With h brown
Court Jester reviews Code Pink anti-war rally,
meets father of imprisoned journalist Josh Wolf
March 22, 2007
"I'm on the pavement, looking at the government."
I smoked a cigar and watched as red-necked U.S. marshals in
blazers replete with flags and 9-11 buttons (part of the uniform?)
scurried to and fro beneath the ziggurat-defended federal building
on Golden Gate at Hyde in San Francisco's combo Civic Center/Tenderloin
I'd come to meet Josh Wolf's old man, Len Harrison who was beginning
a humble vigil for his son, the longest held U.S. journalist.
Why does everyone hate the U.S.?
I'd phone-tagged with FCJ maven, Luke
Thomas for coverage of the demonstration
events planned before the federal building that day. Code
Pink was going to be there featuring Chris Daly, Krissy Keefer
and Ross Mirkarimi as speakers. Wolf's low-key pop (his views
ain't so mainstream - ready for a California secession from the
union? - I am)
the federal building is hostile territory.
It is like coming upon the beginnings of a ziggurat. It's a
defensive emplacement involving all kinds of radical geometric
angles of concrete with imbedded steel designed to puncture the
tires of bomb-laden vehicles trying to drive into the lobby and
center themselves before setting off their explosives (as an afterthought,
they added imbedded brass studs at random intervals in the sheer
walls that proved to be perfect launch ramps for skateboarders).
The criss-cross nature of the defenses with all the sharp angles,
plunges and dips, makes that more difficult. Of course, a shopping
cart carrying a small nuclear device can walk right up to the
And, constantly, you have these fat young federal marshals,
racing to and fro, up and down the winding ADA accessible ramps
outside the building, chattering into walkie talkies from a 1990
Radio Shack throw-away bin.
Places of evil are cold
Windy too in this case. These skyscrapers create their own weather
patterns (let's see you keep a hat on your head or an umbrella
in your hand within range of the Trans Bay Terminal's proposed
100 story tower - thanks Chris)
combined with the totally
unprotected California State office building across the street,
the wind tunnel in front of the federal building is considerable.
The temperature there is a good 10 degrees cooler than it is in
Alioto Plaza, a block away before City Hall.
It's windy and it's cold. There are (as mentioned) a range of
concrete parapets zig-zagging up to the entry of the federal building
and only Code Pink's Vicki Leidner knows this fact for certain
(veteran of a thousand appearances here) and dresses accordingly.
I enter the scene. Three days since my last shower. Ten minutes
since my last shot of bourbon and hit of fine weed (don't bring
your pipes and dope onto federal grounds - those fat young kids
with the walkie-talkies are from Oklahoma where "white lightning's
still the biggest thrill of all")
I'm scoping the
crowd for Thomas cause I want to see who he's 'shooting' so's
I can tailor my copy that way.
I totally missed Josh's dad as I entered the federal reserve.
He was right at the corner of Larkin and Golden Gate, at the bottom-most
apex of the first triangle that began the winding defenses (still
weekdays 9-6 to start). He was silent and blended in
(who pays attention to an old guy sitting on the street in the
Tenderloin?) My eye is drawn to movement and color and Medea Benjamin's
demonstration has that. I see all of the banners and signs from
Code Pink from a block away. The gigantic statue of Gandhi. The
unfurled 12 foot banner. They're familiar and welcoming. I know
they'll be surrounded by friends and the little man on the sidewalk
with the burning candle is ignored.
"Perhaps he didn't want to be overshadowed."
One of the Code Pinkers laid that line on me when I asked if
they knew if Josh's dad was there today. I thought that to be
amazingly arrogant. I didn't know Len Harrison, but I'm a father
and I figured he was gonna be there if he said he'd be there.
Code Pink did well, though.
Actually, I didn't hear a single word any of their speakers
uttered. I'm so used to watching and listening to the same people
say the same things over and over that I tend to tune them out
and focus on the scenery and the forms that occupy it. I still
hadn't located Josh's dad when 2 beautiful women spoke to me almost
"I think that's Josh's dad at the start of the path."
"My name is Hope and I met you at Ross's."
"If God made anything better than pussy, he kept it in Heaven,
cause it ain't around here."
Grandpa wasn't there. Dead for 20 years or more. Family lore
had him some kind of last link to a line of rabbis stretching
back to King Solomon. To me as a little kid, he was just the old
guy with the handlebar who could make snakes dance.
I held my arms closely to my sides so that the women couldn't
smell my bad body odor. Ever do that? Sure, you have. Odd that
'lower' levels on the evolutionary chain rub their scents on tree
stumps and stuff like that. I considered and thought this might
not be the right idea in this situation. Could even bring some
kind of 'quality of life' citation.
Mirk and Chris on running for mayor
`Chris hid behind his wife and child and 'negatives' as reasons
for not running for Mayor this cycle. He freely offered that he'd
be in the race for Speaker Pelosi's seat next year which is a
real laugher. Whomever the hell sold him that as a viable next
step in his career, could sell refrigerators to Eskimos, as they
Mirkarimi complained about direct incoherent quotes from him
that were published in Fog CIty that made him seem incoherent.
He wasn't clear about why he wouldn't run for Mayor.
Keefer said she'd gladly get into the race if someone wants
to pay her entry fee. Typically on the Left, only the woman had
Note to Hari Dillon
Mirk was clear on one thing. He could back Danny Glover for
Mayor of San Francisco. He gave me the name of Glover's local
contact, Hari Dillon of Danny's Vanguard group that directs his
local efforts. I zapped an email but have heard nothing.
Ted Strawser's Wednesday's at Zeitgeist
I missed it yesterday. 6pm, every Wednesday from now until Eric
Steinberg executes his alternative-journalists, Homeland Security
sweep. Testing the manpower of the Bush administration's counter-intelligency
(nice term) effort, the SF People's Party's founding honcho, Ted
Strawser has recently begun a Wednesday evening Salon at Zeitgeist
on Valencia at Duboce.
Does Warren Hellman pay Ken Garcia money?
Hey, SF Weekly's Matt Smith wrote a column a couple of years
back about a long meeting he had with SF's 'man behind the curtain',
Warren Hellman during which Hellman offered to give Smith some
money every now and then because he (Hellman) wanted to help subsidize
quality journalism in the City.
I shit you not. Now, up until that time, I'd always suspected
that Hellman or other members of the Swells' Golden Gate Park
privatization effort were paying Garcia for the numerous columns
he churned out favoring their efforts.
After I read the Smith column, I was as certain as I could be,
without holding the canceled checks in my hand, that Hellman had
certainly been paying off Ken Garcia for all these years.
Garcia's announcement last week that he is not taking a position
on 'Healthy Saturday's' pretty much confirmed my suspicions. I
mean, the only thing that has changed in this latest joust is
Hellman's position. Warren, in fact, spoke in front of the SF
Chamber of Commerce this week and chastised those who, like himself,
had promised to support a Saturday closure trial if he could get
his garage built.
Old, beat up Warren, he kept his word. He lashed out at the
two-faced denizens at the Chamber meeting who had also promised
to support a Saturday closure trial but were now reneging.
So, when the Weekly's Smith (ironic, huh?) attacked Dede Wilsey
and the Swells for trying to keep the poor out of the park, it
was significant that her number one butt boy, Ken Garcia, didn't
join her chorus. Could it be because Hellman is giving him more
for Kenny boy's 'fair and balanced' view of the scene?
The term 'retard'
The 'R' in 'ARC' stands for 'retarded', folks. While I thought
it unfortunate, that Matt Smith used the generally now considered
negative term in his article, it is appropriate. For any member
of that organization to complain about it is disingenuous. It's
like someone complaining that one of the 'C's in NAACP stands
Alioto vs Willie and Renne?
Be alerted that the upcoming Hunters Point Blacks Vs Lennar
Development trial could feature a veritable local Williams Jennings
Bryant Vs Clarence Darrow type lineup for those lucky enough to
grab tickets to view.
Yeah, pretty good chance that Angela Alioto will be facing Police
Commission President Louise Renne and ex-Mayor, Willie Brown,
in the Lennar poisons native population fight.
'Colma Kid' keeps Jester drunk
Just as a champion athlete needs to follow a certain training
regimen to achieve peak performance, many writers need to get
drunk, high, stoned, clobbered, acidic, or whatever, to reach
their own 'zone'. I'm that way.
Not that I can't churn out this drivel straight, but hey, why
bother even trying? Thus, a big thanks goes out this week to my
reader who calls himself the 'Colma Kid' for sending me the 6
crisp $5 bills on St. Patrick's day. While we ain't reaching Hellman
levels, every dime, I can assure you, was used in the manner in
which you expected it would be used.
You're kidding, right?
Ahhhh, now you got me.
h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com,
an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h
is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and
a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email
h at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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