Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
“Those evil bankers!”
Howard Bashford, distinguished professor of political science at the University of California, Davis, vented his anger during a joint faculty/administration committee meeting.
The session was called to discuss U.S. Bank’s closure of its on-campus branch.
“Those evil bankers!” Bashford repeated. “We’re well shut of them! Let them go, and good riddance!”
“You’re right to an extent, professor,” replied Amy Handleman, assistant deputy campus comptroller. “Sure, banks are evil, but the U.S. Bank agreement provided this campus about $167,000 over the past year.”
“And let us not forget,” interjected Jill Poke, deputy assistant auxiliary chancellor, “having that bank branch on campus gave the ‘Occupy’ protesters something to focus on – other than our administration building.”
“You say $167,000?” asked Bashford.
“Maybe as much as $3 million over the 10-year lease,” said Handleman. “And their reasons for closing the branch are so … so specious!”
“Yes!” said sociology Prof. Hibiscus Blank. “Just look at these lines from their evil attorney’s letter: ‘For well over a month now, U.S. Bank has been deprived of the use of the Branch because of the human barricade formed by the students and faculty in front of the door to the branch.’ They say their employees were virtual prisoners.
“What crybabies! Any reasonable person could have stepped over me when I was sitting there peacefully.”
“Yes!” said Handleman, seizing the floor again. “And anyway, under the lease the bank is in charge of its own security. But look, we’ve convened because our administration is disappointment that U.S. Bank is leaving when we are working to find ‘creative solutions.’ We must keep trying.”
“Those evil bankers are hopeless,” declared Bashford. “After all, we’ve already pointed out the protesters aren’t acting on behalf of this campus. In spite of that, the bank refused to participate in ‘a coordinated public relations initiative.’
“What could be more creative than a coordinated public relations initiative?”
“We also suggested mediation,” said Poke. “What could be more reasonable than mediation with protesters who have vowed to bring down the system?”
A voice came from a corner of the room: “How about issuing us more pepper spray?”
The shocking query came from the heretofore silent Lt. Doroteo Arango of the campus police.
“Really, Doroteo!” said Poke. “You saw the trouble your officer caused when he pepper sprayed those kids. We have to look on this conflict as a teachable moment, a learning experience on how to get along with students when they break the law.”
“Maybe we could teach them what it’s like to earn a paycheck to deposit in a bank,” said Arango. “Or we could teach them that when you break the law you get arrested.”
“Pig!” spat Bashford.
“Fascist!” screamed Poke.
“Capitalist tool!” yelled Blank.
“Well,” said Handleman, “There’s a teachable moment for you.”
Meanwhile, in D.C.: We have urged our congressman to back a zero-based federal budget. He replied, basically, that he’d think about it. You can turn up the heat on this issue by contacting your representatives and urging support for H.R. 821, by Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla. Like many a great piece of legislation, it is short and sweet, saying:
The President shall submit . . . a budget for each department and agency which contains . . .:
a. A description of each activity for which the department or agency receives an appropriation in the current fiscal year or for which the department of agency requests an appropriation for the budget year.
b. The legal basis for each activity.
c. For each activity, three alternative funding levels for the budget year, and a summary of the priorities that would be accomplished within each level, and the additional increments of value that would be added by the higher funding levels. At least two of these funding levels shall be below the funding level for the current fiscal year.
For each activity, one or more measures of its cost efficiency and effectiveness.
Further, the proposed legislation would require the assumed baseline budget of each department or agency to be zero and adds, “each proposed expenditure shall be justified as if it were a new expenditure.”
I can think of a few reasons – none of them good – why a “conservative” would not support this resolution. First, it would mean more work. Second, and probably more important, it would force legislators to face the wrath of every yelping constituency whose pet projects were cut. Third and most important, our lawmakers would have to give up control of large sums of money. And, as we know, money in motion is power.
File under “no kidding:” Berkeley’s police chief says it was an “error in judgment” to send a cop to a journalist’s home at 12:45 a.m. to seek changes in the reporter’s story.
Why, you ask, does fascist behavior crop up in this notoriously left-wing city? Could it be because left-wingers historically have been quite comfortable with fascism and fascists historically have been left-wingers? Witness the mob behavior of so many university students when a speaker appears with whom they disagree. Darling little fascists all.