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The View from the Juror Assembly Room

Note: Stock photo may not be entirely accurate reflection of current jury assemblage.

I am typing this in a juror assembly room at the Los Angeles Superior Court where I am awaiting a jury assignment. For a workaholic like me, no time is good for jury service, but I have no choice, having postponed so many times.

It is also the day it was announced that our country has its lowest labor participation rate since 1979. In benighted California the situation is undoubtedly worse. Some are reporting the real unemployment rate is 23 percent. Here in the Golden State it might be pushing thirty, if anybody really knows.

Looking around the juror assembly room I wonder how many of these people are employed. What do they do?  A few, the more middle class, while away the time on their iPads and Kindles, but most look grim, sitting there doing nothing, eyes straight ahead hour after hour, waiting for their names to be called.

The postponement line is shorter than i have ever seen it.  Why postpone when you have nothing else to do? And jurors here are paid fifteen dollars a day plus thirty-four cents a mile transportation reimbursement.  These days that's a good job.  If David Stockman is to be believed -- and I'm not one to doubt him -- that's where we're all headed.

In Los Anqeles' civic buildings everything looks tatty and run-down, not quite Cuba but on the way.  New facilities are almost always constructed of some unaesthetic material like melmac to resist the weather and graffiti.  The lights are all still fluorescent, net yet the yet more unappealing green kind, but they're coming, I imagine.