The Smoothie Consistency Act of 2020

 

There seem to be two kinds of stories out of California cities these days: filth and forbiddance.

As for the first, there’s the encampments of the dispossessed, whose population is allowed to roam the streets in the grip of mental illness, and cannot be sent to a place for treatment because “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” taught us those places are run by sadistic nurses who do not understand how the patient’s illnesses are actually searing commentaries on society. Or the homeless people somehow got addicted to drugs – the details are an absolute mystery – and are thus entitled to shoot up anywhere, because prohibiting someone from jamming a spike in a vein in a playground would have a disparate impact on people who are economically marginalized and struggling with addiction. We can’t commit them to give them treatment, because they have to work this out on their own; the best thing to do is to provide free needles and safe injection locations, where they can incrementally destroy themselves in private, out of sight.

In both cases the real issue is the lack of “affordable housing,” by which they mean housing that can be secured by someone with no means of support who is incapable of holding a job, or spends all their money on intoxicants. Since they have no homes with flush toilets, they use the streets. Good liberals with “Resist!” bumperstickers sulk over stories about typhus-ridden fecal deposits, and wish the one-party government would Do Something. Otherwise they will vote out the ideologically interchangeable politicians and put in some other ideologically interchangeable politicians.

The “forbiddance” usually involves something performative and symbolic, intended to placate the Comfortable-Caucasian Caucus that is very concerned about the planet, right down to the yoga mat with recycled hemp stuffing, and learned a lot about the plastics problem when their nine-year-old did a project for the Science Fair. These are the people who book a vacation to New Zealand because seeing scenery qualifies as a spiritual event, particularly if the hotel spa has that thing where they put hot rocks on your spine while Enya plays (well not Enya she’s a bit déclassé now but you know what I mean), and while they may mutter “bless me Greta for I have sinned” they’re the sort of person who should be going to New Zealand, if only to tell others how the planet is beautiful and must be saved. They’re the sort of person who applauds the plastic straw ban and also has a few on hand, left over, you know, and when they’re used up, that’s that, no more.

I really don’t care what Californians inflict on themselves, but this gave me grim amusement.

I fully expect the Smoothie Consistency Act of 2020 to ensure compliance. For the children! turtles. It would be wonderful if someone calculated the carbon impact of all the blenders running for an extra few minutes, and discovering that the cumulative impact is equivalent to 40 airplane round-trips to New Zealand. 

They really should limit how many planes go there, you know. We were there last year, and you can tell it’s getting too popular. The people in our hotel were so loud and stayed up so late. You might as well go to Iceland if that’s what you want.

There are 33 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    “But now it’s just another show. Leave them laughing when you go.”

    • #1
  2. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    If a homeless person needs a plastic straw to snort drugs, because the paper ones crimp up before all the powder is through the tube, will the Los Angeles City Council begin handing them out on the street? Or will they just mandate the nearby restaurant owners do so?

    • #2
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Great post.

    James Lileks: As for the first, there’s the encampments of the dispossessed, whose population is allowed to roam the streets in the grip of mental illness, and cannot be sent to a place for treatment because “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” taught us those places are run by sadistic nurses who do not understand how the patient’s illnesses are actually searing commentaries on society.

    James Lileks: In both cases the real issue is the lack of “affordable housing,” by which they mean housing that can be secured by someone with no means of support who is incapable of holding a job, or spends all their money on intoxicants.

    That is great stuff.

    • #3
  4. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    If a homeless person needs a plastic straw to snort drugs, because the paper ones crimp up before all the powder is through the tube, will the Los Angeles City Council begin handing them out on the street? Or will they just mandate the nearby restaurant owners do so?

    My vote for comment of the week!  And it’s only Tuesday.

    • #4
  5. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Ich bin ein Venezuelan, Comrades, soon all of us will be Venezuelans. The truly equal society-no one will have health care, electricity, and Waste Management will provide rolling smorgasbord’s.

    • #5
  6. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Ich bin ein Venezuelan, Comrades, soon all of us will be Venezuelans. The truly equal society-no one will have health care, electricity, and Waste Management will provide rolling smorgasbord’s.

    I think you’re being too optimistic. 

    <sarcasm off >

    <cynicism always on >

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Instead of addressing the problems their previous silliness has created, they re pressing on with fresh silliness.

    Excelsior!

    • #7
  8. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    It is impressive how much time and energy state and local governments in California spend micromanaging the lives of so many residents while simultaneously ignoring the massive problems (social and infrastructure) that permeate the state.

    • #8
  9. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    James Lileks: In both cases the real issue is the lack of “affordable housing,” by which they mean housing that can be secured by someone with no means of support who is incapable of holding a job, or spends all their money on intoxicants.

    When I lived in Seattle I used to talk with homeless people almost everyday. You couldn’t avoid that unless you looked away and pretended you didn’t notice them. Many were mentally ill or on drugs. Most were both. One older gentleman would always be seen downtown sweeping the sidewalk with his broom (which was nice). When he dies the newspaper had a write up about him. It said that cold winter he went and bought a Cadillac with cash so he could have a nice place to sleep. So the homeless problem is not primarily about money and affordability.

    And I don’t care what you do with smoothies, but if you try to down a Slurpee without a straw, you are going to need to buy some Sensodyne.

    • #9
  10. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    My state, California, has a government that is clearly not up to the task of dealing with “The Homeless”.  Yet the problem is not steady-state and getting worse everywhere, especially the “nice” suburbs.  How will this develop?  I envisioned the Latin American “favela” model of urban development, but our “Homeless” lack the civilization or citizenship skills to make that sort of community work.  And the situation is clearly not ecologically or biologically sustainable, and could fail along those lines, with a plague or some other public health disaster.  

    The last two times I have been to my city’s biggest and most “luxury” Safeway, I have seen the store pathetically trying to stop shoplifters, who seem to be able to just walk away and enjoy the stuff.  So the situation is not economically sustainable, either.

    The “Homed” citizens, especially those with children, are not happy, or even tolerant, of the status quo, but show no sign of voting out elected officials who have failed to address this problem. As near as I can tell, the electorate thinks this problem is due to bad luck and/or technology people earning too much money.  And a large, one-party state will fail to even put up politicians offering new ideas.

    It will change, one way or another.

    • #10
  11. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    My state, California, has a government that is clearly not up to the task of dealing with “The Homeless”. Yet the problem is not steady-state and getting worse everywhere, especially the “nice” suburbs. How will this develop? I envisioned the Latin American “favela” model of urban development, but our “Homeless” lack the civilization or citizenship skills to make that sort of community work. And the situation is clearly not ecologically or biologically sustainable, and could fail along those lines, with a plague or some other public health disaster.

    The last two times I have been to my city’s biggest and most “luxury” Safeway, I have seen the store pathetically trying to stop shoplifters, who seem to be able to just walk away and enjoy the stuff. So the situation is not economically sustainable, either.

    The “Homed” citizens, especially those with children, are not happy, or even tolerant, of the status quo, but show no sign of voting out elected officials who have failed to address this problem. As near as I can tell, the electorate thinks this problem is due to bad luck and/or technology people earning too much money. And a large, one-party state will fail to even put up politicians offering new ideas.

    It will change, one way or another.

    Yeah, they’re going to move out of California to sane states, and then vote in the same type of politicians and policies that screwed up California.  So we can have it on a  national scale.

    • #11
  12. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    It is impressive how much time and energy state and local governments in California spend micromanaging the lives of so many residents while simultaneously ignoring the massive problems (social and infrastructure) that permeate the state.

    They micromanage the lives of legal residents; illegal residents not so much (see VDH).

    • #12
  13. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    James Lileks:

    There seem to be two kinds of stories out of California cities these days: filth and forbiddance.

    For any who may have had enough of this insanity, I recommend a trip, not to New Zealand, but to Japan, where filth is forbidden

    Take a ride on the bullet train. Relax. Watch the scenery go by.

    When the neat, attractive, polite young lady pushing the refreshments cart comes by and asks if you want anything, request an ice coffee. It will be delivered with a smile, some slight but oddly pleasant bowing, and a bunch of linguistic honorifics. This tasty coffee also comes with: 

    1 plastic straw 

    1 plastic straw casing (snaps open for easy access)

    1 plastic cup

    1 plastic lid for cup

    1 plastic container full of creamer

    1 plastic container full of gum sugar

    1 wet napkin (may be plastic)

    1 plastic container for wet napkin, and

    1 plastic trash bag designed specifically to contain your cup and other items

    After you have used these plastic items, each of which has improved your life in some small way, put them all in the plastic trash bag and dispose of it in the trash bin in the vestibule at either end of your car or on the platform at your destination. Japan Rail employees and government workers will take care of it from there and you need not feel guilty about using those plastic items. Indeed, you need never think of them again. 

     

    • #13
  14. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Obviously the answer to housing being too expensive – funny how this seems to happen in places with the most regulations – is to have more regulations on rent prices and on what can be built.  Don’t worry, Bernie Sanders and AOC have solutions to fix this.

    • #14
  15. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Obviously the answer to housing being too expensive – funny how this seems to happen in places with the most regulations – is to have more regulations on rent prices and on what can be built. Don’t worry, Bernie Sanders and AOC have solutions to fix this.

    Land use restrictions as well as making building permits difficult to obtain, and government mandates on the type of housing that may be built has made home ownership far more difficult than it should be. In some parts of the country it has created a permanent underclass that will not be able to purchase a home.

    Apartment owners will come up with their own solution to avoid rent controls – they will convert rentals to condos. I call it Googling urban areas. There will be owners and there will be the homeless, everyone else will find a location outside the urban core where home prices are tied to the median income. Perhaps I should call it San Franciscosizing a city. Watch out for the needles when you walk your dog. 

     

    • #15
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Obviously the answer to housing being too expensive – funny how this seems to happen in places with the most regulations – is to have more regulations on rent prices and on what can be built. Don’t worry, Bernie Sanders and AOC have solutions to fix this.

    Land use restrictions as well as making building permits difficult to obtain, and government mandates on the type of housing that may be built has made home ownership far more difficult than it should be. In some parts of the country it has created a permanent underclass that will not be able to purchase a home.

    Apartment owners will come up with their own solution to avoid rent controls – they will convert rentals to condos. I call it Googling urban areas. There will be owners and there will be the homeless, everyone else will find a location outside the urban core where home prices are tied to the median income. Perhaps I should call it San Franciscosizing a city. Watch out for the needles when you walk your dog.

     

    I don’t remember which podcast it was (maybe an episode of Whiskey Politics?) where the guest was a guy who built apartment buildings in many places.  He said California is the worst to try to build anything.  People complain about the cost of renting an apartment but the state makes it as difficult as possible to build apartments, so why invest in California when you can make more money with fewer headaches elsewhere?

    • #16
  17. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Obviously the answer to housing being too expensive – funny how this seems to happen in places with the most regulations – is to have more regulations on rent prices and on what can be built. Don’t worry, Bernie Sanders and AOC have solutions to fix this.

    Land use restrictions as well as making building permits difficult to obtain, and government mandates on the type of housing that may be built has made home ownership far more difficult than it should be. In some parts of the country it has created a permanent underclass that will not be able to purchase a home.

    Apartment owners will come up with their own solution to avoid rent controls – they will convert rentals to condos. I call it Googling urban areas. There will be owners and there will be the homeless, everyone else will find a location outside the urban core where home prices are tied to the median income. Perhaps I should call it San Franciscosizing a city. Watch out for the needles when you walk your dog.

     

    I don’t remember which podcast it was (maybe an episode of Whiskey Politics?) where the guest was a guy who built apartment buildings in many places. He said California is the worst to try to build anything. People complain about the cost of renting an apartment but the state makes it as difficult as possible to build apartments, so why invest in California when you can make more money with fewer headaches elsewhere?

    I remember that interview also  but also don’t remember which podcast. He was then running for Governor of California.  My recollection is that the cost differential in California was multiples, not just a few percent. He also noted the time for approval.

    • #17
  18. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam… Coolidge
    MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam…
    @ChrisCampion

    Fantastic, James.  You should look into writing, y’know, professionally.

    • #18
  19. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    It reminds me of my horrible 7th grade science fair project.  I was looking to solve the problem of evaporation in our lakes.

    Turns out the best way to prevent evaporation was to put a layer of cooking oil over the water.

    • #19
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):

    It reminds me of my horrible 7th grade science fair project. I was looking to solve the problem of evaporation in our lakes.

    Turns out the best way to prevent evaporation was to put a layer of cooking oil over the water.

    Or black balls.

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):

    It reminds me of my horrible 7th grade science fair project. I was looking to solve the problem of evaporation in our lakes.

    Turns out the best way to prevent evaporation was to put a layer of cooking oil over the water.

    Or black balls.

    Won’t they complain?

    • #21
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Won’t they complain?

    Uh…

    • #22
  23. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Won’t they complain?

    Uh

    I’ve seen that video before.  It’s not quite what I meant.

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Won’t they complain?

    Uh

    I’ve seen that video before. It’s not quite what I meant.

    I know what you meant. You really should be in the PIT more often.

    • #24
  25. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Won’t they complain?

    Uh

    I’ve seen that video before. It’s not quite what I meant.

    I know what you meant. You really should be in the PIT more often.

    Who has the time?

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Who has the time?

    Maybe when you retire or they find you out and confine you to an institution, if it has Internet access.

    • #26
  27. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Arahant (View Comment):

    ..or they find you out and confine you to an institution, if it has Internet access.

    I always thought Ricochet WAS an institution with internet access 😛

    • #27
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    ..or they find you out and confine you to an institution, if it has Internet access.

    I always thought Ricochet WAS an institution with internet access 😛

    Yes, but you can always leave.

    • #28
  29. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Who has the time?

    Maybe when you retire or they find you out and confine you to an institution, if it has Internet access.

    My boss has already told me I’m not retiring, so that’s out. An institution? Maybe.  I’m only on so much now because I’m convalescing.  I hope to go back to work on Wednesday.

    • #29
  30. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Arahant (View Comment):

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    ..or they find you out and confine you to an institution, if it has Internet access.

    I always thought Ricochet WAS an institution with internet access 😛

    Yes, but you can always leave.

    Unlike the Hotel California…

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.