Jack Ohman and Gina Haskel get a CIA briefing from the president. Get bored by it here.
Sober up, Weedmaps. Refusing to follow California’s cannabis laws is bad for business: By refusing to abide by state regulations and continuing to allow unlicensed pot shops and delivery drivers to advertise on their website, Weedmaps executives are undermining the very legal market their company helped create. Weedmaps can’t have it both ways. Read more.
Dan Morain, CALMatters: An independent political action committee paid for an ad slamming Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom partly with money from groups that are backing his run for governor. Welcome to the wild ways of campaign money, circa 2018. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: Ten years ago, California voters approved a $9.95 billion bond issue to partially finance what was described as a $40 billion high-speed train system linking the northern and southern regions of the state. Last week, the High-Speed Rail Authority issued its latest “business plan” that supposedly lays out how the bullet train would be completed. Read more.
Kim Callinan: California’s End of Life Option Act is helping terminally ill people. The Legislature shouldn’t pass a bill that adds more rules and will make it more complicated. Read more.
Steve Swatt and Susie Swatt: Meet Grace Dorris, Esto Broughton, Elizabeth Hughes, and Anna Saylor – the women who began California’s first #MeToo movement, in 1918. Read more.
Tom Epstein: Single-payer healthcare should be a long shot. But GOP politics may deliver it anyway. Read more.
Takes on Pennsylvania special election
Frank Bruni, New York Times: It’s hard to imagine a message for the GOP scarier than the one that Conor Lamb, a Democrat, just delivered in a special House election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district. Lamb declared victory. But even if he somehow ends up losing, Democrats have reason to rejoice and Republicans to tremble. Read more.
Philip Bump, Washington Post: Republicans have mastered the art of spinning overwhelmingly bad special election results by focusing on wins vs. underperformance in House races, ignoring losses at the state level and treating Roy Moore (justifiably) as an outlier. If Rick Saccone lost in Pennsylvania, it’s harder to dismiss. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Republicans and their allies threw every attack in their political arsenal at Democrat Conor Lamb. They apparently fell short. The GOP found that its big corporate tax cut had scant appeal in a district that had voted for Donald Trump by nearly 20 points. Read more.
Albert R. Hunt, Bloomberg: Republican anxiety about the midterm congressional elections has been building throughout President Donald Trump’s first year in the White House. Now it’s about to explode. Read more.
Karen Tumulty, Washington Post: This election year is shaping up as a referendum on an unpopular president and the party in power, which guarantees that Republicans will find themselves in many tough races. The special election to fill an open congressional seat in southwestern Pennsylvania should not have been one of them. What made the difference was the uneven match of the two men running. Read more.
Takes on Stephen Hawking
Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: For an overwhelming majority of people, Stephen Hawking’s real value has been in proving that a powerful brain doesn’t really need a functioning body to survive, thrive and even have fun. Hawking arguably did more for the ascendance of nerd culture than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put together. Read more.
Adam Minter, Bloomberg: For Stephen Hawking, who died Wednesday at 76, it wasn’t personal. It was just science. For years, he’d been making -- and losing -- public bets on fundamental questions of physics. He felt no shame in these repudiations but rather reveled in them, knowing that science advances when its participants are wrong as well as right. Read more.
As we near Pi day (3.14) I join the global community in mourning the loss of the greatest physicist of our era. #StephenHawking is free from the physical constraints of this earthly condition we all exist in and he is soaring above us now marveling at it all. pic.twitter.com/o3V0TZrppj— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) March 14, 2018
Los Angeles Times: Congress delivered what seemed to be an unmistakable message about ownership limits in the TV broadcasting industry. So why hasn’t the FCC summarily rejected Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed purchase of Tribune Media, which would allow Sinclair-owned stations to beam their programs to more than 70 percent of U.S. TV viewers? Sinclair’s political leanings are not the problem here. The real issue is whether any company – regardless of its politics – should be able to amass control over so much of the public airwaves. Read more.
Orange County Register: The California bullet train is expected to face even more delays and higher costs, according to a business plan released Friday. The High Speed Rail Authority’s new business plan for the project concedes it could cost tens of billions of dollars more and won’t be fully operational for several years later than last expected. Reflecting on the embarrassing saga of the bullet train should prompt all self-respecting taxpayers in California to demand an immediate end to the project. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Among the terrible traditions in California politics is attorneys general writing biased language for ballot measures to push voters to their side – knowing judges often defer to their judgment. For decades, attorneys general from both parties have blatantly put their thumbs on the scales of democracy. Now Attorney General Xavier Becerra has shown a pattern of abuse despite telling Assembly members in January 2017 that he understood “the importance of a word.” Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: There isn’t a lot of Hollywood glitz in the California state Legislature. In recent months, however, it’s been easy to spot the shadow of reputed sexual predator Harvey Weinstein in the halls of the state Capitol. The details have come slowly, and incompletely, because the Legislature exempts itself from many of the disclosure requirements covering local government and the rest of state government. That needs to change along with the boys’ club atmosphere in Sacramento. Read more.
Miami Herald: Rex Tillerson went rogue, constantly disagreed with the man who hired him and reportedly called him a “moron” – an “(expletive) moron,” actually. The secretary of state’s boss did what aggrieved bosses do – fired him, by tweet, of course. That Tillerson stayed as long as he did in the Trump administration is nothing short of amazing. Read more.
(South Florida) Sun-Sentinel: It speaks well of Florida’s new gun law that the National Rifle Association hates it. That’s faint praise, to be sure. But despite several strong features, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Act falls far short of what Florida still needs to do. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should be banned, as they are in seven states and the District of Columbia. Read more.
Gail Collins, New York Times: Dear Career Counselor, My grandson just graduated from college and is having a terrible time finding work. I was wondering if he would qualify for a job with the White House. I hear there’s lots of turnover. Read more.
Ross Douthat, New York Times: From his exciting new steel tariffs to his promised summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump has been acting lately like a man less inclined to listen to his handlers – and now those handlers have begun to disappear. Read more.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: As President Donald Trump replaces Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with the more hawkish Mike Pompeo, let’s note something that goes far beyond personnel to the heart of the American role in the world: The U.S. has abandoned a bipartisan consensus on human rights that goes back decades. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: President Trump’s 2020 re-election slogan will be lifted from a dystopian thriller in which a white-nationalist U.S. government suspends the rule of law. On Tuesday, it was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s turn to be purged. Read more.
Tweet of the day
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy ." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. #NationalWalkoutDay https://t.co/sBtJ0II6YG— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 14, 2018