Can anything be done about the gridlock in Yosemite?: The sheer granite walls, the waterfalls, the breathtaking vistas, the scent of cedar, air that sparkles on cold days: Yosemite National Park is a natural wonder. How could anyone associate it with misery? Easily, alas. Just try to park there. Even now, in the supposed offseason, tourists hoping to get Yosemite all to themselves find the visitor lots full, frequently. Yes, Yosemite always has had traffic, but the last couple of years have seen extreme congestion. Read more.
President Trump and Rep. Devin Nunes put politics above America’s security and institutions. As soon as Friday and with the blessing of the White House, the House Intelligence Committee, led by Nunes, is expected to release the infamous memo attacking the FBI for its handling of the Russia and Hillary Clinton email investigations. Read more.
Dan Morain: Billionaires are running our elections. Is there no way out of this? A congressional seat “shouldn’t go to the highest bidder,” said Yona Barash, no fan of the campaign finance system. “It should go to the most qualified.” What a sweet notion. But that’s not the system in which he must run. Read more.
Bill Whalen: How will Gov. Jerry Brown have Republicans’ back, as he promised during his State of the State speech? Does Brown envision a series of supermajority votes requiring Republicans to make Faustian bargains? Is he signaling a financial incentive for Republicans who buy into his agenda? Read more.
Joe Mathews: The Coachella Valley is full of Canadian snowbirds who buy homes, pay taxes, generally contribute and leave after only half the year. Canadians love the California desert. Why not let them have it, eh? Read more.
Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy D.C.: American firms with deep economic interests in China are often complying with Beijing’s tough autocratic demands. Beijing is fighting every second to gain strategic military and economic advantages that traditionally belong to America first, and it appears U.S. companies are playing the role of accomplice, willingly or not. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: In his State of the Union speech, Donald Trump said that his administration has imposed tough sanctions “on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.” Venezuela is, indeed, a dictatorship – as Cuba has long been – by any dictionary’s definition. Read more.
Theodore M. Mazer: A new report illustrates how physicians do more than diagnose, cure and heal. They provide millions of jobs and generate billions in tax revenues and economic activity. Read more.
Wynette Sills: SB 320 does nothing to address the real needs of pregnant students, such as housing, child care, lactation stations, diaper changing tables, flexible exam schedules, counseling and pre-natal care. Read more.
Take a number: 20,000
Digging tunnels under Los Angeles doesn’t come cheap. So Elon Musk did what any cash-strapped entreprenuer would do: sell flamethrowers. Yes, flamethrowers. In less than a week, the CEO of The Boring Company – as well as Tesla and SpaceX – said he was able to sell 20,000 of them at $500 a pop. Just what every Californian living in fear of wildfires needs. At least each flamethrower comes with a complimentary fire extinguisher. The $10 million raised will go toward The Boring Company, which is deep into planning a network of underground tunnels to ease traffic congestion. “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower,” Musk tweeted Sunday. “Works against hordes of the undead or your money back!”
East Bay Times: U.S. government reaction to four serious airline mishaps within the past seven months raises a disturbing question: Are the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board protecting the public? Or are they looking out first for pilots and the airline industry? Read more.
Los Angeles Times: After what was supposed to be a yearlong nationwide search to find the very best, most qualified, most capable city administrative officer to advise and guide Los Angeles leaders, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this week that the right man for the job had been – surprise! – right there in the office down the hall all the time. Read more.
Baltimore Sun: The Republican members of Congress on board the Amtrak train that struck a garbage truck in rural Crozet, Va., Wednesday can be forgiven for feeling rattled and unsettled. Unfortunately, U.S. rail crossing collisions – and fatalities – are not as uncommon as they likely should be. Read more.
Miami Herald: Even by the gutter standards of modern times, the television ad that Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran began to air this week is despicable. The ad uses the accidental death of a woman in California to frame a national debate on immigration through the lens of a terrified white woman being gunned down by a bearded man in a hoodie. Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Most presidents have had the sense not to bully the FBI by defaming its leaders and – ridiculously – painting its agents as leftist political hacks. Most members of Congress have also understood how unwise it would be to pull such stunts. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Even on his finest behavior – even wearing his Sunday best – President Trump could not be gracious to immigrants. Their role in the address was largely to create an atmosphere of menace. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Dozens of Democrats refused to stand when the president entered the House chamber, forgetting that one stands out of respect for the office, not the officeholder. Read more.
David Brooks, New York Times: How much is Democrats’ position on late-term abortions hurting them? How many progressive priorities are they giving up just to have their way on this one? Read more.
Gail Collins, New York Times: Our president spoke highly of condoms back in the day, but now his administration is hacking away at government support for family planning. Read more.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: Courtland Sykes, an acolyte of President Donald Trump, is seeking to oust Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and denouncing “manophobic hell-bent feminist she-devils” – a diatribe that shows the backlash against #MeToo and empowered women. Read more.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: We’re just starting to see the full depths and consequences of the Trump administration’s incompetence. A remarkable number of Trump appointees have been forced out over falsified credentials, unethical practices or racist remarks. Read more.
Bret Stephens, New York Times: Imagine if Hillary Clinton were president and she had agreed to release a partisan Democratic intelligence memo over the objections of Republicans in Congress and her own top FBI officials that disclosure could harm national security. Read more.
“My advice to primary voters: if you vote for anyone but Jessica Morse, your vote is to keep our carpetbagger for another two years.” – William D. Bandes, Roseville
Charlotte Observer: The NFL has become a kind of Rorschach test for patriotism after dozens of players participated in a peaceful protest of kneeling during the national anthem to highlight racial inequality. It was an act that angered many others, including President Donald Trump, who called the kneeling players an awful name. Into that muck stepped South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster this week. He is in a heated race with three other Republicans to secure his party’s nomination for the upcoming gubernatorial race. He proclaimed this week “Stand for the Flag Super Bowl Sunday” in the state. Read more.