The best defense

Wednesday morning. Today’s word is batten.

Live Boston had the scoop on the arrest of Clark Grant on federal fraud charges. Grant is the husband of local activist Monica Cannon Grant, who often tangles with city officials. The charges were brought by the US Department of Labor.

In the mayor’s race, the Globe has yet another hard-hitting investigative story about Essaibi George, including telling us that she had a messy car. This is the kind of political advocacy journalism that makes Trump’s insane rants against the media resonate with people. On to the debate. It was feisty. Wu was defensive on a number of topics, including on using mental health clinicians in police responses. She said she would bring this innovation to her administration but Essaibi George bristled. Police already use clinicians and are seeking to increase their use, largely due to a longtime advocacy by Essaibi George during her time on the council. And there was a reference to a Boston Herald story describing Wu’s connection to a friend’s father and campaign donor, Terry Considine, a controversial former Republican state senator from Colorado. Wu seemed surprised when it came up. I was too. I had never heard about it before then. But then again, I mostly read the Globe.

Facebook has an image problem. Time for a name change.

New cars are getting expensive. Chevy’s are up there. But a brand new Mini could be a good deal. Here’s a list of of which car brand’s prices are rising fastest and which are not, courtesy of YAA. Hint: I would stay away from buying a used Jaguar if you’re worried about resale value.

And if you haven’t had enough of mayoral debates, this one tonight should be fun to watch.

Strange bedfellows

Tuesday. Today is National Seafood Bisque Day.

I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday but some people know what was on the menu 2700 years ago.

What’s going on with Rachael Rollins‘ US Attorney confirmation? The Bay State Banner indicates that some of its readers have written in to urge disapproval so as to keep her in her position as the DA, where she can have the most impact, a position the Banner disagrees with. Tom Cotton, of course, is still holding things up. Where it will go from here is unclear.

Apple‘s latest pro laptops take design cues from the past, adding ports and removing the touch bar. That’s what people wanted. Appropriately, the unveiling of the new models yesterday coincided with the 30 year anniversary of the introduction of the original Mac laptop, the Powerbook. It was an amazing machines in its time.

It’s crunch time for the 1571 state employees who haven’t been vaccinated. Commonwealth Magazine reports that the state police union is warning of staffing shortages if non-compliant troopers are fired. But, as they report, the Governor appears unconcerned. He doesn’t think staffing is a concern since only a small percentage of troopers haven’t been vaccinated and a new class is coming out of the academy next week. In other words, those unvaccinated troopers are expendable.

And since there’s a shortage of truckers, a California vocational school is trying to get more high school students behind the wheel of those heavy big rigs. What a great idea! Roads full of teenagers driving giant trucks.

City life

Monday morning. Today is Edward Winslow‘s birthday.

Boston Police and EMS vehicles have been spotted in Alberta, Canada. Slightly out of their jurisdiction.

Politicians are adept at using soothing aspirational language when confronted with urgent and difficult problems. They say they will provide leadership, accountability, partnerships, etc. without getting into the gritty details of what actually needs to be done. In the case of Mass and Cass, according to Shirley Leung, they need to be more specific and tell people what they don’t want to hear. “Maybe what’s lacking most is the political courage on the part of our leaders to tell people they cannot openly shoot up drugs and occupy streets. Harsh as it may sound to some, living in a tent should no longer be considered an option.”

Rolling Stone magazine has a new editor. He wants to return it to being a “piece of hot shrapnel from the cultural explosion.”

MIT’s Avi Loeb has moved on from writing about alien spaceships to writing about our universe being created in a laboratory. Sounds a little ‘out there’ but he does make some rational arguments.

And be careful if you’re flying with an old film camera. People who see it will say something.

Goose and gander

Sunday at bat. Monday on deck.

Coming soon. More asteroids whizzing by the earth.

Today, the Globe digs into Essaibi George’s husband‘s business affairs. He’s a real estate developer and would, if his wife were elected, have to deal with her administration over permits and regulation, opening the possibility of conflict of interest. It’s a fair shot. Speaking of fairness, I assume next Sunday the paper will dig into frontrunner Michelle Wu’s husband, also in real estate and banking, to find out how many foreclosures his company has been associated with and how they would handle those city hall conflicts.

Randy Bachman lost his guitar in 1976. The Internet found it for him 45 years later. Taking care of business. Also, a bass comes home.

President Biden recently commemorated police officers killed in the line of duty. He didn’t mention Covid but that is by far the leading cause of death for law enforcement. Meanwhile in Chicago, the police union head is calling for a walk-out over vaccine requirements. I’m confused. But Zeynep Tufekci seems to have a handle on the anti-vaxxers. It’s complicated and the solution will not involve a Hollywood ending. But we’ll get there, she believes.

And you might not have known about the secret iPhone number codes. (Psst. Here they are.)

Mind the gap

Happy Saturday. Enjoy the day.

British politicians have a tradition of meeting with their constitutions called political ‘surgeries.’ It’s become a deadly practice lately.

In the wake of a series of incidents, Boston voters were asked about safety on the T. It’s mostly safe, they said. But not very.

In the late 80’s, when Elon Musk was still a teenager, Buick came up with a dashboard touch screen that was way ahead of its time. It was pretty remarkable. Take a look.

Our news intake went up during the pandemic. Consequently, our mental health well being went down.

And the Russians keep screwing up at the International Space Station. Not good.

Collateral damage

Friday has arrived. Seems like it was a long week.

La Niña is back. The forecast is for a cold, snowy winter.

There’s some good news on the Covid-adjacent front: the flu has been squeezed out during the pandemic. Masks, social distancing, etc. have caused some influenza varieties to become extinct, which could make development of the flu shot more effective in the future.

David Zucker writes that comedy is in an dire state and it needs to be resuscitated, hopefully before the 50th anniversary of Airplane!. It’s a few years away but he seems to want to get ahead of it.

According to Dominic Cummings, the UK never intended to abide by the terms of BREXIT regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol. Now, right on schedule

And it looks like police are going on strike in Chicago. I thought that was illegal.

Promises, promises

If it isn’t Thursday already. It’s the day Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier.

Tara Sullivan thinks the Sox can go all the way.

In his recap of last night’s mayoral debate, James Pindell described Michelle Wu’s performance as a word salad. She talked but didn’t actually say anything. Kind of like a Belichick press conference, not very illuminating. Essaibi George tried to get Wu to be more specific but, like the reporters facing Belichick, she didn’t press hard enough.

Researchers may have found a new method to improve solar power cells, making them 1000% times more effective. That’s a lot!

A house in Dorchester is being considered as an historic landmark. It has distinctive architecture and was built in the 1880’s by John Fields (of Fields Corner). But that’s not why it’s being singled out for landmark status. It’s the former home of New Kids on the Block. That’s why.

And get ready for the latest wireless technology, wifi 6e. Bigger, better, faster.

The conventional wisdom

Wednesday, the pinnacle of the week.

Jolyon Helterman didn’t want to be that restaurant reviewer who slams a restaurant during the pandemic. Nonetheless.

Polls put Michelle Wu way ahead of Essaibi George for mayor. Apparently we haven’t learned our lesson about polls. I think this race might be closer than those polls suggest. And tonight is the debate. Let’s see how that goes.

A rude awakening from outer space? It can happen.

4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, an all-time high number. Why? Jeff Cox reports it was “because of health concerns and child care issues unique to the pandemic’s circumstances.” Time to put that government handout story to bed.

And, once again, everything we know is wrong.

Inductive reasoning

Tuesday. The word of the day is extricate.

We all know what the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill costs. But do you also know what’s in it? Not many people do and, as Tim Miller puts it, that’s a problem. It’s hard to sell something if you can’t explain it clearly.

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that stricter government-led covid restrictions in blue states resulted in less infections in those states. The researchers concluded that, in the US, politics played a significant role in prevention. Their secondary conclusion, that public health officials, not politicians, should be in charge of these responses is a little less self evident.

Ian Haney Lopez on Ezra Klein on David Shor. Lots of hand wringing by Democrats these days. Not a bad thing, necessarily.

It would have taken a miracle for Police Chief Art Acevedo to have survived the dysfunction in Miami city government. He’s now suspended but city managers say they will give him a fair trial before firing him. Say, doesn’t Boston need a Police Commissioner?

And leaf peeping is not what it used to be.

Squeezed out

Today is Monday. A holiday of some sort. And a marathon.

Garry Kasparov goes to bat for Christopher Columbus.

As small businesses struggle, prices aren’t necessarily going up but value is going down. Restaurants in particular are hurting. Supply chain issues persist but mostly it’s a problem with staffing. Employment numbers are out of whack. The Post reports that there are 11 million job openings and almost 8 million people looking for work. In September, over 300,000 women over the age of 20 dropped out of the job market. One big culprit is child care. Another is the low pay. “The labor market isn’t working at the bottom,” said University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson. That’s it, in a nutshell.

Brian McQuarrie checked in on the granite industry, which is having a solid year.

Yascha Mounk writes in The Atlantic about the curious case of Dorian Abbot being excluded from an MIT lecture series. Was he a victim of ampliganda?

And Chris Taylor sends a letter to the inhabitants of the next century concerning space travel. Far out.