Israel has been in the news lately due to a proposal to change the country’s judiciary to be more like what we have here in the U.S. (Wikipedia) This will result in “tyranny” replacing “democracy” (nytimes). (Perhaps Israelis can flee this tyranny and seek asylum in Syria or Lebanon?)
Photos taken on March 12, 2023 in Harvard Yard include a Palestine flag in a window and some messages urging a boycott of a Harvard group trip to Israel.
According to Amnesty International’s 2020 report on Palestine, “Section 152 of the Penal Code in Gaza criminalizes [male] consensual same-sex sexual activity and makes it punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.” Palestine has no civil rights laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination nor harassment
We had previously walked by the Lutheran church featured in Bulletin board at the Lutheran chuch (2019). Their pro-Palestinian material was not visible from the exterior, but they do have a rainbow and a Black Lives Matter sign:
Down at the river, there are rainbow benches, but no BLM benches;
A March 12, 2023 trip to the Cambridge, Maskachusetts public library…
Let’s stop first in the bathroom, a gender-neutral experience:
The kids’ section is heavy on Black-themed books, but all of the children present appeared to identify with non-Black skin colors. About 20 percent of the patrons, including plenty of kids, were protected by Cochrane-approved face masks (“Here’s Why the Science Is Clear That Masks Work” (NYT)):
A few of the books in the kids’ section (one authored by President Biden):
Downstairs in the adult non-fiction area…
Sunday afternoon on the ground floor…
Let’s move to the Teen room:
Before women invented the Mac and iPhone, they invented television. There was no corresponding “Because I was a boy” title. The 2SLGBTQQIA+ books were not featured as prominently as I’d hoped, but discreetly shelved.
The old building’s best rooms are dedicated to science fiction:
Summary: In the social justice and 2SLGBTQQIA+ departments, despite the hysterical media coverage about “book bans” in Florida, there was little to distinguish the Cambridge Public Library from the Palm Beach County libraries.
Here are some photos from my recent trip to Cambridge, Newton, and Wayland. The high school where the Tsarnaev brothers took Tolerance and Diversity classes features a “Black Lives Matter” banner in 4X the font size of the sign that describes the building’s secondary purpose (“school”):
(Where is their rainbow flag? And why not a banner to celebrate immigrants, who are roughly 27 percent of the city’s population?)
Traffic delays slowed all of my excursions around the Boston suburbs. The eight-lane I-95 ring highway was jammed at midday on Saturday. The main road that goes to Wayland would be four or six lanes in Florida, plus dedicated left and right turn lanes at intersections, but in Maskachusetts it is only two lanes and a single car wanting to turn left can create a mile-long backup. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and improve when stopped at a light:
(The locals nearly all profess faith in population growth via mass low-skill immigration. Yet the transportation infrastructure of Boston plainly cannot support even the current population. The road network is jammed and the locals who eagerly cowered in place are unwilling to ride public transit due to COVID risk.)
The weather featured highs in the 30s, cloudy skies, and light rain or snow flurries, so it was perfect for ducking into the Harvard Bookstore to see what the nation’s smartest people are reading. Just a few steps from the front door, I learned a new vocabulary word: Filipinx. (Unclear why this title makes sense for a cookbook. It is not humans in a rainbow of gender IDs who are being cooked, I hope!)
Bernie and Cancel Culture got pride of place:
We know all about Bernie, I hope, but who is Ernest Owens, the promoter of cancel culture? The author’s bio at Amazon:
Ernest Owens (he/him) is an award-winning journalist and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. He is the Editor at Large for Philadelphia Magazine and President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. He hosts the hit podcast “Ernestly Speaking!” As an openly Black gay journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society regarding race, LGBTQ, and pop culture.
What if you were one of the engineers who toiled mightily on Xerox’s amazing print-shop-in-a-box machine? You’ve been canceled, as of spring 2022:
The bookstore keeps the Spirit of Fauci alive with this “please wear a cloth mask against an aerosol virus” sign:
Only about 20 percent of the people inside the store were complying with this request from Science. Although 0 percent of the customers appeared to identify as Black, the store has an ample supply of books on Blackness and at least one title on how to be white:
If you love empathy and Scientific management of the U.S. economy, this book about Janet Yellen is for you:
Ms. Yellen is certainly delivering on the promise to “spread prosperity to all” in that most Americans are on track to become millionaires. (Bad news: $1 million will also be the price of a used Honda Accord.) Who will keep ChatGPT from taking over before inflation has had enough time to deliver universal millionaire-hood? Harvard, of course! The AI Safety Team lives on Church St.:
How about the new higher minimum wage? Shake Shack in Harvard Square has responded by eliminating the order-taker jobs. You order and pay at a touchscreen. How’s the labor quality now that higher wages are being paid? Some of my fries were still frozen.
We went back the next night to the Harvard Coop. They’re heavily invested in the idea that some books are “banned” in states other than Maskachusetts.
Returning to Harvard Bookstore, we found that these are referred to as “challenged” rather than “banned” books:
In conversations with white native-born progressives, none seem to have adapted to the fact that 85 million Americans are either immigrants or children of immigrants. The dominant conflict between groups in the U.S. is white vs. Black and if this conflict can be solved, e.g., via reparations or Black Lives Matter banners, Americans will all live together in harmony. They can’t understand why recent immigrants from India, China, or Honduras don’t share their enthusiasm for Black Lives Matter, allocating places in colleges or in jobs to those who identify as Black, etc. At a dinner event where most of the guests were either from India or were children of Indian immigrants, the current American race-based system was decried. “We’re ‘brown’ if we try to get into country clubs,” one professor said, “but we’re considered ‘off-white’ when we apply for jobs or to college.”
Email from the K-8 public school in our former suburb of Boston, featuring 2-acre minimum zoning to ensure that nobody with fewer than 3 million Bidies ($2 million in pre-Biden money) can afford to buy a vacant lot and build a house:
We believe that in order to become and maintain being a district and larger community in which AIDE [antiracism, inclusion, diversity, and equity] thrives, members must commit to their ongoing growth in learning and awareness … To complete the challenge, each day pick just ONE piece of content. We’ve included three kinds:
We are informed that racism is a public health emergency (example from Minneapolis; and “Declare Racism a Public Health Emergency” (New York Times)). Yet, according to the above chart, the emergency is not so severe as to preclude a “Pause for February Vacation”. It is okay to sit on the beach in Aruba while daily oppression continues.
The white background indicates that white is the default and/or preferred race? One good thing about our former town is that I’m pretty sure almost everyone there is qualified as an expert on the Day 4 subject: “What is Whiteness?” Also note that the next step after identifying as 2SLGBTQQIA+ is joining the military (days 18 and 19).
Here are the local victimhood experts:
Here are some photos of Aruba (February 12, 2022) getting ready for the February break arrival of the anti-racists:
One constant feature of health care in Maskachusetts was the provider asking, often as the first question of an encounter, “Do you feel safe at home?” A fit 6’2″ tall 25-year-old who identified as a cisgender heterosexual man would be asked this question just the same as a frail slight person identifying as female.
A memorable example of this was the delay of care being provided to Senior Management after I had taken her to a community hospital in Cambridge, MA at 5 am. Getting to the bottom of the “Do you feel safe at home?” question was more important than asking about the labor pains that had occasioned the hospital visit (the same hospital where she had been receiving prenatal care, so it wasn’t a new-patient situation). In order that she would be free of coercion, the person who got up at 4:30 am to do the hospital drive had to removed into a separate room so that the 9-months-pregnant person could answer this question freely before moving on to whether abortion care (perfectly legal at all stages of pregnancy in Maskachusetts) or delivery was desired.
An example in miscommunication occurred when the question followed me telling the doctor that I had recently returned from a trip to Israel. This was early in the adoption of the “Do you feel safe?” question so I heard it as “Did you feel safe?” and launched in a long explanation of security risks in Israel, the lack of street crime compared to big U.S. cities, etc. The doc then had to explain that she didn’t care about Israel but about whether Senior Management was physically abusing me.
Because I’m in possession of a mostly timed-out body, I’ve had quite a few encounters with physicians here in Florida since August 2021. What did these encounters have in common? Never once was I asked if I felt safe at home. Nor are patients asked to wear masks, even inside the full-service hospitals with operating rooms, etc.
Separately, I’m noticing that a remarkably high percentage of doctors in Florida are private jet charter customers. The specialist who toils for peanuts in MA and pays 5% income tax (9% under the new “millionaires’ tax” if there is a rare good year) will pay 16% estate tax on finally dying. He/she/ze/they can bask in the glory of institutional prestige, e.g., at MGH, even if prestige doesn’t come with a lot of money. The counterpart in FL seems to earn twice as much, pays 0% income and estate tax, and spends the extra on a luxurious lifestyle.
A story from our former suburb of Boston… (not quoting it because it would be tough to read in italics)
Sally is the mother of four kids – lives in Chelsea. She is beautiful and speaks well but cannot read and has a 2nd grade education. Her husband, small gentleman with a major speech issues, hit her over the head with a hammer when her boyfriend came over to the house. The father went to jail. There was a lot of stress in the house. Both parents during the pandemic lost one of two jobs. The father was experiencing major mental health issues. The kids were “learning at home” The kids at the time where 3, 8, 10 and 11…..learning? How? Both parents were working their one job and desperately trying to find a second job. The father worked for 18 years at Bed Bath and Beyond making $15.50 an hour. The mother continues to work at Whole Foods making $17 an hour. Because the father is in jail the mother is responsible for all the bills which she cannot handle. Feb 1 she was evicted and went to stay in a hotel because all shelters were filled. She and the kids will stay there until housing becomes available- maybe 2 years? There is nowhere to cook or do laundry. The father is in jail and has been for three years without bail or a trial. Just another day at work. What is [South Sudanese Enrichment for Families]’s response? We are writing letters to the fathers’ public defender to try to get him a trial and bail in March. We have facilitated the father instead of the Nashua Street Jail to be at the Recovery Center in Worcester. He gets therapy and tutoring. A volunteer is working with the mother to try to have some stability in their life. Many Sudanese are helping getting the kids to school etc. We have another woman with two kids going into a shelter in March and we have one child taken away from her mother. Very very sad. Two Sudanese families are going to take the child in. …. We have 8 families that are in our Financial Fitness Program where we assess where they are financially and what they need to do to meet their financial goals. There is a waiting list. We are getting there ……all with your help. Thank you…the need is huge.
(Although my heart is warmed by the above, I’m confused by the story. The mom of 4 had a boyfriend (perfect adaption of a migrant to the American lifestyle, despite having only a 2nd grade education!) and the father went to jail. But also the story implies that the father was at home during the coronapanic lockdowns in Maskachusetts. Yet he has been “in jail” for three years and the lockdown began three years ago. Maybe the boyfriend is the new “father” who has the Bed Bath & Beyond job and was at home during the lockdowns and pretend-learn-from-home-scheme? Also, why do the nonprofit say-gooders (maybe even do-gooders?) want to get the hammer-wielding father out of jail? So that he can attack the mom with a hammer again? So that he can copy the undocumented immigrant David DePape and attack Paul Pelosi? Isn’t jail the safest place for anyone who cannot be trusted with a hammer?)
I arrived at my old apartment to find that the AirBnB guests agree with the Covidcrats that marijuana is essential:
Not wanting to live on hemp protein, I went to the local market and found that prices had gone up 50 percent compared to pre-Biden times. There was a discussion about bags at the end of checkout and payment for two very heavy plastic bags (in Florida there is no discussion and purchased items are placed into thin plastic bags). If memory serves, plastic bags were banned in many Maskachusetts towns in order to protect our beloved planet. In 2023, thanks to the evolution of the Science of grocery bags, we are informed that plastic bags are actually the superior environmental tree-saving choice:
After I ate an apple from this bag and tossed it into the trash, a neighbor scolded me and said that it was illegal to throw out anything that could instead be put into the brown bin provided by the city for compost-style refuse. I was later scolded at Target for buying Dobie scrub pads (“we don’t use that much plastic”).
According to the folks who say “housing is a human right,” the weather was perfect for outdoor living:
At least that’s my best inference from their behavior of not missing a step when walking by those whose shelter from the biting cold and dreary rain/snow is minimal. Outside the gleaming office tower where I was enslaved as a software expert witness (testifying at an arbitration prior to teaching at MIT):
The handful of people who come into work in this massive tower report that traffic is actually worse than pre-coronapanic. It takes 1.5 hours to drive in from Wellesley where it formerly took 1.25 hours. The righteous are #StoppingTheSpread and #HealingTheEarth by driving in their cars rather than taking the MBTA. Here is the empty Red Line at 9:37 am on a weekday:
Pre-coronapanic, it wouldn’t have been possible to go downtown from Harvard Square because the train would already have been jammed. Prior to 10 am, it was often necessary to go outbound to Alewife, where the train starts, in order to get a seat or a standing spot for the train into Boston.
Despite riding the T and being exposed to germs, I was able to stay healthy with daily marijuana deliveries, advertised on about half of the available spaces in Boston and Cambridge:
Outdoor masking was popular, though not universal due to the deplorable lack of a Science-informed outdoor mask mandate. My favorite, of course, being the combination of heavy beard and mask to block out an aerosol virus:
My friend who moved from the Boston suburbs to Houston disparaged everything in Maskachusetts as “dilapidated”. I wonder what he would say about this ancient Saab on a street of $1-2 million houses (themselves misshapen from 120 years of settling):
The streets and sidewalks right next to the world’s richest university were in pretty rough shape (everything that we touch day to day in Florida is in near-perfect condition due to being at most 20 years old) and the overhead wires certainly don’t add to the aesthetic appeal:
MIT reopened on December 1, 2022, but they still had the signs and machinery to exclude the potentially filthy unvaccinated:
And the Science of test-and-trace was alive and well:
Surely no virus is a match for our test kits and protocols.
Once inside the restricted-for-three-years halls, I discovered an arms race in Rainbow Flagism. Once a handful of offices on a corridor sported the “you are welcome here” sticker with all of the colors of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ rainbow, presumably everyone else had to sticker up or face the “Where’s your 2SLGBTQQIA+ sticker, sister?” question.
Now that schools are reopened, at least until the next lockdown that Science requires, what are kids learning? A friend invited me to a Shabbat dinner in Newton and a Jewish high school student who lives among Jews in Brookline attended. Although Israel wasn’t a discussion topic, somehow he pointed out that it was ironic that Jews left Germany for Israel because of the Nazis and now the Jews are doing to the Arabs what the Nazis did to the Jews. (Note that, in fact, the Jewish population of Israel is not primarily descended from German Jews. Most of the Jewish families in Israel came from nearby Muslim and Arab countries, generally driven from their homes in 1948 when Israel declared independence. The second-largest group of Jews within Israel came from Russia.)
Shops and offices in Cambridge still sometimes have the Signs of Science on the front doors:
City Hall celebrates 2SLGBTQQIA+ and reminds us that Black Lives Matter. What about other social justice causes?
We found most of the employees at Harvard Bookstore (not part of Harvard University) wearing comfortable cloth masks. What do people in Boston/Cambridge want to read?
In a previous post, I covered the lightning speed unionization-to-shutdown evolution of Darwin’s. The vacant store still has its Pride insignia:
The Uber ride back to the airport went past multiple marijuana stores and outdoor maskers on the way to the terminal, where a lot of children were carefully masked (in cloth) to protect them against an aerosol virus that kills mostly obese/sick humans at a median age of 80-82. The flight to DCA was slightly delayed due to de-icing being required, but (hemp fabric) hats off to the Logan crew for high efficiency in spraying and to ATC for getting the plane from the de-ice pad to the runway threshold quickly.
Shortly after landing in Maskachusetts last month, I posted the following on the Book of Face:
Note that I said nothing about the photo other than that it was taken at Boston’s Logan Airport in early January. Any inferences about the photo or the individual would therefore have to come from the minds of commenters. Here are some of the exchanges with the righteous:
anti-hater: Did you ask to take, and then (publicly?!) post, this person’s photo? Since they would be recognizable from this image, I feel very uncomfortable about this post. I’m also wondering what else you are “communicating” by posting this particular photo.
me: Thanks for the welcome! In keeping with its reputation as an artistic backwater, Boston does not have a rich tradition of street photography, which is more associated with New York (Helen Levitt; Garry Winogrand), Chicago (Vivian Maier) and Paris (the pioneers, such as Atget). However, the smartphone has democratized this genre and asking permission from each subject isn’t conventional.
(anti-hater): interesting. So you’re an aspiring street photographer, and this image is an artistic expression that you feel doesn’t merit consent? Would it be fine for someone to take a picture of your children and post publicly when their interpretive intent seems to be weaponization of an apparent part of your kids’ appearance or other aspect of their identity? C’mon, please entertain embracing more human kindness and general consideration of others than all of this suggests. Especially now that you’ve returned north.
me: also, if a photo makes you uncomfortable then it might be art: “Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable” (various attributions; Cesar A. Cruz is a common one)
(anti-hater): sure, but I wonder how comfortable this particular person might be if Philip is outing them in some way they are unaware of. Also, my sense is this post is to poke fun of — not honor or celebrate — freedom of expression. I might be wrong, I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.
(Trump-hating, Biden-loving Manhattan immigration profiteer weighing in): I call bullshit. You took and posted this photo for one reason: to make fun. If this is your art, I’d say it needs work.
(Pennsylvania Deplorable): You have yourself a complete makeover! The new you has returned to Boston! Impressive.
(anti-hater): ✨ Allyship and advocacy ✨ for the lgbtq+ community (anonymous or otherwise) matters, in more life-significant ways than I gather many of the folks commenting here might be aware. Please, embrace learning: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2022/ Since I have reason to strongly question Philip’s “artistic intent,” below are Philip’s public blog-thoughts on a recent local MA Pride event — and I’ll add, the town’s inaugural Pride celebration, initiated and organized by its middle schoolers ( 🌈 Amazing, right!?! 🏳️⚧️ ) https://philip.greenspun.com/…/official-lincoln…/ [a pro-2SLGBTQQIA+ post, in my opinion!] !! Importantly for contextualizing my concern about the initial photo on thjs post: “LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.”
(Florida pilot, formerly of the Boston suburbs): This is a nice gentle reminder of why I relocated.
To the extent that any negative inferences were made about the photo or individual by the anti-haters, doesn’t that show that they, in fact, are intolerant of the lifestyle that they imagine this individual to be leading?
My old neighborhood in Harvard Square was home to a 30-year-old sandwich shop whose workers took advantage of the coronapanic labor market to unionize in the fall of 2021. After 9 months of union bliss, they responded to Bidenflation by demanding higher wages. The employer’s counter-offer was to shut down entirely:
The popular Boston-area coffee chain Darwin’s Ltd. announced plans to close the store’s original Harvard Square location at the end of the month, prompting some workers to stage a protest at Cambridge City Hall on Sunday denouncing the move.
Darwin’s United — a union representing the chain’s employees — responded by organizing a protest at City Hall, where workers rallied on Sunday before gathering outside the Darwins’ Cambridge home.
“We have been offered no guarantees of jobs for those who want to stay, no guarantee that workers will have an income going into winter,” the union wrote in a Twitter statement. “We will not back down, we will not take this.”
At the rally, union members called on the Darwins to keep workers at the Harvard Square store employed if they wished to stay on and reiterated past demands for $24 per hour wages, three weeks paid time off, and zero-deductible healthcare for employees.
“We know that Steve has long been considering selling the business, but the timing really couldn’t be worse,” said Sam White, a Darwin’s United representative. “We’re telling him to come back to the bargaining table and respond to our proposals.”
A majority of workers at the four Darwin’s locations voted to unionize in September 2021 and began negotiations with management for a new contract for workers. Since then, talks have stalled, according to White. In March, workers at all four locations staged a mid-morning walkout to raise pressure on the owners.
Maybe things are more harmonious on the West Coast? The academics at UC Berkeley claim that they know what workers are entitled to and how to redress inequality in the United States. Yet their own workers had to go on strike to try to force the university to pay a fair wage. “University of California workers continue strike amid threat of arrests” (Guardian, December 10, 20220):
Tens of thousands of academic workers throughout the University of California are currently on their fourth week of striking for a new union contract and the situation is intensifying amid the threat of arrests after direct actions by some strikers.
The strike of 48,000 academic workers, including graduate workers, academic researchers, postdoctoral scholars and teaching assistants, began on 14 November and is the largest in the history of higher education in the US.
About 12,000 postdoctoral researchers and academic researchers reached a tentative agreement with the University of California on 29 November, which included pay increases up to 29%, but have continued striking in solidarity with other academic workers still pushing for a deal and while the agreement is put to the membership for a vote.
Graduate workers at UC have reported issues in affording rent, food and basic necessities in the cities they work and live in on salaries averaging about $23,000 annually.
If the politicians and academics in California are experts on fairness, why did their workers need to strike? University of California professor Robert Reich, for example, is fond of scolding America’s evil capitalists for underpaying workers. Why didn’t he pay his own slaves fairly?