(Berkeley CA) While visiting San Francisco, it became necessary to go to a bank branch that wasn't the one this columnist usually uses, and in the course of a conversation with the manager, he mentioned that if this customer intended to give the teller a tip, it would be better to donate to one of the charities that they suggested. Then he dealt out a list of about a dozen good causes. He caught us a bit unaware since we have never tipped a bank clerk. Maybe the rich folks tip them like they tip the croupier when they win a big pot at Monte Carlo?
The sheet of paper he provided was carefully tucked away so that the list could be accurately transcribed at this point in this column. One of the disadvantages of a rolling stone existence is that things get lost and so, despite a sincere effort, no list. The only one that comes to mind is the fog city SPCA.
A clothing store in San Franciso directed their customers to St. Jude's Hospital (www.stjude.org), which assures donors that the organization in Memphis will never stop looking for cures for the diseases which severely affect children.
Activists on Venice Beach, recently, were asserting that folks shouldn't shoot sea lions (www.oceananimals.net)
While staying at the hostel in the Fort Mason National Park (spectacular scenery with a supermarket a just across Laguna St.), we encountered Padma Dorje who was collecting signatures as part of her effort to eliminate torture in the world.
Across the bay from San Francisco, the Asian Community Mental Health Services is conducting the Tiny Tickets effort. Travelers are asked to send in their Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tickets to help support that good cause. (http://www.acmhs.org/bart.htm)
Fellow columnist (and occasional war correspondent) Jane Stillwater is conducting an online petition urging the reform of campaign financing. For more about that click this link(http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/constitutional-amendment-to-stop-lobbyists)
While traveling in Australia (looks like the folks on Cottesloe beach will have to celibate Christmas without this columnist this year), activists for Greenpeace and Amnesty International seemed to be ubiquitous, but, upon reflection, they may not have been encountered in Kalgoorlie. We assured those eager young workers that since we couldn't afford to give money to their causes, we would urge the people who read our columns to support the altruistic efforts of both groups.
Now that President Obama is in office and is directing his best efforts towards ending the war in Afghanistan, it will no longer be necessary for this columnist to constantly harangue his faithful readers with diatribes about the absurdity of the continued slaughter and carnage involved in the commendable American efforts to convert that county's citizens over to advocates of democracy and free elections. Also, this year, as Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, it will not be appropriate to suggest that former President Bush, who ignored the precepts of war established at the Nuremberg Trials or the rules of the Geneva Conventions, deserves a severe reprimand in the form of another War Crime Trial for himself and some of the members of his administration. He didn't know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (what better reason could there have been for invading Afghanistan?).
Americans have given 43 a "Get out of Jail" card, and so it will be necessary for columnists of both the conservative and progressive persuasion to find new and more compelling causes to espouse.
We were pondering the monumental problem of deciding what crap to buy for friends for Christmas so that they could cram their closets with irrefutable evidence that they support capitalistic democracy via their effort to spend the country out of Great Depression 2.0 and not just by mouthing meaningless platitudes, such as "Peace on Earth good will to men (who should be tortured to prevent new terrorist attacks)," when we realized that the Christmas scenes that depict polar bears (Ursus martimus) lurking in the background of the images of Santa may become anachronisms when the last polar bear drowns in an ice free Artic Ocean.
Bill O'Reilly made a pledge to America that he would protect them from pinheads in the media who disseminated faulty information. O'Reilly is as much history as is "the Lone Ranger" program which must logically mean that the cry for Climate Justice is a legitimate concern. He's gone from radio and we're still here writing columns. Nice try, Bill! Guess the people just didn't buy your BS, eh? Hence, if we write about global warning, it will now be up to Uncle Rushbo to protect the hillbillies from pro science points of view.
Speciescide happens. Folks who live in Berkeley know that UCB's mascot is the California Golden Bear (Ursus arctos callifornicu) and many of them also know that the last one of that species was shot in Tulare county in 1922. Therefore we will compose a column which will have the headline: "Dead polar bear walking!" and fictionalize an interview with the plight of a unfairly convicted (that never happens in the USA, but movie fans know that some unjustified executions do occur in places such as Saddam's Iraq) prisoner on death row.
What will happen in the future when there are summer heat waves and there are no polar bears in the local zoo to photograph? How will the wirephoto division of AP cope with that challenge?
There are good causes and there are bad causes, but are there any uncaused causes?
Hmmm. As an ordained minister, this columnist has to wonder: Does the Berkeley cheerleading squad need the services of a volunteer chaplain?