Effectively progressive

A stormy Friday. Trees down and no power.

Here’s a full breakfast. You won’t even need coffee.

The Times looks at how voters have pushed back against progressive prosecutors around the country when crime began to increase. San Francisco, Manhattan, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Chicago are mentioned. But not Boston. Rachael Rollins certainly had her detractors but because crime didn’t rise here, that kind of opposition didn’t take hold. Credit her work with, not against, the police.

It’s budget season in city government. In Boston the process is going on the road.

If you’re waiting for your frozen-berry metallic Porsche or Bentley to arrive, you may have to wait a little bit longer. Thousands of luxury cars on their way across the Atlantic are burning in a cargo hold fire.

And if you’re tracking your sleep with some sort of device, poor sleep may be a forgone conclusion.

Whip inflation now

Thursday. Let the melting of the snow begin.

Some of the worst-rated Uber drivers are in Boston. Who woulda thought.

Ex-Treasury official Steven Rattner has some advice for the president: Raise interest rates and reduce deficits to get inflation under control and set the economy back on track. I tend to agree. MV = PY. It’ll be politically painful in the short term but in the long term Biden, and the country, will be better off.

There’s a full course in little-known Mac productivity tricks in this Twitter thread.

Is the recall election for San Francisco School Board members a one-off or part of a larger reaction to politicians overreaching? David Leonhardt has some thoughts.

And the Donna Summer Musical, the story of a hometown girl becoming a global sensation, is coming to Boston next week. Hot stuff.

Cue the tanks

Wednesday. The word of the day is slapdash.

London, like Boston, needs a new police commissioner. Let’s see who gets theirs first.

Today was supposed to be the day that Russia invades Ukraine. But it probably wouldn’t be a great tactical move to invade on the day that it was announced that you would invade. But then again, maybe that’s what they want you to think. In any case, things are still tense.

Sean Murphy writes about how he cut the cord. Sort of. Actually, not really much at all. He replaced his router but still pays Comcast for TV service and aspires to someday replace his set-top boxes with a Roku? He walked out to the edge but at the last minute returned back to the safety and comfort of cable. Apparently this is scary for people.

I’ve seen the stats but it’s still bewildering to me as to why Covid would lead to such a dramatic increase in traffic accidents. The correlation is clear but I’m still scratching my head over causation.

And it starts at Jamba with smoothies. Next thing you know robots will be making cappuccinos at Starbucks. Maybe then, at least, they’ll be consistent.

Painted into a corner

Today is Tuesday. Susan B. Anthony Day.

Helen Branswell writes about why the Covid vaccines were a “freaking miracle.” Donald Trump even gets some credit.

I think Joan Vennochi is being a little unfair to Michelle Wu for her stance on unions and vaccination mandates. I believe Wu came into office with a lack of understanding of how heavily unionized the city is and how little management prerogative she would have in these situations. I don’t think she’s backing down as much as adjusting to reality. I assume her legal and finance teams are explaining the costs of ripping up contracts and violating established labor practices. It might be bad optics/politics to pull back, but it’s sound management.

The economy is reviving, especially small business. But it’s a different economy and small businesses in city centers are not doing as well.

One guy found a bug in an Ethereum layer 2 function that would have allowed him to generate an infinite amount of Ether. But he did the right thing and reported it, receiving a $2 million dollar bug bounty.

And why do we round off sharp corners? Well, because.

Paying the bills

Monday morning. The Superbowl is over. Spring is on the horizon.

Yesterday was a very snowy day. It was unexpected. Dave Epstein admits he got the forecast wrong. And that’s why he loves meteorology.

The game was way better than the commercials. As Maura Judkis and Sonia Rao write, this was a collection of ads pandering to millennials, who are now old enough for that honor. The references ran from The Cable Guy to The Sopranos. There was a floating QR code for Coinbase. Lots of big money celebrity cameos from the likes of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Lindsay Lohan. And the obligatory Alexa as Hal commercial from Amazon. Overall they all seemed to try just a little too hard. But, of course, that’s coming from someone not in the target demo.

Michael Lopp on remote work. This is one of the best things I’ve read recently.

Anne Applebaum channels Churchill in writing about how to deal with Stalin Putin.

And on this Valentines Day, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a bottle of meat juice. Especially if you have a deranged stomach.

Conflict and conquest

Super Sunday.

In Italy people are getting tired of social media—but older folks are loving their Netflix.

Thirty years of instability in the Ukraine has led us to where we are today. The Finnish President has been running interference between Europe and Russia but he’s not optimistic about avoiding a confrontation. Apparently the invasion is scheduled for Wednesday. I assume D.C. area Domino’s are busy.

Rand Paul used to be against disruptive protests. Not so much anymore.

When I think of low-alcohol beer, I think Bud Light or Ultra. They’re not the best tasting but at 4.2% alcohol content they won’t knock you out like a high powered IPA and you can have more than one. Now, tastier low-alcohol brews are arriving on the scene. Some are as low as 2% so you can have even one more.

And what’s the big secret for making money with crypto? Hint: It’s not a secret.

The pressure builds

Saturday. Birthdays for Bill Russell, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln.

First it was beer, chips, fast food, cars. Then tech and internet companies began to pay out the big bucks to run commercials. (Remember those GoDaddy ads?) Now it’s time for crypto and NFTs to take center stage. The problem is that people now just go to their phones to watch TikTok during the commercial breaks.

How big a threat is inflation? It depends on who you ask. Some think it would be a positive development, at least for for younger people stuck with stagnant wages, student loans and high home mortgages. Wages go up while liabilities remain fixed, giving them more money to pay off loans. But food and other costs also rise. And even if allowed to run for a while, inflation can’t go on forever or allowed to become runaway. And to prevent that, apparently, we’ll need a recession. It could be a big one. It could be a small one. It’s very complicated. And uncertain.

Mayor Flynn at the helm? Déjà vu all over again.

Another big milestone for the Webb Telescope. Sensors are up, working and sending data. Next: calibrating the mirrors.

And Marc Hurwitz reports on the opening of a new public house in Maynard called the Bull Spit Taproom. What’s in a name?

The economy, stupid

Friday. Sunny and moderately not cold.

Big changes at the Metropolitan Police. Sounds like the timing was right for the commissioner to depart.

The economy is doing pretty well. That statement might sound wrong depending on your politics. Dan Primark writes, “Republicans think the economy is getting worse while Democrats think it’s getting better. Because the economy itself isn’t really what matters; who’s in charge of the economy is what matters.”

Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall’s book on James Joyce’s Ulysses is now available.

Bruce Mohl reports that the MBTA intends to raise the price of Charley cards $3 as part of the coming upgrade of its fare collection system. The increase would help pay for costs associated with the new billion dollar system. Meanwhile, fare revenue is up. Also, free fares are being expanded so some of that revenue will be down. Managing the T’s balance sheet sounds like a nightmare job.

And can we all agree now that blocking roadways is not a legitimate form of protest? Good.

Patrolling the metaverse

Today is Thursday. It’s a birthday for Jimmy Durante, Uzo Abuda and Laura Dern.

Forget the lifting of mask mandates. How will we really know when the pandemic is over? Check to see if the Massachusetts State House has reopened.

Dorchester Reporter correspondent Adam Gaffin reports on an interesting gang unit case where an officer did some undercover work on Snapchat that resulted in the recovery of a gun and arrest of the man who possessed it. The highest court in the state allowed the gun to be admitted but refused to take a bright line rule on social media investigations, instead taking a more thoughtful, case by case approach to the rules of evidence in the virtual world.

In Hudson, Ohio, a proposal to allow ice fishing is generating concern about the inevitable wave of prostitution that will follow.

Don’t believe the crypto hype. The BBC did and it came back to bite them.

And apparently millennials are not interested in vino. As boomers recede, the wine industry is concerned about losing all of its customers. Maybe they need a reboot of Sideways. Pinot Noir anyone?

You can go home again

A wonderful Wednesday.

Sidewalk dining sheds in New York are either a good thing that will be made permanent or a bad thing to be removed forthwith. I agree.

A former Irish minister for foreign affairs is pushing to lift restrictions on US citizens who want to retire to Ireland. The plan promoted by Charlie Flanagan would be open to Americans who can show a connection to Ireland, either through ancestry or cultural involvement, or even frequent travel, with an offer of citizenship after 5 years. Interesting.

In bumping up bag check fees, airlines have incentivized the use of carry-on bags. And more often than not these days those carry-on bags are big and bulky, which slows down boarding, costing airlines money. Delta has a pilot program in Boston to see if free bag checking will speed up the boarding process. I hope they didn’t spend a lot on consultants to come up with this.

The Washington Post reports that bananas are getting expensive at the Greater Boston Food Bank. Also, Superbowl guacamole is going to cost more this year as grocery store produce departments succumb to inflation.

And in Seattle, there’s a large intersection between people who drive Mazdas and those who listen to NPR. Strange.