THE PUBLIC EYE:Turning California Totally Blue

Bob Burnett
Friday December 07, 2018 - 01:33:00 PM

In case you missed it, on November 6th, a blue wave washed over California. Democrats took all major statewide offices, elected a second Democratic Senator, and seized 46 of 53 congressional districts. Nonetheless, California Democrats won't be satisfied until the Golden State's congressional delegation is totally blue. What will it take to accomplish this?

64 percent of California's eligible voters cast a ballot on November 6th -- more than 12.3 million. Most statewide races weren't close: Democrat Gavin Newsom won the governor's race with 61.9 percent of the vote. California's most controversial ballot initiative -- GOP-sponsored proposition 6 that would have repealed a fuel tax -- was defeated by a 13.6 percent margin.

In preparation for the midterm elections, California Democrats focused on seven congressional districts where, in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton prevailed but a Republican incumbent was retained: CA 10, 21, 25, 39, 45, 48, and 49. When the dust settled, Democrats had taken all these seats. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: George H.W. Bush Dropped The Ball On The AIDS Crisis

Ralph E. Stone
Friday December 07, 2018 - 01:53:00 PM

George H.W. Bush died on the eve of World AIDS Day, established in 1988 to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and mourn those lost to the disease. As a father of 19-year Michael who died of AIDS in 1984, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I am dismayed that the media has focused primarily on Bush’s “kinder and gentler” image, with no mention of his inaction on the AIDS/HIV crisis. This inaction allowed the virus to spread, stigma to grow, and left so many vulnerable people out in the cold. -more-

Smithereens: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday December 08, 2018 - 12:02:00 PM

Recalibrating the Tesla Kerfuffle

At 4:30 AM on December 3, the Highway Patrol surrounded a Tesla Model S speeding down Whipple Avenue at 70 mph with is driver blissfully asleep and inebriated. The driver, Alexander Samek, a Los Gatos executive was cited with "Driving Under the Influence." (An easy-to-beat rap, since he wasn't driving.)

Tesla immediately took a lot of grief, with critics pointing to the incident as an example of careless social-and-automotive engineering. The negative press was so intense that Tesla initially didn't even bother to issue any statements in its defense.

But here's a thought: Consider how this incident might have played out if the driver had, say, suffered a stroke.

Suddenly, Tesla would be hailed for creating a life-saving technology and Elon Musk might be announcing a new auto-update that would not only drive the car in the case of an incapacitated driver but could sense the emergency and change course to head for the nearest hospital.


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Validation and Invalidation

Jack Bragen
Friday December 07, 2018 - 02:04:00 PM

People with psychiatric diagnoses are denied decent, gratifying existences. This, in part, is a direct result of being disabled. If we are unable to work, and/or conform to the expected social norms, it is very hard for us to live in the human environment as it currently exists. -more-