Adults versus Kids; a Science-based response to COVID-19 in Maskachusetts

Recent emails from the Handel+Haydn Society in Boston… Adults:

Kids:

From the linked-to page:

All participants in H+H Youth Choruses activities must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19, and we provide further that H+H agrees to comply with the then-applicable U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance regarding mandatory employer vaccination programs. Masks are required for all indoor activities at all times.

Recall that, like California, Massachusetts is a state that decided marijuana shops for adults were “essential” and had to remain open while public schools were closed for 1.5 years and forcibly masked for at least 1 additional school year (unclear what will happen in the Boston Public Schools for 2022-2023).

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Massachusetts contemplates California-style tax rates

Maskachusetts has been prevented by its constitution from imposing California-style progressive tax rates to fund its Progressive government goals. That could change in November if voters approve an amendment that would enable forcing the rich to pay their fair share.

Currently, Massachusetts is ranked among the top 15 states in percentage of residents’ income taken to fund state and local government (Tax Foundation). TX runs state/local gov. on 8.6% of what its residents earn. FL takes 9.1%. MA takes 11.5%. The champions include NY at 15.9% and CA at 13.5%. Government by Science (philosopher kings) is not cheap, apparently.

The Pioneer Institute provides some analysis:

The amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution would have a particularly significant impact on retirees and small businesses. It would affect a long list of “income” categories, including salary, capital gains (on the sale of investments, homes, businesses and other assets), dividends, IRA and 401K distributions, interest, royalties, and commissions. In any one year, should the totality of these income streams exceed $1 million, the state would increase existing income taxes by 4 percent on the excess.

“Pass-through” companies such as partnerships, limited liability corporations, subchapter S corporations and sole proprietorships are taxed via individual returns. These mostly small businesses, nearly two thirds of which are subchapter S corporations, employed almost half of all private, for-profit employees in Massachusetts in 2019.

Passage of the constitutional amendment would force many pass-through businesses to pay the new 4 percent tax on top of the existing 5 percent income tax. Subchapter S corporations, which currently pay Massachusetts’ unique “stinger tax” of up to 3.9 percent, would face a total state tax burden of up to 12.9 percent, a rate higher than large corporations pay.

In addition, adopting the tax hike amendment would give Massachusetts the nation’s highest short-term capital gains tax (16 percent) and the highest long-term capital gains tax in New England.

… the tax hike amendment falls primarily on households selling a family home or business to finance retirement. Nearly half of all parties affected by the tax earn $1 million or more only once in a decade; over 60 percent do so only twice.

The tax would apply to more residents every year. To adjust for inflation, the tax amendment uses the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which has lagged well behind household income and wages in Massachusetts. State legislative salaries, on the other hand, are tied to median household income, which has risen much faster.

I’m not sure that the tax increase would be a bad idea. Due to the state’s 5% income tax and 16% estate tax, a successful person could already save $millions for his/her/zir/their children by moving to the vacation playground of Florida (see analysis below; kids will enjoy roughly 42 percent higher spending power if the parent moves 30 years prior to dying). We can therefore infer that most people who have chosen to stay in Maskachusetts don’t mind paying higher tax rates.

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Maskachusetts hosts multiple Covid super-spreader events while forcing kids to wear masks in schools

President Biden still has the U.S. under a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Maskachusetts takes our Scientist leader and “the virus” seriously, as evidenced by the fact that students in the Boston Public Schools are forced to wear masks:

(Just be sure not to wear an N95 mask that might have some effect, says the above web page.)

On the other hand, COVID-19 is not so severe that it should prevent packing tens of thousands of people into an indoor basketball arena for the NBA final games. Nor should COVID-19 discourage Boston from hosting the U.S. Open golf tournament (this weekend, with 100,000+ people coming in at various times (mostly outdoors while spectating, but then indoors and unmasked for hotels, restaurants, parties, etc.)).

So…. COVID-19 in Maskachusetts is an “emergency” for K-12 students, which is why they must continue to wear masks. It’s also an “emergency” for 6-month-old babies, which is why they must be injected with an emergency use authorized “vaccine”. But it is not an emergency for adults, who may gather in enormous crowds without masks, gather unmasked in bars, gather unmasked in “essential” marijuana stores, meet via Tinder after consuming alcohol and marijuana, etc.

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Official Lincoln Massachusetts Public School LGBTQ+ Pride Community Celebration

From back in April, part of an email from the superintendent of the Lincoln Massachusetts Public Schools (K-8 only; high school is shared with another town):

The school-sponsored event (in a town-owned house) is happening today, so I hope that readers in Maskachusetts will attend and perhaps report back to us why some members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community are excluded (it is only for “LGBTQ+”). Here’s a T-shirt to wear:

The same email that reminded us to lump together everyone on the rainbow spectrum into a single category also lumps together all Asians and Pacific Islanders into a common “culture and cuisine” that can be learned about in just over one hour via Zoom:

Happy Pride Month once again!

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Safety first in Maskachusetts

Common sense measures to fight SARS-CoV-2 are back in various parts of Maskachusetts. “Mask Mandates Are Returning to Schools as COVID-19 Cases Surge” (TIME, May 25) says that the good old days never ended in Boston per se:

Boston public schools, for example, have maintained a mask requirement. City health officials said they would recommend lifting the school mask mandate once daily COVID-19 cases in the city fall to 10 new cases per 100,000 residents. The positivity rate currently stands at 54.5 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Neighboring Brookline, however, was briefly mask-free. “Brookline reinstates indoor mask mandate for schools, town buildings” (WCVB, May 23):

The mandate that began Monday requires everyone to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose while inside the library, senior center, all public schools and any other town-owned indoor spaces where the public gathers.

Student Alice Gametchu-Walker said she noticed several of her classmates were absent from Pierce Elementary School.

“I thought it was a good idea because a lot of kids have been out with colds and COVID,” she said. “I decided to keep wearing a mask because I just felt safer wearing it.”

Now that climate change has brought months of brutal heat to Maskachusetts, maybe people could cool off and stay fit to fight off COVID-19 by swimming across Walden Pond? “Massachusetts DCR again restricts open-water swimming at Walden Pond while lifeguards are on duty” (Boston Herald):

Walden Pond State Reservation on Saturday announced that last year’s open-water swimming rules would return, effective Sunday. That means swimming is not allowed outside the area designated by ropes and buoys from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. while lifeguards are on duty.

Open-water swimming is only allowed during park operating hours when lifeguards are not on duty, DCR said in a statement, stressing the policy helps ensure that lifeguards keep their focus on designated swim areas inside the ropes and buoys. The allowed open-water swimming hours are from 5 to 10 a.m. and then from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

“We want visitors to our designated swimming areas to have fun while cooling off from the summer heat, but we also want to stress safety and the importance of taking precautions to keep yourself and your family safe this summer,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “Our lifeguards are a valuable resource, but we also count on the public to take an active role in watching their children when they are in the water, using caution when swimming at unguarded beaches, and utilizing safe swimming practices to avoid a tragedy.”

In Florida, meanwhile, you can swim in the open ocean when the surf’s up and the lifeguards have put out their red “you’d be an idiot to go out” flags. And, of course, wear a mask at your discretion.

Related:

  • They’re back to masks in Alameda County, California (NYT): “Alameda is the first county in California, and the largest jurisdiction in the United States, to issue a universal indoor mask order since the end of the winter Omicron surge.”
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Anti-hate reeducation at a Maskachusetts public school

I won’t put this one in quote style because the italics will make it harder to read…

Prior to the April break I wrote to let you know that I was concerned about hateful language that had been found in a bathroom and that we would be following up with an outside speaker. Today Mr. Mark Liddell came to talk with our students. Mr. Liddell is the High School Coordinator for the METCO program [busing children, based on skin color, from City of Boston schools to suburban districts, thus relieving the foreign owners of downtown real estate from having to pay for these kids’ education] in the Wayland Public Schools. Mr. Liddell has done at least six presentations with our parent groups through the generosity of the Lincoln METCO Parent Board who has brought him as a speaker over the last two years around many topics of race and history.

We spent an hour together first with 5th and 6th grade and then with 7th and 8th grade talking about language, historical context, and how we should respond when we hear hate speech. As Mr. Liddell is a high school teacher, there were pieces of his talk that might have felt difficult for some students to understand. There were other parts that were uncomfortable to sit through as they showed unfortunate pieces of our history. Students were given the opportunity to stay with Mr. Liddell and teachers at school to continue to talk and ask questions after the assembly.

This afternoon the faculty will further conversations on how to talk with our students as issues continue to surface. Mr. Liddell ended his time with our students sharing the following pledge:

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City of Boston spent taxpayer funds on the legal defense of a policy that 9 out of 9 Supreme Court justices found unconstitutional

Back in January: City of Boston happy to fly rainbow and Islamic flags, but not a Christian group’s flag

Today in the NYT… “Supreme Court Rules Against Boston in Case on Christian Flag”:

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that the city of Boston had violated the First Amendment when it refused to let a private group raise a Christian flag in front of its City Hall.

One of the three flagpoles in front of the building, which ordinarily flies the flag of Boston, is occasionally made available to groups seeking to celebrate their backgrounds or to promote causes like gay pride. In a 12-year period, the city approved 284 requests for the third flag.

It rejected only one, from Camp Constitution, which says it seeks “to enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage.” The group’s application said it sought to raise a “Christian flag” for one hour at an event that would include “short speeches by some local clergy focusing on Boston’s history.” The flag bore the Latin cross.

The Appeals court decision says that the lawsuit was originally filed in 2018. Thus, to avoid the horror of a Christian-themed flag blocking a billboard for one of the city’s “essential” marijuana dispensaries, the City of Boston paid lawyers for years to defend a policy that not even a single Supreme Court justice found constitutional.

The Appeals court document is also interesting for the list of organizations who hate seeing a Christian flag so much that they’re happy to toss out the U.S. Constitution. Examples of folks who filed amicus briefs in support of the city’s unconstitutional behavior:

  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Hindu American Foundation
  • Maine Conference, United Church of Christ (they also hate Jews in Israel)
  • Men of Reform Judaism
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • Christ; People for the American Way Foundation (it is not “the American Way” to follow the American Constitution?)
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
  • The Sikh Coalition
  • Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ (again with the Israel-haters; I’m not sure that this name is accurate because I never heard anyone in New England who attended a UCC church mention either “Jesus” or “Christ”)
  • Union for Reform Judaism
  • Women of Reform Judaism

Not strictly related, but why do we Jews have so many different organizations? And why isn’t there a Reform Judaism-related group for those who do identify neither as “Men” nor “Women”? Also, what happens when a member of Men of Reform Judaism becomes a “woman” (as the term is defined by Ketanji’s panel of biologists)? Does she have to switch to the “Women of Reform Judaism” group?

The Person of Color (identified as such by the media) who is the current Boston mayor gets into the spirit of Islam today:

See also “Boston City Council approves protest restrictions proposed by Mayor Wu” (Boston Globe, March 30, 2022) for how Mx. Wu has enhanced freedom of speech.

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Massachusetts Marijuana Billboards

To celebrate World Health Day, let’s look at a state where long-term public health was optimized by closing schools for more than a year while keeping the marijuana stores open. Every retailer of healing cannabis in Maskachusetts requires a permit to operate from the government. These permits are limited and, generally, political connections are required to obtain one. Thus, the dope trade is so lucrative that these shops have outbid Verizon, Apple, McDonald’s, et al. for billboard space on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Our heroic reader/commenter Alex has done a drive-by photo project for us. The following photos are from the Pike, I-91, and some of the “poor mine” towns near Springfield, MA.

First, remember that consuming alcohol and psychotropic drugs 24/7 “is not a choice; it’s a disease.”

(Yet it is a disease that can be cured by giving people money on condition that they stop being diseased? See “Financial Incentives for Adherence: Do They Pay?” (Psychiatric Times 2017) and “California Wants To Become The First State To Pay People With Addiction To Stay Sober” (state-sponsored NPR 2021))

This one might be my favorite, the old religion of Christianity represented by a church right next to a billboard for the new religion of weed:

Dazed and Turning Leaf:

For every 200 billboards promoting the consumption of scientifically proven healing cannabis, there is 1 that is part of a disinformation campaign (in this case, disseminating misinformation that marijuana does not improve driving skills; Facebook Fact Checkers rate this claim “Missing Context”).

The Mercedes logo gets some added class by appearing right next to a weed shop billboard:

The implication is that Mercedes is better with cannabis. This concept is made explicit in the next billboard: “Springfield is better with cannabis”.

Who says that Republicans and marijuana don’t mix? A big portion of the Springfield Republican‘s building will now be devoted to cannabis retail.

The INSA “cannabis for real life” shop, right next to the Basketball Hall of Fame:

A proven-by-Science Theory of Wellness:

Illustrating the challenge of taking pictures while driving….

What if phone camera use leads to an accident? A personal injury lawyer stands ready:

Happy World Health Day to everyone and I hope that everyone stays healthy this year by following CDC guidance (to test and not to test, that is the Science).

Related:

  • “Welcoming Refugees” (Jewish Family Service of Springfield, MA): For us social justice is rooted in the Jewish commandment to remember the experience of slavery and the Exodus from Egypt. … JFS resettles refugees fleeing their homelands in partnership with HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and the State Department. In the past five years JFS resettled over 500 refugees from around the world to Western Mass– their new home. Well before a family’s arrival, staff secure housing, furniture, and household items for new families. We then provide comprehensive support, including support for school-aged children, comprehensive employment services, and help navigating their new community. JFS continues to serve New Americans long after initial resettlement — for up to five years and beyond in many cases. [Remember that there is no archaeological evidence to support the Passover victimhood narrative. Despite the extensive body of written history from Ancient Egypt, there is nothing to suggest that Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt, that a large group of Jews lived in Egypt, or that a large group of Jews fled Egypt.]
  • “Poverty in Springfield, Massachusetts” (from Welfare Info): The poverty rate in Springfield is 28.7%. One out of every 3.5 residents of Springfield lives in poverty. … 21.1% of Black residents of Springfield, Massachusetts live below the poverty line. 26.7% of Asian residents of Springfield, Massachusetts live below the poverty line. 13.3% of White residents of Springfield, Massachusetts live below the poverty line. 43.5% of Hispanic residents of Springfield, Massachusetts live below the poverty line. Enrolled in Elementary School(Grades 1-4) in Springfield, Massachusetts have a Poverty Rate of 46.1%.
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Medical waiver for tinted windows in Massachusetts

A friend is a tinted window enthusiast and mentioned in a chat group that he was having some trouble getting his doctor in Maskachusetts to sign documents that will satisfy the bureaucracy that runs the tint waiver program:

Apparently this should not be too challenging. The tint enthusiast knows of some people who were approved due to doctors using “dry skin” as a justification.

A response from a Californian in the chat group:

Get medicinal marijuana doc to say u r too stoned to put sunglasses on

Separately, is tinted glass necessary on any modern car? For roughly 20 years, at least mid-trim cars have come from the factory with heat-rejecting (sometimes called “solar absorbing”) glass, right?

(Where is aftermarket tint necessary? Airplane windows! Unfortunately, they are plastic and can be destroyed by standard automotive products. Small planes typically have no air-conditioning (costs $30,000 and reduces payload by 10 percent) and the factory windows are greatly inferior in heat-rejection to what’s in a Toyota Corolla (one of which passed us on Florida’s Turnpike the other day going at least 90 mph!). Plane Tint sells a specially formulated product that we applied to our 2005 SR20 before making the Florida move. It has held up well so far.)

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Boston will end its COVID-19 state of emergency on April Fools’ Day

Yesterday on boston.gov:

Mayor Michelle Wu and Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, today announced Boston’s COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration will end on April 1, 2022. The announcement follows a vote by the Boston Board of Health during their Wednesday meeting following the recommendation of Dr. Ojikutu. The Emergency Declaration has been in place since March 15, 2020.

During their meeting, Boston Public Health Commission officials provided a recommended framework for Boston Public Schools to use in determining when to lift the school masking requirement. Dr. Sarimer Sánchez, from BPHC’s Infectious Diseases Bureau, advised reviewing the school masking policy when the number of positive COVID-19 tests per day in Boston falls below 10 cases per day per 100,000 residents, while considering other COVID-19 metrics. BPHC is also encouraging development of “mask friendly” policies for students and staff, and increasing access to vaccines in school communities. The current COVID-19 daily case incidence is approximately 13 cases per 100,000 residents in Boston. The final decision on revising the school mask policy will be made by Boston Public Schools.

At least for now, the Science-informed emergency continues and children are forced to wear masks. But on April Fools’ Day, Science will say that it is safe to emerge from the bunker.

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