Friday, October 15, 2010

Eric Holder's Big Mistake In Opposing Legalization Of Marijuana

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made a serious political and legal error in issuing a statement that if pressed, could cause Holder's boss, President Barack Obama, to lose the very youth constituency that put him into office as President Of The United States.  Even before his misstep, Oakland City Attorney John Russo came out in favor of California Proposition 19, which, if passed, will legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes.   Here's the video:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder 
Eric Holder issued a letter to nine former chiefs of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, writing, according to The Christian Science Monitor, "Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens."

But what Eric Holder has done in issuing the letter at this time, two weeks before the November midterm election, is completely ill-timed and frankly just plain stupid.

By sending out that letter now, thus catalyzing Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to host a news conference, thus thrusting Holder's statement into pop culture focus, Holder changes how Obama's key group, young people between 18 and 30, see the administration.  It goes from being the "Change we need" to the "status-quo" we can do without.

As this is written, "Eric Holder" the name has become the fourth most popular "Hot Topics" on Google Trends, and all because of Holder's letter. By not waiting until after the November elections to issue his statement, Holder not only threatens to damage the enthusiasm of the very constituency that thrust President Obama and he into office in 2008, but could set the state for Obama's early exit as President; something this video blogger does not want to see.

Holder should have stayed out of the issue altogether. If asked, Holder should have said "There are Federal Laws on the books that call for the Federal Government to prosecute federal drug offenses, but we will take this on a case-by-case basis," and leave it at that.

That approach would have been more systemically effective than what Holder did. But he did it. Holder should now either determine a way to walk back his statement or just stay out of the subject altogether.

This is an election, and the next two years are a time, where Democrats have a complicated set of social changes to deal with that call for new, more intelligent approaches than in the past. Attorney General Holder must fall in line with the new society before he damages the Democratic Agenda and harms the Obama Administration's prospects for future success.

T.I. Rapper Talks Suicide Man Down, Then Gets 11 Months For Prob Violation

Rapper T.I. can't catch a break. On Wednesday, the music star was a hero for talking down a would-be suicide man, today, he's sentenced to 11 months in jail for a probation violation he committed earlier this year, according to

On September 1st, T.I. who also goes by T.I. and Clifford Harris, and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, were arrested for "felony possession of a controlled substance" at 10:18 PM. That arrest triggered the charge of a probation violation stemming from his 2009 arrest for gun possession.

T.I. had just completed a seven month jail sentence in 2009 for a charge of illegally possessing machine guns and silencers in 2007.

On Wednesday, T.I. talked down a man in Atlanta who was about to jump from a building where urban contemporary station V-103 operates from. T.I. heard about the incident on the radio, called V-103's Ryan Cameron, who asked him to come over and help. T.I. did and talked the man down.

But he can't catch a break. Some idiot put out the idea that the act was a phony publicity stunt. Rolling Stone reports the man's mother called the station to inform all that it wasn't that at all and T.I's involvement was real and valued.

You'd think the judge would give T.I. a break?

No. He sentenced the rapper to 11 months in jail. Although Davey D, over at said that he did get a break; some observers thought he was going to get 10 years for the probation violation.

One day in jail, is one day too long.  And T.I. needs a better lawyer.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Hits Buzz Meter

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills debut was Thursday night, and the show, featuring Kim and Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump-Todd, Adrienne Maloof-Nasif, and Camille Grammer. Kelsey Grammer is featured with (who's just divorced) his wife Camille Grammer, where she informs all that she's the boss of the family. At EW PopWatch, Ken Tucker said they and the show were "needy, sad, depressed, and depressing."

It's a show of big houses, big money, and big hair. All of the women have a lot of hair, great legs and are spoiled rotten. What would they do without their limos, nannies and doggies? It's more like The Lifestyles of The Rich And Famous meets The Real Housewives Of Atlanta. Lisa VanderPump, sounding more like Robin Leach than herself says of her home "It really is like a fantasyland. There's everything you need here."

Does that include a therapist?

Maloof seems more down to earth, informing viewers that she and her brothers of the Maloof Family have a hard work ethic that came from their father, saying "It's wonderful to have money, but you have to work for it. We've been hard workers our whole life."

There's nothing really earth-shattering or dramatic about this installment in the "Real Housewives" series. Let's see if it picks up the pace.

Glenn Beck and Alex Jones: Oakland 580 Shooter's Inspiration

Were Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck and 9-11 Conspiracy expert Alex Jones the inspiration for Byron Williams the 580 Freeway Shooter?

We sat down and spoke with Pacifica Radio investigative reporter John Hamilton about his story which first appeared on Media Matters called Progressive Hunter which details what led to the shootout in the wee hours of the morning on July 18th 2010 between 45 year old unemployed white supremacist named Byron Williams and California Highyway patrol last summer.

According to the article Glenn Beck and Alex Jones of prison planet/ infowars were key inspirations for Williams. On the night in question, Williams was enroute to San Francisco where he planned to shoot workers at the Tides Foundation which is an organization that helps distribute funds to left leaning non-profits and political organizations.

When all was said in done that fateful night 3 police officers were left lying in the highway injured. Williams who was wearing body armor had more firepower than the police who eventually subdued him.

Williams in his own chilling words said he was inspired by the attacks exposes put out by Fox News TV host Glenn Beck. We also come to learn that Jones has an even bigger influence.

In the interview below we hear clips from both Beck and Williams who is currently locked up in Santa Rita jail, 20 miles outside of Oakland awaiting trial.

We also talk about the leniency afforded to people like Beck while many others including rappers are shut down and material removed from public airwaves for fear of inciting violence.

This is the first of two parts

In the video below we continue our interview w/ investigative reporter John Hamilton who goes into more detail about the failed assassination plot carried out by Byron Williams.

We hear more about the influence Fox TV host Glenn Beck is having on domestic terrorists. We also focus on the influence Alex Jones had Byron Williams.

Oakland Mayor's Race: Kaplan Scores, Tuman Rises, Perata Falls

The Oakland Mayor's Race becomes even more fun. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan (At-Large) got the endorsement of The Oakland Tribune, much to the surprise of some, not here, but how much help it will do is questionable. The Trib's not the power it was in the past, but hey, we're talking about it, right?

Indeed, that, combined with the giant Grand Lake Theater sign ads for Joe Tuman, may have boosted him to near-front runner status. Why? Because Tuman was the Tribune's second choice (and The East Bay Express as well), and the same pub trashed Former Senator Don Perata, saying his lack of knowledge of key Oakland issues was "appalling."

Not sure the Tribune, and that would be it's editor Martin Reynolds, is correct when he bashes the field of Oakland mayoral candidates as "weak" because when compared to past years, it's actually rather strong. Now, if Marty has some kind of wish list of candidates for this round, he has yet to present it. That written, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums avoiding a reelection run was damaging to both the field and himself to say the least.

And one aside, at a time when people who are both Gay and Lesbian are being attacked and the young considering killing themselves or doing so, backing Rebecca because she's Lesbian and a good candidate is something worth mentioning.  The Tribune backed away from that, sadly.  But people need to know that it' OK for them to be who they are, whatever they are, and they can even become Mayor of Oakland.   That's not an endorsement of Rebecca as of this writing, but the point must be noted.

Some seem to not want to say, for example, "I voted for Barack Obama because he's black and the best candidate" - hell, I did.  It was about time, and everyone knows it.  This SF Bay Area passive-agressive crap is sickening.  Just be honest.

Oakland Mayor's Race Stock

What's interesting is that we're starting to see a kind of stock market of candidates develop. Right now, Kaplan has the lesd, followed by the hard-charging Tuman, then a tie between Don Perata and Councilmember Jean Quan, who got the endorsement of the Welstone Democratic Club and Councilmember Nancy Nadel recently, then Greg Harland and Don Macleay, Terrance Candell, Marcie Hodge, Larry L. Young, and Arnie Fields.

What could slip this up is some bit of news or scandal that slips out and into the open. There are people who have strong feelings both for and against the candidates, and one of them is Oakland Grand Lake Theater owner Alan Michaan. Having Tuman up on his outside marque is a signal that he could use the space to do some real damage as we head toward election day.

If I were Rebecca, I'd at least try and get a meeting with Allan, because he's of the opinion that Kaplan's anti-business in the wake of the Oakland Parking Scandal.  Regardless of his actions in endorsing Tuman, she needs to cover that base.

Closing Note: No Camcorder Repair Services In Oakland

I can't find a single camcorder repair shop in Oakland. There used to be Denevi's but they closed. From my research, the shops seems to ring around Oakland. Do I have to go to San Francisco again? Hits A Mark

Slowly returning to a regular blog schedule, but had it's best traffic and revenue day Wednesday, with 43,000 page views because of the Chilean Miners Rescue. That's a performance equal to what has been normally done by this blogger at the San Francisco Chronicle website  Frankly, stewarding the successful development of the blog's coding system has been a bit of a drug that's kept this video blogger up late a lot of nights. But that's slowly coming to an end.

George Clooney Aside, Sudan Abyei Conflict About Oil

Actor and Activist George Clooney appeared on CNN's Larry King Live to talk about the Sudan conflict and the need to understand the plight of the people of the Southern Sudanese in their fight for independence.

But what was not talked about on CNN's Larry King Live by either George Clooney or Larry King (unless this blogger missed something) was that this is really a story of a fight for control of oil. Once again, regional conflicts are less about ethnic divisions and more about scarce and valuable resources, like oil. At the center of all of this is the Sudan Abyei region that divides north and south Sudan.

According to Wikipedia, Abyei "is a county and former district of South Kurdufan, Sudan, that is considered an historical bridge between northern and Southern Sudan." On the map of Sudan itself, Abyei is a mere spot in the middle of the country, but because of its oil reserves, it's importance is far beyond it's size.

Abyei is Sudan's main oil producing region and by 2003, was responsible for over one-third of Sudan's crude oil production. But the reserve has depleted since then and because of that, production volumes have reportedly declined.

While nothing has been done to address that issue, the fight for control has escalated and such that a civil war may result. There are two groups critical to the success of ending any Sudan Abyei regional conflict, the Missiriya tribe and the Ngok Dinka. The Missiriya tribe is reported to be aligned with the North Sudanese and the Ngok Dinka are joined with the South Sudanese, thus forming the perfect split.

The current referendum on the future of the region gives the Ngok Dinka voting rights; really all groups should have voting rights.

While the relations between the Missiriya tribe and the Ngok Dinka have been historically amicable, both have been used as the tools of Sudan leaders with no one suggesting joint control, but always some effort that seemed to favor one group over the other. The most logical solution is to achieve full voting rights for all in the region, and shared revenues from oil production between north and south Sudan. Previously, oil profits were directed toward the North in a kind of power-grab.

Shared resources is one dream objective George Clooney should get behind.

Stay tuned

Written by
Zennie Abraham