Staying in your own lane

It’s Saturday, good beach weather. Jaws is 45 years-old today, so it should be safe to go into the water by now.

Star Market is going public. It’s not a trendy tech IPO but, who knows, they do seem to be making money.

The City Council is not great at managing complex operational tasks. And that’s ok because that’s not their role. So we should take a pass on this proposed ordinance to change how we handle 911 calls. Although the idea may have some merit in principle, the devil is usually in the details and operational details are what the executive branch is responsible for.

Mona Charen, a conservative writer, explains how she came to rethink her previously held views on race and policing after the death of George Floyd.

There are two new albums out this week from 1960s icons. 79 year-old Bob Dylan dropped Rough and Rowdy Ways. It’s pretty damm good. And Neil Young released an album that had been in the can since 1974 called Homegrown. Some songs, like Love is a Rose and the beautiful Star of Bethlehem, had made their way to other albums over the years but it’s nice to hear them here as part of the original set.

And what is this strange thing? A billion dollar bipartisan effort cheered by conservationists and supported by the White House? Yes, it’s the Great American Outdoors Act and it’s a real thing.

Paved with good intentions

Friday. It’s Juneteenth.

Ian Ollis, a former member of the South African Parliament who studied transportation planning at MIT, has some suggestions for avoiding a return to ‘carmageddon‘ as Boston gets back to normal after the virus shutdown.

The mayor defends police overtime in the wake of the annual release of Boston Police salaries. This year the release only added to the pile on. There’s always room for cuts in the margins but he’s right. Overtime is, unfortunately, needed to meet minimum staffing levels for public safety. Most cops don’t want to be working as much as they do. Also, Bill Barr stops by BPD headquarters to meet with Willie Gross, unleashing a wave of criticism. And Jeff Klein, of the Dorchester People for Peace, has a 5-point plan to completely eliminate the Boston Police Department, including its rank structure, and replace it with a public safety department. There are some good nuggets in there but overall his plan is a non-starter. The perfect being the enemy of the good, and all that.

Australia is undergoing a slow motion, multi-wave cyber attack, likely coming from China.

People outside the US are watching our covid numbers and saying that it looks like we’ve just given up on prevention.

And if you’re thinking that 2020 has been a tough year, just be thankful you weren’t around in 536.

Bad optics

Thursday’s such a crazy, lazy day.

Outdoor strip shows, no lap dances and a shortage of performers. That’s the new normal for the Foxy Lady in the time of coronavirus.

In today’s policing news: Baker submits his reform bill. Bill Walczak reimagines Boston Police hiring. A Globe editorial recalls a bill on State Police reform still languishing in the legislature. A West Roxbury pro-police demonstration and counter demonstration turns into political theater. Atlanta experiences de-policing after an officer is charged with murder. And Boston’s police payroll for last year is out. Ouch.

In a Wired article, Nina Jankowicz and Cindy Otis look at how vulnerable we are to disinformation and particularly how Facebook Groups has distorted the social fabric of the US.

Another Covidiot tests positive. He was on his way to the White House. Contact tracers are now checking how many people he may have spread the virus to.

And Schrodinger’s cat gets explained. But not very clearly, at least not in this universe.

Spitballing on public safety

Wednesday. Balanced on the hump of the week. It’s the anniversary of the Watergate break-in.

I don’t think I ever heard this story about Bill Murray. Hilarious.

There are new calls for removing (school department) police from the schools but others interviewed think it’s a bad idea. Boston police union leaders are working with Black and Latino legislators on a police reform package while Jeff Jacoby wants to completely eliminate police unions. Where do body cameras fit into all this? And Ross Douthat looks at three options for the future of policing.

China has leapt ahead in an important future technology area, quantum entangled communications.

Vice President Pence argues that we’re not in a second wave of coronavirus infections. He’s right, of course. We’re still in the first.

Bot or not: the controversy over how many humans are left on social media.

And speaking of bots, if you’re thinking of getting a dog, you might want to consider this four legged creature. Guaranteed not to chew up the remote.

Positive feedback

It’s Tuesday. Today’s word is null.

Here it comes. It’s the second wave… of coronavirus stupidity.

From today’s Globe: “Boston has regularly touted the effectiveness of ‘community policing.’ Does it work?” Yes. The answer is yes. People are angry right now and they aren’t focusing on the positive aspects of policing. But compared to other cities and other police departments, Boston is doing pretty well. Of course there’s room to get even better.

Bruce Mohl reports that a business-backed oversight group is sounding the alarm on the T’s finances, which are quickly becoming unsustainable. Expect a $400 million dollar deficit in 2022 and expenses overtaking revenue straight through 2025. They’re calling it an existential crisis.

The last version of the Mac operating system, Catalina, is still pretty rough, even this late in its lifecycle. Hopefully the new version, set to be announced next week, will be more stable. The big question, though, is what it will be named. I’m going with Monterey.

And the International Space Station is getting some new equipment. Gravity is the opposite of comedy.

Walking a high wire

Monday. One week ends and another begins. It’s Harry Nilsson‘s birthday.

Hong Kong is emptying out.

Being a police chief might be “the most precarious job in America” these days, according to the Times. It’s true. Even in normal circumstances chiefs and commissioners have to balance the sometimes very divergent interests of the public, politicians, rank and file officers and their unions. Not to mention judges, prosecutors, special interest groups and the media. Now amplify that tension. Take it to the top of the dial. It’s certainly not an easy job in these times.

Lindsey Graham has become a big Trump supporter lately. And that’s what makes this ad so effective. And, so weird. Talk about a 180.

The New Yorker checks in with Sonny Rollins, who would like it if we all lived by the golden rule.

And sometimes, what goes around really does come around. Jeff Greenfield writes about “Glass of Watergate.”

Marching to a different drum

The 14th of June. Sunday. The day the Disneyland Monorail opened. Yes, monorail.

The end of the world, originally slated for 2012, has been rescheduled to next week.

Matt Taibbi is a real pain in the ass and that’s what makes him a great journalist. Not always right but, as this article shows, usually provocative. And The Times profiles another rank-breaking journalist who has been a pain in the side to the president, Chris Wallace.

Lane Glenn, Brian Kyes and Paul Tucker wrote an opinion piece in Commonwealth Magazine about raising the bar on policing in Massachusetts. It’s a good start.

Traffic is back, according to the Globe. There’s even a Three Stooges reference.

And, researchers have identified a cellular mechanism that could lead to an effective treatment for obesity. But wait. There’s more. It can also make you younger (by minimizing “the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, or oxidative stress, in our bodies, which ultimately results in neurodegeneration and aging”). We shall see.

…but I play one on TV

A very nice Saturday morning. Get out and enjoy.

Here we go again.

In an effort to get to the bottom of a how police officers feel about what’s going on and how they see their role in today’s society, one author went to the source: TV cops. This happened.

Devin Nunes has hit a dead end in the search for his cow.

The pollen this season is unrelenting. You could actually see clouds of it hanging over the South Shore earlier this week.

And a City Council sponsored online forum on the over-the-top fireworks in Boston this year ended with a consensus that fireworks this year in Boston are indeed over-the-top and that someone, somehow, should do something about it.

Safety in numbers

A nice Friday morning. Sun is expected today after a deluge of rain late yesterday and overnight.

Sometimes cops can be their own worse enemy.

Protesting without a mask, even outside, was not a very smart or responsible thing to do. But apparently now it’s safe to gather in a large indoor auditorium for a political rally. No mask required. No six foot separation. No worries. But just in case we’re completely wrong about all this, please sign this liability waiver.

Nilay Patel assesses the current state of the Internet. He’s not happy about it.

Douglas Brinkley interviews Bob Dylan ahead of the release of his new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. They discuss the optimism of youth and the pessimistic nostalgia of older generations.

And speaking of generations, people from the Uber/Lyft generation are discovering taxis now that covid has left Boston with shortage of available ride shares.

The long view

Today is Thursday. It’s the anniversary of the Broad Street riots, which led to the establishment of the Boston police and fire departments.

Summer is coming in with a bang.

At his regular Covid press conference, Marty Walsh did a good job highlighting a more realistic approach to improving police/community relations than simply cutting budgets. Charlie Baker also rejects the sloganeering around the issue of defunding the police. “I certainly don’t support the whole concept that we should get out of the business of providing public safety to our communities,” he said.

Don’t Yelp slam restaurants that are struggling to get back on their feet. There’ll be plenty of time for that later. This is the time to cut some slack. (And continue to overtip.)

You won’t believe who Joan Vennochi ran into in Ed Markey’s driveway.

And if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if someone rode past you on a bicycle traveling at nearly the speed of light, well, scientists are trying to work that out for you. Thought you should know.