The best defense

Wednesday morning. Today’s word is batten.

Live Boston had the scoop on the arrest of Clark Grant on federal fraud charges. Grant is the husband of local activist Monica Cannon Grant, who often tangles with city officials. The charges were brought by the US Department of Labor.

In the mayor’s race, the Globe has yet another hard-hitting investigative story about Essaibi George, including telling us that she had a messy car. This is the kind of political advocacy journalism that makes Trump’s insane rants against the media resonate with people. On to the debate. It was feisty. Wu was defensive on a number of topics, including on using mental health clinicians in police responses. She said she would bring this innovation to her administration but Essaibi George bristled. Police already use clinicians and are seeking to increase their use, largely due to a longtime advocacy by Essaibi George during her time on the council. And there was a reference to a Boston Herald story describing Wu’s connection to a friend’s father and campaign donor, Terry Considine, a controversial former Republican state senator from Colorado. Wu seemed surprised when it came up. I was too. I had never heard about it before then. But then again, I mostly read the Globe.

Facebook has an image problem. Time for a name change.

New cars are getting expensive. Chevy’s are up there. But a brand new Mini could be a good deal. Here’s a list of of which car brand’s prices are rising fastest and which are not, courtesy of YAA. Hint: I would stay away from buying a used Jaguar if you’re worried about resale value.

And if you haven’t had enough of mayoral debates, this one tonight should be fun to watch.

Move fast and break things

Who doesn’t love a rainy Tuesday?

David Leonhardt reports that Covid cases are dropping in the US and worldwide. It could be the end of a peak in the mysterious two-month cycle. Or it could be something more promising. Fingers crossed.

Facebook went down yesterday. Then it came back up. It wasn’t a big deal for me, although I did get one annoying SERVFAIL before moving on. Cloudflare engineers watched in real time how the outage affected the Internet. In the real world, for a few hours there was less partisan cocooning and fewer cute dog videos. And we all survived.

Jonathan Franzen has a new book. It’s the first of a trilogy.

Andrew Yang has changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. But don’t try this at home, kids, he says.

And John Kraus too some photos of the night sky with his iPhone 13 Pro Max. Pretty impressive.

Do your job

A crisp Thursday to close out September.

Facebook parsed and annotated the language in its own internal reports to make itself look less horrible than it really is. The company is scheduled for testimony before a Senate subcommittee next week.

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan and James Lankford, from Oklahoma, have submitted legislation to require lawmakers to remain in Washington until the government is funded. Members would need to show up everyday for roll call, weekends included, until they fulfill their most basic responsibility of funding the government. Hmmm. I wonder if lawmakers will ever make this a law.

The Washington Post reports that if a government shutdown does occur, pandemic response measures should be protected. Crucial offices will still be open and treatment reviews will continue. Government health service workers, “overworked and exhausted after more than a year and a half of trying to contain the nation’s worse public health crisis in a century,” will show up for work but they won’t get paid. That’s the thanks they get.

Jennifer Szalai doesn’t like Steven Pinker’s new book, Rationality. She doesn’t like his words, she doesn’t like his logic, she doesn’t like his examples, she doesn’t like him. It seems almost… irrational.

And speaking of new books, this one on Kraft, Belichick and Brady should be a doozy. Just the excerpts are eye opening.

Meet the new boss

Wednesday, September 15th. Halfway through the best month of the year.

Norm MacDonald has died. A comedic master. Here he is in top form on Letterman’s last show. And then there’s the moth joke. Lots more to be found on his YouTube channel.

And we’re down to two. Wu and Essaibi George. Lots of talk about this being a historic victory for women of color, but it seems to me that this is just a slightly different version of the status quo. I think the battle between Campbell and Janey led to a missed opportunity for historically underrepresented parts of the city to play a larger role.

Facebook continues to reinforce the idea that they are just a rotten company.

Intermittent fasting seems to be very popular. But the real benefits, apparently, come from hardcore fasting. I don’t know if I could go four days.

And the Wirecutter doesn’t think you need the new iPhone 13. They’re probably right, too.

Making a living

Labor Day. The unofficial end of summer.

The upstarts are unseating the incumbents, who were formally the upstarts. The cycle of life. TikTok.

The Washington Post takes a Labor Day look at the Great Reassessment of Work. People are looking for work but there’s a shortage of workers. How can that be? The devil, as usual, in the details.

The Freedom Phone. It’s an actual thing. If, that is, you’re gullible and have money to throw away.

A new Bluetooth vulnerability, being called Braktooth, could use the protocol to remotely crash devices or, in some extreme cases, allow malicious code to be executed. More details here. Impacted vendors were notified and given 90 days to develop and release patches before the announcement. Some did. Some didn’t. Some say they’re still working on it.

And in Australia, the sharks are winning.