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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The bleak market outcome for Russia after Ukraine invasion by Paul McNamara (FT)

The removal of Russia from major financial markets indices is only the start of a long process of capital starvation for the country’s economy, which will have lasting and terrible consequences for Russian state capacity. [Link; paywall]

As Tanks Rolled Into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War by David E. Sanger, Julian E. Barnes and Kate Conger (NYT)

Close coordination between the US intelligence community and security experts at Microsoft led to a rapid response against Russian cyberattacks in near-real time as the country sought to cripple Ukraine during the initial invasion. [Link; soft paywall]

The Terrible Truth So Many Experts Missed About Russia by Ben Judah (Slate)

Analysts and strategists across the Western world were operating under the assumption that the Russian President faced a series of constraints that he did not in fact pay any attention to. [Link]

Ripple Effects

Could Congress let you seize this Russian oligarch’s yacht? by Philip Bump (WaPo)

A downright unbelievable proposal is seeking to give private American citizens the right to seize assets of Russian oligarchs via Letters of Marque, a 19th century legal construct that hasn’t been used in almost two hundred years. [Link]

Ukraine war threatens to make bread a luxury in the Middle East by Maya Gebeily and Mena A. Farouk (Thompson Reuters Foundation)

On a combined basis, Russia and Ukraine supply a huge share of the grain that countries with relatively arid climates and weak farming capacity across the Middle East and North Africa rely on for basic calories. [Link]

State Capacity

‘Ways and Means’ Review: Financing the Civil War by Harold Holzer (WSJ)

A new book examines the role that innovative financial arrangements played in winning the Civil War for the Union, ranging from fiat currency to new debt instruments. [Link; paywall]

At cartel examination site; Mexico nears 100k missing by María Verza (AP)

Drug cartels operate with near-impunity in Mexico, and occasionally authorities discover the aftermath. One such example currently under investigation is a 75,000 square foot site miles from the border. [Link]

Former Police Chief Faked Death to Evade Charges, Officials Say by Eduardo Medina (NYT)

A small town police chief facing more than 70 felonies and fled to South Carolina after faking his death on a boat in the Lumber River. The former chief had stolen drugs and firearms from the town’s evidence locker and sold them for thousands. [Link; soft paywall]

Real Estate

L.A.’s most extravagant mansion sells for less than half its list price by Laurence Darmiento (Yahoo!/LAT)

A developer’s dream project collapsed with a mansion listed at $295mm selling for just $126mm, despite carrying a $256mm debt load from its construction. [Link]


Pfizer Covid vaccine was just 12% effective against omicron in kids 5 to 11, study finds by Spencer Kimball (CNBC)

A New York state study found a huge decline in efficacy among children during the Omicron variant surge, possibly due to lower dosages for young children compared to adults. [Link]

Economic Development

The Jolt: David Perdue targets Gov. Brian Kemp’s prized Rivian deal by Patricia Murphy, Greg Bluestein, and Tia Mitchell (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Most state-level politicians would be thrilled to see $5bn invested in their state by a rapidly growing industrial company, but Georgia Governor candidate David Perdue apparently isn’t a fan. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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