Future history

Happy Saturday. It’s the Fourth of July! Today’s word is aphelion.

Baseball has returned to Fenway. But players are already testing positive. I guess we’ll see how this all works out. Take me out with the crowd? No thanks.

Michael Dukakis provides an object lesson in overconfidence in the polls that the Biden campaign should be paying attention to.

Americans still aren’t allowed into Europe even if they show up on a private jet. And in Taiwan, you can board the plane but never take off. Strange times.

One under-valued librarian in a Boston school has had enough. A sad ending to an inspirational career.

And if you’re looking for someone to blame for coronavirus you can blame those damm Neanderthals and their chromosome 3 gene cluster.

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.

Having it both ways

A nice Sunday. Happy Father’s Day.

It’s a sign of a return to normality. MBTA ridership is up and service is expanding. Lyft and Uber runs are also ticking up. Traffic on the roads? It’s back.

During his rally in Tulsa, the president said he instructed his staff to slow down testing so that covid case numbers would come down. So, basically, he was telling an audience of supporters who had to agree to a coronavirus liability release to get into the rally, that the coronavirus was an overblown, fake disease. His handlers said later that he was joking. It’s obvious who that joke was on.

How do police spend their time on the job? The Times looks at a breakdown. It’s not all action, granted. There is a lot of service oriented work but there’s also a considerable amount of basic conflict resolution around everything from legal disputes to quality of life matters to family disputes. Any grand experiment in unbundling should be done thoughtfully, carefully and in tune with public expectations.

Take a hike (says Boston Magazine).

And it might not rise to the level of the Great Molasses Flood but the Oregon blubber blast is certainly a notable occurrence in the dictionary of disasters.

Staying in your own lane

It’s Saturday, good beach weather. Jaws is 45 years-old today, so it should be safe to go into the water by now.

Star Market is going public. It’s not a trendy tech IPO but, who knows, they do seem to be making money.

The City Council is not great at managing complex operational tasks. And that’s ok because that’s not their role. So we should take a pass on this proposed ordinance to change how we handle 911 calls. Although the idea may have some merit in principle, the devil is usually in the details and operational details are what the executive branch is responsible for.

Mona Charen, a conservative writer, explains how she came to rethink her previously held views on race and policing after the death of George Floyd.

There are two new albums out this week from 1960s icons. 79 year-old Bob Dylan dropped Rough and Rowdy Ways. It’s pretty damm good. And Neil Young released an album that had been in the can since 1974 called Homegrown. Some songs, like Love is a Rose and the beautiful Star of Bethlehem, had made their way to other albums over the years but it’s nice to hear them here as part of the original set.

And what is this strange thing? A billion dollar bipartisan effort cheered by conservationists and supported by the White House? Yes, it’s the Great American Outdoors Act and it’s a real thing.

Spitballing on public safety

Wednesday. Balanced on the hump of the week. It’s the anniversary of the Watergate break-in.

I don’t think I ever heard this story about Bill Murray. Hilarious.

There are new calls for removing (school department) police from the schools but others interviewed think it’s a bad idea. Boston police union leaders are working with Black and Latino legislators on a police reform package while Jeff Jacoby wants to completely eliminate police unions. Where do body cameras fit into all this? And Ross Douthat looks at three options for the future of policing.

China has leapt ahead in an important future technology area, quantum entangled communications.

Vice President Pence argues that we’re not in a second wave of coronavirus infections. He’s right, of course. We’re still in the first.

Bot or not: the controversy over how many humans are left on social media.

And speaking of bots, if you’re thinking of getting a dog, you might want to consider this four legged creature. Guaranteed not to chew up the remote.