January 2, 2012

“I can’t do this any more”: Homeless people in America are dying

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:26 pm

As I was walking down Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley yesterday, I passed a homeless man huddled against the cold at a bus stop bench near the corner of Shattuck and Channing — and the man was talking to himself. “I just can’t do this any more,” he was saying. “I just can’t.”

I felt so bad for this poor guy that I gave him a few dollars — yeah, like a measly two bucks might even begin to help stop his hunger, chill, weariness and desperation.

A week from now — or perhaps a month from now or, hopefully, maybe even a year — that man will most probably be dead.

Living out in the cold, having very little food to eat, having no healthcare or dental care options, having no warm place to stay, lacking even a toilet or a shower, having nothing but rags to wear, and having no place to feel safe? That level of deprivation can actually kill people. Under these bleak circumstances, I myself would probably be dead within days. And what about you? How long could you survive that kind of merciless gauntlet, that kind of ordeal?

“I can’t do this any more.”

And recently the mayor of Oakland has actually had the chutzpah to accuse OWS of committing “economic violence”. That really takes some nerve — when you consider that, for the past 30 years, 99% of America has had to suffer endless and brutal economic violence under the jackboot of Wall Street and banksters and their lapdogs in Congress, on the Supreme Court and in the White House. “Economic violence”? Us? You gotta be kidding, Mayor Quan!

And also here’s a belated Christmas carol video, coming to us from the deep and dreamless streets of Bethlehem — where people still optimistically celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, even after having suffered over 60 years of occupation under corporatist Israel’s brutal and merciless jackboots:

I wonder if Americans will be holding up even half as well as the Palestinians have done after we too have spent 60-plus years under corporatist domination.

Probably, if American corporatists have their way by then, most of the rest of America will be homeless too — and, like the man on the corner of Shattuck and Channing, muttering desperately to ourselves, “I can’t do this any more.”


July 7, 2010

War Casualty?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 9:26 pm

Are America’s homeless additional victims of the Bush wars?

March 5, 2009

Tough Assignment

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 10:16 pm

[Note: portions of this column have been fictionalize so that the Personnel Department would have an excuse to lay off the fact checker.]

The Chief (for you non-journalists, that’s what we pros call the editor) invited me for a bit of balcony time and, before sitting donw, I took a look at the magnificent view from this high up and thought about the figure of speech about “walking the plank.”

“What’s up?,” I asked.

“Your columns haven’t been very funny lately,” he snarled (all editors snarl even when they are having a tender moment with their wife).

I hesitated.

“Come on, hurry up, give me an explanation fast. I have stuff to do,” he snapped.

“The country is in a war which is an eight year old search for WMD’s that do not now exist – nor have they ever existed, for that matter – the country is full of empty houses while the streets are full of homeless people asking for spare change, GM is also panhandling in a corporate sort of way, the stock market is singing the old Chubby Checker song that asks: ‘How low can you go?,’ a girl at the Berkeley Bowl asked for a donation to the San Francisco Homeless Services Coalition, but I had to promise a plug in my next column rather than a donation, and I’m supposed to make things seem funny?”

“That’s your assignment. You seem to understand what you gotta do, so what’s the problem? You’re whining and sound like that old routine done by Eddie Lawrence”

“Well, I, um, . . .”

“Come on spit it out, whazamatta you?” he grumbles

“Well, I don’t think there’s much I can say in a column to give folks a good chuckle when the Prez is going to take troops out of a stalemate and move them to a fight in a country that has never been conquered.” I responded.

“So what’s the problem?” he snorts.

“Well, only Rush and a few dittoheads will think what’s happening to the country is funny,” I say.

“So write about something else, dummy.” he huffs.

With that he dismisses me with the advice: “I expect a wonderfully funny column to be posted by the morning of Friday, March 6, 2009. You choose: either you do that or I’ll have Ilse (she-wolf of the accounting department) prepare a buy-out package for you?”

So I warmed up the computer and started writing.

A man and a dag walk into a bar. The man takes several $10 bets that the dog can talk. He bets ten guys and then puts the dog on top of the bar and asks him about his favorite radio program, Rush Limbaugh’s morning diatribe. The dog says nothing. The bettors grow restless. The guy begs the dog. Nothing.
The people demand their money. He screams, yells, cajoles, and pleads for one good simple declarative sentence. The dog barks and the guy has to pay up.

They leave the bar and the guy throws a tantrum. He ends by asking: “Can you give me one good reason not to beat the snot out of you?”

The dog takes a deep breath and smiles: “Can you imagine how much money we are going to make in that bar tomorrow night?”

Can you read this column and not think of the W. C. Fields quote: “Anyone who hates Dogs and Kids Can’t be All Bad.”

Now the disk jockey will introduce the younger readers to and remind the old folks of just how good “The Old Philosopher,” done by Eddie Lawrence, was. It’s time for us to take the dog for a walk. Have a laugh filled week.

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