THE PUBLIC EYE:Politics by Walking Around

Bob Burnett
Friday June 08, 2018 - 07:02:00 PM

When I was a technology developer, in Silicon Valley, I adopted the technique of "managing by walking around." Recently I've talked to two outstanding 2018 Democratic political candidates who've adopted this same technique in their campaigns. While it may not be obvious, "politics by walking around" addresses one of 2018's burning political questions: what does the Democratic Party stand for?

"Managing by walking around" was originally developed in the 1970's at Hewlett Packard. I adopted "managing by walking around" because I was working on a large IBM campus, in Santa Clara, and the engineers who were developing different aspects of my product were widely dispersed. While I could have relied upon emailed progress reports or formal meetings, I found it more informative to talk to them in person. (I also thought that engineers were likely to be more candid in a face-to-face conversation.) -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Why Life is Hard for People with Mental Illness

Jack Bragen
Friday June 08, 2018 - 07:04:00 PM

In American culture, and probably in most cultures, people are fond of saying "Life is hard..." And most people would agree. Even privileged people born into wealth sometimes feel sorry for themselves. So, is life in fact hard, or is this merely a perception? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Judge Persky’s recall

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 08, 2018 - 07:10:00 PM

Judge Aaron Persky's recall should be celebrated. What is disturbing about his decision in the Brock Peters case is that this made every women less safe at colleges and universities because that description of Turner’s sexual assault fits most campus rape cases, which essentially takes campus rape from the category of crimes you can go to prison for and instead be awarded a lighter sentence. The recall is a victory for the #MeToo movement. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Delusional Systems

Jack Bragen
Saturday June 02, 2018 - 12:24:00 PM

Many with a schizophrenic-type illness, and many with some forms of bipolar, are vulnerable to developing "delusional systems." A delusional system is an erroneous belief system or system of thought produced by a brain malfunction. A delusional system is one way that the individual's thinking and perception of the world can become "split-off" from reality.

When psychiatrists say that psychosis is "split personality," it is important not to confuse this with multiple personality disorder. The actual meaning is that the person's personality is split off from reality.

There are numerous ways that this can happen, and a brain malfunction is one of them. Another example is where a person joins a cult group, in which the person could be kidnapped, and their environment is controlled by the group's attempt to brainwash the new member. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:All The President’s Men: Mike Pompeo

Bob Burnett
Saturday June 02, 2018 - 12:15:00 PM

The Trump Administration is so dreadful they've made the George W. Bush Administration seem almost acceptable in comparison. Dubya surrounded himself with qualified staff. Trump has surrounded himself with syncophants. One of the most influential is the new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Unlike many of those in the Trump inner circle, Pompeo had an impressive career before entering politics. After graduating from West Point -- number one in his class -- Pompeo served five years in the Army. Then he went to Harvard Law School and briefly worked for a Washington law firm. In 1996, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, and helped form Thayer Aerospace -- with funding from the Koch brothers. In 2006, he was elected to the House of Representatives -- once again with help from the Koch brothers.

In Congress, Pompeo aligned with conservative Republicans such as the Tea Party and the Congressional Constitution Caucus. He's socially conservative, a climate change denier, and, as a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, an ardent critic of Hillary Clinton.

On January 23, 2017, Mike Pompeo became Trump's Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Notably, Pompeo personally delivered Trump's daily intelligence briefing at the White House; as a result, the two men have a close relationship. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:West Bank Israeli Settlements

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday June 02, 2018 - 12:17:00 PM

On May 25, 2018, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he would seek approval to fast-track construction of 2,500 new West Bank settlement homes in 2018. Besides the 2,500, he said he will advance another 1,400 units that are in preliminary stages.

There are already 121 Israeli settlements and approximately 102 Israeli outposts built illegally on Palestinian land occupied militarily by Israel since 1967 (West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights).

Lieberman’s announcement came two days after the Palestinians urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, to open an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, including settlement construction, accusing Israel of systematic crimes, including apartheid in the occupied territories. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits and Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday June 02, 2018 - 12:10:00 PM

Save the Murals

Thanks to the Streets Alive! Utility Box Project, many of Berkeley's street corners are enlivened by painted utility boxes. Many celebrate Berkeley celebrities—from Bobby Seale to Andy Samberg and the Lonely Planet. So it was a shock to see one of these local tributes—a prominent downtown box located alongside Berkeley High—defaced.

A utility box with a portrait of former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh was recently spray-painted by an anonymous vandal who obliterated the artwork and added the word "Dead" at the bottom. Motive unknown. Lesh is still alive and thriving at 78 grateful years.

One long block away, another Berkeley celebrity box has suffered a different indignity. Near City Hall, a Streets Alive! box celebrating outdoorsman David Brower, depicts the former Sierra Club leader and founder of Friends of the Earth and Earth Island Institute, climbing a mountain. At least it did. The portrait now lies buried beneath a smaller metal utility box that's been bolted on top of the artwork. Ironically, Streets Alive! is a project of Brower's Earth Island Institute.

Brower deserves better. Free Dave!