The clouds part

Hey, it’s Thursday!

Robot umpires are coming to Major League Baseball. What could possibly go wrong.

With Omicron in retreat, David Leonhardt thinks it’s time to ask the questions: “When should schools resume all activities? When should offices reopen? When should masks come off? When should asymptomatic people stop interrupting their lives because of a Covid exposure? Above all, when does Covid prevention do more harm — to physical and mental health — than good?” We’re almost there. But not quite.

Joan Vennochi calls out selective outrage bias when it comes to disruptive protests.

The state of popular music in 2021 is not great. Each Friday I scan iTunes new releases and listen to random albums from artists I never heard of. Every so often I find a gem. But not very often. Ted Gioia goes a little deeper than me. He listens to several hours of new music every day. There are plenty of great young musicians releasing music, he says, but “the music industry has lost its ability to discover and nurture their talents.” As a result, most industry growth is in old music and old musicians. That”s not a healthy thing.

And it looks like Barney Fife’s evil brother has taken over a small town police department in Alabama. Maybe Goober could take that SWAT truck apart and reassemble it inside the courthouse.

Incoordination

Today is Wednesday. It’s National Popcorn Day.

If Bono is embarrassed, imagine how the fans must feel.

The 5G upgrade that Verizon and AT&T want to introduce—and that the airlines desperately want to stop—is a head scratcher. Do the FCC and FAA even talk to each other? How is it that a long planned rollout of technology in two highly regulated industries is now a crisis that no one saw coming? Randall Bloomquist has his suspicions.

The government of Ireland is going to be a patron of the arts. Great idea.

Universal Hub covers the fallout in the neighborhood from the disruptive protests outside the mayor’s house in Roslindale.

And Ian McEwan has a big new book coming in the fall. Something to look forward to.

You break it, you own it

A sunny Tuesday. It’s Daniel Webster‘s birthday.

The electric car revolution is coming. But only 8% of the batteries needed for it are produced in the US. China is responsible for 76%. We seem to be at a slight disadvantage.

The Brookline Police Department is in crisis. Union leaders complain that they are being reformed into the ground and micromanaged by elected officials. Danny McDonald reports that a member of one of the two reform task forces promotes moving “toward not needing an armed police force,” which would be municipal malpractice. Meanwhile, criminologists grappling to explain the dramatic rise in murders nationwide are narrowing on three factors: Covid, more guns and policing. In Boston and Brookline murders are down, not up. We have Covid. The guns are out there. That leaves policing as the critical differentiator.

Everyone has a phone camera. But not everyone has a 90’s-era digicam. So if you want to stand out on Instagram, apparently you need to post low quality images taken with a crappy camera.

Getting unemployment benefits out the door when Covid hit was a huge and critical challenge and done mostly successfully. But $2.7 billion in overpayments is a big amount and it won’t be easy to get it all back.

And when it comes to Covid shots, third time’s a charm. Four… is too much.

The price of admission

Monday, March 17th. MLK Day.

Imagine People of Walmart in a virtual environment. It could be the killer app for the Metaverse.

The recent court decision on public safety unions and vaccination mandates underscores a reality that many people, including Michelle Wu on the campaign trail, didn’t seem to understand. In city government, you can’t just do things from a management position (like all those police reform promises) without hard and often costly negotiations. Every… little… thing… has to be negotiated. Wu got a pass on implementation of the mandate from the court because of a public health emergency—but not on negotiations. Now comes the part where the city has to pay.

The trend line at Gallup does not look good for the Biden Administration and the Democratic Party.

In a sad story, Jeffery Parker, a former manager of the T’s subway systems and current leader of the Atlanta transit system committed suicide by stepping in front of a train.

And if you thought cable prices were bad, welcome to streaming.