Newt Gingrich and various denizens of The Swamp

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Our take


Faster gun permits in Sacramento County aren’t worth the risk: Sheriff Scott Jones will speed up approvals of concealed carry permits. But the county is already awash in legally hidden handguns. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty intends to ask the Bureau of State Audits to review whether the fee structure is sufficient and whether sheriffs’ standards for granting permits are appropriate.


Erika D Smith: The pod wasn’t enough to save Bobby Richmond. At 58 years old, after decades of drug use and living as a nomad, Bobby died the way so many homeless people die in Sacramento County – alone and on the streets.

Ginger Rutland: Now that I’m retired, I am free to demonstrate, and to baby sit. The two came together as Isaac and I joined others to publicly oppose the so-called “50-mile rule” outside the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Hedrick Smith: Will Donald Trump’s policies lead to more income inequality in America? Trump proposes massive tax cuts for business and the wealthy, plus whacking deregulation for business and he is putting some of America’s fiercest corporate downsizers and cost-cutters in charge.

Denny Walsh: The federal judicial authority based in Sacramento – the Eastern District of California – achieved a significant milestone this year: its 50th anniversary. Along with notorious trials of the Unabomber and Squeaky Fromme, the court has been shaped by character of its judges.


Delaine Eastin: Since 1985, California’s system of higher education has suffered disinvestment at the hands of governors and the Legislature. California should not be a Scrooge when it comes to educating our young people.

Dr. Victor G. Carrión: Diverting mentally ill Californians away from jail and into treatment can produce significant fiscal and public safety benefits for our state. Beyond that, I think we can all agree it’s the right thing to do.

Amaroq Weiss: As Donald Trump’s administration gears up, there are signs the four decades of work to return wolves to parts of their historic range may be in trouble. Can California’s wolves survive Trump’s America?

Kaveh Danesh: State policy requires migrant farmworkers who reside in a state-owned housing center to move at least 50 miles away in November to qualify for the next season’s housing – and their children have to leave their schools.

Take a number: 19

Uber executives thumbed their collective noses at the California Department of Motor Vehicles permit requirements, sending an email to reporters Thursday announcing that it loaded its self-driving cars onto trucks in San Francisco and was transporting them to Arizona.

“Our cars departed for Arizona this morning by truck,” Uber said in the email. “We’ll be expanding our self-driving pilot there in the next few weeks, and we’re excited to have the support of Gov. (Doug) Ducey.”

Uber must think it’s wise to be dismissive of California and safety and reporting regulations for its 19 self-driving cars. Tesla, Google and Ford are among the 20 companies that didn’t find the DMV’s permitting requirements overly onerous.

“None,” Brian Kelly, Gov. Jerry Brown’s transportation secretary said in an email, when asked if he had any comment.

It all speaks loudly.

Their take

L.A. Times: It’s time for Donald Trump to drop the defensiveness, stop assailing the integrity of the intelligence community, and support a thorough and bipartisan congressional investigation. If Russia engaged in cyber espionage to influence the outcome of an American election, that should be alarming even to the candidate who won it.

Baltimore Sun: Where are all those tea party moralizers like Rep. Jason Chaffetz who promised “years of investigation” if Hillary Clinton were elected? Apparently, they can’t tolerate one bipartisan inquiry when the stakes are actually meaningful.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Seeking a grand compromise on the Delta tunnel project, let’s call a cease-fire and determine whether a single tunnel would make water supplies more predictable, protect salmon fisheries and the Delta — and lower the price tag for this multibillion-dollar project.

Miami Herald: The State Department has indicated that traveling to Venezuela is dangerous. And the warning should be taken seriously. Venezuela is a country on the edge.

Syndicates’ take

Charles Krauthammer: With Aleppo gone and the rebels scattered, we have a long road ahead to rebuild U.S. influence squandered by President Barack Obama over the last eight years.

Gail Collins: Barbara Mikulski’s cheery story about the Senate bathrooms. Really, there ought to be a book about it.

Ann McFeatters: Even gazillionaires on Team Trump like presents. Don’t forget Rick ‘Oops’ Perry.

Dana Milbank: FBI Director James Comey has shown himself to be an inconsistent leader. And an ugly conclusion is becoming difficult to escape: He singlehandedly caused Donald Trump to win the presidency.

Andres Oppenheimer: China remains the top or second-largest trading partner of Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Xi sees an opportunity to increase China’s presence in Latin America despite the recent decline in Chinese-Latin American bilateral trade and investments.


“Do we really want more pistol-packing civilians in our midst?” Robert Irelan, Rancho Murieta

Take an alligator to lunch

Newt Gingrich’s tongue got ahead of his president-elect on Wednesday when he told NPR that Donald Trump’s refrain about draining the swamp was a thing of the past.

“I’m told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore,” Gingrich said.

On Thursday, Trump responded in a tweet: “Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase “DRAIN THE SWAMP” was no longer being used by me. Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.”

That prompted Gingrich to eat a little crow or some sort of swampthing, tweeting: “I goofed. Draining the swamp is in, @realDonaldTrump is going to do it, and the alligators should be worried.”

At roughly that same time, Dentons, Gingrich’s Washington, D.C., law-lobby firm, emailed an invitation for a Jan. 19 cocktail reception in “celebration of the 58th presidential inauguration of Presidential Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.” With special guest, Newt Gingrich. The sloppy wording aside, it’s not the 58th but rather the first and, we hope, final inauguration of Trump.

Dentons is a fine law firm with a storied history. If we had business in D.C., we might want to hire Dentons lobbyists. Its annual billings exceed $6 million, and its clients include drug makers like Purdue, major Indian casino operators, and cable television conglomerates. We’re sure, however, that none of its business gets conducted anywhere near the swamp.

And finally

The Take is taking the day off on Monday, and will do the same on Jan. 2. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We can’t wait to see what unfolds.