Life in an increasingly fascist city — what San Francisco’s plastic bag ban means

San Francisco’s plastic bag ban went into effect today.  Not only does it ban plastic bags entirely, it also forces people to pay 10 cents for every paper bag they use.  The new rule in the City is bring your own bags or suffer.  All the usual suspects are happy.  What’s interesting is that some of the unusual suspects aren’t happy.  For example, an Arab, probably Palestinian (knowing the neighborhood) shopkeeper:

Across the street at the Eezy Freezy market, owner Al Khalidi is not so pleased about the city’s actions. He said he’s the kind of guy who can’t stand to see someone throw a recyclable into the trash, but believes the city’s law goes too far.

“Do you want a free bag or a 10-cent bag?” he playfully asked a customer, before putting his beer can and soda bottle into a small black plastic bag. Khalidi said he was told by a city worker that he can use plastic bags until he runs out.

[snip]

Khalidi hasn’t started charging for paper bags just yet. He wonders how people would feel about the ban if they see an old woman’s paper bag break open onto the street on a rainy day.

“It’s not a big deal really,” he said. “But when a plastic bag is a must, I hope I can provide one and not have it turn into a big thing.”

Clearly, Mr.Khalidi has the immigrant’s (or first generation child’s) appreciation for free choice, as well as a proper understanding of the real world consequences of handing over to the government your right to make decisions about the things that directly affect you.

And then there’s the gal who likes the freedom to make her own choices, which include reusable bags, and who thinks everyone should have that same freedom:

At first glance, Denise Snyder seems like someone who would also be supportive of the change. She had three heavy reusable bags strapped on both arms while she waited for the N-Judah near Safeway. But she said people are tired of being nickeled-and-dimed by the city.

“I think it hurts people that can’t afford it,” she said. “I know it’s an ordinance, but there are just too many penalties and fines and fees already.”

The most interesting comment, though, came from one of Mr. Khalidi’s customers.  To me, it perfectly sums up liberal fascism, and explains why a generation of people steeped in public schools and American universities willingly embraces increasing government control over their lives (emphasis mine):

Back inside the Eezy Freezy, regular customer Michael Donk, a limo driver, said he is a strong supporter of the new ordinance.

“I do think it’s a good thing. It’s not about control,” he said. “It’s about reminding us what’s good for us.”

Didn’t Reagan say that the nine scariest words in the English language are “We’re from the government and we’re here to help”?

I’m paying close attention to this, because bag bans are creeping up in Marin. The Safeway in Strawberry is under an ordinance banning plastic bags; the ones in Corte Madera and Novato are not. You can guess which ones gets my custom.

Obama savaged in San Francisco

Aside from getting to see downtown San Francisco without actually having to shlep into downtown San Francisco, I liked Zombie’s latest photo essay because it shows how disaffected Obama is.  The Left hates him, the Right hates him, and he spends time hobnobbing with the rich.  He is not a man of the people.  Indeed, if Vanity Fair is correct, his feeling is “to Hell with the people.”

There is no sweet smell of success emanating from Obama’s latest campaign.  Just the smell of flop sweat and failure.  I know this can change, but sometimes failure is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

The streets of San Francisco (or, this is Nancy Pelosi’s city)

Writing a couple of years ago about the streets of San Francisco, in a post I called “Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco,” I had this to say:

Last week, I had occasion to make four separate trips to the City.  Each was unpleasant.

The first trip, I got a flat tire from broken glass in the street.  I know that can happen anywhere, but it’s more likely along the Market Street stretch I had to travel.

The second trip, I found myself at a corner that boasted both a stop sign and a red light.  This was ludicrous, confusing and, therefore, dangerous.  This is manic control run amok.

The third trip, I almost got a ticket when I parked at what appeared to be a non-metered space.  Half the block had parking meters; half the block, the part where I was parking, didn’t.  It was only because a nice pedestrian warned me that I learned that there was an electronic kiosk about 25 feet away from my car that sold parking passes for the car’s dashboard.  Other than that word of mouth tip, there were no signs at all warning that, while half the block had old-fashioned meters, the other half had switched to a computer system.

The fourth trip, my husband and I were walking down Gough Street towards the Opera House at dusk.  Between the failing light and the broken and dimmed street lights, it was impossible to avoid the hazards of pitted, jagged, broken uneven sidewalk.  It was only because we’re in good shape, with decent balance, that the two of us avoided a painful tumble.  I won’t even describe the smell of urine and sewage that kept wafting up towards us as we walked along.

Welcome to Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco.

Well, San Francisco has made this disgrace official, by naming a street after Nancy Pelosi.

Proving, as he so often does, that a picture is worth a thousand words, Michael Ramirez has nailed this most recent San Francisco development.

Just Because Music: The New Seekers “I’d like to teach the world to sing”

I remember the hippies as dirty, drugged-out, pathetic human beings lying on the streets in the Haight Ashbury.  Their continuing legacy is one of drugs, sexual self-indulgence, and mindless statism wrapped up in equally mindless slogans of “love” and “fairness,” as if a government is capable of giving love or imposing fairness from above.

However, the bells and whistles with which the hippies dressed up their drugs, sex, and Leftist fantasies were often quite lovely.  One of my favorite childhood memories is of a rainbow themed art exhibition at the de Young Museum (this one, not this one), an exhibition that would never have happened but for Flower Child imagery.

Likewise, there was something charming, albeit manifestly naive, about the notion of universal brotherhood.  I thought as a child, and still think now, that one of the prettiest, most harmonious, expressions of that naive belief was The Seeker’s I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing:

And for those of you who remember the Coke commercial:

(And don’t you just love the all-Americanism of a vapid hippie philosophy being co-opted by Madison Avenue and a multinational corporation to market a caffeinated sugar drink?)

That Planned Parenthood video I posted earlier is the real deal

Last week, I posted a Planned Parenthood of San Francisco video that was so extreme and biased, I raised the possibility that it was a fake, intended to discredit PP.  The inestimable Zombie, bless his (or her) heart, did the leg work for me and discovered that it is the real deal.  Here are the links Zombie sent me establishing that fact:

The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character

Dionysus, God of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood’s Most Recent Gaffe

Inside Planned Parenthood Golden Gate’s Building Design

Double Standard : There’s The Left, And Then There’s The Rest Of Us

San Francisco Chronicle columnist warns city’s rational thinkers not to roll in the mud with one specific fringe group

Here’s the lede:

The great thing about living in San Francisco is that it is socially and culturally responsible. The bad thing is, a city that is so socially and culturally responsible can’t resist taking the bait when a fringe group tries to provoke a reaction.

In a non-Bizarro world, one might think that the columnist, C.W. Nevius, is advising San Franciscans to ignore the OWSers camped out along the Embarcadero.  What better way to avoid the drugs, feces and vomit?  Except that can’t be right take on that lede because even San Francisco, with its seemingly endless tolerance for all things Progressive, cleared out the OWS camp a couple of months ago because it was a public health hazard.

Or maybe Nevius is advising San Franciscans to avoid the antisemitic/anti-American hate fest that occurs whenever the Progressive crowd takes to the streets of San Francisco to oppose the wars the U.S. is fighting against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Nope.  Can’t be that.  Those protests ended when Obama took the White House, even though it took another three years for one war to wrap up and the other is still going strong.

Hmm.  Maybe Nevius is telling San Franciscans to stay away from the annual Up Your Alley Fair, an open air celebration of pretty much unlimited debauchery.  Or the annual Folsom Street Fair, which features less nudity, but more whips and chains.

I mean, frankly, when it comes to “fringe groups” that are trying “to provoke a reaction,” San Francisco certain has more than its fair share.

This being San Francisco, however, Nevius had something even more fringey in mind, something so horrifying that even San Francisco’s usual crew of protesters, the ones who will take off their clothes to protest anything, including their right to take off their clothes, are being warned away lest they get damaged by contact with this extremist organization.  What is this diabolical gathering, the one so out there that San Franciscans need to hide in their homes rather than validate it with confrontation?

The 8th Annual Walk For Life, which will be held on January 21, 2012, in San Francisco.  Last year, this “fringe” group managed to gather around 40,000 people, all of whom frightened ordinary San Franciscans by wearing normal clothes, walking peaceably, and carrying signs that support life.  (Zombie has an illustrative photo essay from the 2010 walk.)

Nevius, who sometimes distinguishes himself by being amongst the more sensible columnists by San Francisco Chronicle standards, embraces San Francisco’s amorality, however, when he says that the City, en masse, should ignore this pro-Life plague:

The best approach, of course, would be to let them [the pro-Life walkers] have their moment, ignore them, and then go back to real life in San Francisco. That’s the approach that will be taken by the local chapter of Planned Parenthood.

[snip]

Naturally, not everyone feels that way, and we can just about count on clashes between the two groups. There will be disagreements about the size of the crowds – protesters claim that the walk organizers overestimate the size of the march, and members of the walk claim that the number of protesters decreases every year.

At the end of the day, it comes down to a classic example of sound and fury signifying nothing. When the walk concludes Saturday, you can bet that no one will have changed his or her position, although everyone will be congratulating himself or herself for standing up for the cause.

I’ve done enough abortion posts for you guys to know that I’m conflicted on this subject.  I grew up totally pro-Choice, focused entirely on the woman’s needs and convenience.  As I’ve aged — and had children — I’ve no longer been able to deny that there is another life involved.  I want to deny it.  If, God forbid, my daughter shows up pregnant at 15, I want to say “Oh, never mind, darling!  I’ll just take you to the doctor and that’ll be that,” but I don’t think I can anymore.  It’s not a woman’s convenience versus a cell’s existence.  It’s a life versus a life.

So when C.W. Nevius says “[w]hen the walk concludes Saturday, you can bet that no one will have changed his or her position,” he’s plain wrong.  The walk may be the last link in the chain for someone who is struggling, as I struggle, with making a u-turn in a profound belief system, one that forces us to confront who we are and what value we place upon ourselves.

Pro-abortion group manipulates truth to qualify for banners on San Francisco’s main drag

(Market Street, by Alfonso Jiminez)

Market Street is San Francisco’s main drag.  There are other major streets in the City, but Market Street the one that starts just below Twin Peaks and travels diagonally northeast all the way to the Ferry Building.  It traverses the Castro District, the outer fringes of the Mission District, the Civic Center area and the financial district.  It is a street with stature.

Under the Municipal Code, the City will hang banners on major thoroughfares, including Market Street, if the banners promote an “event or series of events of interest to a significant portion of the residents of San Francisco.”  The event promoters must therefore make a credible showing that they “reasonably expect an in-person attendance of 500 or more people for a single event or 1,000 or more people for a series of events.”  Parades, concerts, etc., have all been bannerized at one time or another.

Most recently, a new series of banners went up on Market Street, paid for by a group called “OurSilverRibbon.org.”  The banners have an unabashedly pro-abortion messages:

U.S. Out Of My Uterus

Her Decision, Her Choice

San Francisco is Pro-Choice

Interestingly, none of these pro-abortion banners, all of which appear on City property, happen to mention an actual event.  Or maybe not so interestingly.  As the Life Legal Defense Foundation discovered when it investigated the banners, the City’s Department of Public Works issued the banners in conjunction with a promised “Walk for Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign” event that was supposed to take the form of a parade on Market Street this coming Friday.  At the same time the group applied for a parade permit for this coming Saturday morning.

Except that, as the SF Chronicle itself acknowledges, it “[T]urns out, none of that’s quite right“:

The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women’s website has long said to come back for more information about an upcoming event. Today, it released the specifics: Its Walk for Choice SF – billed as “an event to commemorate and admire the pro-choice banners on Market Street” will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. in Justin Herman Plaza. So the banners are promoting an event to admire the banners. And they’re not for the day or time listed on the event permits. Oh, and the campaign is expecting “a couple hundred people,” at the event, according to Ellen Shaffer, co-founder of the campaign.

In other words, rather than spending money to buy commercial billboard space, a pro-abortion organization lied in order to have the City of San Francisco fund its pro-abortion advertising.  Regardless of how one feels about the abortion issue, this is sleazy, fraudulent behavior.

Some city residents are apparently less than thrilled with this little game:  “[O]f the original 72 banners, just 45 remain flying. Apparently vandals have ripped down the rest.”

 

The media again attacks the military

I came of age in the post-Vietnam era.  Let me amend that:  I came of age in San Francisco in the post-Vietnam era.  Although Fleet Week, which started in the City about 20+ years ago has done a lot to turn things around, San Francisco has not been a military friendly city, and most definitely was not so in the decade after Vietnam.  Every institution was hostile to the military.  I grew up knowing, probably from the San Francisco Comical, with increasingly large dollops of help from ABC, NBC and CBS, that military vets were deranged.

This was my first run-in with cognitive dissonance.  You see, I knew a ton of military vets.  The difference was that they weren’t Vietnam Vets but were, instead, WWII and Israeli War Vets.  And they weren’t deranged.  At all.  Many of them were sad men, who had seen too much, but they were all highly functional men who married, raised children, held jobs, and helped out a lot around the house.  My parents explained to me that Vietnam Vets were deranged because they were all drug addicts, except that didn’t make sense either.  The drug addicts I knew (and I was in San Francisco and at Berkeley) weren’t the vets; instead, they were the ones that had stayed behind.

Hmmm.  The first step in crossing the Rubicon was figuring out that the media has the military in its cross hairs.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The latest casualty of the media’s war on the military is living Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer.  Although the McClatchy news organization readily concedes that he acted with unparalleled bravery, it’s making a big push to say he didn’t really act with that much bravery.  This story stinks for a few reasons.  First, it leaves a strong impression that Meyer lied, although a careful textual reading shows that it’s really claiming that the Marine Corps itself exaggerated.  The Marines shouldn’t have exaggerated, but this story still should have been left alone.  Why?  Because as Jack Cashill explains, this kind of attack on an extraordinarily brave young man manages to highlight what an absymal job the media is doing when it comes to its main job — namely, keeping the public informed about its leaders and keeping politicians honest.

Think about it:  this is a media that tries to destroy the reputation of one indubitably brave, decent man, while it kept us in the dark in 2007 and 2008 about Obama’s entire history and, even now, is doing its best to bury such interesting stories as Fast and Furious (which the blogosphere cares about, but the MSM has ignored almost entirely) or Solyndra (ditto).

I shouldn’t really be so surprised or angry, I guess.  This disdain for and hostility towards the military is reflexive and pervasive in our media.  But I can’t help it.  It still hacks me off.

(P.S.  I do suggest, though, that military types don’t do things like this.  It’s one thing to do your job and get savaged by idiots.  It’s another thing to hand them red meat on a silver platter.)

San Francisco discovers free enterprise

San Francisco is definitely up in the top five when it comes to “most Progressively governed cities in America.”  No surprise, then, that the city’s finances are in a shambles.  What is a surprise is the fact that, faced with a looming budget collapse, the City has suddenly discovered capitalist incentives:  it’s offering the big employers tax cuts to stay in the City.

This is a smart move on San Francisco’s part.  (And I can’t believe I wrote that sentence about the City that doesn’t know how.)  The Leftists may call them “the rich people” or “blood sucking corporations,” but I have another name for them:  employers.  The City has discovered that if you constantly penalize employers, they go away.

As Obama’s vicious, dishonest budget speech shows, he hasn’t yet come to that little realization.  Nor, despite his intellectual common ground with Tom Friedman, has he seemed to realize that Friedman is right about one thing:  the earth is indeed flat.  In the old days, employers had nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide.  Now, the corporations can go to all the other socialist countries that have lower corporate tax rates than the U.S., while individuals simply bid a fond adieu to their natal land.

I realized today that what makes Obama’s class warfare even more disgusting is that he makes no attempt to pretend that he’s one of the little people.  As I read in Ronald Kessler’s In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect, when Jimmy Carter, the last president who presided over such a disastrous economy, paraded around carrying his own suitcase, it was pure theater:  the suitcase was empty.  Nevertheless, he made the effort.

Obama, however, doesn’t bother.  Even as he demagogues about the fat cats, stopping just short of demanding their heads on pikes, he openly revels in the kind of lifestyle only the very rich can afford.  While he lectures us about heat and air-c0nditioning, he keeps his White House digs at 75 all year round; while he tells us to trade in our tried and true cars for expensive hybrids, he and his family jet all over the world on exotic vacations, traveling in gas guzzlers everywhere they go; while he “commiserates” with our belt tightening, he and his family dine on lobster, Kobe beef, and foie gras.  His arrogance is so overweening that he assumes that he is entitled to these luxuries — at our expense, of course — even as he insists that we cut back, tone done, retrench and, of course, destroy our employer class.

Putz isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s the only one I’ll use on my PG blog.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land,
available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon or Smashwords.

Info about friends of Israel gathering for a counter-protest in San Francisco

Word got out that ANSWER, a Communist front group, is planning a protest at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco today (June 1), so Stand With Us in San Francisco is trying to gather for a counter-protest.  So, the email you see below is from a group friendly to Israel, giving information about ANSWER’s protest, and what to expect:

Of course, everyone is aware of the recent events involving Israel’s interception of so-called “peace activists” on the Gaza flotilla; some of these “peace activists” attacked Israeli soldiers with knives, crowbars and poles which led to deaths and injuries.

Anti-Israel groups led by International ANSWER are holding a protest in front of the Israeli Consulate building in San Francisco (456 Montgomery Street) Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 PM. SWU/SF Voice for Israel is going to be there to counter them. We will have some flags and signs, please feel free to bring your own as well. If you choose to bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians in general. Signs in violation of our policies do not help the pro-Israel cause and will not be allowed.

Please be aware of the possibility that some of the so-called “peace activists” here in the Bay Area may not be any more peaceful than their counterparts on the Turkish boat; use common sense and avoid engaging with those on the other side as you arrive or leave the area.

We will be updating you on the status of protests at Israel in the Gardens as we become aware of them. We hope that the SFPD will recognize the need to keep anti-Israel protestors away from the gates of the festival.

Finally, we are including this excellent summary prepared by the Northwest (Seattle) chapter of StandWithUs as an information resource.

Friends,

As most of you have already heard, there was a major altercation at sea between the Israeli navy and a flotilla of vessels attempting to run the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

This flotilla was purely a PR effort by groups that support Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel currently allows 15,000 tons humanitarian aid per day into Gaza, more than a ton of aid per person in Gaza every year.

After Israel issued numerous warnings before the flotilla left the Turkish portion of Cyprus that it would stop the flotilla and after numerous warnings at sea by the Israeli naval ships that intercepted the vessels (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4&feature=player_embedded to see a video of the Israeli navy warning the flotilla ships to stop), the flotilla refused to change course. Israel had told the flotilla that if they docked at Ashdod, Israel would transport all the humanitarian aid on their ships to Gaza, but that Israel would not let the flotilla carry the goods to Gaza because it had to inspect the cargo to ensure that there were neither weapons nor weapon-producing or tunnel constuction materials on board.

The flotilla ignored these numerous warnings. After the flotilla continued toward Gaza despite of the warnings by the Israeli navy that they would board the flotilla, Israeli navy commandos did begin to board the flotilla ships.

When the Israeli commandos boarded the ships, demonstrators attacked them with live gunfire as well as with knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators threw at least one of the Israeli commandos from the top deck to the deck below (a 30 foot drop). All the while, the Israeli commandos were yelling to each other “No shooting! No weapons!” Only after what you can see in on YouTube (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU12KW-XyZE&feature=player_embedded#! to see this astonishing video), did the Navy authorize the use of weapons.

Tragically, it is reported that at least 10 demonstrators died and others were wounded. All wounded were flown to Israeli hospitals. Numerous Israeli naval commandos were gravely wounded as well. They, too, were taken to Israeli hospitals. The ships were escorted in to Ashdod, from where any humanitarian aid will be taken to Gaza by Israel.

For StandWithUs’ s statement on the Gaza Flotilla incident, go to http://www.standwithus.com/app/iNews/view_n.asp?ID=1444.

For background facts and videos from Honest Reporting Canada showing “Gaza Flotilla” members attacking Israeli naval commandos, go to http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/specialhralert53020.aspx.

For an eye witness account “A Brutal Ambush at Sea,” by Ron Ben-Yishai of Ynet News, go to http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896796,00.html

For an excellent summary and background, see the materials put together by The Jewish Federations of North America go to http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=221579.

A quick morning round-up — and an Open Thread *UPDATED*

If you’re on the ball, this week you have the opportunity to bid on a great sounding book, get an iPad, and help Soldier’s Angels.

Everyone’s wondering why multiple New Yorkers just walked by as a good Samaritan bled to death on the sidewalk in front of them.  The intelligentsia has jumped on the usual suspects:  violent video games.  I think, though, that we’re simply looking at life in the big city, in which people cultivate the mindset of “it’s not my problem; someone else, preferably a City employee,” will fix it.  And in the last shot of that deeply depressing video, one sees New York’s own come driving up to carry away the corpse.  It’s no coincidence, perhaps, that urban dwellers vote overwhelmingly for big government.  Living in the City means never having to take care of things yourself.

Speaking of cities and government, it’s clear that one city’s government knows how to take care of itself.  It turns out that 1 out of 3 San Francisco employees is earning in excess $100,000 annually on the taxpayer’s dime.  (Here’s an example of a teacher feeding at some government’s public trough who can’t possibly be worth whatever money they are paying her.)  I suspect that, if you had a picture of sheep being led to the slaughter, and San Franciscans walking down the City streets, the images would be indistinguishable– except that the sheep earn our sympathy because they, at least, are not complicit in their own demise.

And speaking of sheep, Michael Barone thinks that some sheep may be lining up for rebellion and will start demanding spending cuts, not tax increases.  They will be met, naturally, with cries that, should such cuts go into effect, there will be people starving in the streets.  Funnily enough, those statements will echo precisely the arguments made back in 1990s, when the debate was on about “ending welfare as we know it.”  We did end welfare as we knew it, and Armageddon failed to occur.  What a disappointment to the doomsayers.

I’ve spent a fair amount of blog time this week talking about the danger of identity politics.  The trigger for me was the gay softball team stripped of its championship because some of its players weren’t gay enough.  The world of sports, though, is too small a stage for sexual identity politics, and the same argument is now playing out on the Pennsylvania political scene:  “Just how bisexual is Gregg Kravitz? His political career may pivot on the answer. Kravitz is a 29-year-old former stockbroker from Philadelphia, who is running for the Pennsylvania statehouse. He claims to be a bisexual. [para.] His opponent in the Democratic primary, incumbent Babette Josephs, says Kravitz is lying about who he sleeps with in order to curry favor with gay voters. Josephs claims she met a woman at a fundraiser who identified herself as Kravitz’s girlfriend. “I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs announced.”

Lastly, although I can’t find a graceful way to tie the following in with my snippets, above, I wanted to bring your attention to the hatred directed at the Tea Partiers.  While the media may be very busy trying to paint peaceful constitutionally-oriented protests as potential bloodbaths, that’s not where the ugliness lies.  (Warning:  bad language and potential scary nightmares lie at this link.)

UPDATE:  Since this was a post that leaned heavily on government worker issues, this Saturday Night Live sketch seems apropos: