The death of David Ayoob didn't get a lot of headlines. He wasn't famous in that way; he never ran for office or made speeches. But everyone on Cortland Avenue knew him, and when he died suddenly of a heart attack at 53, Bernal Heights — and the city — lost a great citizen.
Ayoob ran 4-Star Video, and he was the essence of a good small businessperson. He was active in the community and friendly to everyone and treated his employees well. (When he opened a second shop on Potrero Hill, he made two former employees partners in the business and let them run the new outlet.) His shop felt like the neighborhood — full of a diverse collection of people, with plenty of kids and dogs running around. Everyone was welcome.
As one post on a Bernal listserv put it, "With David it was never just about running a business. Bernal was his family. He was a larger-than-life character. The fabric of the neighborhood is weaker, a bit less comforting, and a lot less colorful without him." Sup. Tom Ammiano added, "He had such a wonderful heart, so generous." We'll all miss him.
The memorial for Ayoob is Dec. 9, 2 p.m., at St. Kevin's Catholic Church, 704 Cortland, SF.
I'm liking Frank Rich's most recent analysis in the New York Times, which has President George W. Bush in effect talking to the walls, like Richard Nixon in the final days, and utterly losing touch with reality. It's not clear that he even remembers why we got into this war in the first place: if he wanted control of Iraqi oil, he's pretty clearly bungled any hope of that, and nothing in the current course is going to make the situation any better. If it was all about his ego, then that's a lost cause.
My only problem with the Rich line (other than the fact that you can't get it on the Times Web site without registering and subscribing, which is pretty damn stupid for the nation's paper of record) is that it assumes Bush actually had a grip on reality in the first place.
I remember way back in the early days of the presidency of Ronald Reagan reading a piece by Carl Bernstein in the Washington Monthly that said something considered heresy in the nation's capital: Reagan, he wrote, really wasn't terribly intelligent and didn't know what was going on half the time. Agree with his policies or disagree, it was a bit alarming to have someone in the White House who was really a pretty dim bulb (and thus was easily manipulated by the people around him — even before the Alzheimer's hit).
Even today there's this sense of respect and decorum in Washington that prevents people from just coming out and saying it: the president really doesn't know what he's doing.
Consider the other fascinating Bush item from the past week, his interaction with senator-elect Jim Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq. Bush (like an idiot) asked Webb, an outspoken war critic, “How’s your boy?” Webb responded appropriately: "I'd like to get them out of Iraq." Bush's lashback: "That's not what I asked."
Well, yes, it was what he asked. And the father of a kid who is risking his life for Bush's insanity answered the same way a lot of fathers would: honestly. Somehow, in Washington, this is a big deal.
Hey: 2,900 US soldiers are dead. Time to get over the protocol.