Running on empty

Today is Tuesday. Give it up for Tuesday.

Founder Jack Dorsey has quit Twitter. But he’s still running Square and Tidal. And maybe for mayor of New York.

Bruce Mohl looks deeper into the curious case of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. It’s either well-funded or needs money, nobody seems to know. The group running it doesn’t even know how much money it has. But we do know that they own hundreds of millions to businesses because of overcharges. The governor is prepared to float bonds to keep the fund solvent, if necessary, but that could complicate governance of the fund. As Jeff Garlin would say, it’s a big bowl of dysfunction.

Who needs satellites for GPS? All the Navy needs is muons.

The city’s eviction moratorium did not stand up to a court challenge. It was originally implemented by Kim Janey but now Michelle Wu will have to deal with the fallout from housing advocates who want to see the city do more. Wu hasn’t indicated what she’ll do, other than “looking at all of our options.”

And the Swedish Prime Minister is channelling Birgitte Nyborg after all. That was a quick comeback.

Once more around the block

The Monday grind starts here.

If you have a bird feeder you’ll already know who the most aggressive birds are. But ornithologists have been collecting data and have produced a definitive list.

With the new variant spreading, David Leonhardt considers the impact of previous strains and current expert opinion on Omicron and concludes that if we take reasonable precautions this one should play out like the Alpha and Delta variants -probably. But Zeynep Tufekci worries that we haven’t learned the obvious lessons from our recent past.

The Kenya Airports Authority was tired of looking at all those abandoned aircraft so they held an auction. There were some good deals. One Boing 707 started at $2500. A 737 went for $3600. Cash and carry.

Scott Kirshner explores what it means to be a Boston-based company and finds that being based in Boston is not necessarily one of the requirements.

And on Cyber Monday, Forbes offers a look at the future of shopping. Actually it’s more like retailers of the past catching up to the present of shopping.

Boom to bust

Sunday. It’s a birthday for boomers Randy Newman and Paul Shaffer.

Tomorrow is Cyber Monday. Then Giving Tuesday. By Wednesday we’ll be wiped out.

Today’s Globe considers the end of the Boomer era. How can they miss us if we won’t go away? Even aging isn’t what it used to be. Corinne Purtill looks at a blueprint for pacing life across a century.

A likely ballot question for next year will involve limits on how many outlets of a single company are allowed to sell alcohol in the state. Cumberland Farms and other large chains want to remove the limits altogether. But the ballot question by the Massachusetts Package Stores Association hopes to counter that effort by proposing to open the market up incrementally and with a cap of 18 outlets per chain. Callum Borchers has the details.

On another Boomer note, I watched the full Beatles Get Back series. Almost 8 hours over three days. Amazing. I could have watched another 8 hours. Peter Jackson talks here about getting it all together.

And Marc Hurwitz reports that the city has extended outdoor dining until the end of the year. Brrrrr.

This car is going up

Another Saturday morning. Today’s word is commensurate.

Each year new people come to Boston and each year the same old scammers come out of the woodwork.

Jay Greene reports that Amazon is becoming the pace car for inflation. Over in Turkey, the price of meat is going up so fast it’s destabilizing the economy. The government is suggesting that becoming vegan would be the patriotic thing to do. Here, food prices sometimes creep up so slowly that you don’t always notice it happening. All it takes is to leave the country for a few months and then come back and visit the grocery store. Nice take by Diti Kohli.

This toaster, made in 1949, was an engineering marvel. Toaster tech has gone downhill since then.

South Africa was hoping for a busy winter (summer for them) tourism season. It would be the key to their economic recovery. The European travel restrictions threw cold water on those hopes.

And the political story in Sweden is playing out like the first season of Borgen if it didn’t get picked up for a second season.

Money for old rope

Today is Black Friday. It’s also the opposite.

I’m looking forward to a piece of leftover pumpkin pie. Even more so, now.

Massachusetts is flush with cash. Do we need even more? Of course we do. The Fair Share Amendment, also known as the millionaire’s tax, will be on the ballot next year. It would amend the state constitution to increase taxes on people making over a million dollars a year. As Matt Stout points out, it’s hard to make the argument that we need to raise taxes to generate more money when we already have so much money. But you could also argue that this is the perfect time to restructure the tax laws to be more fair and to allow for sustainability. I’m guessing that people making over a million might see it differently.

Rushing out for incredible deals today? Maybe you should read this first.

According to Nature, virologists are “flying at warp speed” to try to understand the new Covid variant out of southern Africa. It has a “very unusual constellation of mutations,” one researcher told the Times. Concerns revolve around how easily it spreads and its ability to evade our existing immune responses. Europe is starting to react. We’ll probably be next. The market is already there.

And there’s tension across the channel. The French are getting serious over a British lack of seriousness. Or visa versa. Maybe Boris could send some tennis balls over as a gesture of reconciliation.

Rubber meets road

Thursday, November 25.

Billy Baker reminds us that deer were on the menu for the first Thanksgiving. There were lots of them in those days. Today there are even more! And don’t get me started on those turkeys.

ATV gangs are back in the news. Russell Holmes is fighting the good fight. City Councillor Julia Mejia is trying to get ahead of the problem by engaging with the riding communities, probably not an effective way to prevent these incidents but it is at least an effort. Mayor Wu’s spokesperson says “there’s no place for violence in our communities.” That’s it. Now that she’s in charge she kind of owns the problem so we would expect a little more in terms of proposed solutions. Even the Globe notes that “she did not comment on any plans to address the simmering issue of off-road vehicles in streets and public parks.”

It takes a lot of people and effort to get food to our Thanksgiving tables. Corey Kilgannon watched it happening. And Ronald Shafer remembers the first (and last) “Franksgiving.”

Washington DC has had its 200th homicide of the year. The trend is upward. Boston, which has a similar sized population and comparable demographics, has seen under 50 murders and the trend is downward. What would account for this disparity? Globe readers would probably not attribute it to the strategic approach taken by the city’s police department. But hey, just sayin.

And a politician in Georgia is down in the pecking order but still standing by his giant chicken. Ain’t that America.

All uphill from here

Wednesday. Give thanks for that.

November is National Pet Obesity Awareness Month. Have another piece of pie but don’t overfeed the dog.

Bruce Mohl brings us up to speed on the hydro-electric project that would have brought power from Canada to Massachusetts, via Maine, before voters in Maine cancelled it. Now electric companies are suing Maine for the hundreds of millions of dollars lost and injunctions are in the works. Plan B for Massachusetts? Another fossil fuel plant.

I didn’t know there was a quarry in Mattapan. But apparently there is and it’s very historic.

Mike Lindell missed another self-imposed deadline on proving that the election was stolen. “We will have this before the Supreme Court before Thanksgiving,” he said on Steve Bannon’s podcast. “That’s my promise to the people of this country.” Also something about pillows.

And Weird Al serves a classic dis to Kid Rock. Good one.

Nuts and bolts

Tuesday. Lots of people on the road.

Here’s everything you need to know about botulism.

Infrastructure is important. People seem to support it. But it’s boring. Ideally, politics should be boring – just not this boring. David Siders reports on the inability of Democrats to excite voters (at a time when Republicans are pulling on every string.)

This is bad news if you want to get an early start on shopping for Black Friday: Target won’t be opening on Thanksgiving.

One interesting thing I found in David Brooks’ report from the National Conservatism Conference was that conservatives now see themselves as the anti-business party. Especially big business. David Gelles digs a little deeper and finds a developing pattern of brand partisanship.

And HBO is looking for an actor with a ripped bod who isn’t afraid to show it off. Too bad I’m busy that week.

What the market will bear

Monday. Up and at em.

NASA is planning to blow up an asteroid next year. It’s a test of what we would do if one were headed for us. Fingers crossed.

Gas prices and politics have long been connected. Some people think the current administration is responsible for higher prices at the pump. This article implies that as economic activity and optimism rises, so do oil prices. When things look bad they go down. So maybe people just feel good about the economy. It’s actually slightly more complicated than that and there are other factors at play, but at the end of the day it’s just a supply and demand feedback loop.

A longevity bonus for an elected official? It’s kind of the opposite of term limits. “Asinine” is a good way to describe it.

Newly recovered tracking data raises fresh questions about the course of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 as it headed out to sea. It looks like the pilot went into a 20 minute racetrack pattern just off the coast of Sumatra. This doesn’t fit the current theories of what might have happened. Interesting.

And if you need someone eliminated, well, there’s an app for that. Or at least a fake website.

Cottage foods

Good Sunday morning. It’s Isaac Bashevis Singer‘s birthday. Also Björk.

Rock is dead. Mick Rock, photographer to the stars.

Selling homemade foods in Massachusetts is a regulatory nightmare. That might change thanks to a bill filed by State Rep Erika Uyterhoeven. It seems to make sense to loosen things up, but as always, the devil will be in the details on things like allergens and sanitation.

It’s not just the US that’s gone loopy. The Dutch are rioting over Covid rules.

Cara Buckley writes in the Times in praise of roundabouts (or rotarys as we call them.) Intersections are digital. Roundabouts are analog. It’s all about the flow. Of course there are exceptions.

And forget the Facebook Metaverse. The Meatverse is the place to be. It’s “the logical next step in human evolution, connecting people at a scale never attempted before.” Well then. Pass the gravy.