Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.
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Tiny Lithuania Could Change How The World Handles China by Akbar Shahid Ahmed (Huffpost)
Chinese diplomats have made pulling tiny Lithuania to heel a major policy priority, but the tiny Baltic state, used to domination from its large neighbor, is having none of it. [Link]
TSMC founder Morris Chang says globalization ‘almost dead’ by Cheng Ting-Fang (Nikkei Asia)
At an event in Phoenix, Arizona marking the first equipment installation at a $40bn advanced chip fab that represents years of effort to onshore critical industries to the US, the Taiwanese industrialist blamed geopolitics for shifts away from free trade. [Link; soft paywall]
Surging retail theft could force Walmart to close stores and raise prices, CEO Doug McMillon warns by Thomas Barrabi (NYPost)
A vague gesture towards closing stores is part of a retail industry effort to highlight dollar increases in “shrinkage” or inventory lost to thieves. National data suggests shrinkage has not risen as a percentage of revenue in recent years. [Link; auto-playing video]
Auto Dealers Gird for Softening Demand Amid Higher Rates, Uncertain Outlook by Nora Eckert and Mike Colias (WSJ)
After a two year boom fueled by low rates and soaring demand, auto dealers are facing a big shift that has dealers preparing for the worst: higher payments, too much inventory, and a weak economy are all potential problems. [Link; paywall]
Sinema leaves Democratic Party, registers as independent by Daniela Altimari and Herb Jackson (Roll Call)
In a desperate bid to save her seat, Arizona Democrat Sinema has retreated from the Democratic Party (though she will keep her committee assignments). She has a lower approval rating with her own party than the rest of the Arizona electorate. [Link]
How Kevin McCarthy Could Lose The Election For Speaker Of The House by Nathanial Rakich (538)
An unusually tight House majority and an unruly caucus could keep frontrunner Kevin McCarthy out of the Speakership and cast the body into chaos at the start of the year. [Link]
A Sense of Where You Are by Devin Bunten (Unplanned Ideas)
The current makeup of American cities and suburbs is a direct function of policy choices made 70 years ago today, themselves driven by the need to meet a massive shortfall in housing construction, a desire for racial segregation, and a new technology in the form of the automobile. [Link]
Climate Hawks Should Have Given Joe Manchin His Pipeline by Eric Levitz (NYer)
Progressive politicians and lobbyists likely made the wrong choice (even based on their own policy goals) when they declined to trade allowing more fossil fuel infrastructure for a failed effort to make decarbonized infrastructure easier to build. [Link]
Is Chicken Birria Authentic? by Javier Cabral (L.A. Taco)
By far the most famous form of birria is the Jalisco-derived braised goat recipe that taco eaters adore. But more unusual – and no less authentic – forms of birria can be found all over Mexico. [Link]
Twitter’s Rivals Try to Capitalize on Musk-Induced Chaos by Kalley Huang (NYT)
Social media sites ranging from upstart Post to open source Mastodon are trying to move into the real estate put at risk by antics of Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk. [Link; soft paywall]
Kids Don’t Want Cash Anymore–They Want ‘Robux’ by Sarah E. Needleman and Sarah Donaldson (WSJ)
Wildly popular online gaming platform Roblox is a key destination for pocket money these days as children prefer buying digital goods to heading down to the store. [Link; paywall]
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Have a great weekend!