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raceAhead: The Tax Bill’s Billion Loophole, Saying Goodbye To Combat Jack and The Last Haikus of 2017

December 22, 2017, 5:18 PM UTC

Your week in review, in haiku.



“Uranium one,

two, three what are they looking

for?” No, really. What?



Bitchcoin: The smack talk

of one who does not know how

bitcoin really works



Darkness. Roy Moore sits.

“No surrender,” sighs Sassy.

“No,” he snarls. “Never.”



Seattle wrecked. Mob

boss Nikki. Puerto Rico

waits. Let there be light.



To those who do the

work; to those who lift the load:

We see and thank you.


A safe and happy holiday break to you and yours. We are so grateful to you. RaceAhead returns on January 3, 2018.

On Point

The billion-dollar loophole in the new tax legislationIn this (hopefully) first-of-many collaborations with Fortune and ProPublica, this investigation digs first into the lucrative world of syndicated conservation easements, a problematic but increasingly popular charitable donation tax scheme for the very rich that survived the latest tax bill. (Golf course owners love them. Click through to find out why.) That’s just a start. “There are plenty of other flawed provisions in the tax code, creating opportunities for abuse,” explains Peter Elkind. But the easement loophole has become a cottage industry, lining the pockets of the wealthy, possibly imperiling the environment and costing the government billions in lost revenue.Fortune

Combat Jack, hip-hop lawyer and podcast star, dies at 53
The boisterous broadcaster also known as Reggie Ossé, was an authentic part of a culture that he helped promote; first as a knowledgeable attorney in hip-hop's early days, then as a podcast mogul who created a generation of broadcasters. “He was just a very intelligent curator of the culture,” Atlanta rapper Big Boi said. “He wouldn’t ask the same questions that every interviewer would ask. He was like one of our friends. He treated you like a friend.” Ossé died of complications due to colon cancer. He was diagnosed in October.
New York Times

A conservative college group faces allegations of illegal campaign activity and racism
Turning Point USA aims to create a conservative groundswell on college campuses, in part by underwriting conservative student government candidates. (You read that right.) But the secrecy surrounding their big-money donor base points to a troubling new trend: Dark money may be entering student elections. Other allegations are equally troubling. Employees of the non-profit say they’ve been asked to campaign for actual candidates, like Roy Moore, a violation of campaign finance law. And black volunteers have made allegations of racial bias and hate speech.
New Yorker

Video games, still pale and male?
The video game industry has long been under fire for a lack of representation in its characters and storylines; and when female or characters of color do appear, so do misogyny and racism. While there were some notable exceptions in 2017, the industry still has a long way to go according to four game designers of color interviewed by the BBC.  Though the two men think things are better than the two women, ahem, all thought there was room for improvement. Diversity can’t be a one and done says Chella Ramanan, a journalist and game developer. What we really want is people from minority communities in those teams, involved in the creation process and then also in senior positions to change the face of the industry.”

The Woke Leader

The Lost Arcade is a really good documentary about the way people love games
The Lost Arcade was a complete surprise. On the surface of things, it’s the story of a sketchy looking arcade in Chinatown that drew together a diverse group of people who loved playing digital games. But it ended up being so much more. For one, it has the best opening scene of any documentary I’ve seen in ages. But it’s also about misfits and cast-outs, people with imagination but no home, business visionaries disguised as maintenance people, and how communities are transformed in the strangest ways by the people you least expect. It’s also about how the shallow victories of gentrification and tech innovation don’t really matter if you’ve got friends who will battle you and quarters in your pocket, especially if you’ve got next. It was so good, that when I finished watching it I watched it again, just to be sure. The Lost Arcade is available on Amazon, iTunes, all over the place.
Arcade Movie

Science: Play first, play hard, play now
This is the sage advice from Ed O’Brien, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He had his lab conduct a series of surveys exploring people’s attitudes toward their preferred timing of leisure activities, particularly if they had other responsibilities looming, like an exam or deadline. People generally opt to finish work first, believing that they won’t enjoy themselves if they’ve got important work yet unfinished. Turns out, most people find leisure activities rewarding no matter when they’re scheduled. “Our findings suggest we may be over-worrying and over-working for future rewards that could be just as pleasurable in the present,” he says. “This is a problem, because, among other benefits, leisure improves our work,” he says. Professor O’Brien is clearly a very smart man. And he’s probably outside right now, playing with a Frisbee and a golden retriever. What are you doing?

Building more meaningful relationships with your audience
Here’s how to build a deeper relationship with the community you serve, explains this thoughtful primer from Poynter, the non-profit institute exploring the future of journalism: Think about stories from their perspective. It starts with the language you use to describe them. For media organizations, think past "traffic," "followers," "subscribers" and "commenters." All of the advice works across industries, particularly now that everyone is a publisher. And we can all listen better. Make sure you’re “keeping track, in some formal or informal way, of the knowledge gained when employees across all parts of the organization interact with current or potential audience members.”


I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get to write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person — and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole.
—Shonda Rhimes.