I’m Ok With Cameras Being Installed in the NYC Subway System

Among the many concerns of those of us who ride the NYC subways, safety is at or near the top.

Last week, it was announced that every car in the system will have cameras installed in them by 2025. I’m ok with that.

I understand the arguments about big brother and the long list of fixes that need to be made to the system. However, when riders feel that they can get where they need to go without being assaulted, that can go a long way in bringing back people who are afraid of getting on the train.

About a year and a half ago, I was attacked by someone who clearly had issues. I won’t go into details, but I will say that it left an emotional scar that still exists to this day. I’m ok now, but the memory is burned into my brain. I later saw a story on the news that he went after an elderly couple not far from where he went after me. I don’t know or remember if the police ever caught him. But if the camera had been there, perhaps that couple would have gotten to their destination unmolested.

The only problem is that the cameras will not be live, which I think is a mistake.

There are things in our day-to-day experience that are necessary, as much as we dislike them. One of these things is these cameras, which may end up saving someone’s life or catch a potential criminal before they end up doing greater damage.

Bart Simpson GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Letitia James and Fani Willis may be the Ones Who Save Us From You Know Who

It has been said that where there is smoke, there is fire. If that is true, there has been smoke coming out of a famous NYC building owned by you know who for a very long time.

Earlier this week, New York state Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James announced that she has filed a lawsuit against he who shall not be named, and his three eldest children. In short, it claims that their namesake organization and its leadership have been committing financial fraud as a standard business model for years.

Of course, his response was a racist slur. Which we have learned over the years is par for the course.

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has pulled together a grand jury investigation. The purpose is to determine if he and his supporters violated state laws in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

Starts at 1:15

As pointed out in yesterday’s episode of the podcast The New Abnormal (which starts at 5:19), both James and Willis are African American women. I think it speaks to where this country is going politically. These women understand that if they don’t stand up for what is right and the rule of law, there is a chance that no one will.

The only way to shut down a bully is to beat them at their own game. The former President is a bully. Until it is made crystal clear that he and his cronies are not above the law, they will continue to act with impunity.

DeSantis and Abbott Should be Charged With Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is both a crime against humanity and a crime in the United States. At the same time, it is not against the law to ask for asylum in this nation. Immigration has been the backbone of this country since its founding. And yet, there are some who want to restrict who can enter the US.

Over the last few weeks, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have been using tax dollars to ship South American migrants to blue states. Not knowing where they were going, they were expecting that jobs were waiting for them when they reached their final destination. Instead, the locations they arrived in (New York City for the migrants sent from Texas and Martha’s Vineyard for the migrants sent from Florida), the local officials were not aware or prepared for the new arrivals. As of this past weekend, NYC is looking at the possibility of taking legal action against Abbott.

This goes back to what we all know. Serious reform of our immigration policy is necessary. The most recent change was a decade ago with DACA. While DACA was a huge step forward, it does not solve the overall issue. The problem is made worse by our current political climate, which has at best led to mostly partisan legislation and at worst, created a deadlock that cannot be overcome.

I think the answer to the question should be yes. They have broken the law and like anyone who has been accused of a crime, should have their day in court. But only time will tell if this comes to pass.

Immigration Policy Equality GIF by Creative Courage - Find & Share on GIPHY

P.S.: A woman who was among the over 10,000 migrants bused from Texas to New York killed herself on Monday. Abbott has blood on his hands.

Thoughts on the New “You Do You” MTA Masking Policy

Since March of 2020, masks have been part of our everyday lives. It’s almost like another limb or body part by now. If I leave my home without it, I get the feeling that I am missing something.

On September 8th, the NYC MTA announced the new policy on masking entitled “You Do You“. Essentially, it is a personal choice as to whether or not to put on the mask when on the bus or the train.

I understand why the decision was made. As time has gone on, many of us have gotten tired of the preventative measures that we took seriously just a short time ago. It has become harder to Let’s be honest, masks can be uncomfortable and a pain in the ass, especially if you wear glasses.

However, we also know that the virus is still with us. Too many are getting sick and dying from the disease. Even though we know that the vaccine is safe and more importantly, saves lives, many Americans still refuse to get the shot.

For the time being, I will continue to wear my mask. Not just for me, but for everyone else around me.

Broad City GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I Have Mixed Feelings About the NY Times Article on Hasidic Education

One of the many rights that a parent has is to determine how their child should be educated. That being said, if the young person is not able to function as an adult because their academic experience was lacking, then something must be done to fix it.

Last Sunday, the New York Times released a rather scathing report on the status of education in the Hasidic Jewish community. Written by Eliza Shapiro and Brian M. Rosenthal, the article accused many schools (boys schools to be specific) of taking state funds and not using them to ensure that the students receive at the very least, basic secular learning.

Both The Brian Lehrer Show and Unorthodox (start at 15:46) addressed the findings. Before I go any further, I have to advise on two points:

  1. I am not an alumnus of any of these institutions. I was sent to public school during the day and attended Hebrew school in the afternoon. Obviously, I cannot speak from personal experience.
  2. In the Hasidic world, men are expected to become religious scholars. It is the women who earn traditional degrees and later a paycheck while taking care of the family.

    I understand the purpose of educating the next generation in a faith-based setting (particularly when that faith is a minority). It is important to know the language, traditions, and history of one’s family. I also know that public education in this country is not up to par.

    However, the accusations made can be seen as antisemitic. It does not matter that the reporters could be of the same religion as the subjects of the story. Even if the state and the city were lax in doing their own follow-up, the idea that these communities were using the money improperly only adds to lies about my co-religionists and the hate-based crimes. On top of that, the Times does not exactly have a history of having journalistic integrity when it comes to my religion.

    Regardless of one’s perspective, this topic is bound to be controversial. I just wish that the truth, whatever it is, comes to a conclusion that allows young people to receive the classroom experience they deserve.

    Its Been 21 Years Since September 11th and it Still Hurts

    There are some moments that are so seared into our memories that it is impossible to forget, even if we try to.

    Today is the 21st anniversary of September 11th. Though it has been more than two decades since that day, the pain and grief are both still fresh. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t help but shed a few tears.

    The one thing I will always remember about that period is that for a brief moment, we were one people. It did not matter where one lived, who one voted for, or which deity one prayed to (if they believed in a deity in the first place). It only mattered that nearly 3000 innocent lives were taken by hate.

    Given what is going on in the world right now, I wish that we would remember that unity for more than just one day. I wish that we would remember that we are all our sibling’s keepers. These days, we are divided by external factors and by some who take advantage of those divisions for personal or political gain.

    May the memories of the victims, the first responders who died in the years since then due to the toxins from the wreckage, and those who gave their lives fighting against terrorism be a blessing. Z”l.

    Never Forget Nyc GIF by INTO ACTION - Find & Share on GIPHY

    How Many More Anti-Jewish Crimes Will be Committed Before Something is Done?

    Antisemitism is a very real thing. Nearly a century after the Holocaust, the same lies and hatred that killed 6 million Jews have once more found new life.

    On August 20th, Eyal Haddad, a French Jew of Tunisian descent, was murdered with an axe by a Muslim neighbor. His body was burned and mutilated. Just like Sarah Halimi in 2017, the only reason why he was killed was that he was a member of the Jewish faith.

    Yesterday, an Orthodox Jewish man in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was hit over a parking spot. The young man who hit him threatened to find his victim again and repeat his actions.

    I find both events to be extremely frustrating. In regards to the murder of Mr. Haddad, the authorities are already stating that he was not killed because of his faith. It does not take a brainiac to figure out why Mr. Haddad is no longer alive. When it came to the assault in Brooklyn today, no one stood up to this punk kid. They just stood around and let it happen. The person who was behind the camera I find especially culpable. They decided that it was more important to keep filming.

    What I am bothered by is the double standard. When Israel (and the Jews by extension) defends herself against verbal and physical attacks from her neighbors, the accusations are fast and brutal. But when we try to call out the antisemitic lies, no one listens.

    Why Didn’t You Tell Me?: A Memoir Book Review

    Our family trees are more than dates and images. They are also stories that are passed down from one generation to the next. The question is, which stories are true and which are not?

    Why Didn’t You Tell Me?: A Memoir, by journalist Carmen Rita Wong was published last month. Born in New York City, Wong is the daughter of immigrants. Her father came from China and her mother came from the Dominican Republic. From an early age, she could not shake the need to be included.

    After her parents divorced, her mother remarried, moved to New Hampshire and had four more daughters. Other than her brother, Wong was one of the only children of color. As she grew up, Wong’s relationship with her mother, Lupe became difficult. Little did she know what secrets her mother had kept and the bombshells they would create upon being revealed.

    This memoir is fantastic. Wong’s story is American, human, and complicated. I loved the semi-normality of her childhood and the questions that naturally came with the revelations of who her father really is. At the end of the day, it is a story of the choices we make (especially as parents) and the fallout of those decisions.

    Do I recommend it? Yes.

    Why Didn’t You Tell Me?: A Memoir is available wherever books are sold.

    POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive Play Review

    Women have always done the behind-the-scenes work. But while the men get the accolades, the women are ignored and their work is minimized.

    The new Broadway play, POTUS, by Selina Fillinger, puts the spotlight on seven women who are the real power behind the throne. Or, in this case, the President of the United States. The story starts when during an event, POTUS (who is only seen from the waist down) refers to Margaret, aka FLOTUS (Vanessa Williams) via a word I will not repeat on this blog.

    Harriet (Julie White) is the chief of staff who is trying to keep the resulting chaos at bay. Jean (Suzy Nakamura) is the press secretary who is doing everything she can to answer the barrage of questions. Stephanie (Rachel Dratch) is the mousy secretary trying to boost her confidence.

    Chris (Lilli Cooper) is the journalist balancing work and motherhood (complete with breast pumps). Bernadette (Lea Delaria) is POTUS’s wayward sister with a not-so-clean past. Dusty (Julianne Hough) is a young lady who might be POTUS’s sidepiece.

    Together, these women must tamp down on the scandal and save the leader of the free world.

    The best way to describe the play is a feminist political farcical screwball comedy. All of the performers are at the top of their game. The physical gags provoke nothing short of gut-busting laughter. Woven into the comedy are issues that are, unfortunately, still too prevalent, even in 2022.

    It is one of the funniest plays that I have seen in a long time. I would, in fact, see it again, if it had not already closed.

    Do I recommend it? Absolutely. If it goes on tour at some point, I highly recommend that you run, not walk to the box office.

    POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive closed in New York City on August 14th.

    Women Power Woman GIF by INTO ACTION - Find & Share on GIPHY

    Not Okay Movie Review

    Social media is a wonderful thing. It connects us with like-minded individuals and opens the door to meeting people that we wouldn’t meet otherwise. The problem, however, with it is that it often creates an image that may not reflect reality.

    The new Hulu movie, Not Okay, takes on this concept. Danni (Zoe Deutsch) is an NYC-based wannabe writer whose romantic and social life, in addition to her career is in the toilet. Adding insult to injury, she has zero Instagram followers.

    Faking a trip to Paris, she suddenly has the attention she has been wanting. That attention grows tenfold after a terrorist attack. Danni has to pretend that she survived it. Labeled a hero upon her “return” home, she becomes friends with Rowan (Mia Isaac). Rowan is a young woman who is a true survivor. While dealing with her own trauma, she is trying to create a better world. She also attracts the attention of her long-time crush, Colin (Dylan O’Brien).

    The facade has to be come down eventually. When it does, the fallout is spectacular and reveals the truth of our current-day culture.

    I really liked this movie. It speaks to the need for approbation via the Internet and the truth that this approval is not always real. Though it took a little too long to get to the end, it was overall, an enjoyable film. I also enjoyed Danni as a character. Though she is inherently unlikeable, I still wanted to follow her story.

    Do I recommend it? Yes.

    Not Okay is available for steaming on Hulu.

    %d bloggers like this: