Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Oakland - Why?

Occupy Oakland?


What’s to Occupy?

Wall Street's 3,000 miles away, and Montgomery Street is across the Bay - a world apart.

There’s just Oakland.

Oakland is a blue collar, lunch bucket city with high unemployment.

Oakland is to San Francisco as Newark is to New York City.

It’s Oakland.

Not even Silicon Valley, down the road, is will to move into Oakland with cheap downtown rents.

Even the predecessor of Cal moved from Oakland to Berkeley.

Clorox and Safeway are in Oakland, but who wants to occupy a bleach manufacturer and a flailing supermarket chain? You might borrow some Clorox from Safeway to clean up though.

There are no one percenters in Oakland, with the exception of the fabled Charles Crocker, Dominic Ghirardelli, Henry J. Kaiser, and Warren Bechtel, but they reside in the crypts of Mountain View Cemetery up in the hills. You could occupy the crypts, but it’ll be tight. Sleeping on marble and concrete might be an improvement though.

You could occupy Frank Norris’ grave and learn how to write a book about the malefactors of great wealth – a book, the Octopus, that’s still in print a century later.

You could occupy the gravesite of Fred Korematsu as a tribute to the valiant Japanese American who fought interment in World War II. He did not want to occupy a concentration camp.

You could occupy the gravesite of Reverend Henry Durant, the first President of the University of California Berkeley, and perhaps learn how to build a great institution.

You could visit the sites of Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck, and learn about beauty as you walk through the grounds laid out by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Yes, you could do all this, but you are occupying Oakland.


My mother and grandma are interred in Mountain View Cemetery on the ridge above Millionaire Row looking down on the crypts, but with a splendid across the Bay to San Francisco. My mom, a Berkeley grad, would love it if you paid her a visit.

The living affluent, but hardly “One percenters,” live in the small enclave of Piedmont and in the Oakland Hills along Mountain Blvd., but their premises are secure.

You might try occupying Mills College. They could accommodate you. The coeds could use an education in squalor and filth.

Jerry Brown, in his 8 years as Mayor of Oakland, couldn’t make it work. Now he’s moved on to another basket case, the State of California.

Make it a meaningful protest in Oakland. Occupy the Oakland Army Base, the facility which ships munitions to the Pacific.

Occupy the Oakland Coliseum, the cement slab where the Raiders and A’s perform – the last dual municipal venue in the nation. The Grateful Dead used to perform in the Coliseum on New Year's, but Jerry Garcia is now a deadhead.

Occupy the adjoining Oakland Arena, and thus fill it with more than show up for Warriors games.

Emulate your Occupy Wall Street idols by occupying the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. If you are going to get arrested, tear gassed, and struck, then become a martyr for a memorable cause, but occupying Oakland in front of the Federal Building?

Gertrude Stein had this sage advice about Oakland, her childhood home: “There is no there there.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Represenative Jesse jackson, Jr.'s Brilliant $40,000 Proposal for the Unemployed

Congressman Jesse Jackson proposed giving $40,000 to each of the 15 million unemployed persons in America for four years.

Utterly brilliant; even the Greeks haven’t thought of this one.

Just think about it a moment.

Which makes more sense? Congressman Jackson or President Obama’s "Enact it now" non-jobs jobs plan?

The cost will come to roughly $600 billion annually, or the equivalent of 1,200 Solyndras. It’s much cheaper than the President’s non-jobs jobs bill.

It would solve so many problems.

State unemployment funds are broke, and hence borrowing from the Feds. No more unemployment compensation. Indeed, we could do away with the state employment and unemployment offices at substantial savings to the states.

No more debates about the minimum wage, since the new minimum wage will de facto become $40,001 annually. Any one earning less than that will quit and file for the guaranteed federal $40,000.

Forget any “Stimulus Bill” with or without shovel ready jobs. These checks will go directly to the people.

No more hypocrisy about the jobs bills really being mostly payoffs to teachers unions. No payoff to public employee unions.

Thus, we could cut the $1.2 trillion deficit in half by eliminating the other programs.

No more fictitious government make-work jobs.

No more ambiguity about who’s on the public dole.

Some issues still have to be resolved. For example, would it apply only to those currently on the unemployment rosters, or could it extend all unemployed and unemployable persons?

The potential for fraud and corruption is great. The Skid Road liquor stores could register all the homeless bums, and then reap the ensuing booze sales. I saw a sign yesterday in a downtown. It said “No lies; It’s for beer.”

I forgot. Congressman Jackson is from Chicago so corruption is not an issue. He was interested in buying a Senate seat Governor Blago was interested in selling.

Will the $40,000 constitute taxable income? Will the government thereby give with one hand and take back with the other?

Will the $40,000 annually count towards federal pension plans?

How about the government’s medical plans?

Will the beneficiaries pay into social security?

Do prisoners qualify? They seem able to tap into many government funds.

Will defeated politicians qualify?

Will undocumented immigrants qualify and day laborers qualify?

What about college students?

Maybe they will occupy the federal building rather than Wall Street.

Of course, the plan makes no economic sense, but neither does President Obama’s three year economics plan.

Congressman Jackson’s suggestion rates right up there with Herbert Hoover’s 1928 “A chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage” and George McGovern’s $1,000 tax credit for every citizen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Paul BunyanTrophy is at Stake

Tomorrow is the Big Game, the fight for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, a 4’ piece of wood,
which is not to be confused with the Paul Bunyan Axe. Michigan plays Michigan State to decide the best football team within a 63 mile diameter. It might actually be a good game.

Who will win?

Who will be exposed as a great pretender?

6-0 Michigan or 4-1 Michigan State?

Michigan State should be favored.

Michigan leads the series 67-35-1. ,

Little Brother has grown up, beating down Big Brother the last three games. Last year’s score was 34-17, but it wasn’t that close.

Michigan was 4-1 two years ago, when it lost to Michigan State. The Wolverines won only one more game that year.

Michigan was 5-0 last year, and then lost to State. The team only won 2 games over the rest of the season.

Michigan is now 6-0 and plays Michigan State. ?????

A void exists in Schembechler Hall, a vacuum where Paul Bunyan normally resides.

Michigan State has the better players, a great coach in Mark Dantonio, the best defense in the nation, the home field advantage (especially the clock), no major injuries, a bye week, and The Jinx.

No first year Michigan coach has beaten Michigan State since Bennie Oosterbaan in 1947.

Not Bo in 1969 (23-12 loss). Bo beat Woody, but the loss to Sparty haunted him.

Not Mo in 1990 – 27-28, close, but still a loss.

Not Lloyd in 1995 (25-28)

Not Rich Rod in 2007 (The Coach whose name shall no longer be used)

The Coach who shall not be named recruited in Florida, essentially ignoring Michigan and Ohio. Mark Dantonio, from Michigan and Ohio, has spent 4 years at Michigan State recruiting the best players out of the State of Michigan.

Both teams played Notre Dame earlier in the season. The Wolverines won as the Irish choked, but then The Fighting Irish destroyed the Spartans the following week.

Michigan State plays a traditional Big Ten, smash mouth football. Michigan did not for the past three years. Whether or not it can regain its old-time swagger in 7 games remains to be seen.

Michigan has great coaches,DRod, an improved defense, and youthful enthusiasm.

Michigan State dominated the series from 1950-1969, 14-4-2, winning or sharing the national title in 1965 and 1966. Then came Bo and the dominance of Michigan. Even Nick Saban in 5 years at Michigan State could not capture the magic he has since shown at LSU and Alabama.

Go Blue.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

By all means, occupy Wall Street

Fill the Park Hyatt Hotel at 75 Wall Street and the upstairs condos

Take 40 Wall Street, the Trump Building, off the Donald’s hands

Occupy Trinity Church at Broadway at Wall. Take a break on Alexander Hamilton’s grave

Occupy the apartments and fitness center at 37 Wall Street

Occupy the condos at 55 Wall Street

Clean up your act

Get dressed at the Wall Street Custom Clothiers of Mercer Island, Washington

Occupy the Esquires Barbers and the Wall Street Café at 14 Wall Street - the last capitalists on Wall Street

Grab a bite at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, and then occupy it across from the Exchange

Occupy the Deutsche Bank Building at 60 Wall Street, but that’s German

Go around the corner to the American International Building at 70 Pine Street, but AIG is bankrupt.

Occupy the restrooms, instead of using a police cruiser for that purpose

Occupy the Wall Street Cleaners in Texas

Wall Street is not Wall Street anymore

Occupy the Wall Street Journal offices by hiking up to Midtown. Make sure not to leave any bed bugs behind

Occupy the Morgan Stanley offices on the same hike to Midtown

Occupy Goldman Sachs, yes Goldman Sachs, in Battery Park

You’re decades late

Wall Street is not Wall Street anymore.

Occupy the Wall Street Deli, a franchise chain out of Alabama

While you’re occupying Wall Street, read the Bawl Street Journal on-line with your white earpods attached to IPod, ITouch, IPhone, and I Pad, from the philanthropic billionaire Steve Jobs.

Really occupy Wall Street, not Zuccotti Park a few blocks away

Your ancestors at Berkeley knew who they were, where they were and what they were protesting. Peoples Park, Free Speech, Cambodia and Kent State were real; Occupy Wall Street is not.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Not Governor Romney?

Why Not Romney”

Governor Romney has so much to offer.

He’s a successful businessman.

He pulled off the Salt Lake City Olympics.

He was elected Governor of Massachusetts as a Republican in one of the bluest of blue states.

He is highly intelligent with a JD and MBA from Harvard.

He’s an experienced campaigner who comes across well in debates. This is the fourth time Mitt Roney has run for office.

He does not lose his composure. He’s poised and polished. He stays on message.

He’s run before, and Republicans usually nominate a prior candidate.

He’s not associated with Washington.

He says the right things as a Republican.

The governor has a loving family.

So what’s not to like.

First, he’s a Mormon. It doesn’t bother me and most Americans. We believe in religious tolerance, but some Ministers belief a Mormon is not a true Christian. That’s absurd in today’s America and harkens back to the days when Catholics were suspect.

That he believes in God should suffice.

Second, he’s not a true conservative because he took liberal views as Governor of Massachusetts. The reality is that Republicans must be pro-choice and in favor of gun control to be elected in Massachusetts. Senator Scott Brown was supported by the Tea party in Massachusetts, but the Senator has shown moderation in his views.

Third, he has changed his views on abortion and other issues to get the Republican nomination. Thus, he can’t be trusted. Most politicians make strategic shifts at some point in their career.

To most the main issue is RomneyCare in Massachusetts, which President Obama has claimed to be the basis of ObamaCare. RomneyCare has been a financial disaster for Massachusetts, as it will be for America. Records now show that Romney’s advisors advised President Obama in preparing ObamaCare.

Governor Romney does not, and cannot, disown RomneyCare, but his defense of it is unconvincing. He says it’s proper for a state to mandate health insurance, but not for the federal government. No principled basis exists for the distinction.

He could say that mistakes were made in RomneyCare and that we should learn from them, but he doesn’t.

My problem with the Governor is different. I saw him campaign 4 years ago in a 500 person auditorium. He looked like, talked like, and walked like a preppy, which he is. He did not connect with the audience on a personal level – the essence of a Ronald Reagan as a campaigner. There’s nothing wrong with preppies, but it’s not the image to convey to the average American.

He says all the right things, except for RomneyCare, but the sense is he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying. He’s too robotic.

A whole different problem will arise if he wins the nominations. Jobs are the number one issue for Americans. Governor Romney first ran for the Senate in Massachusetts against Senator Ted Kennedy.

Romney was leading in the polls. The Kennedy Campaign then ran a brutally effective TV ad. Mitt Romney’s firm, Bain & Co., had taken over a manufacturing company and laid off 10,000 workers. The ad was one of the fired workers explaining what Romney had done. Senator Kennedy never looked back.

Why not Governor Romney?

He's too robotic.

So What's Up (or Down) with Governor Perry's Campaign?

So What’s Up (or Down) With Governor Perry’s Campaign?
Republicans are desperately searching for a nominee who will win in November 2012. They do not want a replay of Sharron Angle in Nevada or Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. President Obama cannot win reelection by himself, even if he raises a billion dollars. But the Republicans can reelect him with the wrong nominee.

The nominee must come across as a leader, as one who is comfortable in his or her skin.

The media, and many Republicans, are dissatisfied with the existing slate of candidates, but why conservatives should follow the lead of the media remains a mystery.

Five different candidates win five different, otherwise meaningless, straw polls.

All have risen in the polls, and all have fallen, with the exception of Governor Romney, who holds steady in the 15-25% band.

Republicans are carefully scrutinizing the candidates, but none emerge from the pack, hence the waiting for Godot, the searching for Superman. The pressure to find an alternative unleases a media frenzy. Anticipation builds, euphoria sets in, as it did with Governor Christie. The siren call can be seductive to an ambitious politician, as almost all politicians are.

Governor Perry’s entry into the race sucked the oxygen out of the political air for a few days.

And then a strong blast of cold reality sets in.

Governor Perry had not heeded the lessons from every four years. First, the media builds you up, and then it brings you down, and then repeat the process to prolong the race. The media, which had heralded the new arrival, now turns and dumps on him or her.

And dump on Governor Perry they have, aided by a few Republicans who do not heed President Reagan’s 11th Commandment “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”

No candidate is perfect; we are all humans. The longer a politician is in office, the longer his record, unless he continually votes “present.”

Governor Perry has been Governor of Texas for 10 years, an eternity in politics, creating a book of actions that call for scrutiny.

Here to date are the attacks on the Governor:
1) He referred to social security as “a Ponzi scheme.”
2) Texas leads the nation in capital punishment;
3) He had low grades in college;
4) Too many recent Presidents come from Texas, especially as governors; Perry seems the second coming of Bush;
5) The Governor is overtly religious; he wears his religion on his sleeve;
6) He mandated young women receive the HPV vaccine;
7) He doesn’t want Fed Governor Ben Bernanke to visit Texas;
8) He favors in-state tuition for illegal immigrants;
9) He performed poorly in three debates, in essence, phoning it in; and
10) The New York Times and Washington Post last Monday ran front page articles saying his dad leased a hunting camp in 1983. The entrance rock to the land said “Niggerhead,” a once common, but now unacceptable word, in the South.

We all know social security is an underfunded, government sponsored Ponzi scheme. Even the liberal economist/columnist for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, has called social security a Ponzi scheme.Telling the truth about social security is not a failing, but failing to propose a solution loses votes. He has ideas.

243 executions to date during his governorship. Most Americans favor capital punishment. That will not cost him votes.

The Perry and Bush camps do not like each other. President Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard. Governor Perry is an Aggie – that says it all.

Governor Perry was not meant to be a science major in college. Organic Chemistry, the bane of pre-meds, was especially challenging to him; hence, the occasional aspersions about his intellectual abilities. Let us remember the saga of Senator John Kerry, supposedly smarter than President Bush. The Senator had lower grades at Yale than the President, indeed 4 D’s, including Geology, Political Science, and 2 in History, as well as another D in his sophomore year. Vice President Gore was also brilliant compared to President Bush, until you asked about his Vanderbilt grades, not to mention his D in Natural Science (Man’s Role in Nature). The Vice President also received a C- in Economics. That’s appropriate! How ironic! President Bush had but one D in 4 years. Vice President Biden graduated 76th in a class of 85, after having been readmitted for being expelled for plagiarism.

When asked by a reporter in Iowa about his views on the Federal Reserve, Governor Perry responded

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” He also stated that printing more money at this time is almost treasonous.

Governor Perry’s first two debates were underwhelming, but the third gave rise to substantial doubts about his electability. He questioned Governor Romney’s inconsistencies, but seemed robotic, not himself, in these comments.

The Governor appeared uncomfortable in this exchange, demonstrating no leadership presence,

Then came the critical immigration question. Texas has granted in-state tuition to illegal immigrants for 10 years, roughly the length of his governorship.

He strongly supports this position. Governor Perry, like President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, recognize that the Republican Party cannot survive by being anti-Hispanic. The Hispanic immigrants must be embraced by the GOP, else the Grand Old Party will fade the way of the Know-Nothings 1½ centuries ago.

He should have defended the policy by simply saying that “I want the sons and daughters of our Hispanic immigrants to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers rather than gang-bangers.”

Instead, he echoed Democratic talking points by stating “If you oppose it, I don’t think you have a heart.” That statement is an insult to all, perhaps the majority of Americans, who oppose in-state tuition for those illegally in the country. Debatable issues, in which reasonable minds can differ, should never be personalized. His opponents, especially Governor Romney and Senator Santorum, immediately dumped on him on the illegal immigrant issue.

His position will hurt him in the Republican primaries, but help in the general election.

The Republican electorate is flexible right now. The Governor can easily come back with a strong performance in the upcoming debates. The base is looking for the viable alternative to Governor Romney.

Governor Perry has an advantage most of the contestants lack – a steady supply of campaign funds. He raised over $17 million the past seven weeks. Most of the candidates are campaigning on a shoe string.

The governor is a brash, plain speaking Texan. He says what many of us think. That will appeal to many voters this election cycle.

Whichever candidates who survive the early caucus and primary season will also have a second life. Florida has advanced the primary season to the first two months of 2012. The Iowa Caucus is now tentatively scheduled for January 3.

The media never likes the race decided too quickly. They must keep the suspense going. Thus, they will revive the candidacy of a once moribund campaign to prolong the campaign.

If Governor Perry wants it enough, if he has the fire in his belly, he will step up in tonight's debate.

It’s still most likely to come down to Governors Perry and Romney.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Public Nudity and the Arousal Police in San Francisco.

I love San Francisco; I really do. I left my heart in San Francisco in 1970.

A great city, but sometimes the politics get zany.

The Summer of ’67, the Haight Asbury, Free Love, Polk Street and the Castro, the San Francisco folk scene, the hungry i and the Purple Onion, the Kingston Trio, Limeliters, and the Smother Brothers, followed by the psychedelic sound, the Fillmore, the Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, not to mention Broadway, Carol Doda and the Topless. Those were the days my friends, those were the days, but sometimes it’s just plain crazy.

And sometimes the city tries to exercise common sense and do the right thing, but the real zanies with their gluteus maxima emerge out of the woodwork.

David Goldman and his husband were sharing a joint at a public plaza in the Castro when naturist Eric Anderson sat down at a nearby table in the buff. He placed a sarong between his bare cheeks and the seat, an act of “normal etiquette.”

Laws exist against lewd and lascivious activity, indecent exposure, public nudity, and even public displays of expression, but this is California.

The California Supreme Court held nudity by itself is not lewd. For what it’s worth, the court sits in San Francisco.

The health implications are great. As of now, chubby checks could deposit anal detritus or expel methane gas on the public accommodations. Flatulence is not attractive.

Private businesses, such as bars and restaurants, may have to amend their existing signs “No shoes, no shirts, no service” to “No shoes, no shirts, no skivvies, no service.” Yes, they’ll probably be sued for discrimination with the argument that public nudity is but a form of free speech.

Note to San Francisco. Even Berkeley and the University of California Berkeley in 1993 banned public nudity as Andrew Martinez, “Nature Boy,’ liked to attend classes wearing only his backpack and sandals.

Supervisor Scott Weiner has introduced an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in restaurants and would require naked persons to put a towel or other appropriate article between their bare derrieres and benches or other public seats. Supervisor Weiner represents the Castro.

Nudity would otherwise be permitted unless signs of arousal existed. Hence, the arousal police, a unit of the old sex crimes or vice squad, would have to monitor for signs of arousal.

Of course, the arousal exception could be legally attacked on sex discrimination charges since it would result in a prima facie case of discriminatory impact on males, easily demonstrated through statistical analysis.

As a practical matter, if the photo in the September 26 New York Times is representative, then most of the “male strippers” are middle aged men letting it all hang out, but hardly calculated to arouse.

The response by some denizens to Supervisor Weiner’s proposal was, of course, a public “Nude-in” in San Francisco’s fabled fog and cold. One tourist commented “Where are the supermodel types? We want to know why it’s always the people who should not be naked who get naked.”

Some advocates of the nudists argue they could be a tourist attraction, perhaps equal to Carol Doda with her silicone 44’s in her prime, but they are not. The homeless camped out in front of the major downtown hotels were also not a tourist attraction.

Others argue nudity is protected expression and speech under the First Amendment. Judges don’t see it that way.