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Monday Meander

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Our seder was small, only the three of us. But sweet and sentimental. We remembered those who are no longer with us, including Gus, who was much beloved by Maxine and Keith. Maxine used to enjoy lying down on the sofa while we watched T.V. after dinner, and she would want Gus to snuggle with her. But Gus was really more comfortable with me. So I’d pick him up, put him beside Maxine on the sofa, and give him that “stay there!” look, which he obeyed. But he’d never take his eyes off me.

Then, on Sunday, the three of us went for a nice walk on the San Mateo side of San Francisco Bay. There’s a brand new park down there, paid for by Facebook, which has built and is in the process of opening some big buildings for artificial intelligence research. I must say the buildings were ominous looking; with their great slabs of flat plate glass they reminded me of Mark Zuckerberg’s face. But the park itself is gorgeous: beautiful pathways and gardens right on the Bay, with tremendous views of San Francisco and the East Bay. It’s a short walk to Coyote Point, where we also went. This is all part of the San Francisco Bay Trail,

a planned 500-mile walking and biking trail that will completely circumnavigate San Francisco Bay. It’s been in the works for about 20 years and is nearing completion. I covered its launch years ago. Our Bay has certainly suffered many depredations over the centuries, but the good news is that our California sentiment (preservation, a love of scenic beauty and open spaces, all informed by our benign climate) has prevented large parts of the California coast from being despoiled, the way the coast has been ruined in Florida or along the northeast. Easterners and republicans love to make fun of “the land of fruit and nuts” but really, they’ve wrecked their own environment, and I think they’re just jealous of us.

For example, I got a comment today on Facebook referring to the “train to nowhere.” Now, that is a derogatory phrase invented by republicans to refer to a stretch of BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit train, that will connect the East Bay to the city of San Jose and thence to Silicon Valley. Objectively viewed, this is one of the most important transit developments in the country. But the republicans declared war on it because the Bay Area is very Democratic. The republican propagandists dubbed it “the train to nowhere,” a huge lie, and trump killed the funding. I’m sure it will be refunded because it’s so obviously important, but it’s just another example of republican malfeasance. The same republicans who hurl slurs like “the train to nowhere” are now trying to drive Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, using the same lies and slogans. They have no real way of criticizing him, of course, since he’s been a good governor, so instead they appeal to people’s anger and resentment, especially the resentment of rural inlanders against the more prosperous and creative coastal areas. The inlanders always have despised the coast (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley) because they recognize that coastal Californians are better educated, healthier and more entrepreneurial than they are. It’s too bad; inlanders have some good qualities. But they can’t seem to celebrate themselves without having to denigrate someone else. Well, that’s Trumpism, in a nutshell.

I hope everyone has a good week! More tomorrow.

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