Gmail fails, Wells Fargo pilfers, but we have water. Don’t we?

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Today, we focus on services in our service economy – and water. We grow dependent on services – and water. We deposit our paychecks in our banks, expect our money to be there, and don’t think bank employees will nick us for nickels and dimes or more while our backs are turned. But then we learn about the despicable rip-off by Wells Fargo.

Those of us who are Wells Fargo customers opened our personal emails to find an insipid, half-baked apology from Wells Fargo’s CEO, John Stumpf.

Speaking of email, we expect it will work. Until it crashes, as happened yesterday with Google’s corporate users, The Sacramento Bee among them. What a hassle, although we did get a little more work done because we didn’t spend too much time responding to electronic missives.

On to water, and what will be a milestone in California’s ongoing and unending water discussion, as explained by Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, in her op-ed.

Our take

Editorial: Email, this just isn’t your year. From mysterious glitches at Silicon Valley companies to relentless Russian hackers, these past few months have proved that the digital replacement for snail mail isn’t as stable, secure or reliable as many of us once thought it was.

Editorial: The Wells Fargo bank scandal makes its watchdogs’ case. The epic rip-off – apparently prompted by aggressive sales targets – went on for years before authorities were able to stop it. The Charlotte Observer offered its take.

Felicia Marcus: The State Water Resources Control Board staff is releasing a draft proposal to update minimum flow standards for the lower San Joaquin River to the Delta, and is recommending that more water be left in the river. With creativity, we can manage each and maximize benefits.

The Modesto Bee: Water is the lifeblood of our region and its agriculture industry. Today we’ll find out just how much of that blood the state intends to spill.

Tara Zoumer’s Soapbox: I never knew companies had the power to strip citizens of their rights until I experienced it.

Derrick Burts’ Another View: The porn industry is brutal, almost medieval, in its treatment of its performers. I ask myself: why we are even arguing about enacting practical rules to protect the health and safety of workers from an industry’s illicit and dangerous business model?

Their take

Orange County Register: The federal government’s truck speed-limit rule and device mandate would put the government on the fast track to further encroachments on the freedom of movement.

L.A. Times: Proposition 54 is a modest proposal to make lawmaking more transparent.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Perhaps Proposition 60 would be defensible if California had a pornography-linked public health crisis. But Michael Weinstein simply hasn’t made the case that the failure to strongly enforce the 1992 law has led to significant health problems. We agree.

Chicago Tribune: If Barack Obama vetoes legislation that would allow the families of people killed on 9/11 to to sue Saudi Arabia, Congress should override him. Let the victims’ families’ lawsuits proceed.

Boston Globe: Just as PG&E is preparing to shutter Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, Massachusetts is struggling with the Pilgrim nuclear power plant. It’s too risky to wait for the plant’s shutdown.

Syndicates’ take

Thomas L. Friedman: Donald Trump’s crush on Vladimir Putin.

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: Donald Trump and the politics of “Huh?

Dana Milbank: The Trumpification of Mike Pence.

Andres Oppenheimer: Hillary Clinton needs to open up and put Donald Trump on the defensive about transparency.

Take a number: 58 percent

Since World War II, a lame duck president’s endorsement is roughly as valuable as his popularity.

In 1952, Harry Truman was at 32 percent approval rating, the UC Santa Barbara American Presidency Project reports, and Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1960, Ike was at 59 percent approval rating, but started to campaign late for Richard Nixon. John F. Kennedy wondered why Nixon didn’t call him in earlier. Lyndon Johnson sat at 49 percent in 1968, and that election didn’t turn out well for Hubert Humphrey.

Ronald Reagan was at 63 percent, and George H.W. Bush won in 1988. Although Bill Clinton’s approval rating when leaving office was at 66 percent, Al Gore did almost everything he could to distance himself from him in 2000. Gore lost, sort of. In 2008, John McCain wanted no part of George W. Bush for good reason; Bush sat at 34 percent.

Hillary Clinton counts on Barack Obama to be her most effective surrogate. Obama “really, really, really” wants her to be the next president. And he is riding high at 58 percent approval, the latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows.

Donald Trump surrogates include more than Scott Baio, an unhinged former mayor of New York, Omarosa, the diminished governor of New Jersey, and Doug Ose of Fair Oaks. Not a president among them, though Ose did serve three terms in Congress. – Jack Ohman, @JackOhman


“OK, I understand we smokers are evil incarnate and deserve to be punished for our sins by subsidizing what the remaining 82.3 percent of California adults are unwilling to chip in for regardless of how worthy the cause. But consider this – when they’ve milked smokers for all they can, will the medical industry come looking to tax you for your sins?” Roy W. Hecteman, El Dorado Hills