August 26, 2007
When We The People’s Ship Comes In

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
  — The Merchant of Venice

Speaking of Shylock, Arnold Schwarzenegger has set his yachts upon the sea. And the people’s little ship is sailing forth, while Bob Dylan’s words echo in the haunts in the harbor.

Making good on a promise to trim the state budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated a $55-million program Friday that advocates say has helped thousands of mentally ill homeless people break the costly cycle of hospitalization, jails and street life.

None of the cuts elicited a more virulent outcry than the elimination of the program for the homeless mentally ill.

The program had been on the chopping block all summer. Advocates, including the architects of California's effort to overhaul its troubled mental health system, had staged a furious lobbying effort to stave off the cut.

One official was quoted: “A $45-million tax break for yacht owners stays in the budget. And a nationally recognized, incredibly effective program to end homelessness for those living with mental illness gets thrown under the bus.”


Posted by Buck Batard at August 26, 2007 08:46 PM
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The Phil quote seems more on point than the Bob one. There but for fortune...

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on August 29, 2007 11:44 AM

Well, Martha I think you're right. Although Och's melancholy eventually brought him down. And Dylan completely sold out.

But these old folk singers - most of the truly great one's are scarcely remembered and aren't avaialable on YouTube - made great contributions to workers movements in the past. In years gone by, a Union organizing group would rarely show up without a cadre of balladeers and folk and/or topical singers (Phil's term).

But I will admit to convenience in picking the song. It tied in with the Merchant of Venice theme that I was focusing on. You can call me lazy. I'll admit to it.

Maybe Pleasures of the Harbor by Ochs would be more appropriate? But I can't find it on Youtube.

But a pound of flesh is extracted in many, many ways. Och's gave it all.

Posted by: Buck on August 29, 2007 12:27 PM

Well, he gave it all, yes. Hard to tell if his late fat-Elvis phase was "giving it all" to any definite cause, but maybe by then he had already given it all? What a hell of a writer anyway. For some reason "The Shores of Santo Domingo" was in my head last night.

Dunno about "Merchant of Venice" really -- there's really no way around it being an ugly story predicated on scapegoating.

But re: topical singing, I heard this one on the radio s'morning, marking the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:

"...Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline..."



Posted by: Martha Bridegam on August 29, 2007 2:33 PM
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