THE PUBLIC EYE:California’s Recovery Problem

Bob Burnett
Friday May 08, 2020 - 12:33:00 PM

Most of California is still under strict "shelter-in-place" guidelines. It appears as though we've flattened the curve and, as a result, can ease up on the "lockdown" rules that have chafed most citizens. However, before we do this, we have a couple of big hurdles to overcome.

On April 29, Governor Newsom amplified his plan for reopening the golden state. ( ) We're in phase one: "[G]overnment and private organizations are working to make it more consistently safe for essential workers, like grocery store employees or nurses. Those workers need more protective equipment and a more robust testing and tracing system." Phase two will involve opening lower-risk businesses, such as retail stores with curbside pickups, and "schools and child care facilities." (On May 4th Newsom, was more specific: "Under the new guidelines... bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods retailers and others can reopen for pickup as early as [May 8].") -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Those Who Instill Doubt

Jack Bragen
Friday May 08, 2020 - 01:27:00 PM

When we have enthusiastic ambitions for something, and we talk about it because we can't keep the enthusiasm contained, and then someone revels in shooting it down before it happens, we could be getting a message of realism or we could be prey to a mild form of abuse. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday May 08, 2020 - 12:38:00 PM

lHappy Mothers' Day

A short note to a quartet of imminent men who have a unique bond—they've all recently had children out of wedlock.

Best wishes to the moms and new fathers: British PM Boris Johnson, Jailed Wikileaks Whistleblower Julian Assange, Tech Mogul Elon Musk, and CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper. (And, yes, Musk and mama Grimes apparently did name their first-born "X Æ A-12.")

This Dog Needs a Buddy

That was the gist of a leaflet tacked to a North Berkeley phone-pole. "Puppy Playdate" it announced, followed by these details: "My puppy needs a companion. Hasn't had his shots. Looking for same." Sounds like a relationship that might require some social distancing. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: California’s Unemployment Problem

Bob Burnett
Saturday May 02, 2020 - 03:00:00 PM

We're in the second month of what looks to be a prolonged recession. In this article I'll examine how this savage economic downturn has impacted California and what will likely happen. While the situation in California will be somewhat different from that in your state, it is informative to consider the largest state and it should be relatively straightforward to extrapolate to your situation.

The United States has a population of 331 million and a labor force of 165 million. The April 30th report indicated that there are 33 million unemployed (20 percent). (On March 23, St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard warned the U.S. unemployment rate could hit 30 percent in the second quarter.)

California has 40 million residents and a labor force of approximately 18 million. Between March 15 and April 18, 3.4 million Californians applied for unemployment insurance (19 percent). According to the Public Policy Institute of California (, "The lion’s share of job loss (more than 80%) occurred in three service sectors: arts, entertainment, and recreation; accommodation and food; and 'other services' (a category that includes automotive repair, personal care, and dry cleaning)." These sectors fell significantly faster than they did during the first month of the great recession -- December 2007 through January 2008. (In contrast, during the great recession, the sector experiencing the most impact was construction.) -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Dehumanizing People with Mental Illness

Jack Bragen
Saturday May 02, 2020 - 03:23:00 PM

Note: in this piece, I am using the term, "designated group." That is because any grouping or lumping together of human beings is artificial. You could put people in a category of those with large nose size or of having type II diabetes. Yet, these are criteria that allow people to be put in a group, and it is based on the thinking of one or more persons. I hope that helps the following make more sense.

Historically and today, preliminary to pseudo-scientific abuse is to paint a designated group as subhuman. If we are speaking of people with disabilities, this perception may include depicting people as cute--e.g., "It was only a hamster."

Painting someone as sick or subhuman are tools used by an abuser to gain collaboration with peers in organized and systematic abuse of an intended victim, and in some instances it is sanctioned by governments, or at the very least, by organizations.

When people are put into categories, e.g., psychiatric "clients," they are considered objects of study and not human beings. This is a way of hiding behind the cloak of supposed science to subjugate and harm a designated group. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Stumbling Through the Pandemic
Without A National Leader

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday May 03, 2020 - 03:53:00 PM

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday May 02, 2020 - 03:36:00 PM

The Pandemic's East Bay Hot Spots -more-