Devin Nunes’ dumb tweet; Josh Newman’s conscience; Trump’s science denial

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.

Jack Ohman reads the Trump Scout Handbook. See the chapters here.

Our take


As Trump denies science, California needs to step in: Obama’s EPA reached one conclusion about the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Trump’s EPA reached another conclusion. California needs to step in.

Nunes and Valadao joke about Westlands’ water grab. We’re not laughing: Westlands Water District helped write Rep. David Valadao’s bill to preempt California environmental protections. Devin Nunes thinks it’s funny.

President Trump could sabotage health care. What California should do to protect its residents. A bipartisan summit should come up with ways to fix and strengthen the Affordable Care Act. Instead, Trump irresponsibly declared he wants to let Obamacare “implode.”


Marcos Breton: Fighting off a pit bull to save a woman and her dog is just the beginning of this Sacramento man’s story.

Dan Walters, Cal Matters: The multifront political and legal war over the direction of California’s immense public school system has a new front.


Anne Marie Schubert: The first list of inmates eligible for early release under Proposition 57 and recently drafted regulations on the process for early parole confirm that my concerns were well-founded.

Lynne Plambeck and Stacy Fortner: A seemingly simple bill would open the way for 21,000 houses we don’t want. Sen. Scott Wilk’s bill appears completely innocuous, but would allow the Newhall Land & Farming Co. to stick its wells into our aquifer for a massive planned community north of Los Angeles, and pump groundwater on a monumental scale.

Mary Leslie: Newhall Ranch isn’t just 21,000-plus houses. It’s a shot at sustainability.

Their take

Charles Wohlforth, Alaska Dispatch News: Donald Trump came out of the fight weaker, but Alaska got a U.S. senator who is now a national figure. She took on the president and won. Lisa Murkowski has become our state's preeminent political figure. Alaska party Republicans would be wise to accept that gift and embrace her.

The Dallas Morning News: An emotionally touching and edgy new ad from consumer giant Procter & Gamble called "The Talk" takes a nuanced look at the conversations black mothers may have with their children to prepare them for racial discrimination. The ad is a bold move.

East Bay Times: After the state and water agencies downstream who benefit from Lake Oroville water and power cut corners on maintenance on Oroville Dam for years, a retired bureaucrat, Gerald Meral, wants taxpayers to bail them out. Forget it.

Los Angeles Times: Facing growing anger that the university ignored or mishandled reports alleging that the former medical school dean took drugs and partied with a circle of criminals and drug abusers, USC President C.L. Max Nikias finally admitted that “we could have done better.” But it’s not entirely clear yet that he and other USC leaders are committed to a comprehensive, independent and transparent evaluation of what went wrong.

The Raleigh News & Observer: Republicans won the 2010 election and came to power. Why do they seem to believe that although they won fair and square, they cannot maintain power in the same way? If their ideas are as right and popular as they think they are, they should have no hesitation to draw fair districts and stand by their records.

The Orange County Register: Is it possible that California will set the example for the nation of how to do redistricting right? That’s the hope of members of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission who went to Washington, D.C., last week to accept a national award for public engagement.

The Mercury News: As the U.S. economy has gone global, so has corporate philanthropy – especially for the billion dollar companies across Silicon Valley, many of which have more employees in other states and countries than they do here. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has become the bridge from that new corporate world to local civic life in the valley where silicon chips took root.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah officials should accept the full expansion of Medicaid. And then join elected officials, including many fellow Republicans, in other Medicaid states to demand that, whatever comes next, that aid survives. The need for it is just too great.

The Kansas City Star: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will become the governor of Kansas when Sam Brownback departs to take a job with the Trump administration. Expanding Medicaid would be smart policy and smart politics.

Syndicates’ take

Nicholas Kristof: Texas is pro-life. So why are so many Texas women dying?

David Brooks: Some senators are passing the test of conscience. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, is coming out with a book called “Conscience of a Conservative,” which is a thoughtful defense of traditional conservatism and a thorough assault on the way Donald Trump is betraying it.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Three Republican senators showed courage on health care. And in a striking intervention in the debate, 7,150 American nuns called the Senate GOP’s core proposal “the most harmful legislation for American families in our lifetimes.”

Timothy Egan: The miracle of the Dunkirk evacuation continues to prompt one of the great historical “what-ifs” of all time. The question of whether the swastika could have flown over the Thames is much more than Hollywood fiction.

Maureen Dowd: Donald Trump had a very weak week.

Gail Collins: Donald Trump underestimated Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, the health care heroines.

Frank Bruni: Why lesbians are making gains in elective office.

Dana Milbank: If the president really is – gulp – insane in the clinical sense and not just in the goofy sense, then perhaps we shouldn’t be ridiculing him. Maybe I, and other critics, should approach him calmly, speak in hushed tones and treat him with compassion.

Ross Douthat: Republicans have created an empty majority and yet they continue to win.

Ruben Navarrette: President Donald Trump and the media just can’t let the election go. If dwelling on the election makes you look good, or your opponent look bad, then by all means do it. But if recounting those events makes you look bad or your opponent look good, then you want no part of it.

Kathleen Parker: Not even with a Republican majority could President Trump dump Obamacare in its slimmest version yet. But Trump at least had a soul mate in whom to confide, Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s new communications director.


“I ask the people of the gold country to stand up and tell our Legislature that it is not right to prevent people from recreational gold seeking in the home of the Gold Rush.” – Anthony Farley, Auburn

And finally,

TakeTwo: So to be clear: Sen. Josh Newman actually voted his conscience. Any politician who does that is worth keeping around.