Part of the solution

Wednesday. RIP Carl Reiner.

Yesterday was a good day in Massachusetts. The first good day since March 20th. Nobody died from the virus.

The Globe runs a remarkably simplistic story about diversity in the Boston Police Department. Events from more than thirty years ago are dredged up to illustrate the department’s “enduring reputation as a racist institution.” A forgone conclusion erasing years of hard-won progress by a reporter in the city for less than a year. The article is unfortunate because hiring a more diverse force is an important issue that should be the subject of a real public discussion. The BPD and the mayor are on record as wanting to change the breakdown of the department, but there are actual legal, political and bureaucratic obstacles to doing that, not to mention the recruiting challenges in the current atmosphere. That’s what the discussion should be about, not tired old cliches about foot dragging.

The merger of two long-established Dorchester parishes, St. Ann and St. Brendan, has been approved. The archdiocese is now asking for input on a name for the newly consolidated parish.

Daniel Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the US, is interviewed by the Washington Post. He talks about tweeting poetry, diplomacy during a pandemic and working with the current US administration. On the last point he was characteristically diplomatic.

And according to AnandTech, 400 terabyte drives are around the corner. It’s due to new technology for higher data density tape. That’s right, tape. What’s old is new again. File under: cold storage.

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.

Simple solutions

Saturday. It will be sunny for most of the day. So put on those glasses.

The Forth of July TV special from the Esplanade will be, mostly, a rerun this year.

David Scharfenberg goes beyond the slogans to examine possible solutions to the issues in policing today. “America’s policing problem is really a set of complex, interlocking problems. And they will not yield to a “defund the police” slogan or a hastily conceived 10 percent cut to the police budget,” he writes. His article starts and ends with a victim of an unsolved violent crime. Because we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s at stake.

First murder hornets and a global pandemic. Now giant stinging jellyfish are arriving under the shadow of a killer Saharan dust cloud. I can’t wait to see what the second half of 2020 has to offer.

Jason Cipriani takes us through the process of adding stacked widgets to your home screen in iOS 14, which will be available for public beta sometime in July.

And it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to take a European vacation this summer. You probably wouldn’t want to get on an airplane anyway. (But Iceland is still an option if you do.)

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 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.