Huge Oroville Dam hole makes clear California’s bill comes due: Land subsidence in the Central Valley and the gaping hole that appeared in the spillway at Oroville Dam are not connected in any direct way. But they are of a piece. California’s plumbing system, largely built five decades ago, is outdated and in distress.
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In Trump vs. McCain, trust the senator on national security: President Donald Trump persists in picking fights with Sen. John McCain, this time for commenting on a commando raid in Yemen. Our frighteningly thin-skinned president is absolutely wrong to seek to muzzle McCain.
Dan Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown has been scathing in his criticism of President Donald Trump but also wants Trump to provide more money for his pet public works projects. Trump calls California “out of control” and could hammer the state by blocking federal aid for the projects.
Ben Boychuk: A lot of people seem to think Betsy DeVos will be “in charge of our nation’s children.” She will be head of the U.S. Department of Education, one of the least powerful Cabinet agencies in the federal government and one arguably that shouldn’t even exist.
Kish Rajan: Regulations should suit the demands of our technology-reliant world. They should promote broader access to fast internet, help close the shrinking digital divide and make sure our emergency systems are operating at the highest level of security and reliability. Let’s stop treating the internet like a utility.
Take a number: 62 percent
Californians will pick Jerry Brown and the California Legislature over Donald Trump and Congress any day, and it’s not even close.
Trump’s job approval rating is 34 percent among likely California voters, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows, significantly lower than the 45 percent approval rating in a recent Gallup poll. Only a fourth of likely California voters approve of the job Congress is doing.
Brown is riding high, with a 62 percent job approval rating among likely voters, a record high in PPIC Statewide Surveys. The Legislature’s approval ratings were 57 percent among all adults and 50 percent among likely voters, the highest since 2001.
Then, there are the hot button issues: 71 percent of Californians, including most Republicans, support abortion rights; 65 percent see climate change as a major threat; 58 percent of likely voters support state and local action to protect immigrants; and 53 percent of likely voters oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And Republicans wonder why they’re losing in California. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Los Angeles Times: Thank God that at least part of the government is functioning as it ought to. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a temporary freeze on the president’s misguided ban on travel from seven mostly Muslim countries and his suspension of refugee resettlements.
Denver Post: We hope Donald Trump stands by Neil Gorsuch, listens to his wisdom, and that Democrats put down legitimate anger over the GOP’s stalling on a Supreme Court replacement and show the same kind of independence the Colorado native is exhibiting.
Eureka Times-Standard: With double the average state rates of liver disease, and triple the average state rates of overdoses, Humboldt County has problems with substance abuse and not enough access to treatment.
Miami Herald: Proponents of the idea that Floridians should be allowed to carry firearms everywhere they go are back in charge in the next legislative session in Tallahassee, which begins in March. So let’s brace ourselves for the possible fusillade, of legislation at least.
David French, National Review: The Trump administration can’t use the sad fact of military sacrifice to shield itself from scrutiny and criticism. Our military has become the world’s most lethal and professional fighting force in part because it continually asks itself, “What went wrong?” The press and the public have the right to ask that same question.
Dana Milbank: After years of Republican yammering about the urgent need to repeal the Affordable Care Act and months of fruitless pursuit of an alternative, President Donald Trump now says he may not unveil a replacement this year at all.
Charles Krauthammer: President Donald Trump’s immigration order is an ill-conceived, oxygen-consuming distraction for a young administration with a transformative agenda to enact.
Eugene Robinson: If opposition to President Donald Trump unites and motivates Democrats the way opposition to Obama did for Republicans, GOP strategists should be very worried. Beyond the political risk, there is the existential risk of blindly following a man who continues to demonstrate his unfitness for the presidency.
Michael Gerson: In a time of tragedy, could this president soothe the nation?
Trudy Rubin: As the courts ponder President Donald Trump’s ill-advised immigration ban, nothing better illustrates its cruelty and carelessness than its impact on Iraqis who risked their lives to help Americans.
Gail Collins: Never has a political party reached such a pinnacle of success and then instantly begun using it to inspire the opposition. We’re less than three weeks into the Trump administration, and almost every day the people in power stop delivering the message of the day and veer off into a Strange Tale.
Nicholas Kristof: To reject Trump the perverse, poets wage a battle in verse.
Cecile Richards’ take
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has been busy, as congressional Republicans vow to end Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, the better to end abortions. Actually, federal funding for abortions is already banned, and the move would mostly just make it harder for poor women to get gynecological checkups and contraception, but defunding plays well with the GOP base.
“This was just a beginning conversation,” Richards said, after meeting with the California Senate Democratic Caucus this week in Sacramento at its retreat. “We talked just about the role Planned Parenthood has to play in the state of California, just as a health care provider to hundreds of thousands of folks. And what’s at risk when Congress talks about blocking our patients from coming to us who are on Medicaid.”
Some 850,000 Californians turn to Planned Parenthood annually for birth control, checkups, and, in about 1 out of 10 visits, non-federally funded abortions. A cutoff of federal funding would force the closure of scores of California’s 115 Planned Parenthood clinics.
“We are at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy in the U.S. and an all-time historic low for teenage pregnancy. And this is directly related to getting better health care information and access to contraception for women,” Richards said she told state lawmakers. Also: “Half of Trump supporters support federal funding for Planned Parenthood.” – Shawn Hubler, @ShawnHubler
“This letter is written in remembrance of James, my son, who was murdered by firearm 11 years, one month, and five days ago.” – Barbara Ramirez, Sacramento
Tweet of the day
“@realDonaldTrump, California’s ready. #CAHSRA ” – Gov. Jerry Brown @JerryBrownGov, in response to reports that the president was complaining to airline executives about the lack of high-speed rail in the U.S.