June 22 roundup

Narrative and Numbers

DNYUZ: As Lumber Prices Fall, the Threat of Inflation Loses Its Bite

Lumber prices in the futures market, for example, are down more than 45 percent from their peak, slipping below $1,000 for the first time in months. That’s still high — between 2009 and 2019, prices averaged less than $400 per thousand board feet — but the sell-off has been gaining momentum over the last few weeks. The price has fallen in 11 of the last 12 trading sessions, including a 0.5 percent drop to settle at $900.80 on Friday, according to FactSet data.

Rest of World: In Argentina, cheap government-issued netbooks sparked a musical renaissance.

More than four million students received a computer between 2011 and 2015. These were exactly the years that saw the rise of a budding generation of rappers, trappers, and freestylers.

Washington Post: Walmart de Mexico cuts program for elderly baggers, citing customer changes post-pandemic

For decades, elderly people in Mexico in need of extra cash could seek work as checkout baggers in stores like Walmart de Mexico through a government-run assistance program… But now, as Mexico’s economy is beginning to reopen, Walmart said it is cutting these positions, angering many elderly workers who had counted on returning, the Associated Press reported. “Due to the health emergency, we have seen that our customers want to avoid third parties having contact with their purchases,” Walmart de Mexico, the country’s largest retailer, said in a statement, according to the AP. 

Wall Street Journal: The World Relies on One Chip Maker in Taiwan, Leaving Everyone Vulnerable

[Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s] dominance leaves the world in a vulnerable position, however. As more technologies require chips of mind-boggling complexity, more are coming from this one company, on an island that’s a focal point of tensions between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as its own. Analysts say it will be difficult for other manufacturers to catch up in an industry that requires hefty capital investments. And TSMC can’t make enough chips to satisfy everyone….

Los Angeles Times: What Covering Hundreds of Homicides Taught Me

But no matter how difficult the reporting, I always felt that the mission of the Homicide Report — to give victims a voice — mattered… I also learned that the idea of closure is fiction. And the conventional idea of justice — a guilty verdict or plea, a person in prison — is much more complicated.

Washington Post: Michael Gerson: I’m a conservative who believes systemic racism is real

I didn’t create these systems. But I wish I had realized earlier that these systems had created me… Though our nation is beset with systemic racism, we also have the advantage of what a friend calls “systemic anti-racism.” We have documents — the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the 14th Amendment — that call us to our better selves. We are a country that has exploited and oppressed Black Americans. But we arealso the country that has risen up in mass movements, made up of Blacks and Whites, to confront those evils. The response to systemic racism is the determined, systematic application of our highest ideals.