The Trump Permission Slip, Brookline High School Edition

Of the many worst things about Trump’s election and his impact on American society is the way his vile racism — and the acquiescence-to-emulation of his fellow Republicans — has give the worst in our society (see: deplorables) license to display their own racist shitstains in public.

That came home with a vengeance for me over the last couple of days, starting with an email from the local high school principal and the school superintendent.  Three young men, two recent Brookline High graduates, one current student, had posted to the broader internet two  racist videos, attacking specific students of color at the school in the worst, most bluntly racist terms possible.

Today brought another email — a third video by this same trio has been found, along with racist graffiti in a boys bathroom near the cafeteria.

During a school walkout led by student leaders in the African American and Latino Scholars groups, speakers criticized the principal for not responding to the first videos faster, more publicly, with a broader expression of support. He acknowledged fault in an afternoon PA address:

Crises like these should spur each of us – every single one of us – to reflect on who we are in this community and how we help resist and fight hatred in all its forms, including racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia. As part of this reflection, we must also consider where we need to be better. That starts with me. I regret not communicating earlier than yesterday to the larger community – students, staff, and families. I made the decision to address this as an incident between a small group of students – the ones who made the initial video and the student they were targeting. In hindsight, I should have reached out to others sooner. I am sorry for this, as doing so would have put everyone in a better position to support and care for one another.

That’s a decent start, and I hope and believe more concrete effort’s coming.  I spoke to my son and a couple of his friends, one a kid of color, this afternoon and they were more or less unfazed. They regard the racists as assholes not worth their time, and they’re right about that.  But they know this isn’t usual, and they know that this is real hate, and not just teen crap.

That makes me weep, because even though I know better, this is what you want your child to believe he or she won’t have to deal with.  (I should add that my son is way more of a realist than I am on this, and I’m aware that parental fantasies are still fantasy.)

But there’s this.  Adding to my amazement as well as my disgust, this is Brookline, Massachusetts. Brookline!

For those of you who don’t happen to be familiar with every nook and cranny of Greater Boston, AKA the Hub of the Universe, Brookline is a small town enfolded on three sides by Boston proper, stretching west from, roughly, Fenway Park.

This is a well-off place, not so much limousine liberals as the dreaded East Coast Elites.  Median family income is over $90,000 — which is probably not unconnected to the fact that 14 % of the population hold a doctorate degree (I’m in the 86%, I should add), said to be the highest such proportion in the US.  Above all, it’s liberal as hell.  In the 2016 election, Clinton-Kaine received 24,583 votes to Trump-Pence’s 3,175.

All of which is to say that while my Vulcan brain knows wealth, comfort, homogeneity etc. do not inoculate against racism, as Dr. McCoy I discover that I’ve been living that cliché:  It Couldn’t Happen Here.

Clearly, it can.

Relearning that hard lesson reminds me how we got to this pass:  Donald F**king Trump and that Republican Party that’s been waltzing with racists since 1968.

Public racism, the sense scumbags who hate have of being validated and enabled by the country’s most powerful man, is one of the many tumors Trump and his party have lodged in our body politic. Getting it out is going to require major surgery, years of the political analogue of chemo, and even then, may not leave us with a viable patient.

In my corner of the world, I’m glad that the Brookline schools seem to be taking our local metastasis seriously.  Maybe we can excise this one lesion.

But damn, do I hate every sitting GOP politician who has, by tacit acceptance or full throated endorsement backed up our Bigot-in-Chief, who in turn has given voice (and perhaps more and worse) to those street level racists that can be found in literally every town in America.

I’m with Doug.  This is one of those days I hope there’s an afterlife so that our current leaders can hang with Satan till the last proton decays.

Image: Jacob Lawrence, Antagonism between white and Negro workers resulted in race riots1940-41 [thx, Peter H. Desmond].

149 replies
  1. 1

    You mean that we can’t cure racism by curing economic anxiety? Shoot.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    Racial, profane and threatening graffiti was found Friday at Pebblebrook High School in Cobb County, a school district spokesman said.

    “Extensive vandalism” was found at the Mableton school, John Stafford said in an emailed statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    “Staff and students arrived at Pebblebrook High School this morning to find extensive vandalism to the campus and exterior of the buildings,” the statement read.

    “The graffiti included racial slurs, obscene language and threatening messages.”

    Cobb school district police found “no credible threat” after investigating the situation, Stafford said. The investigation continues.

    “No arrests have been made at this time,” Stafford said.
    Students are in classes, Stafford said, and normal operations are in effect. The district’s maintenance department is on the scene to clean up the graffiti.

    The incident comes at a tense time for race relations nationally and in metro Atlanta.

    RELATED: Marietta man wanted in Charlottesville beating in custody
    RELATED: Cobb officer who said ‘we only shoot black people’ says he’ll retire
    And a Cobb County man surrendered this week on charges that he beat a counter-protester in Charlottesville, Va.

  3. 3
    artem1s says:

    As with white flight, the current efforts to dismantle the public education system, is the result of mostly, the well off and wealthy doing everything they can to keep their precious snow flakes from having to deal with racism. They are creating a gated education system where they will never have to explain their regressive ideas about feminism, sex, LGBT issues, climate change, and/or civil rights to their kids. it’s unfortunate and sad but those kids parents will probably tell their kids that they are being persecuted for Jeebus.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    Tom, I grew up in Brookline and, sad to say, racism is nothing new there. I don’t remember anything quite so blatant, but it was certainly there. You can be a well-off PhD and still be a racist (Hell, you can be a Nobel Prize winner and still be a racist; William Shockley is the canonical example).

  5. 5
    Felonius Monk says:

    They(Republicans) must all be made to pay for their sins.

    Unfortunately, fat chance.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The Deplorables need to be driven back under the rocks from which they oozed.

    With flamethrowers, if necessary.

  7. 7
    Shalimar says:

    @Major Major Major Major: If curing economic anxiety involves a series of shots with very large needles, I say we give it a try even if it won’t work.

    Added caveat: For the record, I am money-poor but not anxious about it.

  8. 8
    A Ghost to Most says:

    The harder case racists think they have a pass from liddle twitler, and have been exposing themselves. Many are now facing charges. A small win.
    Fuck those people.

  9. 9
    japa21 says:

    My son teaches at a Catholic college prep school in Chicago. He let it be known that his classroom was a “safe zone” and students should come to him with any problems they have along this line. Other teachers followed suit. In the first couple weeks after the election there were some problems but race and gender related. As the word got around that that wasn’t going to be tolerated, the incidents pretty much stopped. The school services all economic levels thanks to scholarships that are available for low income students. Most of the problems were caused by students whose parents could afford the full tuition cost.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom, up top:

    This, alas, is waaaaaay too common.

    “You’ve got to be taught.”

  11. 11
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    This article really bothers me on a personal level since A.) most of my tennis students are Asian-American and I’ve actually heard some of them mention their parents being Trump supporters (the fuck???) and B.) my nephew is also Asian-American and his grandparents (my sister’s-husband’s parents) also voted for Trump and say he’s a “good guy.”

  12. 12

    OT: Corker is voting against the tax bill.

  13. 13
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    Even though there is a line of cases concluding that school officials have broad authority to discipline students for “disruptive” off-campus speech, it still seems misguided to me.

    Yes racism is, like, really really bad, but school administrators are if nothing else generally reactionary and not very bright and any tool that allows them to police speech by students is bound to be abused.

  14. 14
    Mary G says:

    I live half a mile from the Pacific ocean in the liberal paradise of California, and my 14-year-old housemate was told he would “have to go back to Mexico, you BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP” at high school this week. He was born here and his family’s nationality is Guatemalan. It’s everywhere. They just used to keep it amongst themselves better.

    ETA: @schrodingers_cat: He’s getting one of two passes. Probably most of the argument is who gets the other one.

    ETA 2 * in Gomer Pyle voice * Surprise, surprise, surprise:

    NEW from @eliseviebeck & me: Rep. Trey Gowdy, Benghazi panel settled wrongful firing suit with $150,000 in public funds— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) December 1, 2017

  15. 15
    Tom Levenson says:

    @dmsilev: Oh, I know. I grew up in Berkeley, but my dad was raised about eight blocks from where I live now. It isn’t that I had any doubt that shit exists here; I did believe that social pressure would keep it from slipping out in public like this. Not any more.

  16. 16
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: In this case you have a current student, w. two slightly older kids, directly targeting another student. That doesn’t get a pass anywhere.

  17. 17
    daverave says:

    I lived in Brookline on Comm Ave for a year right out of college. Then the Blizzard of ’78 happened and I moved permanently to the Peoples Republic of California in the diverse, liberal bastion of Sacramento. Other than the woman I married, the best move of my life. However I am not so blind as to think that there is not racism here too right below the surface.

  18. 18
    Peter H Desmond says:

    a better date for Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series of paintings would be 1940-41.

    half are at the MOMA in NY, and the other half at the Phillips in DC:


  19. 19
    chris says:

    Huh, I remember when BHS had 50 black students out of 1200. They came every morning on a school bus. Guess things haven’t changed as much as we’d like to believe.

  20. 20
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Peter H Desmond: Thanks. Will correct.

  21. 21
    bluehill says:

    @Mary G: Humans being human. Hatred will never go away. Just hope that societal tolerance for such behavior continues to go down. Unfortunately, as Trump is proving, tolerance can ebb and flow. Gives me newfound appreciation for all the good vs. evil stories. Battles may be won, but the war is never over. Winter is coming, but so is spring.

  22. 22
    Kay says:

    @Amaranthine RBG:

    attacking specific students of color at the school in the worst,

    Really? That isn’t a school issue? Children live in school. They spend more time there than anywhere else. If you drew a line around where they “live” school would be second only to home.

    Here’s the basic rule and it’s not that difficult. They have to act like decent human beings towards other people because they ALL have an absolute right to be there. The right to create and post racist videos targeting specific students is trumped by the rights of those targeted students to go to school without racist smears.

    The snowflakes will just have to suck it up. They come SECOND in this instance. Not first.

  23. 23
    Mary G says:

    Huzzah! Keep the pressure on, guys. All weekend 24/7. #Kill the Bill

    We won’t be voting on the tax bill tonight, so keep making those calls and posting those tweets! Make sure your Senators hear from you about how this horrible tax plan could affect you or your family, then tell them to vote NO.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 1, 2017

  24. 24
    TenguPhule says:

    This is one of those days I hope there’s an afterlife so that our current leaders can hang with Satan till the last proton decays.

    Dude, what did Satan do to deserve that kind of torment?!

  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    With flamethrowers, if necessary.

    We still have stocks of napalm, right?

  26. 26
    debbie says:

    Boston: Home of both the 1974 busing riots and home of the J Geils Band.

  27. 27
    Doug R says:

    @Felonius Monk: The generic ballot is D+11.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Two more to go.

  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:

    @Doug R: Unfortunately we aren’t running anyone named Generic on the ballots.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    I could never prove it but I hear lots and lots of racist trash here in Trump Country and I absolutely believe they are more aggressive with it since the giant douchebag validated their hurt feelings.

    Schools put all this earnest effort into anti-bullying – it really is better now than people can’t beat the shit out of other people with impunity- meanwhile, the President of the United States sets a LOUSY example every fucking day.

  31. 31

    If they have the votes what’s the fucking delay about?

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat: They may still be writing the actual bill.

  33. 33
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @dmsilev: I was in an on line argument once with the guy who claimed to do discovered the Double Helix, and gods, is that man a racists, sexist toad. His entire position was “I have a nobel prize so don’t question met”

  34. 34
    Emma says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Who’s talking about off-campus? These cases are happening in school and disrupting studies. At the very least civility is required to teach and to learn!

  35. 35
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    I had this recent case in mind:

    One student posted some horrifically racist comments on Instagram, some other students “liked” the post, and others just followed the instagram account. All were disciplined.

    I understand that discipline for off-campus activities is routine, that is what is so troubling about it. Yes, schools need to be able to control students to some degree during instruction but the idea that reprehensible, non-violent, non-criminal conduct committed outside of school property is grounds for discipline seems problematic, to me.

    Yes, this is far lesser evil than racism, but it is still real.

  36. 36
    MoxieM says:

    I heard this story on WBUR. It pissed me off violently. I used to live in Brookline, eons ago, and one of the very best things (besides Kupels Bagels) was the incredibly wide racial, ethnic, and (so rare) even social class diversity there.

    I believe that last is gone, sigh. I would live there now if I could afford it. But this high school-aged racist assault shit has got to stop. Bad enough that vile adults insult and assault kids. (And, guess where the bad kids learn it?). Shit.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Another Scott says:

    @schrodingers_cat: They haven’t written the bill yet.


    Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) said Friday that Democrats had received a list of amendments to the Republican tax reform legislation from outside lobbyists instead of their Republican colleagues.

    “This is so bad. We have just gotten list of amendments to be included in bill NOT from our R colleagues, but from lobbyists downtown,” the senator tweeted ahead of a likely Friday vote on the bill.

    McCaskill and other Senate Democrats have repeatedly criticized Republicans over their handling of the tax bill, arguing it is mostly being written behind closed doors.

    The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on the legislation late Friday. A number of changes are likely to be made to the bill before final passage, however. Republicans are expected to offer a “manager’s” amendment that would reflect those changes.

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that Democrats have already had plenty of time to review the bill during the four days of committee hearings, and that they would be sufficiently familiar with most of the final version’s provisions when it went to a vote.

    Senate Republican leaders said Friday that they had the votes to pass the landmark legislation.

    Several Republicans have signed on to the measure, including Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.), who won a concession related to deductions for pass-through businesses; and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who won a concession on deductions for medical expenses and property taxes.

    See the link for an image of the various amendments (which mostly sound horrible just from the handful of words present). The Teabaggers are trying to load it up with goodies to buy votes, and hope the House goes along…

    It’s still not over.


  39. 39
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @TenguPhule: hastily written legislation leads to drafting errors. I expect a lot of tort to emerge from this mess.

  40. 40
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @japa21: :

    My son teaches at a Catholic college prep school in Chicago.

    May I ask which one? My elder son went to one of those.

  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    So, I naturally assumed sexual harassment when I read the first half of this tweet

    Josh Billinson‏Verified account @ jbillinson
    Trey Gowdy used “$150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle with a former aide who alleged he was fired in part because he was not willing to focus his investigative work on Hillary Clinton.”

  42. 42
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer:

    them mention their parents being Trump supporters (the fuck???)

    The Chines I work with voted for him, they refused to vote for an ex-president’s wife. To them balanet nepotism is worse than blatant idiot.

  43. 43
    Fair Economist says:

    @TenguPhule: In 2006, we had a generic ballot of +11.5, and an actual result of +7.9. That is about what it would take to win the House, so the current generic ballot polling would give us about a 50% chance of winning the House.

    I expect the polls will trend even more to us with the fallout from the tax deform bill, whether it passes or fails, and also as the Mueller investigation proceeds.

  44. 44
    kdaug says:

    A special sneer at your fellow north-dwellers who point at the “southern racist”.

    Fuck off. The call is coming from in your house.

  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:

    The Senate regrets passing this bill providing for an asteroid to strike the middle class

    Look, the Senate GOP wishes very much that it did not have to pass this bill providing for the entire middle class to assemble outdoors and be struck by an immense meteor, but it is important that they not close the year without any legislative accomplishments.

    The bill has been the subject of heated debate. On the one hand, millions of people will be struck by a giant rock from space, which will probably make for some close midterms and heated town halls back home, in those towns that survive. On the other hand, are the tax cuts for corporations (also included in the bill) sufficiently large? On the one hand, people like the middle class and do not want them to suffer, and destroying their homes with a gigantic rock (which would also, curiously, trigger cuts to Medicare) does not seem like something that will help them. On the other hand, you have to show that you’re using your time in the Senate for something. Everyone can agree that a meteor is something.

    Lisa Murkowski opposed the bill on the grounds that, while having a large rock from space smite her constituents sounds bad, the bill also did not include any provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If the middle class is being struck by a space rock, she argued, why leave the wildlife to languish for decades until natural deaths claim them?

    Steven Mnuchin insisted that a Treasury Department analysis said the asteroid would produce unprecedented growth and would inspire America’s corporations to create jobs like never before. Literally, never. When asked to produce the analysis, he ate a slip of paper and jumped through a window.

    John McCain courageously delivered an eight-hour speech in which he invoked the principles of the Founders in ringing terms to explain that once the meteor entered Earth’s atmosphere, it would be a meteorite, and he was ashamed that the language of the bill did not reflect that. (Otherwise, he had no concerns). This was startling to some people who remembered a time he had spoken fondly of the middle class and negatively about asteroids, but then again, maybe he did not mean it.

    Not the Onion.

  46. 46
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Yes racism is, like, really really bad, but

    Steve, as always, like, thanks for keepin’ it, like, real.

    Really, really real.

  47. 47
    Peter H Desmond says:

    tom, you’re welcome. i am glad that you post interesting art in your stories.

    @Tom Levenson:

  48. 48
    Fair Economist says:


    hastily written legislation leads to drafting errors. I expect a lot of tort to emerge from this mess.

    Oh, this bill will be a huge hot mess if it passes. It’ll be shot through with errors, as you say. It will be full of submarine provisions snuck in by lobbyists and staffers. And of course the overall goal of making the rich richer at everybody else’s expense is evil and destructive. This will be a total disaster. A lot of the Republican legislators must know this and I don’t understand why they are so eager to pass it.

  49. 49
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yes, that’s him. at lest lest I think so, he was using the pseudonym and I noticed the biologists were treating him like a creepy uncle.

  50. 50
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I know that guy. (Had lunch w. him a couple of times.) I greeted him by telling him I was the quasi nephew of Rosalind Franklin. Hilarity ensued.

  51. 51
    Amaranthine RBG says:


    I’m just saying there is a tension between students’ rights to speech and the school’s need to provide instruction in a safe, non-disruptive environment. Take a look at the case I linked to that involved _off-campus_ speech.

    Here’s the thing: Suppose Student A post on Instagram that Student B is a filthy XXXX but never says anything directly to Student B on school grounds. Many administrators believe that would subject A to discipline. Okay, you can agree or disagree with that. Now suppose Student C presents administrators a video of A saying the same thing off campus somewhere. Discipline?

    The idea that students are subject to discipline for saying stupid, racist, offensive crap off school grounds is an invitation for abuse.

  52. 52
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Fair Economist:

    I expect the polls will trend even more to us with the fallout from the tax deform bill, whether it passes or fails, and also as the Mueller investigation proceeds.

    We will need to factor the Puerto Rico War into it.

  53. 53
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Mary G: Here in “liberal” NY my great niece got i to some trouble on the school bus the morning after the election. Some little a**hole told her she’d have to go back to Mexico now. she did not take it well and it was ludicrous as she is Scots and German & a few other European things on her mother’s side and Native American on her Dad’s. Anyway her 10 year old self told him her father’s people were here before any of his (the kid’s) family came here stealing all the land and destroying the environment, the kid called her an opprobrious epitaph and our girl threw a punch. School tried to suspend her but her mother said the hell, you will. Principal: We cannot condone violence. Her Mom: I see. You can, however, condone racism and misogyny. You will not suspend my kid if the one who started it remanis in school. We will not keep quiet about this. Upshot was nobody got suspended and the young twerp who started the whole thing had his parents called in somewhat belatedly. Apparently they just couldn’t IMAGINE where he picked up such a thing.

  54. 54
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Amaranthine RBG:

    The idea that students are subject to discipline for saying stupid, racist, offensive crap off school grounds is an invitation for abuse.

    Yes, is is an invitation for abuse; an invitation to abuse racist scumbags. Sounds good to me.

  55. 55
    debbie says:

    The other Theresa May is still waiting for an apology from Trump.

  56. 56
    bystander says:

    Coming up on my 50th high school reunion. My class was blue collar, inner city, 75/25 white-to-black mix. I’ve thought about asking my classmates how their view of race has evolved.

    Meanwhile I’m wishing I owned the Immodium concession in DC. And I can watch Flynn running to the chants of Lock Him Up on an endless loop.

  57. 57
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Alas, you are pretty much wrong.

    Every K-12 school I have contact with (public and private) has a Code of Conduct which specifically mentions cyberbullying, hate speech, and off-campus behavior (primarily bullying) that impacts the campus in any negative way. Every Uni has the implicit “you embarass us, you’re history” clause in your acceptance.

    You’re allowed to be an asshole. You’re not immune from the consequences of being one.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    Shana says:

    @Peter H Desmond: And both institutions had exhibits in the last couple of years with the complete series. It was wonderful to see it all together with both the old and new descriptions.

  60. 60
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Doug R:

    The generic ballot is D+11.

    I hear you, but until those D+11’s are sworn into office, it don’t mean shite.

  61. 61
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:


    I’ve thought about asking my classmates how their view of race has evolved.

    I’d advise you not to do that. Dinner would probably be pretty awkward afterwards.

  62. 62
    Mary G says:


    UPDATE: We just got a copy of what I think is the last-minute amendment to the bill. It's 479 pages long. An unsearchable PDF with handwriting all over it. This is the new tax code. To be voted on by the US Senate in just hours.— Seth Hanlon (@SethHanlon) December 1, 2017

  63. 63
    cosima says:

    Under the heading of it can happen anywhere:

    1) My daughter (the oldest) sent me some messages over the past two days — she lives in rural XX, in the midst of some very well-to-do folks, outskirts of a lawschool university town, but in an area that also has a huge amount of poverty & drug problems — so, turns out the VP at the school that she’s been teaching at, the one that’s been creeping on her since she started, was busted for videoing girls in the bathroom, for child porn, etc. They imagined they lived in a bubble — they don’t.

    2) We lived not far from our current lovely Scottish village in a very uppity enclave while we leased & looked for a home to buy. That little enclave, with median incomes of well over £100k/year (prob closer to £200), was notorious — one of the homeowners had been killed by his son & stuffed in the rubbish bin, not found for months. The neighbours (we were not living there until a few years after), when they saw the crime tape, thought it might be drugs, but apparently said ‘that doesn’t happen here!’

    3) In our new idyllic village? The guys at the chip shop were dealing drugs and using the money to fund a terrorist cell somewhere. Our neighbour is a police officer, so I know this to be true.

    Everything — drugs, murder, terrorism, pornography, and most definitely racism — happens everywhere.

  64. 64
    Yarrow says:

    This could get interesting.

    #BreakingNews: #Israel Channel 2 says police is determined to indict the Prime Minister (Netanyahu) on range of charges, including corruption— Meir Javedanfar (@MeirJa) December 1, 2017

  65. 65
    B.B.A. says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Sexual harassment is just a distraction from Benghazi.

  66. 66
    Tom Levenson says:

    @MoxieM: There is still some social class diversity. A rough, imprecise measure: 14.4% of BHS students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.

    It’s been a more-wealthy-than-Boston enclave for a long time. And its proximity to the Harvard medical area and the finance jobs downtown (not to mention both the big Cambridge universities) means that a lot of upper-middle-class folks live here. But it hasn’t gone full San Francisco yet.

  67. 67
    cosima says:

    @Yarrow: I look forward to that.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Not necessarily the only shoe to drop. I have no inside knowledge, just sayin.

  70. 70
    B.B.A. says:

    @Peter H Desmond: Maurice Wilkins gets short shrift yet again. All four of them should’ve shared the Nobel (yes, even the execrable Watson), but they aren’t allowed to be awarded posthumously.

  71. 71
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @japa21: That’s where my son went! He got a good education and was very happy there.

    ETA: Just realized he graduated (gulp!) 15 years ago. Boy am I old.

  72. 72
    Quinerly says:

    This made me smile…HRC on Matt Lauer…”every day I believe more in karma.”

  73. 73
    Mary G says:

    @Mary G: This tweet has a picture of one of the pages of the just-released text:

    I wish I were making this up. This is the version of the #GOPTaxScam the Senate votes on tonight. Handwritten text up and down the margins.— Chad Bolt (@chadderr) December 1, 2017

    Real professional legislating there, McConnell.

    I don’t think they have the votes. Maybe I’m fooling myself, but hope endures.

  74. 74
    japa21 says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Good school. My son has some issues with administration (what teacher doesn’t) but holds his fellow teachers in high esteem. When did your son go there?
    ETA: Just read your ETA. That was before my son started, but I still feel old.

  75. 75
    debbie says:


    Life can not be that good.

  76. 76
    O. Felix Culpa says:


    This made me smile…HRC on Matt Lauer…”every day I believe more in karma.”

    Makes me smile too. Happy to see HRC vindicated, more and more every day.

  77. 77
    japa21 says:

    @Mary G: You can’t even make out some of the words. This is a mess.

  78. 78
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: and if you ever went over to Ask a Manager, you would see that ADULTS get disciplined at work for what they say and do outside of work. Actions have consequences, you blithering idiot.

  79. 79
    Heidi Mom says:

    @bluehill: @bluehill: That was my take-away from “No Country for Old Men” — evil can never be stamped out, so one generation after another needs to take up the fight against it.

  80. 80
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @japa21: Graduated in 2002. I remember it because of the palindromic year.

  81. 81
    Peter H Desmond says:

    @Shana: nice!

  82. 82
    debbie says:

    @Mary G:

    I think it’s going to take longer than overnight to transcribe all those handwritten edits.

  83. 83
    delk says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: I almost went there 40 some years ago! Ended up at Quigley.

  84. 84
    debbie says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    She’s right. Karma always wins out.

  85. 85
    ruemara says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer: I’ve said this before, but for many non-black POC, they’ve been extremely white adjacent and have absorbed a lot of anti-black prejudices (Thanks, media!). They’re now discovering “white adjacent” is still “NOT FUCKING WHITE”.

  86. 86
    Heidi Mom says:

    @MoxieM: Isn’t Michael Dukakis from Brookline? He seems like the epitome of a decent human being.

  87. 87
    ruemara says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Douche. That is racism. It should get a negative response. It should cost them something. It doesn’t have to be an action to cause harm. Imbecile.

  88. 88
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @delk: And yet you survived. :)

  89. 89
    Baud says:

    @Quinerly: That is awesome.

  90. 90
    Baud says:

    @Mary G: I don’t understand why they don’t have to score the new bill under the Byrd Rule.

  91. 91
    O. Felix Culpa says:


    white adjacent

    That’s a new term to me and seems apt. Lots of not AA non-Caucasians are finding that their honorary white status is tenuous these days.

  92. 92
    MomSense says:

    I lived in Brookline after college and enjoyed the community very much so this saddens me. Hate to say that I’m not surprised but in my experience racism is everywhere – we’ve all been marinating in racist culture our whole lives.

  93. 93
    germy says:

    NEW: As chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy used $150,000 in taxpayer money to settle with a former aide who was fired in part because he was not willing to focus his investigative work on Hillary Clinton.— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) December 1, 2017

  94. 94
    TenguPhule says:


    I don’t understand why they don’t have to score the new bill under the Byrd Rule.

    What part of Republicans need a win wasn’t explained to you? //

  95. 95
    LurkerNoLonger says:

    @Mary G: McConnell is bad at his job. And he’s ugly too. Any Republican who votes for this (literal) mess is just embarrassing themselves.

  96. 96
    bupalos says:

    Sorry Tom. When it comes home, it comes home. I’ve chosen to live in a little tiny island amid a sea of Trumpishness (we had other names for it before Trump, but now…) and I know that feeling of intrusion intimately.

    One thing I sure wish folks “on our side” would do as a rule is not list off the -phobias and -isms without a additional statement of summation: “and any other doctrine or mindset that divides and degrades the human family.” I think we on the left are often not as good as we need to be on making clear where we come from and allow the right to make it about teams.

  97. 97
    Mary G says:

    “I’m so insulted when people say that lawmaking is like sausage making,” said Stanley A. Feder, president of Simply Sausage, whose plant here turns out 60,000 pounds of links a year.— Sarah Binder (@bindersab) December 1, 2017

  98. 98
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    General Flynn‏ @GenFlynn

    We are going to win and win and win at everything we do. It is going to be tough, but Team Trump-Pence will #MAGA 🇺🇸🍀🏄

    7:33 PM – 1 Dec 2016

    722 replies 4,872 retweets 9,939 likes

  99. 99
    Felonius Monk says:

    @bupalos: Seconded.

  100. 100
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    DOn’t know if it will make a difference, but… Go Portland!

    Dan McCarthy‏ @ DanMcWGME
    #DEVELOPING – Protests underway outside of @SenatorCollins Portland office, following her decision to back the #GOP #TaxReform bill WGME

  101. 101
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:
    Well, Flynn sure is making America great again. Just not the way he thought he would be a year ago.

  102. 102
    Fair Economist says:

    This is one page of an amendment to the bill the Senate is voting on:

    It has hundreds of pages with handwritten notes. Some of it illegible, at least at this reduction. Obviously not proofread or analyzed by *anybody*.

    This is going to be a nuclear disaster if it passes.

  103. 103
    VincentN says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    and if you ever went over to Ask a Manager, you would see that ADULTS get disciplined at work for what they say and do outside of work.

    Hold on, now. Should adults be fired for what they do outside of work? Wasn’t there a woman who was fired from her job because she flipped off Trump while cycling? Yes, at-will employment means you can be terminated for any reason but I’ve always been disturbed by some employers monitoring their employees’ social media and having morality clauses in their contracts and the like. Do we want employers having that much control over their employees’ off-work lives? Obviously, if they’ve committed a crime then that’s different but you shouldn’t be fired because you posted drunken pictures of yourself on Facebook from a Halloween party.

    As far as children go… well, kids have fewer rights than adults and discipline and education of what is and isn’t appropriate behavior isn’t the same as expulsion. There is a potential for school administrators to go overboard being morality police. See school dress code stories for examples of principals making absurd decisions. But I don’t see there being a problem in this type of instance of cracking down on racism and bullying that actually would affect the school and other students.

  104. 104
    TenguPhule says:

    @Fair Economist:

    This is going to be a nuclear disaster if it passes.

    You sound optimistic. //

  105. 105
    ruemara says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: It’s useful when you need to understand racism between POC, like often AA rights are achieved so they can be used as “model minorities” and praised for hard work as the real issue for every other race with problems. Then you can also look at colorism within the AA community for Laotian, Cambodian, Tibetan & Ainu discrimination and abuse by Chinese & Japanese majorities. In discussing the issues of abuse and support for black women in the black community, Rod from The Black Guy Who Tips said black men were the white men of their group and that for most of these minority groups that align with anti-blackness, they are used to being the white people of their countries. I wasn’t fully sure of it, but since I have a long history of friends and contacts within many minority groups, I had to think about the discussions they’ve had as brown asians and how their families, including ones who survived American internment, largely voted for Trump for interning Muslims. Everyone has to face up to their prejudices and the fall out. I’m sad to see how it’s come about, but at least the conversation between non-black POC and black POC has largely been one of amplifying each other and encouraging each other in working on things

  106. 106
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Heidi Mom: Yes and yes.

  107. 107
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Fair Economist: some would argue this is the point. Democrats need to push all three angles: bad policy, bad politics, bad process.

    The Republicans want the Congress to be a Politburo for Exalted Leader Trump and the cadre of right wing billionaires who bankroll all of them.

  108. 108
    Fair Economist says:


    Democrats need to push all three angles: bad policy, bad politics, bad process.

    They seem to be doing just that. I’ve seen and heard critiques on all three angles from top Democrats.

  109. 109
    Emma says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: No. Off campus is not an administrator’s place. No matter what happens. Unless it is a threat of violence in which case the cops should be called immediately.

  110. 110
  111. 111
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @ruemara: This is helpful. Thank you.

  112. 112
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:


    Obviously, if they’ve committed a crime then that’s different but you shouldn’t be fired because you posted drunken pictures of yourself on Facebook from a Halloween party.

    Perhaps they shouldn’t have posted those pictures in the first place.

  113. 113
    Yarrow says:

    Let it be so.

    Now may be a good time to remind people that there are NO WORDS in the Constitution that would legally prevent Special Counsel Mueller from indicting a sitting @POTUS. #MuellerTime— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 1, 2017

  114. 114
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    So someone who can’t distinguish between a government run school where students attend per compulsory education laws one one hand and a private employer on the other is calling me a blithering idiot? Okey dokey. Right back at cha.

    @ruemara: And you’re thinking that governmental authority is dandy as long as it is directed at content you dislike? I guess it never occurred to you that school officials might not share your political views. Tell me more about being an imbecile.


    I agree. I believe all of the conduct in Tom’s post, and certainly all of the conduct in the story to which I linked occurred off campus. That’s the problem.

  115. 115


    at-will employment means you can be terminated for any reason

    I mean, any legal reason. Political affiliation is a protected category in California for instance.

  116. 116
    Yarrow says:

    They’re just now figuring this out?

    Jared Kushner can't pass his security clearance investigation, officials say— Newsweek (@Newsweek) December 1, 2017

  117. 117
    ruemara says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Yes, you’re an imbecile. You think racist comments are about politics. You, once again, lack any sense. Racism isn’t about politics, and making an environment where there is no consequences for racist speech creates a dangerous environment at the school itself. They can talk about it at home, but when they start sharing it and broadcasting it, it sets up an environment that can be toxic. You are not thinking about that.

  118. 118
    The Lodger says:

    @Heidi Mom: Also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy in 1917.

  119. 119
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Amaranthine RBG:

    Um, the Supreme Court of the United States held that a school can punish a student for wearing a t-shirt that administrators don’t like while off campus. I didn’t agree with that opinion, but it is the current law of the land.

  120. 120

    Who is the most useless political analyst on TV.
    I vote for Mark of the ten jowls Shields. If the tax bill passes it is going to be Ds fault if the deficits explode.

  121. 121
    Amaranthine RBG says:


    You don’t even understand what the competing issues at stake are here.

    I’m done with you.

  122. 122
    Yarrow says:

    @Mary G: Unfortunately that tweet from Sen. Gillibrand was written last night. They are voting on the bill tonight.

  123. 123
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: But they’re all good with blatant sexism. That’s always on the menu. Not singling them out, but Hillz wasn’t a case of nepotism. I remember when Bill ran the first time. And I remember we were -all- excited that we got Hillary too. She’s been a national politican and public servant for a long, long time.

    But yeah, I get it: sexism never goes outta style.

  124. 124
    debbie says:

    This is great! The Daily Show released this Yule log video of Flynn’s “Lock Her Up!” speech at the GOP Convention.

  125. 125
    Chet Murthy says:

    @kdaug: Y’know, you’re right and also wrong. Yes, there’s racism in the North. OTOH, they don’t hook black men to the back of pickup trucks and drive until their bodies disintegrate. They don’t hang young black men from trees for consorting with a white woman. For myself, I’ll say that when I lived in Texas, I would have *never* been seen in public holding the hand of a white woman. Even as a teenager, that was clear, clear, CLEAR. I mean, I wanted to live.

  126. 126
    Mary G says:

    @Yarrow: I know, I requested it be deleted, but it wasn’t. I saw the date but overlooked the time.

  127. 127
    sukabi says:

    @TenguPhule: Petri’s serving up quite a dish.

  128. 128
    lgerard says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    That was a Scalia special with his typical specious reasoning wasn’t it?

  129. 129
    Ruckus says:

    They lied about having the votes? Just a wild guess.
    They have a slim margin and this crap is so bad (and still being made worse it seems) that they have to keep it secret otherwise even the staunchest republican crapheads couldn’t vote for it. There is no way they don’t understand how bad this is. They are stupid, evil and just plain assholes. But they can’t be this stupid and not forget how to breathe.

  130. 130
    Emma says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Mind you, I don’t like it. We have to devise some form of social sanctions for people spreading hate. But I grew up in a Chicago working class neighborhood where immigrants were not really accepted AND each immigrant group looked at the others with suspicion. The school ruthlessly stomped on anyone who was in any way different. So I’m never happy to give school administrators too much power.

  131. 131
    sukabi says:

    @Fair Economist: there are at least $400,000 reasons…which is actually a very small number when you consider how much they are taking from the average Joe, and how much they are giving to the extremely wealthy and corporations.

  132. 132
    chris says:

    Tester is pissed, with video.

    I was just handed a 479-page tax bill a few hours before the vote. One page literally has hand scribbled policy changes on it that can’t be read. This is Washington, D.C. at its worst. Montanans deserve so much better.— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) December 2, 2017

  133. 133
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Doug R: There’s this big split in the polls for generic House ballot: most of the live phone polls say it’s about D+11 and all the Internet-based polls say it’s about D+6 or 7. There may be a social desirability bias operating.

  134. 134
    Timurid says:


    That was my family. I grew up in the PoC kiddie pool, but now that pool is full of sharks.

  135. 135
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tom Levenson, trust me, our children our better than we are. My youngest recently related to me a conversation in which he, a blond haired, blue eyed, Caucasian was told he was not “white” by a black man. This is the same child who once turned around in a McDonald’s and said to a cop, “My Pop’s black!” at which point the cop looked at his very dark complected and kinky haired but blue eyed and blond haired father and said…..

    Not a damn thing.

    I’m a little bit proud of that.

  136. 136
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @chris: We’ll see which way he votes.

  137. 137
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Fair Economist:

    This will be a total disaster. A lot of the Republican legislators must know this and I don’t understand why they are so eager to pass it.

    They’ve been told in no uncertain terms that if they don’t pass it, the money guys will destroy them in the next primary. It’s a certainty of being knocked out in the primary versus a possible defeat in the general election (in many districts, surely not even that), and they’re playing the odds.

  138. 138
    ruemara says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Good. Sense & morality are done with you.

  139. 139
    J R in WV says:


    Oh, really? So when kids wait to beat up the snotty black kid who busted the curve in math class, that’s none of the school administration’s business if it’s a block away from the school? Really?


  140. 140
    VincentN says:

    @ Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) :

    Perhaps they shouldn’t have posted those pictures in the first place.

    I mean, the whole point I was making is that you should be able to do stupid stuff like that in your private life and not have it affect your employment. What if someone took a picture of you at a protest rally and then your employer canned you for it? Would you simply say you shouldn’t have been at that rally? Or they find out a female employee uses birth control and fires her because the CEO is anti-contraceptive?

  141. 141
    gene108 says:


    and have absorbed a lot of anti-black prejudices (Thanks, media!).

    They did not absorb them. A lot of them had them, when they got off the boat.

    There are variations in darkness among Asians, and lighter skin wins out as desirable.

    Add to that mass media depicting Africans, and their descendants, as prone to commit crimes, and there you go.

    Also, a lot of Asians, who come here are upper crust back home, either by wealth or caste or other social grouping, so they are used to be the group that people defer to and gravitate to that group here.

  142. 142
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: public employers as well as private employers, sunshine. If you don’t like it, get the laws changed.

  143. 143
  144. 144
    Manyakitty says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yeah, he’s been a problem.

  145. 145
    Manyakitty says:

    @Tom Levenson: That’s awesome! I’m naming my next female cat after her.

  146. 146
    Ithink says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Amen brother! I was one of those (colored) kids who was ALWAYS on the receiving end of this nonsense growing up, so…

  147. 147
    NotMax says:

    Reading this makes me recall Darryl Williams, someone we ought never, never forget.

  148. 148
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    @ruemara: Definitely. It’s scary how many Non-white people buy into racist BS. I’ve known some Koreans who had terribly racist views. A Colombian ex co-worker who was super racist. And even the lady that I used to sit next to at work, who was from Nigeria, but was always quick to parrot anti-black stereotypes about American Black people. It’s a real problem for organizing too as locally we have a noticeable divide between Immigration and BLM/Police Reform etc. A police reform group I am a part of has discussed the need for coalition building but there is a whole lot of animosity between the Black and Latinx communities here. It’s getting better with more people adopting truly Intersectional mindsets but we have a LONG way to go. I also work with CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) and the same problem exists there. We have Unitarians, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc., but almost nobody from Black, Mexican or Asian-American churches.

  149. 149

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