We still have not reached the mountaintop: To young people who want to know why the struggle persists, why people need to make their voices heard, and why we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., today, we say this: We have many miles to go before we reach the mountaintop.
As President Obama exits, how do we judge his legacy? Barack Obama has often spoken of bending the arc of history toward justice. Our 44th president did so in many ways, indeed by his mere presence. Even after eight years, we too easily forget how historic it truly was for the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas to be elected to our nation’s highest office.
Erika D. Smith: With a smile and a final wave to the people of Chicago, President Barack Obama confidently strode across the stage at McCormick Place on Tuesday and out the door. His wife, Michelle, the embodiment of #BlackGirlMagic, was right by his side. I didn’t even try to stop the tears from falling.
Foon Rhee: When María Blanco took a new job at the end of 2014, no one knew that a billionaire reality TV star would launch a long-shot presidential bid by disparaging Mexican Americans and would demonize immigrants all the way to the White House. University of California students probably have the best legal protection of any Dreamers in the nation.
Joyce Terhaar: “Golden showers” was trending on Twitter because the most salacious of the allegations got people talking and tweeting. But in no time at all, the conversation changed from the news itself to second-guessing whether coverage was fair and responsible.
Marcos Breton: Meet Arturo Sanchez, the man hired to fix the image of Sacramento police and the heartbreak that brought him here.
Dan Walters: We’ve gotten two wake-up calls – one a severe drought, the other a series of major storms – that tell us we’ve neglected the state’s most important issue.
Jessica Kriegel: Sacramento Business Review’s all-male panel of experts at its annual business forecast offers a narrower perspective, since a lack of diversity in speakers limits the range and quality of the message.
John Berthelsen: There seems to be a willful culture of ignorance. Americans seem cocooned in a spurious belief in American exceptionalism, knowing almost nothing about the world and proud of it.
Chris Busch: If Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, California has an opportunity to fill the gap with its cap-and-trade program and by accelerating Zero Emissions Vehicles adoption.
Take a number: 1.7 million
An estimated 1.7 million California workers directly benefited when the statewide minimum wage increased by 50 cents to $10.50 on Jan. 1. In the latest Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee looks at the status of Fight for $15 and its prospects in the Trump presidency.
L.A. Times: The 44th president was a conscientious and intelligent leader who espoused humane values, inspired millions of Americans and successfully fulfilled some of his most significant promises.
San Francisco Chronicle: This was a presidency that made America proud. That it accomplished only a modest fraction of its aspirations is not a sign of failure, but a reflection of its audacious ambition and a measure of the power of the checks and balances in our system when an opposition party controls one, if not two, of the other branches of government.
The Mercury News: We’ll grasp the “audacity of hope” that the best of the Obama legacy will endure – and that Donald Trump and the Republican leadership, having won control of the presidency and the Congress, will learn grace in victory. Maybe find their way to that high road. It’s not a bad place.
Miami Herald: Obama has done far better than his critics will ever admit, and we as a nation are all the better for it. Thank you, Mr. President. But let us not forget that his very presence in the Oval Office has left this country heartbreakingly divided, a part of his legacy that’s not of his making.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: When confronted with big problems, Obama attempted big solutions. He lived out the ideal set by poet Robert Browning, that “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” This was a president who reached high, and Americans can ask no more of their leaders than that.
Chicago Tribune: If the police are ineffective, if the public is mistrustful, if the officers themselves don’t believe the city has their backs, the result will be the same: Violent crime will rise. Chicagoans will suffer. Cops have a big job to do. They need federal help. They should get it.
Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch: This is not a trick question: If the life of a child – or his ability to walk, see, or avoid an intellectual disability – depended on taking advice from an expert, which of the following makes the most sense?
Take two aspirins: Views of Obamacare
Lexington Herald Leader: No state has gained more than Kentucky from President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. No state stands to lose more from its repeal by the Republicans who won control in November.
The Oklahoman: As they begin the work of dismantling the Affordable Care Act, perhaps Republicans will take a lesson from House members’ missteps in trying to retool the Office of Congressional Ethics. Simply put: Strong-arming won’t cut it.
Denver Post: It’s easy to forget now, but the status quo prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act was not good. Forty million Americans had no insurance and could be bankrupted by an unexpected illness or accident. Millions more could not get new insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
Dallas Morning News: The way to fix the Affordable Care Act is not to reject it outright, but to focus on ways to better spread the risk. Among other things, that means attracting more healthy Americans, finding ways to address escalating drug costs, and not balancing the costs on the backs of vulnerable Americans.
The Virginian-Pilot: Now that Republicans in Congress have the votes necessary to unwind Obamacare, the lack of an alternative presents a problem for more than 16 million people who wouldn’t otherwise have medical insurance.
Leonard Pitts Jr.: President Barack Obama performed on the highest, most public stage there is, faced headwinds unprecedented in American politics and nonstop disrespect from the GOP. But he did so with unflappable dignity, unshakable class and urbane cool.
Nicholas Kristof: There is a disorienting kernel of doubt about whether we can fully trust the man who will occupy the Oval Office.
Maureen Dowd: Judd Apatow concludes Donald Trump is a geek.
Paul Krugman: The Justice Department’s inspector general is now investigating the way the FBI director conveyed the false impression of an emerging Clinton scandal just days before the election, even as he said nothing about ongoing investigations into Russian intervention.
David Brooks: Believe it or not, we’re not really going to have to spend the next four years wading through wonky drudgery of Russian spy dossiers and hotel sex cameras. At some point we’re going to have a thrilling debate over the most scintillating question in health care policy.
Dana Milbank: I’m not questioning Donald Trump’s citizenship or patriotism. But it would be reassuring to see him renounce fidelity to the repressive leader of Russia – to demonstrate that he is “no puppet” of Vladimir Putin.
Kathleen Parker: Republicans would be rabid if a Democratic president-elect were being investigated on alleged ties to Russia.
Ruben Navarrette: What’s the winning strategy for when your child falls in love with video games?
Arizona doesn’t have what it takes
When Uber, miffed with California regulators, decided to move the testing of its fleet of driverless cars to Arizona in December, Gov. Doug Ducey gloated that it was the first of many tech ventures his state would steal from Silicon Valley. California, he said, “puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation,” while Arizona doesn’t.
That argument would be a lot more convincing if Arizona’s Legislature wasn’t trying to stifle change with regulation of its own. House Bill 2120 would prohibit the discussion of social justice or white privilege on college campuses. Arizona already has a law that restricts “ethnic studies” classes at public schools, but the bill’s sponsor, state Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe, says it doesn’t go far enough.
This way of thinking won’t mesh well with Silicon Valley; tech companies thrive on diversity. Have fun in Arizona, Uber. Let us know when you’re ready to come back. — Erika D. Smith, @erika_d_smith
“We want to make it entirely clear that we are not retiring or resigning as artistic directors.” — Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, Sacramento Ballet artistic directors
Kevin Starr, 1940-2017
Historian Kevin Starr defined and described California. California State Librarian Greg Lucas said of him: “No other historian has been able to capture California’s exceptionalism, its vitality and its promise in such detail and yet invest it with the immediacy and excitement of a page-turner novels.” He will live on through his masterpiece, “Americans and the California Dream.”
Jack Ohman: The Pioneer Cabin tree was more than 1,000 years old, maybe as old as 2,000 – and, yes, you read that right. Sometime between the time Jesus Christ walked the Earth and the Norseman Leif Erikson landed in North America, a seed took root in the ground and we witnessed its death last week.