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.

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.