Transitory inflation

Thursday. Veterans Day.

The days are getting shorter. And now with daylight savings in effect, darkness comes even earlier in the evenings. But we do get a little more light in the mornings, unlike in Reykjav√≠k, where the sun doesn’t come up until almost 10 o’clock and then goes down at around the same time as it does here.

For those of us old enough to remember the stagflation of the 1970’s, the specter of runaway inflation looms as a serious threat. The latest numbers are not reassuring. A healthy rate of inflation is about 2%. The numbers for October show us jumping to over 6%. As recent as March it was below 3% before going up to around 5% over the summer. The trend is going in the wrong direction. Even the GameStop crowd is getting nervous. But then again, we’re recovering from a global pandemic and a constrained supply chain. You would expect higher rates as the economy restarts. Battleships don’t turn on a dime. And in the 1970’s, inflation was at around 20%. We’re nowhere close to that. All that said, it still bears watching. The only way out, if it does become entrenched, is a hike in interest rates and likely a follow-on recession. The ghost of Paul Volcker looks down.

The used car market has gone crazy. Kate Marino reports.

Farhad Manjoo writes about Apple’s latest chips, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. He thinks they’re transformative. I’ve been using a new Apple laptop with an M1 Pro chip and I have to agree with him. I have the entry-level model with lower specs and even that blows away any computer I’ve ever used, including an Intel-based pro desktop. It also has an amazingly bright screen, it’s quiet, cool and the battery lasts forever. It shouldn’t be this good.

And the West Side Rag has some scoop on the new West Side Story. Cool.

Ramping up

Today is Wednesday. Another week half-done.

We now have a time frame for when the final season of Better Call Saul will air. Another 2-part season.

Three officers shot in a standoff. Another stabbed earlier in the week. Two suspects shot dead by police. Crime might be down in Boston but these incidents show the volatility and day to day danger for law enforcement. Also, the mayor-elect has named her transition team. I couldn’t find anyone with any real public safety experience on the list, which seems odd given the urgency of naming a permanent commissioner.

Who are the swing voters? David Leonhardt looks at the data.

Lisa Kashinsky writes about where Charlie Baker is on running again and whether he’ll ever become an independent.

And this is why I hate Pinterest. Good to see I’m not alone.

Strictly for the birds

Happy Monday. Travel day.

A potato so big it has a name. Hint: it’s not MacKenzie.

Some folks from the GOP are up in arms about a public health announcement from Big Bird on vaccinations. Talk about triggered. Then, the NBC News article on this goes on to explain that there’s very little research on how Covid affects birds and chickens as if Big Bird is actually a… big bird. It’s going to be one of those weeks.

Here’s more on the Rivian truck from Chris Taylor. It’s a head turner, he says.

The pillow guy is at it again.

Benjamin Balthaser writes about his uncle’s Bronx accent. But there’s more here than that. His uncle sounds like a guy I would get along well with. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

And another asteroid is coming to destroy the earth. Paging Chicken Little. Someday one of these things will be real.

Politics on the margins

Sunday, November 7. Today’s word is soporific.

The Globe is being very nice to Kim Janey this morning. But isn’t it a little late for that?

The Squad made a big, empty gesture, voting against the infrastructure bill. Fortunately a handful of Republicans stepped up. What a world. Maureen Dowd writes about the problem of Democrats not being able to get out of their own way. And the show’s not over yet. Let’s see what happens with the spending bill.

Mobile devices with mini-computers have taken over the world. Our cars are full of computers. Even toasters have computers in them. Where are all those microchips coming from? That, writes Christopher Mimms, is the problem.

Wording in one section of the infrastructure bill, related to tax reporting requirements, is alarming some crypto watchers.

And I really hate biking up hills. Wind and hills. No thanks. But there are cyclists that love climbing hills. There’s even a blog highlighting the best, hardest hills. I don’t get it. For me it would be like reading ‘getting punched in the stomach’ magazine. But, to each his own, I guess.

Reaching across the aisle

Thursday morning. Settle in for a nice cool day.

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. What it’s not is a guy in a jetpack.

Charlie Baker‘s favorite super PAC backs both Democrats and Republicans. And, as Bruce Mohl writes, it gets results, especially for Democrats. Candidates for mayor backed by the PAC won in Woburn (D), Marlboro (R), Leominster (D), Gardner (D), Framingham (D), Fitchburg (D), Fall River (D), Everett (D), Easthampton (D), Brockton (D) and Agawam (D). As far as Boston goes, mayor-elect Wu and Baker don’t seem to be the best of buds. It will be interesting to see what kind of relationship develops, if one does. The IGR folks are going to be earning their money.

Hannah Bohn is a pretty good writer who apparently doesn’t adhere to the ‘write what you know’ rule. Her most recent column in the BU student newspaper is on aging. I’m not as good a writer as she is but I do have a deeper knowledge of the topic. Just sayin.

An off-year election could be a preview, and if it is, Dan Pfeiffer writes that it doesn’t bode well for Democrats. Zachary Carter believes that the loss in Virginia was mostly about schools (and Covid). Jonathan Chait agrees. Democrats have a schools problem, he thinks. Good timing for Boston, where, with the reintroduction of an elected school committee, the mayor can just throw up her hands and blame the committee.

And The Guardian explores how California botched legalizing marijuana. NIMBY. So close.