Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reason # 29482023094891 Why I Love Los Osos







Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Nation of Laws

Dick Cheney was a frightened man.  Deeply shaken when the twin towers fell. His fear fed his own  harsh proclivities, it clouded his mind, as fear always does, and too easily lured his heart's own longing for the dark side.

Dick Cheney was not alone.  Too many Americans shared his mind frame. The only difference was that Cheney was the Vice President of the most powerful nation on earth.  He was also the inside man, the man with full access to the CIA, the man who got things done, the fixer, the enforcer.  And standing in his way was a nation that prided itself on being a nation of laws, laws that required that we "keep the gloves on" at all times, because that's who we think we are.  For Dick, however, gloves were always an unwanted impediment to his powerful sense of realpolitik.  His fear and 9/11 was the perfect excuse he needed to take them off.

From that, all else followed.     

And so, here we are.  What was known-but-not-known is now beyond denial, except for those whose jobs and reputations and legacies depend on their continuing The Big Lie. It's a tactic that will work because it always does.  Which is why the most discouraging thing about the recently released report on the CIA and Torture is that we can all be sure that nothing will be done.  There will be no accountability, no consequences, no perp-walks, no war-crime trials, no Truth and Reconciliation hearings,  no nothing.  Just a massive report which will be denied by those who administered the program, then put on a shelf.  Then . . . nothing.

Except we will once again start piously declaring to ourselves and the world about how America is a nation of laws.The rest of the world will snigger up their sleeves.  They know better.

America tortures.  America commits war crimes.  Just like a lot of other Thug Nations that America publicly decries.  But America gets away with its murders because Power and Expediency, not Law, not Justice, is what America is a nation of. 

So we regularly go through this sad dance of faux "Accountability," throw a few low-level folks under the bus, declare ourselves My Bad, write, then shelve a big thick report, and then The Great Forgetting will set in . Until next time.

I have no doubt that some very angry jihadists will use this report to engage in some war crimes of their own.  Murder always calls out for more murder.  And already the foxes are defending their chicken coops while a whole gaggle of politicians are diving under their desks in a fit of forgetting as to what they knew and when they knew it. This will play out in the 24/7 news media, and partisan politicians are already starting to change the narrative: The 9/11 "mood" of the country made us do it.  After all, everyone knows that torture works and war crimes are O.K. . . . . if you're angry.

In no time, that narrative will prevail and we'll be back cocooned inside our comforting belief that we are exceptional and so did no wrong because we are, after all, America -- a Nation of Laws.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Coffee’s Up


Once again, SLO Roasted Coffee Company in Los Osos had it’s annual Holiday open house yesterday.

Santa guarded the rows of glass coffee cups waiting the guests.


Who showed up to sample coffees , including the darkly sweet and delicious Ethiopian Yirgachieffe.  The Yirgachieffe  shows up for a limited time and then, Poof!, gone , so if you like that roast, better get your Christmas list and head over to the warehouse.

And, with coffee, came the holiday cookies.


For those of you who love SLO Roasted coffe but only have Keurig coffee machines, now you can have your SLO coffee and drink it, too. They've got a new item: Single serve Pods!


As they did last year, there were raffles and a coffee roasting demonstration.  Great chance to visit friends and neighbors, get some fabulous coffee and support one of our very own Los Osos small businesses.

All watched over by a small, festive coffee bush in front of the massive roaster that is waiting to be fired up for an aromatic run.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Smoking Kills

 Calhoun's Cannon for December 4, 2014

 If you’re a big black guy illegally selling individual cigarettes on the streets of New York, you’ll be swarmed by a gaggle of small, scared, inept, poorly trained white cops who will put you in an illegal choke hold, and despite your repeated cries of, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” you will die on the sidewalk, and none of the cops who killed you will be indicted on any charges by a grand jury even though the whole event was caught on tape for everyone to see.

So, what is there left to say about all this, except to cynically observe that this is just another example of how tobacco kills?

Surely, we’ve all gone nuts.  We have armed ourselves to the teeth, convinced that the ghost of old Nat Turner is coming out of the swamps with his cane knife to kill all us white folks in our beds.  We arm our kids to the teeth with toy guns that look so real that recently a couple of inept, poorly trained cops ended up doing a roll-up shooting on a 12 year-old kid.  They didn’t get the word that he was a kid and the gun was a toy.  Nope, they saw a scary black guy waving a gun. Blam! Done and done.

Anybody want to lay the odds on what the grand jury findings in that case will be ?  No?

White America has been listening to a rising chorus of talk-radio, social media, cable TV 24/7 “news,” wink-nudge racial dog-whistle music since Obama got elected.  The tune is an old, old one and is always the same:  Black people aren’t “real Americans,” they’re criminals, they’re animals, they’re “demons,” they’re dangerous killers.  And when they’re not being those things, they’re being greedy, lazy welfare queens, or cheats and moochers or drug dealers or felons.  They’re the dreaded Other.  And they’re scary. And they have to be controlled and kept in their place. By the police.

Repeat that false meme enough times and is it any wonder why too many Americans have become a frightened citizenry armed to the teeth with high-powered weapons of war?  And because the citizenry is now outgunning the police, we now have to supply our police units with full-on Army surplus assault vehicles and weapons so now we’ve turned our streets into war zones and turned our citizens into enemy combatants, with the two sides too often facing off in dangerous Us versus Them confrontations.

Or consider how our illegal drug use has been the driver for turning Mexico into an abattoir and our own streets into deadly free-fire zones for warring drug gangs. While our inadequate mental health, drug/alcohol treatment services leaves too many impaired people (many of whom are armed, just like the rest of America) wandering the streets to be dealt with by a militarized police who are trained and primed for fusillades, not the slow, messy business of helping sad, broken minds.

Or how we have allowed our communities to rot, our schools to fail, our health and safety net to shred while The Wall Street Boys and their handmaidens in Congress shipped our jobs overseas, looted the national treasury and walked away scot free.  And then, instead of engaging in massive, nationwide civic regeneration and repair, we turned these choking, broken communities over to the police to just keep order, while we walked away. 

And now we stare in wonderment when selling single cigarettes on the streets of New York is a crime that is now punishable by death while Justice turns her face away, not only blind but deaf and dumb as well.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Plans

It's that time again.  Time to grab the kids and head down to PCPA ( http://www.PCPA.ORG ) for their wonderful Christmas offering, "Christmas is Here Again," a new musical by Brad Carrol and Jeremy Mann.  This charmer is a wonderful mashup of Hans Christian Anderson's "Snow Queen," ("Frozen"), Peter Pan, (Clap if you believe in Peter Pan), and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

The musical is an adaption of the 2007 animated feature film of the same name, and this production makes wonderful use of the original images from the film that are projected on the back screen.  It's a very effective device to set the scene, carry the story forward and give the production a unique "look" that honors the original film.

The story is simple: Years before, Christmas, Santa and the official Doler Out Of Lumps of Coal for naughty children (Krad, play by Billy Breed) had a falling out.  Santa didn't want any punishment for any kids while Krad demanded accountability in order to keep things in balance.  Santa won and in revenge, Krad stole away Santa's magic sack of toys thereby mading Christmas disappear.  Enter our heroine, Sophiana, a poor orphan who, armed with hope and faith and a magic star, sets off to retrieve the sack and bring back Christmas.  She's joined in her journey by an elf, a young reindeer (Prancer's grandson), a polar bear (hilariously played by Erik Stein) and a smooth-talking, raffish boulevardier fox (played by George Walker, who's worth the price of admission alone).

Together the little band confronts Krad, convinces him that Santa has seen the errors of his ways, that the universe needs both accountability as well as kindness and love, and, ta-da! Christmas again returns. 

Like everything PCA does, this show is wonderfully done and is a great way to kick off your Holiday.  So, grab the kids, or, if you don't have kids, become a kid yourself and take yourself down to Santa Maria to see it.

Meanwhile. . .

Saturday, Dec. 6, from noon to 4 pm.  SLO Roasted Coffee Company is having their annual Holiday Open House on Los Olivos St. here in Los Osos.  There's free coffee sampling, a roasting demonstration, raffle prizes, discount coupons for coffee purchases, and, if memory serves, a discount for all coffee purchased that day. 

And Saturday Dec 13, the Los Osos Christmas Parade, starting at 10 a.m. after which, head down to the Community Center for the annual Wish & Needs fund-raiser for the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter.  This is the big annual event that does Los Osos proud, so after the parade, be sure to go get a hot dog, check out the silent auction and other goodies, and stop off at the big donation jar and give generously.