exec veep on the Affleck-directed Best Picture Oscar winner Argo. Deadpool scribes Paul Wernick & Rhett Reese will write the script. Deal was a $350,000 option against $1 million if the film gets made. Affleck, Damon and the screenwriters get paid a lot more than that.
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👓 Vice Media Was Built on a Bluff. What Happens When It Gets Called? | Daily Intelligencer | New York Magazine

Read Vice Media Was Built on a Bluff. What Happens When It Gets Called? by Reeves Wiedeman (Daily Intelligencer)
For almost 25 years, Shane Smith’s plan was that, by the time the suckers caught on, he’d never be stuck owning the company he co-founded.

A fantastic article.

This reminds me a lot of the recent Theranos stories and book. It’s sad how companies don’t do enough due diligence on potential investments like this. When I think about how much basic work and discussion Marcus Lemonis does for $100,000 investments, I’m appalled to hear what people are doing for multi-millions. It’s stunning that a company can get to this size and be worth nearly nothing. Using the relative size (ie number of employees) of business units like human resources and legal within a particular industry could be a reasonable guide for the internal management of a company.

This is also a good example that while investments may give a company a particular valuation, it can rarely be the actual potential present value of the company. As a result, workers who are working for near free plus stock should be paying closer attention to company internals to know that their stock portion is going to be completely worthless.

Worse, I’m always pained to hear that young people (rich or otherwise) are essentially giving away their work and sweat equity away for free to big companies that could easily pay them. Eventually the pendulum is going to swing back the other way and companies are going to need to pay more.

One of my favorite quotes from the piece:

“Shane would always say that young people are the No. 1 bullshit detector, which was annoying once you realized that the thing he mastered is getting young people to buy shit,” says a recently departed senior employee.

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👓 The Theranos Story and Education Technology | Inside Higher Ed

Read The Theranos Story and Education Technology (Inside Higher Ed)
A great new book has me thinking about ed tech.

This is an interesting and useful analogy.

In ed tech, schools are the customers, but students are the users.

This also reminds me of the market disconnect between students and their textbooks. Professors are the ones targeted for the “sale” or adoption when the actual purchasers are the students. This causes all kinds of problems in the way the textbook market works and tends to drive prices up–compared to a market in which the student directly chooses their textbook. (And the set up is not too dissimilar to how the healthcare industry works in which the patient (customer) is making a purchase of health care coverage and not actually the health care itself.

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👓 Real People Are Turning Their Accounts Into Bots On Instagram — And Cashing In | BuzzFeed

Read Real People Are Turning Their Accounts Into Bots On Instagram — And Cashing In by Alex Kantrowitz (BuzzFeed)
Verified accounts turning themselves into bots, millions of fake likes and comments, a dirty world of engagement trading inside Telegram groups. Welcome to the secret underbelly of Instagram.

Eventually there will be so much noise on these platforms that they will cease to have any meaning for the business purposes that people are intending to use them for.

Worse, they’re giving away their login credentials to outsiders to do this.

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👓 Perspective | Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes. | Washington Post

Read Perspective | Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes. by Jonathan Greenberg (Washington Post)
Posing as ‘John Barron,’ he claimed he owned most of his father’s real estate empire.

A liar to create perceptions about himself for decades and decades…

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👓 ‘Picked Apart by Vultures’: The Last Days of Stan Lee | The Daily Beast

Read ‘Picked Apart by Vultures’: The Last Days of Stan Lee (The Daily Beast)
Months after losing his wife, the 95-year-old comic book legend is surrounded by charlatans and mountebanks.

Apparently we need stronger laws to protect the elderly and infirm.

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👓 Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud | ProPublica

Read Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud (ProPublica)
New York prosecutors were preparing a case. Then the D.A. overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz. 

Why are we not surprised at this? What happened to the generally higher moral ground that used to be held by public officials? These days I’d take a soupçon of Aristotelian-ism…

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