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The Cleveland Cascade, circa 1923, on the shores of Lake Merritt

Fool on a hill

Hi! I’m Jim Ratliff. Welcome to my cyberhome.

Nonvirtually, I live on Haddon Hill, above Lake Merritt, in the wonderful city of Oakland, California — accompanied by my sweetie and wife, Eren, and our two three! wonderful kitties, Eco and Bentley — and, now, Wild Kitty!

My community, the Greater Grand Lake district, is vibrant and inspiring and filled with progressive, concerned, and active folk who individually and collectively have become very dear to me.

Oakland has much that’s great, has the potential to become even greater, but is also faced by major challenges and threats. Protecting and encouraging the good, while staving off the bad, is my highest priority these days.

And my highest such highest priority is restoring the Cleveland Cascade!

More on me and the community…

Somewhat geeky/wonky

A life-long academic slant steered my professional and career course.

After a physics and math double major at Oberlin, I was a physicist at the University of Texas: Austin, then an economics graduate student at UC Berkeley, followed by a professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Now I’m an antitrust economist in a consulting firm in San Francisco.

More on my academic/professional background & history…

Singin’ the Blue State Blues

In the 80s, I took to the streets to protest Ronald Reagan’s immoral assault on the poor and his illegal war against the Sandinistas.

In the early 90s, I returned to protest Daddy George Bush’s testosterone-fueled diversionary slaughter of Iraqi civilians and conscripts in Gulf War I.

Now in the 21st Century, it has once again been sadly necessary to return to the streets, this time to express outrage against and shame at the younger-and-dimmer Bush’s outrageous, illegal, and unprovoked war against Iraq.

The 2004 election was blow-from-a-hammer disheartening. (How much of a fuck-up does a guy need to be before he gets fired?) Gone was the rationalization that W’s first term arose only because he had hid his true colors. Now anyone who cared to know did know what they’d be getting, and the voters chose Bush. It’s clear that there’s a lot about America and Americans that I don’t (or fear to) understand. My response has been to shift my focus more towards Oakland, where I know I can make a difference.


What else?

I’ve been a principled, steadfast, and devoted Mac owner continuously since I bought my the first 128K Mac in 1984.

Eren and I have both become big fans of Art Deco architecture, furniture, art, and clothing. Oakland has terrific architectural examples. The Bay Area has a very active community of Art Deco devotees.

Photo of Jim Ratliff, as a Mad Hatter


Jon Stewart of The Daily Show

Jon Stewart, protector of my sanity. He tells it like it is like no other, on the Daily Show

When I’m brave enough to stick a toe of awareness even more deeply into the national-nightmare pool, Paul Krugman (L) and Frank Rich provide great analyses that are simultaneously refreshing and depressing.

Not bad for the New York Times, the paper that did not bring us the WMD story when it really could have counted.

Palm Vx vs. Ratliff, Oakland 2005. 19. … Na3+, the first of two piece sacrifices