No flight plan

Tuesday. It’s the last day of June and the anniversary of the Tunguska explosion.

Jim McBride reviews the recent history around the Cam Newton trade. It’s a calculated gamble for the Patriots, but I’m looking forward to the season – barring any early injuries. Adam Kilgore considers the Belichick/Newton combo and likes what he sees. Excitement is in the air once again for Pats fans.

Just in time for a potential coronavirus vaccine, here comes a new virus from China. More here. (Maybe that mid-2020 Mayan ‘end of the world‘ thing was spot on.) Also, James Fallows does an NTSB style investigation into how the US government handled the Covid outbreak and determines the cause to be pilot error. It’s a long article but worth the time to read. And many good links are provided.

CNN looks at the rise and fall of the British cheddar cheese empire. (Make mine Vermont cheddar, please)

Did we really need a mathematical model of political hyper-polarization? I’ll go out on a limb and say no.

And 57% of British people polled recently want to rejoin the European Union. Only 35% still support Brexit. What a surprise.

On the upswing

It’s Monday. Let’s begin.

Hiawatha Bray goes hands off for 2020, which is turning out to be a good year for contactless payment systems and a bad year for cash.

The coronavirus curve for the US is not very reassuring. RT is above 1 in more states than not – way above 1 in some. Compare that to two months ago when most states were in the green. Florida has a particularly interesting history line. Globally, the US, Latin America and Mexico accounted for half of all deaths in the last week. But watch for India and Africa to explode next, experts say. Also, scientists are studying a small genetic variant of the virus that makes it more infectious. It seems to be dominating now in most locations.

So still no mask wearing? In some Massachusetts towns wearing a mask is mandatory out doors and people are complying. But in some parts of the country it’s a political issue. I can see objections over comfort and convenience, breathing, etc. But politics? A weird mind set there.

The Post looks again at factors slowing police reform. Arbitration is a big one.

And hold on to those old iPhone chargers and lightning headphones. The next iPhone won’t include them in the box. Analysts think Apple is doing this to offset higher production costs in an effort to keep the price of the phone near where it was last year. I’ll buy that.

Getting from here to there

Lazy Sunday. RIP Arnie, ‘Old Aching Adenoids, Woo Woo (for you, you)’ Ginsburg.

Rounding down old age: Thanks to coronavirus, 60 is the new 65. Now about those elderly discounts.

Ed Markey and Ayanna Pressley have filed a bill to fund free transit rides to the tune of $5 billion dollars. I like the idea of making public transit cheaper and easier to use but the funds will have to come from somewhere. And now, since the administration has run up a gazillion, bazillion dollar deficit, why not get the money from the feds. Who, other than future generations, will even notice.

Less people are flying but more are complaining about the airlines. And, happily, the end may be near for in-flight food service. The food is horrible (and the servings are so small) and it’s not worth the disruption in the cabin.

The folks from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation recommend these 20 2020 albums. So far.

And last week it was pets left behind when owners contracted Covid. This week it’s the office plants. They miss their people. That’s some hard hitting journalism happening right there. What about that yogurt left in the fridge? Stay tuned.

Simple solutions

Saturday. It will be sunny for most of the day. So put on those glasses.

The Forth of July TV special from the Esplanade will be, mostly, a rerun this year.

David Scharfenberg goes beyond the slogans to examine possible solutions to the issues in policing today. “America’s policing problem is really a set of complex, interlocking problems. And they will not yield to a “defund the police” slogan or a hastily conceived 10 percent cut to the police budget,” he writes. His article starts and ends with a victim of an unsolved violent crime. Because we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s at stake.

First murder hornets and a global pandemic. Now giant stinging jellyfish are arriving under the shadow of a killer Saharan dust cloud. I can’t wait to see what the second half of 2020 has to offer.

Jason Cipriani takes us through the process of adding stacked widgets to your home screen in iOS 14, which will be available for public beta sometime in July.

And it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to take a European vacation this summer. You probably wouldn’t want to get on an airplane anyway. (But Iceland is still an option if you do.)

More C-Span and less Instagram

Friday has arrived. Hallelujah. Politics is in the air today.

If Trump is reelected, and it could still happen, here’s what he has on his policy agenda for a second term. Clear as mud.

David Brooks covers a lot of ground in this column. He goes from Covid-19 to the economic crisis to racial awareness to social justice activism to a republican party on the verge of implosion. There’s a lot going on. He’s nostalgic for the old ways of government – “Over the last half century, we’ve turned politics from a practical way to solve common problems into a cultural arena to display resentments.” – and declares Joe Biden his candidate. Brooks was always a moderate conservative, which these days apparently means you’re a Democrat.

Another moderate conservative, Peggy Noonan, looks to the future, and in that future the president is not Donald Trump.

Is the DUA the new RMV? It’s looking that way.

And when quid pro quo turns out to be quid pro nihilo, and the city is repeatedly left empty handed, maybe it’s time to rethink how public safety union negotiations are handled. Andrew Ryan and Matt Rocheleau delve.

The quick fix

Today is Thursday. A nice warm, dry day. Happy birthday to June Lockhart, Eddie Floyd and Carly Simon.

NASA is renaming its headquarters for Mary Jackson, a pioneering African American mathematician and engineer who helped put man on the moon.

The City Council made a lot of noise but passed the city’s FY 2021 budget. Michelle Wu derided the adoption of the budget because it didn’t address advocates’ demand for immediate reform, saying, “It’s a message that they should be satisfied with incremental change.” Actually, I’m a big fan of incremental change. It requires more work, commitment and perseverance, but usually results in more thoughtful and permanent solutions.

People tweeting pseudonymously as cows can now breath a sigh of relief.

Residents of Boston neighborhoods are struggling with an onslaught of fireworks this year. People are becoming traumatized and are desperate for relief. Conspiracy theories are blooming about the government planting the fireworks to unsettle minority populations. But one blogger, a white woman, writes that the fireworks are a “beautiful, playful way for the black community of Boston to shine a light on the inherently oblivious nature of white people exercising privilege.” I guess she doesn’t have a dog or have to get up for work in the morning. File under: inherently oblivious privilege.

And it’s official. Our government is incapable of dealing with a serious pandemic. Changing a lightbulb might even be a challenge at this point.

The battle-space

Wednesday. It’s the anniversary of the first UFO sighting.

The outdoor dining experiment in the North End may be coming to an early end for restaurants flaunting the rules. The Licensing Board has scheduled an emergency hearing to lay down the law.

Military-style. That’s the term used by the Globe in this story on items in the police budget and they use it as a catch-all. I’m opposed to the militarization of the police. Officers shouldn’t be equipped like soldiers or even look like soldiers. And in Boston they don’t. But specialized units need certain equipment that could be described as ‘military-style’ for rare critical events. The Globe doesn’t make that distinction very clearly. In this city, day-to-day police work is being done by officers that look like officers. The Globe, and some city councillors, are peddling a false narrative here.

What a difference a month makes. Check out the tone of these two stories from Fox News about armed protesters and see if you can tease out any distinctions.

In a sign of the state of the market, Olympus is getting out of the camera business. With smartphone cameras getting better all the time, traditional camera makers really need differentiation, and Olympus just wasn’t able to stand out. It’s a shame. I always liked their camera and lenses.

And with all the tumult and bad things going on, there’s always an escape to baseball. Not.

Playing catch-up

It’s Tuesday. Today’s word is fraternize.

Victoria Turk examines digital etiquette in the time of coronavirus. But the crew from Progressive Insurance really nails the reality.

The state budget normally comes out in April. But nothing about this year has been normal. A stop-gap, one month budget, meant to keep the government up and running, is making its way through the legislature while the administration continues its work on the main FY2021 budget.

In Massachusetts, we’ve flattened the curve – and then some.

US citizens traveling to Ireland are still under an order to quarantine. And they’re not joking over there. If you’re an Irish citizen wanting to travel to the US, well, forget it. You can’t come. That’s the scoop from Laoise Moore, the Irish general counsel to Boston, received by Ed Forry.

Well, no new hardware was announced, but a lot of new software features were previewed at the Apple event yesterday. Here’s a breakdown from 9to5Mac. Also, Dan Moren hones in on some of the little things you may have missed.

And The Grateful Dead is expanding its artistic range by introducing a new line of deodorant. You’ll smell like Sunshine. Even a blind man knows when the sun is shining.

Think different

Monday, Monday. Birthdays for Elizabeth Warren, Meryl Streep, Todd Rundgren and John Dillinger.

Ty Burr recommends an album. But whatever you do, don’t listen to it. Just let it play in the background. It’s Steve Reich’s minimalistic Music for 18 Musicians. I agree with him about the album but not his characterization of Philip Glass’s music as a “four-hour dial tone.” Glass you can actually listen to.

Apple unveils its software and hardware roadmap this afternoon at its annual developer conference. Rumors indicate they’ll announce a major architecture change for the Mac, moving from Intel chips to ARM, the chips that currently power iPhones and iPads. I also think we’ll see new industrial design for a future iMac. And a successor to the not-fully-baked Catalina operating system, possibly called Big Sur. All this is happening at a time that Apple is facing criticism from the developer community for its App Store policies. Should be an interesting presentation.

Scottish man fined for calling an Irish man a leprechaun.” Really? And the photo?

Interesting suggestions for police reform from an academic who studies police interactions with minority populations: more pay, less stress and less working hours for officers.

And, The Times profiles Josh Kantor, organist for the Red Sox, with a link to his afternoon on-line concerts. Good times never seemed so good.

Having it both ways

A nice Sunday. Happy Father’s Day.

It’s a sign of a return to normality. MBTA ridership is up and service is expanding. Lyft and Uber runs are also ticking up. Traffic on the roads? It’s back.

During his rally in Tulsa, the president said he instructed his staff to slow down testing so that covid case numbers would come down. So, basically, he was telling an audience of supporters who had to agree to a coronavirus liability release to get into the rally, that the coronavirus was an overblown, fake disease. His handlers said later that he was joking. It’s obvious who that joke was on.

How do police spend their time on the job? The Times looks at a breakdown. It’s not all action, granted. There is a lot of service oriented work but there’s also a considerable amount of basic conflict resolution around everything from legal disputes to quality of life matters to family disputes. Any grand experiment in unbundling should be done thoughtfully, carefully and in tune with public expectations.

Take a hike (says Boston Magazine).

And it might not rise to the level of the Great Molasses Flood but the Oregon blubber blast is certainly a notable occurrence in the dictionary of disasters.