Jack Ohman examines the pre-existing conditions for GOP congressmen. Read the cartoon here.
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Who’s liberal? Jerry Brown smacks Trump, GOP on giveaways: You know times have changed when liberals lecture conservatives on fiscal prudence. On Thursday, California Gov. Jerry Brown delivered a conservative state budget and gave Trump and Republicans in Congress a talking to.
Dan Walters: Jerry Brown is a wily politician, but he’s also been very lucky to have his second governorship coincide with a strong economic expansion.
Bill Whalen: If California Republicans want to have a say in how the state spends its money, they should elect one of their own as state controller.
Andrew Malcolm: Donald Trump’s supporters are so dissatisfied with standard politicians of both parties that they look past crude, boorish, self-centered behavior because he promised to drain the swamp. He is the anti-pol, which is good enough for many for now.
Joe Mathews: There are more than 100 bills in the Legislature focused on housing; they should aim for more assistance to those seeking housing, more incentives to produce more housing, and fewer regulations limiting housing.
Robert K. Ross and Patrick McCarthy: Instead of California kids being taken from their families and schools, alternatives to youth prison would provide counseling, mentoring, job training and opportunities to help them become productive adults.
Paul Hastings and Steven Mento: Supporters promote SB 17 under the banner of drug pricing “transparency,” which really refers to the government’s effort to force drug manufacturers to disclose confidential and sensitive business records. Forced disclosure could jeopardize future financing.
Take a number: 48 percent
Personal income tax payments are $3.1 billion above forecasts in California for the 2017-18 fiscal year. In part, that’s because of the runup in stocks, which pushes taxes on capital gains up significantly. Worth repeating: The top 1 percent of California’s income earners paid 48 percent of personal income taxes in 2015. The percentage has been greater than 40 percent in 11 of the last 12 years. “Consequently, changes in the income of a relatively small group of taxpayers have a significant impact on state revenues,” Gov. Jerry Brown budget points out. The governor noted that while the top rate in California is 13.3 percent, it is zero in Nevada.
San Francisco Chronicle: In collective bargaining between governments and their employees, elected officials are supposed to represent the public. Unfortunately, too many California politicians appear determined to hide such negotiations from the taxpayers they’re elected to serve.
East Bay Times: Finally, movement to help stem the rash of Bay Area freeway shootings. After dragging their feet for a year, state officials have kicked into action and are now moving forward rapidly to fund surveillance cameras from Richmond to Antioch.
San Diego Union Tribune: The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board used to be among the skeptics who maligned “toilet to tap” – the purification of sewage for regular water uses – and questioned a proposal by local officials on health and cost grounds. Then six years ago they changed their minds.
L.A. Times: Here’s what isn’t a problem, fortunately: out-and-out voter fraud. Presidents often create commissions, but rarely with the kind of cynicism that Donald Trump displays here. He has selected Vice President Mike Pence as chair and reportedly has selected as vice chair Kansas’ controversial secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who believes all voters should have to provide proof of citizenship – a birth certificate or passport – before voting.
Kansas City Star: We’re dismayed, though not surprised, to see that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be vice chair of President Donald Trump’s incorrectly labeled “Commission on Election Integrity.” The imagined crime wave of voter fraud should be debunked instead of emulated.
Salt Lake City Tribune: Orrin Hatch put his foot very firmly into his mouth by attacking the intelligence and the integrity of the five Native American nations whose elected leaders joined together to work for and, in the final days of the Obama administration, win national monument status for 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah known as Bears Ears.
Miami Herald: Let’s just say that public education is no longer the teacher’s pet, at least in the eyes of the Florida Legislature. Public education took a big funding hit this year, almost all of it crafted behind closed doors and sprung on unsuspecting educators at the very last minute.
Raleigh News & Observer: Scott Pruitt, underqualified as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, clearly is beginning the process of dismantling the EPA and probably environmental regulation in general.
Issac Bailey, Charlotte Observer: Marinna Rollins killed herself. She was a 23-year-old U.S. Army veteran who, according to the Fayetteville Observer, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, meaning she is the latest in a long line of military veterans killing themselves at a higher rate, a trend that developed during the longest wars in U.S. history.
Dana Milbank: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s small-mindedness would be funny if the situation weren’t so grave. Russian involvement in U.S. elections is a serious threat, not to Republicans but to America.
Michael Gerson: It is amazing what our democracy has, so far, allowed President Donald Trump to get away with, giving only a grimace, a laugh or a shrug. But this tolerance is about to be tested.
Eugene Robinson: If this were a criminal trial, prosecutors would allege that the president was displaying “consciousness of guilt” – that he was acting in a way no innocent person would act.
Trudy Rubin: President Donald Trump’s decision to ax FBI Director James Comey will fray Americans’ faith in the independence of their law enforcement agencies. But it won’t – as Trump may hope – revive his dream of doing a grand political deal with Moscow.
Charles M. Blow: Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey should shock the whole of America out of its numbness.
“Orange County does not need Poseidon’s water.” – Garry Brown, Costa Mesa
Tweets of the day
“Always blame the PR team! Reminds me of someone. Several someone’s, actually” – Andy Fell, @andyfell