Thursday, March 16, 2006

Film: "Good Night and Good Luck"

Last night I finally watched the film "Good Night and Good Luck" directed by George Clooney. The film is about Edward R. Murrow, (as well as many others at CBS) taking on McCarthy's sadist views on removing "communists" from our nation and proving that the news can acheive more than we usually expect of it. For people of my generation, the film reminds us of history we never lived through, but should be aware of in a way that is more intimate than the short description in our highschool history books.

The film was excellent, a big hoorah for Clooney. The film reminds us all of the importance of defending individual rights, and protecting reporters' and news agencies' rights to publish and report on issues not always positive toward the current administration, so they may do the job they were meant to do--show us what in the hell is going on around the world and not simply repeat goverment propaganda.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men--not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular."
--Edward R. Murrow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Soaring Crime Rates

In Oakland this year, crime rates have soared but no one has given any explanation.
Last night on the shitty evening news, Oakland's police chief spoke about reasons why a State of Emergency should be initiated to allow more desk officers to work on the streets. The Police Association is against the decision to declare a State of Emergency, stating reasons like disruption of officer's schedules. That excuse struck me as both weak and offensive.

My friends were held up at gun point outside their apartment last Friday. They live on a quiet and relatively safe street, or so they thought. The police will never find the two men who did it.
There are car breakins so often in this town, that everyone expects that their car will be looked-over for any small item of worth almost once or twice a week, if not more.

Citizens of Oakland put on a demonstration a week or so back, protesting against the rising levels of crime in Oakland and the lack of action put forth by the Oakland Police Department or the City in creating a game plan to reduce it.

The whole situation makes me so angry because it just makes Oakland look bad, when in fact Oakland is a great city for many reasons. There are a lot of good people living in Oakland, trying to make ends meet or keep their business running.

In 2004, there were 5151 reported violent crimes, 83 murders, 262 rapes, 2190 and 2616 aggravated assaults. There were 22185 "property crimes" 4324 of which were burglaries, 10984 larceny/theft and 6877 motor vehicle thefts. In addition, there were 266 arsons.
Statistics found at:

Also, if you compare San Francisco to Oakland, Oakland's crime rate is still much much higher than San Francisco.

Oakland is also much higher than Los Angeles in almost every category except Assault, where Los Angeles beats Oakland.

These comparisons are based on number of crimes per 100,000 people. Los Angeles is a much bigger city, so of course the total number of each crime is higher but not as a percentage per 100,000 people.

I'd be curious to know if any other cities around the nation have had similar increases in crime in the past year? Are there reasons that have been put forth to explain the increase?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Something To Think On......

This excerpt is from Craig MacAndrew & Robert B. Edgarton, Drunken Comportment: A Social Explanation 165, 173 (1969)

Author's Thesis:
"..the way people comport themselves when they are drunk is determined not by alcohol's toxic assault upon the seat of moral judgment, conscience, or the like, but by what their society makes of and imparts to them concerning the state of drunkenness...The moral, then, is this. Since societies, like individuals, get the sorts of drunken comportment they allow, they deserve what they get."

When the authors say "they deserve what they get," they are referring to legal culpability and disallowing criminal defendants to use evidence of voluntary intoxication as a defense or as evidence that they did not have the requisite intent necessary to commit the acts of which they are accused.

I know that this book was written almost thirty years ago, but I was unfamiliar with this theory and I find it quite interesting.