Stuck in the middle with you

De Gaulle resigned on this date in 1969. And then he went to Ireland.

In the most recent French election, despite some rotten tomatoes, the center held. Matthew Yglesias draws some parallels to what’s happening in the US.

Here in Massachusetts it looks like the center is holding as well. For now, anyway.

Great. Everything will be able to make noise now that a team at MIT found a way to create loudspeakers from anything, even a sheet of paper. One consolation is that the same technology can also provide noise cancellation.

I think, maybe, we waited just a little too long to tackle inflation after covid. In the meantime, a war popped up in Ukraine and upset the global economy. And now the cure is going to be doubly painful. I told you so.

And, I’ve been writing or posting here every day for about two and a half years. I think it’s time for a little intermittence. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Who, what, where, when and why

It’s Thursday, a stormy late-March day.

I guess Arnold must have hit a nerve.

A Globe story highlights the fallout after removing police from Boston schools. The author’s take is that evidence suggests removing city police from the schools was a mistake. Strangely conspicuous by its absence in the story was any mention of the Mayor’s longstanding position on the subject.

As Putin is backed into a corner, Peter Rosen, a professor of national security and military affairs at Harvard, plays out a few nuclear scenarios. Terrifying stuff.

Doom-scrolling is a hard habit to break. But at least there are rest stops along the way.

And rich people are getting worried about the economy. Good. Maybe now something will be done about it.

One hand washes the other

It’s Monday, Bach’s birthday. Also time for some St. Matthew’s Passion.

After almost four decades someone found a new Easter egg in Windows 1.0. (The fact that someone was still using Windows 1.0 might be the bigger story.)

Apparently the Trump administration practice of putting politics over expertise also applies to Massachusetts Democrats. This is why people are cynical about politics.

The Odessa Journal celebrates 4 Ukrainian woman photographers.

Ukraine is facing a brutal onslaught as a frustrated Putin switches to Plan B. But Tom Friedman is even more worried about Plan C—and especially Plan D.

And in the exciting area of monetary policy, the New Yorker’s John Cassidy writes about Jerome Powell’s needle-threading on inflation and jobs.

Having your cake

Welcome to Tuesday. It’s International Women’s Day.

Murder hornets are so last year. Make way for the giant, palm-sized flying spiders.

Over 70% of Americans support banning Russian oil, so that would be the politically smart thing to do. And yet

I was an early Twitter user. A big early Twitter user. In the week after the Marathon bombing, when people were looking for information about what was going on, I could reach into my pocket, take out my phone, and engage with a half million people around the world in real time, something that had been impossible to do up until that point. That was the potential of social media as a transformative tool. But transformation works both ways and in the following years Twitter became toxic, a victim of its own success as a platform. I had enough. And apparently I’m not alone.

First, the irrepressible fishermen of County Cork took on the Russian navy and now an Irish truck driver has struck a blow against the Russian embassy by knocking down the gate with his truck. “I’ve done my bit, lads,” he said as he was led away by police.

And thanks to ‘Conservapedia’ we can read about the cons and pros of E=mc². And we thought all the relativists were on the left.

Transitory inflation

Thursday. Veterans Day.

The days are getting shorter. And now with daylight savings in effect, darkness comes even earlier in the evenings. But we do get a little more light in the mornings, unlike in Reykjavík, where the sun doesn’t come up until almost 10 o’clock and then goes down at around the same time as it does here.

For those of us old enough to remember the stagflation of the 1970’s, the specter of runaway inflation looms as a serious threat. The latest numbers are not reassuring. A healthy rate of inflation is about 2%. The numbers for October show us jumping to over 6%. As recent as March it was below 3% before going up to around 5% over the summer. The trend is going in the wrong direction. Even the GameStop crowd is getting nervous. But then again, we’re recovering from a global pandemic and a constrained supply chain. You would expect higher rates as the economy restarts. Battleships don’t turn on a dime. And in the 1970’s, inflation was at around 20%. We’re nowhere close to that. All that said, it still bears watching. The only way out, if it does become entrenched, is a hike in interest rates and likely a follow-on recession. The ghost of Paul Volcker looks down.

The used car market has gone crazy. Kate Marino reports.

Farhad Manjoo writes about Apple’s latest chips, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. He thinks they’re transformative. I’ve been using a new Apple laptop with an M1 Pro chip and I have to agree with him. I have the entry-level model with lower specs and even that blows away any computer I’ve ever used, including an Intel-based pro desktop. It also has an amazingly bright screen, it’s quiet, cool and the battery lasts forever. It shouldn’t be this good.

And the West Side Rag has some scoop on the new West Side Story. Cool.