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Saturday, November 15, 2008


Purses Remain Closed in this Season of Giving

Hunger * Lines Grow Long, Donations Dwindle * Auto Makers * Fall

Recently, there has been a spate of reports about problems faced by local (San Francisco Bay area) food banks. The meltdown of American economy has reached a level where organizations that serve the community's hungry and homeless are finding it hard to do so. As the lines of people waiting for meals or handouts have grown longer, the amount of donations -- cash and foodstuff -- have shrunk. Silicon Valley corporations, grocery stores, wealthy individuals -- have cut back on their contributions. It is a sign of the times. The trickle-down economy touted by free market proponents never took shape but domino effect of Wall Street's sub-prime mortgage scam that collapsed has spread all across America. The poor facing a bleak winter; even the well-to-do are jittery. And the end is nowhere in sight.

As a volunteer at St. Anthony's Dining Room, Menlo Park, California, I speak from first-hand knowledge. Signs of less food being available became noticeable early in the year. It has gotten worse. So far no one has been turned away. Food is served from 11:00 AM to 1 PM Monday through Saturday. Everyone who walks through the door receives fresh-cooked food, bread, salad and dessert. Service is friendly. Last week, on Thursday, November 13, more than 400 were served. St. Anthony's in San Francisco feeds many more.

“Every gun that's made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms...is spending the genius of its scientists, the sweat of its laborers,”

--Dwight David Eisenhower, America's 34th President (1953-61)

The Auto Industry and its Tunnel Vision

The American auto industry is in a terminal situation...in its last gasp. Without a large injection of cash the chances of its survival are slim. The auto industry is largely responsible for its problems. It built eco-unfriendly vehicles and fought against all proposals for fuel economy. It made money because the gas-hogging monsters appealed to a large segment of buyers. Fuel was cheap. There was no thought about the future. Now it is a different world. Should we bail the auto industry out? The questions we should ask are why and how long would the bailout keep it alive?

From what is known, the case is not strong enough to justify giving the auto makers money. Politicians, however, are doing their usual thing.....supporting financial aid not because it is the right thing to do but purely based on expediency.

Also, what the financial sector is doing with the bailout money must not be overlooked. It is showing every sign of continuing the merry old way.

Fall Colors in the Neighborhood

Unusually warm for this time of the year. Yesterday, the daytime temperature was in the 80's Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). The weather man is forecasting rain November 22nd/23rd -- too far away. We need rain now. During a recent walk through the woods I didn't come across any chanterelles or oyster mushrooms. The ground felt bone dry. But we have more serious reasons to be concerned about than the absence of wild mushrooms.

The pictures below were taken during a bicycle ride through the neighborhood.

Tournament Drive, San Mateo, CA
© Musafir
Distant view of Crystal Springs Reservoir and Highway 280 Overpass
© Musafir

Tournament Drive, San Mateo, CA
© Musafir

Parrott Drive, San Mateo, CA
© Musafir

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