PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

America’s Great Tax Divide (Maria)

The author writes, “For me, and for most people, filing taxes is little more than data entry. … The financial reality of the ultrawealthy is not so easily defined. For one, wages make up only a small part of their earnings. And they have broad latitude in how they account for their businesses and investments. Their incomes aren’t defined by a tax form. Instead, they represent the triumph of careful planning by skilled professionals. … For them, a tax return is an opening bid to the IRS. It’s a kind of theory. In that tax world, nearly anything is possible.”

Why Herschel Walker’s Constant Lies Aren’t Hurting Him (Russ)

The author writes, “A quickly growing stack of evidence has made something impossible to ignore: Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker is a serial fabricator. In a previous era, reporting on Walker’s unending stream of lies about his business record, his educational background and his accomplishments might have torpedoed his bid to win a Senate seat from Georgia, or at least seriously damage his credibility in a crowded field. Instead, it seems to have done little, if anything, to hurt him in one of the most important Senate races in the country. He’s the front-runner in recent polls of Republican primary candidates, and he’s neck-and-neck with the Democratic incumbent, Raphael Warnock, who is up for re-election this fall.”

Elon Musk Throws Spotlight on Homelessness With Twitter Office Idea (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Elon Musk’s series of tweets suggesting changes to Twitter Inc. included at least one question that attracted attention from a fellow billionaire: Should the company convert its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter? The idea was taken as a jab at both the city of San Francisco, which has grappled with a deepening homeless crisis, and at Twitter, whose employees have been told they can work remotely forever. Perhaps the building would be better used as homeless housing, Musk seemed to imply, ‘since no one shows up anyway.’”

Why Do I Blame the Republican Party? Because the Republican Party Is to Blame (DonkeyHotey)

From the Miami Herald: “We are not going to indulge the lazy rationalizations, false equivalence, cheap gaslighting and other forms of rhetorical chicanery that have become so common to political discourse in this era. Our country is in crisis, and we owe it better. The warning is for those who claimed offense at the following observation, made in this space a few days back: ‘What Americans have lost — to be painfully accurate, what Republicans have trashed in pursuit of power — is the willingness and ability to share a common national identity.’ It would seem to be self-evident truth. But not everyone agrees.”

‘Russia Is Completely Depoliticized’ A Sociologist From Moscow Explains How the Nation Learned to Deny Reality. (Sean)

The author writes, “The photos from Bucha are hard to ignore. In image after image, bodies line the streets and shallow graves, each one proof that Russian soldiers are committing atrocities on Ukrainian soil. While the evidence they offer appears to be incontrovertible, the Kremlin has called them a ‘monstrous forgery’ designed to smear its soldiers. It is tempting to believe the photos could undermine Moscow’s propaganda and help turn Russian public opinion against the war. The sociologist Greg Yudin believes that’s unlikely to happen.”

India Is Stalling the WHO’s Efforts to Make Global COVID Death Toll Public (Reader Pat)

From The New York Times: “An ambitious effort by the World Health Organization to calculate the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has found that vastly more people died than previously believed — a total of about 15 million by the end of 2021, more than double the official total of six million reported by countries individually. But the release of the staggering estimate — the result of more than a year of research and analysis by experts around the world and the most comprehensive look at the lethality of the pandemic to date — has been delayed for months because of objections from India, which disputes the calculation of how many of its citizens died and has tried to keep it from becoming public.”

Mystery Sarcophagus Found in Notre-Dame to Be Opened (Dana)

The author writes, “A mysterious leaden sarcophagus discovered in the bowels of Paris’ Notre-Dame cathedral after it was devastated by a fire will soon be opened and its secrets revealed, French archaeologists said Thursday. The announcement came just a day before the third anniversary of the inferno that engulfed the 12th century Gothic landmark, which shocked the world and led to a massive reconstruction project.”

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