Activist judges shrink our basic freedoms just a little bit more (and the Chronicle strikes a blow for nonsensical headline wordplay). And in a case from my adopted hometown no less:
“It’s a crime in California to urinate in a public place, a state appeals court ruled today.
“The case before the court came from Berkeley, where a police officer detained a man urinating in the parking lot of a closed restaurant one Sunday morning in January 2003. …
“…To deal with the question, a Court of Appeal panel in San Francisco turned to a 19th century state law that defines a public nuisance as an act that is ‘injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses.’ …
“…The criteria spelled out in the nuisance law might not always apply to urinating in the great outdoors, the judges added. For example, ‘a hiker responding to an irrepressible call of nature in an isolated area in the backwoods cannot reasonably be seen as interfering with any right common to the public.”
Apropos of the subject of public decency in Berkeley, or lack of same, I got a slice of (very healthy vegetarian) pizza yesterday and sat down to watch ESPN’s early coverage of the Barry Bonds crisis. I was the only one in the restaurant, but a few minutes later a guy walked past me toward the bathroom. I ignored him at first, but something made me look over. He was — maybe you should take the kids out of the room now — digging very assiduously in his ass. I mean really going at it. He saw me glance over, looked me in the eye, pulled out the napkin he’d been wiping his crack with, threw it on the floor and walked out. All I could think was, “What was that?” I finished my pizza, though, then got out of there before the next freedom-loving Berkeleyite appeared.
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