Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter.
After the Emmys, Sean Spicer tells critics to lighten up. But democracy isn’t a joke: The cost of government dishonesty shouldn’t be a laughing matter. PBS’ Vietnam War documentary this week offers proof.
Jack Ohman gets inside the White House strategy for North Korea. See who gets the credit here.
Erwin Chemerinsky: Dianne Feinstein had to ask Donald Trump’s judge nominee about religion. Stop the attacks. Amy Coney Barrett wrote that Catholic judges had a duty to put their faith first. Feinstein had a duty to ask about that.
Assemblyman Travis Allen: Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra are trying to deceive voters on the gas tax repeal. Californians deserve better, which is why I recently filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court to have the title and summary restored to the straightforward original version. This lawsuit is scheduled to be heard Friday.
Fernando S. Mendoza: There is probably no greater fear in childhood than losing one’s parents, and eliminating the fear of deportation, as DACA has done, can improve the development and mental health of these children.
Take a number: 145 percent
Some marijuana advocates say driving under the influence of weed is not as deadly as driving under the influence of alcohol. The Denver Post, analyzing fatality data since that state legalized marijuana, last month concluded that the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes on Colorado roads who tested positive for marijuana use jumped 145 percent, from 47 in 2013 to 115 in 2016. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat cited those stats in an editorial noting that California took a “small step ... to deter motorists from using marijuana” last week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 65 prohibiting smoking or eating marijuana while driving. Small step indeed. As it began, SB 65 would have allowed authorities to charge violators with a misdemeanor or an infraction, and allowed judges to order drug counseling. By the time it reached Brown, the drug counseling provision was removed, as was the possibility of charging violators with misdemeanors.
Ann Ravel, Politico: When Facebook revealed to investigators that a Kremlin-linked troll farm paid the company $100,000 for divisive political ads during the 2016 election, many saw the news as a bombshell. But in a year of unpredictable leaks, scandals and scoops, this just might be the least surprising news.
Lexington Herald Leader: Gov. Matt Bevin is the person who has demonized teachers and other public employees, suggesting they are gaming the retirement system by storing up sick days, are unfaithful to their work because they might consider retiring early to preserve benefits, or simply greedy.
Salt Lake City Tribune: Sen. Orrin Hatch’s announcement of the introduction of the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act drew a lot more attention from the mainstream press. Which is a good thing, because Hatch is correct.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Now that Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill to give $3 billion in taxpayer giveaways to Foxconn Technology Group, the state’s job agency must ensure that it has the means to hold Foxconn accountable. The Legislature and Walker did the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. no favors in that regard.
Kansas City Star: In 2014, running for re-election, Gov. Sam Brownback promised to bring 100,000 private-sector jobs to the state during his second four-year term. He’s obviously falling far short of that goal. Since January 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, Kansas has added just 3,459 jobs.
Charles M. Blow: It is clear that Trump is a hero among white supremacists: He panders to them, he is slow to condemn them and when that condemnation manifests, it is often forced and tepid.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: The Kurdish independence referendum is fiercely opposed by the central Iraqi government and by neighboring Turkey and Iran, who fear it will inspire their own Kurdish rebels. And U.S. officials also strongly oppose it, insisting Iraq must remain one unified country. Washington should think again.
Frank Bruni: The message of Sean Spicer’s presence at the Emmys was not only that we can all laugh at his service and sycophancy in the Trump administration, but that he’s welcome to laugh with us.
Michael Gerson: One tribe is more racially diverse, urban, secular and globalist. The other is largely white, rural and exurban, religious and nationalist. Their conflict is the context of American politics. At stake is the idea that “American” describes a single people.
Paul Krugman: You might be tempted to assume that no plan along these lines can possibly pass, let alone one that, if anything, looks worse than what we’ve seen so far. But it’s precisely because so many people assume that the threat is behind us, and have turned their attention elsewhere, that health care is once again in danger.
Megan McArdle: Conservative Ben Shapiro gave a speech in Berkeley and departed without the mayhem we’ve become accustomed to seeing at such appearances. And collective relief was sighed. But how relieved should we be that this is what it takes to maintain order in the face of a speech?
Eugene Robinson: The traditional left-to-right, progressive-to-conservative, Democratic-to-Republican political axis that we’re all so familiar with is no longer a valid schematic of American political opinion. And I believe neither party has the foggiest idea what the new diagram looks like.
“There are two genders, male and female. Legislating otherwise does not change this truth.” – Tiffany Coleman, Roseville
Tweet of the day
“Asking Sacramento area water agencies to pay for the Delta Tunnels is like asking Mexico to pay the wall. #DeltaStupid” – Matt Rexroad, @MattRexroad. This after reports, including one The Sacramento Bee’s Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow reported, that Westlands Water District is floating the notion that Sacramento-area water agencies help pay for the Delta tunnels.