A surfeit of ignorance

Tuesday today. It’s the anniversary of the anarchist bombings of 1919.

Office buildings were cleared to open up for workers yesterday but where are the workers? Still at home.

A report from Italy suggested that the coronavirus had mutated to a weaker version. Scientists and experts aren’t buying it. Human behavior is much more adaptable than the virus is at this point and that’s more likely to be responsible for any changes in infection rates. But even with six months of scientific scrutiny, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the coronavirus. The Times summarizes our ignorance.

Who’s instigating the rioting? It’s tempting to look for a simple answer but reality is always more complicated. That said, the involvement of young white guys like Bartel, at the core of the violence, is more common than people may think.

To raise taxes or not to raise taxes. That is the question for Massachusetts as revenue has shrunk and spending has accelerated during the crisis. Actually it’s not as simple as only raising taxes. Service cuts and layoffs are also in the mix and it’s all against a backdrop of seeding future economic growth. A group of economists have a recommendation for state leadership. The president of the Beacon Hill Institute rebuts.

And Troy Hunt looked into the data breach of the Minneapolis Police Department attributed to Anonymous and found that it wasn’t what it seemed.

An inflection point

Monday, June 1st. The morning after.

It was a rough night in Boston. Waves of looting and destruction. A long night for the police. (The Dig has some on-the-ground photos taken by Keiko Hiromi.) There’s a community cleanup going on this morning.

It was the same story across the nation. Minneapolis, the starting point with the killing of George Floyd, was relatively quiet last night, but in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Portland, violence escalated. More than 4000 people were arrested across the country over the weekend. Crowds in Washington DC gathered outside the White House and then moved into surrounding areas where they vandalized property and looted stores.

There was one nice moment in Birmingham, Alabama, though.

So this is what a politically divided America looks like. We’ve seen riots and looting before but it seems different this time. The national government is dysfunctional and can’t rise to the occasion. The media is amplifying tension on both sides. The president, when he weighs in at all, is making things worse, not better. There is no touchstone. It’s a difficult time for the country. The future is cloudy.

And we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Imagine that.