Headlong, eyes closed

Today is Thursday. It’s National Refreshment Day.

In Poland, they’re playing soccer in empty stadiums. But fans will find a way.

Under the proposed Massachusetts police reform bill being rushed through the legislature, current or former law enforcement officers are prohibited from serving on the law enforcement Standards and Training Commission. That’s a little weird, don’t you think? I certainly do, and so do these two prominent attorneys. Also, Eddie Crispin, president of MAMLEO, weighs in on the bill’s streamlined due process provisions. The issues involved are important but this legislation, he says, “cannot, and should not, be a rushed product.”

And defunding the police, as a political concept, is not generally supported by the public, although the Black Lives Matter movement is. It’s an election year so expect to see these two things to be conflated and weaponized.

Bruce Schneider takes a high-level view of the implications of the big Twitter hack.

And, someday, our whole life will be built around the computercirca 1974. Despite those thick glasses Arthur C. Clarke had amazing vision.

Do your jobs

The Wednesday hump. Birthdays, today, for Bobby Sherman and George Clinton.

We’re all struggling to interpret the constantly shifting data on Covid-19 spread. Journalist are too. ProPublica has some tips. Meanwhile, the WSJ runs through the numbers to try to nail down fatality rates.

Everyone’s talking about the police reform bill but there’s also the small matter of passing a budget for the fiscal year that has already started. Come on, Legislature. You know what Belichick would say.

The Australian version of The Onion is called The Shovel and they take a well-aimed shot at the NRA.

Steve McQueen’s Mustang, from the movie Bullitt, sold for $3.7 million dollars earlier this year, setting a record. That record has been left in the dust by another recent auction of a Mustang, the one once driven by Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby of Ford vs. Ferrari fame.

Elon Musk wants to get into your brain.

And if you’ve ever wondered how Apple became such a hugely successful company, this example of long-term thinking may enlighten you.

An American story arc

Today is Tuesday, July 21st, 2020. It’s the anniversary of both the first moonwalk and the last Space Shuttle mission.

No summer blockbusters this year, only re-runs of Jaws at the drive in. And, maybe that’s a good thing.

Fifty one years ago an American walked on the moon. Today we’re struggling with the not very complex problem of whether to wear a mask. Delta is doubling down on requiring them on flights while Winn Dixie says, come on in without one. (Update – they changed their mind and now require a mask). The governor of Texas is taking heat from local counties for his statewide mask-wearing mandate while the governor of Georgia is going out of his way to prevent local municipalities from implementing mask mandates. And the president, who was against masks, is now for masks. I can’t wait to see how we handle vaccine distribution.

The AG’s office in Massachusetts doesn’t do many criminal investigations. And from what I’ve seen, there’s a political angle to what investigations they do take on and how they approach them. So designating them to be point for deadly force investigations is either a cynical or a clueless decision by legislators.

When the Democratic National Convention came to Boston in 2004, planning started more than a year in advance. Same thing for the RNC in New York that same year and the DNC in Denver in 2008. There are a lot of moving parts. So I don’t envy the Sheriff in Jacksonville who’s trying to put together a security plan for the RNC in less than two months. Not to mention current government disfunction, today’s unrest and all the precautions needed for social distancing. That’s a triple-decker shit sandwich.

And now, here are some cute penguin photos to cool you off on a hot day.

Dammed if you don’t

It’s a hot, sleepy Sunday. And it’s Ice Cream Day!

Of course he did.

The Globe casts a critical eye on Boston Police internal affairs investigations after reviewing data from the last few years. The article briefly touched on arbitrator-ordered reinstatements but didn’t acknowledge the huge financial disincentive that the stacked-deck arbitration system presents. Even a very strong case of discipline can be kicked back by an arbitrator resulting in a payout of millions of dollars to the fired officer for back pay and benefits. It’s not a great situation. But one chart in the story stood out. It showed citizen complains going steadily down while internally initiated investigations were going up. That’s the (positive) meta trend.

The Times has a long and detailed article on White House strategy development for the ultimately unsuccessful national response to the pandemic. TLDR: They zigged when they should have zagged.

The Mayflower II should be headed back to Plymouth before the end of 2020, which marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of its namesake. (And in the same article, by Breanne Kovatch, I learned that there is a website to track boats, similar to Flight Radar 24 for tracking airplanes. Very cool. There goes my morning.)

And Boston Magazine gives us the axe. To throw.

Destructive criticism

This Friday took its time coming around. Plenty of rain, today, for the garden.

I found this short video illustration to be absolutely fascinating and it explains a lot about our country.

Sometimes being completely uninvolved with and uninformed about an issue doesn’t disqualify you from critically weighing in on it. I do it everyday. But knowing the players here, I side with Walsh. Councillor Wu has a track record of being hands-off and then swooping in to publicly criticize.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are ahead in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine. Human trials might be finished as early as September. Bloomberg looks at the woman heading the effort, Sarah Gilbert.

John Hollywood, from the RAND think tank, has compiled a set of ideas for how police leaders should approach change to be more effective and responsive to their communities. Fortunately Boston has been working on this track for some time now.

That epic Twitter hack earlier in the week may have looked like a bitcoin scam but could it have actually been a dress rehearsal for the election? Brian Krebs and others investigated and amazingly identified the likely perpetrator. Luckily, this time at least, it looks to have been just a sim-swapper.

And small businesses, some that have withstood formidable challenges over the years, are closing because of the impact of coronavirus. Sometimes a meme says it all.