Archive for November, 2006

Danny Hoch and Seinfeld

November 26, 2006

We can chock up this post as another comment from the peanut gallery about the whole Seinfeld/Kramer/Michael Richards spectacle. In this linked video Danny Hock who, for better or worse puts his leftism to a hip hop beat, tells his experience of being asked to do a “Ramon the pool boy” character on the Seinfeld show.

I occassionally watched Seinfeld and thought it was funny in a meaningless sort of way, which is to say it wasn’t my favorite style of humor. Humor is pretty subjective and I guess my personal preference is for comedians who throw sometimes uncomfortable ideas into the audience’s lap. I guess I prefer people like Chris Rock, George Carlin, and certainly Richard Pryor who could make people squirm a bit. Borat made me laugh pretty hard and I did feel a little guilty at my enjoyment at the lack of compassion he showed for his victims. Anyways to each his own.


Oakland Murders and Milton Friedman

November 24, 2006

When it comes to talking negative about the recently departed, I’m generally for biting one’s lip. Uncle Milt, the world’s best known free market fundamentalist is probably an exception to the rule, but I’ll let others do that honor. As Johann Hari points out, Friedman probably got one thing right: the war on drugs is a failure. Friedman estimated that 10,000 homicides in the US are caused by drug prohibition. It’s no secret that the majority of Oakland homicides usually have drugs somehere in the mix of motivations. So while most of the advanced economies of the world move towards various policies of decriminalization and harm reduction, the US seems forever trapped in its failed policy. Even Mexico, who some might not think as progressive in terms drug policy, got within a presidential veto (with no small amount of pressure from Bush) of legalizing small amounts of drugs.

Anyways Johann Hari on Friedman’s slap down on the war on drugs:

Castro and the Cuban revolution

November 24, 2006

“Cuban workers will have to get used to living in a collectivistic regime and therefore cannot strike.” St. Che

(From Worker’s Liberty) Fidel Castro is dying. Aged 80, probably with some form of cancer, possibly Parkinson’s disease, and in all likelihood dosed up on medication, he may well live a little longer but his days as ruler of Cuba are almost over. Paul Hampton assesses Castro’s legacy — the nature of the 1959 revolution and the social and political changes Cuba is now experiencing.

The overthrow of Batista in the last days of 1958 was a popular revolution that socialists and radicals everywhere supported. Batista had made Cuba a vassal of the US and held down the Cuban working class with repression and a compliant union bureaucracy.

The opposition to Batista included Castro’s July 26 Movement (M26J), which had fought a guerrilla struggle for two years, the old bourgeois autentico and ortodoxo parties, the students of the Revolutionary Directorate and, more half-heartedly, the Cuban Communist Party (PSP). Even the National Association of Cuban Industrialists (ANIC) welcomed the new government. Continue reading:

Oakland 8th Most Dangerous City in the US (2005)

November 24, 2006

Richmond, CA came in at #11.

Oakland Homicides 136, 137, 138

November 24, 2006

A family Thanksgiving gathering in North Oakland turned into a murder scene with 3 shot and killed with another person seriously injured. The names of the victims weren’t released and two suspects were arrested. The Oakland Trib has more:

For Oakland, 2006 has been a bloody year. Unacceptably bloody and obviously tragic for the victim’s loved ones. The record high homicide year in Oakland was 1992 with 175 murders. This year we’re nearly at that record pace. Apparently there has been a similar upturn in homicides in mid-size cities throughout the country. I haven’t read a convincing explaination for this murder spike though some speculative theories are floating around.

One pet theory I read back in an August edition of The Economist (only subscribers can view on line) they threwout two ideas: 1. Mid-size cities lack resources 2. Mid-size cities crime is more unorganized and therefore more violent. Nice ideas but they don’t really explain— why now? In Oakland there seems to be a youth angle, something like 25 teenagers have killed (at last sad count).

So is anybody doing anything about it? I’d like to write about it in future. And if anybody out there actually reads my first post here, pipe in.


November 23, 2006

im here. This blog may kill me. We shall see.