July 13, 2012

“Spare change?”

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:30 pm

Chalkupy came to Berkeley this week to take a stand in the sit-lie debate.

Early in the week, a popular medical pot dispensary closed in San Francisco and caused a flare-up of the baffled pundit syndrome. Skeptics are asking if President Obama is overlooking a link to the young voters who helped him win in 2008 and perplexed commentators are left scratching their heads. Why would he do something that seems to spurn the attitude of a large portion of his political base? Could the well paid experts be overlooking an obvious answer in much the same way folks couldn’t find the purloined letter? Is there a hypothetical explanation for Obama’s curious failure to let pot dispensaries function without harassment?

Do you want to consider a possible explanation? Let’s assume that businesses in the pharmaceutical industry make large contributions to both the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates’ campaign funds. Then let’s assume that those very same firms resent the potential of medicinal pot which is not part of their assortment of products. Would they hold off on asking the resident in the White House for a bit of payback out of consideration of the therapeutic value that the pot provides for the afflicted or would they remind the President about paybacks and then ask him to pull strings to make life miserable for the interlopers?

On Thursday, a large popular medical marijuana dispensary with outlets in Oakland and San Jose announced they must either find new locations or close.

In Berkeley CA, this week, the city council heard public input on the topic of the sit-lie law which will be on the November ballot. The measure will, if adopted, prohibit sitting or laying down on sidewalks from early morning until late evening. If Berkeley gets rid of the hippies, what will be next? Will anti-Vietnam War demonstrations at Venice Beach be outlawed?

Chalkupy, an activist organization which provides art work for liberal causes, placed a large chalk drawing in downtown Berkeley on Tuesday which showed a seated Buddha and said “arresting people for sitting is unenlightened.”

Chalkupy is brought to the public by Fresh Juice Party ( According to a flyer handed out to folks who saw the chalk work of art being created, FJP is a politically prejudiced media group. They also assert “WE have the power to squeeze out the truth.” (Well if the free press in the US isn’t going to do their job, it would be nice if some other group takes up the slack.)

If the measure is passed it will go into effect in July of 2013. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the measure removed all the hippie panhandlers at the very same time that someone else started an effort to increase business in Berkeley by holding some events which would commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from on top of a police car in December of 1964?

San Bernardino (AKA San Berdoo) wasn’t the only city making news this week by having financial hardships. One report on KCBS news radio indicated that part of San Bernardino’s troubles stemmed from the fact that the city contains a large number of foreclosed homes which produce no property tax revenue.

We noticed that Scranton Pa. was also making news by cutting pay for various groups of city employees. If some Occupy activists came to Scranton and waged an effort to win the restoration of the full pay rate for police and firemen, who have been reduced to the minimum wage rate; how aggressive would the police be about thwarting such amicus est tanquam alter idem type help?

Why do you suppose it is that the well paid Liberal pundits are failing to point out that American cities are going broke at a time when the United States is still unquestioning about continued funding for the Bush Wars? Would the old Berkeley Barb let this example of an inconsistent economic philosophy pass unnoticed?

[Is it true that one episode of Star Trek portrayed a visit to earth that revealed that at the end of the 20th century large global wars on earth had ceased and been replaced by smaller regional wars called Bush Wars?]

The Republicans seem to have a platform of: austerity measures, tax cuts for the rich, and more war and the poles show a virtual tie between Mitt and President Obama. How can this incongruity be explained?

Wasn’t there a scifi movie, some time back, which predicted that people would eventually become anesthetized by various distractions and not pay any attention to the important issues? The people became I-pod people and just did not give a damn about anything. If there was impending political disaster: “Oh? That’s interesting, what else is happening?” Journalism has become sports, weather, celebrity gossip, and innocuous feature stories and the people in America are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about austerity measures, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the chance to send American troops to Syria.

Chill out, dude! What’s the worst that can happen? If the Republicans use the Edward Gough Whitlam clause in the Party’s by-laws to disqualify Mitt from getting the nomination, and if they then select a Presidential Candidate who delivers an early Christmas present to the folks who made long odds bets on him, well then maybe some Americans will realize that they better get used to stringent austerity measures and forget about looking for a job. We’ll write a column that uses the headline: “Austerity measures will continue until prosperity returns.”

If the people elect a Republican in the fall of 2012, this columnist will concentrate on more superfluous topics. Who isn’t interested in knowing that the Rolling Stones played their first paid gig fifty years ago on June 12, 1962?

Since Saturday is Bastille Day and since we are continuing with an effort to re-read “Is Paris Burning?,” we intended to write a column for this week that was mostly very upbeat and feature-ish, but reading about all the sacrifices that were made to win the liberation of Paris, we began to wonder what the troops who were killed in WWII would say about the current situation in the USA. How long will it be until some hippie who is into the occult comes out and claims to have held a séance which revealed that the fallen soldiers complain “the current political impasse in the United Sates wasn’t what we were trying to achieve when we made the ultimate sacrifice”?

It seems to this columnist that the Republican politicians are being passive-aggressive regarding their “jobs” and that the Democrats are shrugging their shoulders and saying they can’t do a damn thing about it because of the filibuster rules.

An employee (unless it’s a bank’s investment specialist) who doesn’t perform gets fired immediately; not when his annual review takes place. When a pitcher gives up five runs in the first inning, he is told to “hit the showers!” A soldier who commits dereliction of duty faces harsh consequences. We’ve called what the Republicans are doing a modern sit-down strike and that concept sure as hell hasn’t “gone viral.” The Republicans are very critical when any other group of workers use strike tactics. Should the shirkers (strikers?) be reelected or arrested? Do the I-pod people care about politics?

Didja know that there is a WTF website? Maybe, if we write columns that are more insegrvious we can cross post our efforts on that site? (You got a problem with a columnist using words that don’t exist?)

Have you ever noticed that college radio stations that insist on a culturally eclectic play list almost never play any Native American Music?

James Russell Lowell wrote: “They have rights who dare maintain them.”

Now the disk jockey will play “The Marseillaise,” “As time goes by,” and Edith Piaf’s “Le vie en rose.” We have to go get a crepes breakfast. Have a “le jazz hot” type week.

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