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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Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee by Sam Relph (The Guardian)
The Indian subcontinent has face punishing pre-monsoon heatwaves this year leaving swathes of the country depopulated and 70-80% of some states hit by drought and/or crop failure, an early taste of the sort of chaos that widespread and persistent climate change could sew around the world. [Link]
Some Republican Lawmakers Break With Party on Climate Change by Arian Campo-Flores (WSJ)
Conservative lawmakers are struggling to come up with a policy proposal that reduces emissions but doesn’t impose regulation or new taxes as a growing share of the party acknowledges vulnerability on the issue. [Link; paywall]
Trump Has Gotten China to Lower Its Tariffs. Just Toward Everyone Else. by Chad P. Brown, Euijin Jung, and Evan (Yiwen) Zhang (PIIE)
As China has raised retaliatory tariffs in response to US protectionism, it’s reduced tariffs on other countries, a double-whammy for US exporters. [Link]
The New Tiananmen Papers by Andrew J. Nathan (Foreign Affairs)
Reform-minded protestors evicted by force (including hundreds of deaths) from Tiananmen Square 30 years ago were a massive threat to party power, and how officials reacted is being put in new light by a recently published book summarizing their speeches from a meeting just before the troops marched in. [Link]
When Everything That Counts Can’t Be Counted by Josh Brown (The Reformed Broker)
What happens if the cost of capital never goes up again? An exploration of the implication that brands are the only sustainable moat against oceans of abundant capital. [Link]
The S&P 500 Is Beating Yale’s Endowment Fund by John Rekenthaler (Morningstar)
Over the most recent 10 year period, the once-hallowed performance of the Yale Endowment Fund hasn’t done any better than a run-of-the-mill target date mutual fund. [Link]
Social Security’s looming crisis is political, not economic by Jeff Spross (The Week)
A lucid review of the challenges facing social security, and more importantly, its political rather than economic constraints; inability to pay out benefits is a function of the will to do so in Congress rather than any budget constraint. [Link]
Food & Drink
On the Trail of New York’s Nutcracker Kings by David Gauvey Herbert (Grub Street)
The colorful history of ubiquitous, cheap, and definitely not legal New York summer street libations called “nutcrackers”. [Link]
The restaurant owner who asked for 1-star Yelp reviews by Zachary Crockett (The Hustle)
An Italian chef was sick of the tyranny imposed by Yelp and its legion of finnicky reviewers, so he offered a special discount to anyone who would leave a one star review. [Link]
More U.S. Millennials Subscribe to Video Games Than Traditional Pay TV: Survey (Reuters/NYT)
The Day the Music Burned by Jody Rosen (NYT)
A fire caused by roof repair gone wrong spread quickly across the Universal Studios Hollywood lot in June of 2008, taking with it the Universal Music Group’s archive of recorded materials. Master recordings dating back as far as the 1940s were destroyed, an enormous loss of musical history. [Link; soft paywall]
An Old Brooklyn Church Seeks New Muscle to Save a Tradition by Katie Honan (WSJ)
The unique tradition of hoisting a four-ton tower in celebration of an Italian saint and parading it around Brooklyn is under threat after 116 years: gentrification and population turnover in Brooklyn has reduced the ranks of the parish that does the hoisting. [Link; paywall]
This C-17 Crew Broke Diplomatic Protocol to Save a Life. Now They’re Up for Awards by Oriana Pawlyk (Miltary.com)
Faced with a deteriorating patient and a long trip across the Atlantic, the crew of a C-17 Globemaster landed in under 200 feet of visibility in Ireland in order to get the patient to a hospital. [Link]
Despite Rising Costs, College Is Still a Good Investment by Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz (NY Fed)
While college costs of spiraled, the wage premium for college grads is still high enough to justify the investment, on average across all students. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!